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Questions and Stories about Raising a Family

Listed below is the compilation of all of the questions and stories that parents have asked, shared, or submitted as a response to our national writing contest. Topics range from education, to money, to relationships, to health, and many more in between. Do you have a story to share about your experiences as a parent? Click the "Share Your Story" button to add your voice to!

Read Raising a Family Questions and Stories

Having mixed feelings about a close friend who just got married. She had a fairly traditional wedding. A lot of work, time, and money spent by friends and family. Only to find out she will not be legally married for many years down the road. It feels icky that was not disclosed upfront. Am I wrong for those feelings?

We currently have a son, 10 months old and another baby is on the way...
My issue is not so much of lack of trust but lack of respect. I have voiced that I do not appreciate him going out to see his friends late at night. He has his friends come over our place almost every single day during the day time and they tend to stay for very long. I would prefer the guests would leave at the same hour I put our son to sleep but that is usually ignored. Moreover, I get extremely annoyed when he go

The first few years of marriage is the hardest. Add in a baby or two and hard is a serious understatement. Looking back, getting married and starting a family in my early 20’s was not the best decision. At that time, I thought I knew everything and could handle any curve ball thrown my way. As a typical oldest child, I was mature, confident, tenacious, and ‘in it to win it.’ Life I mean….. There was no challenge too high.

What I quickly realized is that being married when you are lit

According to such scientists as Williams, Sawyer and Wahlstrom, there is a number of different types of love. I would like to focus only on five so far. Romantic love is, perhaps, the most known one. Sometimes it is called passionate love. This type of feeling lacks commitment. However, it can be developed over time if both partners will invest enough efforts and patience to build stable relationship. Companionate love seems the perfect one to me. These relations are time-tested and strong; the

I’m happiest when I’m able to forget about myself and become completely immersed in an enjoyable or productive activity. I like to think of it as escaping myself. During this time I’m focused only on the present situation around me and am not worrying about anything to do with myself.

One way I know when I’ve escaped myself is when I zone out or lose track of time. I’m so wrapped up in the present experience that time goes by without me noticing. Another indication of escaping mysel

When my daughter was a born we told my In-laws that we wanted no smoking around the baby.... My Mom pased away due tomnlung cancer so this is something I feel very strongly about... My In-Lwas come down to vist asked if they could watch the baby.. We agreed it would be ok If they did not smoke around the baby .. We got home early to find my mother in-law smoking with my daughter lap.. So my husband again had a talk about how we will not allow that around our babay.. Will needless to say they st

My son Ben got the first of his many Second Chances when we adopted him. His birth parents were high school kids, not at all prepared to assume responsibility for a baby. They placed him for adoption and we stepped forward, promising to give him a stable home, a good education, and all the love he deserved.
He was a challenging child, programmed, it seemed, to test limits. He was suspended for fighting and stealing in 4th, 7th, and 8th grades, but not expelled because the principals thoug

Second Chances: School of Life

I used to have a lot of fear around giving people second chances. What if he were to lie to me again? What if she were to judge me harshly again? I used to try to decide whether to forgive, or trust people in the first place or not, based on whether I thought they were trustworthy. At some point, however, I realized that if I were going to trust others, I had to base my trust on myself, not on them. I learned that we often let each other down even

All believers in life eventually have something happen to them to start to question their beliefs. You ask yourself "How could this happen to me?" or "If God is real why would he let this happen?" and the truth is we've all been there, it doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you real. The day these thoughts rushed through my head was the day I lost my first baby. My husband and I had just started trying for our first baby, that month we were so excited to find out on February 19th that we we

Back in 2003 I had gotten a job at a Kroger chain called QFC in an area of Washington state called Mercer Island. It was a good size island that the interstate I90 came through. It had two QFC's, one on each end, as well as other shops. After working at the North end store for almost a year, one of the main managers at my store appreciated my hard work as a courtesy clerk and offered me a temporary job at a Seattle QFC location to help assist customers with guiding people around during a renova

My fiance and I just relocated to a new state. We have a nice home with an extra room. We are pretty private people but on occasion we have people come over and have a good time. I was surprise when my fiance called me from the hair salon to tell me she extended an invitation to her hair stylist of 6 years to come and stay with us. She wants to open her own beauty shop where we live. I was okay with it at the time and said Okay! Then doubt started to creep in. I told my fiance a long time ago b

Have you noticed that (almost) every blog post includes a list? Undeniably, a popular creative and functional format for delivering succinct messages. Apparently, we can’t seem to focus our attention on more than a few simplified snippets presented in point form. The New Year is a perfect opportunity to generate some new lists, so here goes ‒ my personal manifesto for 2016.

• There is no limit to the amount of time and energy I can dedicate to social networking nonsense such as

Bathtime with my kids reminds me of the old school Battle Ship game. It’s all about moves and counter-moves. Unfortunately, my one year old’s moves are mostly of the bowel type, so, like a good Naval Admiral, I must always have a counter-move ready.

I recently discovered her recurring naval attack when I was bathing both my 3 and 1 year olds together. In order to keep the peace and maintain them in the water long enough to sanitize them, we’ve thrown in a random assortment of toys

What's a good term for my situation?

Existential crisis? Nah, too dramatic.

It could be more of a midlife malaise, only that would imply I'll live to be 104, which would be fantastic. Problem is, if I'm currently peeing every morning in five languid installments, by the century mark I'll need a tasteful prostate pram to wheel around that leathery gland that partially popped free of my body in 2038.

No, I'll just assess this situation using a system to which we g

In a so cacophonic world filled with sensationalism within the news or some quick fame seeking shows, it can be easy to lose ourselves in a personal bubble that can so quickly be popped. The real value of somebody is not waht we accumulate, but how we are or shall be remembered soul wise. Indeed, to be kind and help folks in need, be it in a gesture like buying food or giving a special thank you note or gift of appreciation as small as it is, bring back smiles and even hugs that cannot be boug

The empty-nest and the stuff in it.
Liz Pearl

It’s fair to say, I am not adjusting easily to the empty-nest. It’s unbelievable; in a flash ‒ this exciting chapter of family life is done. (Two decades ‒ boom, poof, gone!) From time to time, when I’m all alone in my quiet house, I wander around the empty nest reflecting upon the memories and our family history. And I can’t help but hope that the memories created and the bonds forged in this urban nest will be solid enough to draw

I am 65 and my wife 55 we have been married 24 years. On xmas we hosted 30 family and friends at our home. It was fun and enjoyable but a lot of work,Just now the day before New years eve she informed me that we are having a dinner event with her mother, my sister, her brother and one of her our home New Years day. My problem was only that I requested being told before she started planning instead of after the planning and I am last to know. She took issue with this and said t

On a brisk New England day, I appear at first glance to be a typical teacher, an average mom, aunt, sister and wife. There is nothing initially distinguishable about me. I look like an ordinary thirty-something mom running errands with her sticky toddler; most people don’t give me a second look. Whether I am at the bank, doctor’s office, pharmacy, or P.T.O meeting I am treated as expected, with polite respect and it is always reciprocated.

On a humid New England day (if you kno

With so many dating websites available, there has to be one out there for you. Some people are searching only for people who share their religion or their ethnicity. Some people are very serious about finding a marriage partner, while others just want to give their social life a boost. Decide what it is you are looking for before joining an online dating service. One of the original sites is Just about everyone has heard of it and may even know couples who met on the site. The servi

This Christmas our gift to our adult kids and their families was an overnight stay to an indoor water park. We have three sons and a nephew who Lost both of his parents. One son is married - it's his second marriage now of 5 plus years. Another son lives with a women who befriended the other son's ex wife after his divorce and after developing and moving in with my other son (I hope this makes since - as it's difficult to follow). This, of course, created hurt feelings on several levels. We d

I’ve been implementing minimalist concepts in my life since the beginning of this year when I stumbled upon the blog, Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. I was instantly captivated, read every post and free e-book offered, and continue to follow it. Zen Habits led me to the blog, Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker, which I also devoured and continue to follow. If you haven’t read them you need to check them out, as soon as you’re done reading this!

The blogs provide guidelines, inspiration,

Christmas is a very sensitive time for me as I am estranged from my family and my mother is sick and I miss her. I have three kids and we have started our own tradition of Christmas with our kids, my in laws and my husbands only sibling his brother. Well every year he brings a new girlfriend to Christmas and it really takes away from the family Christmas I want my kids to grow up with. His new girlfriend this year is really nasty to me. I clearly don't want her here on Christmas. I texted my br

I always keep my self busy preparing myself for work and related lessons and I need to be at home so that I can manage my studies and to give time for my wife (married 2yrs ) and for our daughter 4months old. But whenever I want to do these there Will be someone knocking on the door or sitting without permission enjoying with my wife. some neighbours leave their kids here and go for their business. Her family members come without even calling and enjoy and laugh even when I had to sleep for

Have you ever wondered how you could encourage a special needs family? Read four ways we received encouragement and how it can give you ideas to do some encouraging of your own.

My husband and I have joked for years how we would spend our money if we won the lottery. We have different views on how we’d handle the responsibility, but we both agree we’d never tell anyone—not even our children.

My husband has dreamed of winning the lottery for years. He’s decided to set up a fund and help others—after we paid off our house, put our kids through college, quit our jobs, and bought a new car. He already researched forming a foundation using the interest from the

There are five simple ways how to teach your children the entrepreneurship issues.

The development of entrepreneurial skills of children does not mean that you should give them the special classes or to teach some complex subjects. Without a doubt, the basic entrepreneurial skills can be very useful for children. With five simple ways, it will be more easier to perform.

1. Buy your kids only those things that t

If I won the lottery I would scream, cry, thank God, quit my job, and celebrate with my family! I’d take my husband and kids to buy a luxury motorhome that is fully equipped and able to tow a car. Next, my husband and I would hire a financial planner to set up accounts for ourselves, our kids, and family members and arrange donations to various organizations. We’d pay off our debt, sell our house, one of our cars, and donate most of our belongings. Finally, after getting all of our affairs in o

Something miraculous happened to me today.

I ran and enjoyed it.

For those of you who are runners out there, this post might seem pointless. For someone like me, a self-proclaimed runner phobic, it was a moment of zen for me this morning when I realized that even after I reached my stopping point that I could have kept going.

My running journey isn't a very inspiring one. In high school, I struggled to finish the mile during the President's Physical Fitne

Totalitarian Back-to-School Night

Don’t ask questions. Don’t make a scene. Don’t be embarrassing.

For the past 15 years, these have been my kids’ orders as I walked out our front door to tackle back-to-school night. This is reverse totalitarianism.

Last night commemorated my 35th back to school night. I could attend back-to-school night every night. Countless questions fire through my mind, class after class, syllabus after syllabi.

Music class laun

While many children relish the spirit of competition, this isn't true for all. Highly competitive kids typically love team sports where they can show off their skills, win a trophy, and gain the respect of their peers and coaches. However, some children shy away from competition and avoid sports altogether. It could be that they simply aren't athletic and worry about being criticized for that. It could also be that they are introverted and don't like the interaction that team sports bring. Perh

I know that the majority of Americans are jumping for joy at each and every penny that falls away from the gas prices, but for me, it is bittersweet and disheartening. Sure, I like paying lower gas prices, but I also really like my husband employed. It was just April that my husband received all sorts of special incentives for reaching his ten year mark on an oil exploritory drilling rig. Now, there is an iminent and impending doom lurking in the near future, most likely just before Christma

My husband, 3 year, baby, and myself are currently living with my mom and her husband, while we are building our house. We decided to go this route, because 1)rent prices are crazy right now, and 2)we thought it would be short term. Key word thought. We do pay them rent, which is fine, I would not expect anything less. Well now my mom's husband's mom, hopefully you can keep up, is coming out to visit. We were just told that we either need to move the baby in the room with us; which it is curren

Workouts Parents and Their Kids Can Do Together

Parents who need to work out every day can bring their kids along, but the workouts must be designed for kids to participate. Leaving the kids in the gym during a workout is not as helpful to the family as letting the kids enjoy the workout with their parents. parents can find crossover yoga tops and other workout outfits that will help them remain comfortable as they handle their

My son was four when he almost made a stranger wet herself.

I realize how much explaining this may take.

It took place within the epitome of all vacation destinations...Disneyworld...where every ride is designed for maximum thrills. The least threatening of all these is, perhaps, the laid-back Jungle Cruise inside the Magic Kingdom. If you are a four-year-old worrywart with safety always foremost in your mind, the Jungle Cruise is a force with which to be reckoned, and t

My family, consisting of myself, hubby, and two teenage sons, took a long-awaited, long-overdue vacation to Florida in July. Just like in the movie Vacation, it was a road trip full of adventure, a lot of family bonding, and of course, a few mishaps. We spent two days driving to Florida from Ohio, one amazing week in Pompano Beach, one fun filled day in the Everglades, and two days driving back home.

On our first day driving home, we were on I-75 North near Gainesville when all of a

Last summer I got the bright idea to become obsessed with fishing. I guess with all the television shows about people roughing it and living off the land in the last few years I just couldn't resist the call of the wild. However, I don't like guns and I can't shoot a bow and arrow to save my life so hunting was out. Fishing seemed like a cheap and easy hobby that would assuage my perceived desire to live wild. My husband and son were game so it was decided that we would take a camping trip and

So I am away from home enjoying my vacation at MY mom's place and my husband's relatives quietly get visas and tickets and land in my house without even letting me know.I live in brooklyn , in a one bedroom apt.with my kids 10 and 12 years old .My dad who is 63 also lives with me.My husband's 4 relatives have entered my house and neither my husband nor his family have bothered to let me know that they r leaving and they r gonna stay in my house.Is it ok to feel uneasy and really upset or am I j

Yay! We're finally going to Disney!

I was so excited about the prospect of going to the "The Happiest Place on Earth.

Naturally, our six year old daughter, Melissa, was excited about the prospect of Meeting Mickey Mouse, as well. But which one of us was more excited? Let's just say it was the one who does NOT share a bed with twenty stuffed cats (hint: ME)!

Planning and packing for our dream vacation was so much fun. Of course I would need bathi

It’s 6:45am and we’re officially 45 minutes behind schedule, but it’s the annual Merrill Family Vacation, and THAT is to be expected. I’ve explained before that this family is huge. We had so much stuff packed, that we had to leave Sweetness behind….sorry buddy….One day you’ll be married to a beautiful woman, and you’ll leave your son behind too….and only THEN will you understand the meaning of the term…Female Vacation Packing. I’m not mocking, quite the contrary, it’s just that when Merrill ch

Many contact me on LinkedIn’s platform, if I could suggest or introduce a website, whereby they can write articles to be paid. As a matter of fact, there are hundreds of websites that accept articles from writers, but most to promote your articles, thus; someone may hire you if interested in you as a writer, but gaining recognition as a writer to be hired doesn’t come easy.

It seems when the mind is occupied with various plans and ideas, we ignore or forget the places where we need t

WordPress is a social platform made easy with essential tools, to make it simple and easy for the blogger and website owners. For example it has ‘Akismet’ anti-spam plugin which stops spam comments and trackbacks. Besides, WordPress has provided ‘Jetpack’ plugin that gives access to hosted features automatically.

I am completely new to WordPress, but because they made it easy and simple for bloggers to enjoy using the platform, I’m getting familiar to many things. Online and on the s

There is something special about Barcelona, so unique that one lacks the right words to describe this wonderful city. Barcelona is a city one can’t different night from day, because both the day and night are equally dense with its citizens and people from other countries, since is the second largest and one of the beautiful cities in Spain.

The city has identified itself as one of the most fashionable and adorable cities in Europe. The reason is simple and logical. It’s renowned anc

My husband works from home, now. So this summer, while our daughter Melissa is at camp, we have a new ritual. We watch Jeopardy every afternoon at 2:30 (old folks home, here we come...ha-ha)!

Now, watching Jeopardy can be a fun experience...especially when you KNOW an answer...oh, wait...especially when you KNOW an answer your HUSBAND does NOT know (capital of South. Dakota is PIERRE!!!)...and especially when you know the answer to a question NONE OF THE SUPER SMART CONTESTANTS KNO

  The basic foundation of a human is family. Our world is colored by them and shapes us into the person we are today. In the process of growing we get hurt subsequently and there’s where we gain experience. At the time we experience pain, we will definitely seek for a crying shoulder. Even though there are friends or peers to ease our burden, it is an undeniable fact that family holds a special place in our heart. Once we talk to them open heartedly we know the problem can be resolved; an assur

I ordered a pizza. I didn’t place a call. I designed my pizza, placed the order, and watched the progress from receipt of my order to its exit from the oven. All of this was brought to me courtesy of modern technology and an app on my Android phone. Apps are truly beautiful things. From controlling my TV to making a video in which I can make my forty-plus-year-old female voice sound like that of a deranged cat, I can do it all with apps. I can even navigate my way across the state or across the

In 1983, I was nine years old and watching “CHiPs,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” and reruns of “The Brady Bunch” on a television set. Yes, a set. It wasn’t mounted. The set, it sat. It sat on the floor in our den, taking up much floor space and housed a tube that occasionally offered wavy lines and the crackle of interference from local CB radio transmissions. If I was lucky, on a really clear Tennessee day, I might be able to hold my mouth right and cross a toe or two and tune in to channel 24, b

I'm already apologizing for the big email. I need an advice on how to tell my parents-in-law that I'm not okay with them inviting themselves to come to our house more often even staying longer to stay away from the heat of the desert of the new place they are planning to buy. They live 17hs away from us and my Mother-in-law told that they are planning to move 5 h away from our home to stay closer and even stay with us when the desert gets hot. I'm having anxiety already. My in-laws has three so




As a young boy, I was sent to church via a church bus. There were three people that planted seeds of hope in my life at this time. There was Mrs. Smith, she rode the church bus and worked in the school cafeteria. She would mentor me and visit every Saturday to make sure that my siblings and I were going to church on Sunday. Then there was Mr. Haupt, my Sunday school teacher, he would teach me the word of God and the Christian way of living. Then, there was Mr. Joiner, he would teach the childr

Midlife Mantra
Our lives are made up of highs, lows and in-betweens. We navigate our way through dark tunnels, jammed highways, shady neighbourhoods, winding roads, steep hills, slippery slopes, rough patches, confusing intersections, calm fields, vast valleys, spectacular summits and breathtaking landscapes. The path we travel in between, whether rugged or clear, forges an opening with a panoramic vista, allowing us to reflect back upon and to look forward toward the chromatic horizon, of

The moment the GOD has created this world and living being, he also created every comfort that is required for them.

But, Every comfort is being misused, distorted and made to work against us by us...

Why because from the stone age, especially the human being is revolving around certain things only, as per Gautama Buddha (Four noble truths)

we crave for the sensuality, we crave for the acquisition of Identity, We crave to prevail and dominate over others a w

May 25, 2015

If She Could See Me Now

I wasn’t the greatest student in high school. Falling off the grid some days, really did start to interfere with my usual perfect attendance. I was intelligent, and I could do the school work. I just simply chose not to. I didn’t despise school. I actually was quite fond of learning. I was just simply going through a rough patch. I was struggling to find my identity, unaware that worrying why I didn’t have my life together

I have organised a christening and first birthday celebration for my son. We will be taking everyone to lunch after the service at an upmarket restaurant. Family are coming from overseas with their children for the event. Myself and my husband are paying for this.It is expensive but we can afford it if we work hard.My mother in law has insisted on contributing a significant amount of money for the lunch. My husband agreed to this but I am not comfortable with it.i feel it is our event and its i

Here I am, 52 years young and I find myself in a place that I thought I had long ago left behind‒ never to revisit. I lovingly refer to this as my dyslexic dating stage; as the last time I was single was in 1985 and I was 25.

I am not sure how I ended up in this strange land. I packed my bags, bought a one-way ticket (or so I thought) to paradise, buckled up and took off on a journey only to arrive at an alternate destination due to unavoidable inclement weather.

As the tu

They say that death and taxes are the only guarantees in life, yet I contend that somewhere in the middle, there sits the guarantee of change, and while my personality doesn’t appreciate it’s concept, it does stand to reason that even I saw the need for it’s implementation. Change may not always be good, but change is always change, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that change can be tolerable, if one is willing to go with the flow…I guess.
At the age of 43, I had to go back to school.

I’m a single parent living with my disabled daughter, and the two of us are graciously allowed to live with Taffy, our cat.
Taffy lets us clean her apartment, pay bills, provide food for her to eat, furniture for her to lounge on and toys for her to play with. In return, she bestows upon us the honor of letting us bask in her radiance, a most prestigious honor not bestowed upon many and hardly ever bestowed upon a couple of morons like us.
Cat to human communication is complicate

Fighting in a relationship is considered a bad communication, a failure to reach out to your partner and prove your point of view, which usually works both ways. In fact, fighting is treated as an emotional abuse, and like any other type of abuse it’s bad for relationships, especially when kids are involved too.
Do you have fights with your partner on an occasional basis, where the two of yo

On my son Billy’s twelfth birthday, per his wish, I took him to a pet store to buy a hamster. We were both excited. He immediately picked one out, a cute fluffy teddy bear hamster. The clerk put the hamster into a small thin paper box. I questioned if we should put him in the plastic hamster ball we bought, but she assured us that the hamster would be fine in the box.

As soon as we got into the car Billy opened the box to check on him. The hamster quickly jumped out of the box, scur

Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” just played on my Pandora station. That song floods my mind with memories of my first dance at my wedding reception. I thought about how young my husband and I were. How we had our whole lives in front of us, and mostly I thought about how much has changed in these past 15 years.

The biggest changes besides more gray hair, creakier knees, more wrinkles and other unsightly freckles that seem to pop up every time I venture outside, are our two g

A friend asked my boyfriend and I to come stay at her home. She didnt like where we were living and she needed someone looking after her home. She never paid me and we never had to pay rent. However We did repair Work, and kept up yard and house. We both received mail there. When she came home I said we would leave. She said there was no reason for us to leave because she came home. Now out of the blue she said we need to leave knowing we had know where to go and he was just in a very bad car a

Chester the Rottweiler was enjoying his morning walk. It was still cool outside and there weren't a lot of cars going by yet. He liked to listen to the birds and the other sounds in the neighborhood. He also liked to sniff the trees, the leaves, the grass and especially the fire hydrant on the corner.
Chester greeted his dog friends. He would sniff and woof softly to them through their fence. They would sniff and woof back.
Cats were a different story. Chester didn’t trust cats. They

Climate influences our lifestyle and emotions. Weather plays a pivotal role in our life. It helps us to calm down, sometime instils fury or instigates fear. It plays on our emotions. Once, my dearest buddy had the strongest argument with me and left the place with “sound and fury”. It was mid-afternoon, very hot and she was also heated with anger. I sat there like Buddha, under a tree contemplating, unknowing the reason. I was isolated in my thoughts and slept off under the tree in my garden. W

Nutan heard the rustle of leaves and someone was walking towards her. It was a cold wintery night. The coldness left her unperturbed. Silence stole the storm in her. He wore a dark suit with purple cuff. His silence strangled her thoughts. Slowly, he leaped towards her taking to her reminiscence. On a same wintery day, when she was in her 18, she felt the same warmth shrouded under the hug of a masculine figure. She waited for six long years to get the same warmth. The coldness of the winter le

I’m jolted awake to a bloodcurdling wails. The horrific noises interrupt my pleasant dreams of eating chocolate and drinking vino, yet never gaining a pound. I glance at the clock; it’s 5:30 in the morning. I stumble out of bed in the darkness, only half awake, tripping over an English Setter, who is apparently not much of a watch dog. He yelps.
I glance over at the lump next to me, my husband, snoring loudly. The sounds do not disrupt his sleep. I wonder what would happen if I

My son was thrilled to be going away to a weeklong residence summer camp. It wasn’t very far from our home, but per camp rules he wasn’t allowed to take his cell phone or any electronics with him. Therefore, we’d have no contact the entire week. The camp requested that parents only call the camp office in case of a true emergency. I was very excited for him, but also, as a mom, naturally worried about him being away from home and not being able to check in on him.

During the third a


Just wanted to share our creative baby announcement parody video with expecting families. It's so exciting to have a bun in the oven!
With our first son we made the Bieber parody
I was opposed to doing the second video for our second child because it took a long time for us to get the first video up. But my husband wanted to make sure from the start our son would get the same love and attention as our first. So he worked a lot on the second

In spite of over thirty years as an educator, the proclamation of a snow day still results in whoops of joy and disbelief. As much as I love teaching, there is simply nothing like “found time” and the chance to either chill out or ramp up and finally take care of those niggling chores that never seem to disappear from my “to do” list.
Step inside any faculty room right before a predicted weather event. There’s a palpable air of fun and excitement. Business-like teachers wear a smile of

When I was a kid, my family didn’t have much money, but we managed just fine. We normally couldn’t afford fancy vacations and just spent a week at the beach each summer. Our dream was to visit the relatively new Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

We saved our money for years for that trip. A huge map of the Magic Kingdom hung over our kitchen table for inspiration, and we’d pore over it and talk about visiting at dinner every night. We saved coins, scrimped on spending, and socke

Positioned halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, Romania is the 12th largest country in the South-Eastern Europe. Many think since the country once under Soviet rule or former Eastern bloc country, there is nothing interesting there to watch or speak about. That is misleading. Romania is one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe, attracting mass tourism and welcoming people from all walks of life.

Romanian has wonderful tales which have generated curiosity globally

What is it about the state of HAPPINESS that has it in such high demand? Parents often wish only for their children to “be happy’ while the world and the web are filled with ideas and strategies around searching for and finding our bliss. Some suggest that we may be able to create a world of fulfillment, that we may even have control over our own happiness; invite luck, work hard, aim high, be the best, have more, be more, do more. Still others, with a different view, teach us to merely enjoy

What if you didn’t open the report card? What if instead, you relied upon their actions, on what you see before you, on what you know to be true? Would you know how your child is doing in school, at home, in life, in the world?

We need school teachers; those who lift us up from where we are lying, who impart information and wisdom , who cause a shift in perspective, who teach us what we need to know and what we don’t want to hear. We need teachers who reach out to a part of us that

What is it about the future that we are convinced will be better than now, than this very moment? Why are we always reaching beyond our grasp; do we imagine the future is more hopeful, holds more promise or more possibility? Do we realize that all of those future moments that we once wished upon, have already come and gone and have been our present, and become our past; today is last week’s future. Is it what you dreamed?

On Monday morning, the news shows are already predicting the u

On a recent anniversary trip, my husband and I reflected on our 30 years of marriage and why we were still enjoying friendship and love. Having been only 19 and 20 when we wed, our chances of reaching 50 and still being together and happy, were slim.

At 13 ½ years old, I had looked at the Scottish boy visiting next door as a wonderful easy summer boyfriend. And, while I didn’t understand much of what he said through that thick Scottish brogue, I understood cute and different and I

"A woman is like a teabag;
you never how strong it is until
it's in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt.
Awwww young love, the butterflies,
and blushing.... uuuhhhh ooohhh,
young pregnancy, so I guess
young marriage has to happen
to prevent the new grandfather
from exploding. Everything
the first year was a fairy tale...
Slowly things started slipping
so I did what any wife I thought
would do, had another son.
The results pl

Being married is harder than what most people think. I've been married for 7 and a half months, and im only twenty years old and my wife is twenty-seven years old. She has three children that I consider my own. Times are hard because I don't have no job and im currently in school. There are many things that bring stress in a relationship that only make things harder. There's money, family, friends, work, kids, and many more. To me of course all those things are pushed to the side because if you

About three months ago, my fianccee's 2nd cousin moved in with us. She had been inappropriately touched by her step-dad, and as a 17 year old, giving her some place safe was of utmost importance.

In the meantime, I was driving her to school 3 days a week and allowing her use my vehicle after dropping me off at work, to get to school, and afterwards she would pick me up. My fiancée would allow her to drive her truck on the other two days during the week with a similar arrangement fo

My trials an tribulations came when I became a mother at the age of 23 don't get me wrong my daughter was the best thing that could have happend to me.Becomming a parent made me try harder and I pushed myself harder.Although my past mistakes hunt me to this day,And I have never had help from her father onky his mother.When I say he is very cold hearted I mean that.So I had a baby by another man then I went back to my first baby daddy and mad another girl.Wow!!
I know what was I thinking by

Although I am a heterosexual, cisgender woman, I have an idea of what it is like for LGBTs to be “in the closet.” I love to talk about my activities at the school where I teach, but this year, when I stepped up to co-advise the school’s gay straight alliance, I did not tell many people.I love this club, but I don’t talk about it because I’m scared of the reactions from those who are judgemental towards LGBT people.
In June 2013, when everyone changed their Facebook profile to the pink

I took Portia in for her three-year check up. I was relieved that this would be one of the easy ones-- no vaccines required! I figured we'd bounce those curls in the through the door, check out her ears and walk right out again.

I was wrong.

The questions started out easy enough.

"Is she saying 600 words?" Asked the nurse.

Portia is very talkative, and has been so from an early age, so at first I nodded. Then I began to try to calculate what 6

Prior to begetting two daughters two plus years age difference (the eldest heading into her nineteenth year since December 22, 2014), I put myself at the center of importance.
Energy pursuing any endeavor (or simply spending time sequestered alone – the latter more predominant than the former), the focus of true value predicated on yours truly i.e. Matthew Scott Harris.
Throughout the course of family affairs whence commencement of being a papa took place (buffeted by v

When I think the male’s role in raising a family, my mind is flooded with the actions of my father, a time in which men let their actions speak louder than their words (yes, I’m a 60’s baby). My father has always been a quiet man, yet his actions always let me know that no matter what, he would always be there for our family. He found his position in life, after being in the Army for years, coming home to New York, finding his soul mate there, then settling down to take care of his family. I s

That morning I left my coffee on the counter as I rushed to drop off my daughter at school and to get to work. Thinking intently about the coffee I left at home, I drove past my exit. I wasn't upset or frustrated about it. I just decided that I might as well stop and get another. I didn’t really want to waste any more time but I felt I had to stop. Some force was pulling at me and this was not about a caffeine fix. I was supposed to be somewhere besides work that day.

As I got out of

I received the best advice in regards to parenthood the other day while attending a friend’s housewarming. It was suggested that I surround my daughter with all the things that I wanted her to have in her life as an adult. His point was that if I wanted her to learn a language I should play CDs overnight of that language mainly to give her a foundation to learn. Now, I have already begun to apply it to the game of chess, which I hope she learns at a young age. And I have applied it to many othe

The best memories are inspired by the making, the baking, and the stewing of good food. I grew up in the kitchen, in my aunt's kitchen to be exact. She showed me her cooking secrets without really knowing that she had. I caught the “cooking bug” from Aunt Carol. I loved to mix, bake, and taste with my fingers.

One time, I peeked in one of her large pots and saw fragments of the pig, tail to nostrils. You would think we were from the country the way my aunt cooked. But I know and she

My family has many traditions when it comes to food especially since I am a Jew. Each Saturday, which is our sabbath, we have three big meals with a lot of food. We usually have cholent, chicken, corned beef, and other foods. Jews also have many holidays in which we have a lot of food as well. Some holidays last for three days, so we have over six huge meals. However, I am not complaining because I love food, but each holiday I probably gain over three pounds give or take. My favorite holiday

About a week ago, during a bout of insomnia, I decided to go downtown and grab some coffee (I know, a bit counterproductive). After about twenty minutes of watching hipsters, schizophrenic homeless people and plastic girls walking in and out of the club, I decided to go on a quick walk.

While walking down an alley, I happened to look over and saw the back entrance of a new restaurant. I swear to god, the logo for this restaurant was, “A Fork to Mouth Restaurant.” I don’t know exact

You have to love the irony of hypocrisy. Listed above is a picture of a bench with the beautiful Oregon state capital in the background. On this bench, you will notice a 2 x 4. This is no armrest mind you; it is purposely placed there and throughout the surrounding capital grounds to prevent one thing - allowing our outrageously large homeless population a place to rest. For the last 20 years, Oregon has been ruled - I mean governed, by the esteemed Dr. John Kitzhaber. Kitzhaber is basically

I have wonderful memories of holidays with my family when I was a child, but Easter was always extra-special. That was the holiday when we prepared and ate traditional Ukrainian foods, and the entire extended family came together to celebrate. My mother and grandmother spent days in the kitchen cooking and baking in preparation for the holiday, and we all ate the delicious foods of our ancestors until we felt as though we might burst. This was part of the heritage left by my great-grandparents

Wendy Kennar

The A to Z List of Meaningful Foods in My Life

The alphabet played a large role in my daily activities during the years I worked in a public library and taught kindergarten. Consequently, I tend to look at the world and want to alphabetize it. Here I offer the A to Z List of Meaningful Foods in My Life.
A Avocado. Pure delight - my favorite sandwich ingredient. Pure fear - I once cut the palm of my hand as I attempted to slice and de-pit an avocado.

Food was a huge part of my fondest memories spent with my mom. She wasn’t known for her cooking, in fact my dad did most of it, but she made a few dishes that were my absolute favorite and we shared many special memories together that revolved around food. She passed away when I was nineteen and I’ve been missing her, those favorite dishes, and those special memories for twenty years. I really enjoy thinking back to those times, but of course, not without shedding some tears.

My fav

It was sometime during my tween years. I don’t know the exact year or the season, just that dinner time was moments away. In the kitchen, dusk had cast its shadows across the white Formica countertop, further blackening the silver dollar-sized scorch mark where the toaster had recently caught fire. The unfamiliar smell emanating from the oven piqued my interest. I peered through the grease-splattered glass window and wondered, “What is that?”

It was pizza. Wonder Bread pizza. And the

My mother did not like to skimp on food. If anything, she went overboard. On school days I would make my own peanut butter sandwich. Then mom would check it carefully. She never was satisfied with how much I took. Reopening the jar, she would say, " That's not enough. Take some more," while proceeding to add to my sandwich enough peanut butter to choke a horse.

This technique applied to everything we ate. Nothing was thrown out. No matter how much I had eaten, there alwa

When I think of food in connection with the holidays, I think of family. Naturally the holidays are a time for togetherness for most people, whether it be just small immediate family gatherings or larger extended family gatherings. For my family it’s somewhere in between.

Our gathering includes my uncle, cousins with their families, my brother with his girlfriend, my mom, grandmother and me with my husband and our two daughters. We celebrate with a feast in which each individual fam

Do you want to have real fun while traveling with kids?
Check our list of the best family attractions in Orlando!
You definitely must see "The Theme Park Capital of the World" which is located in an unrivaled city of Orlando. More than 51,000,000 tourists per year choose this city to spend their holidays.
Well, take your children and get a car to drive to the Florida Mall which is the largest mall in Orlando and one of the largest single-story malls in the USA! It contains over

I have a scar on each knee. I’m not embarrassed by them, though I feel a little stupid for how they came to be. I tell the story if anyone asks. But, at my age, most have scars and most don’t ask about yours. So I hadn’t given these nearly matching marks much thought for probably years.
I’m helping some coworkers help some kids. We are in Honduras because the military sent us. We are at the orphanage because we want to help while we are here. I don’t speak Spanish but I care about kids, a

My scar is a deep half-moon, etched into my pinky finger, just below the nail bed. As scars go, it isn’t very dramatic. It doesn’t scream, “Knife fight!” Or, “Daring rescue!”
Rather it says softly, “Made spaghetti Bolognese from scratch.” Even that description is a bit of a head scratcher when it comes to the story of a scar.
Meat sauce=a scar?

My children were twelve and five at the time, and I had been seized with the spirit of homemaking that overtakes me at the begin

When my son was two and a half years old, he had such perfectly smooth skin, free of scars. One ultrasound changed that forever. One ultrasound showed a tumor in his abdomen. He was diagnosed with high risk stage four neuroblastoma. His little body was cut open from one side to the other. And then it was cut open from one side to the other three more times after that during the next year. His little body had a central line in place for over a year. His little body went through six rounds of che

My son has a scar. Let me restate that, my son has a scar because of me. Writing this would have been difficult for me three months ago, but this moment in our lives has only furthermore proven that obstacles make you a stronger person. I thank God that it was nothing serious, nothing some Neosporin couldn’t help with.

On July 23rd, my better half, my son, and I took a trip to the La Brea Tar Pits. I was excited to have this day out with my little family, but my passion for photogr

When our first daughter was born she was proclaimed perfect. She did inherit her father’s large German head. But, not to worry. All the more room for what was sure to be her remarkably large brain. She had the characteristic notched earlobes that are a cherished paternal family quirk, but that made her even “more perfect”!

She turned into a chatty two year old that welcomed her sister into the family with little disruption in her life. For me, not so much. I had started on a d

Most scars are accidental. Physical scars inflicted on others are derived from situations that had some hilarious, unforeseen, or wicked twist. There are intentional scars as well. My scar is a little bit of both. I have three wonderful, albeit challenging, children. The first scar I have ever received was because of my oldest son. I’m scarred for life.

The entire pregnancy was typical. Everything was totally average. As I grew to house-sized proportions, I grew more excited to meet

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