I love my grandchildren but do I spoil them too much?

I am blessed with three wonderful grandchildren.  Being a grandmother is the best role in the world, but it sometimes can be a balancing act when it comes to spoiling grandchildren.  The following article from Healthy Living Made Simple speaks to that balance:

Offering Sweet Without the SourMagazine November/December 2016

Establishing boundaries for spoiling grandchildren

by Dr. David Elkind

“The adage, ‘The more things change the more they remain the same,’ is as true for grandparenting as it is for so many facets of family life.  Despite societal changes and advances in healthcare and technology that are allowing grandparents to take a more active role in the lives of their grandchildren, some facets remain the same.  A prime example is the tendency for grandparents to spoil their grandchildren.

There are a variety of ways to spoil.  Perhaps the most common is for grandparents to be a bit more lenient with their grandchildren than parents are.  While this is usually harmless, a more risky form of spoiling is to give grandchildren more toys, more clothes or more devices than they may need or want.  This tendency is understandable, but can stem from a number of different underlying motives, acting alone or in concert.”

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David Elkind, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Child Development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

The free fitness app Map My Walk motivates me to walk more


I used to wear a Fitbit clipped to my waistband every day to track my steps, but lately I use the free app Map My Walk on my phone to track my longer walks.  I love it.  It tracks my steps, calories burned, pace, elevation, duration of walk, and charts my walk on a map.  Workouts can be saved or posted on Facebook.  I am sure my friends like to see me hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park while they are at work!  It definitely motivates me to walk more.


Do Fitness Trackers Really Improve Your Health?

The devices aren’t terribly accurate, but that may be beside the point: getting you out and about

by Kaitlin Pitsker from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

October, 2016

“Millions of Americans now wear fitness bands on their wrists to count their steps daily. Some employers are using fitness trackers to set goals—and rewards—for employees. Health and life insurers are offering premium discounts for wearing one. School systems are even using them to enable self-directed physical education programs.

How accurate are they? Fitness bands contain an accelerometer, which tracks movement in every direction to calculate the number of steps you’ve taken. But studies show that over the course of a day, many trackers have error rates of 10% to 20%. Tufts University’s Health & Nutrition Letter suggests you verify that your stride-length setting is correct by going to a track with the exact distance marked and counting your steps as you walk it. If you walk, say, 100 feet in 40 steps, divide 100 by 40. You have a stride length of about 2.5 feet.

fitness trackers

Most fitness bands are on track when it comes to counting steps when you’re walking, running or climbing stairs—usually coming within 1% to 4% of your actual step count, says Alex Montoye, an assistant professor at Alma College who studies wearables. The devices are also good at not awarding credit for stationary activities with a lot of wrist movement, such as typing or shuffling papers.”  Read more

Those who wore fitness trackers significantly increased the time they spent doing moderate to vigorous activity.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Take care to give care.Home

That is the theme of the National Family Caregivers Month for November, 2016.  The following post is from caregiveraction.org:

“The first rule of taking care of others: take care of yourself first. Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it is also physically and emotionally demanding. The stress of dealing with caregiving responsibilities leads to a higher risk of health issues among the Nation’s 90 million family caregivers. So as a family caregiver, remember to pay attention to your own physical and mental wellness, and get proper rest and nutrition. Only by taking care of yourself can you be strong enough to take care of your loved one. You really do need to ‘take care to give care!’

  • Caregiving can be a stressful job. Most family caregivers say they feel stressed providing care for a loved one. With all of their caregiving responsibilities – from managing medications to arranging doctor appointments to planning meals – caregivers too often put themselves last.
  • The stress of caregiving impacts your own health. One out of five caregivers admit they have sacrificed their own physical health while caring for a loved one. Due to stress, family caregivers have a disproportionate number of health and emotional problems. They are twice as likely to suffer depression and are at increased risk for many other chronic conditions.
  • Proper nutrition helps promote good health. Ensuring that you are getting proper nutrition is key to help maintain your strength, energy and stamina, as well as strengthening your immune system. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most powerful things you can do to take care of yourself and keep a positive attitude overall.
  • Ensuring good nutrition for your loved one helps make care easier. As many as half of all older adults are at risk for malnutrition. Good nutrition can help maintain muscle health, support recovery, and reduce risk for re-hospitalization – which may help make your care of a loved one easier.
  • Remember: ‘Rest. Recharge. Respite.’ People think of respite as a luxury, but considering caregivers’ higher risk for health issues from chronic stress, those risks can be a lot costlier than some time away to recharge. The chance to take a breather, the opportunity to re-energize, is vital in order for you to be as good a caregiver tomorrow as you were today.”

Read moreNovember is National Family Caregivers Month

Fearless solo road trip through the midwest

Roseman Bridge

My sister Sue and her husband Tom are retired and vacationing this week in Hawaii.  When I asked which island they were going to visit, Sue replied, “All of them.”  They are on a cruise which docks at each island.


The issue I wrestle with the most as a solo retiree is the fact that if I want to travel, which I do, then I must get comfortable with travelling alone.  I always dreamed of taking a long trip abroad once I retired, but fear of traveling solo lead me to settle for a few days in Crested Butte, Colorado (about six hours away from my home) last summer.  Crested Butte is one of my favorite places to visit in the summer and the Wildflower Festival was extraordinary, but it wasn’t the travel I had dreamed of.

Late this summer I decided to stretch myself and overcome my fear of solo travel.  I renewed my AAA account, serviced and gassed up the car, called to see if my friends would be around when I arrived, reserved a hotel home for me, and boarding for my dog.  I was planning a solo road trip, this time venturing out-of-state.

Read moreFearless solo road trip through the midwest

Key items to help make a widow’s life a little easier

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The Ultimate Survival Guide for New Widows

These 10 items will make your transition easier

by Laurie Burrows Grad

August 24, 2016

“Sorry widowers, this one’s for the ladies.

When Peter died, I had to face the practical aspects of living alone. I had to change light bulbs, hang pictures and open jars by myself. So I devised a list of key items for widows to keep on hand to make their lives easier.  Here are 10 of them:

1. A secure step ladder: A woman who lives alone surely needs a secure step ladder. Invest wisely and use your coupons at Bed Bath & Beyond to get the top-of-the-line ladder. Be honest. How many times have you stepped on a chair instead of a step ladder and almost taken a nose dive? More than one I bet! Be safe please!

2.  Tap lights: I live in Los Angeles where earthquakes are common so I always keep a tap light in every room of the house in case of a power outage. They also double as great toddler toys.

3. A screw driver: This item is a must for every household but particularly helpful for single women. Color me so proud. I just put my new license plates on my car by myself with this nifty little sucker.

4. EZ Moves Furniture Moving System: When you have to move heavy furniture, simply lift, place, and slide the item. It’s a dolly that doesn’t take up space and can be used for a variety of household chores. OK, it doesn’t help with my bad back, but just think how you can keep your chiropractor in business? (In the interest of truth, I have never used it, but it does look great in my garage).”

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Rockers prove you’re never “Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll”

Rolling Stones perform Desert Trip

On October 7th, legendary rockers Mick Jagger (73) with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan (75) kicked off a three-day music festival, The Desert Trip, in California. Saturday featured Paul McCartney (74) and Neil Young (70).  Roger Waters (73) from Pink Floyd and The Who (Roger Daltrey, 72 and Pete Townsend, 71) played on Sunday. Rolling Stone magazine writer Steve Appleford reported the “festival’s unprecedented musical summit…is a gathering of historic headliners with rich catalogs of hits and groundbreaking work that has influenced several generations of music-makers. All the players at Desert Trip remain among the top live acts, despite time and age that have left many of their contemporaries behind.”  Read more

“‘Tonight we’re not going to do any age jokes or anything, OK? Welcome to the Palm Springs retirement home for gentle English musicians,’ Jagger joked early on of the fest that has been called ‘Oldchella’ and worse. He was prepared to prove otherwise.”

Read moreRockers prove you’re never “Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll”

A box marked “personal” and accomplishing life goals

Have you accomplished your life goals?


Recently, I rummaged through a dusty old cardboard box marked “personal” looking for a couple of family obituaries I cut out of the newspaper years ago.  I wanted to add the obituary information to my online family tree.  In that old beat up box I found a faded, thin, pink booklet titled My Wonderful Mama written by my daughter as a young girl.  Inside the laminated, construction paper cover was near perfect printing in pencil on lined notebook paper.

The story told in this booklet began with a biography of me, followed by my “most outstanding memories (from) school” which included winning a number one rating in girls glee and in full choir at a state-wide competition.  It included my worst school subject (geometry) and my favorite (social studies).

The handwritten page in that little brad-bound booklet which struck me the most was the page she wrote about my “many goals as an adult.”  My daughter wrote, “They are:

  1. To make the world a better place for kids.

  2. To advocate for kids.
  3. To hold public office.
  4. To improve public education.
  5. To get a college degree.
  6. Have a family and be a great mama.
  7. To be a great gardener.
  8. To have a kid.
  9. To be on a board of a non-profit organization.”

There they were, my life goals from my 20’s, staring up at me from the page.    

Read moreA box marked “personal” and accomplishing life goals

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