Check for ticks

Last week, my daughter was on a field trip where they were playing a game called “Survival of the fittest”.  As the name suggests, they were each “assigned” a certain animal (I believe she was a raccoon) and then spent the day running through the forest, finding prey and/or avoiding predators.

When I got the notice about her field trip, I had just recently run across a news report about a new tick-borne illness that may prove to be even worse than Lyme Disease, so my radar went up when I heard that they were going to be spending the day in the bush (when she got home, it was going to be very important that I check for ticks).   For more information about this new tick-borne disease, called the Powassan virus, check out this video and share it with every parent you know.

My daughter and I have talked about the importance of tick prevention before (periodically, we will partake in a “geocaching adventure”, which almost always involves trudging through wooded areas and/or long grasses), so she knows some of the basics of protecting herself.

Since ticks don’t fly or jump, they typically end up on human ‘hosts’ by crawling on their shoes and working their way up from there (they can also attach themselves to long grasses and then transfer to people who brush up against them).  Ticks are looking for exposed skin to feed on, so one of the best things kids can do to protect themselves is to wear fully-enclosed shoes, long pants (preferably tucked into boots or socks – a major fashion faux-pas, according to my daughter) and a long-sleeved shirt.  Luckily for me, the day turned out to be cooler than it normally would be at this time of year, so my daughter didn’t put up an argument about these clothing requirements (other than the suggestion that she tuck her pants into her socks, of course!).

When she got home, she and I did a thorough “tick check” to ensure that she had no ticks on her body (I also shook out her clothes outside and then put them in the dryer on high for a while).   I found a very helpful poster, created by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, that showed kids where on their bodies to look for ticks,  so my daughter and I were able to use this as a guideline.

If you’re interested in finding out more about protecting your kids from ticks, check out my post “The Great Outdoors – Tick Prevention”.  For those families who enjoy spending time in the woods, you may also wish to check out my post entitled “The Great Outdoors – Identifying poison ivy”.


Thanks Mom!

I’m dedicating this week’s posts to Mothers everywhere!

Let’s face it…we didn’t become Moms for the gratitude, but it sure is nice when our children thank us for all that we do for them!   Here’s hoping we all hear the words, “Thanks Mom…YOU ROCK!” this Mother’s Day!


Thanks to Poppy Seed Projects for this poster.  Click here to get your FREE printable (you might want to use it to say thank-you to your Mom, too!).

For more thoughts on teaching children how to express their gratitude, check out my posts on ‘Saying thank-you’ and ‘Writing thank-you cards’.

Sorting laundry

A few week-ends ago, I “invited” my daughter into the laundry room for a little lesson on sorting laundry and, after a couple more weeks of me guiding her through the process, she was confident enough to take it on herself.  I should clarify…when I talk about ‘sorting laundry’, this includes everything that has to be done with the laundry up to the point where it is ready to be placed into the washing machine (i.e. perhaps ‘laundry preparation’ would be a better term).

Truth is, not everyone sorts their laundry the same way (I learned this when I was doing research for this post and watched a number of different YouTube videos on the subject).  Having said that, there are a number of ‘generally-accepted principles’ that seem to apply to this process.  Next time you’re doing laundry, walk your children through the following steps and let them try their hand at sorting.

I generally sort laundry into the following piles:

  • colors (these are generally fairly bright colors – my daughter and I have quite a few of these)
  • whites/lights
  • darks (black, navy, grey, etc.)
  • towels
  • sheets (do not wash sheets with towels as sheets can pill as a result of the towels rubbing against them)
  • items that need to be washed separately (e.g. brand new items, especially those that are red, that are likely to ‘bleed’ dye initially)

As I pick up an item for sorting, there are a number of things I do to prepare it for washing, if applicable (after all, why handle it twice?):
[green_tick_1_list width=”100%”]

  • check pockets to make sure they are empty  to prevent damage to the item itself, as well as to the washer, and to avoid a BIG MESS (just ‘wash’ a Kleenex and you’ll know why you DON’T want to forget this step)
  • do up zippers (jeans, jackets), strings (e.g. track pants with a draw string), buttons and snaps and remove non-washable trim (e.g. fake fur around a hood) so that they don’t snag other items and damage them or get tangled up
  • make sure socks aren’t bunched up or they won’t wash properly
  • turn items inside out if you want to minimize color loss (e.g. jeans) or to protect them from pilling (e.g. sweaters)
  • put any delicates (e.g. bras, camisoles, things that are lacy, stuffed animals) in a zippered mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect them from getting tangled and/or damaged
  • check for stains (a stain removal product may need to be applied, but this can generally not be done until a few minutes prior to washing, or the fabric could be damaged) – place these items on top of the respective pile or someplace where you will remember to treat them before washing

[/green_tick_1_list]Sorting laundry is relatively easy and can be fun (well, that might be overstating it, but it’s definitely better than cleaning bathrooms)!  Last week-end, my daughter and I made a little ‘game’ of it.  She prepared the clothing, if required, then called out what pile it should go in (e.g. “darks”) and then threw it to me and I tried to ‘bat’ it with my hand into the correct pile (what can I say…sometimes you have to liven things up a bit!).

If you’re interested in teaching your children to help around the house (and who isn’t?!), you may also wish to read my posts on Teaching kids to declutter and Implementing an after-school routine.