Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why I'm a Mom: (almost) Wordless Wednesday

...so I know just where to find my kitchen utensils when I need them -  a small play kitchen oven...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Confessions of a Germaphobe

Yep - I'm a germaphobe. Are you? It's gotten worse now that I have small children too. I disinfect everything weekly and if someone is sick we don't see them until well after they're better. Unless they don't tell us they're sick and show up unannounced and insist on hugging Little Miss...you know who you are. So rude. Anyway...

My germaphobe-ness (just made up that word) has led to a brilliant discovery! You can only continue reading if you promise to laugh and then try it yourself....

I wash my hands ridiculous amounts of times. Every time we come home we wash. Just before we eat we wash. After taking Little Miss potty I wash. After changing Mr Man's bum I wash. And the list goes on. And with the added bonus of it being winter my hands are like sandpaper! Poor husband has to hold sandpaper hands. It was getting so bad that the skin in between each finger was cracking and bleeding on a regular basis.


I found an old lotion sample, threw it in my purse, and started using it whenever I remembered. Aquaphor by Eucerin. Grease-fest! After leaving an entire hand print on the chiropractor table (so gross - I promised him it was lotion, not sweat) - I decided I would only use it right before bed. And a miracle happened - I woke up every morning with super soft hands that lasted almost the entire day. Too good to be true.

When my sample was out I went to wal-mart to buy more. But, stopped off at the baby aisle to grab some A&D bum cream for Mr Man first. You'll never guess what I saw there - Baby Aquaphor by Eucerin...bum cream?! Same bottle - all they did was add the "Baby". I took that bottle with me to the lotion aisle and compared ingredients...exactly the same! But, if purchased in bum cream form it was a lot cheaper.


So...every night I apply a nice slather of bum cream to my hands. =) No joke. My hands are super soft and surviving the winter great! I've even had a couple of people mention how soft my hands are - which hasn't happened f.o.r.e.v.e.r! Awesome.

That's my confession - I use bum cream on my hands as lotion. You should try it - you'll like it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Never Too Early...


Currently, I'm awkwardly sitting sideways in our office chair - chair cannot be moved because it is wedged in between towers of moving boxes. And since typing sideways is...difficult to say the least. I'll make this short. Here is something I've been thinking about lately...(I planned on having cute pictures, but due to moving + a lovely bout of croup with the Little Miss you'll just have to imagine it...)

There are a couple of things it is never too early to start teaching your children...they are never too young to...
  • Have manners! Even before Little Miss could talk we had her signing "please" and "thank you", I wouldn't give her things for fussing or grunting - she had to be polite. Yep, I'm that kind of mom. Judge away. Ever seen the movie "Raising Helen"? You should. It's a good flick. There is one scene where the preggo sister reprimands her unborn fetus for kicking her while "mommy is trying to talk". It's pretty much hilarious, and played by Joan Cusack. Go watch it - you'll love it!
  • Have patience! Children should have patience. They don't need to feel entitled to everything they want right away and as their parents we can teach them this fairly easily at a very young age. Here's the trick - don't be quick to give them everything. "In a minute" is fine for a child to hear. Little Miss hears it too often apparently - she's started saying it to me. Which is also, hilarious.
  • Know how to give mommy a backrub...I am very serious about this one. My back hurts after a long day of being mommy - plus I love backrubs. So...why not!? Here are 2 tricks to a good kid backrub...
  1. A paint roller. We have a small one that Little Miss can easily grip and she is loving "painting" mommy's back. Super fun for her - feels good for me. It's a win-win. *insert cute picture here of Little Miss giving me a paint roller backrub*
  2. Drawing pictures. When I was little my grandma would have us draw pictures on her back using our fingers and she would try to guess what we drew. For some reason she could never figure it out and would always ask us to do it again...smart lady. Love this game! Thank you grandma!
So, start teaching your children! And if you're wondering - paint rollers are super cheap at wal-mart! =)

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Scream . Fight . Run


    Does anybody else remember the Safety Kids?! We used to listen to it when we were kids. Every once in a while I will still catch myself singing, "Sometimes you just gotta yell and scream/Sometimes it's the only thing to do/Noisy as a firetruck/You just gotta open up/And get the crowd's attention turned to you!"

    We began with The Talk (about stranger danger) in earnest when Ben was around 4 or 5. At the time, he was completely enamoured with "teenagers." My brother and sister were both still teenagers, as was my cousin who babysat for us frequently. To Ben, teenagers were totally cool, and they got to do tons of cool things, and he just adored everything "teenager."

    Well one day, we had reports of a man trying to lure some kids into his truck just a few blocks from our house. Later that day, he apparently succeeded, grabbing a little girl (I seem to remember she was about 8 or 10) as she was walking home with her brother. But here's the thing: she escaped!

    She began an all-out assault on her kidnapper as he drove away. She screamed and screamed and wouldn't stop, while pulling his hair and scratching his face relentlessly from the backseat. Apparently, he decided she wasn't worth all the trouble, and he simply dumped her on the side of the road and drove away! And later that day he was caught and arrested by police.

    I remembered I had heard the same thing on Oprah when she talked about women's self defense. They said that an assailant will try to find someone who looks like they will go quietly, who is timid and shy looking, and if you put up a fuss they will generally just walk away because they don't want the attention drawn to them.

    So our master plan of making our kids "not worth all the trouble" they're causing was put into action the next day. It started with the mugshot in the paper. The man who had tried to kidnap that little girl was actually fairly young, maybe early twenties, and looked even younger. Almost like a teenager.

    So I showed Ben his picture in the newspaper and lead him along with questions like "Doesn't he look like a cool teenager?" "Doesn't he look nice?" And then I gave Ben a simplified account of why he was in the newspaper, and explained to him that even if someone looks cool or nice, they may not be, and continued to explain about bad guys not always looking bad. We also talked about not getting in strangers'cars and running away from those situations.

    I told him if he was ever lost while we were out, he should find someone who worked in the store, or a mom with kids, and they would help him. We try to cover many different scenarios by posing questions: "What would you do if this happens?" "What should you do in this situation?"

    And then came the "fun" part. I really wanted to make sure that he was not worth the trouble for a predator. So I told him the 3 main things he should do if someone tried to grab him: Scream, Fight, and Run. Now here is the crucial part: the elaboration. I have seen the 20/20 specials where parents leave their kids alone in a park for a few minutes so that they can be secretly filmed to see what they will do when a stranger approaches asking for help to find a lost puppy.

    Every time, the parents were adament that their kids knew what to do and would never accompany the stranger, and every time the kid fell for the thought of a poor lost puppy dog and followed the strange adult away. I am sure that one major component that these kids were missing was practice. So we spend time elaborating on the 3 things to do (scream, fight, run), coming up with ideas and practicing.

    It seems to me, in the heat and panic of that moment, not many people, child or adult, will have much brain space available for calmly deciding what to do. But if we give our kids ideas in calm times, with repetition, then if the time ever comes when they need those ideas, they will already be there in their minds and will come forth quickly for execution.

    Scream: Like the words of the Safety Kids song, the goal here is to be as noisy as a fire truck and get attention turned to you. So I tell my kids the key is to scream and scream and not stop. Scream in his ears, try to deafen him. We give them ideas of what to scream, like "Help!" or "I don't know you!" or just plain "AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!" That way they don't have to come up with the words on their own in their panic, you have already given them the words when they are calm and ready to learn and remember, and they can practice. Encourage your kids to think of some ideas themselves. Let them demonstrate their loudest scream. This practice and dialogue actually makes it a little less scary, and more empowering.

    Fight: This is the part that the kids always like. At least boys do. Throughout this process, give them lots of ideas and repeat things many times in slightly different ways. This helps it to stick in their minds. We help our kids come up with specific ideas, and we are not merciful to this imaginary bad guy. Try to think of things that play on kids' strengths. There's no way they will be stronger than a grown man, but they can still hurt him by playing dirty.

    Some we have come up with in the past include biting (tell them to try to draw blood or remove a finger: societal norms and good manners can run deep. This is no time to do something halfway, it will only make the kidnapper angry. We want to make it hurt enough to make him let your kid go, and your kid needs permission from you to hurt someone that bad), scratching (aim for the eyes if they can, or anywhere on the face is good, again trying to draw blood), the groin (anything they can do here, as long as they can do it hard. Kicking is best, but punching, yanking, biting, or twisting will also work). All these things will play on a kid's strengths.

    Also help them think of things like laying down on a car seat and kicking repeatedly with the heels of the shoes, pulling hair (trying to yank large chunks completely out), even pinching or scratching wildly like a crazy cat will get them somewhere. Let your kids come up with ideas themselves. This is the part my kids like. They will go on and on about "I would do this and this to him and punch and kick and ... etc."

    I know it sounds kind of violent and counter-intuitive to a mother, but I really think that this is part of the process of letting them know that they have permission to truly hurt another person. Without the feeling that they have this permission to do something that they would normally get in trouble for, they may be hesitant and timid about it, and it could cost them their chance to get away. And remind them that, all the while they are fighting, they should still be screaming and screaming. Don't stop screaming OR fighting until you are free! And finally:

    Run: Hopefully this can happen before an ill-intended stranger gets their hands on a kid, but if not, it is the 3rd step. Once the kidnapper gets fed up and lets the kid go, or once they are laying on the ground with a kicked groin or clawed-out eyes, the kid's job is to RUN!!! Tell them to run as fast as they can, towards something, be that back into the store, to the nearest house, toward the road, wherever they can find people.
    At this point, it doesn't really matter who he or she runs to, pretty much anyone is going to be better than what they just left. So let them know, this time it doesn't have to be an employee or a mother with children. Just this one time, it's ok to run to a car on the road or in the parking lot and find any adult to help them. And tell them, don't stop screaming even now. Scream while you run. Scream and scream and scream.

    Let your kids help come up with ideas of where they could run, coming up with every scenario you can think of. This repetition of lots of different ideas will help open your kids' minds so that they can adapt quickly to the situation and figure out what to do, even if you haven't covered that exact situation with them before. And letting them help with the ideas will keep them interested, and this will also help them learn to adapt.

    I know this seems like it could be scary for a little kid. You definitely have to make it fairly age-appropriate in the amount of info you give them, and in how you present it. But I start talking about this with my kids when they're about 2. A slight bit of fear - well maybe more like awareness - is appropriate to make your kids safe.

    My kids have never been scared by these talks. And I feel like we are really helping them be prepared so that hopefully none of this will ever even be needed. Every once in a while we pop the question out of nowhere: "Who can tell me the 3 things to do if a stranger tries to grab you?" I think if they can keep those 3 things in their minds, they will have a very good chance of not ever "being worth it."

    And yes, we have a copy of Safety Kids, too!
    _____________________________________________________________

    This post was written by my cousin, Erin. She's the mom of three little boys and she homeschools! Amazing woman. Thanks for letting me share this Erin! 

    Hope it got everyone thinking! How will you keep your kids safe?

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Why I'm a Mom: Wordless Wednesday

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    DIY: Pretend Mini Make-up for your Little Princess

    Little Miss is all girl - and that is just fine with me! I wasn't a super girly-girl growing up, I didn't even start wearing make-up regularly till college, it's true. And looking back at high school photos I cringe that no one ever told me to pluck my eyebrows - seriously, my so called 'friends' of old who read this blog - why didn't you tell me!? Anyway...if Little Miss wants to be way girly, I'm not about to stop her...

    She has been very insterested in my make-up for a long time, always wanting to put some on. But, I'm not about to raise one of these...



    ...Yikes. Little girls should not actually be wearing real make-up! They grow up fast enough as it is. But playing pretend is great!

    So, when I finished off some of my make-up, instead of tossing it, this is what I did...(thanks to my sweet friend Shauna for the brilliant idea!)

    Fist I cleaned the cases out completely.


    Then I let Little Miss pick out two nail polish colors she wanted for her pretend make-up.


    After two quick coats...


    She loves putting on her pretend make-up! 


    It's also important to make sure your mini make-up bag is equipped with a yummy strawberry chapstick that must be eaten applied at least 25 times a day and eventually hidden by mommy for fear of chapstick intoxication.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Maylee's Boutique

    L.O.V.E.  T.H.I.S.  S.T.O.R.E!!

    A couple of weeks ago we blessed the Little Man in this adorable outfit....



    It was exactly what I had been looking for and at an awesome price!

    We, of course, procrastinated a little - and a week before the baby blessing finally decided to buy an outfit. I ordered it the Sunday before, it was shipped that Monday, and I received it the Thursday before the blessing. Wow. Talk about pushing it.

    I was worried about not getting it in time, so before purchasing, shot an email to them - they responded super quick and were so nice guaranteeing that it would be there in time.

    Here's just a taste of what else they have to offer...did I mention the prices are awesome!? Cause they are...check out Maylee's Boutique for yourself!


    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Mint {Green} Oreo Cupcakes

    This is the perfect St. Patrick's Day treat for the chocolate lover, the mint lover, the oreo lover....the lover of pretty food. My husband always teases me because I am slightly obsessed with food being appealing to the eye (I've watched food network one too many times). I love garnishing. Even just for the 2 of us. Anyway - this is also the perfect treat to make with kids!

    Don't they look pretty? It get's better...


    First start with some mint oreos - remove the tops and place cookie side down in a muffin tin lined with paper cups.


    My new favorite cake mix is this butter recipe - it uses butter instead of oil and is so much better! Thick and creamy. Love it. One box of cake mix will yield about 28 cupcakes. Make according to box directions and cover up your naked oreos about 3/4 of the way full.


    After baking - they'll look like this on the bottom.


    ...and this on the inside...


    No cupcake is complete until frosted. First you'll need one cube butter and one 8 oz cream cheese - both room temperature. Beat together with a mixer until fluffy.


    Next add 1 Tablespoon vanilla.


    And about 1 lb powdered sugar - a cup at a time. About 4 cups. I think I added a little more to get the thicker consistency I wanted for piping on the frosting...


    That's about thick enough...


    And of course it has to be green for St Patrick's Day!


    And done.


    Make sure you have someone to help you lick the beaters - like a cute little girl still in her pajamas...whoever said cream cheese frosting wasn't good for breakfast?!


    I used the largest cake decorating tip I had and piped on the frosting in swirling peaks.


    But something was missing...oh yes. A dusting of fine oreo crumbs that I made out of the tops I took off originally. Placed in a food processor and voila. Beautiful and tasty!


    Happy St Patricks Day!! Have fun with your kids!

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Why I'm a Mom: Wordless Wednesday

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Celebrating St Patrick's Day

    So I love holidays. This probably explains why my daughter measures time by what holiday is coming next. Here’s a look into how we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day:

    Step 1: Wear Green. Silly glasses are a must.


    Step 2: Follow the leprechaun footprints to see what he left you! Last year, they led right into my daughter’s room, where she discovered a bucket filled with Shamrock coins and a tasty snack.


    Step 3: Play Games. I had my daughter help me make these shamrocks that we used for two games. A memory/matching game…


    …and our own version of a cake walk. We placed the shamrocks in a circle, and she walked around them till the music stopped, then shouted out which shape she stopped on.


    Step 4: FINGER PAINT! We like to finger paint with yogurt…then you can delight in licking it off your fingers. Key lime pie would have been the best flavor to use, but all we had was vanilla—easy to fix with a little food coloring. (My daughter went through a phase where she didn’t like getting her hands dirty….hence the spoon. Oh well, makes it easier to eat!)


    Step 5: Eat green food. Seriously—anything you can turn green, do it! We like to eat breakfast for dinner. And breakfast foods are easy to turn green. We had green French toast, eggs and milk. If I could have figured out a way to turn the sausage green, I would have ;)


    How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
    ________________________________________________________________

    Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

    Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Daybreak: Sponsor Spotlight

    Still loving the porch and red door of this home - can't wait till we can buy! Just another reminder of how wonderful Daybreak is...originally posted 1.29.11...

    It's kind of ironic that one of my sponsor spotlights is all about buying a home in Utah...my husband and I are so ready to buy a home it's ridiculous - but we have to wait and see what happens with my husbands job...so I will grin and bear it as I tell you a little about these beautiful homes in the Salt Lake Valley...

    "This is getting good...Daybreak is Utah's favorite place to buy a new home...

    About one out of every five new homes sold in the Salt Lake Valley is in Daybreak. In fact, over the past several years more people have moved to Daybreak in South Jordan than to any other new-home community in Utah. Why? We think it's because Daybreak is so much more than homes. Here you find businesses, parks, shops, restaurants, schools and beautiful energy-efficient homes ... all built around a big lake. You also find a smarter, healthier way of thinking about community."


    Check out their site for more photos of homes and more info about the community. They even have a blog you can follow!
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