Shared Parenting After Divorce

captureDid you know that in the United States, 75% of children from divorced parents live with their mother full time? Whether the children are living with a mother or a father after divorce, that parent shoulders quite a large expense, both economically and personally. The parents who have full-custody of children are more likely to:

  • stay single longer.
  • have a much lower standard of living (approximately 50% lower) even with child support.
  • have difficulties at work, obtaining promotions due to parental responsibilities.
  • have children who resent them for “keeping them from their other parent,” whether that is true or not.

Single parenthood also affects a parent’s ability to parent their children effectively. They are stressed, tired, overworked…. the list goes on.

If you are divorced or are going through a divorce with children in the mix, it is important for everyone to aim for shared parental responsibility with each parent doing as close to 50% of the parenting as possible. This is better for the parents and the kids. Kids NEED to have access to both of their parents. They deserve to have a solid relationship with both mom and dad. And the time spent with the kids should be spent trying to build and strengthen the family relationship, not just having fun with little bonding time.

Co-parenting is hard. We can help! I teach a Co-Parenting class every other month in Chandler, OK. Call the office (405-258-0560)  to ask about it, or visit our Co-Parenting website!

QuickTip Tuesday: Keep Your Washing Machine Clean

It is common for front-loading washers to start to smell a bit funky. This is likely due to mildew growth around the door seal. To keep this area clean, it is a good idea to let the door stand open when the machine is not in use to give that area time to dry out. It is also not a bad idea to have a towel handy for this purpose, and wipe the rubber seal down- get inside the crevices too- after using the machine. If you’ve already got quite a bit of growth, clean it thoroughly with soapy water and dry it.

Foodie Friday: February Menu

It’s January 25th, so it feels a little early to be posting a February menu…. but it’s the last Friday of January so I guess it’s not too early. January flew by like nothing I have ever experienced this year! I stayed really busy teaching a class for diabetes self management, etiquette classes for alternative education students, lessons based on Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and keeping up with my two girls. February brings my first jury summons and lots more fun with extension and motherhood.

I hope you can use this menu to simplify your own dinner time dilemmas. I encourage each and every one of you to make a goal to cook dinner at home at least 3 nights per week, if not more! You can find recipes here: February 2019 Menu.

february 2019

Print the PDF here:

february 2019

Saving Money When You Own Your Home

healthy home

Guest Blogger: Cindy Clampet, Assistant State Specialist for Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service…. and my mom.

The biggest investment most people have is their home. You will live there for a certain amount of time and eventually you or your heirs will sell the home.   The value of your home is somewhat dependent on how well the home is maintained.  If you own your home there are many things you can do it keep it well maintained and still save money.

First and foremost, keep it clean.  A daily/weekly/monthly schedule of cleaning chores goes such a long way in home maintenance.  When a home is clean it is a lot easier to see areas that might need extra attention.  A small crack or hole in the wall not noticed because it is covered up with clutter might be letting in bugs or rodents that are doing further damage to the home’s walls and flooring.  Cleaning under the sinks might alert you to a leak that can do expensive damage if not fixed right away.

De-cluttering is also important.  Several types of insects like to feed on paper and the glue that holds magazines and books together.  If you have lots of magazines laying around, you will be susceptible to having an infestation in paper-eating insects.  Also, it is much harder to dust and sweep and vacuum around lots of clutter.  So de-cluttering will make your cleaning routine easier and faster.  If the thought of de-cluttering gives you hives, check on-line to read all the many articles giving advice about how to organize and de-clutter.  Then get started!

Doing your own painting, updating of fixtures, general maintenance tasks and other small repairs around the house will not only save money, but also increase the value of your home when you sell it. If you do not know how to do some small repairs, many big box home improvement stores offer free workshops. You also can search YouTube for free online tutorials. If you decide to use professionals, get references from friends and family and compare estimates from several contractors.

One other money-saving strategy for homeowners involves getting a roommate. You can rent out a bedroom with kitchen privileges or evenly split the costs for everything, including utilities and cable/Internet bills. Be sure to consider a renter’s impact on your water and utility bills and charge accordingly.

Details related to sharing living spaces should be agreed upon by both parties and outlined in a formal lease or contract, including the process for breaking the lease early. Other considerations parking availability, guest privileges and personal habits such as smoking.

Keep receipts and records of everything, including financial transactions, in the event a dispute arises.  For more ideas on saving money on housing, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service.

QuickTip Tuesday: Thank You Notes

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When someone gives you a gift or does something nice for you, it is good etiquette to send a thank you note. This also applies to job interviews. When writing a thank you note, you can keep it simple by following this 4-step formula:

  1. First sentence, thank them for the gift- whether it was an actual gift, the gift of time/experience, or an interview. Example: “Thank you so much for your generous gift. OR Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the position with XYZ Company.”
  2. Say something nice about the gift. Example: “I look forward to making my lasagna in the dish you gave me.” OR “I plan to use the money you have given me to help pay for my first semester’s tuition.” OR “I really enjoyed meeting with you and learning more about your company.”
  3. Say something nice, but unrelated to the gift. Example: “You are so thoughtful.” OR “I look forward to meeting with you again.”
  4. “Thank you again. Sincerely, Me”

It’s that simple. Some last thoughts- be sure to put the date in the upper, right hand corner, and address the person the way you might normally address them. If it is a friend or close acquaintance, use Dear and their first name or first name only. If it is a family member, like a Grammy, then use the name Grammy.  If it is a potential employer, then use honorifics or titles. Example: Mr. Smith, Ms. Gray, Dr. Brown.

And always, write as neatly as possible.

Foodie Friday: Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

With cold and flu season in full swing, I thought it would be a good time to share my very simple recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup. I apologize; I do not have any pictures. I am terrible about forgetting to take pictures while I am cooking. I’m not exactly a food blogger, but I do love food!

Ingredients:

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighschicken noodle soup nutrition label
1 tbsp olive oil
3 stalks celery, sliced
6-7 carrots, sliced
1 smalls yellow onion, diced small
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb no-yolk egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste
herbs as you like them or have on hand

Directions:

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs in a single layer into hot pan and cook about 4 minutes on each side. You may have to cook chicken in batches so that the entire surface of each chicken thigh touches the pan. You do not want to overcrowd your pan at this point. Remove chicken to a plate for later.
  2. Put your veggies in the hot pan and stir them around to coat with the oil and fat rendered from the chicken thighs. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Cook until almost tender. Add in chicken stock.
  3. Dice chicken thighs- it is okay if they are not quite cooked through. Place diced chicken back into pot with veggies and stock. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add in noodles. Stir and let cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until noodles are to your desired softness.
  5. Serve hot.

** Recipe note #1- Bouillon can be used in place of chicken stock in a pinch, but be mindful that this will drastically increase the sodium in the dish.

** Recipe note #2- Fresh herbs are great. If you would rather use fresh, throw the whole spring into the broth during the 30 minute simmer time and then fish out the stems before serving.

Co-Parenting: Invest in Yourself

I teach a class called Co-Parenting for Resilience. The 2019 class schedule is:

February 12, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
April 9, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
June 11, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
August 13, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
October 1, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
December 10, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

My class satisfies the Oklahoma requirement that divorcing couples with minor children take a parenting class before their divorce will be granted. The cost of this class is $40. Call 405-258-0560 if you are interested in Co-Parenting for Resilience. If you need a different date or time, still call and we can help you find a class!

One of the many topics covered in this class is taking care of yourself.

invest in yourself

Investing in yourself is taking time to care for yourself so you can be a healthier version of you. Just like depositing money into the bank is investing in your savings account, every time you do something for your physical, emotional, or mental health you metaphorically make a deposit into your self-care bank and invest in yourself. The experience of divorce can cause many negative feelings like grief, loss, anxiety, and anger. Many attempt to stay busy to avoid experiencing those negative feelings. With so many changes in your, and your children’s life, finding time for self-care might feel impossible or selfish, but it is one of the best gifts you can give your children. The following self-care options are ways for you to begin investing in yourself and thus increasing your physical and mental health.

  • Balance Your Health – Find time to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Get With People – Find time to hang out with your friends or even join a new group of people with shared interests.
  • Practice Gratitude – Find value and appreciate the good things in your life, instead of focusing on what is lost or what you do not have.
  • Relax, Meditate and Practice Mindfulness – Focus on being in the present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future.
  • Self-Compassion – Treat yourself with the love and kindness you would give others.
  • Make Time for Fun – Bring out your inner child with play or learn something new.

Self-care allows you to be a healthier version of you, so you can be better equipped to be the parent you desire to be for your children.  Click on this article Investing in Yourself to learn more about ways to take care of YOU!