Bonn Voyage

On January 28th, 2009 I will have been married for 20 years.  I realize that is not nearly as long as some but it is definitely longer than most.  Anyway, I have been hearing for the last 20 years from my wife, “You are taking me on a cruise for our 20th!”  So guess where we are going?

We leave New Orleans on Saturday for a 5 day cruise to Mexico.  We will have stops in Progresso on the Yucatan Peninsula and the island of Cozumel.  On our anniversary, the 28th, we will be at sea traveling back to the U.S.A  It also happens to be formal night in the dining room, which will be perfect for our celebration.

The one fortunate thing about this whole messed up economy thing is that the cost of travel has come down considerably.  This will be one of the least expensive vacations we have ever taken.

Anyway, you might ask what this has to do with The Houseparent Network?  The answer is simple!  From about 10:00 PM January 23rd until about 8:00 PM January 29th The Houseparent Network will be on Auto-Pilot.  I refuse to pay $2.49 to talk on my cellphone or 50 cents to send a text message, so my phone will be turned off the whole time.  Internet costs $24 an hour, so I won’t be spending much time on that either.  Feel free to send me an e-mail if you wish and if I can answer it, I will.  I won’t be posting any listings or doing any updates until I return.

I apologize for any inconvenience this causes, but it will be the first time since I started the website over 8 years ago, that I have been unavailable for more than a a day or two and I think I owe it to my wife for putting up with me for 20 years. I just hope withdrawal from technology is not very painful.

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Keep Moving Forward – Ya Right!

The kids and I just finished watching “Meet the Robinsons” again for Sunday afternoon rest time.  It’s a great movie about a boy that is abandoned at an orphanage by his birth mother and spends the entire time he is there trying to find a way to find here to be reunited.  This sets off a huge adventure of time travel, fighting against evil, etc.  If you are not familiar you can read more about the movie at imdb.

Anyway toward the end of the movie there is a scene where Lewis (the main character) is talking to the villain (his roommate from the orphanage that has traveled back in time to ruin Lewis’ life) and it went like this:

Lewis: Goob, I had no idea!
Bowler Hat Guy: Shut up! And don’t call me “Goob”! How many evil villains do you know that can pull off a name like “Goob”? Bleh!
Lewis: Look, I’m sorry your life turned out so bad. But don’t blame me you messed it up yourself. You just focused on the bad stuff when all you had to do was… let go of the past and keep moving forward.
Bowler Hat Guy: Hmm, let’s see… take responsibility for my own life or blame you? Dingdingdingdingding! Blame you wins hands down!

“You just focused on the bad stuff when all you had to do was… let go of the past and keep moving forward.”  – how many of your kids could you have said that to?  As I sit here I can think of many children I have cared for that if they could have just let go of the past and tried moving forward with the future, their lives probably would have been so much better.

I think if we have a primary mission with the children we care for it is to help them take responsibility for their lives and their future, help them to let go of the past, and help them to keep moving forward.

How can we do that? 

  1. Do our best to stay positive, letting go of the past, and keep moving forward ourselves.
  2. Encourage the children to do the same.
  3. Point out to the children the positive things in their lives
  4. Help them to find talents and develop them.
  5. Encourage, encourage, encourage and then encourage some more.

I am sure there are other things you can do and would welcome additions to this list.  Just join the blog and enter them as comments.  Also if you haven’t seen “Meet the Robinsons”  I strongly suggest seeing it.

Smiley Face Pancakes

If you have ever wanted to do something fun for the kids, here is the ticket.  Make them “Smiley Face Pancakes” for breakfast.

I first got this idea from a fellow houseparent when I was visiting a facility in Texas.  All the kids in his cottage enjoyed them very much, even the teenagers.  He used a spoon to draw out the faces and was pretty good at, however every time I tried it, something always seemed to go wrong and they looked BAD (Real BAD).  That was until the day, I found the easy way to do it while watching “Food Network” with my pre-teen girls.

The secret is the squeeze bottle. I got one from Walmart for less than a dollar and cut most of the end off to make the spout bigger and it works great.  Mix your batter thin, so it squeezes out of the bottle easily. 

The Parts you will need: Griddle, Bowl of batter, Ladle, & Squeeze bottle

Gather your materials.  You will need your griddle, or whatever you use to cook pancakes on.  A bowl of batter, ladle, and squeeze bottle full of batter.

Pre-heat your griddle, spray it with cooking spray, and then draw out your faces.  Let them cook for about a minute or so, and then fill them in using a ladle and batter from the bowl.  The longer you let the batter cook before you fill it in the darker the face will be.

Drawing the Smiley Faces.

You can use the bottle to fill in the pancakes, like they did on the Food Channel, but then you have to refill it more often.  I found it was easier just to use the ladle.  I also found that the more practice you get drawing with the squeeze bottle the better your smiley faces will look.

You can also write things into the pancakes.  I thought about writing all the children’s names in their own pancakes but quickly realized I was not that great at writing backwards.  You have to write in reverse, like looking in a mirror, for it to come out readable when you flip the pancake.  I was able to write some numbers backward, so I made NASCAR pancakes.  Those were actually a bigger hit with my children, than the smiley faces were.

Let the Smiley faces cook for a minute or so before you fill them in with batter.

Let the Smiley faces cook for a minute or so before you fill them in with batter.

Any writing has to be backward to be readable in the finished pancakes.

Here are the finished NASCAR Pancakes

Here are the finished NASCAR Pancakes