Friday, December 30, 2016

As the end of the year draws near

All the gifts have been unwrapped. The post Christmas sales have begun.  Mum has packed up the Christmas tree and hidden the gingerbread house.  The tinsel is not so shiny as it litters the floor. 

People are making plans for New Year's Eve. We will be going to bed early and getting up on New Year's Day at the same time we always wake. Unless we have a bad night.  One year, I remember trying to get to bed early on New Year's Eve only to discover that several of my neighbours were hosting parties to welcome the new year, so I didn't get much sleep. You can read about that night, here

In rather a nostalgic exercise, I'm going to recap 2016 here on AGT.  It was a big one. 

The year began with a new year's resolution: I'm going to publish one post on AGT every week.  Now it will end with a huge smiley face of success!! Including this post, I have published 56 posts this year, which is at least one a week and a few extras thrown in for good measure! 
Shelly thinks I deserve a high-five and I agree!

I seemed to catch some sort of crafting bug last year, and I have got a little more ambitious this year.  Making: toys for Shelly (and our other feline friends), cards for every occasion, gift bags and party decorations.  I even did some cooking which, for some strange reason, didn't make it to a post. 

Planning my niece's 10th birthday party (with the FROZEN theme) was a huge start to the year and was heaps of fun! Of course you didn't hear about all the fabulous Frozen Fun until March. 

The Awesome Aunty course was published this year too, way back in January.  I hope it has helped lots of ladies to be the Amazing Adult Pals that every kid deserves to have in their life.  The HOW TO BE A CARER series was started in October this year as well and I hope it is helping people who have taken on the huge responsibility of caring for a loved one. 

Dad's health deteriorated this year and doctors told us that he would not live past May.  He is lying in bed dozing peacefully, as I type this.  He is quite the fighter, my dad.  Dad has always had health problems and our family grows closer as we continue to ride the rollercoaster of his illnesses.  Our daily lives revolve around Dad and his health.  We are always grateful to our Heavenly Father, for the daily miracle of Dad's life.  Every moment of lucid conversation, every kiss, every smile, every hug, is a precious.  We are so blessed.

This year has been one wild ride.  I am happier than I have been for a long time.  Strangely! 
I really like myself, so much more than I ever have before.  Do I have goals for 2017?  Maybe.  Do I know what they are? Not yet.  Isn't that what January is for?

I hope you hang around to see what 2017 brings. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing it!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Two More Sleeps, Two More Sleeps!!!

I'm getting very excited about Christmas. 

We thought that last year was probably Dad's last Christmas and yet, only two more sleeps and he is still very much alive.  This year has been rough and we have had a few occasions when everyone thought the end was very near.  I promised to show you my wrapping for this year, if you want some inspiration, check out my wrapping posts from previous years: 2012, 2015 and a best ofOlder and Wisor has some great wrapping inspiration too! I didn't do anything too special or different this year, so I wasn't in a rush to show you.  Organising Christmas, going Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts is quite the juggling act when caring for a very ill person.  It must be tough for parents too!!

I put much less effort and time into the wrapping this year but the presents still look pretty good!  :D

Shelly was very helpful in the wrapping process as you will see by some of the photos below!

All the best wrappers will tell you to use what you have and get creative with it!
I used two different types of ribbon for this one.  Most of the others are using basic curling ribbon.
When we run out of every type of ribbon in the house, we can buy more.  I have quite a way to go!

Shelly helped me choose some of her toys that she hasn't played with since she was a kitten.
I put them in this small gift box, used some Christmas themed glitter tape to decorate and tied it with curling ribbon. 
This little gift will go to the newest addition to the family-
my nephew's new kitten from the local animal shelter!

I used green curling ribbon to make two basic bows.
Then,  cut the loops so they look more like leaves and tied in a few holly berries.
I love how this decoration matched the paper which has holly and ivy in a repeated pattern. 

The gift wrapping inspector is just checking to make sure this present  is wrapped properly!
I think it passed the test!

Each year, I prepare gifts for the pets owned by my family and friends. 
The two wrapped gifts are for dogs (from Shelly),
one belonging to the BFF and one to my Brother in Law.
The boxed gift is for my nephew's cat.
There is a gift under the tree somewhere for a guinea pig
called Chi-Chi, who belongs to another nephew. 

I can't wait to celebrate Christmas with my Dad this year!
From Shelly, Hagrid, all the gang and ME: we wish you a very merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Gift Guidelines: Kids 6 to 12!

In 2011 I wrote a gift giving guide for kids 0-5 years.  I ended the guide by saying that once a kid turns 6, they are able to articulate their favourite things and their likes.  A relatively short conversation on a regular basis will keep you up to date with their changing view of the world. This could include, but is not limited to, any of the following: favourite colour, Superman vs Batman, Cinderella vs Elsa, Dolls vs Construction, Craft vs Paint, Video Games vs Sports.

Admittedly, there may be times when you need to buy a gift for a young person you don't know very well. Being the one who buys the perfect gift, even when you don't know them, can often be a way to win over a little person. Don't get me wrong, the adult who always shows up when it counts is loved far more than the flaky adult who brings the perfect gift. On the other hand, it's great when you can be consistent AND buy the perfect gifts!  :D 

Here are some tips for you...

While I'm a relatively enlightened person and I don't believe in pushing gender stereotypes onto children, I'm also a realist.  Trying to keep your gifts non-gender specific is a nice idea, however by the time a child has reached the age of 6 years, they will probably already be conforming or not.  When in doubt, check with the parents.  Use some common sense when it comes to choosing which of these gifts are more suitable for boys or girls, I'm going to stick with ages this time. 

Ages 6yo-7yo
Some background: the average 6 or 7 year old will be attending school and learning to read.  They will be curious and (at the same time) they will know what they like and don't like. They will have their very own personality that is developing all the time.  Don't assume the "it" toy or movie character will be the favourite of the 6yo or 7yo kid.  Anything on this list should please any child in this age group.

  • Eye Spy/ Spot What (find it in the picture) books
  • Picture Books (Mem Fox and Jackie French are two authors that you could check out).
  • Colouring/ Simple Activity books
  • Colouring in Pencils/ Felt tip pens (Scented ones are fun too)
  • Puzzles (simple to medium difficulty, no more than 100 pieces)
  • Stickers (transport, reward stickers, fairies, animals)
  • Simple/ Basic sporting equipment (e.g. tennis balls, velcro grip paddles, spiky balls in various sizes, a set of quoits, a small goal, ping pong balls/ paddles).
  • Hula Hoops, Skipping Ropes.
  • Water Bottle or Lunchbox for school
  • A bottle of bubbles with bubble wands or a bubble machine (Personally, I think this is a great gift for anyone who has 'everything' no matter how old they are, but perhaps that's just me).
  • Sand or Water Toys (e.g. bucket and spade, measuring jug, moulds such as sea animals).
  • Playdough and Accessories.
  • Small handbag or backpack for toting toys and treasures.
  • Junior Monopoly or Junior Scrabble
  • Board Games that don't require advanced literacy or numeracy skills e.g. Connect Four, Operation, Trouble, Chinese Checkers, Snakes and Ladders.
Ages 8yo-9yo
Some Background: The average 8 or 9 year old is starting to develop their own interests and will be curious about their specific areas of interest.  For example: Dinosaurs, Craft, Cars, Dancing, Dolls, etc. If the "it" or "in" thing is unlikely for a child who is 6 or 7 years old, it is even less likely to be loved by an 8 or 9 year old.  These children are expanding their horizons, most will be independent readers (although it's a good idea to check this parents), and may be reading a series.  Gifts that should win over any child of 8 or 9 years.
  • Activity and Puzzle books
  • Start a new book series such as Netball Gems, Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (or check with parents and add the next book in a series the child is already reading).  Roald Dahl and Andy Griffiths are good authors that have published a range of books any kid would love to receive.
  • Some Picture Books are still appropriate for this age group, you could look at books with more text or mature themes.  Authors to check out include Graham Base, Jackie French, Jeanie Baker, Shaun Tan.
  • Board Games as above and you could add more challenging games such as Pictionary.
  • Card Game packs such as Uno or Skipbo; a deck of standard playing cards is also great.
  • Sporting Equipment as above, or check with parents to find out if Mr or Ms 8/9 is involved in any team sports or sporting clubs and purchase relevant equipment.
  • Water bottle and Baseball Cap (or bucket hat)
  • Treasure Box, Tote bag or Small Backpack (kids at this age love packing all their toys and books into a box or bag and carrying it to another room).
  • Playdough and Bubbles are still great items to add to the Christmas Stocking
  • Art and Craft Supplies such as poster paint, glue and scissors, felt tip pens, glitter, large scrapbooks.
  • Small notebooks or Journals with erasable pens (these are still considered magic for kids right up to 12 ad 13 year olds). 
Ages 10 - 12 year olds

A bit of Background: if a young person is going to conform to gender stereotypes or completely break free of them, this is probably when it will happen.  It is hard to buy gifts for this age group even if you do know them well.  Girls at this age will be especially difficult as they approach puberty as little earlier than the boys and will be very confused about what they like.  Lots of the items on the lists above could be a winner as well. Try to do a bit of research and if you are really desperate, give them some cash! As the gap between genders is so much bigger at this age group, I'm going to mention some gender specific items. 
  • Non-Fiction Books are usually a winner in this age group.  Titles such as Ripley's Believe it or Not and The Guiness Book of World Records are great for the boys.  Instructional Books such as recipe books, art and craft or even how to build a tree house are great for girls. 
  • Boys and Girls will also enjoy the Where's Wally Books as these are a more difficult version of the Eye Spy books. 
  • More difficult puzzle books, dot-to-dot and find a word books could be appropriate for both boys and girls.
  • iTunes vouchers or a top 100 album for the year (works for both boys and girls)
  • A calendar (themes could include sporting teams, cars, teddy bears, animals etc)
  • Hair clips/ ribbons, headbands, hair brushes, bobbi-pins, lip gloss and nail polish will be loved by the girls (and maybe even some of the boys).
  • Earrings, Bracelets, Bangles, Necklaces, Rings,- any costume jewellery (mostly for girls).
  • Socks and Shoelaces (they don't have to be boring).
  • Water bottles, Hats, Backpacks,
  • Handball (this is still a huge past time in this age group at school)
  • Key rings for attaching on the bag or holding house keys.
  • A wallet or purse
  • Art Supplies,
  • A journal, note book or scrapbook (for writing down feelings or keeping notes about people).
  • Earphones (opt for novelty or high quality for extra bonus points).
  • Anything you can personalise can be cool too, it makes it unique and kids like to feel special as long as they don't stand out from the crowd!
I hope this helps everyone with their Christmas Shopping. 

Bear in mind, that cash is something that most 6 year olds know all about.  I used to love receiving my birthday card from a certain uncle because it always had a $5 note in it.  :)

Your time is also a great gift!! After giving the gift, stay a while and play with the toys or make something together using the art supplies, play handball or listen to music together. 

It's almost time for Santa to come!! Next time you will see my handmade Christmas cards and 2016 Christmas Present Wrapping.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Best of AGT: Christmas Shopping Survival Tips!

Gift shopping is one of those exhausting, sometimes terrifying, activities that could be classed as an extreme sport! 

Here are some tips for surviving (and even enjoying) A Christmas Shopping Expedition.

1.      BE PREPARED  Take a page from Santa's book and make a list.  Include all the information you could possibly need.  Include: people you want to buy gifts for, what you are planning to buy them, where you will buy each gift from (if you know) and expected price.   Have alternative gift ideas just in case your plan goes awry.  Consider all possibilities.

2.      HAVE A PLAN This may sound the same as the first tip, but it isn’t.  Before you go anywhere, answer the following questions and decide on the best plan for your circumstances. 

·         How much do you have to spend? (enough to buy it all in one day)

·         Which stores are you visiting? Are they all in one location?

·         How much time do you have to shop, the whole day, a few hours, half an hour?

·         How big are the gifts? Will they all fit in the car?

3.      BE SPECIFIC Don’t fall into the trap of buying 15 boxes of shortbread biscuits in the hope that you are covering everyone and then realise you have forgotten ten people.  A personal gift that considers each person will be more appreciated.

4.      TAKE TIME Don’t wait until Christmas Eve!  Purchase some items as you see them.  Allow extra time so that if you can’t find the perfect gift you were planning to get you are not forced to give them a box of biscuits!

5.      EAT FIRST When we are shopping we spend far too much time in the food court.  We are also likely to spend money purchasing unnecessary snack foods or drinks while shopping for gifts.  So eat a proper meal and take some crackers in your handbag.   Alternatively, schedule time for meals and budget for them too. 

6.      STAY HYDRATED If there is a time you are likely to get a headache, Christmas Shopping is one of them.  Crowds, Christmas Music, Children, Sales, long queues!  AAAHHHH! Take some bottled water along with you.  Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headache and prevention is better than cure!

7.      DITCH THE KIDS If this is one time a babysitter is worth it, this is it! 

8.      STAY FOCUSED You are shopping for gifts, not for clothes or shoes or hats or jewellery.  You are not shopping for yourself.  The quicker you get in and tick each item off the list the quicker you can get home and relax.

9.      SMILE and RELAX Don’t let yourself be sucked into the stress of Christmas Shopping.  Yes, you have set goals and you want to get in and out as quickly as possible, but you can do all this without turning into a Grinch! You have done the hard work by making a list of people and gifts, planning which shops where and when.  You can afford to relax and enjoy the experience.  Smile at shop assistants and thank them for their help. Be polite to fellow shoppers, no matter how greedy and cranky they may seem.  Remember that Christmas is a time of goodwill and peace on earth. 

10.  WRAP IT UP Know when to call it a day.  If you are starting to get Grinchy, it might be time for a break. Have a coffee and reset before getting back into it.  If that isn’t working, go home and save the rest of the list for another day. 

There you have it. Get listing and enjoy the experience. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

So it's December..

Okay, NOW you can decorate the Christmas Tree and get wrapping (gift wrapping not rhyming).  It wouldn't hurt to get singing those Christmas Carols too. 

I have been a bit of a bah humbug this past two months.... you could have heard me saying things like.......

"It's October and far too early for Christmas Decorations on sale in the shops."

"No, I don't want to 'like' the photos of the Christmas Tree you have already erected in your living room."

"You shouldn't put tinsel around your dog's neck at any time of the year, but especially at the BEGINNING of November!"

"No, thanks! I don't want to participate in the Secret Santa." 

It isn't that I don't love Christmas!  In fact, if you have ever read this blog in December, you will know that I devote the entire month to being 'festive'.  I love Christmas! There are some aspects of Christmas celebrations that I don't enjoy.  I look back on how I used to behave around Christmas time and I feel a little sad.  You see, Christmas was all about the decorations, the gifts, the various events and activities.  I'm a regular churchgoing Christian and while many of the Christmas events I attended were affiliated with church, I rarely attended for the right reasons.  I attended because I was expected.  I attended to see people I knew would be there.  I attended because that's just what we did.  I also bought gifts for messed up reasons too.  We won't go there. 

I don't want to dampen anyone's Christmas Joy and I don't want to criticise your Christmas Traditions.  I do, however, want to say that Christmas is a special time for followers of Jesus and we need to be mindful of our attitude and motives behind our 'celebrations'.  My advice on this point is this: don't feel pressured into participation in any of the commercial activities associated with Christmas. 

As of today, I have managed to publish one post every week of the year so far.  That means that I am so close to meeting my posting goal for this year!!  WOOHOO to me!! I finally chose a realistic goal!  Only 4 more official posts to go!  We will see what the coming days bring. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Keeping Up with Caring

Being a Carer of a loved one (LO) is hard.  At times it can be physically taxing, mentally exhausting, and fraught with all kinds of emotions.  You ride two emotional rollercoasters, yours and LO's. As the support person, you hold their hand as their mood swings from happy, to sad, anxious to sanguine and everything in between.  While doing this you are experiencing your own feelings of joy, sorrow, frustration, fear, grief and excitement.  Everyday can include triumphs and challenges.  Caring is like juggling two lives, yours and LO's.  Often Carers have so many "balls in the air" that they drop things simply to keep up.  Unfortunately, they stop caring for themselves.  They forget that if they are not firing at 100%, it is not only their world, but LO's world that will come crashing down. 

Are you thoroughly confused by all those metaphors yet?  My point.  If you are a carer you need to care for yourself as well.  Emotional/ Mental wellbeing is just as important as Physical wellbeing and as carers this is a difficult subject to discuss with others.  It makes sense to do exercises for your back or learn techniques to preserve your physical strength when assisting with transfers, hygiene, meal preparation and medications.  For many of the 'older' carers out there - let's face it, the majority of us are over 30, over 50, over 60.. etc - emotional/ mental health is one of those 'we don't talk about that' topics.  I'm not saying you have to shout it from the roof tops when you are having a bad day; in fact, you would be standing on the roof a lot if you did that.  I'm just saying, it isn't indulgent or silly to take time for your soul as well as your body and mind.  Here are some quotes that help me to stay calm and carry on (so to speak). 

"You can do anything.... but you cannot do everything!"

"Caring is being there, even when you want to be somewhere else."

"What's comin' will come and we'll meet it when it does." - Hagrid from the Harry Potter Series

"You cannot pour from an empty cup, look after yourself first."

You might also like to check out my new Pinterest Board devoted to CARING

Everything really will be okay.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Princess and The Cupcake... a Remake!

A break from the latest themes of AGT to revisit a silly story I wrote 5 years ago.   Enjoy!

This story was originally posted on A Great Title on 16 September 2011.

Dedicated to the BFF, the provider of the cupcake, my sunshine.

Once upon a time in a land much like this one, a beautiful princess woke up and glided towards the kitchen of her house.
She was listening to the talking fridge and considering what to have for breakfast when she heard.... a very small squeaky little voice... she couldn't quite make out what it was saying, so she followed the sound until she found the owner of the small high pitched chatter. 
Image result for princess clipart

The beautiful princess searched and searched and was quite amazed when she saw that the little voice was owned by...a cupcake.  Yes, a cupcake.

Do you know what the cupcake was saying?
It looked up at the adorable princess and said, "My Fair Lady... please, please rescue me from my miserable existence!"
Shocked, the stunning princess picked up the cupcake and said, "miserable existence? you are a cupcake what is so miserable about that?"
The cupcake frowned and explained, "well, Princess, I have lots of friends... we have been friends for a long time... well in cupcake time it is ages.  We were mixed together and spooned out together and we were even baked togetherThen we were frosted together and decorated with sugary jelly bits."

The princess was quite perplexed.  It sounded to her that the cupcake had a fairly ordinary sort of life, for a cupcake.  It didnt seem all that miserable to her, especially when the cupcake had undergone all these major life events surrounded by awesome friends.
"Then... a terrible thing happened" continued the cupcake.  "My friends started leaving me."
"Oh, no!" gasped the princess, "Why?"
"My friends, were being eaten!" replied the cupcake. "They were all moving on to the great pattypan in the sky"

"Oh, dear," said the princess, "all your friends left you?! Well, no wonder you are living a miserable existence.  But what can I do?" she asked.

"Fair Lady, Dear Princess, there is only one thing you can do." 

The princess and the cupcake looked into each other's eyes.  A great tingle swept over the princess as she realised what the cupcake was suggesting.

"I couldn't possibly!"
"But Princess, you must! Please, Princess, you must eat me! You must eat me, so that I can follow my friends and we can be together once more."

The princess nodded.  While she wasn't in the habit of eating cupcakes, especially talking ones, she knew what she had to do.  She closed her eyes and opened her mouth.
The cupcake jumped inside and the princess chewed him up and swallowed him.

She shed a tear for the suicidal cupcake and made herself a slice of toast.

Then, they both lived happily ever after. 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembrance Day 2016

Today is Remembrance Day in Australia. 
This is also known as Armistice Day when, all over the world, we commemorate the end of World War 1.  At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (every year) we take a minute to be silent and remember those who died in armed conflicts. 
In 2013, I wrote a poem for ANZAC day (25th April) to remember the brave soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Many of the men who landed at Gallipoli on 25/04/1915, died there.  11 November marks the end of World War 1, unfortunately, it was not the end of armed conflict around the world.  Wars, police actions, invasions and 'peace keeping missions' have continued to be waged between nations.  War is a sad thing caused by greed, arrogance, fear, oppression and hate (not necessarily in that order).  Today, I hope and pray for peace in our time. 

This poem was originally published on A Great Title, 25 April 2013

(ANZAC DAY 2013)

Thank you for the ANZACs
Thank you for the boys
Who bravely disembarked the ships-
Ambushed on Turkey's shores.

Thank you for the soldiers 
Thank you for those kids
They volunteered and defended
Our freedom-never stripped.

Thank you for their courage
Thank you for those men
Fighting for freedom and for peace
Their stories ended then.

Thank you for Survivors
Thank you for their safe return
They tell us of their hell on earth
From this we hope to learn

We are very lucky
We never will forget
The sacrifice of millions
For Peace - we don't have yet!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Medication Management: Caring and Medicine

If you are caring for a Loved One (LO) either part time or full time it is very likely that you will be involved in managing their medications.  The level of care you provide and the reasons your LO needs care will determine how involved you are with medications. The lists below will help you work out what level of support you are providing in this area and then read the tips for each level. 

Minimal Support

On the most part your LO is managing their medications independently while you support them with other daily tasks such as housework, transport, meal preparation etc.  You might be:
  • getting prescriptions filled at the pharmacy.
  • aware of which medications your LO is taking.
  • aware of the medical conditions that your LO has that are being managed with medication.
  • aware of major changes to medications (new medications or ceased medications).
  • gently reminding your LO to take their medication on some occasions.

Tips for this level of care

  • Get to know the pharmacist and ensure they understand your relationship to LO- this will be helpful if and when the level of support you are providing increases.
  • Encourage LO to have an easily accessible list of their medications, what each medication is used for and the daily dose of each.  Keep a copy of this for your own reference.
  • Make sure you are aware of the potential side effects of new medications and how you should respond if these side effects arise. 
  • Look out for signs that LO is struggling to manage their own medications as you might need to increase your level of assistance. Signs may include: skipping doses, losing track of prescriptions needing to be filled, mixing up different medications, you find medications in unlabelled containers or not contained at all. 

Assisting Support

You are assisting your LO with medications while trying to promote their independence in their daily life.  You are probably:
  • using a weekly sorting system that lays out dosage by time each day (or a Webster pack) so LO can independently retrieve each dose at appropriate times.
  • maintaining a list of the medications your LO is using, what the medications are used to treat and recommended doses.
  • assisting your LO with storing medications appropriately.
  • ensuring ceased medications are disposed of correctly.
  • checking that doses are not missed.
  • helping your LO manage the use of "as needed" medications.
  • knowledgeable about side effects of medications and changes made by doctors. 
Webster Packs (available through most pharmacies)
allow you to receive your prescribed medications
already set out showing when to take them. 

Tips for this level of care

  • I know I'm repeating myself, I'm doing it on purpose!  Get to know your pharmacist.  Make sure they know you and your relationship to LO as well as your role in caring.
  • If you don't already, get to know your LO's GP and other professionals who are involved in treatments for medical conditions. This will certainly come in handy in the future. 
  • Be gentle! Your LO needs as much independence as possible and letting go of any independence will be difficult for them. 
    This pill sorter allows you to organise medications yourself,
    like a Webster pack, but you have more control.

Care and Management

You have taken control of all medications for your LO.  You administer all medications and keep track of maximum doses.  Medical professionals consider you the advocate for LO and while LO is included in conversations about medication (and health treatments) you are the decision maker.  You are probably:
  • Administering any and all medications at all hours of the day.
  • Organising medications into regular doses- such as a Webster Pack.
  • Recording what medications LO is taking and when they are taking them.
  • Knowledgeable about medical conditions and which of these each medication is treating. 
  • Speaking regularly with LO's GP, pharmacist and other members of the medical team. 

Tips for this level of care

  • Use Webster Packs or a sorting system.
  • Keep a record of medications being taken and the time taken everyday.  This helps you keep track of 'as needed' medications and stick to daily limits. Record side effects, pain levels, vital signs and other observations you make.  This is especially helpful if/ when you are discussing LO's wellness with medical professionals.  Having this system also makes it easier to leave LO with a different carer, as you know all relevant information will be recorded in your absence and substitute carer can refer back to previous days for guidance. 
  • Tell LO what they are taking when you administer medications.
  • Remind LO what each medication is used for... this is helpful when LO questions why they are taking so many tablets! 
  • Be gentle and patient.  If LO refuses a medication, assess their mood before trying to explain why it is important to take the tablet.  If they are agitated, worried or anxious, no amount of reasoning will help. Let LO miss the one dose.  Ensure it is included in the next round of medications.    Discuss it calmly with LO when they are in a better mood.  If refusal continues, record this and discuss it with a health professional at your next appointment. 

At all levels...

Remember that managing one's own medication is, for some, equal to brushing your teeth or combing your hair.  It is a personal aspect of health care and often it is the only thing that any patient is able to control themselves.  Sharing this responsibility and eventually handing it over to someone else is a huge step for anyone to take, so be mindful of this.  You have a huge responsibility now, but you can do this. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Organised Carer...

When you care for someone, there is a lot to do. It's a fact that life is easier when you are organised (at least a little bit).  You will find that now (as carer) you not only have to live your life but help another person live theirs and this means twice (or ten times) more medical appointments, social events, budgets, incoming mail, phone calls, hygiene products, grocery shopping, housework and MEDICATIONS! It will be important to know what medications your Loved One (LO) has been prescribed.  Medication is so important that it deserves a whole post of it's own, so stay tuned for that. 

All of this 'extra stuff' means that you will need to have some way of recording and keeping track of all of it.  I have a calendar that hangs on my door as well as a day to a page diary.  We write down all the appointments (not just LO's but appointments that the carers need to keep). My mum and I share the caring, so we need to make sure we don't book our appointments at the same time.  If we have to do that, we need to arrange for someone to be at home with Dad while we are doing other things. 

This works for me, but I am not going to tell you that this is the best way.  Find what works for you.  If you are tech savvy you might prefer to use a calendar app with a sharing function (so everyone involved can see where appointments/ events are booked and make necessary changes).  If you don't know what I'm talking about, I would suggest you go with a paper diary.  Don't take on any unwanted stress of having to learn how to use technology when a book will work just fine for you. 

There are lots of organising resources online.  Don't limit yourself to "health" or "nursing" resources.  Search for: Bullet Journals, Calendars, Diaries, FREE printables, teacher organisation and family organisation resources.  It doesn't matter what you use, just remember your goals are to:
  • know who is responsible for your LO at any moment of the day. 
  • ensure all the carers are able to contact each other at all times (phone list).
  • keep a list of all support services, what they do, when to call them and how to contact them (day or night).
  • have all paperwork in the same safe place while still easily found if needed. 
A routine is also helpful for staying organised and managing medications/ medical supplies, but that also deserves it's own post. 

I hope this has been helpful for you. Check out these links (by clicking on each) for more information. 

16 Free Organisation Printables - cleaning checklist, grocery list, routines, schedules,

Organised Home's Printable Library - everything from calendars, checklists and planners.

Yes, You can do this!!

Friday, October 21, 2016

How to be a Carer...

So you have chosen to be the carer for a loved one.  If you are a paid carer for strangers, there are probably other places you can go to learn how to be the best you can be... good luck with that. If you have found yourself in an inevitable situation of having a parent, partner, child or friend who needs 'care', this is for you.

I am sharing the responsibility, with my mother, of caring for my terminally ill father.  He has advanced liver disease and liver cancer.  The cancer causes pain.  Other than that, it is not what is killing him.  The advanced liver disease is killing him.  A symptom of liver disease can be psychosis.  There are milder symptoms that affect mood and brain function.  He is very tired!  He becomes more tired everyday.

Regardless of the illness your loved one (LO) has, they will get tired.  This will be less obvious at first, but it will progress.  At first your friend will get tired after a big day out.  Then a short outing, like going out for dinner will be more tiring.  Eventually, getting out of bed, having breakfast, getting dressed and leaving the house will feel like a hard day's work.  Then, eating a meal will be exhausting.  Simple everyday tasks such as going to the toilet (once), will be exhausting.  Getting in and out of bed will be no mean feat. 

The tiredness will be difficult to understand and difficult to watch.  Be ready for that.  All the things that go along with exhaustion will be there too.  LO will be sleepy, a little fuzzy in the head (the way you are when you haven't had much sleep), moody and emotional.  Be prepared for that.  You will be tired too.

There is much more I need to tell you about being a carer.  I won't be able to cover all of it in one blog post.  Not in a way that will be helpful to you! So, here is the plan.  I will post regularly about being a carer: tips, tricks, encouragement, ideas and some of my own experiences.  I will tag all of these "how to be a carer"  and will create a home page for all you carers out there.  I hope this helps.   It will help me, anyway.  

So for today, be prepared for your LO to be tired and be prepared for you to be tired.  Plan for time alone and time to rest.  Don't be afraid to ask for help so you can rest.  Don't plan lots of visitors, outings or activities in the one day.  Take it slowly!  Give yourself permission to say no.  Rest when you can!

Remember you are doing your best and there is absolutely nothing better than that!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Going to the Nail Salon

I find that sitting at the nail salon watching my manicurist is a zen like experience at times.  I enjoy watching them at their work.  They create miniature works of art and while working quickly they have amazing attention for detail.  I'm almost jealous of their skill. 

It's lovely to watch. 

Some Examples of Pretty Nail Art...

I told my manicurist that, as I am going back to school this week and I can't wear my tiara at work, it is very important that my nails sparkle!  She didn't respond.  I chose a glittered nail polish and got on with it. 

I'm taking joy in the little things!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Writing Prompt: Today I am Thankful For...

Therefore, I'm saying that there are more things I'm thankful for, but these are the ones I'm focusing on right now. 

Pain relieving medication
Ice packs
Mum and  Dad
My very comfy bed
Shelly, and how even when she is just being herself, she makes me smile. 
My nieces and nephews!
My Sister!!
I'm thankful for everything that I have because I know that it is all due to God's provision and abundant blessings. 
My friends. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Last Time

They say that when someone is dying they have a "last good day". The thing about the "last good day" is that you don't know it's the "last good day" until long after said 'someone' has had a series of terrible days and died. 

The phenomenon of the last good day! 

It is known among palliative carers, nurses, doctors and families of those who have finally succumbed to a long and difficult illness.  It is the reason that you have to appreciate every good moment, every good hour, and every good day because you don't know if it is the last. Don't let the good moments slip by.  Don't let the laughter be forgotten.  Appreciate the simplicity of sitting in silence.  Take photos.  Smile together.  Remember together.  Be together as often as you can.  Give to each other now, because there is no point waiting.  Today could be the last good day. 

When today is not so good.  Try to think of the days that were good and remember that tomorrow might be better.  Don't think that the last good day is behind you.  The last good day could be today.  The last good day could be tomorrow.  Don't wait for the last good day.  Remember, you don't know when it will be and you won't know it until long after it is gone. Try to make everyday the best it can be. Today will be okay. 

Enjoy what you have, when you have it. 

Don't let the last good day be dwindled away.

Don't let the last good day be forgotten. 

Remember it with fondness.  Hold each other in it.  Smile when you think of it.  Don't cry.  It was the last good day and it was wonderful.

Don't think that today could be it, or tomorrow... just be.  Enjoy it and enjoy each other, while you can. 

I'm rambling.  I have been thinking about the last good day.  I don't know if we have already seen it. I don't know if it is yet to come.  I hope the end is near, so the suffering will end.  But then, I want to have another good day.  I want the last good day to be ahead of us.  I hope I didn't miss it. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stuff My Dad Said...


Me: Okay, do you want the light off and the lamp on?
Dad: No, I want the light off and the lamp on!

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up!


10 Years Ago..

Random Guy: Aunty Flo isn't invited to the wedding because, "we don't like them".
Dad: You don't have to like your family, you just have to love them.

Dad's very wise.  He really is. 


When we were young and my sister or I did something mischievous...

Mum: Talk to your daughter...
Dad: Hello (insert name of daughter here), how are you?



When I was about 9 years old and our family was reading The Bible after dinner.  The story was about Jesus walking on the water.

Dad: "... Peter was awe-struck."
Me: Daddy, what does awe-struck mean?
Dad: Well, they were on a boat, so I suppose it means he was hit over the head with an oar!

I might add, that while my mother found this hilarious at the time, it was several years before I really learned what it meant to be awe-struck.  Thanks for helping me expand my vocabulary, Dad, that was great. 


When I was learning how to become a teacher Dad told me... 

Start with one thing they need to know. Then, tell them the second thing. Then, go back to the first thing. 

Dad knew what he was talking about!


When I did well at school!

Me: Hey Dad, I got 20 out of 20 on my spelling test! :D
Dad: Why didn't you get 21?

The best thing that ever happened was when I was in year 8 and I actually managed to get 21 out of 20 on a test.  There was an error on the marking scheme and one of the questions was worth 2 marks, but had only been counted as one, so the total marks added to 21 instead of 20.  :D I was also the only student in my year level to answer all the questions correctly which was the only reason the error on the marking scheme was noticed by the teacher. 


When I was about 8 and saving all my pocket money in an ice cream container. 

"It's time you learned about a place called the bank."

I say it again, he was wise.


When I was 20 and being a brat...

"Wake up to yourself!"

He knew what to say.


Speaking of his daughters...

I love my girls and I'm proud of them, because while they are not always quiet, they are achievers. 

He loves me and that's all that matters


When one of us was worried and carrying on like it was the end of the world. 

"Go to sleep, everything will be okay."

He was right!