Prayers and Smiles

We have a couple of medical issues in our family lately, plus we’re having trouble finding a house (we’re supposed to be moving in a month!) So please pray for us, if you feel led to do so. (Thanks!)

In the meantime, I’m looking for smiles wherever I can find them. Here’s something that made me smile, and I want to share it with you:

Harder to Raise: Girls or Boys?

Little Boy with Toy Machine Gun and Cake
Little Boy with Toy Machine Gun and Cake

I have a friend who has six children: two in their 30s, two in their 20s, a teen and a preteen. The eldest and youngest are girls, and she says those two girls were (and still are) harder to deal with than all four boys put together.

I’ve had a different experience. I have four children, two in their 20s and two teens, and they go like this: girl, boy, girl, boy. One girl and one boy are strong-willed, while the other girl and the other boy are more compliant, though not completely so. I always believed that the sex of the child doesn’t mean much in how easy they are to raise, that’s it’s more a matter of personalities, both the child’s and the parents’, and how they mesh (or don’t, as the case may be).

Here’s an article that compares boys and girls (which is good, because that means people are finally getting back to the common sense theory that the sexes are different!) and discusses which sex is harder to raise. What do you think? Are girls harder, or boys?

Frugality 101

Breakfast under the Big Birch by Carl Larsson
Breakfast under the Big Birch

I don’t usually post on Sundays but had to share this article about how families can save money. A couple of the tips are specific to the Chicago suburbs, but most are not, and you’ll find some good info there.

Here’s my favorite part:

Do things your mom used to do. Remember how your mom and her friends sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee, rather than meeting out at a local coffee shop? Or how you’d be forced to bring your lunch to the ballgame or museums? That’s probably why your parents have money in the bank now. One mom suggested buying a bag of Starbucks coffee for $8 and then brewing enough for everyone.

Some of my fondest memories are of sitting around a kitchen table having coffee: with my grandma when I was a kid (yep, Swedes let the kids drink coffee with lots of milk in it), or with the other playgroup moms when I had little ones and we met weekly at each other’s homes. Who says you need money to have fun?

Should You Stock Up?

Sick Child is Offered Some Sustenance from a Girl Acting as Nurse
Sick Child is Offered Some Sustenance from a Girl Acting as Nurse

All the furor over the swine flu (which may or not be justified, we’ll have to see how it plays out) is resulting in news reports suggesting that people should stock up on food, water, medicine, etc. in case a pandemic wipes out our already struggling economy.

Of course, if everyone followed this advice, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because most grocery stores keep very little in reserve, instead relying on a steady stream of deliveries to keep their shelves stocked. It only takes a little fear-mongering to quickly clear those shelves.

Nevertheless, it’s always wise to keep a small stash of necessities in your house. (Learn more about stashes here.) I learned this the hard way when my husband and I were struck by a rough flu bug at the same time. Back then we had two toddlers; keeping them fed and their diapers changed was all I could do because I had a fever and was so dizzy. But my poor husband was even sicker than I was. So when we discovered we were completely out of acetaminophen and pop, guess who got to drive to the store to buy more? I was the logical choice, being the less dizzy of the two people in the house with driver’s licenses.

That was over 20 years ago, but I remember well driving down the highway and then trying to aim at the parking lot of the store and thinking, “I have no business driving in this condition.” It was all I could do to stumble into the store, buy what I needed (imagine the clerk’s joy over waiting on someone as sick and probably contagious as I was) and make it back home.

That experience made me decide I would never let my family be caught sick without supplies again. Since then, we always have acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin in the house. I keep spare containers of drink mix just in case. Crackers, applesauce and rice are also good things to keep in the pantry for recovering patients.

So, should you stock up in case the swine flu makes it to your neck of the woods? That’s up to you, but I highly recommend that you make sure you at least have the basics in good supply at your house, because even if the swine flu turns out to be just another bug, you know how families share germs. Sooner or later, you’ll be glad you don’t have to run out for supplies when you’re feeling awful.

Blast From the Past

Having my own homegrown techie available to help me with my site and blog is really convenient, but it has its hazards. She can do things that I can’t do, and I can’t undo.

Case in point: Dd17 was going through one of my childhood photo albums when she suddenly decided my blog needs a photo of me….hence the new addition to the upper right corner of this blog.

“Mom,” she says, “You still have bangs, and you still make that face sometimes!”

Yep, some things never change  :)