New Trend Isn’t for Kids

“Rick. Look over there,” nodding towards the table. “There are three young adults coloring on the paper table cloth. They must be in their twenties.”

My husband is used to my keen observation skills. But even as a child development professor, I thought this rather unusual behavior for adults at a restaurant. However, during our week in the Palm Desert area about three years ago, at most every restaurant we frequented we captured glimpses of adults, without children, coloring.

Browsing Book Store

I didn’t think much about the young adults coloring until last week when I ventured into Barnes & Noble. I enjoy browsing the best sellers and imagine my book displayed there one day. Before I finally located the best sellers, I noticed a dozen different coloring books in the store’s entry way. But these weren’t coloring books for kids, but for adults.

Endless Topics

There were more coloring books near the check counters and another entire display featuring grown-up coloring books. I couldn’t resist glancing through a few. I thought, this one is too detailed. This one is weird. I like the animals in this one. This one looks fun. I enjoy my nature art drawings and art journals. I have tons of colored pencils. I bet I’d find this relaxing.

My Choice

I browse through more coloring books. I discover coloring books on landscapes, butterflies, owls, gardens, cities, patterns, flowers, cats, forests, ocean animals, mandalas, and art nouveau. I chose my favorite, Nature Mandalas Coloring Book. 1 I selected this book for three reasons:

Three Reasons

1.) There are several introductory pages on patterning techniques, color theory, and coloring techniques & media I thought would be helpful;

2.) The pictures are cute and simple; and

3.) There’s a quote on the left hand page for each coloring page.

Choose Materials

Traditional color crayons are used, but colored pencils, art markers and gel pens are poplar. Water-colored pencils are recommended because the colors blend easier. 2 Your page will look more like a painting when you finish.

Best Sellers Lists

When did this adult coloring book craze begin? Coloring books for adults have been around for decades. Laurence King, a British publishing house asked a Scottish artist to draw a children’s coloring book. 3  She convinced the publisher to let her draw a  coloring book for adults. Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book has sold about two million copies worldwide since 2013. France and the UK have had similar results. In July, 2015 four coloring books were among Amazon’s bestsellers. 4

“The popularity of coloring books right now is part of that larger movement to break away from the hustle and bustle of life and sort of the internet you know this urge to constantly look at our phone or our computer or check our email,” said Lisa Congdon. Lisa’s the creator of three different coloring books with three more set for release in 2016. 5

Do you have your own coloring book? What prompted you to purchase it? How are you enjoying coloring? I’d love to hear your experiences.

FYI: For “Game of Thrones” fans, an official coloring book is being released this month. 6



  1. Thaneeya McArdle, New Design Originals Corporation, 2014.
  2. Benefits of Coloring Books for Adults by Jayme Kinsey. Published approximately 2013.
  3. Why Adults Are Buying Coloring Books (for Themselves) by Adrienne Raphel.…/why-adults-are-buying-coloring. July 12, 2015.
  4. Adult coloring books among Amazon’s bestsellers.…bestsellers/34302796. July 22, 2015.
  5. Thinking Outside of the Crayon Box, Adults Use Coloring Books as Stress-Reducer by NBC Nightly News. May 11, 2015.
  6. by Adam Epstein. June 9, 2015. .
  7. Image: Nature Mandalas Coloring Book: 30 Relaxing Art Activities with Butterflies, Flowers, Animals, and More, plus Tips from Thaneeya McArdle, 2014.

Childhood Past-time Helps Adults De-Stress

DSC_0791 Oct 2015Right after the plane takes off for New York, I dig through my carry-on bag and pull out my new Nature Mandalas Coloring Book (1) and colored pencils (read blog New Trend Isn’t For Kids). This is the perfect time to start my first creation. I too joined the coloring craze.

“Busy parents and harried business people will go to great lengths to find the newest and best relaxation method, but the stress-reducer that is soaring in popularity is something that most people haven’t done since elementary school — coloring.” (2) There are four ways coloring can help de-stress our lives. Which benefit will encourage you to join the coloring craze?

Promotes Coordination

The first benefit is increased and long-term coordination. Children work hard at acquiring these skills. “Fine motor skills require extra work by your brain to coordinate your actions, and muscle control in the hands and arms, coloring can help delay loss of these important skills as we age.” (3) Working on a detailed or more challenging pattern can help combat cognitive loss. The picture of my coloring page is simple, not yet intricate. There are many free coloring pages available online. Which one will you choose?

Relaxation Lowers Stress

Relaxation is the next benefit. Psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala says, “When coloring, we activate different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres. The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity . . .This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills.” (4) The basic part of the brain that controls emotions affected by stress is the amygdala. Coloring lowers the activity of the amygdala which results in relaxation. Does potential relaxation motivate you to try coloring?

Improved Performance

A third benefit of coloring is better performance at work. “Creative activities outside of work, such as coloring, had indirect and direct effects on performance-related outcomes on the job.” (3) Zappos encourages employees to display their artwork at their desks. Other organizations are providing memberships to art studios or lessons to improve performance. Could coloring improve your performance whether you work inside or outside of your home?

Unleashing Creativity

The fourth benefit is unlocking creativity. “Everyone has the potential to be creative. However, sometimes our imaginations are stifled by social expectations, daily life, and limited time.” (5) As we grow, we fill our minds with facts, more facts, and even more facts. We begin to think analytically. When was the last time you Googled a fact?

But children color pictures using any color they wish. This week when I helped in my grandson’s first grade class, the children were exploring colors. They were coloring candy corn as part of their math addition activity. Parker shows me his crayon and says, “Grams, I like the red-violet crayon.”

Unblock Imaginations

Children know candy corn doesn’t have to be yellow, orange and white. And manufacturers agree. For Christmas, candy corns are red and green. For Easter, pastel colors. When we use coloring books, “We are helping to unblock our imaginations. Even more so if we challenge ourselves to ‘color outside the lines,’ so to speak.” (3) I love to “color outside the lines,” what about you?

Let me know what coloring you try. Did you discover any of these four benefits? Did you find a benefit not included in this blog? You can even send me a photo of your coloring. Happy Coloring Adults!



  1. Thaneeya McArdle, New Design Originals Corporation, 2014.
  2. Thinking Outside of the Crayon Box, Adults Use Coloring Books as Stress-Reducer by NBC Nightly News. May 11, 2015.
  3. A New Way to De-Stress: Coloring Books for…/our-favorite-coloringbooks-for-adults-a-new
  4. Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress. Elena Santos, The Huffington Post. Posted 10/13/2014.
  5. Benefits of Coloring Books for Adults by Jayme Kinsey. Published approximately 2013. Accessed 10/2/2015.






To Pay or Not to Pay?

desk-1239435-1280x850 []College expenses are rising every year and both students and parents alike wonder how they’ll afford a college education. If you have the finances to pay for your child’s entire college expenses, please reconsider.

When Parents Pay

As a college professor I’ve witnessed the results of parents paying for their kid’s entire college expenses. These students are less responsible for their education because they have no vested interest. I hear students flippantly comment, “So what if lost my textbook. Too bad I failed that class. I can just take it again. My parents will pay for…”.

Your Student’s Share

Consider allowing your student to pay for certain expenses, such as their clothing, entertainment, car payments and insurance, textbooks, course materials, or even several of these categories. It will pay off in dividends. They will become more conscientious students which ultimately results in less overall expenses. When students are vested in their education, they’re more likely to attain their goals in a timely manner.

College and Car Insurance

If your son or daughter is attending college so their car insurance is covered under your policy, within six weeks, most of them won’t be attending classes. When I meet students each semester I share, “Your parents’ car insurance won’t motivate you to arrive twice a week for an 8:00 A.M. class. You must have your own personal reasons for obtaining a college education or you’ll drop out.”

College Graduation Rates

Unfortunately many young people who enter college won’t graduate. A study by Harvard University reports that, “Only 56 percent of the students who enter America’s colleges and universities graduate within six years, while only 29 percent of students who enter two-year programs complete their degrees within three years, the study found.” 1


Raising financially responsible young people is possible, but requires advanced planning. In order to train your son or daughter, you need to know what your financial expectations are for your family. Then together with your young person, you can create a financial plan that works for everyone.



1. Study: Nearly Half Of America’s College Students Drop Out Before Receiving A Degree, Travis Waldron on Mar 28, 2012,

2. Image from: desk-1239435-1280×850 []. .

To Work or Not To Work?

online-jobs-concept-1417325-mMaybe you’ve asked yourself, should my teenager get a job? If and when your teenager gets a job is a controversial decision. Many parents don’t want their young person to work and focus only on school.

Others expect their teens to work and contribute to the family’s income. This has become more of a reality for many families due to the economy.  Others work to save money for college.

Benefits of Working

Working offers many benefits to young people.

  1. They become more financially responsible when it comes to spending “their” money. They can purchase things that are beyond the family budget, such as a car or a stereo system.
  2. They can save for long-term expenses, such as college or a down payment on a car.
  3. They learn how to set priorities, and manage both their money and time more effectively.

Number of Hours

A longitudinal study showed that the number of hours 10th grade and 12th grade high school students work is correlated to their grade point averages.

“The determining factors seem to be the number of hours worked during a week. Students who work less than 13 hours a week in the 10th grade and less than 11 hours a week in the 12th grade perform better than students who do not work but once students exceed the number of hours per week there is a significant drop in their GPA’s compared to non-working students.” 1

Work Experience

Teens also gain valuable work experience especially if they can find work related to their interests. Many colleges ask applicants to list work experience or volunteering related to the school they’re applying to. For example, if your child wants to become a veterinarian, help her locate work with animals. If he’s headed towards a medical career, find work in a doctor’s office or hospital.

Hidden Costs

There’s a hidden cost of your son or daughter not liking their future career upon graduation. It is cost effective to insure your kids like the field they are studying.  I can’t tell you how many teachers I know who earned a teaching credential, only to find out within five years of employment, they really don’t like kids.

What if he found that out in advance by working in your city’s recreation department or in a children’s Sunday School class? Getting a job after a college degree and finding out she doesn’t like this work is extremely expensive not only financially, but in time and energy as well.

 After Graduation

A final benefit of teens working is that they gain work experiences that will assist them upon college graduation. Since there’s so much competition for jobs amongst college graduates, related work experience and volunteering adds to their potential employability. Yes, there are a few disadvantages of teens working, but what they gain towards becoming a responsible adult far outweighs the cons.



  1. Quirk, Kimberly J., Timothy Z. Keith, and Jeffery T. Quirk. “Employment During High School and Student Achievement: Longitudinal Analysis of National Data.” Journal of Educational Research, 95 (2001).
  1. Image from: online-jobs-concept 1417325-m.



Planning Vacations, Checking Accounts, and Credit Cards, Oh My!

Your adolescents are growing so fast you can hardly keep up. Have you noticed how much more money you spend on them? Every time you turn around, they need money for something…new clothes, a school club activity, basketball shoes, movie with friends, and the list goes on and on.

Money Management Skills?

Add to these increasing costs, in a few short years your teenager will become an adult and live independently. What money management skills will they need?

Planning the Family’s Vacation

One way to begin giving your adolescents real life experience is to ask them to plan your next family vacation based on the family’s budget. You will need to walk alongside and help them create various categories, such as: gas and mileage, plane tickets, camping site or hotel costs per night, food for 3 meals a day and snacks, costs for entertainment, and souvenirs. This is an excellent strategy for teaching money management and how much things really cost. Our daughters truly enjoyed planning our family vacation.

Savings and Checking Accounts

Hopefully, you opened a joint savings account in your children’s names when they were in preschool or elementary school. If not, make sure your teens create a savings account now. When your teenagers reach age sixteen, help them obtain a checking account. Do this earlier if they already are earning income from assorted jobs.

Many banks offer special accounts for students. It is important for young people to understand simple banking procedures. Even with ATMs, it is ideal if your son or daughter knows how to write checks and balance a checkbook before they venture into the world on their own. The saying, “How can I be out of money, I still have checks,” is a reality for many.

Credit Cards for Teens?

At the beginning of your son or daughter’s senior year in high school, consider having your adolescent apply for a credit card in their name with you as a co-signer. You can create a very low maximum amount on the card. Our daughters’ credit card limit was enough to cover many emergency situations. It is way better to teach your young person about credit cards while still under your roof. If your student is college bound, here’s a reason to prepare n advance.

Expensive Lessons

Unfortunately, banks appear in mass on college campuses every fall practically handing out credit cards to 18-year-olds. When these students max out their credit cards and don’t make payments, the banks go after their parents. Legally, their parents aren’t responsible, but many will pay for their child’s “mistakes.” It has become such a problem nationwide, that many colleges are not allowing banks to access their students on campus.

Now or later?

When do you want your teenagers to learn about budgeting, savings, checking accounts, and credit cards? When the stakes are low and the kids are at home or after they leave your nest with the possibility of costly lessons?


Image source: Credit-cards-commons.wikimedia.org_.jpg


Finding Our Way Home

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“I slept in the cemetery. The police won’t even go there,” shares one previous Modesto area homeless woman. “A man tried to help me but I didn’t trust him. I was beaten by a man so I had my guard up. I was tired and cold, especially in the winter. I didn’t have a hot bath. But I refused to go somewhere safe. The graveyard felt safe. But this man was persistent. I eventually let him help me get off the streets.” (1)


“I was kicked out of my home at age 19,” said another former homeless man. “I left with a backpack and nothing else in the middle of the night. I was scared and tried to figure out what to do. I had $50.00 from my last paycheck, so I went to Denny’s at Five Points. Sometimes I stayed in Graceda Park, slept in churches, or in someone’s backyard. It was hot, 90 degrees, and summer was approaching. I kept busy trying to find food every day. If I couldn’t find enough to eat, I’d steal groceries. I pan handled to support my drug habit.” (1)

These are just two of the eight stories told by men and women who previously experienced homelessness in Stanislaus County. The best news — they are no longer homeless. Most likely wherever you live, you can find homeless men, women, and children who can share similar sad stories. . . if only someone took the time to listen.

The Influence of One Person . . .

I noticed a common thread to the path “Finding Their Way Home.” The path often began with one person.

Someone . . . cared: a police officer, doctor, friend, family member, girlfriend, or someone they met on the streets. Several mentioned how God intervened.

Someone . . . saw beyond their circumstances.

Someone . . . viewed them as the person they were meant to be.

The Way Home

With that one person’s help, homeless men and women began their journey home. They started accepting assistance and accessing the many available resources to end their homelessness. These courageous men and women now express hope. They demonstrate joy and heartfelt thankfulness sometimes through tears and cracked voice. They are no longer homeless.

“I’m glad I can participate and give back to the community that helped me,” said another panelist. (1)

The previous homeless also want to help others “Find Their Way Home.”

Summit on Homelessness

The previous homeless want to help others “Find Their Way Home.” So do 500 Stanislaus County residents who actively participated in Finding Our Way Home: Summit on Homelessness at the Centre Plaza in Modesto, California on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Participants represented agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, churches, and concerned citizens like me. The day-long summit featured personal stories, statistics, and strategies. In the afternoon participants from different cities met together to discuss issues related to their communities, such as Patterson, Ceres, and Riverbank.

Personal Questions

Thought provoking questions and discussions were designed to stir each participant’s heart.

  • Do the results matter?
  • Why does this matter to me?
  • Does it speak to my passion and heart?

What About You?

  • Does this topic stir your heart?
  • Does this topic matter to you?
  • Does it speak to your passion and heart?
  • Are you willing to become someone . . . to help reduce homelessness in your community?

You can read more about the event at

Note 1. These compiled statements are from previously homeless presenters’ on the panel and/or from a previously recorded video.