Caring for your Aging Loved Ones

By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

©Crystal S. Kauffman
©Crystal S. Kauffman

Parents are an enormous part of a child’s life, as they begin to grow into adulthood. Soon, their children begin growing up and starting their own families. This causes them to become less dependent on their parents, due to their new found responsibilities. Unfortunately, this can create loneliness in the parent, especially when they realize that they have an empty nest. Some seniors are faced with chronic medical problems that seem to rob them of their independence.

Soon, the feelings of loneliness and worthlessness will manage to invade their heart. Sometimes they will begin withdrawing from family functions and begin feeling depressed. Without immediate medical care, the depression will take over their lives and cause them to contemplate suicide. Most seniors feel like they are a burden to their family members or others who may be helping them. Each family member must look for the red flags or warning signs that will let them know how their parent feels.

Look for sudden withdrawals from normal activities, excessive anger or frustration, or feelings of wanting to die. The best way to combat the depression is to understand the symptoms and find them the proper medical help immediately. Financial issues can also lead a retired senior, into thinking that they would be better off dead. However, the only way that families can stop this silent killer, is by being supportive and recognize the signs of depression.

Try making time to be a part of their life daily, if just call them daily and let them talk about whatever you want. Take them out for a movie or to eat at their favorite restaurant, because it is the little things that will help bring them out of their depression. Make the aging parent feel wanted and needed, because it can help families keep their loved one from suffering with depression.

The loneliness can disappear and the aging family member will feel happy and full of love. Honestly, there is no easy way to handle the depression that most seniors face, as they become less independent. Just letting them know someone cares will brighten their day and help them feel special. Create a scrapbook of memories to share with them and let them pick out their favorite pictures.

Sometimes, just spending the day with them will let enjoy their grandchildren, as well as their adult child. Never ignore the warning signs of depression or loneliness in an aging parent. Step in and do little things like laundry or cooking, because that will allow them to spend time doing their favorite hobby like puzzles or sewing.

Previously Published

Reference: Personal Experience

©2010, Crystal S. Kauffman

Learn More about the Giant Panda

By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer


A giant panda is an adorable black and white giant bear, which is widely recognized as an endangered species. According to San Diego Kids (2012), this species is related to the bear family, due to the way it behaves like any other type of bear species in the wild. These bears are generally found living in the local zoos or in central mountains in China. The giant panda does not hibernate or sleep through the winter like other species of the bears normally do.

What do they look like?

The giant panda has a white head with the cutest black ears and black circles around their eyes, which reminds of a raccoon. This species of panda has four black legs and white can be found everywhere else. According to Defenders of Wildlife (2012) a panda has five fingers and an enlarged wrist bone which works like a humans thumb. The adult giant panda is about 5 ft long, 2.5 ft tall at shoulders, and weighs 300 lbs.

Where do they live?

They are found living in zoos all over the world, where they are safe from poachers and the hunters who would kill them. The zoo’s researchers are learning more about this amazing animal, who has captured so many hearts with its majestic beauty. According to National Geographic (2012), they can be found living in isolated wet areas within the remote mountains of central China.

What do they eat?

The wild giant panda is good at climbing the bamboo trees, despite their enormous size and stature. According to Defenders of Wildlife (2012), the giant panda absolutely enjoys eating bamboo stalks and they will also eat insects and fruit. An average adult giant panda eats around 25 – 40 lbs of bamboo a day. However, the giant panda will climb bamboo trees, in order to get to the stalks but they usually sleep at the bottom of the tree at night.

How do they reproduce?

The giant panda will generally breed during March to, but the only stay pregnant for 3-5 months and may produce pregnancy may produce one or two cubs. According to Defenders of Wildlife (2012), the baby panda is hairless as a newborn and they are blind until their eyes open at 6-8 weeks after birth. The baby cub will drink its mother’s milk for about six months and become independent of its mother between 1- 3 years

Are they endangered?

The giant panda is a poster child and well known for being an international endangered species that may need protection. The World Wildlife Fund and other conservationist are trying to protect them in the wild and at zoos. Unfortunately, only one panda cub will survive if the mother has twins. According to Defenders of Wildlife (2012), it is estimated that only about 2000 giant pandas live in the wild and about 200 are held in captivity at the zoo. The panda’s average life span is about 20-30 years in captivity, but not much is known about the wild giant panda because they live in solitude.


National Geographic (2012) Giant Pandas

Retrieved on Nov.25th, 2012 from the World Wide Web

Defenders of Wildlife (2012) Pandas

Retrieved on Nov.25th, 2012 from the World Wide Web

San Diego Kids (2012) Giant Panda facts for Kids

Retrieved on Nov.25th, 2012 from the World Wide Web

Previously Published

©2012, Crystal S. Kauffman

Game of Life

By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

©Crystal S. Kauffman
©Crystal S. Kauffman

Take a look deep down inside,
Let the child in you be your guide.
Life is like a great big ocean,
The waves swirl with so many emotions.

Drowning in a sea of sorrow,
You cannot imagine living until tomorrow,
As you walk across the fire,
Let your heart fill with desire.

However, if lie you in a bed and cry,
The precious things in life will pass you by.
This is a game of sink or swim,
So, try harder and play to win.

©2008, Crystal S. Kauffman

Remembering a Loved one

By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Staff Writer

©Crystal S. Kauffman
©Crystal S. Kauffman

Do you ever think of me?
Are your truly happy and free?
I am weak and sad tonight,
Embrace me with your heavenly light.

My heart is empty and blue,
Everyday is painful without you.
The cancer took you away,
I miss you in every way.

You suffered and died so quick,
After the illness made you so sick.
Each memory blows me apart,
The anger has captured my heart.

Hold me, as I face my fears,
Can you wipe away my tears?
Why did you have to die?
Will the tears ever dry?

©2008, Crystal S. Kauffman

Basking Shark: The Largest Shark of the Sea

By, Crystal S. Kauffman



The basking shark is considered the second largest fish or shark, when compared to the whale shark. According to Sharks-World, this gigantic creature is also known as Cetorhinus Maximus, by scientists and researchers who collect vital information from these animals. Thankfully, they do not prefer to eat humans instead they filter feed, just as the whale shark does. They are slow moving and an unusually large mouth. In which they filter feed.
They are not dangerous to humans, because the giant shark is usually enjoying using its wide mouth to eat plankton. They have gills which filter out the items that they don’t want, while allowing them to eat all the plankton that they want. According to Sharks-World, these giant sharks can measure up to 33 feet long and the shark can weigh up to 4 tons. The most common names are the big-mouth shark, sun-fish, bone shark, and elephant shark.
The basking shark enjoys swimming and living in the coastal waters, which are warmer and offer plenty of plankton to snack on. Additionally, these giant sharks may travel alone or in groups of over 100 members, as well as travel with their mate. According to Sharks-World, they tend to stay near the surface, so they can filter feed using their mouth to process 1500 gallons of water each hour. These amazing animals are in need of protection before they become extinct and future generation will never get to see one up close.
The commercial fishing industry allows shark hunting for meat and shark liver oils, as well as other valuable parts of the shark that can be sold on the open market. According to Sharks-World, sometimes these giant sharks are mistaken for a great white shark, but the basking shark has smaller eyes and large gills. This shark’s mouth is about 3 foot wide, which allows them filter feed using the gill rakes found in the sharks gills that encircle its head.
The sharks don’t hibernate but they do migrate to deep waters or other coastal areas, during certain seasons. According to Sharks-World, these sharks vary in colors like blue, white, dark brown, and black which may identifying one a little difficult unless you know what they look like. However, In order to keep the giant sharks from being hunted, we as a generation must try to offer some type of protection now. If not, we will lose all chances of our future generations ever seeing a basking shark, except in school books or the encyclopedia.
References: (2015) Basking Sharks

Retrieved from the World Wide Web on July 16, 2015

©2015, Crystal S. Kauffman

All About Whale Sharks


By, Crystal S. Kauffman

Whale sharks are a majestic beast, which fascinates scientist and tourist alike, yet many misunderstand this gentle giant. Learning more about this species of shark will help people begin to understand that the whale sharks are not dangerous. According to Shark-World, the whale shark is also known as the Rhincodon typus, which has been confirmed as a largest fish in the entire world. Scientists and tourist have chosen to go scuba diving with these majestic creatures, yet they found them to be docile and nonthreatening to humans.

According to Sharks-World, the whale shark is the largest species of shark in the world, which has been on this planet for millions of years according to scientists. The largest recorded whale shark was 40 feet in length, but some say they have seen whale sharks that are about 60 feet long. They are also known as the largest species of this on earth and can weigh over 20 tons. However, despite their massive size, they are generally known as gentle giants.

A whale sharks mouth is 4 feet wide and they are filter feeders, but their preferred meal is plankton or small fish. According to Sharks-World, the gentle giant prefers to live in warm waters like the ones found in Mexico, tropical seas, and Australia. During the spring, the whale shark migrates to the continental shelf, which is found on the West Coast of the Australian sea. This area of the Australian sea allows the whale shark to find plenty of plankton to eat and thrive on.

The gentle giant has a flattened head and a blunted snout just above its massive mouth, which has short barbels that protrude from its nostrils. According to Sharks-World, the whale sharks body is bigger that a school bus, which makes this gentle giant the biggest fish on the planet. The sharks back and sides are a dark gray to a brownish color with white spots. The gentle giants belly is white and it has two dorsal fins, which are set facing the rear of its body.

The gentle giants have a massive tail, which helps them swim when migrating or just hunting the food they crave like plankton. According to Sharks-World, these gentle giants are considered to be a threatened or vulnerable species, but they are still hunted in Asia and the Philippines. These giant sharks are docile and will allow a swimmer to interact with them, as well as hitching a ride. It is up to us and future generations to help save this majestic creature from becoming extinct.

References: (2015) Whale Shark
Retrieved on the World Wide Web on July 16, 2015

©2015, Crystal S. Kauffman Widgets

Mako Sharks: Fastest Shark Species


By, Crystal S. Kauffman

These beautiful creatures are built like a torpedo and attacks aggressively, which involves breaching the water at times when the shark captures its prey. According to Sharks-World, these sharks are blue in color and can be around a half a ton or 1000 lbs while they can grow to be 12 feet long. The mako sharks usually don’t swim near humans, but humans have been attacked by this aggressive shark. Fisherman have always told tales about this shark swimming faster than their boats and jumping high enough to jump over their boats, as well.

Pound for pound most powerful shark in the ocean and they are narrowed bodied, but have flat surface at the end of their body that is right by their tail. Their tails are up down from tip to tip, but their bodies are streamed lined for speed and agility when hunting prey. According to Sharks-World, some mako sharks may prefer to swim near the shore in warm water, whiles others prefer colder or deep water. These sharks can be found in oceans around the world, but many are found in the waters surrounding Tahiti.

This shark has the speed and agility to track large animals in the sea like: dolphins, fish, and tuna. This shark is the fastest shark in the sea and generally swimming at speeds of 35 miles per hour, but when hunting or migrating they can swim up to 60 miles per hour. The female and male mate, but the eggs remain in the female until they hatch and she will have up to 18 pups which are over 2 ft. long. (Source: Sharks-World, 2015)

References: (2014) Mako Sharks
Retrieved on the World Wide Web on July 16, 2015

©2015, Crystal S. Kauffman Widgets

Review of The Face on the Milk Carton-By, Caroline B. Cooney

The_Face_on_the_Milk_CartonThe Face on the Milk Carton

By, Caroline B. Cooney

Jane “Janie” Johnson was a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school. She was a happy-go-lucky tenth grader, who had several close friends and a boyfriend/neighbor Reeve. Additionally, she loved her life as it was, but everything changed one day at lunch. She grabbed her friend’s milk carton at school and finished it, even though she has a slight milk allergy. Janie turned the milk carton over to see whose face was on the milk carton today.

Imagine her surprise, when she realized that she was staring at a picture of herself in pigtails and a dress she remembers in a flashback. She looked at the picture of a missing three-year-old girl named Jennie Springs from New Jersey. Immediately, her mind begins trying to make sense of everything she knew about herself. She began having flashbacks of her at three-years-old wearing that dress and hanging out with a woman with twin babies.

She did her own investigations and her boyfriend Reeve became her confidant. She began having “daymares” or flashbacks of old memories, which included a strange woman and twins. In the attic, Janie found an old trunk, which had the mysterious letter H-written on it. In this trunk, she discovers papers and things done by someone named Hannah. Additionally, she found a dress in the old trunk that matches the dress that she was wearing in the picture on the milk carton.

She hides her discovery from her parents, but soon she begins asking her parent’s (Frank and Miranda Johnson) tough questions. Unfortunately, they knew that they had to tell her the truth, so she learned that her birth mother was their only daughter and was named Hannah. They explained how Hannah was a member of a cult and that when she finally came home, she had Janie with her. Her parents acted nervous, but finally explained that they are in fact her grandparents instead her parents.

Janie knew them as her only parents and she chose to call them her parents, but there was a twist in the story. Hannah might be kidnapper and her parents/grandparents were innocent. For reasons only Hannah knew, she left Janie with her parents and vanished out her own parent’s lives after returning to the cult. Fearing the cult will come after their granddaughter/daughter; the Javensen’s changed everyone’s name to Johnson and began moving around until they settled down.

Now, after hearing about the kidnapping, the Johnson’s are worried that they will lose Janie and Hannah will go to prison. Will Janie be able to stay with the only parents that she has ever known or will she be forced to say good-bye?

My Opinion on the Book

I really loved the way the author wrote this book from Janie’s/Jennie’s point of view. Additionally, I enjoyed being able to follow Janie’s emotions from the time she recognized herself on the milk carton to when she had Lizzie help her tell her parents what was going on. Finally, she was able to share the burden with her parents and they can work together to find a solution to the problem that they now face.

Janie tried so hard to work through the feeling, but she was unable to keep it from affecting every relationship she had from her parents to her friends. Luckily, she had a confidant in Reeve, her boyfriend and neighbor. I think the author Caroline B. Cooney did a wonderful job, showing the story and developing the story at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading the sequels. If you have a chance to read this book, be sure to write what you thought about it in the comments. I highly recommend this book for teens and adults alike. Especially if you like mystery, suspense, and drama.

PS: There is a movie about this book.

Thanks for stopping by,


©2015, Crystal S. Kauffman


End of Life Communication

My Granddad!
My Granddad!

Recently, I learned that my grandfather has terminal cancer, which has invaded his body in several places. First of all, I was stunned and numbed, by the grave news and the thought of him dying. Basically, he raised me most of my life, so I am very close to him. I couldn’t cry at first, because I thought God would heal him and he wouldn’t die. As, the days go by, I have been a basket case, who is terrified to answer the telephone.

With each new call, I was afraid to hear those words, which I know are coming soon. Then, I realized that he is suffering, so I felt selfish for wanting him to live. Since, nothing has controlled the pain, no matter how much pain medicine the doctor has given him. So, I finally decided to pray for God to heal his whole body, by taking him home to heaven. Through watching his suffering and his depression, I began wondering how much longer I will have with him.

Therefore, I wrote him a letter that came directly from my heart, which was my way to say good-bye. I wanted to let him know that I adore him and that I am proud of him. By writing all my feelings down, I was able to tell him how I truly felt about him. Besides, I knew I couldn’t say it with choking up and bursting into tears. I promised him to honor him and make him proud, as I face this world without him.

Then, I realized that for the first time ever, I would have to make decisions without his wisdom and guidance. Suddenly, I finally broke down and cried for the first time, since I learned about his illness. Everything, seemed come out and before I knew it, I had a five page letter that I gave him a few days ago. Honestly, I will never forget what he said after he read my letter and to be honest; I cried and hugged him.

Now, I don’t feel as if I have left something unsaid or unforgiving in his eyes, before he goes home to God. I don’t feel numb anymore, but I am trying to spend every moment that I can with him. However, it is painful, to watch him writhe in pain. It’s even harder to watch him cry, when I haven’t seen him cry more the three times in my entire life. Saying goodbye is not the easiest thing to do, but it has helped to ease my fears of life without my Grandpa.

Thankfully, this has drawn our family closer and made us learn to cherish, each day we have left to be together. Hopefully, we can spend time making memories and without him suffering in pain. Every day, I will let him know how much I care, until that day finally comes. Then, I will know that it’s my turn to pick up his torch and keep it going. Hence, I shall always remember him as the greatest man I ever had the privilege to know and love.

©2007, Crystal S. Kauffman

Previously published in May of 2007 at ( has been closed)

Making Math Fun

math is fun

Did you know that your children can learn to master math, by doing simple everyday tasks? As your child interacts with their parent, they learn many new things. These basic skills are essential for their social and intellectual development. One of the most important things for your children to learn… is how to count! Then, they can learn simple addition and subtraction, by fun quizzing games using their favorite toys.

Every parent can help their children, by using everyday situations to enhance their basic mathematics skills. For instance, allow your child to help gather and count the ingredients needed for the recipe. Next, let your child add up the ingredients that are necessary to make a special dish. Counting cookies, sliced tomatoes, or even dry noodles; will strengthen your child’s basic math skills.

Parents can teach subtraction, by allowing their children to count the candy that they are eating. Even at the grocery store, parents can allow their children to count. They can also help load the shopping cart and try to figure out the total. Some children also enjoy grabbing the items off the shelves. So, stop and let them count, how many items that they are putting in the shopping cart.

Even walks around the neighborhood, parents can let children how many houses from their house. When a parent participates in counting, children perceive it as a interactive game. So, remember that they can count many different things in your neighborhood. For example, they can count cars, people, and signs that they pass every day to school.

Parents can use every day interaction to teach their child new things. As a child learns the value of money, parents can help them learn to add and subtract. While they save up for something they want, they will learn how to budget money. Most parents are  allowing a child to earn and spend money, which teaches them how to manage their own money. Parents should give them small notebook, in order to add and subtract the money they earn or spend.

This way, they will help them understand, the actual value of money. Plus, they will learn how to keep track of what they spend. Always try to keep learning fun and take plenty of breaks, since children have short attention spans. Start looking for ways to help your child, especially if you spot something that your child is weak in. Teaching children simple math skills is daily process, which requires parental involvement.

Furthermore, with a little added fun, you will see your child’s math grades improve. Sometimes children will be uninterested in learning math of any kind. So, be creative, when looking for way to gain your child’s interest. As the children get older, let them help figure out what household bills are owed. Then, let them help set and maintain the household expenses.

All ages of children, will respond when you combine learning and fun. If you have a computer, you can find many web sites that will help teach your children math. Many are games or easy to complete worksheets, which will help build your child’s skills also. On completion of the worksheet, look for ways to reward their hard work. Therefore, you will find that your child is becoming a master of mouth…one day at a time!

Previously Published

@2008, Crystal S. Kauffman