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The number one goal of every parent is to keep their children safe. That involves identifying the potential threats that lie not only outside the confines of your home, but inside as well. The following tips will help make your home a safer place for your children:

Install a home security system

Every home should have a home security system, particularly ones with small children. Many home security providers offer around-the-clock monitoring for a pretty decent price. Check out www.homessecurity.com to see how you can take advantage of an ADT Monitored Home Security System for around $9 per week.

Keep medicines/dangerous household chemicals out of reach

More than 60,000 children visit the emergency room every year due to accidental medication poisoning. If you have young kids, you should be extra vigilant about stowing away medications and any other potentially toxic household chemicals. This includes antifreeze, paint thinner and ammonia-based cleaning products.

Instill smart safety habits

As a parent, the day will inevitably come where you won’t always be there to look over your son or daughter’s shoulder. It’s never too early to start teaching them how to recognize and respond to potentially dangerous situations. Encourage young children to always avoid talking to strangers, and set boundaries about where they can go, who they can see and what they can do. Tell them to always use the “buddy system” and to trust their instincts. These are habits that they will not only carry with them for the rest of their lives, but also pass along to their children one day.

Secure windows and blinds

Every year, approximately eight children age 5 and under die from falling out windows in the U.S., and more than 3,000 are injured, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fortunately, such accidents can easily be prevented by installing safety netting on all your windows. It’s also a good idea to purchase window blind cord wraps, which cost no more than a few bucks at your local Wal-Mart. This way, you can safety stow blind cords – a strangulation hazard – out of the reach of curious children.

Keep the kitchen safe

The kitchen can be a minefield of hazards for young children. Make sure to use a stove guard to prevent your child from suffering scalds or burns from touching a hot stovetop. Store all electronic appliances out of reach, and make sure there are no flammable objects, such as curtains, oven mitts and towels, near the stove. Finally, never leave a young child or burning stove unattended in the kitchen.

Canadian Hornish Game Hens for the WIN

It was Lexi’s (our 10yo) turn to make us dinner. She contemplated for days on what she was going to make. I told her to think of the main course and what type of meat she wanted. At first she decided baby back ribs. I talked her out of that because its such a lengthy process and I don’t want her BBQing yet….

Then she chose chicken legs. She didn’t care how she cooked them, she just wanted chicken legs. So, we go to the store to get her legs. She ponders the packages of legs and says “WAIT! What are those things called…you know….the little birds…they’re cute….little…” I finally realize she was talking about Cornish Game Hens.

SHE WAS SOOO EXCITED.

Her mind was made up.

A cornish game hen for each of us and Butterfinger ice cream for dessert.

I had to CONVINCE her that we needed a veggie to go with our own mini birds. She chose Corn on the Cob. I was hoping for something green, with a bit of nutrition, but hey, it’s her night.

Then I told her she should do some sort of starch…like a potato, noodle or rice side….she suggested “banana’s”. Ummm, no that’s a fruit. She suggested “corn”. Sure, a side of corn with our corn on the cob. UGH. This was going nowhere….I reminded her POTATO, NOODLE, RICE…..

She chose a side of mashed potatoes.

This meal was becoming more fattening by the second…with little nutrition….

But, all her choices where acceptable and I was not going to thwart her plans.

She prepared the birds…


She used a recipe for baked chicken that included lemon juice, oil, garlic, parsley & thyme.

She mashed up some red potatoes, by hand, adding a bit of sea salt, butter and milk.

She served us portions that could feed our entire neighborhood.

Cuz everyone needs their very own bird on a plate once in a while!

It was delicious. It was a HUGE learning experience for Lexi. She appreciated the flavor of the meat BECAUSE she made the seasoning. She kept asking if we could taste the lemon in the meat.

Brayden (7yo) gagged each time he dug into his bird to get a bite. He reminded Lexi that he liked the flavor, just not the greasy, gooey mess…. Made me laugh each time!

Great job Lex. Another successful Kids in the Kitchen experience.

And for the record, she called them Canadian Game Hens all night. But, that was better than what Brayden called them, Hornish Gain Hems.

Kid Night – Take 2!

Our second attempt at Kid Night was a HUGE success! Tonight Brayden chose everything from the pre-meal beverages to the dessert which included a shot of whip cream directly into mouths.

The Beverage: Pink Lemonade mixed with 7-Up
The meal: Dungeness Crab with Broccoli and a side of Clam Chowder
Dessert: Your choice – Coke Float or Banana Split each featuring whip cream

He is a 7 year old who knows what he wants. In this case, he wanted individual crabs for each of us, but I chose the more affordable route, and we each had half a crab.

The clam chowder was our only flop. Not because he messed it up, because it tasted terrible! It was out of a package…I should have known better…

Shortly after this moment he regretted his decision…but only for a few minutes. Cleaning crab is GROSS. They smell bad, they have lots of insides that we don’t eat, which means heavy cleaning. N. A. S. T. Y.

At this point he was asking if I would kindly help him with the disgusting part. I did. He’s only 7. I gagged.

Delish!

Now…the good stuff….

Whip cream is really the most important part of any meal.

My kids are super excited about this new tradition. They feel so important. I am trying to not be a complete control freak. They need this. I can’t wait for the day when I don’t have to be in the kitchen at all. I can tell that won’t be too far in the future!

Next Monday….Lexi’s back in the kitchen. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

New Trial: One night a week is Kid Night

I ran into a friend at the grocery store yesterday. Both of us were gathering a few items for dinner. She makes a comment about being exhausted and ready to go home and sit on the couch. She then proceeded to tell me that every week they have Family Dinner Night in which one of their children (ranging from 6th grade to 3 years old) picks WHAT they will have for dinner AND MAKES IT. The only child she has to be in the kitchen with is the 3 year old, but she did tell me that the 3 year old knows EXACTLY what ingredients go into the spaghetti and will keep her on track. She said it works so well with her three kids because they are creative. One might not be too daring in the dinner department but dessert is his specialty. She said her middle son is a fabulous baker, so he is daring and creative with the main course.

I have had my kids make their own pizza’s, meaning, I make the dough, they sprinkle their toppings on… but I have never given them the power to decide and then create the entire meal themselves. What a way to boost their knowledge in the kitchen as well as training them in sooo many ways!

I am so excited to start this tradition in my own home.

Tonight is Lexi’s night. Lexi just turned 10. She is our oldest and is in the 4th grade.

She picked Chicken Quesadilla’s served with a dollop of sour cream and for dessert she chose homemade donuts from her new donut maker with a homemade maple glaze.

SUCCESS!

Dinner and dessert was EXCELLENT. Lexi was proud.

Next week: Brayden’s night. He is so excited and can’t stop throwing his ideas around. He’s mentioned chicken, broccoli, noodles tossed with butter…but his main course….CRAB.

Oh boy….

Mom’s, Puppies & Lemonade….

They gave me Mother’s Day. The newbie blogger. *I secretly think they are trying to sabotage me.* BUT WAIT….MAYBE, just maybe, they were being really smart because most people are doing special spoily kinda stuff on Mother’s Day like getting pedicures and going to brunch…not sitting in front of a computer reading stuff…. Right?…don’t all mom’s go to brunch on Mother’s Day? So, maybe Christine & Nadia were the brilliant gals who thought…”hmmm…let’s give the new girl the day where everyone is busy….” *Maybe they are NOT actually trying to sabotage me!!*

Well then, now that I feel much less pressure…let’s move on! This post is about puppies. Not really, but my son, whom just turned 7 informed me that ALL GIRLS like puppies! And I figure mostly girls are going to read this.

There! (I have no idea about protocol from stealing pics from the internet, so click here for the link to where I found this pic) I probably shouldn’t be allowed to have my own website. I am bound to break a law or 12.

It’s ok, you can click the back button and go back to something more interesting. I don’t blame you.

I almost forgot!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I didn’t want kids. For YEARS. Ask Jenny on The Spot, she’ll tell ya! Kids scared the EVERYTHING out of me! They are little and leaky as babies and then they start talking back and running away from you.

I thought I would be fine with a cat. But that honeymoon period only lasted a bit, and then it started to gross me out. So I threw her away.

Guess one kid couldn’t hurt. Ok, 2 kids, but THAT’S it. He wanted a bakers dozen.

Not from me dude. Find yourself a sister-wife or something if you want any more than 2.

I wanted a girl kid REALLY bad. I was into dance & gymnastics as a kid, so I wanted a girl to live vicariously through her…. just kidding…. (gosh, tough crowd)

I got my girl! She was born on Christmas Eve in 2001.

And then….a couple years later, this happened.

One girl, one boy. Done! Perfect!

I was done for a few different reasons.

  • I only have 2 hands. Figure 1 kid on each hand, if I had a 3rd kid….how in the heck would I hold his/her’s hand in a parking lot?
  • Twins are EVERYWHERE in my family and hubs family. Wasn’t risking going from 2 to 4….
  • In reality, I actually already had 3 kids at this point…cuz let’s face it, the husband is just another kid, albeit taller and the bacon bringer home’r

Those were/are my reasons…so don’t think I’m all judgy about people who have more kids! Those people are UH-MAZING, I just couldn’t do it!

Shortly after having these kids, I realized just how much POWER I have!

I also realized as a mom I was pretty strict. My kids will eat what we eat at all meals, they will be kind and respectful and fun. I say NO a lot. I might not even let them finish their sentence and I have already said NO. I know….I am a MEAN mom. Jerk. Its ok, I am. But, I am really trying to get better. I still don’t allow play-doh, but thats what hubby is for, they do all those things that I say NO to when I’m not around!

Lexi is 9 and a half and Brayden just turned 7. They ROCK my world.

Lexi is ridiculously smart and FUNNY…..SO FUNNY, she has this dry quick witted humor that often leaves my jaw-dropped.

Brayden is sweet, smart and athletic. I am told by every mom who works in the class (I’m the bad mom who rarely EVER helps in the class) that Brayden is the most thoughtful boy they have ever met! That makes my heart melt.

These kids deserve a way better mom! So, for them, I am trying to be better! The fun mom who sometimes actually says yes.

So, the other day, they asked a HUGE question. I said YES and I WISH I could have gotten a picture of their faces, to be honest, Lexi already started her rebuttal before she realized I actually said YES.

I let them set up a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway.

It….was…..a…..HUGE………..SUCCESS!!!!!

In many ways, they had TONS of customers (they made $20 and sold each cup for a quarter…so ya, figure that out!)

That day, they thought I was the ABSOLUTE BEST MOM ON THE PLANET!!

I totally won that day!

I wish this post had some deep rooted point, but it really doesn’t. I always tell people I don’t really do ‘mommy blogging’ because I don’t think I’m a great mom. First of all, I am certainly NOT old enough to be a mom (I’m still 25, right?) & I certainly don’t feel even remotely mature enough to be a mom (just ask ANY of my nieces or nephews…) BUT, I have amazing kids. Like I said earlier, they deserve better. And since I am not willing to give them away, I better do what I can to be that better mom!

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the AMAZING moms out there and ALSO to all the moms like me who are just trying to keep their kids fed and dressed and even occasionally brush their hair before they get on the school bus (OH MY GOSH, is that why some of you moms homeschool?). Anyhooo….we deserve props too!

******

I was approached last month to be a part of the May Mom Blog Hop put together by Christine & Nadia. Thank you ladies for this invite, I was incredibly excited and overwhelmed….and will TOTALLY understand if you cross me off your list for next time! ;o)

Each day a new blog post is written, see the previous posts below:
Moments of Motherhood by Nadia
Respect, Appreciation and Love by Christine
May Mom Blog by Crystal
Motherhood: Includes… by Dana
An Ode to Angelina Jean by Wendy
No One Ever Told Me by Kimberly
The Sisterhood by Corinne

Tomorrow’s post will be from Jana at The Bees Knees so make sure you check it out!

WARNING: This post contains information about the tooth fairy. Well, OUR tooth fairy. I recommend you do not read in front of your children, no matter how old. With all these new-fangled ‘read in utero’ programs, your child may be reading at 8th grade level while breast feeding.

Our tooth fairy is always on time, never forgets, makes GREAT choices, basically SUCKS!

This all started about 5 years ago when our daughter lost her first tooth.  Ooooooooohhhh Meeeeeee Gooooooosh, we were excited. WE LOST OUR FIRST TOOTH. Well, “we” didn’t, but as the proud mom & dad, we might as well have. The VERY FIRST visit from the tooth fairy was ABOUT to take place. SQUUEEEAAALLLL!!!

TOOTH FAIRY MISTAKE #1:
Apparently more excited over this being the first lost tooth….we failed to calculate just HOW MANY teeth are in these pint size little mouths. Yes, we already had both our kids by then. 2 mouths…times like 48 or whatever……seems like there are at least that many teeth per mouth. So, mistake #1, we left a friggin $5 bill under the pillow as a swap out for the tooth.

Well, shortly after that, another tooth fell out and we were caught off guard. We left ANOTHER $5.

That was the moment the ‘bar’ was set. That was exactly when we couldn’t turn back, well without being unfair jerks. ESPECIALLY when kid #2 started loosing teeth.

Lets move on….before you start judging us….

TOOTH FAIRY MISTAKE #2:
Our baby boy (he’s 6 and a half) lost HIS VERY FIRST TOOTH just recently. He has watched big sister lose her teeth since she was 4 years old and this kid just can’t get one loose for the life of him. Finally, we wiggled one out a couple weeks ago. Again, he is almost 7. We were starting to wonder….

So, he waits with anticipation. He has his rockin little blue tooth fairy pillow all set up by his head. He can BARELY sleep.

We (the real tooth fairy).

FORGOT.

OOOOOO   MMMMMM    GGGGGGGG, our tooth fairy rights and parenting card should be revoked.

He woke up the next morning sobbing, quite hysterically. He was distraught.

We came up with some story about sometimes the tooth fairy just can’t make it to all the homes….and maybe she did come but couldn’t find the tooth…..and sometimes if she thinks you are away she won’t leave you any money….blah blah blah…. I TOTALLY ALREADY KNOW…. we are AWFUL.

Moving on…..YES….I have one more totally awful tooth fairy situation. From last night.

TOOTH FAIRY MISTAKE #3:
Our 9 year old has lost 4 teeth in the last week. Recall Tooth Fairy Mistake #1. Yeah, that’s right. We are up to $20. I think now is also an appropriate time to mention we NEVER have cash. Either my kids need to take visa/debit cards or we just need an ATM on the premises. This has made for quite a few late night runs to the gas station in order to grab a pack of gum and get $5 cash back.

Well…..not this time folks. I’m almost too embarrassed to admit this…but now I kinda hafta!

Alright, well since the girl had just lost a different tooth a few nights ago, she had her money in my purse, in case we happen to be on our way home from somewhere and the PERFECT shopping opportunity arises. She wanted to be ready.

Yes, that is EXACTLY what we did. We used the SAME $5 that I was holding from the last tooth.

*Please Lord, do NOT let her ask to have all her money. PLEEEAAAAASSSSEEEE*

So, there you have it. Our tooth fairy is quite possibly the worst tooth fairy on the planet. So, I would like to take this time to humbly request a new one. Apply below.

DISCLAIMER: Maybe you actually do have a real tooth fairy. If so, sorry if this story ruins your kids beliefs. But then again, I told you not to show this story to your kids…..

Well, it happened today.  I hit my breaking point.  My rock-bottom.  My worst experience of my life.  I didn’t think I would ever write a super downer post, and I’m totally fine if you stop reading RIGHT now.

I have been crying today.  Almost ALL day.

I actually read a blog someone wrote about pulling up to a stop light and looking over at the car next to her and the driver was just crying.  This particular woman looked so broken.  And the writer of this blog beautifully wrote about not knowing her situation but having such compassion.  By the way, if you happen to stumble across this post and you are the author I am referring to, please let me know so I can give you proper credit.

POINT being – TODAY I was that girl.  Sobbing hysterically in the car while driving from the hospital to the house I am currently staying at.  Every stop light I try to hide my face from any other people.

I can barely eat.  I feel so incredibly sick.

I actually feel like my heart is no longer in my body.  Like I am a walking shell that is only useful to fill up space in a very lonely world.  I am of no value except companionship.  Oh awesome…..I am now apparently a dog.

Today is day 24.  24 days that I have been away from my husband and kids.  I am not in the military.  I could never choose a career that would possibly take me away from my home for more than a week at a time.  I’m not just down the road either, I’m across the country.  I’m in Florida.  My family is in California.

I have been busy here with my parents, which helps keep me distracted, but today I broke.  I went through every scenario to determine my actual value here. I looked at airline tickets.

My heart is in California.  With my 7 year old girl named Lexi.

She is a sweet & beautiful little smarty pants.  She is super helpful and independent.

My heart is also with my 5 year old boy named Brayden.

He is unreal!  He’s super handsome and soooo funny and incredibly tender-hearted.  He also loves to snuggle.  He is NOT independent.  He loves to hang out.

My heart is also with my husband.

He stole my heart 14 years ago and I haven’t questioned that for 1 minute of our history!

My perfect husband drove me to the airport on November 1st.  I haven’t seen him since.  He asks me often what the “plan” is.  It seems to change daily.  The big picture is to liquidate all my parents stuff and move them to California to be near us.  Great plan, but next to impossible.  They have soooo much stuff.  Plus we are dealing with a lot of emotions here, NOT including mine.

I am normally seen as the steady headed, honest, common-sense member of the family.

My little boy asks me often on the phone when I am coming home.  One night he was crying for ever on phone trying to understand when I would be home.  He would say “are you coming home tomorrow?”  “The next day?”  And of course they “Buy why not????”  Each word would break my heart a little more.

Today was the end of me.

After a long conversation with my sweet hubby, he tells me last night before bed Brayden asked him if I was EVER coming home.

And that is when my heart actually left my body.

My FAVORITE Time of the Day

So….I’m not really a “kid” person.  A lot of people know this about me, and it is both funny and sad all at the same time.  Yes, I have 2 kids of my own.  Lexi, who is 7 and Brayden who is 5.  They are awesome and amazing.  But they are mine!  We are kind of strict parents with high expectations of our kids, and they are obedient.  I love it!  They are like well trained dogs….that don’t shed!  I’m working on my tolerance for other people’s children.  Oh come on….like you don’t feel the same way?  Some kids are bad…and when I say bad, I mean AWEFUL.  I have been know to say “I don’t think I like that kid!”  BUT…I try to raise my children to NOT JUDGE others!  “Hypocritical”, you say?  Uh, ya, I’m just being honest!

Then there is my husband.  He is the kind, compassionate, caring one.  As we say, the one with the heart.  (Again with the honesty!)  Sometimes it drives me CRAZY.  When Lexi hurts herself by doing something completely ridiculous, he is the first one to run to her and console her.  My reaction is almost always “Well, what where you expecting!?!”  I don’t think I’m heartless…I call it well balanced.

All this said to tell you about my new favorite time of the day.  If I were to take a poll, I guarantee 98% of my friends would think my favorite time of the day is after I drop them off at school, grab a Venti Non-fat Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and sit on my couch relaxing.  Don’t get me wrong, that is sooooo close to the top of my list of absolute favorites in my daily schedule, but it is not number 1.


This is Brayden.  He’s 5.  He’s AWESOME!

I cannot begin to describe the feeling I get when my 5 year old spots me from across the school walkway.  EVERY day he is sitting there surrounded by a group of friends and he always has the biggest smile on his face.  He is truly a HAPPY kid.  He catches a glimpse of me, and doesn’t just mosey on over, he grabs his backpack and starts RUNNING towards me.  That SMILE only intensifies.  His big BLUE eyes are radiating off of whatever color shirt he has on.  An overwhelming feeling comes over me almost immediately.  I would give anything for this moment to last forever.  When he reaches me, I immediately kneel down and he gives me the biggest hug, as if he hadn’t seen me for a month.  Again, I am speechless.  He makes me melt!

Once I put myself back together again, we begin to walk to his sisters classroom to pick her up.  He begins to tell me ALL about his day.  He doesn’t leave out details.  He talks…and talks….and TALKS…but I am still on the high from picking him up, so I enjoy every minute of it.

Then Lexi’s class is dismissed.  She has always been an independent girl.  She has always gotten along better with boys than girls.  She doesn’t ever get caught up in the girly chatter, likes and dislikes, and whatever Hannah Montana said is cool or whatever….She comes walking out with a boy almost every day.  DON’T get the WRONG idea, she is only 7, and she can’t date until she is 23.  She just isn’t “sassy” or “catty” like most girls.  So she comes out of the classroom talking about who knows what to this boy, and she always seems to make him laugh.  It is absolutely PRECIOUS.  I’m not worried about her having boys has good friends.  She is so awesome, and very witty I might add.  She walks to me casually.  She doesn’t run like Brayden, but not because she is too cool for that, she is just a mellow girl.  Once her and the boy part ways, we begin talking about her day.  Did I mention how smart she is?  Oops, she is smart!  She loves to read and she loves school.  She tells me about her day, what was good and in her words what was “GREAT.”  She never says anything negative about school, NEVER!  I’m sure that will change, but for now, I’m lovin it!

So, needless to say, this is absolutely my favorite time of day in my life right now.  Maybe it is because I am surrounded by cancer, and to see the joy in my children is a gentle reminder of what gifts they are to me.  I plan everything I do around that early afternoon event, it is priceless to me.