Sunday, September 25, 2016

Changes are Coming Soon!

I've been considering a face-lift for Empty Nest for some time now because...I needed a change. Something bright, cheery, inviting, uplifting...
Here's a hint.

I struggled, I admit that. I'm not usually one who embraces change unless it's needed. This one is needed. I also struggled with how to find someone who could do this for me because I am not creative, which should be abundantly clear. :)

I finally found Lori at Imagination Designs and we've been working on the new design (well, she's been doing the working) since August. There are a gazillion questions to be asked and decisions to be made. As new as I am to this whole blog design thing and how utterly indecisive I am about making decisions when it comes to design, this could have been pure torture on my very soul. Not with Lori at the helm, however. 

Lori knew the questions to ask and, when I floundered around, she knew how to get me back on track. Her patience level is off the charts because there were times when I was sure she was going to have some choice words for me. She never did. :)

Ok, y'all. Stay tuned because on Monday, you'll see a change right here on Empty Nest. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Put Your Damn Phone Down

Image result for parents ignore children due to cell phoneI am getting to the point where, when I see parents more interested in their digital devices than they are their children, I'm not going to be able to keep my mouth shut. Seriously people, put down your phone or whatever it is that is taking your focus off your children.

I've seen it firsthand. I've seen it in school when at parent night when a student was so excited to show his mom what he'd learn about coding on the computer. Mom couldn't take her eyes off her phone as she was texting with someone who was NOT HER KID. That child finally stopped trying to engage his mother and focused in on his coding. When mom was finished texting (this went on for a little over 20 minutes) she was ready to go. Not once had she interacted with her son. He was in 4th grade. Her message to him: the person with whom I was texting is more important than you. She's going to regret this one day. And she's going to blame their lack of communication on her son. IF she ever puts that damn phone down.

I've seen it when a mom and her three-year-old were sitting on a bench and the little girl tried, at first to engage her mom. After a few minutes, the child gave up and attempted to entertain herself. Finally, the little girl tried again, a bit more aggressive this time, and guess what mom did? She handed her daughter the phone to play with. The daughter lost interest in less than two minutes and gave the phone back to her mom who immediately went back into the phone zone.

Image result for parents ignore children due to cell phone
Dr. Jenny Radesky was so concerned with this issue that she and two other researchers spent time studying 55 different groups of parents with young children in fast-food restaurants. No, it wasn't a scientific study, but it's still interesting that they found 40 out of 55 parents were on their cell phones or tablets when having dinner with their kids. Of these, 73% were totally absorbed with their devices, ignoring everything and everyone but the screen. This is ridiculous.

If you are not willing to spend time engaging with your kids, that is exactly what they are going to learn from you. So, when they get a little older and act like other people or digital devices are more important to them than you are, know that YOU TAUGHT THEM THIS. And certainly do not complain when, as teenagers, they do not communicate with you. You taught them this too.

As Radesky states,

"...that's a big mistake, because face-to-face interactions are the primary way children learn. "They learn language, they learn about their own emotions, they learn how to regulate them," she says. "They learn by watching us how to have a conversation, how to read other people's facial expressions. And if that's not happening, children are missing out on important development milestones." 
Put your digital devices down, people. Seriously.
If kids aren't motivation enough, remember the safety issue:



Have y'all ever felt like telling someone to put down their digital device?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Don't Ask Me To Change the Hodgepodge

Wednesday does seem to roll around quickly whether I'm working or not. It's just time. Can't we all put our heads together and come up with a way to slow it down? And, while we're at it, could we all get some fall weather up in here? This hot and humid nastiness has got to go. Some of us can't breathe. Just sayin'. 

And so, I continue to sit inside in the AC and hang out in the blogging community. Which is always a good thing to do regardless of the weather. Especially on Wednesdays when Joyce hosts the Hodgepodge. :)



1. Thursday (September 22) is the first official day of autumn in this part of the world...how will you welcome the season? Hopefully, it will cool down and I can welcome it with open arms. I know some of you have been celebrating way too early, but it's official now so permission granted. House Beautiful recently listed ten ways to make your home smell like fall (you can read the list here) What's a scent you love this time of year and how will you add it to your home? I usually just put on a simmering pot of something like apples, oranges, cinnamon, cloves...I'm allergic to almost all scented candles and, let's face it, they don't smell like the real thing such as pumpkin pie. If my pumpkin pie really smelled like that, I wouldn't back another one, ever. 

2. Apple pie or pumpkin pie? Yes. Apple cake or pumpkin bread? Yes. Warm apple cider or a pumpkin spice latte? Warm apple cider. Don't faint but I've never had a pumpkin spice latte. 

3. Do you suffer from what is sometimes referred to as an afternoon slump? Sometimes. What helps ward it off before it hits and/or tell us what helps you shake it off once it's here? I suppose a cup of coffee would ward it off but I don't like to drink coffee in the late afternoon. Usually, a little cat nap takes care of it. 
4. Ladies-how have your friendships with women inspired you or made you a better person? This could be a blog post in and of itself as this is most difficult to shorten for Hodgepodge purposes. I have friends and relatives who have been inspirational as well as making me want to be a better person and I will certainly attempt a blog post on that for y'all at some point. But there is also a man or two who have done this for me too. When it comes to being inspired by others, gender doesn't play a definite role for me. For the men here today- how have your friendships with men inspired you or made you a better person?
5. Are you a people pleaser? Moreso in my younger years. If you said yes, do you think that's a good or bad thing? It can be a bad thing and that's why I try not to be like that anymore. I think it's bad if you don't check your motivation behind the act and if you allow others to take advantage of that side of you. If you said no, do you wish you were more of a people pleaser? Nope. I think I'm all done with that. People can take me or leave me and that's totally up to them. 

6. The seasons are a-changin'...share a favorite song relating in some way to change (not necessarily seasonal change, it could be change of any kind). Y'all knew I'd pick one of his. I really do listen to all sorts of music. I just have my favorite go-to's. Love you, Neil! 


And these guys. Who also love Neil.



7. What do you wish would never change? It's too late. Everything already has. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here. This:


She's really into her hands right now. She gets really excited when those tiny fingers grab ahold of something. What a dream, eh? :) She's also very happy when the Panthers win. 

Have a great rest of the week, y'all!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Education is KEY

At least, in our family is was. I was taught from the moment I was born that my education was not complete until I got that college degree. Anything beyond that was icing on the required cake. Our family is filled with educators on both sides. My dad's parents were educated and so were his siblings. His only sister was a high school English teacher and two of her four children became teachers as well. My grandparents on my mother's side were not educated, formally. They were the children of farmers so my granddaddy had to quit school early and my grandmother went through 6th grade, I think. It was these two cherished souls who pushed the education card HARD to all of us. My aunt ended up with a Ph.D. and taught at Virginia Tech and UGA. My mother became a school psychologist. I ended up with two undergrad degrees and a master's degree (that's me recieving my master's diploma. What was going on with my hair?). I come from a family who believes, wholeheartedly, in getting an education. The lovelies all attended college and one did, indeed, become a teacher. We seem to get at least one from every generation.

Mother on the steps of a building at Winthrop College (now Winthrop University)


That being said, I'm not sure why my grandparents put such value on getting a formal education.
They did quite well. Granddaddy owned the only dry cleaners in their small town and he built that business all by himself. Not that I don't still have that importance ingrained in my very being because I do. It's not only still there, it's so deep that I will never be able to 'unbelieve' it. However, the lessons I learned from those two 'uneducated' people were more valuable than anything I learned from those three degrees.

Granddaddy and me. I ADORED that man. 
 I learned the importance of music in our lives from gospel music on Sunday mornings and Nat King Cole and countless others on the record player at Christmas. I learned the importance of patience watching Granddaddy peel an apple keeping the peel in one, spirally piece and while waiting for home churned ice cream to be ready. I learned to appreciate nature and the seasons from Grandmother's flowers that donned the front and back yards and from the harvested bounty from Granddaddy's family farm. I learned to appreciate each season from stories shared that spanned generations. I learned the importance of going to church, together, every Sunday and I also learned that people weren't perfect but we love them anyway. I learned to use the good china and silver whenever the family was all together and the importance of breaking bread with family no matter how many were present. I learned to appreciate all of the seasonal holidays and that hosting a celebration  I learned the importance of teamwork and hard work. I learned that a strong work ethic would lead to success.I learned that you show respect to your elders and, if they are not deserving, you get another elder to handle it. I learned that cooking is just cooking but, when you add love, it's medicinal and magical. I learned that people appreciate blessings that are short and sweet when that food was ready to be eaten. I learned that it is never a good thing to waste anything. I learned to cherish moments spent with those I love because those times can be over in the blink of an eye. I learned that whether something handmade was less expensive to put together or not, the time spent creating was worth it and meant more to people than store bought. I learned the value of working with your hands.I learned to take care of what I have no matter how great or small. I learned to not only believe in Santa but to get excited about his arrival. I learned that cleanliness is next to godliness. I learned to love and appreciate animals- domesticated or wild- and to cause no harm. I learned to value farm fresh food grown without poisons. I learned to save for a rainy day. I learned to be safe but not live in fear. I learned not to hold scissors or sit near a window during a thunderstorm. I learned that it is wrong to treat someone differently based on the color of their skin. I learned that speaking in a calm voice holds people's attention but yelling makes them tune you out. I learned to love books. I learned to appreciate sitting down and resting. I learned that chores will wait but children won't be children forever. I learned the importance of trust and unconditional love. I learned to give without expectation of return. I learned to love the color red. I learned that red lipstick is very important to older people...    

Grandmother and me. I ADORED her too!
I learned many valuable lessons from my grandparents. Lessons that did not involve money or material things but lessons taught while an apple was being peeled or a cake was being baked; while decorating a Christmas tree or sitting at the table for a family gathering; while cutting into a watermelon, building a fire, sitting in church, watching old Elvis movies on television or even by the wearing of a red shirt each year at Christmas. These were the lessons of wisdom and love. The lessons not taught at school but make going to school easier on us. They taught not from the standpoint of formal education but from life lessons and wisdom. 



Do I put a value on obtaining a good education? Of course, When the lovelies were growing up they knew that their formal education wasn't over until that college degree was in their hands.But I hope they also learned more important lessons like the ones I learned outside the school setting.

Yes, I value a formal education. Yes, I have tons of stories about school and learning- stories of frustration, hilarity, turbulence, sadness, happiness, excitement... But the lessons I learned from my grandparents far outweigh any of that. And if I have imparted just some of those lessons to the lovelies, I've done a pretty good job. Now we are blessed to have another little one to share these lessons with. Hopefully, these lessons will help her become one of the ones of her generation to make that difference we so desperately need in the world.


The “Who I Am” project is a year-long monthly series Dana at Kiss My List started, as a way to create a virtual scrapbook of your life to tell your kids, grandkids, spouse, friends, or whoever who you are. You can link up your posts, which goes live the third Tuesday of the month and sign up to receive the prompts at the beginning of each month via e-mail. The themes so far have been Childhood, LoveQuirks & Habits,How you’ve changed since you were a childFavorite PlacesBetcha Didn’t Know, and Things I Love
Who I Am sign up

Monday, September 19, 2016

I've Just Seen a Face

Hey, y'all! Let's help another amazing teacher with her 'side-job.' Jennifer and Judy (Spotted Bow) team teach the multi-age classes at school. If your kiddo can 'do' multi-age, these are the very best teachers for the job. Shoot, they're so good, I'd probably put my girls in there anyway.

Like Judy and Stacey, Jennifer has a little business outside the school and, also like those other gals, Jennifer decided to do this because she believes in the product. It is always easier to get behind something you believe in rather than doing it because you feel you 'have-to'.

Jennifer, wife for 21 years and mother of a high school junior and senior, got into Rodan+Fields during the summer of 2015 so she could get a discount on the products she used for herself (Reverse for sun damage) and her teenage son (Unblemish for acne). After she used the products and seeing the results on her skin and her son's skin, she wanted others to know about the products.

Their results? After using the products for one year, Jennifer's son is acne free and she has cleared up the discoloration of her skin and eliminated hormonal breakouts on her face.

I've heard good things about this product from many other people including Breezy! She loves using Rodan+Fields products on her face.

So, here are a few things Jennifer would like y'all to know:

  • products were created by the Doctors of Proactiv, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields who are both board-certified dermatologists
  • the company was founded in 2002 to create a line of clinically proven, dermatology-based, anti-aging products 
  • it's the #1 fastest growing skincare brand in the US over the last 5 years
  • it was the #2 premium skincare brand in the US in 2015
  • the Rodan+Fields philosophy- Multi-Med Therapy
    • The Right Ingredients + The Right Formulas + The Right Order
  • there are 4 regimen types
    • REDEFINE Regimen: Anti-aging
    • SOOTHE Regimen: Sensitive Skin
    • UNBLEMISH Regimen: Acne Prone Skin
    • REVERSE Regimen: Appearance of Sun Spots, Dullness, and Discoloration



Just click on any of the links to go to the website and, if you have questions, Jennifer would be happy to answer them for you. Just click HERE

And thanks, y'all, so very much for your support of teachers everywhere whether they are supplementing their income or not. Teaching is nothing less than a truly noble profession and I know all of them appreciate any and all help they get. Even a little 'thank-you' goes a long way with these hard-working educators. 

To Jennifer, Judy, and Stacey- I love y'all! 

Oh, and I am not receiving any compensation for posting about these lovely ladies. I am only trying to get the word out and raise some support! :) 

Have a great Monday! Wait, is that even possible? ;)