Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a host of others keep us connected. They are valuable tools to stay in touch. I love my Facebook account! With schools back in session I cherish the photos of all the children embarking on their new adventures for another school year. Family and friends alike enjoy the progressive photos from one year to another. So by all means shutterbug away. There are more photos taken today than at any point in our history. The only Question is what do with them?
As parents, you take extraordinary measures to insure their safety. In today’s world that can be quite a challenge. it seems like the news is full of traumatic events and a significant portion of these stories showcase children both the good and the bad. More bad than good I’m sorry to say. Abuse, neglect, cruelty, mistakes, as well as kidnapping, murder and a variety of others make headlines around the country both here and abroad. As these feature on even our local evening news and our media feeds I thought this would be a good time to review the tips to keep your precious ones off the news and out of the statistics.
Never give personal information.
It’s the first day of school and we like to proudly show off our accomplishments. Never post your child’s name, school, teacher, or classroom. The same goes for bus information. Give to trusted family or friends directly. What you post to a family member, friend or frustrated adult can be seen on social media by people you defiantly do not want around your children.
Turn off Geotags in phones, tablets and devices.
Funny name, big consequences. Did you know that funny tag is your exact GPS location? Nefarious individuals can use this information to find your home, and even your child’s window. Every photo uploaded with these tags will create a trail of bread crumbs accessible through social media outlets of every place you go. Some also give a location history of where you have been with your phone.
Use a special password.
A special password between children and parents can alert a child to seek help. Imagine an adult approaches your child near their school. They say you parent was in an accident and sent them to pick them up. Scary right? Your child should ask for the special password. If the adult does not know it your child should immediately notify a teacher, administrator, or law enforcement officer. It’s better to have a small delay while it’s checked out, than a missing poster.
Remember to have fun while making sure both you and your child stay safe.
Do you have a safety tip? Share them in the comment section below.
As July winds down to the final few days, we look ahead to what’s to come. That’s right with August just days away we all know that back to School is coming. While parents look forwPlan your shopping around both your budget and the best sales. Most states have tax-free shopping. The items are usually the normal items and in some states where tax is 9 – 10 percent, or higher this can save you a bundle. Most Children see it as the loss of their freedom. To return to the world of teachers, books, papers and learning. Each year at this time we prepare to send our children on the adventure of a new school year.
The transition for most is a happy and exciting. Whether Starting for the first time or transitioning schools as well as grades, it is important that they are prepared to meet this brave new world. Either way it is busy, so here I’ve gathered some ideas to get prepared, organized, and not go crazy while doing so.
Start early. Work, summer camps, shopping, holidays, sports, and not completely blowing the budget can be a challenge. Starting early gives you extra time to fit it all in.
Kindergarten or college students will need some new clothes and shoes. (Probably because they outgrew them in summer.) Most schools provide a list of supplies your eager learner will need. Paper, pencils, folders, the new backpack, and tech. College in particular will need basic household items as well to furnish the dorm room they will call home while persueing their degree. A good Laptop, Netbook, Chromebook, and or tablet will also be in the must have list.
Plan your shopping around both your budget and the best sales. Most states have tax-free shopping. The items are usually the normal items and in some states where tax is 9 – 10 percent, or higher this can save you a bundle. Find the dates for your state in this handy list.
I know I am going to use to my advantage and get a new computer. I’ll share my review and shopping experience soon.
So here starts a new adventure for the kids and time out for parents. Just think with the return of school it means it’s almost football season.
That title is more important to everyday Americans. The regular families. Parents who work both white and blue collar. Children to carry on your families traditions. Growing up our holidays like this were spent with great family, plenty of food, and the pyrotechnics show given in almost every town large and small across the country. Swimming pools and BBQ scents fill the air. Lawn chairs, watermelon, ice cream and red, white, and blue can be seen everywhere
Laughter, squeals, and firework pops are audible over the playlists of classic rock, Souza marches, and songs of Americana heritage. Any born here should take this opportunity to give thanks for being born here, immigrated, or the men and women of our armed services for protecting our freedoms.
With the advent of social media we are all familiar with the policies swirling through current events. To agree or disagree is not the important question here. Recognizing that we have the right to disagree, we all must learn to get along and live together. All who stand within our shores should be proud to be an American. Our Flag, Government, and our values shape this great place we call home, never let anyone tell you that you are unlucky to be here. With no fear of imprisonments, torture, and many horrors that we see abroad. Is all fair and just here, no but looking around the world you could do worse.
As we Celebrate the founding of this nation on July 4, we remember those who came before. Immigrant, native, man, woman, child. Let us focus on the good and work toward solutions that resolve our arguments. This Wednesday, as we spend time with family and friends, bbq or take-out, enjoy the time and festivities.
If you find yourself in a quiet moment, add a special song to your playlist, wave the flag and proudly display what makes up the best part of our country, We The People.
Please drink responsibly and remember that alcohol and fireworks can be a bad combination.
Okay thought this would be a good time to review the basics as we once again face possible storms. Most items gathered here are for almost all natural disasters Mother Nature throws our way. All household members should know what to do in case of any kind of emergency, Get a plan for Hurricanes, Tornado, Fire, Flooding, some even recommend for home invasion and terror attacks. We also have a nuclear power facility and chemical plant near by so keeping current on local news is a must.
For Hurricanes we use both our local news tv and radio, as well as alerts from our counties Emergency Management. The Alerts for sevalerts like severe storms, flash flooding, Amber, and security, Active shooters, Police chase or fatal crashes on roadways. They come direct to our phones so at home or on the gowe get the information to keep our family safe.
Click the link to see both an explanation of why and when we worry as well as a great list of items to include in your kit. We rotate the food items out to the pantry throughout the year and always have stock of what we might need. We are adding new things like solar chargers for cell phones and tablets, new flood blocking water dams, new medical devices and recently added the new super bright led flash lights that are super tough and the batteries last much longer than the old incandesenct style.
Keeping this ready the whole year through for us means if there is any major storm headed our way our only preperations include filling our water tanks, gasoline in vehicles and for generator, and get medication refills if needed. Get cash and a quick easy trip to buy any last minute needs, wash any dirty laundry, and make sure the house is clean so Mother Nature can bring it on!
We’ve all seen the meal prep plans where you prep a bunch of meals, throw it in a freezer bag, put it in the Crockpot and its an easy dinner. Well I’ve looked at quite a few, saved them on my Pintrest, but have been too lazy to do them. Well for those readers who don’t know I had a brain aneurysm about 5 years ago. Complications have landed me back in the hospital several times. So with my physical limitations we, that is my husband and I moved into my mom’s house. After my dad passed, my brothers took turns living there. They have both moved on and are starting families of their own. So we decided that with moms physical limitations and mine it would make a good compromise and save us both some money.
Up to now she does the majority of the cooking since I can not. However, with cataract surgery looming in the immediate future, we have to figure out an easy way to cook meals. She will not be able to bend over or lift more than 10 pounds.
My husband hates being in the kitchen, he’ll help me cook but, he must have step by step instructions and you can’t assume anything. He cannot boil water without the microwave. My sister-in-law now lives across the street and has offered to help out but, they have two small children at home and my brother works out-of-town for weeks at a time.
So an alternative is to try freezer to crockpot meal prep. It’s that or takeout and frankly its too expensive and very unhealthy. So here’s what happened…
After looking at various pins on the subject we decided to do a combination of our favorites and try very few we’ve never had. This required some adoptions of our normal favorite recipes. At the end of 2 days we have about 30 dinners in the freezer, ready to go. So here are the tried and true recipes we used.
2 Meat loaves Chili Chicken Caprese
Beef Stew 2 Moms Homemade Pizza 2 Spaghetti
Pepper Steak Beef tips with Mushrooms Pot Roast with vegetables
Mongolian Beef Broccoli Greek Turkey Burgers Pork Loin Roast
2 Lasagna Beef Stroganoff
Most are ready for a full day in the Crockpot. Some like the Ranch or Korean pork chops, Shrimp Scampi, Bratwurst, Liver and onions, Creamy Tuscan Salmon do not translate well to the freezer and are very easy prep and time to make day you want to enjoy. If you only want freezer to table just skip those. (I included them because they are favorites.) We took our time and since this was first time through. We spent time deciding what to make, how much and grocery list and shopping. With the hard work done, all you have to do is enjoy.
If you have a recipe we should add to our list we are open to new ideas to answer the age old question of “What’s for Dinner”. I hope this makes cooking easier and you get to enjoy the extra time not spent in the kitchen. By the way Mom’s surgery went well with no complications. We had so much fun doing it and seeing the valuable time it saves it will be happening more often in our home. So when you are tired after a busy day this is quick, healthier for your family and economical. A home cooked meal beats a take out burger and fries etc… anytime.
One last note…. My husband and I are both Diabetic so the recipes have been talored for special dietary meals and we must be doing something right since neither of us require drastic medical for the condition. Probably to many burgers and fries that put us here, but that’s my perspective.
More recipe links to come
Are you looking to amp up your Easter Egg Hunt? As the years have passed, we now have diverse ages of participants. Starting with a 10-year-old 5, and two 2 year olds. So as usual when seeking inspiration I flip over to Pintrest to see what i can find. They never let me down. Everything from non-candy egg fillers to neat coloring technic and several ways to make the hunt more fun.
The Scavenger hunt looks like particular fun for the older girls, while Egg exercises look entertaining for the littlest ones. To make this fun I think we’ll try assigning a specific color to each child. (This will also work well with certain food allergies and sensitivities). Each younger child will need an adult paired with to read the exercises to them and make sure they are done before searching out the next egg.
The older girls will have to figure out and solve the clues to find their next egg. I may even add prizes to give incentive to the fun. It will also engage their parents in the game to entertain and participate in the fun.
Before the big hunt I’m thinking of hosting an Easter Brunch complete with adults only punch. Coffee of course and maybe specialty coffee bar. This will give me the perfect reason to use my new espresso machine I got for Christmas. Regular orange juice for the kids and several selections for brunch itself.
A spinach and bacon Quiche, Easter egg fruit pizza, bunny shaped Orange rolls, and carrot shaped pre-rolled silverware. To make this easy cleanup, The Dollar Store is my go to for Tablecloths, plastic table ware, napkins and plates. I like the idea of very little cleanup. I can remember going to family gatherings and the ladies spent quite a bit of time after dinner putting food away and doing dishes. Even with the dishwasher it still took quite some time and more than one load. It’s not the most environmentally friendly, but in this case throwing away the plates, napkins, and tableware, cloth if need be saves hours that can be spent with little and big ones this Easter.
The phrase “They grow up so fast”, is more true than most of us think. It seems only yesterday of oldest was just learning to walk. She is now getting ready for her first ballet recital.
To one and all I hope these ideas inspire your family fun. To all the hunters out there good luck and happy egg finding. Live, Love, Laugh, as your Easter is filled with wonder, good food and the blessing of family to surround you.
We love ideas and like to keep things fun, new, and exciting, so what do you do for this occasion? Share your traditions, recipes, menus, games, and gifts. We’d love to hear from you. If you like any of their ideas featured here make sure you visit the links to their sites.
We appreciate every like and share, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facing the rest of the year ahead.
If you’re like me we look at the year ahead and try to put habits in place that will make it easier to handle. My Pintrest boards are getting lots of added ideas. Every thing from recipes to holiday ideas, and don’t forget to update the calendars. I take this time out to both show myself some love, and get organized. Anyone who knows me has seen me go a little OCD when being organized. I try to start with the basics. Holidays, Anniversarys, home and garden, Birthdays and finance, parties, and other projects throuout the year. I start with the basics.
My planner/engagement/brain for the year. I like a full desk size book. Why paper you ask? In the digital world we live in things like smartphone, tablets, smart tv, and even the laptop & desktop give us access to technology at our fingertips. Paper and pen are still my go to medium. I will probably add it to my digital devices, but for my main list I prefer paper. It’s where I start from. If you’ve ever tried updating or creating a note when you were fast asleep you’ll know why I still keep my pen and paper.
I enjoy daily/weekly/monthly views in my planner. It helps me stay on track with both what I need to do today as well as looking ahead in the week or month. There are a lot of free pages available that can be printed however knowing myself, I would probably take a page out and loose it as I become involved in what ever project I’m currently working on. The last several years I’ve turned to Cat Naps.
It is wire bound so I can leave it open atop my desk for quick daily checkins. I have important dates, appointments, moon cycle, holidays, and contact info that I transfer yearly into everyone. I usually purge or make changes as I go. I know your reading this and saying I have all that in my phone. I do too, but the tangible works better to help me stay on track.
As the bills arrive by mail I enter the due dates, and mail by dates. Jot gift ideas as I come across them by person. I often hear people say I wish I had this or that, if appropriate I make a note of it and the name. As my husband and I do not have 9 to 5s it helps track both income and expenses.
My digital lifesaver is a financial program I read about in a top app review… from
I love it!!! There are lots of competition in this area, probably including your regular bank.
Prism is a safe and secure way to not only keep up with but pay my bills as well. “Prism is the easy personal finance app for managing and paying bills. • “Love, love, love this app! For those of you stranded by Mint Bills…..This IS your life preserver ..”
It gives reminders, schedules payments, income and current balances of both bank accounts and credit cards. It saves me a great deal of time, stamps, and energy. Unlike some I don’t have to go between apps to get all the info I need. it does take some time for initial setup but so worth it! Even locks the info on your phone if you left it up. Keeps prying eyes out of your personal information yet with a pin code it can easily be synced to all your devices.
With these two it’s easy to control the chaos in my world. Well time to finish this up because according to my handy book it says I have more to do before hubby gets home from his job. Weeding recipes for collection cookbook to be ready for Mothers Day, Plan Easter Family Gathering, and take some free time to catch up on my to be read pile of books. What do you do to stay on track in your busy life?? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.