Saturday, September 29, 2012

Raising A Child - Does It Take A Village or A Family?

 For many years our government has been stepping into families' lives and making decisions regarding what are called issues in the children's best interests.  After these many years of the "It Takes A Village" attitude of  government and community officials, what does the results of their involvement with the youth of this nation show us?   Raising a child, - does it take a village or a family?   Has the village approach helped our society raise a responsible, law-abiding, socially-conscious, educated generation?  Or has it brought forth a generation of self-absorbed, rebellious, unemployable, social outcasts who become involved in gang activities, school shootings and/or drugs and whom all have the attitude that the world owes them?!

Some have dared to fight the government and the legal system to try to maintain family relationships, to provide good homes for family members, to foster an appreciation and sense of belonging in a child, to boost the self-esteem not shred it into bits and pieces, only to have a judge say "No, you are not allowed to be involved, the child must endure what we say is best and not what the parent or grandparent believes is in their best interest."  The village takes over.

First there are the court hearings, the court orders, the changes in life style that a judge deems necessary, the constant investigating/reporting/visiting of Child Protection Services,  social worker visits,  parenting classes teaching one how the government believes they should parent and then comes the counseling for the child.  The schools pitch in with special education teachers, counselors and therapists for the emotionally handicapped child who has problems adjusting to all the new people in their life interfering with the normal parent/child relationship or family relationships they were used to and which are necessary for developing a sense of belonging, family-pride and self-esteem.

Granted, there are some people who have no business trying to raise a child!  It is those people who have made it increasingly difficult for other families to raise their children without government interference and/or constant monitoring.  Somewhere there needs to be a middle ground where the judicial system acts upon what is actually in a child's best interest rather than taking the attitude that it is always in the child's best interests for them to be under a court's authority - raised by courts, case workers, counselors, therapists and other village professionals.

A friend of mine is going through a situation right now which is a great demonstration of what I am trying to say.  My friend's daughter had a great government job with good insurance, a nice house, was living in Mississippi close to her parents who helped her with her two small children and was doing good being a responsible, loving parent.  Her ex, who lived in NY, went to court there even though it was not the state where his children lived, and managed to get it declared the state of residency for the little girl but not for his little boy (that didn't make sense to start with).  He then got a court order for his ex to have to bring the little girl to NY for him to visit.  Once there, an order was issued that the little girl had to stay in NY and could not return to her home in Mississippi.  The State of New York took over this little girl's life totally.  She now suddenly no longer has her home, her family, her friends or her sense of belonging and self-worth.  She is being placed into verbally psychologically and emotionally abusive situations and needs help out of this situation of having a village (the State of New York) raise her rather than her family in Mississippi!  The little girl's mother has had to quit her job, lose her insurance, give up her house and move to NY.  She now has 2 part-time minimum wage jobs with no insurance and an over-priced little apartment to live in and no family to help them as her family members live in Mississippi!

There is a petition on which I urge all readers to sign!  It is time that we started telling government officials and judicial officials that we need to be able to raise our families and care for them and take care of them without their interference!  If a child is being hurt, abused, etc., then by all means the legal system should remedy that situation.  Not place them in a situation like that just because they have the power to do so!!!  Please sign this petition, hopefully it will help this particular case.  Each and every case is different and has to be handled one case at a time. 

Bring Trish and Baby Home Petition

Have a great day, hope that these issues never touch your homes and families because if they do, the tremendous heartache and worry that comes with them are excruciating, just as the emotional and mental damages that are done to the children who have to endure these things.  Help us protect our children from all dangers, including our own government and laws when need be!

Just Me Granny D

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mountain Lions at the Pond

Since moving out here on the side of a cliff, in the woods of Greene County, I have written a few posts concerning the wild life that surrounds me and visits my back yard and pond.  Coyotes are often around, deer are here daily, rabbits, racoons, opossums, squirrels, blue heron, wild mallards, turkey, hawks, snakes, and various other birds and animals make their appearances.  However, I was unprepared for what came for a visit a week or so ago.

While washing dishes I happened to look out the window which is over my kitchen sink.  This particular window looks into my back yard and has a great view of the pond and the path around the bank of it.  The cattails have been beautiful this year and plentiful on one side of the pond, next to the woods.  It is here that the deer came to drink and eat the pond lilies and the roots and stalks of the cattails all summer. When I first looked out, I thought a young fawn must be in the cattails.  But as I watched I soon saw it was not a deer.  At about the same time I was realizing I was not watching a deer, my hound dog started throwing a fit in the living room at that window.

I hurried and got my dog and locked him up in the bedroom and ran back to the living room window where I could see better.  As I stood there watching, a full grown and healthy looking mountain lion came on up out of the cattails and brought the path on up into my back yard.  She was beautiful.  She made the lions I saw at the zoo look malnourished.  She has definitely been eating well this summer!  Her coloring was magnificent and shining golden brown, while her face had black markings in it.  I will never forget her face as she stood and looked back at me as I was watching her.

I called Department of Natural Resources who referred me to the Forestry Service who then wanted to refer me to a biologist in the vicinity.  As I was speaking to the Forestry Service and watching the lion walk around my back yard smelling around and checking things out, I was further surprised to see another one emerge from the cattails at the pond.  I told Forestry there was a second one in my yard.  But still more shocking was the fact that the second one looked like it was probably about 4-6 months old and still had white spots on its face.  When it emerged from the cattails, the mother then turned and went back to the pond and to her cub.  They continued to hang out there in the back yard at the pond with the cub playing in the cattails for about another half hour or so. 

I told Forestry I was hanging up and going to slip outside to try to take some photos.  They said be careful, to remember that they are protected in the State of Indiana and that if I got any good photos to be sure and send copies to them.  I also was directed to a DNR Department of Natural Resources web page with information on the Indiana Mountain Lions.  I then did slip out my back door, spoke softly to the Mama that was watching me, walked about 1/2 way down my back yard to the pond and took a couple of long distance photos with my cell phone.  I have to get the photos off my phone now so that I can send them and post them for everyone to see.

Regardless of how magnificently beautiful these creatures are, I am not sure I want to share my back yard and pond with mountain lions.  Especially at night in the dark or on dreary foggy dark rainy mornings and my dogs want to go for a walk.  I already was weary enough of the coyotes that are all around.  Mountain Lions in the fog and mist watching me from the edge of the pond and the woods, looking to train their young to hunt, and me out walking my dogs -

Just Me Granny D

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Couponing for Free Groceries

Couponing for free groceries is simple, easy and doesn't take much time for anyone to do that wants to save money and perhaps eat good for free.  It has been demonstrated on TV by many on how to use coupons, how to use multiple coupons on products called stacking and various tips for couponers have been discussed and taught by many recently.  Shows such as "The Extreme Couponer" and "Couponing 101" have found success through teaching the basics to the world.

We all know that coupons regularly are included in our Sunday newspapers as well as whichever day the grocery store ads come out each week.  These inserts and store ads with coupons in them are great and convenient for everyone to clip and use.  The problem with this is that the stores know in advance which coupons are being printed and released to the general public in the newspapers.  It is to their advantage to keep those items at regular price or even to raise the price by a few cents when the ads and coupons first are released.  That is when most people try using their coupons, as soon as they get them.  WRONG!!

I can't say it enough.  Do not use your coupons the first week they come out in the paper, the stores are expecting you to and are doing their part to make sure that they still come out ahead instead of you.  Save those coupons for a few weeks.  Most coupons are good for at least a month if not 6 months or a year.  If you hold onto those coupons and use them when the store is actually having the product on sale, you will maximize your savings.  If your store has a double or triple coupon day, use them then to really maximize the benefits.

Besides newspaper sales inserts, grocery ads and Sunday inserts, there are several other great places to get some high savings coupons which will really help cut the grocery bill or get your groceries for free.  The internet has become a great source for this.  Many sites online provide coupons to print out at home, while others offer ones which can be loaded directly onto your shopper's rewards cards for various stores.  I personally shop at Kroger most of the time and load these savings onto my card weekly.  That way, even if my husband is who goes to the store, the coupons are available for his use on our store card.  (Most men don't want to take coupons with them, but like the savings - loading reward cards is a great way for them to have the coupons with them and not have to be carrying them along!) 

Besides the sites like,, etc., there are also sites which offer opportunities to try products for free in exchange for writing a review of the product or for sharing coupons for the product with others.  There are many great sites which do this.  But mostly, the actual brand manufacturer's often offer coupons on their web sites for their brands.  Many will mail booklets of their brand's products coupons to you or will allow you to print them at home for use.  Proctor and Gamble is a great site for this.  I sign up every couple of months with their website and they mail me a booklet of current coupons for their various products.

Trying products out in exchange for writing a review is a great way to score big in the grocery store.  I recently agreed to host a party of my peers for product sampling and to distribute coupons to everyone at the party for a company wanting people to try their new organic, all natural meat line.

As you can see from the receipt above, I went to the store and purchased over $38 in meat and a bottle of ranch dressing for dip for chicken nuggets and it cost me $0.00 - that is ZERO my friends.  This is just an example of what one can do if they want to.

Kroger sends me coupons in the mail each month.  They are ones that are picked for me according to the merchandise I normally purchase in their stores.  At first I wasn't sure if I liked that my shopper's reward card allowed them to monitor my purchases in this manner.  However, after over a year of their mailing me coupon packets monthly, I find I have saved enough money that I know I don't care if they monitor what I buy as long as it helps to save me money in their store, at their pharmacy, at the gas pump or any other way!

I often will log on and go to manufacturer's websites before going to the store to see if they have a coupon available for something I intend to purchase.  Coffee, dog food, laundry detergent, dish soap, toilet paper, cat food, cleaning supplies, etc., are all products that most manufacturers do keep coupons online for their consumers to benefit from.  Food items vary all the time according to what new flavors, products, line of product, or whatever is new and being promoted at the time.  Some food items have coupons available for them ALL the Time!  For instance, Yoplait yogurt most always has coupons available, Hot Pockets and Lean Pockets are two more products that are usually always available.  You just have to take the few minutes to check, clip-print-or load, and save money.

Eat for free this week!  Check those ads against your grocery list and search out those coupon savings that are available for use.  You could be very pleasantly surprised!  After a year of paying attention, clipping and printing and uploading, see how much money you have saved.  A friend of mine recently took a vacation for a week on what she had saved from couponing in the past year.  Maybe you can finance that trip, that new laptop or phone, or a trip to the movies by just watching what you spend where and how much of what you spend is from using coupons or using actual money.

Good luck and enjoy!

Just Me Granny D