Summer Party Themes

Summer Party Themes

Summertime is full of social gatherings from birthdays to weddings, there always seem to be a reason to celebrate.  With long days and warm nights, you’ll be looking for some new and creative ways to entertain this season.  Our party experts came up with some fantastic summer party themes.

Gardening Party

This is could be fun for the whole family.  Provide terra cotta pots for everyone and set up planting stations.  You can provide inexpensive plants like petunias or pansies or ask everyone to bring a few plants to share.  Provide potting soil and a few gardening tools for everyone to use.  You can set up a kids station and let them paint the pots or do their own planting.

Backyard Table Setting

Christmas in July

Why not bring the holiday spirit right into summer? Hang red and green lights on the deck and decorate the trees with ornaments. Pipe in some Christmas music to set the mood! Hand out stockings filled with summer inspired things like inflatable beach balls and sunscreen.  You can even serve Christmas cookies and all the traditional Christmas fare.  Grill up chicken and brush with a cranberry marinade.

Beach or Pool Party

Even if you don’t live on the beach or have a pool, you can still have a pool or beach party in your backyard.  Bring out the kiddie pool and sandbox.  Cut out surf boards from cardboard and stick them in the ground.  Play fun 60’s beach music and tell everyone to take their shoes off! Blow up plenty of beach balls to bounce around and consider setting up a volleyball set if you have one.

Vineyard Delight

Set up a beautiful table in the shade of a tree.  Play relaxing music and serve good cheese and fruit to compliment your wine selection. Incorporate a wine tasting game and encourage your guests to bring along their favorite vintage.

Barnyard Party

Set up the house and yard to feel like a barnyard dance.  You can get a few hay bales from a feed store and spread it around the yard.  Ask your guests to come in their best country attire.  Play square dance songs reserve an area just for dancing.  Incorporate some fun games like a pie eating contest or a potato sack race.  Serve up some fried chicken and grilled corn on the cob.  Finish the evening with some fresh baked apple pie!

Have a fabulous summer!  Hosting  a BBQ this season? Check out  great grilling ideas at PurpleTrail.

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Yes, Raising Children is Tough, But At Least They Grow UP. Life, as we deal with aging Parents.

How many of us can remember at one time saying this.. When I get older, I will not be a burden to my kids… Ok, now think back to when your Parents were what your age is now. Do you remember hearing them saying something to that  effect? More often than not you have. You may have seen how they dealt with their Parents aging issues, or maybe even say some program on television and they make the comment that they would NEVER want to be a burden on their Child.  Then of course they may have said, and I have heard this many times from my Mother, “Whatever you do, do not just stick me away in some Nursing Home somewhere!” Now that are Parents are getting older, the time is coming around for the failing Health to be showing up . Or they actually might not even be that old yet, but they have either had physical ailments or “willed” themselves into being older than they really are. On the topic of willing themselves to be older is something I only recently have a theory about. I think in my Father’s case it is a little of both, but I feel he is leaning more on the side of making himself out older than he really is.  I truly feel that he is making himself out to be worse off than he is, and I feel that it is because he is wanting attention. Again, just like when kids act out sometimes. They do it because they want attention. In my Father’s case, he lives alone 20 mins. from us. He doesn’t have any friends. he doesn’t get out of the house except for the occasional run to the grocery or hardware store. We have tried to get him involved with Adult groups/Centers, but he has no desire too. He wants no part of doing anything like Church, heck it is like pulling teeth to get him to come out to the occasional Family Function. He might leave his house to come out for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think that is only because there is alot of food involved.  He does like it when I go out there to his house, but after a very few minutes, the silence kicks in. So then I feel guilty for the lack of conversation especially if we brought our Daughter with us/me. Then when the time comes to go, instead of being glad for the company, he makes me feel guilty for leaving.  Yes, it is because he is lonely, but he wants to do nothing to change that.  I don’t know how to correct the problem. He is letting himself deteriorate to the point where he is just waiting to die. He has gotten to the point he can hardly walk around because his muscles have just deteriorated. It is a chore for him to walk down his driveway to check his mail. He has falling issues, and if he does fall, he could be on the floor for hours before he gets up. Ive spoken with his DR., and he ordered Physical Therapy. They were out there for a few weeks until even the Therapist stated to the Dr. that he has improved as much as he is going to. He chose not to put an effort into doing the exercises other than when she was there for that hour. He would rather just get frustrated that he was getting old and going down hill.  I tried going out to his house a few times a week, but he just said what is the point it will not do any good.

After yet another fall, he stated he couldn’t live on his own anymore. So we moved him in with us. That was extremely hard on both of us. He was used to his way of doing things. We tried getting him involved in activities like going to the grocery store with us, or to our daughter’s soccer games, to my Husband’s Mother’s house for dinner, Etc. He might have gone to one, but the rest of the time all he did was choose to sit in the recliner and watch TV. Then complain he was tired of watching TV.  He treated me like a servant. I would have to make his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then it got to the point, he would look at the plate when I gave him his food. If he approved, he would take it and eat it, if not, I would get this silence, which would probably lead to maybe one or two bites then just set it aside. If I didn’t offer something for him to drink, would sit there and be thirsty. I actually did this one day, just to see what he would do. I finally brought him something to drink that evening, and he says,’That is the first thing I have had to drink all day.” Inside I was livid, but I calmly said to him (for the 30th time), Daddy you know where everything is, you can get up and get stuff for yourself. He would say yea I know, but it was just in one ear and out the other. Because, he still just sat in that recliner, Until….. Night time came. He would take a sleeping pill (prescription) at 7ish at first. Then, he started taking it as early as 6 pm., saying it took a while for it to kick in. Usually within 15 minutes of eating dinner, he went to bed. Then 3/4 of the night he is up and down, getting a glass of water, wanting something to snack on, trying to sleep in the recliner, then to the couch, to the bathroom etc.. walking by the computer room then make comments the next day about me not sleeping. One time, I left to go run an errand, but my Husband stayed at home. He told me that I wasn’t gone 5 minutes and Daddy was up walking upright and steady to the other room to get a snack out of the second fridge.  Just scatting around like nothing.Why would he claim to be practically an invalid, yet get along 100% better than I have seen in a long time. Yes, I am guessing for attention, but I just do not understand why he would make it out to be so much worse?

What is the end result when you find yourself in the position of re- raising your Parent? Sigh, certainly is not growing up.

Celebrating with Grampa

Celebrating with Grampa

As we look back at the years of when we raised our children, we looked forward to the time when we were finally going to be able to enjoy our lives, our freedom. We had it in the back of our heads that this would all be worth it one day. We had lots of things to look forward to as they get older, such as graduation, marriage, grandkids, but most of all you can look back at the fact that you completed your job. Now it is your turn to enjoy things in life for yourself. You no longer have to always do the right thing and put your children first. You are finally allowed to be a little selfish an do things for yourself for a change. You can plan a vacation to where it is nothing but what you want to do. Especially if you have a significant other, in my case it would be my Husband. I went through a few bad Marriages before I finally found the right mate. Through all of them though, I kept my kids first. Now that the kids are almost grown out of the house, I can begin to be selfish and plan a future for myself and my Husband. We were so excited that we were finally going to go do something that we knew we would love. We love being Rockhounds, and looking for treasure. We were planning our trips around good digging spots, beautiful scenic areas we wanted to see, or just find a place where there was peace and quiet. Most kids do not like these kinds of things, they want Disney, Water Parks, things that were exiting.  We spend all our time entertaining or occupying our children till we come to the day where we can stand back and say, It’s finally our time… Guess again.  Sometimes it creeps up on you out of the blue or sometimes you see it coming but you just don’t want to face it. Until, you don’t have a choice. Not a choice that you can live with yourself on. You have to start all over again, but this time it is in reverse. Now it is time to take care of your Parent.  You go through so many emotions it is that roller coaster all over again. But this time when your job is done you cant stand back and say look what I did, and I did a Damn good job. Now,you don’t think to yourself that you have an end in sight to where you can once again be selfish, because if you do , you looking forward to your Parents demise. What kind of horrible person would you be if you thought like that?  So, you clench your jaws, bite your toungue and deal with whatever it may be that is going on at the time.  These feelings will pass when you walk by your parent sitting in that chair (that they never seem to get out of) and they grab your arm and give it a shake with a greatful grin on their face. Or a “thank you sweety” when you bring them their dinner, which for sure would have never been gotten if you hadn’t have done it for them, the uptight feelings will subside, at least for now anyways. It is the right thing to do, you keep telling yourself. You know there is no way they can live on their own anylonger. Nor, would you be able to live with yourself if you chose the other option of putting them in a home. Then someone suggests those assisted living facilities to you. It is  a thought, until you think about bringing it up to them. Or until you look into a little more and you find that in order for Medicare to cover the expenses of this, they have to be almost broke and homeless. Yes,  they can transfer their assests out of their name into someone elses, then what? First, the State goes back 3 years looking into their financial History, so you know you have to continue your life as it is for at least another 3 years. How will I ever be able to manage that? Now, you have to approach them about transferring everything they have worked for in life into your name or whomever else. In my case I am an only child, so there is no other option besides me. The longer it takes, the longer time it will be over the 3 years. So when you do approach them, what goes through their minds? Do they now feel like they are a burden even more than what they were feeling becasue you are going to “put them in a home” No matter what you say or how you word it, this is what they are going to hear.  Even if  you decide that your not going the route of transferring their assests out of their name, How are they going to feel when everything they worked and saved for during their lifetime, will now be gone over a very small period of time?  Now is the time we wish we could just climb back in bed and pull the covers over our heads and hope it will all just go away.  Oh my goodness, did you just hear what you said? What kind of horrible person would think that way?

MS Symptoms – What They Feel Like

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I received this post some time ago and thought it explained what my symptoms felt like pretty good. I took the liberty to tweak it just a bit to make it fit me a little more personally.

When we say we can’t do something because we don’t feel well, put yourself in our shoes by using the examples of our symptoms below—

What You Can do To Understand Painful Heavy Legs… Apply tightly 20 lb ankle weights and 15 lb thigh weights then take a 1 mile walk, clean the house, go shopping and then sit down – how ya’ feeling now?

Painful Feet… Put equal or unequal amounts of small pebbles in each shoe then take a walk.

Loss of Feeling in Hands and/or Arms… Put on extra thick gloves and a heavy coat then try and pick up a pencil, if successful, stab yourself in the arm.

Loss of Feeling in Feet and/or Legs… Ask a doc for a shot of novocaine in both of your legs and then try and stand up and walk.

TN (Trigeminal Neuralgia). ..Take an ice pick and jam it into your ear or cheek whenever the wind blows on it, or a stray hair touches it. If you want something easier to do, get someone to punch you in the jaw, preferably daily.

Uncontrollable Itching… Glue or sew small steel wool pads to the inside of your shirt, pants and undergarments wear them for an entire day.

Tingling… Stick your finger in an electrical socket – preferably wet.

Tight Banded Feeling… Put 12 inch wide belt around you and make is as tight as you can and leave it there for the entire day.

Shots… Fill one of our spare needles with saline solution and give yourself a shot every time we do our shot.

Side Effects From the Shot… Bang your head against a wall, wrap yourself in a heating pad, wrap your entire body with an ace bandage tightly then finally treat yourself to some spoiled food or drink. mE PERSONALLY, NO LONGER TAKE THE SHOTS. Tried them all and they made things worse. So Dr’s have me on a “wait and see basis” How would you like living like that? We don’t know when it will happen, we cant stop it, so we will deal with it when it comes…

Trouble Lifting Arms… Apply 20 LB wrist weights and try and reach for something on the highest shelf in your house. Add Cushings on top, then even drying your hair with the towel or drying off after the shower exahsts you.

Spasticity… Hook bungee cords to your rear belt loops and rear pant leg cuffs then for your arms hook bungee cords to your shirt collar and cuffs on shirt sleeves then go dancing.

Poor Hearing/Buzzing in Ears…Put a bee in each ear and then put a plug in each one…bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz , or get the woosh woosh, pattern over and over in your head.

Balance and Walking Problems… Drink 100 proof grain alcohol and then sit and spin in an office chair for 30 minutes, now try and walk.

Urgently Needing to Pee… We put a .5 liter remote controlled water bag and drip tube in your pants, we point out 2 restrooms in a crowded mall, then we tell you that you have 30 seconds before we activate the water bag (by remote control) to get to a restroom. Just for spite we may make that 20 seconds without telling you. Oh and carry change of clothes and wear what feels like a mini diaper 24/7 too, see how sexy you feel. (Boy, is THIS one extremely true!)

Bizarre and Inexplicable Sensations… Place tiny spiders on your legs or arms and allow them to periodically crawl around throughout the day.

Pins and Needles… Stab yourself repeatedly with needles all over your body or better yet….Get a large tattoo.

Dizziness (Vertigo)… Get on a gently rocking boat all day and all night and take several walks around the deck.

Fatigue… Stay awake for two full days to induce incredible fatigue and then cook dinner, clean the house, walk the dog and see how you feel.

Bowel Problems… Take a 4 day dose of an anti-diarrhea medicine followed directly by a 3 day dose of stool softeners for a minimum of 3 weeks, at the end of 3 weeks sit down on a hard uncushioned chair and stay there till tears appeared.

Burning Feeling… Make a full pot of boiling water and then have someone fill a squirt gun with the boiling water and shoot it at yourself all day long. However, you can give us the pleasure of shooting you instead…optional of course. Usually on your feet.

Intention Tremor… Hook your body to some type of vibrating machine try and move your legs and arms…..hmmm are you feeling a little shaky?

Buzzing Feeling When Bending Our Heads to Our Chest (L’Hermitte’s)… Place an electrical wire on your back and run it all the way down to your feet, then pour water on it and plug it in.  Right smack between your shoulder blades. Get zapped even reaching over to unlock the door on the inside of the car.

Vision Problems (Optic Neuritis)… Smear vaseline on glasses and then wear them to read the newspaper.

Memory Issues… Have someone make a list of items to shop for and when you come back that person adds two things to the list and then they ask why you didn’t get them. When you come back from shopping again they take the list and erase three things and ask why you bought those things. This is the worst, drive, forget where your going, or where your at.. Scarey feeling.

Foot Drop… Wear one swim fin and take about a 1/2 mile walk.

Depression… Take a trip to the animal shelter everyday and see all the lonely animals with no home. You get attached to one of the animals and when you come back the next day you come in while they are putting her/him asleep.

Fear… Dream that you have lost complete feeling in your feet and when you wake up wiggle your feet, just so happens they don’t move. Think about this every night wondering whether something on your body won’t work the next day.

Swallowing… Try swallowing the hottest chili pepper you can find.

Heat Intolerance or Feeling Hot When it’s Really Not… You are on a nice vacation to Alaska. It’s 35° outside and 65° inside. Light a fire for the fireplace and then get into it. Once you have reached about 110° tell me how you feel, even a person without MS would feel bad, now add all of the above symptoms – welcome to our world.

And Finally… After subjecting yourself to the items above, let everyone tell you that you are just under a lot of stress, it’s all in your head and that some exercise and counseling is the answer.  Or just lock yourself away in a room, and no one knows your gone.

Because ” You don’t look sick”  we get all sorts of funny looks if we park in the Blue parking spaces. Or hear about a magic type of vitamin someone found on the Internet because cousin so n so used to be so bad off they were in a wheel chair, now they are running marathons. Or come up with some special way of eating by cutting out, any foods that are white, red, sweet or processed. Because someone always knows someone who “used” to have MS but now they seem like they are cured.

Yes this is a slightly exaggerated look at how some of us feel, with a little humour thrown in. The truth of the matter is there are no cookie cutter symptoms that everyone either has or doesnt have.  And just because we have one group of symptoms today, that doesnt mean they will be exactly the same tommorrow, or even in the next few hours.  These are all dependant upon where our lesions or scars IE: Multiple Scarosis (sclerosis) are loacted at and whether or not they are flaring up at the time. Each individual has to experiment through trial and error what works or does not work for you. Don’t just sit around and wait to be “fixed”. No,I am not saying we can cure ourselves. But, what I am saying, is that you cannot just settle with it. You find ways of making things easier on you, realize what aggrivates things and stay away from them. Don’t just assume that because something either did or did not work for someone else, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. It takes time to realize what it is your body is doing, and learn to find ways to work along with it. For me, cognative skills are a real challenge for me. Many times I set off to drive somewhere I have been a hundred times, only to find myself either lost or pulled off on the side of the road trying remember where in the heck I was going.  Multi tasking, of that I can just forget. One thing at a time and that has to be done by keeping lists everywhere or by using a Palm Pilot. (My kids called that Mama’s Brain) I can’t tell you how many things get started or at least thought about , then pushed aside only to take on something else that never gets completed either. Luckily, I have a very patient and understanding Family. Although, I will say my Daughter tried numerous times to pull one over on my by saying that she had either already “told” me or “asked” to do something and that I just forgot about it. “I did tell you Mom, you know how your MS makes you forget sometimes”… Man oh Man did that make me hot. I can laugh at it now, but surely did not find it amusing at the time.