Tag Archives: friends

Big Hug

7 May

If you are having trouble viewing the video, click on the title.

Moms Need Friends Too

3 Feb

Today we are so excited to have our new friend, Christine, at truebluematch.com as a guest blogger today. This is great advice for dads, too.

Making and keeping good friends requires some attention and time.  With all the wild demands of parenthood it is no wonder that busy moms often put friendships on the back burner.  However, friendships are key to happy and effective parenting and need to be made a priority.  Luckily, friendships give back so many wonderful benefits that the TLC devoted to them is time and energy well spent.

Moms often think that taking time to spend with a friend is selfish and that it takes away from their child.  Quite the opposite is true!  After enjoying a walk, a dinner or even a quick phone call with a friend there is a biological change that actually calms you and prepares you to take on the next parenting task with reduced stress.  Oxytocin, a natural calming, stress-reducing hormone is released when women spend time together.  Researchers call this natural tendency to want to spend time with other women “Tend and Befriend.”  We are all hard-wired for this need and our bodies respond so positively when we take time to enjoy with friends.

Friendship has been shown to protect against major depression and anxiety for women.  Social and emotional support is linked in many studies to lowered heart rates, lower blood pressure and decreased stress hormones.  It has also been shown to increase longevity through all of these health benefits.

Moms are wise to prioritize their health needs.  Just as you would be sure to buckle your seat belt, keep a healthy diet and exercise adding, “Take time to spend with a friend” is just as important.  The research has proven it but you don’t need to read the studies, instead take that time to do your own experiment.  Call up a friend and schedule some time to do something together.  Then see how you feel when you return home to your family.  You’ll see that everyone will benefit from you taking the time to refuel with a friend.

The Author, Christine Cook is the founder of truebluematch.com, a friendship matching website for parents of young children.  It matches moms with moms and dads with other dads for face to face friendship with others in their area.  She is certain that the true blue friends in her own life have been a key element in enjoying the past 16 years of happy, healthy parenting.

Everything Tastes Better Covered in Chocolate

16 Dec

We love chocolate in our house so anytime we can cover something in chocolate, we do. Here are some of our favorite things to cover or dip in chocolate.

This recipe has information on how to prepare chocolate chips for dipping. There are fancier recipes for dipping chocolate, but we like this easy recipe and we always have chocolate chips on hand.

These can make great holiday treats to give to friends and family.

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Meaningful Gift Giving

12 Dec

Yesterday we blogged about some great gifts kids can make for friends and family. Today, Dr. Keith Kanner, shares his blog with us about the true meaning of gift giving.

Background:With the holidays just around the corner, children and adults alike are struggling to find that “right” gift for a loved one and become concerned with issues such as quantity, quality, degree of personal appreciation, and amount of money available for gift buying in an economy that is tight for many. The giving of a gift for most however, is, intended to be an expression of love, affection, and appreciation of others, while the receiver is commonly touched by the thought and investment of the other’s time and thought about the choice of the token.
The “right” or most meaningful gift however is typically based upon on how well the giver knows the needs, interests, and personality of the recipient. When this type of information is obtained, issues of quantity are replaced with the more important aspect of quality, and the outcome is a benefit for all. The recipient feels as though the giver took the time to find out what he or she was really in need of or interested in, while the giver then feels gratified that their choice was well accepted and appreciated. So, how does one go about obtaining this type of information? If one plans ahead, asking the recipient what they are interested in before the holiday season allows one to gain important and direct information. However, most people do not plan far in advance and then asking such questions too close to the season eliminates the surprise. In most cases, most people then rely on other people who know the interests of the person and t! his then helps narrow down possible gifts.

Once this type of information is obtained, the concern of finance then becomes an important consideration and the giving person must be realistic in what they are able to afford given other gift commitments for their entire lists. Here, perhaps having a number of possible “meaningful” gifts for the recipient is important for some will be more expensive than others and one may fit more into the budget than another.

For children giving gifts, they will typically need the assistance of their parents to both choose and purchase gifts for others. For many parents however, they often enjoy their child making them a gift, rather than buying one, and this is often more meaningful than any sort of purchased item. Here, again, the quality of the gift outweighs the amount of money spent of number of presents.

It is very important that parents teach their children early about the goals of gift giving – that gifts are tokens of love, appreciation, and an investment in trying to bring some joy to another person. Here is where the uniqueness of a gift becomes important as it relates to a person’s needs and desires and that they have more to do with the meaning of the gift rather than the price or amount of presents given or received.

After all, when all is said and done, most individuals, adults and children alike, seem to be most invested in gifts which fit their needs and interests, rather than numbers of gifts which end up being stored in a closet and never enjoyed.

Key Points:

1. The “right” or most meaningful gift however is typically based upon on how well the giver knows the needs, interests, and personality of the recipient. Quality is much more important than quantity.

2. The concern of finance then becomes an important consideration and the giving person must be realistic in what they are able to afford given other gift commitments for their entire lists.

3. For children giving gifts, they will typically need the assistance of their parents to both choose and purchase gifts for others.

4. It is very important that parents teach their children early about the goals of gift giving – that gifts are tokens of love, appreciation, and an investment in trying to bring some joy to another person. It is not the price of the gift, amount of gifts, but the thought and meaning behind the gift that is the most important.

Find more from Dr. Kanner, author of Your Family Matters, at kanner.tv

Laura Crawford
Social Media/Web Content Manager
Dr. Keith Kanner
Web: www.kanner.tv
Facebook: Dr.KeithKanner

What Shape is Your Circle of Friends?

2 Nov

Some women have a circle of friends that they’ve known forever, but my circle looks more like a dot-to-dot with lines zigzagging across the page, reflecting the stages of my life.

I have always found it difficult to have a large circle of friends like I see portrayed in movies. You know the ones, the groups of five or six women who sit around, drinking wine, talking about everything, knowing each other for years. Now that I’m older, and a bit wiser, I know why that’s never worked for me; I’m a mom, I move a lot, my life is constantly evolving and I have a variety of interests. It is because of these things that I am grateful for my not so circular circle of friends.

Friendships come in all different shapes, sizes, interests and ages. Some women that I am honored enough to have as friends are 10-30 years older than I am. They are wise and caring and have helped me develop into a strong mother as they encourage me with every new stage of child rearing and they continually strengthen me as a woman. Other friends are mothers with children of all different ages. We support each other with words of encouragement and celebrate milestones no matter how big or small. I have work friends with whom I discuss new business plans over endless cups of coffee. And there are women who have entirely different philosophies about life that I enjoy as friends because there is so much to learn from conversation and friendly debates. I even have friends who are men. They are terrific advisors and excellent in providing a different perspective to my life.

But not all friendships are perfect. Some friendships that seem so strong wither and fade away leaving us with broken hearts but fond memories. Other friendships can be incredibly toxic and are best removed from our life. But, even these friendships can make you strong.

My mother-in-law always says, “If you have one friend from every stage of your life, you’ve had a good life.” So, the next time you feel that your circle of friends is more like a dot-to-dot, remember that each of the friendships that criss-crossed the chapters of your life, have made you the woman and mother you are today.

A Real Mom’s Journey

19 Oct

I am so honored to have my friend, Nola Agha, as our guest blogger today.  Last year, she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. She had just moved across the country, had two small children, had just started a new job, and her husband had started a new job when she was diagnosed.

Until Nola was diagnosed, I had never had anyone close to me go through cancer and was completely unaware of how debilitating the treatments are and how important it is to be surrounded with people who can help and support you and your family for even the smallest of tasks. I learned so much about courage and strength through Nola’s posts that she shared with her friends.

I know her story will enlighten you and encourage you to reach out to someone in need.

As a mom, I spend a lot of time (well, most of my time) making breakfast, making lunch, driving to school, doing art, playing games, making dinner, doing baths, reading books, washing clothes, sewing Halloween costumes, and the list goes on and on.  All moms and dads know what kind of energy is needed to make it through a day.

So imagine my shock and surprise last November when a sore breast, then mammogram, then biopsy resulted in a Stage III breast cancer diagnosis.  I spent the first few weeks in shock, horror, and sadness trying to wrap my head around what the future meant: will I die? will I live? will my children have a mother? will my husband be a single father? how do we plan for the future? how do I get better? Once the shock passed I mentally grounded myself in a positive attitude.  I was going to do everything possible to live and I was not going to die.  That was my stance and I never wavered from it.

While the diagnosis was a shock, the treatment can best be described as a marathon.  Weeks and weeks of physically and mentally debilitating treatments left me unable to care for myself or my children.  At one point I was taking 33 different medicines.  And since they left me mentally fuzzy, weak, and mostly incoherent, it took a very well-organized spreadsheet to help my caregivers figure out when I needed to take which medicines.

Although I struggled daily with the physical pain of treatment I also struggled daily with the guilt of a mother.  I couldn’t stand up long enough to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Dinner was out of the question.  Bone pain made it impossible to get down on the floor to play with trains or dolls.  My children, now so accustomed to hearing me say I wasn’t feeling good enough to play, asked me questions like, “Mommy, will you ever be able to play again?”  It broke my heart. My daughter, just 2, didn’t know her ABC’s, couldn’t count to 10, and every day my guilt grew as I realized she was being short-changed in her mental development.

While doctors can now do amazing things to save a person’s life, there is little they can do to help with the daily reality of life with kids.  Some days I would see 2 or 3 different doctors.  None allowed children into their offices (due to the needles, chemicals, and other nastiness) never mind the fact that I needed assistance to get myself to the car, someone to drive me, and there was no way I could have gotten two kids dressed and buckled up.  So every day I had to figure out who was taking care of the kids, who could help, and how to use my waning energy to explain my absence to two crying and sad little kids.  My heart broke every day.

Any debilitating disease challenges you mentally, physically, and emotionally.  While we often focus on someone’s physical status, it’s easy to forget the challenges they face in the rest of their life.  If you know a parent with cancer, or any other major illness, perhaps this gives you a better understanding of what they might be going through and ways that you can help.

Life turned upside down and I endured every possible form of suffering in treating this awful disease.  But ten months later, I am officially cancer-free.  To celebrate my return to health I signed up for a fundraising hike to the top of a local mountain.  In preparation for it, I looked back and tried to quantify all that I had been through.  Here is my list:

1 breast removed (so far)

1 time I fainted

2 times I almost fainted

2 days spent in the hospital post-surgery

3 surgeons – breast, plastic, and ob-gyn

4 cycles of dose dense adrimycin-cytoxan

5 visits to the physical therapist (so far)

5 months of chemo

7 hours spent in surgery

7 positive lymph nodes

8 different creams I tried to heal the radiation burn

9 scars (so far)

12 cycles of taxol

13 visits to the lymphedema specialist

19 lymph nodes removed

27 pills I take daily (26 are vitamins and supplements)

27 visits to radiation

36 visits to the acupuncturist (so far)

63 sticks with a needle (so far)

90 minutes each day I spend taking my homeopathic anti-cancer remedy

127 hospital gowns (so far)

165 people who follow my cancer-update blog

$661,531.06 Cost of my treatment to date

Being alive, having the support of hundreds of friends and family across the globe, and being able to shout my thanksgiving from a mountain top…priceless

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