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Cooking to Relax—Dr Kay’s Christmas Dinner Menus

The Holiday Season can be a stressful time as we all know, and my life is no different then yours. Sometime the demands and time crutch I feel can be overwhelming. One way that I unwind, “self-sooth”, relax is through cooking.

I find that the whole cooking process from planing and researching my menu, creating a cute menu graphic to be placed on everyone’s plate,  the cooking of each hand-picked dish to the grand crescendo…sitting down and enjoying the meal with my family and friends helps me unwind — relax.

Simply Said Cooking Grounds Me

I wanted to share with you four more of my Christmas Dinner Menu from 2009 to 2012. Be sure to watch for my 2013 Christmas Dinner Menu it will be in honor of my mom Sue Sudekum (1932-2013), this will be our first Christmas with-out her. Miss you mom. 

Christmas Dinner Menu 2009Dr Kay Trotter Kaleidoscope counseling

I think everyone’s favorite this year was the Whiskey Crab Soup. However, the Cranberry-Marinated Rack of Lamb was outstanding also.

Poinsettia Cocktail – is a fun colorful Holiday Martini

Fruit and Cheese Tray – if you don’t know what cheese and fruits to use on your cheese tray, I found the Best Fruit and Cheese guide very helpful.

Whiskey Crab Soup – This soup is the perfect way to start off your Christmas Dinner.

Roquefort Pear Salad – Ever since my daughter Kelly and her husband Josh took a trip to France we think and cook differently with pears. We now put them on pizza, salads, pearing with meats of all type. Yep pears are our new go to fruit.

Cranberry-Marinated Rack of Lamb  – We love lamb, and marinated the rack of lamb with cranberry or pomegranate juice was outstanding. This recipe is no longer on-line, please email me if you want it

Almond Wide Rice and sautéed Green Beans

Southern Pecan Pie – this is a Sudekum family tradition and by the way our family recipe is the best ever.

I wanted to share with you my Sudekum family recipe for Christmas Raisin Bread. This recipe has been in our family since the 1800s – maybe even longer 

For more of my family recipes, please check out my Pinterest board Yummy Sudekum Family Favorites Recipes

Also check out my Yummy Holiday Pinterest Board

Dr Kay Trotter

Christmas Dinner 2010

Raspberry Champagne

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip, served with crackers and bread sticks | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday

Feta & Pepper Dip, Served in a Tuscan bread bowl | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday

Seafood Chowder | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday 

Pork Wellington, wrapped in a puff pastry, stuffed with prosciutto, spinach & chèvre (goat cheese), drizzled with roasted mushroom sauce. | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine At Home Holiday

Steamed Broccoli and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Southern Pecan Pie | Recipe courtesy of Sudekum Family Favorites Recipes

Dr Kay Trotter

2011 Christmas Dinner Menu

Raspberry Champagne | Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Seven Layer Salmon Bits, Stuffed Mushrooms | Recipe courtesy of Epicurious

Bloody Mary Shrimp | Recipe courtesy of Gourmet

Gourmet Cheeses Tray

Seafood Chowder | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine Holiday

Rack of Lamb with Marsalis and Crème Fraiche over Spiced Lentils with Roasted Carrots | Recipe courtesy of Cuisine Holiday

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie | Recipe courtesy of Food and Wine

Dr Kay TrotterChristmas Dinner Menu 2012

Cocktails – Disaronno Cosmo | Recipe courtesy of Disaronno

Tapa – Tortellini Caprese Bites | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes and White Bean-and-Back Olive Crostini | Recipe courtesy of

Salad  – Crispy Goat Cheese – Topped Arugula Salas with Pomegranated Vinaigrette | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

Veggie Mashed Potatoes En Croute | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

Main Course – Honey-Curry Glazed Lamb with Roasted Grapes and Cranberries | Recipe courtesy of My Recipes

Dessert – Elegant Eggnog Dessert | Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

If you have any problem find these recipes please email me at

On this Christmas I offer this prayer to you and your family

May the Lord bless you and keep you;  

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you;

 May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.


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How to recognize addiction in your teen

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drugs Use and Health, 9.5 percent of youths aged 12 to17 were using illicit drugs.  Many teenagers use drugs or alcohol just to experiment them, out of curiosity or to fit in with the crowd that they want to hang out with.  While some lucky teens experiment and stop or continue to use here and there without getting hooked up, but several stay addicted to drugs or alcohol and later turn into chronic addicts.  It is hard to say who will develop dependency and who will not.

However, the following circumstances can make teenagers more vulnerable:

  • Teens who grow up in a drug infested areas
  • Teen who hang out with grownup who are involved in the wrong activities
  • Teens who are unhappy and experiencing depression, stress or anxiety
  • Teens with low self – esteem
  • Teens who are uncomfortable with others around them
  • Teens who are abused physically, emotionally or sexually and
  • Teens who have anger issues and are defiant

Most teens start with alcohol or marijuana and gradually progress to using other hard drugs.  When teenagers begin using drugs sooner or later they start experiencing negative consequences such as losing interest in studies, cutting classes, playing hooky, violence, unprotected sex, risk of accidents, suicidal or homicidal ideation.

The most common early warning signs are:

  • Sudden mood changesBajeerao Patil
  • Irritability
  • Signs of low-self esteem
  • Uncommon behaviors
  • Staying too long in bed
  • Staying up too long
  • Lack of interest in general activities
  • Poor choices
  • Impaired judgment
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent long-lasting cough
  • Tired or red eyes
  • Frequent arguments
  • Defiance
  • Letting on discipline
  • Unwillingness to follow directions
  • Aloofness
  • Repeated health complaints
  • Lying or dishonesty
  • Things start disappearing from the house including money
  • Decreased interest in school
  • Falling grades
  • Cutting classes
  • Breaking laws
  • Weird sense of dressing (carelessness)
  • Mysterious friends
  • Change in friend circles
  • Spending more time outside the house or in the basement of the house
  • Negative attitude
  • Depression

Mind you, the above-mentioned signs can be of some other problems too.  If necessary you must consult your family physician without unnecessary delay.  Parents can play an important role in preventing their teenage children from using drugs by having open communication, educating them about drugs, demonstrating responsible behaviors (role modeling), and keeping an eye on their behaviors including being mindful of the company they keep.  Once a friend of mine suspected that his fourteen years old son was smoking marijuana, but he wasn’t sure about it.  His son had started bringing home his friends who had never had visited them before.  My friend didn’t know how to find out the truth.  He confronted his son, but his son created a scene and stopped talking to his dad for a while.  However, later his father smelled marijuana in the basement and also found some traces of marijuana there.  The son couldn’t lie any longer.  After the use of marijuana was confirmed, his father warned him not to bring his wayward friends home and also lovingly told his son not to hang out with his friends who are using marijuana or any other drugs.  Now my friend’s son has already completed a degree in Engineering and has well paid job.  Luckily, his marijuana use was found out before it got out of hand by his vigilant parents.  You think about it.

Struggling with addictionthere is help!

PatilPhotoGuest Author | Bajeerao Patil

Bajeerao Patil has been treating addictions as a drug and alcohol counselor for over 25 years. He has Masters Degrees in Social Work and Human Resources. He is an avid teacher of addiction and recovery.  He is affiliated with the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association.  Bajeerao Patil is an author of Insanity Beyond Understanding and Lifelong Sobriety. To learn more about Bajeerao Patil and his work, visit and



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Christmas Family Traditions – Christmas Raisin Bread

Well we’re still iced in here in Dallas, all morning long I have been receiving emails notifications of closings. The Village Church (my church) canceled tonights and Sunday morning services , restaurants closures, the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade,  even the Dallas Marathon was canceled. So it looks like I get to stay home today and write blogs. So, I thought  I’d stay on a Christmas theme and post some of my “Sudekum Family Christmas Traditions” 

This recipe has been in my family since the 1800s – maybe even longer.

This recipe has been in my family since the 1800s – maybe even longer.

My family has a recipe for Christmas Raisin Bread that has been in our family since the 1800s – maybe even longer. My mom learned it from her Irish grandmother, my great grandmother, and it is always baked at Christmastime and given as gifts to family, friends and neighbors as well as our mailman, milkman, hair stylists and others. As we were growing up, my mom also made it for all of our teachers, which means, with four children in my family, she was baking a lot of bread!

The smell of this bread baking always brings a smile to my face and fills me with lots of happy memories of childhood.

My family traditionally serves this bread as toast on Christmas morning (the brunch menu also includes sliced & sugared navel oranges and some of us like to dip the toast in the orange juice that is left on our plates!). We also use this bread for leftover turkey sandwiches slathered with lots of tangy Durkee’s Famous Sauce plus crisp lettuce and tart cranberry sauce.

My sister, Ann, who lives in St. Louis (along with the rest of my family – yep I am the only Texan), also likes to use this bread to make a decadent Eggnog French Toast with eggnog from Oberweis Dairy, (which she says is the best she’s ever tasted).

While we all know how to make this bread, my mom was the official baker of the Christmas Raisin Bread. And, as her hands lost their strength over the years, she developed a way to make the bread in a bread machine (although, she only let the machine go as far as the dough cycle and then she took it out to form loaves and bake in individual bread pans).


Source: Sudekum Family Favorites Cookbook
Yield: 6 loaves (1 pound each)

4 cup milk
1/2 pound lard
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons salt
4 packages yeast*
4 eggs
5 pounds flour
1 1/2 cups raisin
* Do not use “quick-rising” or “instant” yeast


  • Heat milk in a saucepan until scalding (180° F).
  • Place lard, sugar and salt in a large bowl and add scalding milk. Let cool to around 100-120° F.
  • Dissolve yeast in 1/2-cup warm water and add to milk mixture. Add eggs, half of the flour and raisins. Beat the dough hard with a spoon and then add the rest of the flour. Mix well and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes and place in a large, clean, greased bowl.
  • Cover bowl with a damp towel and let dough rise for 2 hours. (NOTE: the yeast needs to stay warm while the dough is rising, so be sure to place the dough in a warm part of your kitchen.)
  • After the first rise, punch dough down and let rise again for 1 hour.
  • Cut dough into 6 sections. Cover sections with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Shape dough into loaves, place loaves in greased loaf pans, cover with a damp towel and let rise again.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned.

How to Shape Dough Into Loaves
Roll dough into a 12×8-inch rectangle. Starting from the narrow edge, roll up tightly. At each turn, seal with fingertips or edge of hand. Press down on ends of loaf with sides of hand to make two, thin, sealed strips. Fold strips under loaf (or shape dough into a rectangular loaf, pulling ends together until smooth).

Yield: 2 loaves (1 pound each)

1 cup milk
4 tablespoons lard
1 egg
4 cups flour
1/3 plus 1/8 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 cup raisins


  • Place all ingredients, except raisins, in the dough bucket of the bread machine.
  • Run the dough cycle.
  • When the dough cycle reaches 1:19 (1 hour, 19 minutes), add the raisins and let the dough cycle continue.
  • When the dough cycle finishes, remove the dough from the bucket and divide into two sections.
  • Let dough rest for 10 minutes and shape into loaves.
  • Place loaves in greased loaf pans, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

You can find more  Sudekum Family Favorite Recipes on my new Pinterest Board.

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Christmas Dinner Menu Past—Family Traditions

Since I am iced in today (thunder-sleet storms, ice and snow here in North Texas) I thought I would use this down time to create this year’s Christmas Dinner Menu. As I started looking at recipes, I found a few past Christmas dinner menus and thought it would be fun to share a few of them with you.

Cooking Nurtures My Soul – Cooking Grounds Me

166216_1664273120592_6628374_nChristmas dinner is an especially important cooking activity for me. I research recipes, explore food pairings from appetizers to dessert. Then its time to create a fun design for the printed dinner menu.

I like to enjoy the sparkling festiveness of a Christmas-themed dinner table, Christmas dinner table is set weeks ahead of time. Then, on Christmas day, I turn my kitchen counter into a shining, flickering, happy place to munch on this year’s tapas and sip on raspberry Champagne, something that has become a traditional Christmas Dinner cocktail in my home.


Christmas Dinner 2007

Cocktail: Seasonal Breeze • Campari Liquor, Blood Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice • Recipe courtesy of Feast Food to Celebrate Life, December 2004

Soup: Crab Bisque • Blue Crabs with a hint of Old Bay spices and fiery peppers • Recipe courtesy of Gourmet magazine, December 2007

Salad: Poached Pears with Ginger and Port • Ripe Anjou pears, Tawny Port wine and Mascarpone cheese • Recipe courtesy Gourmet magazine, March 1997

Vegetable: Perfect Roasted Potatoes • Yukon gold, red and sweet potatoes, roasted with fresh rosemary sprigs • Recipe courtesy of Gourmet magazine December 2004

Entree: Roasted Duck with Pomegranate-Wine Sauce • Roasted duck, garlic, herbs, white and red wine drizzled with a orange pomegranate molasses sauce • Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetite, December 2004

Dessert: Southern Pecan Pie • Recipe courtesy of Sudekum Family Favorite Cookbook

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 10.17.55 AMChristmas 2008

Appetizers: Raspberry Champagne • Artichoke DipCheese Tray: Brie, Gouda and Mild Cheddar

First Course: Shrimp Cocktail

Second Course: Cream of Mushroom Soup

Third Course: Caesar Salad

Main Course: Garlic Standing Rib RoastGoat-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes With Chives

Dessert: Southern Pecan Pie

I have also blogged my 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Christmas Dinner menus.

As you can see my family loves to cook and we have lots of Family Traditions

For more of my family recipes, please check out my Pinterest board Yummy Sudekum Family Favorites Recipes.

May Gods blessings float down like soft snowflakes on you and yours this Christmas

~  Dr. Kay

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Staying Connected In Hard Times – Thanksgiving Grace

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time to reflect, a time to give thanks.  For me (Dr. Kay), this Thanksgiving is more meaningful than others after being stranded at sea for five days on The Carnival Triumph followed by my mother’s death shortly thereafter. I view the world differently now — just watching the video about being trapped at sea brought streams of tears cascading down my face as I relived those trauma-filled days. And, before healing could take place from that surreal experience, I soon found myself at the bedside of my dying mother… Yes today God’s blessings of family and a life lived well hold a special place in my heart.

So this Thanksgiving blog is not about: 10 Ways to Eat Pumpkin (That Aren’t Pie) or How Capitalism May Actually Save Thanksgiving. It’s about love… it’s about faith… it’s about the power of the human spirit.

dr kay trotter

Paul Taylor

Guest Blogger Paul Taylor and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related to “”. Paul personally thinks his blog will help finding information on all things related to a babysitter.

Staying Connected In Hard Times

In the past six months everything in my world has changed. My mother has had two major surgeries and been hospitalized for infection. She is 77-years-old and, previous to these surgeries, was in almost-perfect health. Since she had the surgeries, she has lost her appetite, lost more than 30 pounds, and has trouble with her balance and walking. She has also had an increase in medications times three and has a hard time taking her pills. The stress of it all has caused her not to be able to remember things easily and she does not always understand things as quickly as she had before. She needs someone around almost continually and I am that someone.

I was getting quite overwhelmed with the responsibility for awhile. Not only that but my work, house cleaning, young adult child still at home, and shopping, etc., were getting to me. It seemed as though I never had a moment for myself and it was discouraging. And not just discouraging but the future seemed dismal as I thought ahead. I am a Christian and I knew that this was not the attitude I should have or the direction I needed to be going so I started to talk to the Lord about how I was feeling. I was really quite isolated and He reminded me that we should be meeting with other Christians, “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) We all need encouragement today and especially when things are difficult.

This applies not only to those who are caregivers but also for those who stay home with young children. It is never good to be isolated and alone. I had been in a serious car accident several years ago, one that left me unable to walk for quite some time. It had also caused me to have emotional issues such as depression and anxiety disorder. For some time I was unable to talk on the phone or go places because I would have panic attacks. It has taken me years of healing from reading God’s word and prayer to get back out into the world. But during this time we also moved and I had not done much to make new friends. I attended church but had not gotten involved in any small groups and the Lord began to talk to me about reaching out and making connections with other believers.

My adult daughter was instrumental in getting me involved in a small group bible study near our home once a week in the evenings. My daughter volunteered to go with me to get me started. What a blessing this has been for me to get out once a week for a couple of hours and chat with other godly people and also to find out that many of them are dealing with the same issues that I am. In my age bracket (50 – 60) there are so many of us that are now taking care of aging parents. What a blessing to fellowship with them and to know that they understand and are also praying for me! I in turn get to minister to them and help and encourage them which creates a bond and even though we do not know each other well we are united by the Lord and by our mutual circumstances.

Anyone that works at home or finds themselves in any care giving role whether it be for small children, aging parents, or someone battling an illness, it is imperative that you reach out and get involved with people who you can connect with on some level. I find that small bible studies, Sunday schools classes, and church fellowships are wonderful ways for me to get connected. Other ways that are a lot of fun and help you to meet people are exercise classes, which also have added benefits for stress release and fitness. I have also had a great deal of satisfaction and met wonderful people taking art classes such as ceramics at my local community college. They have many programs that are not for credit, just for pleasure that do not cost a great deal. There are also book clubs for those of you who love to read. Getting hooked up is easy, just type it into your search engine and I am sure you will find many opportunities in your community.

It is so important to have people to talk to and to visit with when there are hard times in your life and even when there are not it is important to reach out and connect with others. I was really surprised how much better I felt just being around others who understood and empathized with my situation. Even better than that, in my situation, I know that they are praying for me and my family and through their prayers and my own, the Lord is sending more and more encouragement our way. He is the God of encouragement and perseverance and He cares so very much about what is going on in our lives.

I have had a friend through all of this surgery, hospital time, and taking care of my mom that is quite unique and God engineered that I want to share with you just to show you the power of God and how much He loves us.

About two years ago I was going to a week-long bible study at a church with my cousin who was visiting her mom from another state. To get to the church I had to use the toll road and every night on my way I would go through a toll booth and the same lady would be there. We exchanged pleasantries and I shared with her that I was on my way to a bible study. She got excited and she asked me to please ask for prayer for her and her sisters and she told me what was going on. I assured her I would and that I would be praying for her as well.

Not only did I ask for prayer at the bible study but I kept her on my prayer list for two years. When my mom needed surgery we decided on a hospital across town a ways and I found myself using the toll booth again. When I drove up I thought I recognized the lady as my friend, Al, who I had been praying for these past two years. I asked her name and sure enough it was. I immediately asked how her sisters Ruby and Carol were doing to which I got a very surprised look. I told her I had been praying for her for the last two years and reminded her of our meeting. She was overwhelmed and excited to know that someone had been praying for her all this time. We exchanged telephone numbers and we talked almost daily. She was there for almost every drive home from the hospital on the phone with me encouraging me in the Lord and just being an ear to listen. Her mother had passed away years ago and one of her sisters had also passed since I had begun to pray for them. She knew my heart ache and my discouragement and has been so faithful in these last months. That is our God and He is so good.

He prepared this friend for me all that time ago. And the people from the bible study group have been more than encouraging. My mom’s sister passed away a few weeks ago and they were bringing food to our door and sending their thoughts and wishes via texts and calls. The people in Sunday school have reached out to us as well, along with the pastoral care team who showed up from my mom’s church and mine. You do not really realize how much you need people until they show up. Sometimes we just think we have to do everything on our own because no one really cares anyway or you feel as if no one wants to hear your problems. I can assure you that this is not true. People are for the most part very caring and loving and willing to help in times of need. You do have to make yourself available and reach out to others or they will never know your desperation.

You always hear about the ugliness in the world and that people do not care. I have found that if you look around and find like-minded people that have similar situations in their lives you can find help and comfort through these connections. Not only will you find help, but you will find yourself in the position to help others, which is extremely and surprisingly healing for all involved. None of us were meant to make the journey of life alone. God sent His Son to die for us and take all these burdens on Himself and then rise again and return to the Father so that He could intercede for us if we belong to Him. And all that it takes to belong to Him is, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (NIV) This world is hard sometimes but this is not my home. He uses people to love through them and encourage those that are struggling. Make yourself available to others so that you will not feel alone.

Author: Paul Taylor has also written blog post for:


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Power Parenting


Power Parenting  • By Dore Quinn LPC

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the “Parenting University” for the Lewisville Independent School District.  The topic I presented was one that is near and dear to my heart entitled, “Power Parenting.”

I became acutely aware early on in my parenting career of the importance of parents having the power in a family.  Though most kids won’t admit it, parents having control in a family allows for the whole family to feel more secure.  I have worked with many teens that admitted they wished their parents were more in control of the family and that there were more rules and consistency.  The big question is, how do parents assume power in the family?

The main goal in assuming power in parenting is to stop arguing with the children.  There is a huge difference between discussing and arguing.  Discussion is okay; arguing is not.  An example of arguing is a parent instructing a child to clean his room and the charming child giving ten reasons why he shouldn’t have to clean his room.  Often we parents take the argument bait and try to logic the child into obedience. I might choose to try one argument of logic (because there is an innate part of me that really wants them to understand that I’m not trying to make their lives difficult for the fun of it), but then I’m done.  If the child is arguing, then the  child doesn’t really want to understand why he should have to comply; he simply hopes he can argue his way out of doing the job.  Rather than give reasons why he should do as I ask, I will simply repeat the request.

Here is an example: 

MOM:  If you want to go to your friend’s house, you’ll have your room clean by 5:00.

SON:  Why do I have to clean my room? Who is coming over? (Sound familiar??)

Fight the urge to take the bait… you are the parent and it isn’t necessary to justify your request. Instead, just repeat the request:

MOM:  Nevertheless, if you want to go to your friend’s house, you’ll have your room clean by 5:00.

SON: (becoming agitated): Why? It’s not my house… Who put that room in this house anyways??

Fight the urge again to take the bait (arguing often leads to escalation of a fight) and just repeat the request again.

Keep up this pattern until the child becomes frustrated with his repeated attempts to draw you into an argument and will often sigh in frustration and hopefully comply because his efforts are futile. 

If I have a particularly stubborn child, I may end up repeating the request four or five times at which time I will decide for the child that he doesn’t want to go to his friend’s house after all and then I will come up with a particularly distasteful consequence (phone disappearing, etc.) if he chooses not to comply.

The main goal in maintaining power is to keep from escalating with the child in his or her anger.  When we choose to argue with the child, then our position as the one in power diminishes as our anger escalates.

If you have a child who is argumentative, try using your hand held up in a “Stop” signal to give visual sight to your child that you expect him or her to stop.

Sometimes your child may have a particularly frustrating behavior pattern established that you may want to change.  The following is a behavior plan that I often use in private practice to help parents take control and end verbal arguing. There are a few premises that this plan works on.

  • It needs to be explained to the child thoroughly before implementation.
  • One behavior needs to be identified and worked on at a time.  More than one behavior becomes overwhelming to the child.
  • Once the plan is established, the parent DOES NOT argue with the child or even worse…LECTURE.  The parent simply marks the sheet.  If the child genuinely doesn’t understand then the parent may choose to explain once why the sheet was marked (but NOT argue!!!).  If the child argues, then another check is marked on the sheet.
  • Papers need to be taped onto the front of the fridge.  If you are one of those families with fifty gazillion magnets on the fridge, this is a good time to clear them out and give the behavior plan a special place front and center on the fridge.
  • Handwrite the plan (don’t use the one I’m posting…it needs to be customized to your child).  The one I’m posting is just an example.
  • Don’t post the paper about catching them being good.

Begin by identifying the behavior you wish to target. Be VERY detailed on the specific behaviors your child engages in that fall under the category. This is an example. This gets posted on the fridge.


  1. Eye rolling.
  2. Telling Mom or Dad, “NO!”
  3. “I hate you!”
  4. Telling mom or dad, “You can’t tell me what to do!”
  5. Sighing after I ask you to do something.
  6. Groaning after I ask/tell you do something.
  7. Making faces while I am speaking to you.
  8. Saying, “Whatever…” to me
  9. Covering up your ears while I am speaking with you.
  10. Double asking (asking me then asking Dad after I’ve told you no)
  11. Saying, “That’s not fair!”
  12. Telling me I’m mean.
  13. Growling in my ear-shot
  14. Continuing to speak after I’ve put my hand in the air signing, “Stop!”
  15. Yelling at Dad or me.
  16. Swearing at me.

* Door slamming will result in me assuming you need practice closing doors quietly, thus you will open and close the door quietly 15x.

*Stomping up or down stairs will result in me assuming you need practice going up and down stairs quietly, thus you will have the opportunity to practice going up and down quietly 10x with me watching and counting (one trip up and down = 1x).

I tell my kids that they are more than welcome to think anything in their head that they want, but I better not hear it or I will consider it disrespect.  Also, be sure to teach them how to have a discussion with you about something they don’t like/something they are concerned about rather than engaging in disrespectful behaviors. Your list will look different than this one because you will be targeting specific behaviors your child uses.

Child’s Name

________        ________       ________       ________       ________

*The spaces above are “freebies.”  Consequences start when they go through their freebies.

*Each consequence gets progressively worse.

*These consequences are just examples.

*Use whatever your child values as leverage

*I’ve been known to take away make-up, clothes, phones, etc.

________1.  No TV for an hour.


________2.  ½ hour in your room.


________3.   1 hour in your room.


________4.  No TV/Computer for the rest of the day.


________5.  Bedtime at 6 pm (or 7…)-I usually always use this as the final consequence because if they have engaged in the behavior 10 times in one day, then I am pretty much out of patience and want them out of my sight by then.


*All behavior charts are for a daily basis. All consequences need to be daily consequences (grounding for an entire week results in kid not caring for rest of week-counter productive to changing behavior)

*When child gets savvy enough to go through all freebies and no consequences (as smart kids do), then it is time to knock off freebies to maybe two or three.

*It takes at least three weeks to change a habit…this is no different

*They will go through all consequences at least 2-3 days in the first week, so be prepared! This is normal.

Catch ‘em being good


This third part to the behavior chart is very important.  Because difficult behavior usually results in strained relationships (yes, it is possible to not like your own child…), it is essential to build the relationship back up between parent and child.  When a child is difficult, the child often feels as though he/she can never do anything right and the only thing noticed is when he/she screws up. The third element to the behavior plan is catching them being good.

  • Go to the store and buy about 10 candy bars that you know your child will like (full-sized, not fun-sized).
  • Explain to your child that you are going to work at catching him/her being good, and when you do, you may toss a candy bar to him/her.
  • Explain that if he/she tells the other siblings, then the whole deal is off…this is just between you and the child (helps him/her feel special and keeps the others from feeling like there is favoritism).
  • Really notice when he/she does something right…toss him/her a candy bar privately with a one sentence explanation (VERY IMPORTANT it is only one sentence to avoid child/teen “click off”) and LEAVE THE SCENE!!! In the beginning you may be tossing one or two a day, then lengthen it out.  A week or two of candy bars isn’t going to kill him/her or permanently ruin teeth. Candy works much better than stickers, etc. In the beginning, the child may act as though he/she doesn’t care, but THEY DO!!! Do it anyway!


(Toss candy bar) “Thanks for not yelling at me when you were angry earlier… I really appreciate it!” Then leave…don’t discuss, don’t give detail, don’t go on and on…you get the picture.

(Toss candy bar) ”Thanks for not knocking your brother one when he used your stereo… You’re awesome!”

(Toss candy bar) ”Thanks for taking out the trash without arguing… I really appreciate it!”

By ending the pattern of arguing with our children, we as parents will maintain our position of being in charge in the home. Parents having the power in the home helps maintain stability in the family and greater feelings of security. Besides, it makes our home a happy place to be!

If you would like Dore Quinn to talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Kaleidoscope Counseling also post regularly on our Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for screen time

Last week The American Academy of Pediatrics released updated media (screen time) guidelines for children and adolescents.


  • Limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to <1 to 2 hours per day.
  • Discourage screen media exposure for children <2 years of age.
  • Keep the TV set and Internet- connected electronic devices out of the child’s bedroom.
  • Monitor what media their children are using and accessing, including any Web sites they are visiting and social media sites they may be using.
  • Co-view TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers, and use this as a way of discussing important family values.
  • Model active parenting by establishing a family home use plan for all media. As part of the plan, enforce a mealtime and bedtime “curfew” for media devices, including cell phones. Establish reasonable but firm rules about cell phones, texting.
Kaleidoscope Counseling

Co-view TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers


  • Educate school boards and school administrators about evidence-based health risks associated with unsupervised, unlimited media access and use by children and adolescents, as well as ways to mitigate those risks, such as violence prevention, sex education, and drug use-prevention programs.
  • Encourage the continuation and expansion of media education programs, or initiate implementation of media education programs in settings where they are currently lacking.
  • Encourage innovative use of technology where it is not already being used, such as online education programs for children with extended but medically justified school absences.
  • Work collaboratively with parent- teacher associations to encourage parental guidance in limiting or monitoring age-appropriate screen times. In addition, schools that do use new technology like iPods need to have strict rules about what students can access.

To read the full report from the American Academy of Pediatrics titled: “Children, Adolescents, and the Media”

It’s hard to limit screen time, though, when “all the other kids” are spending so much of their free time in front of one screen or another. Dr Trotter’s blog titled: “Earning Screen Time” offers practical guild lines for your family.

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Dr Kay’s Playroom

Play therapists are uniquely trained to understand the content of children’s play. In the playroom, children can safely confront their problems and learn how to confine, define and master them.

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Teen Pregnancy: A Preventable Epidemic


There are 700,000 teen pregnancies a year in the United States alone.

85 percent of couples that don’t use protection will get pregnant.

Teen Pregnancy: A Preventable Epidemic

These are staggering statistics. But they aren’t just stats, it happened to me when I was 17. I was a happy teen. I attended church, played sports, did well in school and had lots of friends. I also had horrible self-esteem and didn’t think that I was good enough. I thought I was fat and didn’t deserve to be happy. I was very muscular from playing sports yet I was filled with self-loathing.

I also didn’t have a father growing up. To fill that void, I fell fast in love with a guy from my high school. I loved him, so a few months before my 18th birthday I gave him my virginity. I realize now, that no matter how much I loved him, that I wasn’t ready and really didn’t know what sex, love, or intimacy truly was. He signed up for the military and I was left to my own devices.

I no longer had the “love” that I was hiding behind, so I started to date, for lack of a better term, losers. They gave me attention and “love”. I gave them love too (sex), but I really thought they loved me back. They were sleeping with other girls and one even gave me something. Luckily it was curable. I thought that having sex with them would show them that I loved them. But that’s not true.

Love is earned and God-given. It is beautiful and special, as is sex. Sex is meant to procreate, with your spouse, repopulating the world. This world has twisted it and made it dirty and shameful, and “cool”. If you’re not having sex and you’re not dressing revealingly, then you’re not cool. That’s what the television, radio, and internet all say. They say it in advertisements for burgers and beer and women’s underwear. So literally our little girls are becoming pieces of meat for display. As are our little boys. I don’t know of any little boy that said I want to be an underwear model when I grow up.

But I digress. I ended up pregnant by someone that didn’t love me, didn’t care and wasn’t going to be there for me. I was a teen, pregnant, scared and alone. I ended up having an abortion, and while forgiven, I have had to live with that everyday of my life. Knowing that I could have made a difference in a child’s life, but instead I ended it. There are so many choices. You don’t have to end up like me.

  1. Be Abstinent. Save sex for when you are ready and can deal with the ramifications. It will and does matter.
  2. Use protection/get on birth control. I know it is “embarrassing” but if you can’t refrain then you must protect yourself from disease and unwanted pregnancy.
  3. Seek Counseling: There are many counselors that will help you. If you feel like you want to have sex, but know you’re not ready, talk to someone.

Don’t be a statistic like I was. Be the one that isn’t. You are worth it, you are beautiful, you are loved, your life does mean something. It doesn’t matter what size you are, what car you drive, who you date, in the end all of that will be gone in the blink of an eye. The only thing that truly matters is Love. Sex does not equal love. Protect yourself and the lives of others that aren’t born yet. That is love.

 Guest Blogger: Stephanie has many years of experience as a nanny. She has always loved children and has continuously been involved in childcare activities. Currently she is one of the writers for If you want to get in touch with her, you can email her at stephanie. Houstonnanny@gmail. com.


Do Something

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

WebMD Teen Pregnancy: Medical Risks and Realities

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History Making Bill…Animal Assisted Therapy Law

On October 1st 2013 Connecticut will make history by enacting the FIRST Animal Assisted Therapy Bill

As the first bill of its kinds Connecticut realized the emotional and psychology benefits of including an animal in the mental health therapy treatment process.

Some of the bill highlights include

  • Training  individuals on (1) the healing value of the human-animal bond 
for children, (2) the value of therapy animals in dealing with 
traumatic situations, and (3) the benefit of an animal assisted therapy 
  • Collaboration with mental health 
care providers to incorporate animal assisted therapy into the therapy for children and youth.
  • Develop a coordinated volunteer canine crisis response team for crisis intervention.
  • Develop a results based 
accountability assessment of the results of animal assisted programs.

Below is the complete Connecticut Animal Assisted Therapy Bill 

History Making Bill Signed by Connecticut Governor – here is the actual bill


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2013) (a) For purposes of this 
section, “animal assisted therapy” means goal-directed intervention in 
which animals are used as an integral part of the treatment process for 
individuals who have experienced mental, physical or emotional trauma and “animal assisted therapy community” 
means the local or regional entities possessing the staff and 
capabilities to engage in animal assisted therapy including, but not 
limited to, the Connecticut Humane Society, Soul Friends, Inc. and 
Animal Assisted Therapy Services, Inc.

(b) Not later than 
January 1, 2014, the Commissioner of Children and Families, within 
available appropriations, shall develop and implement training for 
certain employees of the Department of Children and Families and mental 
health care providers, on (1) the healing value of the human-animal bond 
for children, (2) the value of therapy animals in dealing with 
traumatic situations, and (3) the benefit of an animal assisted therapy 

(c) Not later than January 1, 2014, the Commissioner 
of Children and Families, in consultation with the Governor’s Prevention
Partnership and the animal assisted therapy community and within available appropriations, shall develop and operate, or contract for, an
animal assisted therapy program. Such program shall: (1) Provide animal
 assisted therapy to children and youths living with trauma and loss; 
(2) provide animal assisted therapy to children and youths with 
behavioral health needs who are in the custody of the Department of 
Children and Families; (3) allow for collaboration with mental health 
care providers to incorporate animal assisted therapy into the therapy 
plan for youths or children; (4) promote the healing benefits of the 
human-animal bond by providing interactive empathetic training 
activities with therapy animals; (5) incorporate nonverbal learning into
the formulation of trauma treatment modalities; and (6) demonstrate 
positive outcomes for children.

(d) Not later than January 1, 
2014, the Commissioner of Children and Families, in consultation with 
the Commissioner of Agriculture and within available appropriations, 
shall develop a coordinated volunteer canine crisis response team. Such 
team shall consist of various handlers and canines that have been 
trained and certified to provide comfort and relief to individuals 
during and after traumatic events. Such team shall operate on a 
volunteer basis and shall be available to provide animal assisted 
therapy within twenty-four hours of receiving notice to do so.

(e) Not later than January 1, 2014, the Commissioner of Children and 
Families, in consultation with the Commissioner of Agriculture and the 
joint standing committee on children, shall develop a results based 
accountability assessment of the results of the programs implemented 
pursuant to subsections (b) to (d), inclusive, of this section to (1) 
determine the effectiveness of animal assisted therapy, (2) begin the 
process of identifying curriculum-based animal assisted therapy as a 
potential best practice approach, and (3) demonstrate positive outcome 
measures in hopefulness, tied to resilience in the literature and other 
social emotional measures of healthy child development.


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