Category Archives: Unsolicited Advice

Parenting Your Child, Parenting Yourself-Age Appropriate Jobs Through Age 9

Phyllis Dillar once said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.”

Until your youngest child is around 9 years old, don’t focus on how neat the house is. Focus on training your children to pick up after themselves and take care of themselves. Training a child to do household work has to begin at a young age. Although training an older child is possible, the difficulty of doing so rises proportionally with the age of the child.

Here is a guideline. This is only a guideline. I do not attempt to include everything for every age. Also, some children can do some jobs at an earlier age while some children are not ready for certain jobs at the same age. Some children are more independent than others. Tailor the expectations to the individual child.

Age 2:  Can put away toys with A LOT of help. This may mean that the parent puts away most of the toys, and the child puts away one or two toys. When my children were this age, I purchased totes. Dress-up went in one tote, dolls, clothing and accessories went in another tote, cars, ramps, street signs etc., went into a third tote, etc. Don’t waste time trying to sort. Grouping like items together will help your child with organizational skills, which will lead to success in math, English, and science later in life.

Age 3/4: Can put away toys with some help. This means the parent puts away around half the toys and the child puts away half the toys. I want to emphasize that at this age, the parent and child have to do this together. A parent telling a child, “Pick up your toys,” can be overwhelming to a child. Also, you are modeling to the child how to do the task. Other skills the child can work to master: choosing his/her own clothes, folding wash cloths, drying/sorting silverware, measuring ingredients and mixing them in a bowl. Again, these skills will lead to success in school. The key at this age is to be consistent, perform the task with the child, and expect the child to do the task immediately when told to do so.

Age 5/6: At this age, supervision is extremely important. Can put away toys without help. The parent has to say, “Go into the living room and pick up your toys.” At this age, the child is still too young for the parent to say, “After supper, pick up your toys.” The child simply will not remember to do this and does not have the self-discipline to do it even if s/he does remember.  Children at this age can also pick out outfits for school, fold wash clothes/towels, unload the dishwasher (This depends on the storage situation. I, personally, do not recommend for children to stand on chairs to put away dishes.), put his/her own dishes in the dishwasher, follow a simple recipe with help. I do not recommend for a child to put items in the oven at this age. I also do not recommend for children of this age to cook on the stove. I did not allow my children to use the stove until they could reach the pans comfortably while standing in front of it. Also, they had to demonstrate the self-control necessary to avoid injury.

Age 7-9: I want to emphasize, at the age, the child must be supervised by an adult when performing these tasks, but the child should be able to perform the tasks independently. By this age, the child can do all of the above (except put items in the oven/cook on the stove) and should be able to follow a simple routine. The child probably will not be able to unload the dishwasher at five-o’clock, pick up toys at seven-o’clock, and take a bath at seven-thirty. However, the child can be trained to unload the dishwasher when s/he gets home from school, pick up toys immediately after supper, and take a bath after picking up toys. The child can also begin to be responsible for his/her own school supplies. I trained my children to leave their backpacks by the front door when they arrived home. At a certain time, I instructed them to remove any graded papers/letters to home, etc., from their backpacks and place them on the table. Then, they did their homework. After homework was finished, they placed the backpack by the door again. In the morning, all they had to do was grab the backpack on their way out.


The Secrets

This contains spoilers, so please watch the film before reading this if you don’t want to know what happens.

I am working on an Old Testament romance. In researching this story, I am hoping to watch some Jewish movies to learn more about the Jewish culture. The Secrets is a movie I hoped would help me. It is entirely in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Although I watched the entire movie, I am disappointed in this film for several reasons.

1. It never tells how the woman killed the man.

2. It portrays the Jewish religion as a cold and uncaring society run by harsh, unmerciful men.  When the murderess approaches the rabbi to ask him to help her seek God’s forgiveness, we see him hollering at her and driving her away. Later, when the girls try to help this woman, they are threatened with expulsion.

What we don’t see, but find out later in the movie, is that the woman is not truly sorry for sinning against God, even though at the beginning she says she is. Some people may argue that what she did wasn’t sinful. If a person does something and believes it is sinful, then it is sinful because the person is deliberately going against what s/he believes God does not want. The woman thought what she did was sinful because she talks about it and says she cannot regret it. Also, earlier in the movie, the woman states that the very same things were sinful.

In our society, we may have difficulty understanding that the girls face expulsion, not for trying to help the woman, but for doing what the Jewish religion specifically states (in the movie) to be a man’s job. “Well, that’s not right,” our society might say. That is truly not ours to judge unless we are Jewish.

3.  The girl who “snitches” on the other girls, is actually in the right, not for snitching, but for telling the girls that their ceremony is blasphemy and for trying to stop the ceremony. This girl is portrayed as a cruel, tattling hypocrite who does not care for the woman or for the girls. She actually cares a lot and wants to prevent all of them from sinning against God. And, she is right, a person cannot be forgiven if s/he isn’t sorry for what s/he did.

On a separate note, I do admire the courage of the main characters. They risked expulsion to give the woman some measure of peace before she died. I feel the lady in charge of the girls’ school would have been more lenient toward the girls, and even approved of the girls’ actions, if the rabbi had not become so angry and threatened to shut down the school.

For updates on my progress on the OldTestament romance, please “Like” my Facebook page and/or subscribe to my website.

I welcome any positive or negative feedback on the above review as long as it is stated in a respectful way, so let me know what you think.

Thank you for reading, and See Ya!


I have a “talking” cat. Her official name is Daneryus Stormborn Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains. We just call her Daeney. Whenever we turn on the water, she comes running over, “talking,” telling us she wants a drink. She also “talks” when she is hungry, wants out of a room, or greets us when we arrive at home. Let me know if you have a “talking” cat, and what your cat says.

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Beyonders: A World Without Heroes

I am hooked on this book series. It has really dark humor. I have laughed out loud a few times while reading the first book–and I don’t generally laugh out loud when I am reading. It is a great adventure story for kids 6th grade and up.

Beat the Christmas Rush

I wasn’t sure if the egg was real or not.

A friend’s post on Facebook caught my eye. Actually, what caught my eye was the picture. It was of a large egg with something obviously pecking its way out. Although the egg looked too large to be a natural egg, the woman’s post said something about waiting for it to hatch, so I wasn’t sure.

I “commented” a question, “What is it?”

Her reply, “An ‘Owlicorn,’ a cross between an owl and a unicorn.”

Well, that is something to see. I must admit I still wasn’t sure if I was watching a special species of bird hatching or if it was a toy. I waiting in breathless anticipation for the next post.

Something was obviously pecking its way out of the shell.
Something was obviously pecking its way out of the shell.

My friend said her daughter was determined that the egg would hatch soon. In my experience, an egg hatches when an egg hatches, and nothing can be done to hurry it along.

Finally, the Owlicorn hatched!

It Hatched!
It Hatched!

My friend told me that this is an interactive toy. Cool! I want one!

These toys are called “Hatchimals®.” You can purchase an egg at Toys R Us®.

Having perused the Toys R Us® website, I found that many species are available. In addition to the Owlicorn, there is a Draggle and a Penguala. All of them are super cute!

How does it work? When the child gets the egg, s/he plays with it. The playing stimulates the creature inside to begin pecking at the shell. Once the egg is hatched, the Hatchimal goes through three different maturity stages: Baby, Toddler, and Kid. It can learn walking and many other skills from your child.*

This sounds like a fun pet for any child, especially for a child who cannot have a live animal due to allergies, rental regulations, etc. My friend’s kids love theirs.

If you decide to get one for your kid, or for yourself, please post your experience below. Post a pic if you like. I would love to see what hatches out of everyone’s eggs.


*Information taken from the  Toys R Us® website. Toys R Us® does not endorse, recommend, or otherwise advertise on this blog. The opinions expressed here are solely the opinions of the author.


Stranger Things

Stranger Reeper
Stranger Reepicheep

If you haven’t seen Stranger Things on Netflix, stop reading this, go get yourself some popcorn and some soda pop and watch it. You might as well schedule some pizza delivery and prepare to sit in front of the tele for the next 8 hours because once you start, you will not want to stop. (There are 8 episodes which average 42 to 52 minutes each; however, eight hours will allow time for bathroom breaks, Snapchat updates, and Instagram posts.)

If you grew up in the ’80’s, watch out because the show will bring back memory after memory about how life was back in the day. If you didn’t grow up in the ’80’s, this post will answer some questions you may have about the show.


  1.  You may wonder about the authorities incessantly searching for and calling for Will Byers instead of putting his face on a milk carton. In the ’80’s, people stealing kids just wasn’t that common. Although the milk carton campaign started in 1984 and a lot of kids did go missing due to abduction, people still thought of a child being kidnapped as something that “happened to somebody else.” People felt safe in small town neighborhoods. The natural assumption was that Will had run away or had gotten lost.
  2. Nancy is really too skinny to correctly represent an ’80’s girl. Girls, for the most part, weighed more and were curvier. If you don’t believe me, watch the original Elisbeth Shue in The Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, also see Mollie Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, and Mia Sara in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
  3. Nancy’s clothes, and everybody else’s, are spot-on. Girls actually wore dresses on a day to day basis and liked it. We wore blouses and tied thin ribbons around the neck with a bow, then layered a thin sweater over it.
  4. Barb’s glasses are the best. As you can see, I had a pair of those, or two or three. It was what everybody word: round and half as big as your face.
My brother and me in our '80's hair and glasses.
My brother and me in our ’80’s hair and glasses.
  1. If a teen girl in the ’80’s returned home super late, the mom wouldn’t have said, “You can talk to me.” A mom would have said, “I don’t care where you were, you are late. You are grounded for a week.” And after finding out the girl had been with a boy, the mom would have said, “I am making an appointment to get you a pregnancy test. You are grounded for life, and you will never see that boy again.” (One slight deviation from reality and how the show portrays reality.) By the way, the show is not really clear on whether or not the teen couple actually have sex. I like that as a viewer–not to watch a teen sex scene and not to know how far they actually went.
  2. Speaking of which, back then, if memory serves, Victoria’s Secret was for grown women with extra spending money for fancy lingerie. It was not for the everyday woman. Women wore plain (mostly white) bras and pretty much plain underwear, although some of the panties were colored or had little designs on them. The girl’s bra in the show is fairly representative of the choice we women had back them.
  3. Although we did not have colored bras, we did have colored toilet paper. Blue, Pink, Yellow (?) I don’t remember all of the colors available. People had toilet paper to coordinate with the color schemes of their bathrooms.
  4. I don’t remember boys having hair like Steve’s hair–except in the movie Sixteen Candles. It was either the crew cut or the bowl haircut as demonstrated by Jonathan Byers, Will Byers, Mike Wheeler, and Dustin Henderson. The rest of the hair is spot-on, especially Barbara’s “Dorothy Hamill” hair and Nancy’s mom’s “Feathered” hair (Again, see picture above.)
  5. Dungeons and Dragons was huge. It was also considered evil. Many parents forbid their kids to play it. I wish I had had access to a group so I could have played. I would have been into the cosplay and the whole bit.
  6. We didn’t say, “Seriously.” We would say, “Are you for real?” We also said, “Well, duh,” instead of “obviously.” If someone was running fast, he (she) was bookin’. Good looking guys were foxes and stud muffins and hunks. Pretty girls were foxes and babes.
  7. I don’t know where Mrs. Byers and the pre-schooler go all day. Back then, most moms didn’t work. The show never says where they go off to. I don’t think Mrs. Byers has a job because she comes home with groceries in the middle of the day in one episode. Moms, by the way, really did bake all of those goodies for Christmas.

Stranger Things has two sexual situations that I can think of, but it doesn’t really show much. Violence is minimal although there is some.  It is a show that holds appeal for all ages.

Two aspects of this show really stand out to me.

Number One is that the teens are portrayed as teens really are: conflicted, immature, caring, curious, intelligent, and too brave for their own good. Not perfect people, but not bad people.

Number Two is that the adults and kids eventually work together. The adults are not the enemy.

If you have any memories of how things were in the ’80’s, or if you have something you would like to share about this show, please write it in the “comments” below.

(I couldn’t get my numbers to go to 5 after the picture. My daughters are sleeping, so it is going to have to stay the way it is.)

And, yes, I did that pic of Reepicheep myself. Pretty gnarly, huh?



Dear Younger Me. . .

Mercy Me has a song out called “Dear Younger Me. ” In it the singer tries to decide whether or not to give his younger self “spoilers” about how his life will turn out.

Here’s Mine



Savor all of those fresh vegetables from the garden. Find out how Grandpa Dave does it because when you are older, your vegetable garden is going to leave something to be desired, like vegetables.

You were a good kid. The incident with the concrete wasn’t your fault. Grandpa Dave should have locked the door.

This is how you thought you looked:

Me–Teenager in Play

This is how you really looked:


Me–High School Graduation Party*

You will look like both when you are older, depending on the day and how much effort you want to put out.

Yes, you will eventually find Grandpa Dave’s secret hot chocolate recipe. It will be in the last place you thought you’d ever find it.

Invest in Wal-Mart, Disney, and Pepsi. You will be rich in about 20 years.

The Bionic Woman doll was ugly, and you will get SO MUCH mileage out of how it gets broken. Don’t take it too hard. After all, she was truly bionic for about an hour.


Someday, you will be athletic! Believe it or don’t!

Relax more. Read more books and watch more television. Spend more time with friends. In college you are going to have so much fun with Debbie, Lorrayne, and Dale. You are going to meet some awesome people and have some great adventures.

Keep track of Lynette, who talked you into rappelling that day. (Don’t worry, it’s fun, and neither of you die.) She just kind of disappears from your life, and although you try to find her, you haven’t yet.

Someday you will meet a man who will laugh with you. You will know when he laughs that he is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.


You do get a dog eventually, and she is a good one.

Post in the comments below what you would tell your younger self. I would LOVE to know. And if you know a woman over 35 whose name is Lynnette and who is from the Chicago area, please show her this blog post, and tell her to get in touch with me.