RSS Feed

Tag Archives: society

Weekly Writing Challenge: In An Instagram

Marilyn

Marilyn does not know this, but on the day I saw her sitting in a cold, folding chair in the homeless shelter, she changed my life.  She is a mousey, brown-haired, sophomore, who I later learned, comes to the shelter every Wednesday with her mother and her little brother.  She carries everything she owns in a beat-up backpack including her schoolbooks and pens.  After dinner is served, and the tables are cleaned, Marilyn gets right to work.   She spreads her notebook and her World History book out on the table and pretends that the rest of us do not exist.

My first night as a volunteer in our community shelter was eye-opening and humbling.  All the preconceived ideas I had about the type of people who frequented shelters were blown-away after ten minutes in the place.  Marilyn’s story was the most life changing.  One of my fellow volunteers shared what she knew about this young high school student with me.

It seems that Marilyn’s father died, and their house was foreclosed upon shortly after his death.  With no skills and no means to pay for the house, Marilyn’s mother moved the family in with her relatives.  When that no longer worked, they began moving from shelter to shelter every night.  Knowing that having a good education leads to better opportunity, Marilyn’s mother pushed her to keep up with her studies despite the circumstances.  Therefore, every evening, Marilyn and her family enter a community shelter, they eat dinner together, and she works on her studies.

Her classmates at school do not know that she showers, sleeps, and eats breakfast at a homeless shelter every day.  They do not know that sometimes Marilyn does not have the comforts of a TV, a phone, or a computer.  There are times when items such as clean socks or sanitary napkins are not available for this young girl.

To say that Marilyn is admirable is more than an understatement.  She is the epitome of words like courageous, determined, and invincible.  The things that she overcomes every day to be an honor student would break most people, but she perseveres.

Sometimes, we find heroes in the most unusual places.  I found mine in a homeless shelter.  It is my hope that Marilyn will finish high school and receive a scholarship to college.  A few of the volunteers at the shelter  pooled their resources together to help Marilyn and her family.  They found a permanent residence and even have had a fundraiser to help finance Marilyn’s college education.

I owe Marilyn much gratitude for changing my outlook. I clearly was ignorant.  I imagine that after you read this story, it will change yours, too.

Related Articles

http://chicenvelopements.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/one-very-long-cold-night-for-cooper/

http://expatalien.com/2012/11/12/life-can-change-in-an-instant/

http://kkline922.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/life-is-too-short-for-indecision-or-second-guessing-listen-to-your-intuition/

http://diannegray.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/souls-child-wins-ywo-book-of-the-year-award/

http://thewritericouldbe.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/the-instant-my-life-changed/

 

©Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Should I Give my Child an Allowance?

Posted on

Piggy Bank Savings

          An allowance is an amount of money given on a regular basis for the purpose of helping the person cover business or living expenses, according to Dictionary.com. Of course, we do not envision our children flying out on a business trip or even paying for their own housing any time soon.  However, the idea of giving our child an allowance is one that we often ponder as our child begins to get older.  We wonder if giving our child money is the right thing to do. At what age should allowances begin?  How much should we give and how often? Finally, how will an allowance benefit the child?

          Many financial gurus like Paul Lermitte, believe that parents need to teach their kids about money.  Since money is something that everyone eventually must use and manage, it is important for parents to introduce healthy habits and attitudes about money. In his book, Allowances: Dollars and Sense, Mr. Lermitte discusses six dangers associated with not teaching your children about money. These include financial dependency, destructive values, debt, loss of confidence, teaching the wrong thing, and family conflict. Lermitte outlines several universal principles that parents need to understand in order to teach their children financial responsibility.

          The age of the child and the interest will determine when a parent should begin lessons on money. If the child understands the concept of money and that it is used for the exchange of goods, then the child is ready for an allowance.  This could mean, depending on your child’s ability, at age four or five the child is ready for small doses of money management. Generally, most kids are seriously ready around the age of eight. By this time, they have learned basic money denominations in school; they can count change and dollars on their own. The child may even have friends who are already receiving allowances and may ask about it.

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme! Children need to learn money sense.

          Figuring out how much of an allowance to give your child can be a daunting task. Some people say that you should allot one dollar per age of the child. Others say you should give what the child’s friends are getting. However, realistically, it would be wiser to review what you already spend on them.  Of course, we are talking about extras like toys, entertainment, etc. and not living expenses like housing, utilities, and the like. Make a list with your child of all the expenses you expect your child to pay with his or her allowance. David McCurrach states in his article, “Give ‘em an Allowance!”, that you should, “Keep in mind the fact that kids have three uses for their money-spending, saving and sharing. Consider all three areas when you are coming up with the amount. In addition to setting the allowance, this process puts an end to the constant  requests to buy this and that and to give them money to do whatever their hearts desire.”     

          Tying allowance in with daily chores can be beneficial as long as it is distinguished between chores that a child must complete to be a part of a household, and chores that receive pay.  For instance, making his or her bed, brushing teeth, and picking up toys after playing are responsibilities that the child must do to be a productive member in the family. It is the extra chores that can be incorporated into the allowance system. Jobs like pulling weeds, washing the windows, and babysitting younger siblings, to name a few, that a parent may wish to put a dollar figure upon.  Remember, that in the adult world, people are paid to do a job outside of their responsibilities at home. This same rule should loosely apply to your child.

          The benefits of introducing an allowance to your child outweigh any fears a parent may experience in teaching the values of money. The child is given the opportunity to try and fail with money decisions in a safe environment with a financial planner nearby-You! Since elementary schools do not teach financial management, it is up to the parent to make sure a child learns good habits and skills. An allowance system is a perfect way to achieve this goal.

Below, are a few interesting places to further investigate the idea of giving an allowance to your child.

Allowances, Dollars and Sense, by Paul Lermitte – Web site and book.

Give ‘em an Allowance!”, by David McCurrach- Article

“Age- Appropriate Chores”, from Family Education-Article and hand chore chart you can print.

Allowance Calculator”, from Pediatrics.about.com-  Useful tool to decide an allowance amount.

Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children by Neale S. Godfrey – Book

Money Sense for Kids, by Hollis Page Harman- Book

Bibliography

“Age Appropriate Chores”. (200-2012). Retrieved from Family Education: http://life.familyeducation.com/allowance/jobs-and-chores/34438.html

“Allowance Calculator”. (2012). Retrieved from Pediatrics.about.com: http://pediatrics.about.com/od/toolsandcalculators/l/bl_allcalc.htm

Crites, P. A. (2012). Should you give your child an allowance? Retrieved from University of Nevada: http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/cy/2000/fs0045.pdf

Lermitte, P. (2012). Book One: Allowance, Dollars and Sense. Retrieved from Paul W. Lermitte, Family Business specialist: http://www.paullermitte.com/books/book-one-allowances-dollars-and-sense

McCurrach, D. (2012, 1 28). “Give ‘em an Allowance”. Retrieved from Kids’ Money for Parents: http://financialplan.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.kidsmoney.org/allart.htm%23Fea1

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Southwestern Chicken Chili

Posted on

Busy weeknights are a common place occurrence at the Jennirific house.  Sometimes dinner makes it into the crockpot in the morning and sometimes it just doesn’t.  I am sure we all have those days. 
This recipe is a go to for me because it turns out wonderfully no matter which method I am able to apply to it, crockpot or stove top.  Packed with veggies, protein, and fiber this meal will keep the family fueled through all their activities!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and chopped (you may increase amount to taste)
  • 2 medium chopped red, green, and/or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 15- to 15-1/2 ounce cans Great Northern, pinto, or cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pot of Pot of Gold Bouillion
  • 1 lb chopped cooked chicken* (see note below)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped.
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
  • Broken tortilla chips (optional)

STOVE TOP METHOD:

  1. Add olive oil to a 4 quart or larger stock pan along with chopped onions.
  2. Sauté onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper and continue to sauté, 1 minute
  4. Add bell pepper, beans, cumin, salt, chicken stock, and bouillon.
  5. Allow to come to boil
  6. Add chicken, cover, and reduce heat to a low simmer.
  7. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  If chili seems too thin to your taste, remove lid while cooking to help reduce the liquid and thicken the chili.  The chili will continue to thicken after cooking, do not reduce all liquid.
  8. Stir in about ½ cup of chopped cilantro
  9. Serve, garnish with cheese and chips if desired.

Finished cooking and ready to serve!

CROCKPOT METHOD:

  • In a slow cooker stir together the drained beans, chicken, onion, sweet pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cumin and salt. Stir in chicken broth.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. If desired, top each serving with shredded cheese and broken tortilla chips.

*A note regarding adding cooked meat into recipes.
 For this recipe I usually cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the same pot I will cook the chili in.  This allows the chili to soak up all the flavors left over from the cooked chicken.  That being said, you have to season the meat before cooking.  A simple sprinkle of black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder will give your meat a great flavor and ensure the dish you are adding it to also has a great taste.  Meat without seasoning equals bland food as an end result. 

Personification in Everyday Life

Posted on

As humans, we like to give our human qualities to inanimate objects.  Even our food takes on human qualities. Share a story of a weird object you have seen with human-like qualities.

 
 
Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Giver by Lois Lowery

Posted on

The Giver (The Giver, #1)The Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like dystopian stories like The Hunger Games, you will love The Giver. This young adult novel written by Lois Lowery is set in the future where everything is “sameness”. The main character in the story is Jonas, a 12-year-old who has been assigned his life’s profession as a Receiver of the community’s memories.

In Jonas’ community, you apply for your mate, and apply for children. Birthmothers whose assignment in the community is only to have babies for three years birth children. The elderly and those who are not perfect are chosen for “release”.

The book has won The 1994 Newberry Award, and the American Library Association named it as one of the 100 Most Challenged books.

This book deals with the ideas of sexuality, war, and controlled societies. It is listed as a Young Adult Novel; however, it is written so well, that adults will enjoy the story, too. Lois Lowery weaves a tale that makes you think deeply about even it after you have put the book down.

View all my reviews

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Posted on

A Dog's PurposeA Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and its themes of courage, loyalty, and continuing life. The narrator of the story is Bailey the dog, who begins life as part of a litter of strays in the wild; and, Animal Control is out to find them. A loving woman who runs a rescue saves Bailey, however the County officials want the rescue shut down. Animal Control confiscates all of the rescue’s dogs and puts Bailey down. That does not keep this pup from being reincarnated into a new life with a new owner, Ethan. Bailey loves Ethan and grows up with him. Throughout the many lives of Bailey, she has memories of Ethan, and searches for him in each life. This story will make you laugh aloud, cry uncontrollably, and inspire you. If you have ever loved and lost an amazing dog, you will find comfort in this novel. I recommend this book to all dog lovers.

View all my reviews

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ode to the Truck Driver

Posted on

We take for granted all the truck drivers who travel America’s intricate web of pick-up and delivery every day, seven days a week, supplying us with our integral needs. They make it possible for us to buy broccoli from California in the middle of winter, Angus beef from Iowa for our grilled hamburgers, and French fries from Idaho potatoes. Our medicines, hospital equipment, building supplies, and the sheets on our beds all come to us because of a truck driver.

The impact on the day-to-day living of the average American would be severely felt if the trucking system were interrupted.  The possibility of a catastrophe such as a terrorist attack, a pandemic, or a natural disaster could put people who depend on the delivery of even the most simplistic items in a crisis. According to a report put out by the American Trucking Association, a shutdown of the trucking system would result in “a swift and devastating impact on the food, healthcare, transportation, waste removal, retail, manufacturing, and financial sectors.

It is time for us to recognize the importance of the trucking industry and the truck drivers in our nation.  We need to devise ways to keep their roadways open and secure.  We need to encourage those men and woman who choose to drive a truck for a living by giving them a decent wage and decent work environment.  Not only is this fair, it is imperative in keeping the flow of goods coming to every town, parish, store, hospital, and gas station in our country.

So, the next time you are behind a semi-truck cursing them for going too slow, take a moment and thank them for all the things they deliver for you every day. Say a prayer that their jobs will not be eliminated, and that they will continue to service all Americans, come what may.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 346 other followers

%d bloggers like this: