Preparing Your Kids for School

by Daniel Sherwin

While the threat of COVID-19 remains, the world is trying to get back to normal. With this flurry of activity, it’s important to get your kids armed and ready to continue fighting this unseen enemy. Well With Life offers some great resources to help you prepare your kids for the coming school year.

Healthy Habits

As your kids face another pandemic year, it’s more important than ever to encourage and instill healthy and hygienic habits.

  • Remind them that social distancing is still the best way to help them adapt to the situation.
  • Help them get reacquainted with wearing masks, and remind them why this is necessary.
  • Instill effective handwashing techniques, and ensure they use safe hand soaps.

Healthy Bodies

Putting a premium on your kids’ health is the most crucial thing you can do, as a healthy immune system is still the best way to ward off the threat of COVID-19.

Healthy Homes

While possible exposure to COVID-19 still exists in the world at large — including school, despite best efforts — it’s still wise to take great pains in keeping your home clean and free from virus-carrying germs.

Healthy Learning

Make sure your children are prepared for school, whether it’s in person or online.

We didn’t expect to still be fighting COVID at this point, but here we are. This means we must stay vigilant as parents and engage our kids to keep them protected. It’s the most we can do for now.

Top image via

About Daniel

I’m Daniel. I’ve been a single dad to my daughter (9) and son (6) for three years now. I’ll admit I don’t always know what the heck I’m doing, but every day is definitely an adventure and a blessing. And for that, I’m truly grateful. I noticed that there aren’t a lot of resources out there for us single dads so I thought I’d share some of what’s worked for me here on my website.

How to Raise Happy Kids Through Every Age

By Leslie Campos

Every parent wants their children to be happy. Giving your kids a happy home life will set them up for a healthy, successful future. But how can you help your child’s happiness flourish as they grow up? As it turns out, raising your children to be successful, confident, and empathetic can help them develop the skills they need to get along with their peers and cope with setbacks as they progress through life. Here are some key tips to help you foster these skills in your own kids.

Practice Self-Care

Raising happy, healthy kids starts with caring for your own mental and physical well-being. Try to carve out time from your busy parenting life to practice self-care. Eat healthy foods, maintain a regular exercise routine, make sure you get enough sleep and spend time doing activities you love. Even shopping can become a healthy self-care practice! Don’t feel guilty about treating yourself to a few things that will make your life easier and a little more comfortable. For example, some supportive maternity clothing can make a huge difference in how you feel during pregnancy and postpartum. Especially if you’re carrying around a baby and chasing after a toddler.

Balance Structured and Unstructured Playtime

It’s no secret that kids love playtime. Whatever the age of your kids, make sure they get a good balance of structured and unstructured playtime. As Verywell Family explains, structured play is play with some kind of purpose or learning objective. Structured play activities can be used to teach everything from fine motor skills to complex mathematical concepts. There are endless ways to encourage structured play at home. Start a new hobby together, break out the board games, or follow an online crafting tutorial. You could even build a playground in your backyard!

Just remember that unstructured play is important too. Unstructured play is described as children-led, improvised play. During unstructured playtime, kids use their imaginations to invent games and create unique activities. Unstructured play is great for keeping your kids entertained during long, rainy weekends when you run out of activity ideas. At the same time, it fosters the development of creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.

Spend Time Outside

Spending time with your kids outside is an excellent chance to instill an appreciation for nature and physical exercise. Unfortunately, kids seem to be spending less and less time outside in recent years. Encourage your kids to get out into the fresh air and explore nature from a young age. And you can even take it farther from home. Whether it’s a bike trail, a walking path, the zoo or even a playground, find ways to help them get outside. If you’re toting a toddler around on your family outings, consider getting a lightweight, affordable umbrella stroller in case they wear out easily.

Teach Interpersonal Skills

Children who are brought up with good interpersonal skills have an easier time making friends, taking on leadership roles, and building professional connections later in life. Teaching interpersonal skills will give your kids the confidence they need to succeed at school and in their future careers!

One great way to support your children’s social skills is by teaching them how to listen to others. Communication games are a fantastic way to practice this. Additionally, try modeling empathy and showing respect when talking to your kids. Setting a good example will help your kids learn how to behave when interacting with others!

Being a parent is a continuous learning process. We’re always looking for new ways to make our children happy and help them grow up into healthy, well-adjusted adults.

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Above Photo image via Pexels

Learn Something New To Restructure Your Brain

I’m Back

Changing our mind literally changes our brain. Exciting as that is, I didn’t anticipate the new language would temporarily hinder my writing.

It’s been an age, maybe two since I’ve posted on my blog. I set aside work on the Charlie Chameleon stories, much as I love them, to write The Hobo Code, a Young Adult historical fiction novel based on my family history. I’ll mention more about that in a future blog.

We’ve been traveling since November of 2018, leaving the United States to wander through central and western Mexico. I cannot believe how much the world has changed since then.

I’ve continued to edit the Charlie Chameleon stories and finish what I hope is my final draft of The Hobo Code during our adventures. During all of this I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to a group named Writers In The Storm. Here’s a post about my attempts to write while traveling in a foreign land.

I promise not to be gone so long. Thanks for sticking with me.


Image by James Smith from Pixabay

My Gift to you! Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Also known as The Christmas Syrup by my family


  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup dried Elderberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root, or ½ tablespoon dried ginger pieces, or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger root.
  • raw local honey (or organic blue agave syrup for a vegan recipe)

Note: You can use this for toppings, like on ice cream, pancakes or waffles. Just keep in mind that it is thin syrup. We use one tablespoon all by itself for health purposes.


  1. Combine the berries and herbs with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and mash the berries in the liquid mixture.
  4. Strain the berries and herbs through cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice. Or use the spoon and tiny strainer like I do as I rarely keep cheesecloth in the house.
  5. Measure the liquid, add an equal amount of honey or blue agave syrup, and stir in the juice for a few minutes while the berry mixture is still warm, until well combined. Do not boil! Try half the amount of sweetener first and see if you prefer a tarter taste.
  6. Bottle in sterilized glass and keep in the refrigerator.

I make this syrup around the time flu season begins. Back when we lived in New Mexico and lived next door to a B&B, I made Elderberry Syrup for the owners. Neither of them caught colds or flu that season and it was a bad year for flu.

This recipe is based on one from Mountain Rose Herbs. I’ve used their products for years as I tend to have poor reactions to many medicines.

When I first made this recipe, my hubby asked me what it tasted like. I said, “It tastes like Christmas.” I make mine with the Blue Agave. The honey is wonderful but our family preference is for agave. If you decide to give this a try, let me know what you think.

I am not a medical professional and am not giving medical advice. Do not use this if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

Below are some interesting articles about the elderberry.

Blessings to all.

Body image, Peer pressure and Social Media


How Peer Pressure and Social Media Impact Body Image


Peer pressure is not always a bad thing.

Positive influence to do something pro-social like getting together to clean up a park to make it a friendlier place for children to play, would be fantastic. Social recognition is important to teens and preteens.

picking up trash – Shutterstock

The need for social recognition can be a problem, particularly because teens and preteens are not concerned with risk and often don’t think ahead. What is this thing you call consequences?


Children spend more time using social media than any other waking activity.

Whatever they are exposed to will affect their thoughts about the world around them, as well as their self-view. Teens and preteens are body conscious and highly susceptible to suggestion. Think about the many ads in magazines aimed at teens about hair, skin, clothes, body size and odor.

Don’t even get me started on diet ads. “Eat this and lose ten pounds in one week, no exercise needed!” “You too can have flat abs this summer!”

Body image is an especially important matter to preteens and teens. They are sensitive to peer pressure as well as pressure sent via electronic and print media. The beautiful people on and in the magazines are retouched, “manufactured” so-to-speak. What is shown is a false representation of reality. It is good to be fit and healthy. But perfect? Nah.

The TED talk on the YouTube link at the end of this blog explores body image image and related issues further and is well worth viewing.


American Academy for Pediatrics. (2013) Managing Media: We need a plan.

Buikema, Ellen L. (2014) Parenting . . . A Work in Progress

Current Internet facts

Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model. | Cameron Russell





Chocolate –History, Health Benefits, and Industry Changes

Love of Chocolate

Personal History

My first taste of chocolate was unhealthily early.

Mom left my dad in charge of me while she was out for a while. When she came home, she freaked out because there were brown smudges all around my mouth. Thinking I was hurt, she confronted my father.

“What happened?”

He smiled and said, “I was eating some chocolate kisses and thought since I like them, Ellen probably would too, so I let her taste one. She loved it! See, I held it to her lips and she had a great time snacking on it.”

“Don’t you now that babies aren’t supposed to have chocolate!”

“No, but . . .”

At least, this is how I was told the conversation went. Thus began my very early love of chocolate.

Food of the gods

The Mayans honored a cocoa god. Eating and drinking chocolate was confined to the ruling classes, for sacred ceremonies. The Aztecs used cocoa beans as a form of currency, consumable for the privileged. Montezuma, a 16th century Aztec emperor, drank three gallons of chocolate a day to increase his virility.

Enter the Spanish conquistadors, who brought home chocolate after their search for precious metals in Mexico. The Spaniards kept chocolate a secret until a Spanish princess wed a French king. She brought her love of chocolate to her new home. Chocolate’s popularity spread quickly through Europe.

European powers established plantations in Mesoamerica, depleted the labor pool with European diseases, and imported African slaves to work the plantations.

Slavery continues

After eating countless pounds of chocolate, and sharing it in baked goods and candy with family and friends, I discovered that child slaves were being used in the making of chocolate. I felt sick.

I researched candy companies to see what happened, staying clear of those that continued the practice of child labor and slavery. Children are working long hours with no pay. During an interview with a BBC filmmaker, “one who said he’d been working on a cocoa farm for five years was asked what he thought about people enjoying chocolate in other parts of the world. ‘They are enjoying something that I suffered to make,’ the boy answered. ‘They are eating my flesh.’”

The industry is working on its agreement to reduce child labor in the Ivory Coast and Ghana by 70% by 2020. I hope they follow through. This deadline has already been pushed back several times. In the meantime, I vote with my wallet, purchasing ethically produced chocolate.

Chocolate. What is it good for?


The health benefits of chocolate are many, particularly dark chocolate.

According to Rashed Latif’s article in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, “chocolate has tremendous antioxidant potential.”  This may have a positive effect in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Chocolate may lower cholesterol, prevent memory decline by improving blood flow, and lower the risk of heart disease–all terrific health benefits.

Chocolate might make us smarter. Caution here. This is a small amount of chocolate, preferably dark. Too much sugar, which is highly addictive, causes cavities and a long list of health problems. Moderation is important, albeit not as much fun as indulging in big bar of chocolatey goodness.