Saturday, December 24, 2011

Example of a Crappy Day Package #6

A Lovely, Lovely Person* sent a Crappy Day Package to help me survive another few days feel loved!
So pretty!

Pampering samples!!
NEVER argue with a Lovely Person....

Opened before December 1st!

Festive, delicious muffins!

A MOST EXCELLENT thing to have in time of need!
Cupcake/Cookie decorating stencils!!
All of the different designs

Marie was in charge of the Family Night treat and was excited to use the stencils.  If you have magical powers look closely, you can see 4 hummingbirds.

SQUEE!!  Another pretty notebook!! And it matches my favorite clothespins!!!

SQUEE!!!  Another pretty list pad that also matches my favorite clothespins!!
SQUEE!!  A pretty journal that matches my favorite clothespins!!
Thank you, Lovely Person!!  I appreciate your thoughtfulness and am enjoying each of your gifts!!

*I will be keeping Crappy Day Present senders anonymous so that the sender doesn't have to worry that Person Q is going to see what they (the sender) sent me and possibly feel bad that their (Person Q's) package was not as fabulous as mine ;-). But if you don't worry as much as I do aren't worried about that, you are welcome to claim your package in the comments!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Brief, Delicious Post

So, a friend came over one day and gave me this:
The gift my friend gave me
This is, of course, lovely, but becomes downright IMPRESSIVE when you see this:
The gift my friend gave me, with a regular-sized one for comparison purposes

Another picture for drool-inducing scale purposes

Perhaps it would help with the sense of scale if I told you that the tiles are 6 inch squares

The delicious interior
I have to say, I thought this was a very fun idea for a gift because it is so unusually MASSIVE.  It was, well, IS (a person can only eat so much at once!) delicious!  I like the chocolate to peanut butter ratio, but it is a little messy to eat because the force required to bite through chocolate of that thickness causes the peanut butter filling to be squished out.  Yum!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Links to Examples of Crappy Day Packages/Presents

This is where I will keep track of other examples of Crappy Day Presents, so check back!  I will update as often as I have a new link =)!

1.  Twisterfish (example of CDPackage received) and all presents opened
2.  Devan (example of CDPackage received)
3.  Andrea Unplugged (example of CDPackage received) and some presents opened
4.  Laura Diniwilk (example of wrapped presents about to be sent out)
5.  Saly (example of CDPackage received and some presents opened)
6.  Clueless But Hopeful Mama (example of CDPackage received and some presents opened)
7.  Laura Diniwilk (example of CDPackage received and some presents opened)
8.  Life of Lacey (example of CDPackage received and presents opened)
9. No Whey Mama (example of CDPackage received and presents opened)

10. Tullybird (example of CDPackage received) and all presents opened
11. T (example of CDPackage received)
12. Twisterfish (example of CDPackage received and presents opened)
13. MamaBub (example of CDPackage received and presents opened)
14. Motherhood Is Painless (List of items received in a CDPackage)
15. Still Playing School (example of CDPackage received and presents opened)

16. Craftwhack (example of CDPackage received and presents opened)

17. Still Playing School (example of CDPresents)

Example of A Crappy Day Package #5

A Lovely, Lovely Person* sent a Crappy Day Package to help me hang in there brighten up my life, and it worked (and had excellent timing!!)!

YARN!!  Do you see the YARN?!  I had a VERY HARD TIME seeing past the yarn, but I forced myself to FOCUS.

Beautiful, sparkly lip gloss!

Magnets that match my FAVORITE clothespins!!!  I LOVE the patterns in this collection!

Recipe cards and coasters with HIGHLY appropriate sentiments

I quickly put the recipe cards to good use!

COORDINATING (you can never have too many coordinating things when you have children who cause chaos everywhere they go;  it is very soothing to see something that matches!) notepad and note cards!!!  I'm afraid I will NEVER have too many notepads since it is necessary for me to write down anything I don't want to forget, and I love to send notes to people using pretty cards!

Fun things I might share with the children if they are ever nice to me

I was especially excited about the yarn because it is beautiful and I love yarn some of it is a wool blend, and I crochet for a charity that is happy to receive squares that involve wool (because of the warmth factor).

The charity is called Knit-A-Square .  They use 8" knitted, crocheted, or felted (out of old wool sweaters or blankets) squares to make blankets for some of the desperately poor children in South Africa.  People from all over the world make squares, as close to 8" as possible, in any thick, warm pattern, leaving a 1-yard tail attached for sewing purposes, using any yarn.  I made these squares quickly because there is a company called Jigsaw, with a location in California, that has offered to send our squares to South Africa through the end of this year, so I'm trying to make as many squares as I can by Christmas so that I can take advantage of that wonderful blessing!!  (Normally it costs just under $1 per square to send the squares to South Africa.)
Thank you, Lovely Person!!!  I appreciate your thoughtfulness and am enjoying all of the lovely things you sent =)!!
*I will be keeping Crappy Day Present senders anonymous so that the sender doesn't have to worry that Person Q is going to see what they (the sender) sent me and possibly feel bad that their (Person Q's) package was not as fabulous as mine ;-). But if you don't worry as much as I do aren't worried about that, you are welcome to claim your package in the comments!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

(Delicious) Adventures Making Dirt Pudding

Someone mentioned Dirt Pudding a while ago, and then I HAD TO HAVE SOME.  So, I unearthed the recipe someone gave me when I was in college and made it.  Now, it's been a while since I was in college, so I can't remember if the person who gave me the recipe said there were any typos, but, after looking up the recipe online, I'm pretty sure the amount of butter listed was a typo.  I have made this a few times, trying to get it just right.

FIRST TRY:  The original recipe said
8 oz. softened cream cheese, not low fat
1 1/4 C. soft margarine (I used butter and it was TOO MUCH BUTTER!)
1 C. Powdered Sugar
3 1/2 C. milk
2 small packages instant chocolate pudding (I used one large package because I didn't have 2 small packages)
12 oz. Cool Whip (I used the light whipping cream that comes in a spray can instead)
1-20 oz. package of Oreo cookies (Hmmm, Oreos come in a 15.5 oz. package now:  SNEAKY SHRINKAGE!)
Blend cream cheese and margarine in mixing bowl, add powdered sugar, milk, powdered pudding, and Cool Whip.  Put in flower pot to set up or in small dishes or large bowl*.  Use food processor to crush up the package of Oreos and sprinkle on top.  You may want to start with crushing 1/2 the package and adding more if desired (HA ha ha ha ha ha ha! Just crush the entire package.).  For tricking purposes, stick a plant with roots wrapped in a baggie in the middle or use plastic plant or flowers.
*Instead of pouring all of the pudding mix in a large bowl and putting the Oreo crumbs on top, I layered the pudding and Oreo crumbs to get a more pleasing distribution of Oreos through the pudding.

RESULTS:  I thought there was TOO MUCH BUTTER, and it was VERY SWEET.  I liked the results from layering the pudding and Oreos instead of putting all of the Oreos on the top.

SECOND TRY:  This time I used
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 C. soft butter
(completely left out the powdered sugar thinking there was enough sugar in the pudding mix and whipped cream)
3 1/2 C. milk
1 large package instant chocolate pudding
12 oz. light whipping cream in a can (I sprayed it into my glass measuring cup until it was at the 12 oz. mark as I do not believe that precision is vital to this recipe's success)
1-15.5 oz. package of Oreo cookies 
RESULTS:  I liked the amount of butter this time, but it wasn't sweet enough.  There was a definite, noticeable difference between the sweetness of the Oreos and the not-as-sweet pudding.

THIRD TRY: This time I used
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 C. soft butter
1/2 C. powdered sugar
3 1/2 C. milk
1 large package instant chocolate pudding
12 oz. light whipping cream in a can (I sprayed it into my glass measuring cup until it was at approximately the 12 oz. mark as I do not believe that precision is vital to this recipe's success)
1-15.5 oz. package of Oreo cookies
RESULTS:  Again, I layered the pudding mixture with the crushed Oreos, and I even made the layers thinner than before so there were more of them.  I was very happy with the results this time!!  The pudding mixture was slightly sweet, not overwhelmingly sweet, so I could actually taste the delicious CREAM CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE flavor instead of just a SWEET flavor.  This is the recipe I will use from now on!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Part 3: "Parenting a Child Who has Intense Emotions"

This is part of a summary of the book: Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts & Aggressive Behaviors. My comments are generally in italics; the rest of the information comes from the book.

I thought I would list the rest of the chapters, so I you know how much longer until this is over what's coming:
  • We finished Part 1:  You, Your Child, and Emotional Intensity
    • Chapter 1:  Emotional Intensity and Your Child's Feelings
    • Chapter 2:  Effective Parenting
  • Part 2:  Responding to Your Child's Feelings
    • Chapter 3:  Understanding What Your Child Is Telling You (because there is another interpretation of the angry things the child is screaming LOUD AND CLEAR?)
    • Chapter 4:  Responding When Your Child Is Overwhelmed by Emotions
    • Chapter 5:  Teaching Your Child to Manage Feelings
  • Part 3:  Responding to Your Child's Behaviors
    • Chapter 6:  Behavioral Principles and Intense Behaviors
    • Chapter 7:  Maintaining Expectations, Limits, and Routines
    • Chapter 8:  Decreasing Tantrums, Aggression, and Other Problem Behaviors
    • Chapter 9:  School-Related Difficulties
  • Part 4:  Helping Your Whole Family:  Minimizing Collateral Damage  (That just MAKES ME SICK!  "Minimizing Collateral Damage"?!  From something a child, WHO CAME FROM YOUR BODY is doing?!  I could throw up right now.)
    • Chapter 10:  The Impact of Intense Emotions on the Entire Family (because you don't feel like enough of a failure already)
    • Chapter 11:  Caring for Yourself and Living Your Life
Hmmm, I was planning on reading the chapter about taking care of yourself, but looking at part 4 is making me feel ill, so I think I'll pick a different chapter for tonight.....I guess I'll start on Part 2:  Responding to Your Child's Feelings.
Chapter 3:  Understanding What Your Child Is Telling You
  • The "story of emotion" describes how an emotion develops until it is expressed verbally and behaviorally.  "Understanding the steps in your child's story of emotion will help you understand your child's feelings with acceptance and without judgement.  Knowing the steps in her story will enable you to intervene before your child has escalated to the point of uncontrollable behaviors."  (The steps are:  Vulnerabilities/Risk Factors, Triggers, Thoughts/Beliefs About the Event, Body Sensations or Responses, Identifying Emotions, Behaviors/Actions)
  • "Your Child's Vulnerabilities or Risk Factors"
    • "Knowing when your child is vulnerable to negative emotions enables you to help her prepare for or avoid difficult or stressful situations until she is better able to manage them."
    • How to figure out when your child is vulnerable
      • "Hypothesize why your child's emotions seem more intense at this time" (since it is so quiet and peaceful while you duck and cover, trying to avoid the objects thrown your way fallout during the latest meltdown)
      • "Figure out what makes this day different from another"
      • "Begin to discern patterns"
    • "Possible Risk Factors For Children"
      • "Lack of sleep"
      • "Not feeling well"
      • "A change in routine"
      • "Tension in the house (even tension about positive events)"
      • "New people or situations"
      • "Stress from playmates, friends, or siblings;  being picked on or teased"
      • "A perceived sense of having done something wrong or having upset a loved one"
      • "Difficulty in school or in completing homework"
  • "Your Child's Triggers:  The trigger for your child is anything that causes or leads to an intense emotions response."
    • Possible triggers:
      • something in the environment
      • something the child is thinking or feeling
      • bedtime
      • vacation
      • asking your child to do something
      • setting limits
      • separation from a parent
      • change in routine or circumstance
      • losing in competitive activities
    • "Your Feelings as Triggers":  becoming tense in anticipation of your child's reaction to something can trigger the child's reactivity since children are supposedly sensitive to your moods and feelings
    • "Siblings as Triggers"
    • "Your child's sibling may be a trigger for emotional outbursts for any number or reasons....This presents a dilemma for parents, and each parent must find his or her own most effective way to resolve it.  Even while you try to avoid triggers for one child and try to keep her calm, your other child(ren)'s needs and feelings, even if they are triggers, need to be acknowledged and validated as well.  We will discuss siblings further in chapter 10."  (So, basically, WE ARE SCREWED this is looking GRIM.)
    • "Minimizing Your Child's Reactions to a World Full of Triggers":  Your child cannot live in a safe bubble, free from triggers, but you can spend your life walking on eggshells try to minimize the impact of the triggers by
      • avoiding or lessening problematic situations that are not necessary (example:  if your child becomes more aggressive after watching cartoons, limit cartoon time and increase time for programs that are more calming)
      • Making certain accommodations for things you know are going to be a problem (example:  if your child takes a long time getting ready in the morning, wake her earlier so that she'll have the time she needs)
      • preparing the child in advance by discussing what is going to happen, asking her what will make it easier for her, try to find ways to minimize stress and anxiety, validating her feelings and remaining calm and nonjudgmental when in the situation
  • "Your Child's Belief System and Concrete Thinking":  Children think in a literal, concrete way 
  • "Body Sensations":  be aware of the physical signs that your child is becoming distressed  (examples:  looking as though she's going to cry, speaking louder or faster, not looking directly at you, becoming more active or jumpy, looking like he is about to explode from the effort of holding his rage inside)
  • "Communicating Feelings":  When you are familiar with your child's risk factors, triggers, and body sensations, you can more easily understand what he is feeling.  Helping your child name the feeling is a way to help him gain some control and reduce negative emotions.
    • You can find a mood chart to hang up so that your child can see a picture of a mood and identify with it.
  • "Behaviors and Actions:  The Outcome of the Story":  The outcome of every story of emotion is a behavior.
      • "In DBT, behaviors are seen as ways to manage difficult emotions...Your child learns ways to help her feel better.  The stronger her negative feelings, the more she will search for ways to get rid of those feelings and the more intense her behavioral response will be.  Yelling, for example, may release some emotion, but if her emotions are very strong, hurting herself (or someone else) may be the only way she can find to feel better.  Ironically, her attempts at feeling better may become more destructive as the intensity of her emotions increases."
    • "Teaching Alternative Behaviors":  parents need to teach the children different behaviors to replace those that are "less effective" (Ha, ha, ha, ha!  Let's not tiptoe around this!  The things you do that get you grounded/suspended/listed on Cr@igslist!)
      • Examples:  telling someone what has happened, having some time alone, hugging a stuffed animal, pounding on clay or a soft cushion (Those are lovely ideas, but what are you supposed to do when your child REFUSES to do ANY OF THOSE THINGS or ANYTHING ELSE YOU HAVE SUGGESTED?!)
      • Encourage the use of alternate behaviors early in the incident "story"
    • "Modeling Effective Behaviors" (because your child is not going to head for some time alone when he is angry if you like to slam things and yell when you are angry)
      • Help your child understand that everyone makes mistakes
  • "Finding Your Child's Truth":  try to figure out what your child is trying to tell you
    • "Know Your Child":  accept your child the way he is
    • "Accept Your Child's Truth:  Your child's truth is real to her...Sometimes the specific words your child is saying are ineffective ways she has found to express herself...If you can let go of the truth of the words ('You love him more than me!'), you will be much better able to recognize and respond to your child's feelings effectively."
    • "Acknowledge When Something Is Important to Your Child":  try to validate your child's feelings even if you don't understand why something is so important to him
  • "Helping Your Child Express What She Is Feeling":  the best way to do this is to talk to her about her feelings and behaviors when she is calm
    • "Create a Validating Home Environment"
    • "Talk About Your Own Feelings"
    • "Acknowledge Positive and Negative Emotions in Others"
    • "Share Positive Activities"
Next up at some future date if I do not drown myself in ice cream!  Chapter 4:  Responding When Your Child Is Overwhelmed by Emotions

Summary Part 1
Summary Part 2
Summary Part 4
Summary Part 5

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Part 2: "Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions"

*If you have ever struggled with the feeling of not liking your child, and you don't want to read this entire summary post (no one would blame you...), scroll down towards the bottom and read the part in bold.

This is part of a summary of the book: Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts & Aggressive Behaviors. My comments are generally in italics; the rest of the information comes from the book.
Chapter 1:  Emotional Intensity and Your Child's Feelings
  • Primary and Secondary Emotions
"Primary emotions are biologically based and virtually automatic, while secondary emotions are created when we react to our own primary emotion..."
  • Emotion Dysregulation:  “These children react immediately and intensely to emotional situations and have a hard time calming down and returning to how they were before the situation occurred.  A child with emotion dysregulation is then unable to modulate her behavioral responses to the intense emotions that she experiences as overwhelming.”
  • Parents must be careful not to invalidate the child's feelings when trying to soothe her.  Statements such as "It isn't a big deal," or "Don't worry" could be "unintentionally minimizing an issue that is of great concern to her."  
  • "Thoughts Lead to Feelings, Which Lead to Behaviors"
  • "Your Child Is Not Her Behavior"  This is such a hard thing to believe when your child is behaving ALL OVER YOU, ALL DAY LONG!
  • If parents develop an awareness of the way their emotions affect their own behavior, parents can change the way they respond to difficult situations with their child.
  • "Throughout this book, we will continue to emphasize that (1) there is no blame and no fault in the fact that your child has intense emotions and behavioral difficulties, and (2) there is hope for change in the future."
Chapter 2:  Effective Parenting
The author continues to refer to DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) but still hasn't explained exactly what that is.
  • "In DBT you are asked to accept two facts that may seem contradictory:  that you are doing the best you can and that you can do better....This is a no-fault, no-blame framework for change."
  • "These are assumptions we're asking you to accept as an important part of the DBT learning process.  They are:
    • Your child is doing the best he can
    • Your child needs to do better, try harder, and be more motivated to change
    • Your child wants to do things differently and make things better
    • Your child must learn new behaviors in all important situations in his life--sometimes a child will behave fine in one place (at school) but awful in another (at home)
    • Family members should take things in a well-meaning way and not assume the worst
    • There is no absolute truth--The truth of any situation is based on the perspective of each person and is therefore relative and changeable.  When you accept that someone's point of view, memory, or understanding may be different from your own, you will no longer feel the need to prove that you are right or the other person is wrong."
  • Although the above assumptions may be hard to believe, it is vital to behave as though they are true in order to think and respond differently towards your child (which will then affect the way your child is behaving).
  • "Using the DBT assumptions is one way you can begin to respond to your child more wisely.  To further help you learn to respond wisely, DBT teaches several skills that involve learning to step back from a situation and to see things with new eyes and a different point of view....These skills also involve learning to focus, to think in a nonjudgmental way, and to do what works (what is effective)."
  • We need to describe ("He interrupts his siblings when they're doing their homework.") instead of evaluate/judge ("He's very disruptive.")
  • We need to respond ("well-planned and reasonable...") instead of react ("based on your emotions")
  • It is important for our child to feel validated ("validation refers to the act of letting someone know that you understand, acknowledge, empathize with, and accept his thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the context of his own life experiences...")
  • "A person must feel accepted before he can change..."
4 steps to practice (and practice and practice and practice) to learn how to make validating statements:
  1. "Find a way to act wisely"--Hee, hee, hee.  The description of this step reminded me of the Blue's Clues episode about frustration:  Steve taught us the kids to "Stop, Breathe, and Think" when we they were feeling frustrated.
  2. "Look at your child with new eyes"--"Remember, your child is doing the best he can...", try to figure out what your child is feeling or why he is acting the way he is
  3. "Explore what may be getting in the way"--Why are you having a hard time validating your child in this situation?
  4. "Make a validating statement"--say something that shows you understand and accept your child
Okay, none of this is ground-breaking information, right?  Aren't these the things we know we should be doing but don't always do because we're tired/busy/need more ice creamWORN DOWN?

Next section:  "Parenting Roles, Goals, and Expectations"
  • "Interacting and Communicating in Ways that Work"
    • "Assess your goals"
    • "Develop priorities"
    • "Feel effective"
"Balanced Parenting"
Aha!  Now we learn what Dialectical thinking is!
"Dialectical thinking enables a person to (1) view behaviors within a whole context, (2) entertain different perspectives in others and within himself, (3) recognize that two things that seem like opposites can both be true, and (4) find less extreme and more effective ways to think...When parents are able to accept, incorporate, and synthesize other, conflicting points of view, they become less rigid, become more balanced, and are able to develop entirely new ways of thinking..."
So, "dialectical thinking" is basically looking at the whole situation and having an open mind?

In order to think in a "balanced way" we need to be:
  • "Using phrases like 'sometimes' and 'some people' and avoiding extreme words such as 'always', 'never,''everyone,'and 'all the time'"
  • "Thinking in terms of both/and instead of either/or, such as 'I am angry, and I still love you,' and 'This is hard for me and I'm going to do the best I can"
  • "Reminding yourself that other opinions can be legitimate even if you don't agree with them"
  • "Describing situations by making 'I feel _______' rather than 'You are_______' statements"
  • "Asking questions to clarify what others want and telling people what you want them to know"
"Examples of Balanced Thinking...that are especially relevant for parents of children with intense emotions:"
  • "Acceptance and Hope"--accepting your child the way they are now and hoping they will change in the future
  • "Independence and Assistance"--helping your child to learn independence while knowing that you will help if needed
  • "Choices and Limits"--you can give your child choices AND limits
    • It ACTUALLY SAYS, in this section:  "Learning to negotiate is a valuable skill for you and your child." but I'm CERTAIN that sentence involves some MAJOR typos and SHOULD read:  "Negotiating is a skill that your child will acquire effortlessly (unlike the skills of bathing, flushing the toilet, or picking up his own belongings) and use to drive you OUT OF YOUR MIND *EVERY* time you ask him to do ANYTHING or give him ANY choices."
  • "Giving In and Choosing Priorities"--you can let your child win some battles without worrying that by doing this you are losing the war you never wanted to fight in the first place and do not remember signing up for
"Loving a Child with Intense Emotions" (bold added by me)
"You may wrestle with your own feelings toward your child.  You know you love him and there may be some days, especially when your child appears to be out of control or when his anger is directed at you, when you don't like your child very much.  There may be days when you question your love for your child, and this can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.  Again, think in terms of balance.  You can, indeed, have mixed feelings for your child.  You can also have different emotions on different days.  Not liking your child at times does not negate your love for your child;  you can hold two different truths at the same time.  You can love your child and be angry at your child.  You can love your child and want your child to disappear at times.  You can want to be with your child and not like being with him.  Accepting that you can have different emotions at different times---or even at the same time---will make it easier for you to parent and to love your child."

Well.  The introduction said that we could skip to the how-to-take-care-of-yourself chapters if we were overwhelmed by this point.  Any votes?  I would vote but I need to go find some ice cream to drown my reality sorrows....

And:  do you want me to keep summarizing, or do you feel like you have a pretty good idea of whether or not you are interested in reading this book for yourself and we should move on to something less realistic less discouraging more pleasant?  I've tried to hit the main points, but there is, of course, more information in the book.

Lastly, I need a hug.  It is discouraging to think how many hours I have spent reading books like this AND YET I still must get to read this one.

Summary Part 1
Summary Part 3
Summary Part 4
Summary Part 5

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions" Part 1

This is part of a summary of the book: Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts & Aggressive Behaviors. My comments are generally in italics; the rest of the information comes from the book.

So, this is the latest book that was recommended to me by the psychologist we see (I like and trust this person.  I cannot say that about every "professional" we have seen).  A few people have mentioned that they are interested in hearing what I think of this book, so I'm using that as my motivation to get this book read.  (What?  You don't have to motivate yourself to read parenting books?  YOU ARE LUCKY!)  I'm going to do a little summary/book report as I read.

Conveniently, the Introduction has a little quiz of sorts to help you know if you need to keep reading:
"As you pick up this book, are you wondering whether your child has intense emotions?  Is it your child screaming in the grocery store because he can't have something you told him in advance he couldn't have?  Is your child the one who keeps crying when everyone else seems to be having a good time?  Does your child look at you with anger in his eyes when you tell him he can't do something he wants to do?  Does he have a tantrum when you have simply asked him to get ready for bed?  Is homework a nightmare?  Do you dread telling your child no?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you."
Drat.  This book is for me.
"Parents of children whose behaviors often spiral out of control tell me they have a difficult time getting effective guidance and help....With anger, sadness, and sometimes guilt, these parents also report being blamed for their children's behaviors by family members (*cough* recently heard of an AWFUL example of somebody's ignorant SISTER doing this *cough*), school personnel, and some mental health professionals.  My hope is that this book will validate the feelings you have been unable to share with others and will help you see that you're not alone."
"Though this book has been designed as part of a series for parents of children who are ages five through twelve, I've found over the years that the skills and guidance in this book help parents regardless of the age of their child."
 "Since I began teaching DBT skills, the parents I work with have reported that the skills help them understand, accept, and calm children whose behaviors once seemed unmanageable.  Whether your child has periodic outbursts, behaves aggressively, withdraws, or has a diagnosed emotional disorder, these skills will be helpful to you."

Huh.  This book really IS for me:
"We encourage you to accept yourself and your actions by telling yourself, 'I did the best I could.  I am doing the best I can.'"
How to use this book:
"This book has four parts:  The first part (chapters 1 and 2) provides the foundation and background for all the skills that follow;  the second part (chapters 3, 4, and 5) focuses on emotions, providing understanding about how they develop and specific, step-by-step skills that you and your child can use to calm disruptive and disquieting emotions;  the third part (chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9) uses similar skills to help you reduce the occurrence of behavioral outbursts and to manage already escalated behaviors;  and the fourth part (chapters 10 and 11) addresses your emotional needs and those of other family members.  After you read the first part, you can read the remaining chapters in order or move through the sections that seem most relevant.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by the information, you can advance to chapter 11 and learn how to take care of yourself."
Hurray! Darn!  Quiet time is over, so I'll have to stop reading now.  I suppose it DOES look interesting, so I will get back to reviewing/summarizing it as soon as I can.  This post should have helped you figure out if this book is something you are interested in.  If this book is NOT something you need, get on your knees RIGHT NOW and THANK GOD then you can skip the next few posts.  For those who ARE interested, I should be able to read and post more during the next couple days.

Summary Part 2
Summary Part 3
Summary Part 4
Summary Part 5

Monday, October 17, 2011

(The Registry Post) What Do You Want in YOUR Crappy Day Package?

Updated on 1-13-16 to add a new question below
So, I was thinking:  you just never know when someone would LOVE to send you a Crappy Day Package, but they are discouraged because they don't know where to start.  And it isn't NEARLY as much fun to send a package if you've just had to ASK the person what sorts of things they'd like, so I thought we could get a list going in the comments section of this post!  Then, when somebody wants to send you a CDP, they can come check the comments and see if you've left any helpful information =)!

Now, you are welcome to mention specific things that you like, without feeling like you are obligating anyone to give you those things, because all sorts of information could prove to be helpful. 

For instance, I could tell you that my VERY! FAVORITE! coping mechanism ice cream right now is Ben and Jerry's Red Velvet Cake or Mint Chocolate Cookie.  That doesn't mean that you should feel obligated to give me that ice cream especially if you would have to mail it from far away, but perhaps you might come across a cute Ben and Jerry's ice cream Christmas ornament, or ice cream-themed stationary, or ice cream flavored lip gloss (I think I've seen that somewhere), and, knowing that I like ice cream, you decide that any of those things could be a fun present. 

Another example:  Swistle had mentioned that she liked See's Candies, so when I saw a very delicious looking shopping bag with mouthwatering pictures of See's chocolates on it, I thought that it might be something she would enjoy or else it was going to torture her by reminding her that there is NO See's Candies' store near her; it was a gamble.

And:  I know a dear, sweet person who likes owls.  A few weeks ago I came across a cute set of owls that were actually a salt and pepper shaker, a sugar holder (I think) and cream holder (I think).  I sent them to her, and it sounds like they were a nice surprise =). 

Final example:  Knowing that impossible challenging times were coming, I took matters into my own hands a couple of months ago and ordered MYSELF a Crappy Day Package to have on hand in case things got as bad as I suspected they would hard.  It can be a tricky thing to get YOURSELF a Crappy Day Present, if you are going for the element of surprise, but, this particular time, it worked out for me.  I have an unhealthy relationship with enjoy and use a lot of yarn.  I get a certain craft-themed catalog, and I had previously noticed that they offered a "grab bag" assortment of yarn.  I had never ordered it before because I have yarn in nearly every room in the house already it seemed frivolous, and I usually buy specific yarn for a specific project, but after hearing the news about Husband's deployment, I thought it might be a good idea to be prepared..."desperate times" and all of that...I did eventually open my box, and look what I found!
Beautiful blues!  I LOVE blue!!

This isn't quite so blinding in person.  TEN skeins of Christmas red with a silver sparkly running through it!  I LOVE sparklies!!
There are two things I enjoy about yarn:  softness and color.  This yarn is not at all soft, but I think the colors are beautiful, and, I should have remembered to add someone-to-watch-the-kids to my order so that I could USE all of this beautiful yarn, but, all in all, I'd call this a success!

Hmmm, I think I will list some questions you can answer, in case you are feeling shy about this or uncertain about how to start:
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite season?
  • What is your favorite treat?
  • What is your favorite scent?
  • What is your favorite ice cream coping mechanism?
  • What do you like to do in your free time moments?
  • What do you not enjoy doing, and why, but have to do anyway?
  • If someone gave you money with the instruction that you had to spend it on something frivolous for yourself, what would you buy?
  • Do you have any decorating themes in your home/office?
  • Is there something that you REALLY, REALLY like?  (Burt's Bees, horses, cats, fairies, unicorns, birds, patriotic stuff, babies, chocolate, Diet Coke, etc....)
  • What is the VERY! BEST! present you have ever received and why was it the best?  (The purpose of this question is to give people another idea of the sorts of things that make you happy.)
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are (some or all) of your favorite books and/or authors?
There!  That should get us off to a good start!  Feel free to answer none, or any, or all of the questions, and elaborate as much as you'd like on your answers!  Add any additional information that you'd like that I am too tired to think of at the moment =).  Go, go, go!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Example of a Crappy Day Package #4 (Edited)

A Lovely, Lovely Person* sent me a surprise Crappy Day Package!  So, here we have more excellent examples of Crappy Day Presents:
I enjoyed and appreciated all of the bright, happy wrapping paper (I know from experience that it takes A LONG TIME to wrap that many things!), and I LOVED the tags that Lovely Person put on each package (click on the photo to enlarge if you want to read them**);  she wrote a mysterious little description of each item and noted when it is something that she has for herself.  I arranged all of the presents in a nice display on my dresser, so that I can be cheered up by seeing them (and smile when I read the tags) whenever I walk by.

This was the first thing I opened;  I just couldn't resist the mystery of "probably broke";  I wanted to see what it was!  GOOD CHOICE!  I've been using this for my daily infusion infusions of liquid chocolate (otherwise known as Ovaltine with enough milk to make it a liquid).  And something about that lone little flower DOES make me feel better!

I forgot to take a picture, but something I opened on the day I awoke to discover the news story of a base WHERE MY HUSBAND WILL BE GOING being BOMBED by someone who doesn't like the American presence there a very stressful day turned out to be a bottle of the hair conditioner Lovely Person likes to use when SHE is having a stressful day!!  The thoughtfulness of that gift was a great comfort to me on that hard day!

Another opened present!  I think it is fun to get things that I wouldn't normally think to buy for myself.  I haven't tried the blue one yet because I am enjoying the yellow (honey!) one so much.

Isn't that just THE CUTEST little fuzzy face?!  THE MOMENT Marie noticed this she asked if she could have it;  she named it her Rose and likes to take it her with her wherever she goes.
That is everything I have opened so far, but I am almost certain that I will be opening MANY things next week when I return from visiting Husband.  I am so very excited to be in the same room with him, but it will be the last time for *SEVEN MONTHS* or longer;  I'm afraid it is going to be VERY HARD to leave him to come home.

Thank you again, Lovely Person!  Your package was such a nice surprise and continues to slow the arrival of or help me through Crappy Days!
*I will be keeping Crappy Day Present senders anonymous so that the sender doesn't have to worry that Person Q is going to see what they (the sender) sent me and possibly feel bad that their (Person Q's) package was not as fabulous as mine ;-). But if you don't worry as much as I do aren't worried about that, you are welcome to claim your package in the comments!

**Identifying information has been removed.

I have now opened all of the beautiful presents!!  Here are the other things I discovered hiding under the cheerful wrapping paper:
Sparkly nail polish! (I LOVE SPARKLIES!!)

Handmade soap! (I LOVE handmade soap!) Smells VERY NICE!

Cool stamps!  What a GREAT idea!  EVERYBODY needs stamps!  And Lovely Person cleverly disguised the sheet of stamps, so I had no idea what could be in the package!

Pretty Henna designs! (I think those are beautiful on pregnant bellies!!)

HEART KITCHEN TOWELS, SQUEEEEEE!  Have I mentioned that I have a heart theme in my kitchen?  When we were married, someone gave us a colander with hearts for the holes;  now I have heart measuring cups, measuring spoons, muffin pans, cake pans, and I even have a few heart bowls that the children haven't managed to break in my dishes pattern =)!
Oh!  I didn't get a picture, but Lovely Person also sent a nice-sized re-usable shopping bag!  (I LOVE bags!!!  *cough* some might say that I have a little bag PROBLEM *cough*

Thank you again, Lovely Person!!  Your package helped with QUITE A FEW irritating Crappy Days!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

PSA: How to DEEP CLEAN a dishwasher

So, I was sitting at the kitchen table, helping someone with their schoolwork, and I kept noticing an unpleasant odor.  I finally traced it to the dishwasher.  Now, I have noticed the dishwasher smelling unpleasant before, and I have tried:
  • sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher, along with adding a scoop to each wash load
  • cleaning out the dishwasher by running it through an empty-of-dishes cycle with 1 cup of bleach, not letting it go through the drying cycle, and immediately running it through another washing cycle with 1 cup of vinegar (thanks to the expert advice of "The Queen of Clean")
  • buying a cleaning product specifically made for cleaning out dishwashers

I have also noticed some n@sty-looking stuff building up in the corners of the bottom of the dishwasher, near the door, and have tried to (gag!) scrape it out to see if that would help.

WARNING:  I thought the "How to Take Apart and Clean a Toilet Seat" post was disgusting;  I WAS SO WRONG!  Having to deal with pee all the time anyway, I expected what I saw there, so I would classify that as "yucky".  When thinking about an appliance that has the word "CLEANER" in its name, I would NEVER have guessed the level of disgusting I was about to encounter!!  So, if you are lucky and your dishwasher doesn't smell funny, and/or you do not like gr*phic, disgusting pictures, you should DEFINITELY skip this post!  (And if you have a sensitive gag reflex, you cannot stand to clean n@sty, N@STY things, and you have tried EVERYTHING you can think of, besides taking the dishwasher door apart to clean it, and your dishwasher STILL smells bad, I suggest you BUY A NEW ONE!)

ALSO:  I am not any sort of official mechanic or dishwasher-fixer, so you may not want to try this at your house unless you are happy with the idea of buying a new dishwasher should your cleaning attempts go awry and render your current dishwasher BROKEN ineffective.  (Spoiler:  unlike the vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher DID function properly after I put the door back together.)

I didn't take any pictures of the dishwasher before I took the door off because I didn't realize that this was going to end up being one of those things I was going to write a blog post about in order to make myself finish the unpleasant job.  I had taken the inside of the door off once before, when I had been pouring rinse aid into the rinse aid spot and suddenly noticed it coming out of the sides of the door (I figured that I should make sure that nothing electric was wet).  It had been a simple matter of taking out the screws located near the edges of the door, and, unlike the vacuum cleaner, there were no wires anywhere that kept the top of the door from coming all of the way off. 

I recommend doing this job BEFORE you bathe for the day because you are likely going to want a bleach bath to bathe thoroughly as soon as you are finished if you can resist the urge to burn every dish in your house because you just cannot see how they could possibly be clean after what you have seen in the inside of the dishwasher.

For this job, the supplies I initially gathered were:
  • a regular screwdriver
  • paper towels
  • disinfecting wipes
  • garbage can close by for tossing the MANY, MANY dirty paper towels and disinfecting wipes
Upon further reflection, it would have also been a good idea to wear gloves (the stuff I was scraping out was VILE the disinfecting wipes dried my hands out quite a bit).

Once I started the cleaning job, I realized that I was going to need:
  • an old toothbrush for cleaning small areas
  • toothpicks and cotton swabs for the places the toothbrush wasn't getting
  • baking soda and dish soap for getting the disgusting gunk to come off

Here come the pictures!  Avert your eyes now if you are like me and would rather live in blissful ignorance or denial really don't want to know what could be in your dishwasher. 
This is what it looked like AFTER I had finished cleaning.  In this picture, you can see some of the screws around the edges.  I took those screws out, then took off the plastic part of the door that is inside the dishwasher when the door is closed.
This is what the door looks like with the plastic part removed.  You can see a hint of the n@stiness to come at the bottom of the door.

Closer inspection....

Even CLOSER inspection (YUCK!)
I actually had to SCRAPE that stuff off;  I suppose some sort of wire brush would have worked, but it probably would've taken the paint off also, so I used fingernail-buried-in-a-cleaning-wipe.

This is the plastic part I took off;  looks pretty harmless, doesn't it?
Until you look on the bottom:
Before:  on the left side (the right side was much the same)....

NOTE: this stuff looks SO DISGUSTING, and I don't want to know am not quite sure what exactly it was, but "sludge" and "gunk" were the words that came to mind when I first saw it.

The very bottom of the door

After MANY hours of cleaning with toothbrush, cotton swabs, and toothpicks:
This part was A BEAR to clean because I couldn't easily get it in the sink AND it required a lot of scraping and scrubbing.  I suppose it would have been easier to clean in the bathtub, but then I wouldn't have been able to see what the demolition experts children were doing.  This was, BY FAR, the n@stiest thing to clean.

(Rest easy:  the worst is over!)  I HAD NO IDEA that a dishwasher could look like this when all you do is WASH DISHES in it! And our dishwasher runs once or twice a day, so it isn't like things are sitting in there for days on end! At least THIS part of the dishwasher comes into direct contact with the dirty water;  next, I looked at the VENT, which, *I* thought, was just for letting steam escape.....

I became suspicious when I carefully removed a piece of Styrofoam near the vent and saw this.

The two easy-to-find-screws made vent-removal look simple, but I'm not very mechanically/spatially inclined, so when I got the last screw out, I was surprised to hear the sound of something hitting the floor.  I looked down and saw this:

Silly me!  I thought the part I was unscrewing was going to come off;  not the bottom!  And what is all of that disgusting stuff that got knocked off of the vent cover when it hit the floor?!  STEAM!  I thought STEAM went through this vent!

This is what it looked like BEHIND the vent cover, on the door.
The MUCH MORE PLEASANT "after" pictures:
This part wasn't too hard to clean.

This part was VERY easy to clean since it conveniently fit in the sink.

Honestly?  I just don't know if I will ever be able to make myself do that again, so I should probably start saving money for a new dishwasher RIGHT NOW!