First Aid Kit My kit


We went to the beach this weekend and had a great time. Unfortunately one of our kids were climbing on the breaker rock and cut himself really good on a piece of coral. So I walked back to the bus and got the first aid kit (Standard tin can kit) and started fixing up the boy.

I noticed that while the kit was sufficient for one or two minor mishaps, it still leaves alot to be desired.

I decided to go with a back pack with multiple pockets so I can dived supplies up and find them quickly. The kids helped to put it together also so they have an idea of where some of the stuff is. It is also much more comfortable to carry along, which means I am more apt to grab it and have it with me when I need it. Some items listed are EMT level of care. Although I am certified to use the items, my wife is not. We decided it is still a good idea to carry the items because in a critical situation there may be someone on scene that can use the item. Please feel free to add.

Shears (super heavy duty scissors)
First Aid Guide
CPR Microshield/Face Shield
Pocket Mask/Micro Mask
36″ moldable Splint
SAM Finger Splint
Arm Splints, Cardboard
Digital Hypo/Hyperthermia Thermometer
Splinter Forceps
Scalpel #11 Blade (Sterile)
Window Punch (Works great for those bus wrecks you’ll be on)
Adjustable Neck Collar
Space Blanket (Foil)
20cc Irrigation Syringe (Flushing out wounds, eyes) One of those blue baby suction bulb things would work great also.
Bottled Water
PVP Wipes/PVP Swab sticks
Wound Closure Strips card
Tincture of Benzoin
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Instant Ice Packs
Instant Heat Packs
Latex Exam Gloves
Antimicrobial hand wipes
Alcohol Wipes
Infectious Control bag
Spill Clean-up Kit
Water Gel Burn Dressing
Eye Pad
Normal Saline, 12 oz bottle
4×4’s (Sterile)
4×4’s (Non-sterile)
3×3’s (Sterile)
2×2’s (Sterile)
Bloodstopper-Style Bandage
10 x 30 Multi-Trauma Dressing
8×10 Trauma Pad
5×9 Trauma Pad
Conforming Gauze Bandage (2″)
Conforming Gauze Bandage (3″)
Conforming Gauze Bandage (4″)
Krinkle Gauze Roll 6-ply (Kurlex)
Triangular Bandage
Elastic Bandage with clips (3′)
Adhesive Tape (1″ x 10 yds)
Hypoallergenic Tape (1″)
Strip Bandages
Knuckle Bandages
Fingertip Bandages
Extra-large Bandages
Butterfly Bandages
Cotton Tipped Applicators
Cortisone Cream
Sting Relief Pads
Ammonia Inhalant
Safety Pins
Whistle w/Lanyard

Most of this will never be used, but hey, I got it just in case. Total weight when it is all packed is about 10 pounds.

I also carry a cell phone everywhere. Even if you have no service, in some areas if you dial 911 you can get connected in many areas.

Dented Cans

Living in a children’s home we receive donated food items rather often. Many, many times we receive boxes of dented cans from stores. I have known for years that you shouldn’t buy dented cans from the store, now I know why, especially if they contain acidic foods.

We got several cans of tomato soup in our food order a few weeks ago. I went to make lunch one Saturday and was going to serve the soup, all of which came in dented cans. After I opened the cans and poured them in the pan, I noticed that it was a strange color and had a strange smell. I looked inside the cans they came in and noticed that there was rust or some type of corrosion right where the dent was.

What must have happened was when the can got dented it stretched and tore the plastic liner inside the can (all iron based food cans, have a thin plastic liner) which allowed the metal to corrode. I will be much more cautious of dented cans in the future.

Fishing Group Home Style Making my life easier


 Being that I originate far above the Mason Dixon Line in the heart of Yankee territory I have had to struggle a little with this whole Southern Bass fishing thing. For one, my roots (and heart) remain steadfastly a fly fisherman- dry flies at that. But I gave in and geared up for Bass fishing.

Problem is taking the kids fishing. Every one of us that has spent a day on the water with several kids knows you spend 98% of the time fixing lines and setting bait. I started getting real annoyed with the needle nose pliers in the front pocket and having to hunt down the tackle box for hooks. So, using some Yankee ingenuity I went out this time with my vest instead of the box.

Not exactly southern etiquette but it worked great. Best part is my vest is designed for fishing streams. everything is tied down and set on retractable cords. Which means I never wonder where I laid my knife down.

So here is my basic set up on my vest.

1. Forceps- Works way better than the old needle nose, especially on pan fish and Bass. They are worthless on Catfish though.

2. Mag Light.

3. Hooks- On the front of the vest is a fuzz patch you can stick various hooks on. You need a hook, rip it off, tie it on. No more trips to the box trying to find some between kids.

4. Worm box- Simple tin box that you can snap on. Works awesome with little kids if your the one baiting all the time.

5. Line snip/ Finger nail clipper.- Quick and easy to cut the line, less dramatic than the Bowie knife.

6. Snaps- quick hook replacement, especially if your fishing ones with leaders already attached.

7. Hat with spinners attached- Just makes people think you know what what your doing.

8. Knife- Along with everything else, TIED DOWN.

9. Sinkers- I use the ones that come in a red container with a spin top because the container is easy to tie down.

10. Leatherman tool- Works great for on the spot repairs for the reel or hooks.

Non- Vest Items

Any kid I take out that I have to do most of the work with gets a closed faced reel- no discussion. I know one HP that will only get open faced reels for his kids. I think he is either bored or clinically insane.

If I’m out to slaughter pan fish, I carry brass salmon egg hooks in a old plastic snuff can.


I think I will take my kids to captain D’s lol, I probably would fall out the boat if I was in one trying to fish or lose my bait ever time I cast the line out .


I like the whole fishing vest Idea. Seems like something I would have thought up, were I not a hater of fly fishing. Just never got it. I don’t understand how you can catch fish with your line stuck in a tree all the time.

I can’t say that I am a master of southern bass fishing either. In fact my boat is currently for sale, so I won’t be tempted to torture myself again.

I have decided to stick with cane-pole fishing with the kids on the private ponds that people invite us to or the seafood department at the local Kroger Supermarket.

Maybe someday I will be able to go home (permanently) and fish for Walleye and Northern Pike again. That I know how to do.


Now there’s an idea! I haven’t thought of using a cane pole in years. I need to invest in some for next week, the kids will probably have more fun with that than the Zebco reels.

As for the Pike, I have always wanted to catch one, but every time I was someplace to fish for them I never got a bite

Operating Budget


My husband and I will be starting a new HP position in January. We will be given a monthly operating budget. Does anyone else receive a monthly operating budget? How much do you receive, and do you feel that it is adequate for monthly purchases?  Do you find yourself spending your personal money to take care of household needs on a regular basis?


My wife and I receive 6 thousand a year, but our groceries, expendables, and office supplies come from their own separate budgets. Our house management budget does fairly well at six thousand, but our kids allowance comes out of it so there goes about half of it unless you have a lot of misbehaved children. From the three thousand we have left after allowance, we have to buy 13 girls birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and any other item we may want for our kids or home. You have to be fairly skilled to make it last but it’s not like you live off on nothing either.



We get a monthly budget. Our breakdown is as follows:

$300- Recreation

$120- Allowance ($20 per boy x six boys)

$800- Food Budget (Supplemented with food bank)

$180- Clothing ($30 per boy)



I’m just going in to our job so I’m not sure about exactly how much but so far I’ve been told 1,500 for food and household every two weeks. I’ll let you know when I get a better picture. But yes, we get lump sums as well.



We don’t have a household budget, most everything is provided through the central agency. Groceries, Supplies, Gasoline, allowances & Work Program Money, etc.

We don’t get anything for recreation that is budgeted. My cottage receives about $200 a year in designated money donated for recreation, other cottages receive much more. We also have enterprise projects where the cottages can grow and sell plants with the profits going into a recreation budget. We don’t participate in that because our children are too young and I don’t want to do all the work. Instead I have a payroll deduction that comes out of every check for our Fun Money Fund. Next year we will probably start growing plants to supplement our fund.

Items not provided by the central office are purchase through a purchase order system on a case by case basis. We do have a cottage checking account for purchasing clothing, school lunches, field trips, Church functions or anything else that the children do or wear. Clothing budgets for the children are based on age and range from $150-$500 a year.

As far as spending personal money on the children or the house, you don’t have to but WE DO, A LOT. I would guess that we spend about 10% of our salary on various things for the children or the house. We didn’t spend near that much early in our career, but for some things it just seems easier to pay for it than deal with the red tape to get it approved and it is nice to be able to eat out and go to a movie, the zoo, etc.

Hope this helps

Computers, TV time and towels

I may have asked this question before and if so I apologize in advance.

What time are the computers and the TV’s turned off in your teen group homes?

I think they should be turned off at nine PM but hubby has a different opinion.

The junior high teens go to bed at 10 and the high schoolers go to bed at 11…that means lights out. It doesn’t mean showers, reading, choosing clothes for school, etc.

I think if the computers and TV’s are on up until their bedtime it only serves to distract them from preparing for bed and school the next day.

IMO, I wish admin would make a new policy that group home kids cannot use MySpace.

In addition, how do is the towel situation handled? You know that a teen will use two, three or four towels a day. Do you assign them a certain amount of towels a week?


In our house the TV is only on for a few hours in the evening. It goes off 10 minutes prior to bedtime. Teens are responsible to be in bed on time on their own, we will help remind Jr. High/Elementary kids. When we were in a B-mod house that meant in bed lights out. In our basic care house that means Jr. High/Elementary in bed lights out, High school in their room and quite. We don’t enforce an in bed rule on high scholars’ unless they have trouble getting up in the morning and then their bedtime is also lowered.

Our computers have timer software on them that prevents log ins after 9:00 PM and before 8:00 AM. This is in addition to time limitations the children already have. In our house it is anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on how old and responsible you are. Extra time can be given for homework projects with an administrator password.

I am a firm believer in the concept of with responsibility comes privilege, with irresponsibility comes structure and guidance.

Many homes agree with you on MySpace and have blocked it, ours probably will when I get back. You have to realize however that when you plug one hole in a colander water comes out another one, and so it is with the internet.

Our rule is one towel a day, except for the rare exception. We have a chore for house laundry and every child that is old enough has a turn doing it. I don’t have a problem washing and folding towels so it don’t bother me, but I have only known a few kids that have enjoyed doing it, so they do a pretty good job of keeping towel use down. Most know that if they make a bunch of towels for somebody else to wash, they will surely to get a bunch when it is their turn.

I have also seen programs where the children are given a certain number of towels they were responsible for. When they got dirty they washed them, if they lost them they replaced them. In these programs all the towels were numbered/colored so you could not take somebody else’s and claim it as yours.


I am a firm believer in the concept of with responsibility comes privilege, with irresponsibility comes structure and guidance.


As long as my girls meet their responsibilities then I am very easy going. We keep our PC room open until chore time (10pm) and then only those who have everything else finished may do a little more on the PC’s after chores are done and then at that time it is ONLY school work.

I use as much as I can as an incentive for good behavior and responsibility. If our girls do their rooms, and chores good, get along with us and each other, act respectfully, and do well in school we are very easy going and very giving to them. When they make poor decisions, act disrespectfully, etc. we begin to structure that child more until they prove they no longer need that.


Computer time is limited based on their levels (we have a 0-5 level system). If they are on the correct level, they can have 30 minutes of computer time. Homework stuff is allowed on any level. Just got info over the weekend that myspace is being blocked on all campus computers.

TV time is limited too based on level. We have to approve whatever they watch. I’m more inclined to let them watch a sporting event (baseball, football, etc.) for a longer period of time that movies, etc. Just my personal opinion though.

We haven’t had a problem with towels so I can’t really address that one. Each boy does their own laundry including towels and bed sheets.

As long as my girls have earned use of the computer, bedtime is the cut off time–as long as they have finished their homework & chores.

TV has to be earned too. When the girls don’t have school, I limit the TV to 2 hours per day until 7pm. After 7pm, if they want to unwind in front of the TV, for me it’s no problem.

As for towels… each person has 2 towels. Each one has a different color.

Houseparent Expenses


Since housing, utilities & food are taken care of for houseparents, what is left to use the income on? I know there are things like personal hygiene, clothes, personal vehicle/gas expenses, etc. But, we have to take care of those now with the major expenses on the income we get now from my husband’s job (which seems to be about the same as allot of houseparenting positions). Are there any other expenses (major or minor)??? I want a good life for the house children, but I want to make sure my birth children have a good life also.


Well, you ask a good question and make me feel a little guilty for spending the kind of money that I do. My wife and I own a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire and a 1997 Chevy Blazer. Payments on those are very high (especially the Crossfire). Other places we spend money is on food. Yes, we can eat here but I am a very picky eater and my wife uses the Atkins diet so we end up buying our own groceries most of the time. (But we do eat with the kids!) I am talking about lunch (when kids are in school) or other times when the kids aren’t here, etc.

I also pay for high speed internet on my computer. I have to use satellite because the house we are in won’t carry the cable connection. It’s sickeningly expensive and I may drop it. I also have Direct TV hooked up in my apartment. We have a nice plasma TV and I want a high def signal with as many channels as I can get (especially sports).

When we are off duty we like to try and go OUT. Since we are so often shut up in this house or on this campus we have a strong desire to go somewhere and do something entertaining so we tend to spend a nice amount of cash on entertainment. This also happens on our vacations, we like to take NICE ones.

But, if you are disciplined, don’t need a new car, don’t need to buy your own food (especially this one!!!), and don’t need other “nice” things, you can save a TON of money, especially where I work. As for the kids in the house, we get a budget (on a credit/debit card) to take care of them with. I do spend small amounts of my personal money on them from time to time but it’s nothing much and certainly not enough to worry about.


My race is on rain delay so I will take time to answer this question now instead of later.

Besides our house that we keep, most of our other income goes to our children. School, clothing, orthodontic work, camp, birthdays, Christmas, etc. My 6th grade daughter wants to go to Norway as an exchange student when she is a Jr, so we are now saving for that.

We travel on vacation once a year, I have an old Pick-up and small fishing boat, a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan, a retirement account and a savings account. Compared to most of society we live a somewhat modest lifestyle

We do spend a good amount on the children in our cottage. I have a payroll deduction that goes into a special fund for cottage activities. I also spend close to $200 a month for cottage stuff like Lunchables for field trips, Gatorade for field days and sports events, as well as special groceries that we are unable to get from the food service people. We have some kids that really enjoy steak and shrimp; I can’t afford to take them out and the kitchen won’t provide it, so I buy the groceries and cook it at the cottage occasionally.

I will also spring for pizza every now and then and have been known to purchase a DVD or two a month for our cottage movie library.

The savings in being able to eat at the home, use their hot water and electricity, burn their gasoline, and washing with their shampoo, soap, laundry detergent and toothpaste makes a huge difference in what we are able to spend our salary on or not spend on and save. I don’t mind using the cheap stuff, but others do and will by their own stuff.

I have also known many houseparents that don’t pay anything out of their pockets for cottage expenses, which is their choice as well as houseparents that spend a bunch more than we do, you just have to make your choice.