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Boy Says Goodbye to Pet Fish in Funeral — April 12, 2015

Boy Says Goodbye to Pet Fish in Funeral

WARNING!!! You may get emotional

We all know that explaining death to a kid can be pretty difficult, yet this feature impeccably sums up the experience.

The story needs almost no presentation, as it basically a toddler saying farewell to his absolute best companion — Top, the fish. From the sweet farewell kiss, to the flush, to the minute he understands his companion is gone forever …  you’d must have a cold heart not to get shaken up over this one.

Pardon us while we go get the tissue box.

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Should Smoking Around Kids Be Illegal? — March 30, 2015

Should Smoking Around Kids Be Illegal?

Growing up, my dad smoked, and so did nearly all of our family friends. It was the late 70s and early 80s. You could still smoke almost anywhere. When my parents hosted dinner parties, a thick smog of secondhand smoke would gather in the air over the table. Our car reeked of cigarettes. To this day, the smell of stale cigarette smoke makes me think of dozing off while my dad drove us home at night. It relaxes me, and makes me feel safe.

One thing I’m not nostalgic for, though, is the asthma I battled as a kid, or the chronic bronchitis I suffered every winter. Of course it never occurred to me as a child that my dad’s smoking might be to blame. As a teenager, a cyst on his throat scared him away from smoking. Years later, after a bout of walking pneumonia, my mom found cigarette smoke left her short of breath, and banned their friends from lighting up in the house.

In some states, it’s now illegal for parents to light up in cars the way my dad did. Other states have made it a crime for foster parents to smoke both in the car and in their homes. But one doctor recently suggested we need to go further. Adam Goldstein, an MD and professor in the Department Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, argues that parents should not be allowed to smoke around children, period. And he’s calling on medical organizations to put pressure on legislators to label smoking a form of child abuse.

Goldstein says that we consider driving drunk with a kid in the car child abuse. So why shouldn’t we say the same about smoking? Kids who grow up in houses full of secondhand smoke, like I did, have asthma and respiratory problems, some of which, like pneumonia, require hospitalization.

I have a complicated response to this proposal. On the one hand, I know from experience how terrible it can be to grow up in a smoky house. To this day, I measure weak on lung capacity tests, despite being an avid runner in good shape. My dad’s smoking, which he began as a teen and didn’t stop till his early 40s, may have affected his long-term health. Did it take years off of my life too? And what about my mom, who now has similar issues with her respiratory health?

On the other hand, I bristle at the thought of calling my dad an abuser because he had an addiction to smoking. It was a different time. I honestly don’t think my dad would have kept smoking if he knew it was a major contributor to, if not the sole cause of, my asthma.

What’s more, I have trouble with the thought that the government can tell us what to do in our own homes. Today it’s cigarettes, what if tomorrow it’s soda and chips? Those cause diabetes. Should we ban parents from buying them too? We’re seeing all too clearly in Ferguson how race and class play a part in policing. I worry it would mostly be parents of color and parents living in poverty facing scrutiny over their smoking habits.

I am all in favor of replacing cigarette branding with messages and images about the damage that smoking does to our health. I love that New York City offers free resources to help people quit smoking, and wish that those were nationally available. And I think that public education should in particular target parents, so that they know the consequences of their actions on their children. Should smoking around a child in your own house be considered a crime, though, with potential court action and fines? That strikes me, a victim of secondhand smoke, as too extreme.

7 Ways I’ve Changed as a Wife Since Getting Married at 21 — March 26, 2015

7 Ways I’ve Changed as a Wife Since Getting Married at 21

blog pic1

Do you know what I hate about men?

The fact that they can exert almost exactly ZERO effort and lose weight — and meanwhile, I am busting my buns to every workout that Jillian Michaels and her manly muscles have ever created and do you know what happens to me?

I gain seven pounds.

Yeah, that’s right. Since giving birth to my fourth child and ballooning up to the biggest I’ve ever been in my life, I still continue to be biggest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’ve been working hard to maintain a positive attitude about it, telling myself that my body tends to hang on to weight when I’m breastfeeding and that I will get there with patience and exercise and a healthy lifestyle. But dang if I’m not freakin’ annoyed that my husband can drop 20 pounds by simply cutting pop out of his daily diet just like that when he decided to hop on my healthy-living bandwagon.

What a jerk.

 

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7 Ways I’ve Changed as a Wife Since Getting Married at 21 —

7 Ways I’ve Changed as a Wife Since Getting Married at 21

MomsRForever

 

Do you know what I hate about men?

The fact that they can exert almost exactly ZERO effort and lose weight — and meanwhile, I am busting my buns to every workout that Jillian Michaels and her manly muscles have ever created and do you know what happens to me?

I gain seven pounds.

Yeah, that’s right. Since giving birth to my fourth child and ballooning up to the biggest I’ve ever been in my life, I still continue to be biggest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’ve been working hard to maintain a positive attitude about it, telling myself that my body tends to hang on to weight when I’m breastfeeding and that I will get there with patience and exercise and a healthy lifestyle. But dang if I’m not freakin’ annoyed that my husband can drop 20 pounds by simply cutting pop out of his daily diet just like that when he decided to hop on my healthy-living bandwagon.

What a jerk.

There’s a lot that I’ve learned about my husband and myself over the years in our marriage and last night, as I attempted to run three miles in a desperate plea to the universe to help me button my jeans, I thought about all of the ways that I’ve changed since I first walked down the aisle as a young and naïve bride of 21 years old.

1. I’m more secure in who I am as a person.

I realize not everyone gets married as young we did, but I spent the first few years of our marriage in a frenzied, frantic state to figure out who the heck I was as a person. I had the husband and the baby right away, so I felt like I had to have the rest of it figured out too — turns out, it is OK to learn along the way.

2. But less secure with my body.

On the flip side, (my advance apologies if this is TMI) I’m actually a lot less secure in my body, which shows, of course, in the marital bed. I’m still trying to figure out this weird phase I’m in, but it’s almost like I’m in the process of re-learning my sexuality after having kids. Which, I guess makes sense since I am basically dealing with an entirely new body. But it’s been eye-opening to realize how much power a wife’s confidence can have on the entire relationship. Shakira was right, my friends — the hips don’t lie.

3. I’m way more calm.

I often wonder if my hormones have just leveled off after having kids, because holy crap was I a crazy person when we first got married. Or maybe I just have less energy to get worked up about stupid things because I have four little people to keep alive every day, but in general, I’m a much more calm and relaxed person than I was as a newlywed.

4. I’m much more open about my feelings.

You may be expecting that marriage causes couples to eventually run out of things to talk about, but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true — I talk my husband’s ear off about everything now. I used to be the absolute worst about bottling up my feelings, emotions, and stress, shutting down, and then eventually exploding. It took us a while to learn the ropes, but now that I know I have the tendency to shut down, I go overboard to open up and prevent that from happening.

It might mean my husband has to hear about all my feels, all the time, but it’s better than the alternative, so so be it.

5. I accept my husband for who he is.

I had a lot of hopes and dreams for my marriage — I envisioned weekends spent together, cutesy bed-and-breakfast getaways, and of course, traveling the world together in retirement. But it’s taken me exactly seven years and counting to realize that my husband just is not the man who enjoys any of those things. Every weekend means more work in his shop and there will be no world travels in our future, because my husband hates to travel.

There will never be any cutesy weekends spent browsing antique shops and drinking coffee. My husband is just not that person and I had to accept that before I could learn to be happy in my marriage.

6. I know the importance of giving my husband his space.

Again, call me crazy, but I kind of thought that to be a successful married couple, you had to find your solace in each other — almost like spending time together would be the way to charge our respective batteries, so to speak.

But I’ve found that exact opposite to be true. Alone time has always been important, of course, but it took a long time to witness the long-term effects that a severe lack of “me” time — for both of us — can wreak on our relationship as a couple. When you have young kids, sometimes couple time might not even be as important as me time, because that’s truly what recharges our batteries and makes us an even stronger couple.

7. I know how to ask for what I want.

I have learned that our marriage really and truly works better when I ask — specifically for what I want — instead of hoping that my husband will know or getting angry that I have to ask in the first place.

Sometimes it looks like asking for help with housework or telling him I just need to vent or even tossing him a baby and running away for 10 minutes, but whatever it is, I’ve let go of any resentment about asking for what I need. My husband is happy if he knows exactly what I want and need and as a result, so am I.

How have you changed as a spouse since you got married?

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers — March 24, 2015

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers

Well, lately I’ve been wearing the financial pants in my family.  Today I am going to talk about a different kind of pants- diapers and pull-ups, specifically- and the fact that I am officially tired of buying them after five long years.

Tired. Of. It.

I buy pull-ups for daytime and diapers for overnights.  I buy them at the grocery store, the department store, and the drug store- with coupons if I’m lucky.  I currently spend $10-$15 dollars per week on something that adds no value to our lives or to the planet.   I might as well be shreddin’ $20 bills over here!

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers

My oldest potty-trained quickly and easily.  But my youngest?  I’m afraid to say it, but I just don’t think she cares enough at this point.  She’s also busy- real busy- and doesn’t want to stop what she’s doing to go to the bathroom.  She would much rather just pee her pants and continue picking flowers, riding her bike, or playing in the sandbox.  Ewww…  I’m tired of buying diapers, but I also don’t know what else to do.  A few strategies I’m considering:

  • Potty Timer– A relative suggested I set a timer and simply tell her it is the “potty timer.”  Then I just need to take her to the potty any time it goes off.  Perhaps she will think it’s a game and get on board.  Maybe?
  • Naked Weekend– Several people have suggested I let her run around naked outside for a day or two.  The idea is that she might recognize her need to potty better if she literally felt pee run down her leg (as opposed to it being absorbed by her clothing).  That might be possible on the weekend, but I’m not sure how cooperative she would be.
  • Fun Potty Time- Others have suggested adding food coloring to the toilet water or wearing a funny hat when it’s pee-pee time.  Sounds crazy to me, but I’m honestly willing to do anything at this point.
  • Wait- I keep reading that kids who aren’t interested in potty-training might just need more time.  I’ve considered putting our plans on hold for a few months and trying again this fall.

So, that’s it.  I’m officially tired of buying diapers, but must continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Hopefully I’ll figure out a winning strategy sometime soon.  Until then, I envision lots of laundry, frustration, and tears coming up.  Stay tuned.

Did you have trouble potty-training your kids?  What strategies worked for you?

 

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers —

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers

diapers blog

Well, lately I’ve been wearing the financial pants in my family.  Today I am going to talk about a different kind of pants- diapers and pull-ups, specifically- and the fact that I am officially tired of buying them after five long years.

Tired. Of. It.

I buy pull-ups for daytime and diapers for overnights.  I buy them at the grocery store, the department store, and the drug store- with coupons if I’m lucky.  I currently spend $10-$15 dollars per week on something that adds no value to our lives or to the planet.   I might as well be shreddin’ $20 bills over here!

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers

My oldest potty-trained quickly and easily.  But my youngest?  I’m afraid to say it, but I just don’t think she cares enough at this point.  She’s also busy- real busy- and doesn’t want to stop what she’s doing to go to the bathroom.  She would much rather just pee her pants and continue picking flowers, riding her bike, or playing in the sandbox.  Ewww…  I’m tired of buying diapers, but I also don’t know what else to do.  A few strategies I’m considering:

  • Potty Timer– A relative suggested I set a timer and simply tell her it is the “potty timer.”  Then I just need to take her to the potty any time it goes off.  Perhaps she will think it’s a game and get on board.  Maybe?
  • Naked Weekend– Several people have suggested I let her run around naked outside for a day or two.  The idea is that she might recognize her need to potty better if she literally felt pee run down her leg (as opposed to it being absorbed by her clothing).  That might be possible on the weekend, but I’m not sure how cooperative she would be.
  • Fun Potty Time- Others have suggested adding food coloring to the toilet water or wearing a funny hat when it’s pee-pee time.  Sounds crazy to me, but I’m honestly willing to do anything at this point.
  • Wait- I keep reading that kids who aren’t interested in potty-training might just need more time.  I’ve considered putting our plans on hold for a few months and trying again this fall.

So, that’s it.  I’m officially tired of buying diapers, but must continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Hopefully I’ll figure out a winning strategy sometime soon.  Until then, I envision lots of laundry, frustration, and tears coming up.  Stay tuned.

Did you have trouble potty-training your kids?  What strategies worked for you?

 

Easter Egg Hunt Party Ideas — March 23, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt Party Ideas

easter egg blog pic 1

Do you plan the same old Easter egg hunt for your children year after year? Maybe it’s time for a new approach. Take Easter up a notch from boring green Easter grass and tired plastic eggs.

Tired of the same old hunt? Easter egg hunts can be fun for all ages, especially when you put a new twist on the festivities. We’ve got a few new ways to outsmart the Easter rabbit this year.

Dusk hunt

Why not send your kids hunting for Easter treasures at twilight instead of first thing in the morning? Even though it won’t yet be dark, hand them flashlights, and send them on their way. They’ll be sure to love this new twist on the traditional egg hunt. If it’s highly unlikely your child will be able to wait all day to search, either set up the hunt the night before or give your children a little something from the Easter bunny in the morning with a note that explains they can’t search for their loot until dark.

Treasure egg hunt

Aye, aye mateys! A fun spin on an egg hunt is to send your kids searching for “buried” treasure. Give your children eye patches and maps to follow to find their hidden treasure eggs.

Leave clues along the way from the Easter bunny (“fur,” paw prints or even carrots) to let them know they’re on the right trail. You can hide fun-filled eggs along the way and when they reach the end of the hunt, they will find their treasure. Burying the treasure is optional.

Color-coordinated eggs

To make sure each child gets the same number of eggs, assign them their own color. But to instill a little friendly competition, tell the kids there is one color they can all search for: Gold. Hide one golden egg in the bunch. Whoever finds that egg gets an extra special prize. Just don’t forget where you hid the eggs or how many eggs the kids are supposed to find. Make sure the eggs for younger hunters are easier to find.

Egg puzzle

Tell your children the Easter bunny left them a puzzle, and they have to locate all of the puzzle pieces to find out what the grand finale prize is. To set up the puzzle, on a large sheet of paper, write a message to your children. Then, divide up the paper to look like puzzle pieces and cut out the individual pieces. Hide each piece in an egg. Once the kids have found all of the puzzle pieces, they can lay them out on the floor to read their special message and find the big prize the Easter bunny left for them.

Creative (and sugar-free) egg stuffers

Mix it up this year and take the candy out of Easter. Yes, you read that right — ditch the sugar. The kids are already “hopped” up enough on their natural energy anyway. Fill the eggs with fun surprises the children will never expect.

  • money
  • movie tickets
  • stickers
  • gum
  • IOU notes (Example: One large banana split to make up for all the sugar lost on Easter!)
2-Minute Healthy Egg Breakfast Your Kids Can Make Themselves — February 26, 2015

2-Minute Healthy Egg Breakfast Your Kids Can Make Themselves

 

Egg Breakfast dish1

As a busy mom, I decided to take a good long look at our family life and realized that so many of the jobs I was taking on myself could be given to my kids. Rather than teaching them that I was the answer to all of their needs, it was time I start teaching them to be the strong, independent souls I truly want to raise.

This decision led to a few minor changes, like no longer packing school lunches. This opportunity was the perfect way to encourage my kids to get busy in the kitchen. We rounded up a few easy, healthy recipes and I taught my littles how to make more than mac and cheese.

All four of my kids have proven to be incredibly talented at meal-making … something I’d never known until I stopped expecting cold cereal to be their culinary arrival point. Even my sixth graders have started making their own breakfasts and after-school snacks. We keep a simple list of ideas posted on the fridge and I ensure the pantry is well-stocked with familiar favorites.

Right now our favorite dish to make is microwave egg bakes, because they’re a great way to get filling protein PLUS veggies. If the kids want to make these bakes, I encourage them to peek in the fridge and find a few different ingredients to add to theirs. It’s so easy to create flavor variations. The kids love getting to choose their own ingredients and I love watching them create. This recipe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks, and dinner. A fun, healthy, simple way to teach your kids how to cook.

egg dish 2

Here are a few of our favorite flavor combos, followed by the recipe:

  • 1 egg + chopped mushrooms + Parmesan
  • 1 egg + tomatoes + basil
  • 1 egg + diced ham + cheddar + green onions + tomatoes
  • 1 egg + Parmesan + chopped spinach + garlic
  • 1 egg + cilantro + salsa + precooked sausage crumbles

egg-bake-11

2-Minute Microwave Egg Bake

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk or cream (can be substituted for unsweetened and unflavored almond or soy milk)
1/2 cup total of favorite toppings, diced (we used ham, basil, tomatoes, bacon bits, and onions)
Pinch salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Spray a 4-ounce ramekin with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, milk (or cream), toppings, and salt and pepper. Pour into ramekin.
3. Microwave ramekin in 30 to 60-second bursts, just until the center of the egg bake sets and is no longer jiggly (about 2 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before removing from the microwave with a hot pad. Once warm, eat and enjoy!

2-Minute Healthy Egg Breakfast Your Kids Can Make Themselves — February 25, 2015

2-Minute Healthy Egg Breakfast Your Kids Can Make Themselves

 

Egg Breakfast dish1

As a busy mom, I decided to take a good long look at our family life and realized that so many of the jobs I was taking on myself could be given to my kids. Rather than teaching them that I was the answer to all of their needs, it was time I start teaching them to be the strong, independent souls I truly want to raise.

This decision led to a few minor changes, like no longer packing school lunches. This opportunity was the perfect way to encourage my kids to get busy in the kitchen. We rounded up a few easy, healthy recipes and I taught my littles how to make more than mac and cheese.

All four of my kids have proven to be incredibly talented at meal-making … something I’d never known until I stopped expecting cold cereal to be their culinary arrival point. Even my sixth graders have started making their own breakfasts and after-school snacks. We keep a simple list of ideas posted on the fridge and I ensure the pantry is well-stocked with familiar favorites.

Right now our favorite dish to make is microwave egg bakes, because they’re a great way to get filling protein PLUS veggies. If the kids want to make these bakes, I encourage them to peek in the fridge and find a few different ingredients to add to theirs. It’s so easy to create flavor variations. The kids love getting to choose their own ingredients and I love watching them create. This recipe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks, and dinner. A fun, healthy, simple way to teach your kids how to cook.

egg dish 2

Here are a few of our favorite flavor combos, followed by the recipe:

  • 1 egg + chopped mushrooms + Parmesan
  • 1 egg + tomatoes + basil
  • 1 egg + diced ham + cheddar + green onions + tomatoes
  • 1 egg + Parmesan + chopped spinach + garlic
  • 1 egg + cilantro + salsa + precooked sausage crumbles

egg-bake-11

2-Minute Microwave Egg Bake

Makes: 1 serving

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk or cream (can be substituted for unsweetened and unflavored almond or soy milk)
1/2 cup total of favorite toppings, diced (we used ham, basil, tomatoes, bacon bits, and onions)
Pinch salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Spray a 4-ounce ramekin with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, milk (or cream), toppings, and salt and pepper. Pour into ramekin.
3. Microwave ramekin in 30 to 60-second bursts, just until the center of the egg bake sets and is no longer jiggly (about 2 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before removing from the microwave with a hot pad. Once warm, eat and enjoy!

Grilled Shrimp W/Garlic-Cilantro Sauce — February 21, 2015

Grilled Shrimp W/Garlic-Cilantro Sauce

 Grilled Shrimp2

Let’s get started and make this grilled shrimp recipe!

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (you’ll need the oven to roast the garlic).

Peel, devein and rinse the prawns. Pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Place the prawns in fridge until ready to grill.

Grilled Shrimp3

Trim top of the garlic head off; leave the garlic intact and do not peel.  Drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast the garlic in the 400 degrees F-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly tender and fragrant. When ready, remove from oven. Let cool briefly. Peel and crush or chop the garlic finely.

Grilled Shrimp4

In a small bowl, combine the garlic with the cilantro leaves, lemon juice, white wine and chili sauce (or chili flakes). Whisk together and set aside.

When ready, heat a cast-iron grill or griddle to medium high. Dress the prawns with some olive oil and grill for 3-4 minutes or so on each side. You want to achieve some char, but be careful not to overcook

Grilled Shrimp5

Remove from heat and coat the prawns with the roasted garlic and cilantro sauce. Alternatively, serve the sauce on the side instead.

Grilled Shrimpfinished

Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Garlic-Cilantro Sauce
Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
16 mins
Total time
31 mins
Author: Moms R Forever
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lb uncooked prawns
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
Roasted garlic-cilantro sauce:
  • 1 small head garlic, top trimmed off
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 1 tbsp dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce (or 1 tbsp dry chili flakes)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel, devein and rinse the prawns or your choice of shrimp. Pat dry, and then season with salt and pepper. Place the prawns in fridge until ready to grill.
  3. Trim the top of the garlic head off; leave the garlic intact and do not peel. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast the garlic in the 400 degrees F-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly tender and fragrant. When ready, remove from the oven. Let cool briefly. Peel and crush or chop the roasted garlic as finely as possible.
  4. Now prepare the roasted garlic-cilantro sauce. In a small bowl, combine the now crushed garlic with the remaining sauce ingredients. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. When ready, heat a cast-iron grill or griddle to medium-high. Dress the prawns with a little olive oil and grill for 3-4 minutes or so on each side. You want to achieve some char, but be careful not to overcook.
  6. Remove the prawns from heat and coat with the roasted garlic and cilantro sauce. Alternatively, serve the sauce on the side instead.
  7. Serve with a side of rice and your choice of salad for dinner; or as a party appetizer.
Notes
This is great warm or at room temperature.
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