Category Archives: Family Time

how my dog

How My Dog Is Getting Me Through Anxiety and Grief

how my dog Let me just tell you how my dog is getting me through one of the most difficult times of my life. Just as my family was recovering from the past year of helping my Dad through a brain injury, getting him settled into his new home, doing all we could to make sure he and my Mom were safe, taken care of, and as happy as they could be, despite the circumstances…my 57 year old brother died from complications of alcoholism.

That’s when the walls came down and I couldn’t take anymore.

Written on July 31st…11 days after my brother’s death:

I’m not gonna lie. I am struggling. This past year has done me in. And just when I realized how much had been chipped away and had made kind of a plan to get those pieces back, my brother died.

Honestly, I just want to give up. I want to hide. I want to be alone. I want to avoid anything that is remotely hard.
But I can’t do that. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a teacher. I am a friend.

I CAN’T HIDE.

And I feel it in my gut, my chest, my neck, my shoulders. It literally hurts to know that I can’t hide. It hurts to know that I have to do things that are hard. Then I get mad.

So I lash out. I cry. I yell. I shut down. I ignore. I medicate. I sleep.

I look so forward to sleep. Thank God I can sleep. And right when I wake up, I am tricked into thinking that I can face this day. But the first hard thing, no matter how small, brings that pain right back.

My heart starts to beat way too fast and the tightness creeps in.

Damnit. Here we go again.

Funny how things happen. Back in the beginning of June, we got a dog. We thought we deserved a reward after housing my parents for eight months and certainly wanted to treat my six year old daughter to something fun. She had endured a great deal of hard adult stuff.

The dog, originally named Rowe, is a sweet, female, three year old yellow lab. She was a stray picked up in Savannah, GA by Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida and brought to Jacksonville, FL for a meet and greet at Petsmart. We had actually gone there to meet another chocolate lab named Libby. But Libby was younger, still puppy-like, and did not have any training. In the midst of all this doggie fun, as I was sitting on the floor, just observing, Rowe came and plopped herself in my lap and turned her belly up for a scratch. I got my husband’s attention, gave her some time with our daughter, and a week later, she was the newest member of our family.

I will admit, at first, I wondered what the heck I had done. Rowe attached herself to me. I became her person. She followed me around like a … well, a dog. I wondered, why, after just getting my parents out of my house did I just acquire another living, breathing, eating mammal who requires my attention, my time, my love, my energy?? What had I done?

Soon, I knew just what I had done and it was the best decision I could have made. The first thing we did was change her name from Rowe to Savannah. We didn’t love the name Rowe and I realized one day that it rhymes with ‘no’.  We were working hard on using her name along with commands and the idea of saying “Rowe, no” or  “No, Rowe” wasn’t going to work. So, I suggested Savannah, her old stomping grounds, and it stuck.

how my dog

The second thing we discovered was how freaking happy she is. When we wake up in the morning or come home from work, you would think we were celebrities! She greets us with such vim and vigor! She simply makes us smile and laugh, a lot.

And lastly, yes, she has made me her person. Sometimes, I complain that she is ALWAYS there. But to tell you the truth, after the anxiety of caring for my parents, and the grief of my brother’s death, I can tell you without a doubt that this dog chose me for a reason. A very sound reason. She came into our lives at exactly the right time and knew precisely what we needed: love, happiness, and laughter.

Thank you Savannah. You are an angel.

how my dog

One more thing I love about having a dog is being able to shop the pet aisle! We loved buying Savannah new toys, treats, beds, a crate, and all those fun things that come along with a fur family member. Check out Dog Product Picker for some great Christmas gift ideas for your dog. And thank you to Intellifluence and Dog Product Picker for the opportunity to write about our new family member.

cultural

Creative Kids Cultural Ideas and Activities

I am happy to share some of my thoughts as a guest blogger on cultural activities ideas for kids and the importance of multicultural games for our children. From learning about different cultures music, various foods, new languages, national sports and loads more. This really is a fun and important activity for the children to learn. Learning something culturally different has never been more important. Learning to appreciate cultural diversity is a gift to your child that they will take with them through life and reap the benefits.

cultural

However, let’s be frank, teaching children about cultural diversity is daunting and it’s not surprising. There are so many different countries to think about, cultural norms to respect and each of those has its own style of expression within each, so yes, it can be hard just to get started, but hopefully by sharing a few easy-to-do cultural games/activities this will be a great place to start with your kids.

Why is it important to teach multicultural activities?

There is growing complexity in the world we live in and the once well-defined boundaries are now coming down, due to the ever-increasing interconnectedness of the world we live in. Therefore, equipping children with the right tools to be able to question racial slurs and national rhetoric, which is all too common all over the world is crucial for us as a whole.

 

Multicultural Games and Activities for Kids

There are fun games and cultural crafts for kids to explore which help make learning a joy. From great books exploring other countries and what makes them special to learning how to meet and greet in a different language. There are some great simple ways to get children learning while exploring creative ways to learn about the world.

Introduce kids to music from another country 

Listening to music is part of most family’s daily routines whether in the car or at home doing some house work, but when is the last time you played some music from Botswana? Or how about the Aborigine didgeridoo? Well, this simple activity is a great way to learn and share about a new sound, talk about the people and some of their cultural norms.

Eat out and get the kids trying new food from another country

We all love to eat out and kids are no different. Take the whole family to a new restaurant and try some new cuisine.

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Books that teach kids about other Countries

There are some amazing books that help children to learn about other countries and contain interesting facts about the spoken language. These explore simple ideas like: what does money look like, facts about the places and what do people from that country typically look like.

Cultural crafts for kids

By exploring racial differences through arts and crafts can be a good way of sharing the concept in a hands-on-approach. Drawing activities and making your own people with cut-out carboard can be an excellent way of showing preschoolers that we are all cut from the same cloth.

Learn the world map

The world is a big place, but with a print out of the word and some colouring pens this can be a great way to ensure they know the difference between each country.

Make a recipe for another country

Show your children how to make food is always a good idea. One fun idea is to make each dish something unique from a different country – Pizza from Italy went down well with my kids!

Listen to YouTube and hear people speaking different languages

This is a really easy activity to do with the kids and something that can be filled with laughs. I would always recommend try to pick a few good videos before go randomly selecting, but with a children filter on it’s fine.

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Conclusion

Whether multicultural activities for preschoolers or cultural crafts for older kids – there is something out there to begin exploring with your children the diversity of the world!

 

Reference:

10 Cultural Diversity Activities For Elementary Students

The Importance of Teaching Multiculturalism & Diversity

https://familymaven.io/kidsactivities/kidsactivities/14-fun-multicultural-education-activities-vzhjYA0r402Q3OsaCcVAUg

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cultural-education

 

About the Author

Matt Morrisey is a former teacher who has travelled all over the world teaching children English, from China to the UK Matt is well known. Matt’s parents are teachers and his only brother works for a children’s charity in UK.

Matt currently is a contributor at STAR WALK KIDS and loves to write about new tech toys, outdoor games for kids, parenting hacks and fun future facts for kids that range from national geographic topics to gaming at home. He loves techy drones and can’t wait until he opens his window to allow a drone to enter with an Amazon package. Not long now.

His work has been read by readers all over the world and features on blogs and websites all over the world. Matt recently decided to go back to university to do his PhD where he looks to continue his career.

 

summer

Summer Road Trip Play List

Summer Road Trip Playlist
Download the music for FREE here from June 5-11. Enjoy!
“A collection of new songs from some of the top artists in independent family music. The list includes classics and original songs, including some never released before! This playlist is sure to spark family sing-alongs on road trips and rainy staycation days this summer.
Please support artists buy purchasing their music. Here they are in alphabetical order:
  • Jazzy Ash  – www.jazzyash.com – “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain.” A touring artist steeped in the early roots traditions of American music, including that of New Orleans. Her next album will be “Swing Set,” coming on July 21.
  • Dana’s Music Playground – www.danasmusicplayground.com – “Five Green and Speckled Frogs.” This mutliply award-winning artist wants kids to get up and move to the music. Her new album is “Dana’s Best Jump and Jam Tunes”

summer

  • Little Miss Ann and Amy D – www.littlemissann.com – “Senses Song” – These teaching artists from the Old Town School of Folk Music present a sweet and singable song to celebrate sensory explorations of the world. It’s from their new and acclaimed album “Keep On.”

summer

  • Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – http://www.luckydiazmusic.com – “Paletero Man” – From the forthcoming album “Made in LA,” this Latin Grammy and Emmy winning and internationally touring bilingual band serves up a tasty-icy treat of a song about a hero of the barrio.
  • Tim Kubart – http://www.timkubart.com – “Superhero 2017 Remix” 2016 Grammy Award winner and Sprout TV host just released this remix of his kid anthem. Catch him on TV and on tour this summer.
  • Lisa Loeb – http://www.lisaloeb.com – “Moon Star Pie” – One of the best-loved songwriters and authors, Lisa reminds us all that “you can make anything you dream,” and “It’s Gonna Be All Right.” The tune is from Lisa’s Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning new album “Feel What Feel”.
summer
Photo by Juan Patino
  • Red Yarn – http://www.redyarnproductions.com  – “Mockingbird” – This rollicking, harmonica-powered rocker will make any parent smile. And,  kids will love the call-and-response invitations in this song from the new album “Born in the Deep Woods.”

summer

  • Justin Roberts – http://www.justinrobertsmusic.com – “Rolling Down the Hill” –  This Grammy nominated artist’s songwriting powers are in full force on this song about enjoying the moment. It’s from his new and Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning album “Lemonade.”
  • Danny Weinkauf Red Pants Band – http://www.dannyweinkauf.com – “Transportation” Never before released, this brightly harmonic song from a forthcoming 2017 album kicks off summer with a 60s-esque rocking traveling song.
Notes:  While the list is easily stream-able online and via the Soundcloud app, downloading works best on the web version. 
The songs must be downloaded one at a time. Listeners may select all or just the ones you like best!”