Bacon & Kids

Successfully Bring Home the Bacon and Raise Happy Kids!

When tragedy strikes, look for the helpers…be a helper.

when I was a boy Fred Rogers

We hear about and are affected by horrible tragedies every day.

It can be and is, scary & sad times for adults let alone our children.

The TV, radio, coworkers, family, friends and schoolmates talk about these horrible events. As much as we want to, there is no way to shield our children from hearing about these things. Talk with your children, find out what they know. 

The advice from Fred Rogers seems apropos:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ~ Fred Rogers

Finding any positives from these tragedies can seem impossible or for some, even  insensitive, but knowing there are helpers can bring us and our precious children comfort & security! 

We can teach our kids to be helpers too, if they can’t help physically maybe they can monetarily.

Sharing comfort is a great source of help.

How? Send cards of encouragement and keep the victims and their families close in our prayers.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation through the comfort with which we ourselves are being comforted by God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

 Look for the helpers, be a helper and rely on our great God to be our helper & comforter.

~Betty

How to help your child cope with tragedy

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Benefits of Gardening with your Kids

Benefits of Gardening with your kids

On our Spring Break To Do List was to plant some seeds that we will later transfer outside to the garden.

seed packets

My daughter absolutely loves to get her hands dirty. In fact, while we were planting and her little hands were full of dirt she said: “Oh, I just love having nature all over my hands!

gardening with your kids

She is so sweet! I just love having a gardening buddy that loves digging in the dirt as much as I do.

bacon and kids

I was thinking about all the benefits ones derives from gardening. I’ll share a few of them.

Benefits of Indoor Gardening with Your Children:

Family Bonding – Gardening is a great way for the family to spend time together! Make it a fun experience!!

 Sense of Accomplishment – Gardening can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride as children watch their seeds grow into plants.

Reduces Stress! – We all need less stress in our lives. Stress relief comes from digging in the dirt.

 Teaches Patience – In this day and age of instant gratification, waiting for seeds to sprout is a great lesson in patience. Although, planting some quick growing seeds, such as sunflowers will help to keep your child motivated.

Science lesson -Use gardening as an opportunity to talk to your kids about the life cycle of plants.

Increases Responsibility – Create a schedule for watering and how much to water. (My daughter over watered one of her little pots and turned the dirt into soupy mud…. it recovered from near death trauma.

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.  ~W.E. Johns

Anticipation? You bet! However, after only waiting 4 short days, the sunflower seeds started to sprout. My daughter was thrilled!!

sunflower seed sprouts

garden sprouts

sprout bacon and kids

So glad we were able to spend some time planting our seeds. Can’t wait for the weather to finally warm up so we can do a lot more planting outside!!

herbs in kitchen window

Fresh herbs in the kitchen window – perfection!

Happy Gardening to you and your family!

~Betty

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Are Baby Teeth Important?

Are Baby Teeth Important?

Are baby (primary) teeth important?

 Have you ever wondered whether or not baby teeth are important? They’re just so small and are just going to fall out anyway. They can’t be that important. Right?

Wrong. Baby teeth are very important and according to the American Dental Association this is why:

” A child’s primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth,” are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age 6 months and 1 year. Primary teeth help children chew and speak. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.”

That’s why caring for baby teeth and keeping them cavity-free is so important.

Even if there doesn’t seem to be any problems with your baby’s teeth, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that “children should see a dentist when they get their first tooth and not later than 1 year of age. “ At this age, they are too young to be nervous. This is meant to be a fun, educational, introductory visit to the dentist. Starting early, often leads to a lifetime of good dental care habits.

The dentist can give you advice about:

baby tooth care

teething

fluoride

thumb sucking

and answer any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s teeth/mouth.

To learn more about how to care for your baby’s precious little teeth & smile – visit this earlier post: Caring For Your Baby’s Smile.

Happy & Healthy Smiles to you and your family!

~Betty

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Fruit Kabobs

Wanted to share this very easy & cute fruit appetizer…

Fruit kabob appetizer

Not a great picture…but you get the idea 😉

 

I was arranging fruit on a platter for a gathering and I was thinking about how messy the platter will look once people start picking at it so I decided instead to stack the fruit on a toothpick.

Fruit kabobs or fruit on a stick 😉

It took very little time to put together. I had grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries but you can easily use any fruit you have on hand.

Arrange them on a serving dish with a bowl of fruit dip.

Quick & pretty fruit appetizer.

Don’t wait for a party to make these, they make the perfect after school snack for your kids.
Happy Fruit Kabob Making to you!

~Betty

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Cabbage and Ham Soup

Cabbage & Ham Soup

Cabbage and Ham Soup Recipe

When I think of cabbage soup I think of diet food. Not a fan.

So why did I make it? Well, I had some cabbage in the fridge and left over spiral ham and wanted to use them up. I love making soups so I thought why not make a big pot of Cabbage & Ham soup?

My hubby quickly let me know he won’t go near the soup. (True to his word, he wouldn’t even taste it.)

I didn’t have a recipe for the soup but I figured I could make something up.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

About 4 cups Cabbage, finely shredded 

1/2 cup Carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup Celery , finely chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
1/4 c red pepper -chopped
1 can petite diced tomatoes
Garlic
10 cups water
Chicken Bouillon 0r Vegetable Broth (add as much as you need for the amount of water added)
Bay leaf
dash chili pepper
thyme
parsley & cilantro (fresh – I used about a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro and a handful chopped parsley.)
1 or 2 cups Ham (diced or I like to cut it into thin strips)

Directions:

Chop all the veggies

Cabbage and Ham Soup

The colors look great!

Add veggies, water & seasoning to cooking pot.

Cook for a few hours or until veggies are tender.

I added the ham about half way through cook time.

Enjoy!

 

Loaded with healthy goodness, this soup turned out very well!

 

Happy Cabbage & Ham Soup Making to you!

~Betty

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Easy No-Bake Granola Cups

No-Bake Granola Cups

no bake granola cups

Here is a great granola recipe that can be eaten just as a snack alone or with yogurt and fruit for a delicious yogurt parfait!

healthy homemade granola cups

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Agave (or honey)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie seasoning
handful dried cranberries (to taste)
handful sweetened coconut flakes (to taste) handful of sunflower seeds (to taste) mini chocolate chips (to sprinkle on top)

Directions:
In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal, cinnamon, coconut, sunflower seeds & cranberries together.

In a small pan, melt butter, brown sugar and agave together over medium high heat until it starts to bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Add vanilla & peanut butter and stir.

Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Firmly press down granola into lightly greased mini muffin pan. Or you can use full size muffin pan and press down to make in to a cup shape. This is a no bake recipe but I did put them in the oven for just a few minutes – oven temp about 250. There was some granola left over in the bowl so I lightly greased a cookie sheet and spread an even layer of granola on it and baked it for just a few minutes to make a crunchy granola.

no bake granola cups

makes a great snack for school or work! 🙂

This makes for a delicious snack. So many flavors and healthy ingredients to experiment with. It’s also very quick and easy to make.

Happy Granola making to you!

~ Betty

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Book Corner – Reading Update

Good Reads by Jon Gordon

So here we are with 2013 just around the corner.  At the start of 2012 I set the personal goal of reading 25 books.   Happy to say, I read 50 books in addition to my daily Bible Reading and Bible study aids. Oh, and let’s not forget all the books that I read to my children.

The following two books I read in September/October.  Absolutely wonderful books!

“Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life”
~ Gretchen Rubin

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”
~ Brene Brown

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read any of the books by Gretchen Rubin and Brene Brown I highly recommend you do.

November Reading ~ This picture includes my daughters picks from the library :D

November Reading ~ This picture includes my daughters picks from the library 😀

I also read:

Spinning Around ~ Catherine Jinks

As Good as it Got ~ Isabel Sharpe

The Department Of Lost and Found ~ Allison Winn Scotch

Are you there vodka, It’s me Chelsea ~ Chelsea Handler

Chasing Lilacs ~ Carla Stewart

MOMFRIENDS ~ Ariella Papa

Jen Morales Gets a Clue ~ Claire Matthews

Long Time Coming  ~ Edie Claire

Think and Grow Rich ~ Napoleon Hill

So that’s it – well, the year isn’t quite over so who knows I may be able to squeeze in one more book 😉

Do you have any good book suggestions for me in 2013?   Please share them with me if you do! ~ Thank you!

My Amazon shopping cart has in it:

Parenting With Love And Logic – Foster Cline

What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home – Holly Becker

Just waiting for me to hit order 😀

I have yet to set my reading goal… 50? 75?

Happy Reading to you!!

~Betty

Here are some of the books I read during the year:

Stop That Girl  ~ Elizabeth McKenzie

This Beautiful Life ~Helen Schulman

The Bake- Off ~ Beth Kendrick

At First Sight ~  Nicholas Sparks

Honey On Your Mind ~ Maria Murname (Kindle)

One Pink Line ~ Dina Silver  (Kindle)

Daughters For a Time ~ Jennifer Handford

Lucy Wagner Gets in Shape ~ Claire Matthews

Deep in the Heart ~ Staci Stallings

Two Kisses for Maddy ~ Matthew Logelin

Hearts on a String ~ Kris Radish

One Perfect Day ~ Lauraine Knelling

Hug Your People ~ Mitchell

We are all fine Here ~ Mary Guterson

Filling The Glass ~ Maher

and

Lucky Harbor
Million Dollar Dentistry
Bossy Pants
The Vow
Drive
The Gifts Of Imperfection
Perfect On Paper
Thank God It’s Monday
The Best Day Of Someone Else’s Life
It’s a Waverly Life

The 4-Hour Body
The Total Money Makeover Workbook
Balance is a Crock, Sleep is for the Weak

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A Good Mom with a Clean House AND Happy Kids? Is that even possible?

It’s been said:

Good Moms Have Sticky Floors,

Messy Kitchens,

Laundry Piles,

Dirty Oven,

and Happy Kids.

Wonderful Crafty Mess

Wonderful Crafty Mess

Good moms, clean homes and happy kids

Happy & Creative Child

Really? Is that what makes a good mom and happy kids?  WOW!  It’s that easy to be a good mom and be guaranteed happy kids?  Just stop cleaning? I’m sorry, but sadly there are not so good moms and miserable kids with dirty homes out there.

Those “cute” little sayings that dirty homes make good moms and happy kids drive me crazy!  Parenting is so much more.

My home is not perfect… not at all. In fact, I wouldn’t want you to go snooping through all the closets and drawers to see that chaos does exist in this home.  However, I do believe in keeping a tidy home.  I do keep a few rooms in my house that I consider “sacred”.  No, I do not let our kids eat in their bedrooms or the living room.  I ask that they keep their toys out of the living room too.   Is that so bad? Are my kids missing out? Do they lack creativity? Will they grow up without happy memories? Am I a BAD mom??

Absolutely not, we have happy, very creative children, full of wonderful memories. In fact, it warms my heart that when they walk in the door they’ll say “Home Sweet Home”.

My house gets dirty!  My oven needs cleaning, laundry does pile up, my daughter LOVES putting her adorable fingerprints on her clothes, my windows and walls, sometimes I even go to bed with dishes in the sink, and I have many times stepped on legos and picked up naked Barbie dolls strewn around the house!   However, none of those chaotic, dirty things make for happy kids and good moms.

Our kids make messes & get dirty, in fact, we make messes & get dirty too.  And guess what? We clean it up too.  No, I’m not a fanatical cleaning and organizing freak, I’m not going to lose it because my child wants to dump every storage bin of toys out all over the floor while they play. My daughter loves to make crafts and being a craft lover myself with that love comes crafty messes. We entertain and throw lots of parties and with that hospitality comes messes.  And guess what?  I haven’t “missed out” on being in the moment with my kids, snuggling with them, creating memories with them just because we clean up the messes we make.

Our kids love to play, create, laugh and have fun.  My husband and I love to play, create, laugh and have fun with them too.

I do take pride in having a tidy home, I love that my husband truly appreciates coming home to a clean house, and that on “most” days I wouldn’t panic if someone knocked on my door. And yet,  I don’t expect anyone to have my same thoughts or push my reality of  how to manage a  home and raise  kids on them.  I’m not expecting some Mom of the Year certificate or prize.  I do what works for my family. And we believe in teaching our children to clean up after themselves and be respectful of our property and belongings. It’s my way of showing my incredible thankfulness for the things in my life, my thankfulness for our children, these precious gifts that we’ve been entrusted with.   I’m well aware that as long as we have children living in this home, my house will not be perfectly clean and that is not my aim. I will only make myself crazy (learned that the hard way)  if I try to keep everything just so, perfectly organized and clean… perfection isn’t even possible from this imperfect mom living in an imperfect world.

Have I ever felt like a bad mom because of unintentional, thoughtless comments from some of my friends? You bet I have.  I shouldn’t have though, I know who/what I am.

I’m not a snob because I like a clean house and clean kids.  There’s a time and a place for everything.  So I don’t think the couch cushion is a place for juice spills, cracker crumbs, and chocolate hand prints.  There’s plenty of room for that in the kitchen.  So instead of cleaning up food spills in every room of my house, I get to clean them up in the kitchen only – is that so bad?  Is my child deprived of happiness and beautiful childhood memories… I don’t think so.

Bottom line you can be a fantastic mom with a dirty house and you can be a fantastic mom with a clean house too.  A dirty or clean home is a choice and to be a good mom or bad mom is a choice.  How you keep your home isn’t going to determine your success as a mom, unless it keeps you from what matters most.

What matters most, spend quality time with your children, set a good example for them, teach & show them how to grow up to be respectful, helpful, kind, loving and God-fearing adults. Make sure they know of and can feel your unconditional love.  And that they have a home that they feel safe in.  Pray with them. Hug and kiss them every day!

A good mom with a clean house

And now, I’m off to clean up my house – even if it will only be clean for a few hours before the kids (& hubby) come home.  And that is just fine with me. 😀

Happy kids & good parenting to you!…. (dirty or clean house.)

~Betty

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Is it time to break up with your toothbrush? How long should the toothbrush relationship last?

How many toothbrushes do you see here in this photo?

replace your toothbrush

We have exactly two kids and here in this picture are 5 toothbrushes for 2 kids.  It appears that breaking up with a  toothbrush is not easy for my precious little ones.  In fact, I believe that to be true for many adults as well.  Is that true with you?

So how long should you keep your toothbrush anyway?  How long should the relationship last?

It is recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if the bristles have started to fray. (Children’s toothbrush bristles tend to fray faster because of their brushing technique so keep an eye on them.) Replacement every 3 months is recommended because with normal wear and tear your toothbrush loses its effectiveness and efficiency to clean your teeth. Not only that but toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for germs, fungus and bacteria, which after a while can build up to significant levels. GROSS!

Typically if you’re seeing your dentist every 6 months they’ll provide you with a new toothbrush at each visit so you’ll need to only buy two a year. Thankfully, toothbrushes are fairly inexpensive.
If the toothbrush aisle at the store is overwhelming,  just ask your dentist what type of toothbrush is best for you and your family.

In addition to replacing your toothbrush every 3 months here are just a few tips to help keep your toothbrush “cleaner”.

  • Wash your hands before handling your toothbrush.
  • Wash your toothbrush before and after each use.
  • Avoid keeping lots of toothbrushes in a cup where they touch and spread germs.
  • Do not cover or store toothbrushes in closed containers
  • Use Toothpaste
  • Don’t share your toothbrush!
  • Replace your toothbrush after a cold or flu. (Some say that germs hiding in the bristles can lead to reinfection while others disagree. Whether that’s true or not, for my family I go ahead and replace the toothbrush…just in case 😉
  • The ADA does not recommend other methods of toothbrush care, such as putting it in the dishwasher or microwave to kill germs. In fact, the high heat may damage the bristles, thus reducing their effectiveness.

I really like this toothbrush storage idea:

Source: IHeart Organizing

Source: IHeart Organizing

Note:  Replacement rules are the same for electric toothbrush heads.

I can see that it’s time to help my kids break up with some (or all) of their current toothbrushes. I’m sure the promise of getting to pick out a new from the store will make them happy.

Until next time, here are a few interesting toothbrush facts for you:

Blue toothbrushes are the most popular color
Americans spend over $850 million a year on toothbrushes
Women brush their teeth more often than men.
The first known toothbrush with bristles originated in China in 1948. The first toothbrush was made of bone or bamboo with hog bristles. (yuck)
The average person only brushes for about 40 seconds a day. It’s suggested you brush 2-3 minutes at least twice a day.

Happy & Healthy Teeth to you!!

~Betty

For tips on how to care for your baby’s smile,  visit an earlier post of ours here.

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9 Layer Greek Dip Appetizer

9 Layer Greek Dip

9 layer Greek Dip

I’m always looking for new recipe ideas for appetizers instead of serving the same ol’ same ol’.  While browsing Pinterest for recipes, I found a recipe for a 7 Layer Greek Dip. (this is the one I found: 7 layer Greek Dip)

I took that recipe and changed it up a bit seeing that I cannot seem to follow a recipe exactly as directed, which makes duplicating the food I make a challenge.

My changes to the recipe required changing the name from 7 Layer to 9 Layer Greek Dip. (The addition of fresh diced tomatoes and parsley….delish!!)

Ingredients

  •  1/2 cup sliced roasted red pepper
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Half block of Cream Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • pepper
  • 1 cup Hummus (I used Garlic Lovers…yum!)
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped Cucumber
  • 2/3 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata Olives
  • 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped Sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped Tomatoes (I know we’re using sun-dried too but fresh adds a nice flavor)
  • 3 Green Onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parsley, chopped

(Note: I didn’t measure exactly I just used enough to make nice layers of each of the ingredients)

First layer - hummus :)

First layer – hummus 🙂

Instructions: 

  1. In a blender, combine roasted red pepper,  yogurt, cream cheese, garlic, basil and and pepper until smooth.
  2. Spread hummus evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch round pie plate.
  3. Spread the red pepper mixture evenly on top of the hummus.
  4. Top red pepper mixture with an even layer of the cucumbers, then the feta cheese, tomatoes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, green onion & parsley.
  5. Serve immediately or allow to chill in the refrigerator for a little while.
  6. Serve with Pita bread wedges, Pita chips or Tortilla Chips for dipping.

This 9 Layer Greek Dip was easy and fairly quick to make and might I add a HUGE hit!

I’m wondering if we can make it an even 10 Layer Greek Dip? Do you have another topping idea??? Please share! Give it a try 🙂

Happy 9 Layer Greek Dip Making to you!!

~Betty

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