Cooking With Kids

Cooking with your children is a great way to spend quality time together.  It gets them involved in meal preparation and forms memories of making sweet treats with grandma.  My little Zarriah loves Groundies, otherwise known as brownies.  She hasn’t quite mastered her B’s yet, so Groundies it is.  We decided to make a batch on our vacation and as you can see she is having a great time helping Mawmaw whip up a batch.  The best part of making Groundies is her licking the spoon while waiting for the brownies to bake.  

I started cooking with her brother 6 years ago, and I wanted to carry on the tradition with her. This was our first brownie making session together, so I cherished the moment and memories.  We had as much fun eating them as we did baking them.  I have found that getting children involved in meal preparation or working together to fix treats helps to combat the Picky Eater Syndrome. I must say she’s not as picky as her brother, which makes life in the kitchen a little easier. I’m looking forward to many brownie and other cooking sessions with my granddaughter.  Do you cook with your children?  What’s dishes do you make together?   

Parenting 101 Please

Image-Parenting-101

 

If I read one more story about a child being abandoned, left in a hot car, neighborhood parks while mom is working or carjacked while mom is paying for gas I’m going to scream. I read these stories, and I’m in disbelieve.  It’s one after the other. People need a licence to have a dog, but anyone can be a parent. There’s no background checks, credit checks, education requirement, income requirement, we can just procreate. Many can’t afford to buy a box of pampers or can of milk for their child, but they have them and with no thought on how they’re going to take care of them. Providing a safe and productive life is an afterthought.   
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If You Want To Be Mentored You Must Show Up

People can be transparent if you’re willing to look hard enough.  Several months ago I was contacted by a young lady to be her mentor.  As a single mother who survived raising my daughter, I reach out and try to help other single mothers on how they can be successful too.  I can relate to being a teen mom, getting married, divorced, and left to raise my daughter and fend for myself.  I don’t post about my mentoring sessions on Mother 2 Mother, because of privacy reasons.  It’s personal for me and personal for the person being mentored, but I do post on my experiences because moving forward is hard work and not for the faint at heart. If I can pull someone else up or help move them forward, it does my heart good.   

Being raised in a dysfunctional/alcoholic home, teen mom and divorced category was enough for me. I knew I had to break the cycle, and so I did. Breaking out of these categories requires a willingness to listen, accept where we come from, and hard work to get out of it.     

Before I accept a position as a mentor for young ladies and not so young I have a test that I give. It lets me know if the person who is requesting to be mentored is serious about growing and moving forward, if they’re willing to do the necessary work to survive as a single mother, and allows me to see where their head is.  I ask 4 questions and I require a written response.  I like for it to be in writing so they can reference it during the course of their journey and it serves as a reminder of where they started when they arrive finally at their destination. Here’s the questions:  

  1. Tell me about your life and how you ended up where you.
  2. Tell me about your children and your relationship with your ex.   
  3. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  4. Are you willing to work to educate and better yourself?  If so, list 5 goals.    
I never heard from the young lady again.  She must have thought I had a magic wand and all that was required was me waving it in front of her.  If only life was that easy. I saw right through her when I didn’t receive a response.  She wanted an easy way out, unfortunately there is no easy way out.  Ladies, this is why we need to make wise decisions in our life.  People who look for a easy way out don’t realize they are transparent.  I see you!  She really didn’t want a mentor, she just wanted me to give her a solution.  Excuses and why you can’t do this or that will not take you down the road of success.  Excuses are a way for you to stay where you are.  My response, more power to you. If you don’t think that you can do better why should I. If  you can’t answer basic questions, you’re not willing to do the work and you’re not going anywhere anyway.  

Reminds me of this single mom who choose to stay at home with her child, but was asking others for thousands of dollars to help pay her bills.  If you can’t pay your bills, maybe you’re not in a position to be a stay at home mom, hello. Thousands of single mothers go to work everyday, so they can pay bills and their children turn out just fine. Just as important, if you want someone to mentor you, show up and be prepared to do the work. What I’m saying doesn’t have anything to do with me thinking I’m better or not having empathy for another’s position or situation, but sometimes we just need to get real, take a good look at ourselves in the mirror, and realize that we’re where we are because of decisions that we make. If it’s not improving your life and moving your forward, why stay in the situation and continue doing the same things over and over. You must be willing to open your eyes, and take a good look at why you’re where you are. True, there are many who have fallen on hard times or have ended up in a bad situation, but you don’t have to stay there. It’s a choice.  

Over the course of the years I realized that I don’t have to see things your way and you don’t have to see things my way.  That’s the beauty of living in this great country, but this is my blog so I’m writing from the way I see things.  I know that we don’t all have the same situations nor are our experiences the same, but some things are universal.  When you get real, stop making excuses for yourself and what you don’t want to do, you’ll put yourself in a position to do what you need to do.  

Image courtesy of clipart101.net. 

Take Your Children With You

                                        Photo Courtesy of Hong Nguyen 





What does this picture say to you?  A thousand words come to
my mind, but what it really speaks to me is Take Your Children With You.  All it takes
is a split second for someone to snatch your child.  Is this picture real enough
for you?  
I’m so thankful this precious baby was found safe after being
left under a bush along a Houston road by a carjacker.  I can only image the horror this poor mother felt, when she saw her car being driven away with her 8 month old baby in the back seat. 



Now that I know the baby is safe, I have to ask what the
mother was thinking leaving the baby alone in the car at a gas station.  She stepped inside to pay for gas, and when she looked out the window she saw her car being driven away.  Now I’m
not excusing the carjacker’s crime, a criminal is a criminal.  Let’s just put
him behind bars where he belongs when he is caught.  Better yet, let’s chain him to the bush where he
left the baby and just leave him there for a while.  Let’s see how he likes it.  Can you imagine the things that could have happened to this child just being left under a bush along a road?  Luckily, a jogger heard her crying, when to look for her and than called the police.  An Amber Alert had been issued.  

How many times have we watched television and shed tears
for a mother who left her child in the car for a moment and they vanished.  How
many times have we seen mothers crying because they only turned their back for a
second and their child just disappeared?  How many times has it been said, don’t
leave your child/children alone in the car?  When when we learn?  

Why do we think child snatching only happens to other
people?  We’re always the exceptions aren’t we?  People are proven wrong day
after day.  To a point where I had to stop watching Nancy Grace who is an
advocate for children.  Nancy comes locked and loaded, but I just couldn’t
stomach all the stories about children disappearing or being abused night after
night.  I admire her tenacity and the fact that she is an advocate for children,
but her show just became too much.  Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe watching her show for about a month should be a requirement for all parents.  I
guarantee you will walk away believing that it is unsafe to leave your child
alone in a car in a public area for even a second. 

We must be aware of our surroundings at all times and we must
never make the mistake of leaving our children alone in the open for a second. 
The world has changed people, and if you don’t take heed you will find yourself
a victim of the heartless, senseless, criminals that prey on the naive and
unsuspecting.  They stand behind you in
the grocery store line, they hold doors open for you, and they wait until you
let your guard and they spring on you.  There’s no profile for them, but there
is one for us.  We see the world through rose colored glasses and we will
eventually leave the door open for a crime to be committed because we’re naive and unsuspecting. 

Yep, we want to believe that the United States of America is
still standing on a foundation of honesty, goodwill, peace and love. 
We still believe that a hand shake and our word will bond us or simply a smile. It’s a different world in which we we live people and we need to wake up.  We ask who would harm an innocent child?  There are many, who would harm your child in a blink of an eye.  



I’m sure the carjacking and her missing baby will haunt this mother forever, but I pray that she can find peace now.   

Creating Family Traditions





Do you  have family traditions? You know things you do regularly with family.  I have several traditions that I have started with my grandchildren. I think traditions are important.   Children look back at their childhood and remember the times family spent together.  It’s an opportunity to bond and establish happy times together.  It gives them something to look forward to. Hopefully they will pass on a few or at least create traditions of their own. 

I remember going to Hershey Park every summer as a child.  We would go on a bus hired by the church.  For years my mother would go.  As we got older she allowed us to go alone, but had one of the chaperons look out for us.  I must say that I had great memories of mom when she went. She packed picnic baskets full of sandwiches, potato salad and all the trimmings.  I remember those ham sandwiches as the best I ever had.  I still think about them.  My father always worked, so he didn’t go with us.  We always brought back these huge Hershey bars for him.  He had a sweet tooth, but never gained an ounce.  Oh how I wish I had those genes.  He would freeze the candy bars and enjoy them through the year.   


Another tradition was going to grandma and granddaddy’s every Sunday for dinner.  There would be fried chicken, homemade biscuits, gravy and all the trimmings.  My mother’s sisters and brothers would be there with their families, we always had a great time.  We played ball, taught each how to flip and cartwheel and discussed boys.  We bring up those Sundays when we get together.  


King’s Dominion and Ocean City were the traditions that I started with my daughter.  My mother had a tradition with her grandchildren too.  Every Friday we would meet there with our children and she would make pizza bread.  The children still talk about grandma’s pizza bread to this day. They bonded on those Friday nights, and for the most part they are still close.    


We’ve made a week at Myrtle Beach a new tradition in the family.  My sister and her family will be joining us this year.  These pictures were taken there last year.  That’s my daughter, her children and her dad who also joins us at the top.  Even though we’re divorced, I include him as much as possible.  I want the grandchildren and my daughter to have memories of all of us being together and no strife.  He loves them as much as I do, we just fall out of love with each other.  So we decided to co-grandparent.  It’s working.    




This is a picture of the kids at the aquarium.  Do you see the snake in the background.  Oh my. We spend time at the beach, eating at our favorite restaurants, or playing games inside.  I’m sure the kids will have wonderful memories. In the fall, we head to the pumpkin patch for hay and pony rides.  At Christmas, we bake cookies.  The children can look forward to these traditions for quite a long time.

Do you have traditions established with your children?  Leave a comment and let us know what they are.  

15 Door Prize Ideas For Baby Showers

Planning a baby shower and the date is quickly approaching?  The invitations are out, theme has been selected and the menu planned, but you completely forgotten about door prizes and the games.  Been there. We have a few ideas that we would like to share on great gifts to thank guests who are helping to make your baby shower the best ever.  After all your guests are the key to a successful shower and they’ve taken the time to honor the Mom To Be.  You don’t want them to leave empty handed.  

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Candles – Everyone loves candles.
  2. Set of ice cream bowls or sundae cups – Great for family time.
  3. Coffee or Latte Mugs – Great for sipping coffee or tea.
  4. Kitchen towel set – Who couldn’t use new kitchen towels.
  5. Loofah and body wash – Perfect gift set for a relaxing day.
  6. Stationary – Writing a personal note or thank you card never goes out of style. 
  7. Coffee or tea – Nice for week-ends when you can catch a moment to relax.
  8. Homemade jam or salsa – Bring out those jars of goodies that you’ve stored and share them.
  9. Gift certificate – Everybody loves a free treat to Annie’s Pretzels, Dairy Queen, Rita’s Sweet Frog etc.  
  10. Homemade craft – People love home made crafts.  
  11. Pictures frames – Look for frames that have family, friends Girls Night Out etc.  on them.
  12. Manicure or pedicure gift card – We all love to be pampered.  
  13. Premade Scrapbook Album –   I gave one of these to my daughter and she loved it.
  14. Matinee movie tickets – Great for date with hubby or significant other or a girlfriend.   
  15. Consolation Gifts – Bake a batch of cookies or brownies and tie the bag with a pretty ribbon.   
Check stores like Target, Big Lots, Dollar General, TJ Maxx, Michael’s etc for clearance items or the bargain bin. I’ve scored great gifts for baby showers there.  Use your imagination.  If you’re crafty, make the gifts.  

You may also like Baby Shower Game Ideas

Is Your Child A Cyber Bully



Why aren’t more parents monitoring what their children are doing on-line?  The answer most parents give is because they are intimidated by the computer.  They lack computer skills, don’t have a smart phone and they really aren’t interested in learning how to use one.  As parents, we must be involved in what’s happening in our child’s life, especially in the age of modern technology.  From one mother to another, I think it’s imperative that we get involved in our children’s activities and stop thinking they’re doing the right thing and don’t need to be monitored.  

As parents we all want to think that we’ve raising angels and our children know right from wrong.  We’re shocked when we get a call to come into the school for inappropriate behavior from our child, when we receive a call from jail to bail them out or the cop knocks on the door to deliver bad news.  We all think that these things couldn’t possibly happen to us, these situations happen in other people’s homes.  So why should we concern ourselves.  How many times have you heard, my child would never do that!

I can give you a few reasons.  Did you hear about the Florida teens, 15 and 16, that were arrested for setting up a phony Facebook page that was X-rated several years ago.  They were charged with pasting the face of a school mate, whom they didn’t like, on a nude body and filled the page with foul language.  They thought it was a joke. They were charged with felony stalking.    


How about the young lady that committed suicide last year because she was bullied.  We must overcome our fears.  A blogger recently experienced cyber bullying with her daughter.  As a matter of fact her blog was down for most of a day because it was hacked. Bullying is real, and it wrecks havoc on families.  A teen in my neighborhood committed suicide a few years ago.  If we as a parents won’t face our fears, how do we encourage our children to face theirs?  


Here are a few suggestions on how to overcome the fear of the computer and how you can get involved to help stop cyber bullying:

  • If you don’t consider yourself to be technically savvy, take a class or better yet get your child to teach you.  They love showing off their computer skills.  
  • Ask questions about your child’s friends and what’s happening in their life.  Follow them on sites popular with teens and make sure you have access to their accounts.  
  • Ask other parents, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers to stay involved with your children on-line.  We can’t monitor our children 24/7, but you can recruit family and friends to assist.  It takes a village to raise a child.    
  • Computer etiquette starts at home.  Have conversations with your child or children on what’s appropriate or inappropriate to put on-line.  If they’re minors, you’re in control and you need to let them know you’re ruling the roost.  They must follow rules that you have set for on-line activities.   
  • Discuss the consequences of cyber stalking and the legalities of posting inappropriate posts. It’s illegal and the consequences are certainly worth a conversation with your child. 

Do you see the importance of keeping up with your child?  Better yet stay in front of them so you can lead.  If you can’t stay in front of them stay beside them.  Taking a class is cheaper than paying a lawyer to get your child out of a felony for on-line harassment or other effects from bullying.  Would love to know your thoughts on this post and how you monitor your child’s on-line activities.    


You may also like:     15 Tips to Detect If Your Child Is Being Bullied

Photo compliments of www.stockvault.net

Unplug and Play Book Review

Looking for a way to spend family time unplugged?  Check out Unplug and Play by Brad Berger.  The book is filled with 50 games that don’t require electricity.  We have reached the age of modern technology, and we spend most of our free time on the Internet playing games, texting, or on social media.  It is true, we are loosing our connection to family and friends unless it’s on an electrical device.


I was asked to review this book and jumped at the opportunity.  I still play board and card games with my grandchildren, but I thought it would be nice to have access to games other than Candy Land, Trouble, Old Maid etc.  I must admit, I don’t usually play games when I’m hanging out with friends and family.  So I truly thought the book could be beneficial.    


I’ll start with an overview first. The book is filled with 50 games that can be played with various age groups for a variety of events. The book includes games in the matching, memory, puzzles, strategy, bluff, and who can respond the quickest category, which can be played during family time, parties or other social gatherings.  


When I first browsed the book, I found it rather confusing.  Since I was in the comfort of my home I was able to return to it easily and give it a second chance.  I found the content overwhelming.  I didn’t know where to start in deciding why I would purchase the book except for the fact that you didn’t have to be on a computer to play it.  The cover showed various age groups playing together, but the book isn’t broken down by age group.  I had to basically review the entire book to determine which of the 50 games I could use.  I wouldn’t have time for that while shopping.  It would have gone back on the shelf.  I’m just not one to spend my money unless I’m certain of the purchase no matter how big or small.  


I returned to the book a few days later and decided that I would look for games that I could play on Girl’s Night and games that I could play with my grandchildren.   I found 2 games out of 50 that intrigued me.  


Who Am I – Each person lists 20 famous people and you place the names in a hat or bowl, whatever you have handy.  Each person takes turns drawing  a name and than gives a one – three word hint on who the person is.  For example, Vivian Leigh.  The hint would be Scarlett.  If a person gets the correct answer they earn 30 points.  If not, another hint would be Miss Scarlett. They would earn 20 points.  Three hints 10 points.  


Movie Match – In this game you make two columns, Movies and the second column the Actor/Actress.  You match the movie with the actor/actress.  The first person or team who matches all 20 wins.  


My grandchildren are 6 and 2, so playing these games with them was out unless I really manipulated them.  I decided to play both of the games when I hosted Girl’s Night and we had a ball playing them.  Besides the fact that you only need a pen and pencil to play the games, I really can’t find many pros for this book.  I would recommend browsing it if you come across it in a store you may have a different opinion and may have family members that a older and can play the games; however, for me only finding 2 out of 50 games useful, I would not purchase it.  I will play Who Am I and Movie Match again.  I loved them. 


Note:  I was provided a copy of this book for review; however, the opinions are my own.  






Kids Parties: Ladybug Themed Ideas



Planning a Ladybug Party?  Try these adorable ideas that we used for Miss Muffin’s first birthday.   The kids will love them, and you will be the best party planner ever.   We made chicken salad the night before and the yummy ladybug crackers about an hour before the party.  There’s plenty of chicken salad left over from my recipe below to make regular sandwiches for the adults and for you to make sandwich later after an exhausting day. Here’s what you will need:


  • Ritz crackers
  • Grape tomatoes
  • small black olives 
  • chicken salad or cream cheese   

Spread cream cheese or chicken salad on each Ritz cracker.  Place 2 slices of the cherry tomatoes face down to form the wings.  Place a tooth pick through the olive and stick through the chicken salad to form the head.



The bug mobile was a bug hit.  No, the last bug is not a a typo.  It was truly buggy.  We transformed the yellow school bus with ladybug wings from a Halloween costume and eye lashes that were made for Volkswagen. As you can see, the kids couldn’t wait to take a ride.



We had this adorable cake made, and it was a perfect center piece for the food table.  We added ladybug balloons, red and black table clothes and red and black paper products from the dollar store.  Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless.  

You may also like my chicken salad recipe for the crackers:  Creamy Chicken Salad

You Are Not The Father

You are not the father!  You are not the father! I lost count of the number of times that I heard this statement while watching daytime TV today.  I know that it was more times than I heard You are the father.  I know I should have been spending my time more productively, but I just didn’t feel like it.  Do you ever have those days that you just want to do nothing?  I’ve been having quite a few lately.  


I digressed back to the show.  One lady had been on the show 14 times for a DNA test, 14 times.  Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend to be all innocent.  I’m not, and I have problems with people who can’t be real and be truthful about who they.  I’ve had a good time throughout the years, but I do wonder how a woman would not know who her baby’s daddy is.    


I watched these young ladies state they are 150% sure they know who the father is, but the DNA test proved otherwise.  Not only were they told the young man who stood accused was not the father, they endured being called out of their name by the young men.  There were young ladies who slept with brothers, fathers and sons, and some who didn’t know who they slept with because they were in a drunken stupor.  Now the party is over, and reality is hitting them hard.  Rather this show is real or not, incidents like this occur everyday.  


I decided to switch channels and found myself in a court room watching a judge determine if the men standing before them were the fathers of children being displayed on a screen.  There were more DNA tests, but there were slight differences from the other show.  Some of the people in the court room were married couples and the wife strayed.  There were men and women some who had hooked up years ago, but never married and the child was now seeking the truth about paternity.  

Between the two shows, I started thinking about all that these young ladies would have to endure as a single mother and all that they would endure through their parenting journey.  I started thinking about the young people who had gone through a part of their life not knowing the truth about who their father really was because of their mother’s poor judgement.  I also started thinking about how important DNA tests had become in today’s society to determine paternity. Have we made a wrong turn in society to the point that we need a test to determine who our children’s fathers are? 

Are we not teaching our children about birth control or waiting until they are married?  I understand women have found a new awakening, and they don’t have a problem getting their freak on. This includes young ladies who aren’t really responsible enough to take on such a huge responsibility.  I can relate to being a single parent and all the struggles as a young mother.  For this reason, I stressed the importance of protecting herself and not becoming a single parent to my daughter.  As mothers, we want support emotionally, financially, and physically, but if a man is not your husband they can’t be depended on to help provide those things for us.   


One thing that I noticed was although the young ladies had sex with these young men, nobody was calling the young men out of their names.  Some things never change, it’s the women who are looked down on.  I also understand why young men want DNA tests, it seems that young ladies give themselves so freely and they do so without thinking of the repercussions.  There’s enough blame to go around.  As a parent, I didn’t preach absenteeism to my daughter.  The chances of your child remaining a virgin until marriage are slim to none.  If you’re successful in achieving that goal, my hat is off to you.  I did preach about the struggle of being a single parent and the importance of protecting herself from disease and an unplanned pregnancy.  I stressed the importance of educating herself, traveling and achieving her goals before she took on the responsibility of parenting.  Having these conversations with you child is so important.  You can’t just have them in passing, it must be a constant so it can take hold in your child’s mind.  


Are you discussing sex with your child?  How are you approaching it or how do you plan to approach it?    


Note:  Photo courtesy of stockvault.net.