Have You Thanked Your Freezer Today?

Posted 10-15-2015 at 01:50 PM by Agla

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The freezer is a kitchen appliance that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Often, people only pay attention to the freezer when it stops working, but the freezer can be a busy mother’s best friend.

Here are some of the ways a freezer can save you time and money:

  • Prep all the ingredients you would use in a slow cooker meal and place them in a freezer bag. The day you need the meal you can pop the frozen cube right into your crock pot.
  • Put all your vegetable scraps into a freezer bag. Toss it all into your slow cooker with water. Strain when cooked and you will have flavorful homemade broth.
  • If you have extra broth let it cool and freeze in small measured portions that can be used in future recipes.
  • Make big batches of waffles or pancakes and freeze them. Toast them for snack or breakfast.
  • Instead of letting vegetables go to waste, chop them up and put them in a bag. Next time you are cooking a meal you can toss them in for a nutritious boost.
  • Freeze tomato paste in an ice cube tray and then pop out into a freezer bag. Now you have the perfect portion when a recipe calls for a tablespoon of tomato sauce. The same can be done with pesto.
  • If you know you will have a busy period ahead, you can prepare different casseroles and store in the freezer for future use.
  • A loaf of bread can be frozen and refreshed whole by being placed in the oven for a few minutes or by placing slices in the toaster.
  • Freeze berries on a cookie sheet and once frozen place berries in a bag or container. You can take a handful of berries in smoothie, oatmeal or cereal.
  • Grate a ginger root in a food processor. Place ginger in a freezer bag and flatten out the ginger so that it will freeze in a thin layer. Now you can break off a piece of ginger whenever a recipe calls for it.
  • Chop up your favorite fruits and veggies and then freeze. Toss right into your blender for a quick smoothie.
  • Get into the habit of placing your newly bought flour into the freezer overnight. That will kill off any insects that might have found their way in.

This list just touches the surface of the ways a freezer can be useful to a household. Beyond the storage of ice cream and frozen pizza, there are almost endless possibilities for this particular appliance.

Diaper Swapers

Tips On Starting A Moms Group In Your Area

Posted 10-9-2015 at 12:33 AM by JPMP
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If you’re new to town or if you’ve been around awhile and have not found  a group of moms to lean on and spend time with, consider creating a moms group. Moms need other moms (dads need support too, so this could be a “parent group if you prefer”) and kids need to play with other kids. So, if you’re ready to venture out and create your own group, check out these tips:
INTEREST
Ask moms that you know if they may be interested in joining a moms group. Think about friends, family, neighbors, church members, etc. Another option, if your kids are in preschool or school, ask the teacher if you can have a handout sent home with your information. Ask parents to contact you if interested.
If there is enough interest…move on to step 2
LEADERS
You have a few moms interested now. You don’t want to take on all that responsibility, right? Find a few that you know well and have strong leadership skills or seem very excited about the new endeavor. Seek out an assistant for yourself. Or a group of assistants to help run your group and make decisions.
INDEPENDENT or ORGANIZED
Decide amongst yourselves if you want to be an independent group or if you want to join a nationally organized group. You can make your own chapter of a larger group, like MOPS, or similar. Or, you can start from scratch and make your own rules.
FIRST LEADER MEETING
First, meet with your chosen leaders. Make a plan. Decide on how to run your first GROUP meeting. Plan out advertising. Will advertising be word of mouth? Signage? School letters? Online? Implement and advertise for your first group meeting. Be organized. You don’t want the first group meeting to be a disaster.

FIRST GROUP MEETING
This will be a time for moms to decide if they want to be part of your new moms group. Give them details on upcoming events and what you have in store for the next few months. Discuss fees if there will be fees. Cover everything and leave room for questions at the end.

Once you have interest:

Ask for volunteers that can help with responsibilities. If you’re spread out, you could have a mom as a leader in each area of the town. You could also ask someone to be in charge of emails, a phone list, or handling fees.

HAVE FUN!

Avoid School Morning Chaos With These Tips

Posted 08-28-2015 at 10:49 PM by admin

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Are school mornings chaotic in your house? Whether you have one child or nine children, there are lots of ways to cut down on the chaos and the morning stress. Of course, this will vary depending on your child’s personality as well. I have 4 kids. The boys are morning people, the girls are night owls and not so happy in the morning. I’ve learned that keeping them separate in the mornings keeps the peace. Below are more tips I’ve learned over the years that have saved the stress, rush, and tears in the mornings. (MY tears AND the kids tears)

*Pack backpacks in the evening. Make sure to double check that all papers are signed and homework is done before zipping it up!

*Pack lunches in the evening. We pack lunches together in the evening and place them in the fridge ready to grab in the morning.

*Lay out clothes the night before. Have a checklist: shirt, pants, socks, underwear, shoes. Do you see a pattern here? Get as much done the night before as possible!

*Place breakfast dishes, cups, and silverware on the table and ready for morning. We like to stick with easy breakfast foods. Cereal, yogurt, and pancakes or waffles that we have cooked and frozen. Just pop in the microwave in the morning!

*Have girls with long hair? We brush hair in the evening and braid. This avoids tangled messes in the morning.

*In our house, I get up 15 minutes before the kids and have a cup of coffee. I heat up breakfast so it’s ready when I get them out of bed.

Do you have tips to share?

How I Changed After Becoming A Mom…

Posted 08-25-2015 at 02:40 PM by admin

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I have been a mom for almost 15 years. As I sit and reflect over the years, I have noticed some major changes in myself. I’m not talking about physical changes here. There are plenty of those. That could be an entire post on it’s own. Another day, maybe. Today, I’m referring to my personality, the way I carry myself, and the way I view the world.

Goodbye Shy: If you knew me in my school years, you would probably describe me as quiet and shy. Maybe you wouldn’t even remember me at all. I was the one that hoped she’d never be called on. Hoping to be overlooked. Secretly praying that I would not have to get up and speak. That changed the moment I held my son. I came out of my shell. Not for me, but for him. I was sure that my voice was heard, my concerns were voiced to doctors, nurses, etc. It started in that hospital room right after his birth. And I haven’t stopped yet.

I’m a fighter: In my pre-baby days I was a lover not a fighter. I always tried to make peace. I didn’t want to cause waves. Now, I’m a fighter. When it comes to my kids I speak up and fight for them. Of course I’m not talking physical fighting. I’m talking stand up for my kids and FIGHT for their future.

Role Model: My husband and I changed the moment we brought our oldest home. What once was a weekend out on the town is now a weekend at home with the kids. 16 years ago I would have thought being at home all weekend and going to bed by 10pm was so uncool. Now, I look forward to early bedtime and cozy weekends with the family.

My hobbies have changed: So this may not be because of kids….it may just be part of getting older. My hobbies have changed. I enjoy gardening with my daughters and watching football with my sons (and I actually understand what’s going on during the game!)

Date night: These are few and far between. However, we enjoy date night much more now than we did before kids. We know how important quality alone time is now. I sometimes think we took each others time for granted before kids. Not anymore. Each and every minute during date nights is spent in the moment making memories.

I really could go on and on. I will say that all the changes I have seen have been positive. I love my family and strive to be the best mom and wife I possibly can.

What changes have you seen in yourself?

FIVE Minutes For Mom

Posted 08-13-2015 at 12:38 AM by admin

Exhausted housewife

FIVE MINUTES FOR MOM

A parents’ job is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! It can be hard to take time out for us. However, to be the best parent we can be, we all need a little “me time”. This can be very hard to find. But it doesn’t have to be. Below you will find some tips on making the most out of naptime. I know we have responsibilities like cleaning and laundry and making appointment phone calls. However, taking just one naptime a week to relax is very important. The chores will be there tomorrow! This goes for MOM, DAD, or ANY caregiver!

Take a warm bath – Get out the candles and a good book or some light music. Soak away that stress!

Invest in a hammock or lounge chair – head out to the back yard to relax in a hammock or a comfortable patio lounge chair. Soak up some sun (don’t forget the sunblock), read, or do absolutely nothing!

Garden – Some people enjoy gardening. It can be relaxing for some. If this is your thing, have at it.

Workout – A 30 minute (or longer) workout can relieve stress and make your body and mind feel great. Pop in a video or hop on a stationary bike and go! Release some endorphins and get the blood flowing.

Pull out the crayons – Coloring in a coloring book can be very calming. I’ve caught myself coloring long after the kids are done coloring. Try it; you may love it.

Sip some coffee (or other favorite drink), put on comfortable clothing, and lie on the couch. Read, watch your favorite show, put on some headphones, or call a friend. It’s YOU time, do what YOU love.

 You CAN relax or have a good time without leaving home. Do you have any other suggestions?

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Posted 08-12-2015 at 12:38 AM by admin

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Packing Your Hospital Bag

Whether it’s your first or your fifth delivery, having a list for your hospital bag is a must! You don’t want to forget anything, especially if you live a distance from the hospital. Remember to pack for the baby too!

Comfortable non-skid socks – You may be walking the halls before and after labor. Non-skid slippers work too! Note: they will get dirty.

Comfortable pillow – If you have a pillow that you love, bring it along. The hospital does have pillows, but they are not equal to your favorite pillow. I always brought along my body pillow as it made it so much more comfortable to sleep before and after labor. *Note: It will get dirty

Sugar-free mints – My mouth always became dry and not so pleasant while at the hospital. Obviously you will bring your toothbrush and toothpaste, but this will help between brushings. Also, sugar makes you thirsty, so stick with sugar-free.

Chapstick – especially if you’re water intake is restricted, which happens often, your mouth and lips will be very dry. Chapstick will help avoid cracked lips.

Maternity/ Nursing Bra and breast pads

Maternity underwear + your own sanitary pads – the hospital WILL provide both. But the underwear they provide takes some getting used to, you may be more comfortable with your own. Be sure that they can be ruined, because they will!

Insurance information and all hospital forms. Many hospitals have you pre-register, so don’t forget any of those important forms. Identification as well.

Phone charger, camera charger. I think we all remember our phones and cameras, but tend to forget chargers, and of course the memory card for the camera is important as well!

Pony tail holders – if you have long hair, don’t forget your pony tail holders.

Robe – If you don’t want to show the world your backside while walking the halls, you may want to consider bringing a comfortable robe to wear during walks.

After labor clothes/night gown – Keep in mind these items may get ruined, so don’t pack your favorite! The night gown will be needed especially if you have visitors and don’t want to wear the thin, open in the back, gown that hospitals provide. And, of course, you will want comfortable wearing clothing for the drive home.

Tips On Choosing A Day Care For Your Child

Posted 08-7-2015 at 06:19 PM by admin

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Tips On Choosing A Day Care For Your Child

Choosing a day care for your children can be hard. This is a very important choice for you and your child, so don’t take it lightly. Be prepared. Have a list of questions. Open communication is the key!

Schedule a visit – This may be obvious. But, be sure to schedule a visit to the center during the day when there are kids there. This way you can see exactly what goes on and you can see if the kids are happy and engaged. Keep your eyes, ears, and even nose open – see how the caregivers interact with the kids, listen to how they speak to the children. Do you smell multiple dirty diapers or other bad smells? Sanitation is important!

Adult to child ratio – Ask about the adult to child ratio. This varies on the age of the children. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers all require different supervision.

Qualifications/Accreditation – Ask for qualifications, accreditation, inspection reports, etc. Were they ever given warnings? Don’t be shy. You have every right to these answers.

Turnover rate – What is their turnover rate. Kids get attached to their caregivers. You don’t want your child upset if employees are constantly coming and going. Will you be told when new employees are hired?

Daily Schedule – Ask about the daily schedule. Are the kids given plenty of play time, outside sunshine, and exercise? What about naptime and snack time?

Education and skills – Is there an educational plan in place? What about learning their ABC’s? Are their skills like tying shoes or buttoning their shirt, that are taught/encouraged?

Potty training – Is potty training encouraged?

Emergency Procedure – Get a copy of their emergency procedures and medical plans. If your child gets hurt or sick, what steps are taken?

These are just a few of the top questions to ask. You know your child best, so you may have specific questions to ask. I highly encourage you to speak up and inquire. Don’t be shy!

Sibling Rivalry Happens | Tips To Get Through It

Posted 08-4-2015 at 06:08 PM by admin

Angry little boy

Sibling Rivalry Happens | Tips To Get Through It

Sibling rivalry happens in almost every family. It doesn’t matter the kids ages, from toddlers to adulthood, siblings will have days of jealousy, arguments, and some will compete with one another. This is normal. However, it can get out of control.

Coming from a family of 9 kids, I’ve had my share of sibling rivalry. And, I’ve seen it crop up in my four children as well. Below are some tips to help:

One on one time – It’s very important for kids to feel independent and loved by their parents. Consider taking some alone time with each child to do something special. Choose an activity that the child likes or is interested in and spend the day one on one together enjoying that activity. Once a month or every other week is a great place to start.

Acceptance of feelings – It’s normal for siblings to get angry or jealous of one another. That is normal human behavior. Let your children know that you understand their feelings. Validate them. And listen instead of constant reprimanding or punishment. Open communication is just as important for children as it is for you and your partner.

Family discussions – Discuss issues as a family. Let each child speak openly and help them problem solve. They will need these skills for life. Allowing them to talk it out with one another with the parents facilitating the discussion will work wonders.

Family Praise – Encourage your children to compliment each other starting at a very young age. Encouraging and complimenting one another as young children will continue through their teenage years, which tends to be very hard years.

Role Model – Be a role model. The way you and your partner treat one another is seen by everyone in the house. If they see positive relationships they will model your behavior as well. Keep heated discussions away from the kids eyes and ears if possible.

Preparing A Toddler For Financial Changes

Posted 06-3-2015 at 06:44 AM by Matrivine

Financial change is hard on most people, but it’s hardest on smaller children They don’t quite understand what’s going on and why things are changing. They want old luxuries that are no longer available to the. It can be hard on mom and dad too, as they try to help their toddler accept the new reality of their life. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you should ever find yourself in such a situation.

Talking About It

Toddlers don’t understand the concept of money. What they will understand is that some of the things they are used to will be taken away. That’s why it’s important to take away as little as possible. For example Netfilx and cable may be downsized and with them shows your child likes to watch, but you could find some free shows on Hulu. You could also have DVDs or downloads of favorite shows or activities so there isn’t an expense attached to the luxury.

Look On The Bright Side

Rather than saying that you won’t be able to afford pudding cups, talk about how you will get to make pudding together. Instead of saying that you will spend less time at museums or water parks talk about discuss how you will spend more time in the back yard working on the new garden or at the local public park. This can introduce a sense of calm to your child and the assurance that they will not be giving up all the fun in their life.

If Changes Require A Move

Try to keep the things your toddler owns. Use the same bedroom furniture, stuffed animals and night light. Make sure they keep their special toys on hand, so they know it’s not being left behind and make a big deal about it. This won’t just save money. it will give you child a sense of security when they are on the move and settling in to a new place.

 

When Everyone Is Crying

Posted 06-1-2015 at 08:39 AM by Matrivine

It’s one of those mornings. Everyone is crying. Someone didn’t want toaster pastries for breakfast. Or at least not the toaster pastries on their plate. Someone who is learning to walk has fallen down again. They keep trying to use mom as a steadying object but mom moved because she didn’t know. Oh the betrayal! Mom is longing for a time when she made people happy and the world was quiet.

We have all been there and it’s not the Disney Land of parenthood. So how do we get through the gauntlet of tears without losing our own minds?

Remember You Tried

It’s so easy to forget that five minutes ago your child made the choice of what he was eating for break fast, or that you spent fifteen minutes walking your daughter around while holding her hands. Then before you let go you made sure she was steady. Some days the storm of the toddlers is coming no matter what you do. You tried anyway and responded in love.

Act Silly

During the season of tantrums it’s difficult to find your funny bone, but when you do you can turn all those tears to laughter. Pretend to cry too. Throw yourself on the floor. Tell your child to make you breakfast. It often throws you children off guard and they begin to laugh themselves. When all else fails start a tickle war. You may not have a whole lot of time, but this could make the rest of your morning routine easier for everyone to get through.

Hold Your Ground

In spite of the tears of your little one, you need to hold strong on family rules and how they treat others. Enforce a quick time out and tell them that angry or sadness doesn’t buy rude or violent behavior. Then hold on until the storm blows itself out.