Hunt Club Farm Christmas Displays

 

 

Hunt Club Christmas Displays

The holiday season officially starts for my family Thanksgiving Day.  The tree goes up and we’re planning holiday activities.  My daughter lives in Virginia Beach, VA.  A mile down the road is Hunt Club Farm.  They sit on 23 acres and cater to children all year.  Each year we take the grandchildren to see the Christmas displays.  Their displays are amazing.  They are full of automated elves, soldiers, reindeer and everything else you can image.  It’s a child’s delight.  Here are some of the displays from last season: 

 

Virginia Beach Hunt Club farm

 

It’s a great place for photo opportunities as you can see.  My granddaughter is not into picture taking for some reason.  She doesn’t like to cooperate for the camera, so I’m hoping I can get a few good shots.  This is my grandson last year in front of their Christmas tree.  Amazing how much he has grown in a year.  Precious I might add. 

 

If the weather is nice we move on to the Petting Zoo.  This is Mr. Llama.  He was on display last year.  The great thing about the Petting Zoo is you never know what animals you will come across.  The have great displays there too.  Last year they had an adorable little building that housed Santa.  Xavier was a little shy, but he gave Santa his wish list.  

 

We end our trip at the fire pit roasting hot dogs and making S’mores.  They have a stand that sells the hot dogs and buns and everything needed for the S’mores.  The roasters come with the package.  You can pick up hot chocolate or apple cider to wash it down.  If you live in the Hampton Roads area, plan a trip.  It’s a great way to start the holiday season and makes great memories for the kids.  

 

 

Watch Santa’s Reindeer

Christmas activities, Santa's reindeer, reindeer

 

Want to watch Santa’s reindeer? You can tune into the live feed at  http://reindeercam.com/  It’s the perfect activity to get your children excited about Christmas.  Let them watch while you’re decorating the tree?  Each evening at 5:00 pm EST the reindeer are fed.  The children can watch the reindeer resting and gathering their strength for the big trip on December 25.

Also, you can also add your child’s name to the Nice List for a fee on the site or you can write Santa a letter per the instructions on the site.  Once the letter is received, your child’s name will be added to the Nice List.

Do you know the history of Santa’s reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, DonnerBlitzen. The 1823 poem by Clement C. MooreA Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas” or “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) is credited for the eight flying reindeer and their names per Wikipedia. This portion of the poem introduces the reindeer:

“When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen!
“On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!

“To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

So, we know the history of Santa’s reindeer now.  Reading The Night Before Christmas has become a favorite during the holiday season in my home.  Finally, be sure to print our Nice Letter and Certificate from Santa.  While you’re waiting for Santa and his reindeer to arrive, make a batch of your favorite holiday cookies.  What are some of your holiday traditions?

Dads Are Winning Custody of Their Children

 

 

winning child custody

Are you going through a custody battle for your children?  You should know that dads are winning child custody. Yes, fathers are obtaining primary or joint physical custody.  Furthermore, they are winning 70 percent of the time.  As a result, more fathers are becoming the primary care giver of their children.

How and why are men achieving this position? Here’s several reasons:

    • They are becoming more involved in their children’s upbringing. They are changing diapers, giving baths, reading books, and fixing meals. Mr. Mom has become a reality.
    • They are educating themselves on how to win.  Instead of convincing the judge that the mother is unfit, they spending their time convincing the judge that they are just as fit. 
    • Women are emotional. Men are proving they are more stable emotionally and they are using intelligence to win.
    • More men are willing to spend the money on attorney fees preparing for the fight. They are taking the time to seek the best representation in court.
    • Not only are they willing to pay the attorney’s fees, they are seeking child support from the mother in certain cases. If they receive joint custody, they are asking that the amount of child support be lowered or they not have to pay support since they are responsible for buying diapers, milk, cloths etc. when they have custody.
    • Men are forming support groups and learning from other fathers who have won custody.

Men are proving they can provide a more stable environment because they have a bigger pay day.  For example, they are willing to give up the two seat vehicle and bachelor pad. They are buying homes with backyards and SUVs to ensure they have room for the children and excursions.  This thinking is leading to dads winning child custody.  

The days of having to prove the mother unfit are over ladies. I know, I watched my brother win custody of his two sons.  I have not only watched my brother win custody of his sons, his son just won full custody of his son.  Men winning child custody is becoming more and more realistic.

After the separation from his wife, my nephew was ordered to pay child support.  Additionally, he had the usual court order which states the visitation rights, and how much he was to pay in child support and when.  He decided to obtained a new attorney and won joint custody and no child support the second time around. What was different the second time? His attorney focused on the fact that he had a better job and medical benefits.  Furthermore, he owned a home and his son’s grandparents were within a mile to assist him with the baby’s care.  Most importantly, they were available to provide child care and there was no better environment for the baby than his grandparents when he was working.  The change occurred within a 3 month timeframe.

He decided to go back to court a few years later to obtain full custody.  Because his son would be entering school full time; it would be impossible to split time between the two homes.  Even though his ex had gotten remarried and had another son, he decided his son would have a more stable home with him.  Most importantly, he wasn’t willing to miss time with his son.   He obtained his lawyer’s assistance and geared up for another fight.  This time he would be fighting for full custody.  He won!  He now has his son in his care 24 x 7.  As a result, his ex has visitation rights.

I’m proud to say that I’ve watched my son-in-law with my grandchildren.  There is no doubt in my mind that he would not fight for joint custody of children. The thinking of young men these days is quite different from my generation. Most men in my generation did not seek custody, they were happy paying child support and having their freedom if there was a divorce.

In conclusion, it seems that if it’s impossible to keep your marriage together mothers may have to gear up for a fight.  Because dads are winning child custody at an unprecedented rate.  

Christmas Breakfast Ideas for Kids

kids breakfast ideas, snowman pancakes ideas, fun kids food

 

Mother 2 Mother has found 2 adorable breakfast ideas for your kids on Christmas morning.  Christmas morning is always exciting in my house, so I like to fix meals that are fun and festive. These pancakes look quick and easy, just the way I like it.  The required ingredients are:  a few bacon strips, a strawberry and chocolate chips. Not difficult right.

I will be serving these adorable critters Christmas eve and Christmas morning.  I’m really feeling the snowman below.  I love these little fellows.  It may have something to do with Frosty, which was one of my favorite Christmas movies growing up and now a favorite of my granddaughters.  I pull out the snowmen this time of year, and decorate my home and office with these little guys.  I admire them until they melt in the spring.

To end the evenings, a melting snowman.  Is this little guy adorable or what.  A scoop of ice cream, marshmallows, licorice stick, cherry and chocolate chips will do the job.  I will be using a food pen for the eyes, nose and mouth.  Be creative, and modify him to what you have in the house.  Vanilla ice cream happens to be the flavor of the month for my grandson.  We’ve moved from chocolate, to strawberry, to vanilla.  Hopefully, his taste buds will remain stuck on vanilla through the holiday season.

snowman treats, fun kids food, edible snowman ideas

*Pictures courtesy of Pinterest.

Children’s Carnival Birthday Party Ideas


kids carnival birthday party tips

We celebrated Xavier and Zarriah’s birthdays a few weeks ago.  We decided to combine their parties this year since we were having guests from out of town.  Zarriah’s Christening was the following day, so we decided to have a week-end of festivities.  I had a blast planning it, and it was the party of the year.  At least for a kid’s birthday party.

We decided to go with a carnival theme party.  So, if you’re looking for carnival birthday party ideas you’ve come to the right place.  Before we decided to combine the parties, we had planned a Ladybug party for Zarriah.  My daughter wanted me to incorporate the ladybugs into the carnival theme, which presented a challenge.  If you know me, you know that I’m always up for a challenge.  We decided to include a ladybug cake in addition to the bright colored cupcakes.  We decided to use carnival themed toppers on the cupcakes.  Didn’t both turn out adorable.

 

 

Next, we rented a huge tent from a catering company.  We used bright and bold colored tablecloths on the tables.  The lot included red, blue, yellow, green and pink.  In addition, we used 3 banquet tables to feature the cakes and finger foods.  Our menu included chicken salad sandwiches, wings, ladybug crackers, butterflies orange slices, which I forgot to get a picture of, and the kids loved them.  The butterflies were orange slices cut in half, turned in the opposite direction and a slice of strawberry set in the center.  Additionally, we served potato salad, veggies and dip, chips and hot dogs.

 

 

Here’s a picture, although not very good,  of the ladybug crackers we served.  The base is a Ritz cracker topped with chicken salad, a cherry tomato sliced for the wings, and a black olive held on with a plain toothpick.  Both the adults and kids loved them.  Click here for the creamy chicken salad recipe.  We

 

 

 

You can’t have a carnival without a clown.  So, we hired two clown to entertain the kids for an hour.  They were great.  This is Bubbles B, she made a balloon hat for granddaddy and his birthday girl.  In the picture above that, Zarriah is studying Bubbles B.  This was her first experience around a clown.  We were wondering if she was going to cry in the picture above, but after studying her for a few minutes they became good friends.

 

 

We set up a balloon dart board, and secured it to one of the storage building.  It was the perfect height for all the kids to participate.  That’s my niece, she was the dart board champion.

 

 

The kids couldn’t leave the carnival with out a bag of popcorn or a sno-cone.  As a result, we rented a popcorn machine and a sno-cone machine.  They were both hits as you can see.  We were able to get a good deal along with the bounce house.  We gave tickets to all of the kids when they arrived, and we had an adult stationed at each event.  Each event or item required 3 tickets.

 

 

The kids participated in a sack race.  Needless to say, they had a ball.  We purchased the sacks from Party City.  I use them for my July 4th cookouts too.

 

 

Somehow, we had to include a ladybug activity into the festivities.  This is the buggy bus.  We taped ladybug wings to the back of the bus.  And we placed eyelashes over the lights to get our ladybug some character.  The kids loved it.  I had to station an adult at the buggy bus, because the kids were fighting over her.  I was so happy to incorporate the ladybug into the carnival theme.

Get creative, and you will come up with plenty of carnival birthday party ideas too.  We had a Duck Pond game as well, however, the kids had other plans for it.  They decided to stand in it and cool off.  FIY – if you are planning to use this game at a party, make sure you use weighted ducks so they can float.  Additionally, we also had a Veggie Can Toss.  Unfortunately, it rained and we were unable to play that game.  The kids headed to the Bounce House and we were unable to retrieve them after that.  We had to literally start deflating the tent before we could get them out.

 

 

My grandson showing off his balloon hat.  Balloon hats and animals are great carnival birthday party ideas too.  The kids enjoyed watching the clowns make them.  We gave each kid one as they were leaving as a part of their goodie bag.

 

I’m glad birthdays only come once a year, but the memories of my grandson and granddaughter will be forever.  I plan to do a scrapbook, my other passion, so they can look back on this great child’s carnival birthday party.  I hope you found my carnival birthday party ideas helpful.  Implement a few, and you will be able to throw the birthday party of the year too.  You may also like Chuck E Cheese party ideas or Kid’s Birthday Party Ideas.
                                   

11 Christening Day Tips for a Memorial Event


christening day tips
First, a child is the most precious of all earthly gifts from God.  In acceptance of our gift, we promise our Lord and Savior that we will raise our child in the Christian faith.  Depending on your denomination, your may have a  Christening, Dedication or Baptize an older child.  No matter which, the ceremony day is  a day of celebration.  As with any celebration, moms want to do it right.  You want to make the day special and the celebration memorable. Planning in  advance is crucial. There are so many things to do and so many people to honor in our celebration.

So, where do we start?  Here are a few Christening Day Tips to make Christening Day go smoothly:

  • Guest List – I always start with a list of guests.  Everything you purchase for your celebration depends on guest list. Furthermore, when putting together your guest list, remember the place of honor each guest has. For example, grandparents, Godparents and relatives.
  • Invitations and Thank You Cards  – The invitations should include what the celebration is, who the celebration is for, the time and Church location for the ceremony. The time and location of the celebration and the RSVP information.   It’s important to remember to leave at least an hour between the church ceremony and the start of the celebration.  This will give you a little preparation time to prepare.  You will also want to change clothes and freshen up.
  • Food Preparation – You will need to know approximately how many guests you will be feeding, so you ca ensure that you have enough food.  Just as important, you don’t want to over spend and waste food.  However, after a long week-end, left overs will be welcome.
  • Keepsake Gifts – The place of  honor the guests hold will determine the type of keepsake gifts to purchase.  When you plan a child’s birthday party, all the children receive the same goody bags.  But when you plan a Christening celebration this is not necessarily true. You will want to purchase different keepsake gifts for the people of honor in the ceremony.
  • Godparents –  A Godparent loves your child and promises to assist you in the rearing of your child in Christian faith. Furthermore, they usually are selected to rear your child in your absence. This is a great gift to you and your child and a respectable undertaking. Honor them with a special gift.
  • Grandparents – Keepsakes for grandparents are optional in my opinion.  However, grandparents are the driving force behind your Christian rearing and your child’s. They love you and your child and provide a lifetime of experience.  Their wisdom will be of great assistance to both you and your child throughout the years to come.
  • Decorations  – For decorations, a simple white and silver or  white and gold color theme is usually selected. White symbolizes your child’s purity. Silver symbolizes the connection between man and God. Gold symbolizes rejoicing in our blessings. A Christian symbol should be  selected as well. A cross is the most common, but a dove of peace or angel theme  is perfectly acceptable. Paper goods, room decorations and your keepsake gifts  should be unified in color and Christian symbol.
  • Ceremonial gown or suit – Whatever you select, it will become a keepsake. For the ceremony, depending on the child’s age, a gown and booties or shoes are a must. Also, don‘t forget a change of clothes for your child in case of a mishap.
  • Entertainment  – Some people wonder if entertainment is appropriate. I say yes.  Christian music or easy listening would be good. Bible story coloring books, games and puzzles will keep small children entertained.
  • Photographs –  Your going to be busy! You have guest to talk to  and a child to care for. Ask a family member or friend who is good to take  pictures and video if possible. If you like candid photos, supply some disposable cameras your guests can use.
  • Accommodations for your out of  town guests –  You may be able to house close family member or friends. If you can’t or there are just too many guests, supply a list of local hotels in your  invitation. If the out of town guest is a Godparent, you should offer to pay for their accommodations.  After all, they are an honored part of your ceremony and celebration.

Finally, I hope our Christening Day Tips were beneficial.  Start planning early, and you will have a beautiful as well as memorial day.

Christening Day – Selecting A Cake

Image-Christening-Day

 

First, I remembered the night my daughter called to tell me she would be dedicating my grandson to the Lord. Oh what a blessing.  Although I hadn’t said anything to her, I had wondered when the day would come.  We had to make the day special.

We planned everything from his Christening suit to the meal after the service.  I was given the honor of choosing his suit and hosting the meal after the service. My daughter and her husband attended the required classes at church and contacted those who had been selected as the Godparents.  A role that is not taken lightly in our family. After all, the Godparents are involved in his upbringing and could possibly raise him if the parents are unable to.

 

 

Besides baby and the dedication, the cake will be the center of attention. We wanted to carry a religious theme into the meal.  As a result, we decided to incorporate the cross on his cake. It turned out beautifully. We selected yellow cake with a butter cream icing rather than fondant.  I have found that fondant icing can be pretty to look at, but removing the fondant and getting to the icing is difficult.  As a result, it makes it hard to really enjoy the cake. I wanted everyone to enjoy desert.

So, not only was the cake beautiful it was delicious. To stay within our budget, we had the bakery at one of our local grocery stores create the cake rather than a private bakery. Their cakes are just as delicious, and we saved enough to purchase these adorable Tiny Blessing Blue 10″ Octagonal Dinner Plates (8 count) and the accessories.  They are available in pink and blue.

 

We purchased the dinner and cake plates as well as the cups, napkins, and a matching table cloth for the food table. We purchased light blue table clothes and utensils at the Party Store. The tables turned out just as special as the day. I ordered the plates and cups on-line, however, Target now carries the set in pink and blue. 


Image-Christening-Cake


Xavier dropped his pacifier for a taste of the creamy goodness on the cake. He loved his pacifier, so we knew that we were in for a special treat with the desert. We served potato salad, pasta salad, meatballs, green beans and corn and fresh fruit followed by ice cream and cake under white tents. There was a wonderful breeze, so the setting was perfect.

If you’re having a ceremony, other ideas for a cake are:

  • Angels
  • Christening Shoes
  • The Bible
  • Baby Jesus
  • A Lamb
  • Christening Gown

Finally, I feel at peace as a mother and grandmother. Knowing that my daughter’s faith is strong enough to dedicate her son to the Lord is a mother’s dream. I hope this post gives you a few ideas to make Christening Day special for you and yours. May you each be as blessed as we are.  You may also like 11 Christening Day Tips.

 

Traveling With Toddlers


Traveling with your toddler can be difficult.  A mother and her 2 year old son were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight from Amarillo, TX to San Jose, TX because her son was disruptive.  According to a Southwest Airline representative, the child was so disruptive passengers were unable to hear pre-flight instructions. The child repeated over and over, “Go Plane Go” and “I Want Daddy”.
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Is Your Child A Domestic Violence Victim?

Is your teen involved in an abusive relationship? Have you talked to your teen about domestic violence? I talked to my daughter during her teen years because I never wanted to make the assumption that she would never allow herself to be abused.

Violence among our youth is real. They’re violent on the streets, in the schools, and in their relationships. An article caught my eye several days ago, which validates this fact. Rhode Island is requiring public middle and high schools to add dating violence as a part of their health class.

The Lindsay Ann Burke Act, pictured, is behind this mandate. Lindsay Burke was 23 when she was killed at the hands of her abusive boyfriend. He cut her throat and left her to die. Her mother stated that she saw trouble in her daughter’s relationship. Her boyfriend was very controlling. Unfortunately, many women young and old don’t recognize they are being abused. Lindsay’s mother stated that education in the school would have helped her daughter recognize that her relationship was dangerous. Schools teach students to not do drugs, drink or have unprotected sex; however, domestic violence is not taught. Reading this article reminded me of my daughter’s teenage dating years. She had been visiting her boyfriend whom I disliked, but I couldn’t figure out why. There was something about him that unnerved me. I had mentioned this fact to my daughter again and again. She thought that I was being an over protective mother and no one would ever be good enough for her at least by my standards.

We were having one of our mother daughter talks one night, and she stated that she was asked by her boyfriend’s mother if he had ever hit her. I froze. I felt ill, dizzy as if I was having an out of body experience. Somehow I managed to repeat what she had said to ensure that I had heard her correctly. I had. She had just validated my thoughts of him, I knew than my instincts about him were right. I explained to my daughter that she needed to end that relationship and end it immediately. No mother would ask that question of her son unless she knew that he was capable. I could see the wheels turning in her head. Mind you she was 16 at the time. I further explained that I had 7 brothers and my mother, her grandmother, would never ask that question about any of her 7 sons. Something was wrong! I prayed that she would end the relationship. I continued to ask questions and remain as close to the situation as I could without pushing her away from me. I talked about books that I had read about abusive relationships. Two came to mind, The Burning Bed and Shattered Dreams. At that time there was no internet access, so my knowledge of domestic violence was limited and so were domestic violence resources. I had previously confided in a friend about my feelings toward my daughter’s boyfriend. She too believed that I was over reacting. On the surface he was well mannered, a high school track and basket ball star, and handsome. He was a teenage girl’s dream. After I discussed my conversation with my daughter with my friend, only than did she take my instincts seriously. Ladies please don’t assume that your daughters will remove themselves from abusive situations. If you have teen daughters, educate yourself and if you see signs help them take action. Abuse knows no limits. Thankfully my daughter left for college, out of state, shortly thereafter and the relationship faded. She is now married to a wonderful young man who adores her. Lindsey Burke was not as fortunate. I believe teaching domestic violence in our schools is a great idea. Let me know your thoughts.

School Sued For Ignoring Bullies

Image-Bullies

 

This post is a follow-up of my July 23, 2006 post Don’t Bully My Child. Casey County High School in Kentucky is being sued because administrators and teachers failed to take the appropriate action to protect five students on school grounds from bullies. In my previous post, I stated that parents should meet with school officials, and ensure that their child is safe while they’re on school property. Here’s a story of the parents and students taking the appropriate action and receiving nothing in return.

Rachel Weddle has a bald spot from when a bully pulled her hair and punched her in the face at school. Bethany Buis received letters with death threats and eventually transferred schools. Lacy Griffith skipped her high school graduation fearing harassment. Charissa Gosser was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, which involves feelings of depression or anxiety. Nikki Rayborn spent most of her time at school trying to avoid bullies. These are the five students that are suing for unspecified damages.

The suit states that school administrators told the girls and their parents on several occasions that nothing could be done by the school to stop bullying. One student was told to “ride it out.” The vice principal told one student that she needed to “toughen up. ” The lawsuit also stated that a teacher witnessed a physically aggressive act against one of the girls, and responded, “Whew, she’s mad at you.” One student stated that the vice principal told her that she “got more trouble than most girls” because she was pretty. ”

How can students get an education when they spend the day avoiding bullies, defending themselves, or reporting the harassment and hearing administrators tell them that they can’t protect them? I believe that it’s unfair for a child to miss their high school graduation, one of the most important and memorable days of their life, because they’re afraid of being bullied. I also believe that it is unfair for a student who is being harassed to have to transfer to another high school to avoid the harassment. Why not transfer the bully? I find it hard to believe that school administrators haven’t received training to handle school bullies. Personally, I won’t spend a lot of time, energy, or money on school bullies. Call the parents into the school, turn the problem children over to the parents, and remove them from the system until they learn self-respect, self-control, self-esteem, and learn to respect their school and fellow students. I believe the problem starts at home, and that’s where it needs to be worked on and corrected.

Did these school administrators fail these students and parents? If school administrators don’t know how to handle bullying, they can use State Senate Bill 1621 co-written by 15 year old Caitlyn Nolan in Tenneesee as an example. Nolan was bullied in middle school for years by the same person. She said she lived in constant fear. Administrators say Nolan was a prime target because she was an overachiever, president of the school council and an honor student. I thought these were traits that all parents and administators wanted to see in students, but bullies despise these type of students. Caitlyn said, “When she was pushed face first into her locker, she decided to take action.” She lobbied for guidance on how to deal with bullies in her school district. Her bill goes into effect just in time for the new school year. Caitlyn hopes the bill “shines a light on the problem that students are facing.” Congratulations Caitlyn for stepping up and taking action!