Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Adapting Your Home for a Newly Injured Family Member


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In the blink of an eye, the world of a loved one can change. Life altering injuries can be a challenge to your household routine. If a family member sustained an injury in a car accident or was the victim of medical malpractice, you may need to make home improvements to accommodate that person’s needs.

Accidents and medical mistakes can limit your family member’s mobility, cause chronic pain or restrict their ability to personally groom and care for themselves. Because of these issues, your family member may need a wheelchair, walker or other equipment in order to move around.

So, to accommodate the equipment your family member needs, it may be necessary for you to make home improvements.

It’s Not Always DIY

If minor changes are needed, you may be able to do it yourself (DIY). But beyond that, you may have to hire a professional to make the improvements. The following are five common home improvements you may want to consider to make your house more accessible for your recently injured family member:

1. Install railings. With railing along the walls and in bathroom showers and tubs, your family member can grab on to something that will help them maintain their balance and feel secure while they are stepping into and out of the shower or getting out of a wheelchair.

2. Walk-in bathtubs and benches. There are specialized bathtubs that accommodate wheelchairs and benches that your family member can sit on in the shower. In this way, your family member can take care of their hygienic needs in private, if they still have the use of their upper body.

3. Flooring. It’s difficult to move medical equipment with wheels across carpeting. Therefore, you will need to install smooth flooring, if you don’t already have it underneath your carpeting, to allow for the mobility of walkers and wheelchairs.

4. Widening entryways and hallways. Equipment with wheels causes dings in the walls or dents on the doors. The average house cannot accommodate large medical equipment with wheels, which is why widening is necessary.

5. Wheelchair ramps. It’s difficult to take a wheelchair up and down the outside steps of a house with someone sitting in it. It’s much easier to use a wheelchair ramp.

The home improvements you make will depend on your family member’s disability. You may also have to put in new shelving, lighting, or automated features, such as door openers.

Financial Help for Repairs

Since your family member was injured through no fault of their own, they may need to speak with a personal injury attorney. People who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence may be entitled to receive damages from that person or that person’s insurance company.

A personal injury attorney will question your family member about the details of the accident or medical malpractice to determine whether they can file a claim. If so, the attorney would act as your family member’s legal representative and contact the parties responsible for the injuries and negotiate a settlement. If necessary, the attorney would advise your family member of their rights to take the matter to trial.

Making home improvements tends to be costly, and most of the expenses are coming out of your pocket. With help from a personal injury attorney, your family member may be able to get the compensation they deserve. Not only will this help your loved one, it will also help you in the long run.

Nadine Swayne is a freelance writer who researched disability home improvement for her husband who suffered a stroke. She was able to find information for this article online by searching personal injury attorney and car accident recovery.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at You will be glad you did.

Learning Disabled Teens & Teasing (EXPERT)

Learning Disabled Teens And Teasing – No Easy Answers

Expert Author Judy H. Wright

Parents, teachers, extended family and neighbors recognize the special challenges of those who love and teach learning disabled children and adults. They are usually sensitive, kind and giving as small children. Because they are small in stature, people are more forgiving of what they can and cannot do.

Teenagers With Learning Disabilities

However, as these cute little kids grow into teens and adults, they have accelerated difficulties. He/she is still very dependent, while becoming harder to control, guide and teach. The skills may be delayed, but the body and hormones are changing daily. A LD teen may not understand or confuse many aspects of life when in social situations. Sensitive to others anyway, this teen may react negatively to any correction or criticism. What may have started out as casual banter, may be interpreted as hurtful teasing.

Learning disabilities can make the social scene very hard for teens.

Brain disorders are expressed in many strange ways, included a frenzy of hyperactivity. This hyperactivity may irritate the very people the teen is hoping to attract as friends.

Teens With Learning or Physical Disability May Become Target of Teasing

As I have said in many of the previous posts and articles-bullying and teasing is about power. The bully looks for someone who can be manipulated or humiliated in order to make himself/herself feel more important. The majority of learning disable adolescents do not have social skills and the ability to communicate in order to stop the teasing. Self esteem and confidence is not easy to come by in any teenager, but may be especially lacking in those who have severe physical or learning abilities. The amount of teasing, bullying, name calling and taunting that goes on in Special Ed classes and in the hallways of schools internationally, is overwhelming. This is especially true in junior high and high school when independence is encouraged and tattling is discouraged.

What Should Teachers and Parents Do

Kindness and empathy for others hopefully is an on-going conversation in your home and classroom. Help all children, but especially those that have learning and social difficulties, to determine if it is a big problem or a small problem. If it is a small problem help them come up with techniques or ideas to solve it themselves. If it is a big problem, which involves safety, help them to communicate either with the bully or with an adult. Tattling is to get someone in trouble. Telling is to save someone from harm.

Self Awareness Quiz

1. What do you think when you see a learning disabled teen?

2. Do you feel that you have nothing in common?

3. Would you step up and intervene or find help if you saw someone being teased?

4. Do you agree with the difference between tattling and telling?

5. Can you decide what is a big problem and what is a small problem in life?

You are a smart and strong person and I have confidence you will find good solutions to help support not only learning disabled teens, but others who are being teased and bullied. Be sure to claim your free report about bullying at

Thank you for being part of a community of kind, thoughtful people who want respect for all.

You have permission to reprint this article in your blog or newsletter as long as you keep the complete content and contact information intact.Thank you, Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke”

Surprising Dangers of Prescription Drug Dependency And Your Family

Surprising Dangers of Prescription Drug Dependency And Your Family

Lately, whenever you read the news, it seems that another Hollywood celebrity has just entered or just returned from rehab because he or she was addicted to prescription medication. Surprisingly, prescription drug addiction is dangerous, and much more common than you may realize. It is something that affects many people – not just celebrities.

Many prescription drugs are habit-forming and addictive. Medicines from painkillers to sleeping pills to ADHD drugs such as Ritalin, are all common forms of pills that anyone can become dependent upon using. The employment of prescribed medications today is so common, that many times, we don’t think twice about the potential for abuse, misuse, or dependency.

Drug Dependency Can Happen to Anyone

Another danger of becoming dependent on prescription drugs is that it can happen to just about anyone. Elderly people who take many medications may become dependent long-term. Women take more prescribed tranquilizers and mood enhancing pills, so they are more susceptible to addiction than men. Teens are also vulnerable when it comes to drug dependency – especially if they see their parents partaking on a regular basis.

Drug Dependency Can Occur Over Time

When people take prescription medication for pain, for sleeping, or for mood improvements, often they learn to like the effects of these drugs, and feel that they are unable to function without them. In some cases, people may think, “If one pill has this positive effect, then two or more will make me feel even better.” This is a dangerous road that can lead to many complications including physical, emotional, legal and relationship issues.

Effects of Prescription Drug Dependency

Probably the most obvious concerns that people with drug addictions face are physical ones. An abundance of health problems can happen to someone who takes pills every day, including irregular heartbeat, risk of heart attack, seizures, hostility, paranoia, infections and overdose.

All of these risk factors can lead to financial troubles, serious relationship issues with other family members and friends, and legal issues such as getting arrested for stealing or forging prescriptions. “Drug crimes do not just pertain to street drugs. Drug crime laws also address the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs,” says Perhaps even your professional career can be in jeopardy as a result of your performance at work, or because you have missed too many days due to health issues.

Preventing Abuse and Dependency

Thankfully, if you or a loved one is on path toward drug dependency or abuse, there are steps you can take to prevent the consequences of this dangerous road.

1. Speak to your doctor about your concerns. Make sure you let him or her know about all the medication you are taking, how often and how you feel as a result.

2. Follow directions carefully. Never change the dosage on your own, especially if you feel inclined to increase it. Check with your doctor first to make sure you are taking the medication only as prescribed as the proper dosage.

3. Ask your pharmacist about side effects. Always know what type of side effects or primary effects the drugs will have. Make sure you understand completely about potential interactions with other medications or alcohol, too.

4. Never take someone else’s pills. Even if you have the same symptoms, never take someone else’s prescribed medication. Speak to your doctor about your specific condition, as your prescription may be completely different than a friend’s or family member’s.

If you or someone you love is in danger of prescription drug dependency, know that help is available. Speak to your doctor or medical professional, or join a support group as soon as possible.

After watching more than one of her friends go down this unfortunate road, author Molly Pearce decided to write this post in the hopes it might make just one reader think twice. Most of her research for this article was done online, on medical and legal sites, such as The web is a great source of info and support for those struggling with prescription abuse or dependency.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at .. You will be glad you did.


Teen Headed To College? 5 Off-Campus Housing Tips

Built-Ins and Fireplace

Teen Headed To College? 5 Off-Campus Housing Tips

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30 percent of all first-year students live on campus, and an additional 27 percent live off-campus away from their parents. However, when college students are included, from freshmen to seniors, on-campus housing is only utilized by 20 percent of the nationwide student body. 

Clearly a large percentage of students will eventually need off-campus housing. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of rental options available, including houses, but it is essential for students and parents to carefully consider many factors before selecting a place to rent or buy. If the main objective is for the parents to buy a property that the child can use during his college years, and then turn it into an investment property after, you must look at the following points from both sides of the coin, as a lessee and lessor.

Five Things To Look For In Off-Campus Housing

1. Renting or Buying – It is necessary to stay within a reasonable budget, but you also need to consider the fact that each area has an average rental rate. Attempting to go too far below this rate will force students to live in areas that are undesirable. Therefore, you should research the area under consideration. For example, if your college-bound teen wants to attend school in Austin, Texas, you can look up average rental rates online or consult an experienced realtor to help you explore your options and set an appropriate budget. A directory such as Movoto will help you localize the search areas since Austin is home to numerous universities and colleges. As buyers, parents need to look into areas that properties have a history of holding their value.

How about being the landlord instead of the tenant? You could purchase a house near campus, install your son or daughter, and pay off the mortgage by renting rooms to other coeds. This is a great way to house your college student, invest in income property, and generate income long term—as a landlord—or short term—by selling up after your young genius graduates.

2. Solid Security – For most parents facing an empty nest, their child’s safety is as important as their education. Obviously gated apartment complexes with on-site security patrols are preferable for the student and for their parent’s peace of mind. If this is beyond your budget, you can still research the crime statistics online by zip code, and the local police department can give you detailed information about a specific neighborhood. Keep in mind that the cheaper the rent is, the more likely it is that the house or apartment might be located in or near a high crime area. Even if the asking sale price might be affordable, consider how easily or difficult it would be for you to rent to other students in that area.

3. Responsive Landlord – Many people have funny or scary stories from their college years about having rented an apartment from a slumlord. Today, even for the most fearless or adventurous student, that’s simply not a wise option. Signing on the dotted line with an unresponsive landlord can mean signing up for all kinds of headaches: minimal security; poor lighting in hallways; neglected electrical and plumbing repairs; and infrequent trash collection, to name a few. If the student has a car, does the landlord provide safe well-lit parking near the building?

An indifferent absentee landlord can leave students to fend for themselves in a stressful environment, and this is not conducive to proper studying. Look for online reviews of the landlord under consideration. Talk to current tenants about their experiences. Scrutinize the lease carefully before signing.

When you are the landlord, you need to treat your renters in the same way that you would like your own child to be treated. This means taking care of repairs or maintenance in a timely manner and keeping the area safe.

4. Campus Access – Off-campus housing should not involve intensive daily commuting. Simply choosing a nice place to rent in the right city is not enough to ensure that a student will be able to easily access their classes. This is especially true in cases where the student will be relying on public transportation.

Assess the distance between each rental property that you are considering and the closest mode of public transportation that goes near the campus, both buses and trains. What’s the traffic like during rush hour? Are bus stops well lit at night? Do buses run reliably even in the evening? If the subway is involved, how safe and reliable is this service? Does the school provide shuttle service to the area where your child or your future renter will live?

5. Local Amenities – As appetizing as an area with lots of bars and restaurants might be to a college kid, it can spell disaster for their health. Look for communities with basic amenities: a grocery store; a convenience store; and a drug store. Are they all within walking distance? Do any of them offer student discounts? Is there a minimal care clinic nearby in case of emergencies?

As parents, we want the best for our children. A positive college experience is one of them. Where they live plays a huge part in that experience. When you find the perfect housing arrangement for your child, you are helping to make his college years memorable.

Freelance writer Nadine Swayne knows how crucial it is for parents to know what to look for and what questions to raise when shopping for safe off-campus housing for their young charges. Whether renting or buying, a local realtor can relieve some of the stress for parents and child.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at .. You will be glad you did.



Creating A Baby Gift Basket? What You Need To Make It Eco-Friendly

gift basket from hosts

Creating A Baby Gift Basket? What You Need To Make It Eco-Friendly

If you’re on the lookout for the latest and greatest thing for a baby gift basket, did you know that you can combine both cutting edge with an eco-friendly bent? Keeping the planet healthy for a child’s future is becoming an important factor for many new mommies and daddies these days, and retailers are all too happy to oblige by making their products with less waste, better materials and recyclable. So where does a savvy shopper get started?

Keeping It Eco-Friendly: Smart Buys

If you’re looking to help parents save the planet while raising their offspring, there are many companies who have taken the “going green” ethos to heart, particularly when it comes to baby items. Look for key words such as “organic,” “non-toxic” and “fair-trade” when seeking out earth-friendly products. Additionally, check out these types of products which make great gifts and give you the most planet-friendly bang for your buck.

1.  Dreamy Baby Blankets

Wrapping your baby in a blanket that is naturally antibacterial, hypoallergenic, breathable and moisture-wicking (meaning it moves moisture away from the skin) will make everyone sleep tight. Also make sure it is pesticide-free.

2.  Toxic-Free Baby Bottles

The best baby bottles these days are PBA-free, versatile and completely recyclable. The use of non-toxic materials will make any parent feel good about handing them to their child, and as the baby grows up, some of the bottles can be easily converted to sippy cups. When they’re done, they can share with other parents or simply recycle.

3.  Green Playards and Baby Seats 

For that gift card item in the cute little envelope, parents who are concerned about the materials that touch their baby’s skin every day will love a green, clean new washable playard to help with months of baby care. There are also baby seats that have materials completely free of Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR) which contain potentially harmful contaminants. Some car seat companies also run a recycling program for when baby has outgrown the seat.

4.  New Diaper Fashions

Most parents don’t want to resort to using disposable diapers, but it’s difficult to deny the convenience compared to the cloth variety. Look for diapers that are made with completely organic material, are totally reusable after a wash and leak-proof. Many come in cute styles and colors, making them perfect for the fashion conscious parent as well.

5.  Natural Cleaning Items

Every parent wants to keep their baby and their baby’s play and changing area clean, but many would like to avoid harsh chemicals, focusing on natural ingredients instead. Jessica Alba’s latest venture, for example, offers families a monthly delivery of natural products including diapers, wipes, detergent, shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotions the whole family can use. Better yet, all the products and their packaging are completely recyclable.

There are many chemical-free household cleaning brands safe for baby. Also, using a playard and other multi-purpose baby items with easy to clean surfaces means there is no need for products with harmful chemicals and there is less waste of space.

6.  Organic Baby Food

Many moms and dads are concerned about what goes into their kid’s food, and with good reason. Jarred foods from the grocery store can often contain additives and preservatives that a baby doesn’t need. Baby food should be non-toxic and BPA-free.

Do a Google search to find organic baby food brands and include sites that will instruct parents on making homemade baby foods from ingredients that they know. Making their own food not only insures that their baby is eating organic and well, but can oftentimes be much cheaper as well. You can find blenders specifically designed for this purpose.

Buying green can help to maintain the planet for generations to come. Finding planet-friendly products made of non-toxic materials that are more likely to be fully recyclable may take a little extra effort, but is well worth it, so do your research to find the best products and deals. To save the new parents some valuable time, create a gift basket filled with great eco-friendly products or give them a gift card they can use to shop online with a green retailer.

Nadine Swayne is a freelance writer and green living enthusiast who believes we must all do our part to preserve the planet. She is always looking to purchase gift cards for great items like a washable playard to put into adorable gift baskets.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at ..  You will be glad you did.






Your Teen and DUI: Consequences For the Entire Family


Your Teen and DUI: Consequences For the Entire Family

Any situation involving a DUI can have serious repercussions for accused individual. However, this is oftentimes even worse for teenager, as it can also negatively affect not only their future, but their family as well. Though everyone involved would likely wish to put this one “stupid decision” firmly behind them, drunk driving incidents can have an emotional ripple effect on the entire family.

Coping with the aftermath of your teen’s drunk driving incident is difficult enough without taking into consideration the further impact it may have on your family. Your relationship with your spouse can suffer, as can social relationships for both you and your other children. Additionally, there are financial setbacks and future plans that could possibly be severely compromised.

1) Your other children are teased at school.

Whether you live in a large city or a small town, every community has a grapevine. Even if your teen’s DUI wasn’t published in the paper, chances are, word will get around. This could result in your other children being teased by their friends, or their parents even forbidding them to come to your home. Talk to your children about how to handle teasing, and speak to other parents to let them know while you love your teenager, you do not condone their choices and would never let their child come to harm in your home.

2) The legal costs are crippling to your family’s finances.

According to Hofland & Tomsheck, Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys, criminal conviction often carries with it a range of potential consequences that can negatively impact your life forever. This includes exspensive fines can range from $500 to over $2000. From hiring a DUI attorney to court costs and fines, coping with the price can bring a huge amount of debt to a family. This may mean that birthdays and holidays suffer, as well as any planned vacations going out the window. Sit down with your family and be honest about the situation so everyone knows what to expect. While it is disappointing, sticking together during this time is key.

3) Your friends and family think you’re a bad parent.

Parents of teens caught drunk driving can often experience the cold shoulder from other parents, members of their community and even their own family. Coping with feeling “cut off” from your support system can be very depressing for everyone involved. Try to be forthcoming with your friends and family about what has happened, and that your family is trying to cope with a very serious setback. More than likely, there will be people in your circle who have dealt with similar situations who can help.

4) You and your spouse can’t stop arguing.

Stress is an enormous cause of arguments in any relationship, but the stress of a child in trouble can be doubly so. If your teenager is in trouble, it will be natural for you to be angry, and that can sometimes move into picking fights with your spouse or loved one. Try to understand the cause of your anger, and if need be, speak to a professional to counsel you and your family with your issues.

5) Your insurance is through the roof.

Insurance in the United States is expensive enough for most families without having to add a DUI charge to the mix. If your teenager is convicted with an offense or there is damage to your car or injuries, you are likely to see a big jump in your insurance costs. Shop around for your insurance provider and be forthcoming about the cause. Additionally, your teenager should also be asked to contribute towards the insurance with a part-time job.

Communication is important when dealing with the aftermath of a drunk driving charge. However, good communication is key. Take a policy of complete honesty to deal with friends and family, making sure to underline that while you do not agree with what your child did, you are trying to work through it as a family. Sticking together is the most important thing you can do.

Journalist Nicole Bailey-Covin has covered many unfortunate cases where young people have made and sometimes fatal choices in deciding to drink and drive. She encourage parents to talk to their teens and when needed don’t be afraid to monitor their children’s communications and whereabouts.  It is better to be protective and safe, than to look back with regrets.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at You will be glad you did.

Do You Have An Indigo Child? (EXPERT)


speaking, indigo kids, techno-savvy, technology, hard to manage kids, how to manage indigo kids

Judy Helm Wright, aka “Auntie Artichoke” is a parent educator and life coach who has worked with families like yours all over the world. Give her a call at 406-549-9813 to schedule a speaking engagement.


Indigo Children- Born to Lead, Hard to Manage, Do you have one at your house?

 Indigo children are children that are not content to color in the lines or glue macaroni on paper. They are very bright but also very active and curious, which can make them hard to keep up with. It often seems like Indigo children are born knowing who and what they are immediately.

What they really need are parents to guide them a little and keep them safe until they are grown up enough to accomplish what they have been sent to do. Many parents and teachers are scared of such independent spirits and want to medicate them because they are easier to handle that way.

These beautiful kind spirits are very hard to keep in the old rules of schools and families. They are self directed and don’t always get why adults want them to do things. They often believe that they are the boss.

Because they were exposed to technology in the womb, they are often very tech-savvy.  Show them an iPad or cell phone and within minutes, they know how to make it work to play games or look at cartoons.

A Few Characteristics of Indigo Children (Noted by Jan Tober and Lee Carol, Authors of “What is an Indigo Child.”)

 *  They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).

*  They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

*  They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought.

*  They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).

* They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward; feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

How do I tell if my child is an Indigo Child?

You will know. I can usually tell when a child is an indigo child because their eyes will look at you as if they can see into your soul. They are the ones who will help all of humanity to move in a better direction. A leader who will lead in their own way. Our job is to keep these Indigo Children safe and recognize what they have to teach us. They are born to lead, so let’s guide and accompany them on their journey, but let them lead the way. I am sure you probably have a child or two who come to mind when I talk about an Indigo Child.

So, now that you know what an Indigo Child is, if you didn’t already, how should you act when dealing with one?

Trust Your Intuition

There are many other books out there that will give you insight into the personality of an Indigo Child. However, your most important source of inspiration on dealing with your child is your heart and intuition. No one knows and loves your child as you do. Discuss and plan with the child systems to make life easier for both of you.

If your child has lost self esteem by trying to fit into a “regular world” please go to for a free ebook which will help them recognize their inner strength. You will be so glad you did.

Thanks for joining our community of caring parents, family members, coaches, teachers and mentors who want to help raise a generation of responsible adults who respect others.

Looking For a Unique Proposal Idea? Try a Gift Basket!

The gift that keeps on giving

Looking For A Unique Proposal Idea? Try A Gift Basket

When you’ve finally found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life and start a family with, you can’t wait to ask for their hand in marriage. However, engagement proposals on bended knee have been done before. If you’re looking for a unique way to ask your intended if they’ll marry you, you may want to consider a personalized gift bag or gift basket. Although you do not have to break the bank for this unique themed proposal, you do want to make it personal and intimate for your beloved. Below are a few ideas to help get you started towards the big day.

A Touch Of Hollywood Glamour

From celebrities like Kim Kardashian to events like the Golden Globe Awards, gift bags and baskets have become known as an elegant and sophisticated token of appreciation and extravagance. If your sweetheart is a fan of Hollywood glam, try compiling a gift bag with some of her most notable celebrity items, such signature perfume by her favorite Hollywood icon, a bottle of designer sparkling water or juice, high end organic snacks, and your engagement ring nestled at the bottom of the bag.

Walk Down Memory Lane

Marriage is one of the happiest times in a couple’s life, and you want to make the proposal a memorable occasion. In order to mark your journey together, place your focus on items that will showcase the places and events that led up to the proposal. You can put together a gift basket using movie ticket stubs, theater flyers and stuffed animals.

Your proposal basket can also include gifts, notes and pictures. If you’ve taken trips together, include brochures and paraphernalia collected on your adventures, hiding the ring underneath the layers of items. When you’re done taking a walk down memory lane, she’ll find the ring as she unfolds the final piece of the puzzle. What an amazing memory to add to your new life together.

Commit To The Future

Many of today’s couples are deciding to tone down the nuptial arrangements and use the money toward a home and family. Also, couples often “blend” families when getting married. If you’ve talked about what you would like to do with your future, personalize your proposal gift basket with for sale signs, home listings, new construction sites, specific home features and pictures of cats, dogs and your children. You can also have a small box wrapped that says “Home Sweet Home.” When the package is opened, your intended will see the ring and how it’s a symbol of your commitment to your future together as a couple.

Honeymoon Celebration

The honeymoon is an important part of any wedding celebration. Since the hard work of putting the wedding together is behind you, you’re now free to relax and enjoy your time together as a couple. If you’ve discussed places that you’ve always dreamed of going on a honeymoon, put together a proposal basket that makes your honeymoon trip into a reality.

Consider starting your special evening with a menu designed around the location you would like to visit. The gift basket can also include brochures, travel pamphlets and attractions that you both would like to visit. After your intended accepts the proposal, you have the materials that you need to put together and plan your honeymoon. Artifacts and miniature sculptures from the region are a great way to hide and display the engagement ring.

Love and Romance

In addition to Valentine’s Day, a marriage proposal is one of the most romantic events in a couple’s life. You can take this theme to the ultimate of romantic levels by creating the right scenario. Using your fireplace as the backdrop, a well laid out picnic could be the perfect way to wow your sweetheart with your proposal basket including picnic fare, chocolates, massage oils and monogrammed bathrobes. You can also have a cookie bouquet inscribed to ask your intended for their hand in marriage. In the middle of this delicious edible setting, the engagement ring can be displayed discreetly.

From helicopter rides and sunsets to sky writing and billboards, marriage proposals have become a creative outlet for asking your loved one to spend your life together. Personalized proposal gift baskets and bags are a great way for you to stand out from the traditional methods and make your dreams come alive.

Nadine Swayne is a freelance writer and enjoys making gift baskets for special occasions for friends and family. In her opinion, a wedding proposal, with a ring found jewelry district in Los Angeles, CA, is just such an occasion that would be perfect for a personalized gift basket.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at   You will be glad you did.




Supporting Your Teen’s Self-Expression


If you’re the parent of a teen or preteen, you likely already know about the many phases that kids go through on their journey toward discovering their personal sense of style. One minute your little princess is prancing around in a tiara, and the next, she’s experimenting with black eyeliner and wanting a tattoo. Experimenting these rapidly shifting phases can be scary as a parent, and you want to do your best to support your child’s self-expression without allowing him or her to make a regrettable change.

Acceptable Forms of Self-Expression

Different parents have different ideas about what is acceptable self-expression. If you’re a tattooed rocker yourself, you may be more comfortable with the idea of your young one wanting some body art than a straight-laced conservative type. However, even most parents who are supportive of tattoos believe that a young teenager isn’t ready to make such a permanent decision.

There will be many more phases of exploration still to come, and no good parent would allow their children to do things they might later regret. Some parents might be against any form of self-expression that makes their kids look different from the norm, but if you’re okay with an edgier look and just don’t want your child making any permanent adjustments, you might want to consider allowing things like semi-permanent purple hair color and temporary tattoos.

All The Fun, None of The Commitment

Temporary tattoos have come a long way since the tiny, faded pictures that used to come as prizes in cereal and snack boxes. Case in point, the website of Tattoo You “is re-inventing the temporary tattoo.” Now, you can find removables in every color and design imaginable, many of which are very intricate and realistic looking.

Various online stores offer a wide selection, allowing your child to choose designs that he or she feels match their desired look. Creating unique and stylish offerings, even some famous designers have jumped on the bandwagon.

Make a Convincing Case For Removable Ink

If your child’s desire for a permanent ink is strong, he or she may be less than enthused about going the temporary route. You can make a convincing argument by explaining that while tattoos can be a great method to make a personal statement, most people are happier with them when they wait until later in life. Also, explain the difficult, painful and extremely expensive process of getting an unwanted tattoo removed versus the easy and pain-free process of washing off a temporary version, which can be done with rubbing alcohol, soap and water.

If their complain is their desired design isn’t available, let them know they have some options to customize the perfect removable image. Not only will playing with temporary tattoos encourage your child’s creativity and self-expression, but it will allow him or her to have some time to think about whether a certain design would make a good real tattoo in the future.

If you play your cards right, your child will listen to your points and decide to be happy with a temporary tattoo. If not, you might have to deal with some anger at first, but in the long run, they will likely thank you for not allowing such a permanent decision to narrow down options for style in the future. Or if you can get them to wait a minute, the next day, as teens do, they may be on to something different.

Teresa Stewart, a free-lance writer with an artistic edge, appreciates a meaningful tattoo but subscribes to the theme that variety is the spice of life. What’s great for today might be not so great tomorrow. She writes for parents who feel their child’s still maturing mind may also want a change in the future.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at   You will be glad you did.

Eight Landscaping Ideas The Whole Family Can Enjoy

Custom Home

Sprucing up the landscaping of your family home will make your entire property more aesthetically pleasing and welcoming to your guest, but also a great way to spend time with the family and encourage bonding time. Fortunately, there are multiple beautiful and relatively easy things that you can do to dramatically improve the appearance of your lawn while teaching and encouraging your kids to get active. In fact, simply putting a few of these techniques in place can convert an average property into the most beautiful one on the block and something to brag about to your friends about how the whole family was involved.

1. Build a Small Rock Garden

If you have an old flower bed or garden area that you would like to fill with something different, you can build a small rock garden to convert that space into something unusual and visually appealing. As an added bonus, this is one less area on your property that will need to be watered and mowed. This creates a great way to teach your kids about building, but in a simplistic way.

2. Shape Your Hedges

Topiary is a very interesting horticultural practice that can be used to set your yard apart from the rest of the neighborhood. In fact, the amount of choices you have when it comes to shaping your hedges is only limited by your own imagination, and your families. Encourage your children to give their input. Therefore, you can select basic shapes or get a professional to bring something much more complicated to life.

3. Hire Professionals 

Some things are difficult to handle on your own when it comes to pests, or the safety of your children. Pests can cause a lot of damage to your lawn, and many of them also target shrubs and trees. With this in mind, it is a good idea to utilize the services of a lawn care technician to take care of pests and perform a wide variety of other important tasks such as aeration. Seen online at one can view the importance of being sure their license is up-to-date, and that they are properly trained in pest control when handling your landscaping needs.

4. Plant Trees and Shrubs

Having trees and shrubs on your property can give it a more lively appearance, and they can also serve multiple other purposes. For example, you could use a hedge line in place of a fence, and trees offer shade to make it more tolerable to entertain in your yard during the summer. Consider your families opinion when considering where to plant your trees and shrubs.

5. Plant Flowers

There is perhaps nothing more eye-catching than having a carefully selected floral selection planted in key areas throughout your yard. Keep in mind that utilizing a specific color scheme will help create cohesion, and it will also provide your property with a more dynamic appearance. Encourage your kids to help with the digging and take this opportunity to teach them about how to care for such plants.

6. Put Down a New Layer of Mulch

Most homeowners choose mulch that is reddish or brown, and this tends to blend in with the rest of the property. However, if you would rather have the mulch stand out, you can switch to the black option instead. This can provide visual contrast, and it will help make your entire lawn look more exciting. Letting your little ones help spread the mulch out is a great way to spend time together.

7. Mow a Design into Your Lawn

Simply mowing your lawn can give it a healthy appearance, but you can take this one step further by purposefully mowing your grass a specific way in order to create a pattern. There are several different designs that you can choose from, including the patterns that are mowed into professional baseball fields. With the family you can look at designs online, and how it can be mowed to create it.

8. Pay Attention to Your Driveway Entrance

If you have grass on either side of your driveway, you should consider framing this area with brightly colored plants and flowers, and it can also be very aesthetically pleasing to add a driveway gate. Encourage your children to participate it what should be planted.

As you can see, it is not complicated to freshen up the exterior appearance of your home while encouraging family time and teaching your kids the basics about landscaping. The majority of these landscaping ideas can be performed by homeowners and their family, but you can also easily turn to a professional lawn care company if you do not have the proper tools, skills or time to take care of things on your own.

Lisa Coleman is a blogger and homeowner from Atlanta GA whose interests include beautiful landscape and design to enhance a home’s natural beauty. Her interests also include gardening and enjoying the outdoors with her 4 children.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at   You will be glad you did.