Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Valentine’s Day Family Feast

Instead of eating out with the hoards of people crowding every restaurant on Valentine’s Day, consider making a romantic dinner at home that your children can enjoy as well. Valentine’s Day falls on a weeknight this year so this menu is designed to be put on the table quickly. The appetizer and dessert can be made ahead of time, and the main dish can be on the table in less than 40 minutes. 

Drink – Kir Royal (for the adults)

A Kir Royale is the perfect drink for Valentine’s Day. It features the classic appeal of champagne but has Crème de Cassis, which makes it extra special and gives the drink a lovely red hue that is appropriate for the holiday.  To make your children feel included, make them an ever popular Shirley Temple.


4 oz of your preferred champagne (sparkling wine, processco cava etc. are fine substitutes)
1 tablespoon Crème de Cassis.
·         Pour the cassis into the champagne flute, top with champagne. Serve cold.

Appetizer –Bruschetta

Bruschetta is an ever popular appetizer and kids just seem to gobble it up. This can be made the day ahead, just leave out the olive oil until you are ready to serve so it doesn’t get too soft and soggy.

5 plum tomatoes
1/5 of a red onion
1 bunch of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
·         Dice the tomatoes and red onion.
·         Chop the basil
·         In a bowl mix together the tomatoes, onion, bail, and cheese together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover with plastic wrap and it can be stored over night in the fridge
·         Slice and toast the baguette
·         Add the olive oil, give a good stir and adjust seasoning if needed.
Top the toasted baguette with a spoonful of the bruschetta mix and enjoy! 

Main Course – Lemony Shrimp Pasta with Broiled Asparagus

Seafood is right up there with steak when people thing of romantic foods. Shrimp is a great weeknight seafood choice because it cooks so quickly. Asparagus is reportedly one of the top 10 aphrodisiac foods, and it also tastes delicious!


Asparagus, ends trimmed
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and thawed
1 box of spaghetti
¼ cup of butter
1 shallot, minced
Juice and zest of 2 lemons

·         Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and preheat your broiler on high
·         In a bowl, toss together the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a short squeeze of the lemon and a teaspoon of the garlic, season with salt and pepper and set aside for a few minutes.
·         When the water reaches a boil, add the spaghetti.
·         While the spaghetti is cooking, toss the asparagus with 1 table spoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking tray. Broil for 3 minutes
·         Remove the baking tray from the oven, add the shrimp and return to broiler for another 2-3 minutes.
·         When the pasta is cooked al-dente, reserve about a cup of the pasta water before draining.
·         While the pasta is draining, add the ¼ cup of olive oil and the ¼ cup of butter to the pot the pasta was cooking in. Add in the garlic and shallots and quickly sauté for about a minute. Add in the lemon zest, juice and shrimp. Add the pasta back into the pot and toss altogether. Season to taste with salt and pepper and some of the pasta water if needed to help loosen up the sauce.
Serve the pasta in a pasta bowl or plate with a side of the beautiful broiled asparagus. 

Dessert – Heart Shaped Ice Cream Sandwiches with Strawberry Milkshake Ice Cream

Everyone loves ice cream sandwiches, but the ones you buy in the store can taste like cardboard. If you make your own, you can switch up the ice cream flavours and shapes of the cookies. These cookies are shaped like hearts and filled with a softly tinted pink ice cream that tastes like a strawberry milkshake. *You can always use a store bought ice-cream if you don’t have an ice-cream maker. Once you make the sandwich, wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap and it can be stored in the freezer for up to a couple months.



3 tablespoons of salted butter – room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup of sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp of vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
·         Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
·         In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Set aside.
·         In a large bowl combine the butter, oil and sugar, mixing until smooth. Add in the egg, and when thoroughly incorporated, add in the egg yolk. Add in the vanilla and milk until smooth.
·         Mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions until just combined.  
·         Shape into a dish and chill the dough thoroughly.
·         Roll out the dough and using a heart shaped cookie, making sure to have an even amount of cookies.
·         Bake for 10 minutes.
·         Cook on a baking sheet.

Ice Cream

2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1.5 cups of freshly pureed strawberries
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.

·         Prepare an ice bath
·         Pour cream into a large bowl and place over the ice bath
·         In a large saucepan, warm the whole milk, pinch of salt and the sugar.
·         In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. While constantly stirring the yolks, slowly stir in the warmed milk and sugar mixture.
·         Place the mixture back into the saucepan, and stir constantly making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
·         In case there are any bits of cooked egg in the mixture, strain the mixture into the cream. Add in the puree, lemon juice and vanilla. Still vigorously until the mixture has cooled.
·         Chill at least two hours in the fridge before pouring into the ice-cream machine.

Putting it together
·         One the cookies have cooled to room temperature, take out the ice-cream and let soften slightly.
·         Scoop some ice-cream onto one cookie, then using another cookie, sandwich them together.
·         Wrap each ice cream sandwich tightly with plastic wrap and store in the freezer.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

All year round Vanessa, the author of this article and employee of this website can be found in kitchen creating new ice-cream flavors.

10 iPhone Apps to Balance Your Busy Life

Moms are hardworking individuals. They have the most difficult job of all in caring for their children and families, even if they have employment outside of the home. They are usually the glue holding everything together in their homes. But you are more than just glue; you have a lifestyle of your own. With all this in mind, there are tons of great iPhone apps that can balance a mom's life. These are definitely worth looking into downloading for any busy mom.


1) Parenting Ages & Stages

Parenting Ages & Stages is a great free app new moms who may have questions about their children. It is a highly informative magazine that you can use right at your fingertips on your iPhone that discusses various situations you should expect to deal with as a parent. It can be customized by a mom so that she can add details of her own child or children and gives advice and tips based on age and development.

2) Baby Activity Logger

Baby Activity Logger is an essential app for any new mom who wants to efficiently keep track of caring for her new baby. You can create schedules on the app as to when you should feed, whether you are breast- or bottle-feeding, when to burp and change the baby, schedule naps and track how much time passes between one activity and the next. It is a fantastic app to use when you are sleep deprived and need a quick reminder of what needs to be done for your baby. The app costs $4.99.

3) Mom’s Daily Planner

Mom’s Daily Planner is a nifty app that busy mothers can download for $2.99. It is great for getting and staying organized for your daily activities. You can track important appointments related to your kids and other activities that can be set up on an integrated calendar, create grocery lists for your shopping trips and create reminders of other things you have to do.

4) Family Meals

Family Meals is a great free app that moms will find handy because it includes helpful information about great foods you can prepare and serve to your family. It includes grocery lists as well, which can help you to more efficiently get your shopping done when you go to the supermarket. There are also fine tips on great and delicious meals that your family will love.

5) Allergy-Free For Me Cookbook

Allergy-Free For Me Cookbook is an essential app for any moms who have kids with allergies. It costs $1.99 and gives you wonderful options of recipes for meals that do not contain any of the top eight food allergens, including eggs, peanuts, shellfish and others. There are even a number of great vegetarian and vegan recipes available within the app.

6) Coupon Sherpa

Coupon Sherpa is a great free app that moms will no doubt find very useful. While shopping, you can check coupons for a store of your choice in your area and use them simply by having the cashier scan them directly from your iPhone! It can help you save both money and paper.

7) WebMD Mobile

The WebMD Mobile app is free and is a good tool for any mom who is worried about your child’s symptoms when they get sick. You can look them up in the Symptom Checker feature of the app and check for remedies on how to make your child feel better, whether with medication, vitamins or a natural method.

8) Kids Play Parks

Kids Play Parks is a nifty app that gives you a full directory of parks, playgrounds, zoos and other great recreational facilities that are ideal for kids and families. It tracks your immediate location and finds you the best of these fun places for $1.99.

9) Moms on the Run

Moms on the Run is a free app that is great for any mom who wants to take up running as a training program. It is a great way for new moms to drop their baby weight and get back into great shape. You can track your weight as well as your runs, which is a great way to see your progress.

10) Angry Birds

Angry Birds is the app that is one of the most popular games at the App Store. It is 99 cents and is great for busy moms who just want to have fun at the end of a long, busy day or when they have a break. Those looking to use simple games and smiles to connect with their kid of any age will find this app a success. Escaping the stress of everyday life is no small matter for a mom and can be especially rewarding when the escape is a fun time with a son or daughter.

These apps range from efficient to time-spending and organized to just plain fun, but they all have you and your busy day in mind. More importantly, these apps can be part of your lifestyle and help you connect with the people you love.

Author Bio: Sandy M. is a blogger and technology enthusiast who loves to simplify what matters most in the information age. She stays busy with her two young sons and keeping up on the latest gadgets. She has also written car insurance tips that gives people help on their car insurance comparison.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

15 Things to be kept out of the Reach of Your Child for Home Safety

How safe are your children in your home? Safety is an important part of raising children in a loving and nurturing home. Knowing that they are safe when they walk into the doors of your home can give you peace of mind.  Below are 15 things that should be kept out of the reach of your child. Read over this list to see if there is something that you have missed in making your home as safe as it possibly can be. 
  • Medications. This is a no brainer! Regardless, countless parents still leave their medications lying around for little hands to get a hold of.  Make sure that all medication is out of the reach of your child.  This may mean locking up a cabinet or putting them in the top of your closet.
  • Firearms. Guns are not toys.  Guns should be stores in a lock gun cabinet. This includes what seem to be harmless guns such as pellet guns.  Pellets may not kill, but they can certainly put an eye out.
  • Cleaning products.  Kids love to mimic mom and get busy cleaning.  Unfortunately, this can have a devastating impact on a child’s health if he or she is to get a hold of the cleaning products.  Keep all cleaning products out of the reach of your children.  Don’t store them away under the sink!
  • Knives or other sharp objects. Kitchen knives are often reported as one of the top household products that cause injury to children. Where are the knives that you use to cook dinner located? Keeping them in a drawer is very dangerous. Choose to relocate them to a safer place such as a high cabinet or far enough in a corner on the countertop that you child cannot reach them.
  •  Electrical outlets. How many times were you tempted to find out what was going on in those electrical outlets? Your little ones will be just as curious.  Be sure to make sure the electrical outlets in your home are covered to help protect your children from electrical shock.
  • Breakable vases. Vases, or anything breakable for that matter, should be kept out of the reach of children.  Broken glass causes many unthinkable injuries each year.  That pretty vase you have sitting on your coffee table may just be an accident waiting to happen.
  • Cords from blinds. This is an old one in the book but still needs to be taken seriously.  Cords from blinds should be placed up high.  You don’t want to give your little one a change to get the string wrapped around his or her neck. 
  •  Necklaces.  Similarly, necklaces can also pose a risk to your child. Keep long necklaces out of the reach your child.  Make sure that your child doesn’t wear necklaces to bed to avoid a potential choking hazard.
  • Marbles or other small objects. Marbles can be fun for your child to play with. Unfortunately, they almost always make it to the mouth.  Keep marbles out of the reach of young children
  • Handles from pots on the stove. When you are cooking, play close attention to the handles on your pots.  Place them out of sight so that young children won’t attempt to pull them down.
  • Watch batteries. Discard of old watch batteries. Swallowing these can cause serious harm to children.
  • Children’s vitamins.  Vitamins are medication. Keep these out of the reach of your children.  Children often view them as candy.
  • Fluoride tooth paste.  Children like to eat tooth paste. This can be dangerous to their health as well.
  • Burning candles.  Children are highly interested in candles!  Keep burning candles out of the reach of children. 
  •  Plastic bags. Be sure to discard of or put all plastic bags up high where you children can’t reach them. Suffocation is real and happens all too often with plastic bags. 
Use the list above to help make sure that you children are safe.  Keeping these items up high and out of reach of your children may just help save their lives.  Have peace of mind knowing that these things are far enough out of reach to keep your child safe. Did we leave anything off the list? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section!

The article was written by 1001 Artificial Plants – An online store of decorative artificial flowers and tropical floral arrangements.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Peace of Mind: Internet Safety for Your Kids

Kids of all ages now have access to the considerable content found on the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, lots of this content is not appropriate for children. Some of this questionable content can be easily accessed by mistyping while performing a simple online search or while on any of the various social networks designed to make our world more interactive than ever before. Fortunately, there are ways to keep kids safe and enjoy some peace of mind as your kids surf the Net and interact with friends online.

Social Media

Technically, you have to be at least 13 years of age to sign up for Facebook. Realistically, the site has users younger than this. Talk to your kids about social media and why it’s best left to older people and how important it is to take precautions even if you’re an adult.

• Avoid posting your full name and address.
• Avoid posting information that may narrow down your location such as the name of your school.
• Setup accounts so only friends can access photos and other personal posts made to the site.
• If your child receives comments that make them feel uncomfortable, have them inform you right away.
• If your child does not want to add you to their account compromise with a stipulation that you get to view their pages periodically to make sure there isn't anything inappropriate posted.
• Set specific hours when your child can access their social network accounts.


Kids like to be entertained. If you have a Netflix account, it may seem harmless to allow your child to select some movies to stream online. The feature of many sites that automatically propagates suggestions once one or two words are typed can turn up some suggestions you do not want your child to see. Some sites do have special settings where content can be restricted. This can be a double-edged sword for parents who wish to view mature content later since it takes a while for normal settings to return on some sites. Another option is to set restrictions on what websites a child can access from a specific computer, laptop or smart phone.


Simple messages can easily be shared through email.  However, some of the information passed through email can be harmful on several levels. Inform your child that they should avoid opening email attachments from people they do not know. If they are unsure if they should view an attachment or not, tell them to get your permission first. Some email services allow parents to block email recipients who send attachments of any kind. Most email services offer some form of parental controls. Settings can be adjusted for the age of the child. Inform your child that if they receive an email that is threatening or inappropriate, they need to inform you right away.

Additional information you should tell your child:

• Never share Internet passwords.
• Never agree to meet someone you only know from the Internet.
• Block someone who makes you feel comfortable or has an inappropriate conversation with you.


There is a wide selection of software designed to keep kids safe while accessing the Web. Look for per-user configuration options on the software you choose, especially if users of different ages will be accessing the same computer. Content restrictions for a 6-year-old are very different from what is appropriate for a 16-year-old. Products like PC Pandora and Webroot Parental Controls link settings directly to each user's account and not the computer in general.

Safety Standards

There are three basic rules that apply when it comes to keeping kids safe online. These rules can be adjusted with age, but generally apply to anybody under the age of 18.

1. Limit Usage - Set a specific amount of time your child is permitted to be online each day. Set restrictions. For example, family time starts with dinner. After homework is completed, no more IMs or online time until the next day. Be firm and do not make exceptions.

2. Keep the Computer in Sight - Place the computer in an area where kids can be monitored without you hovering over them every second, such as the living room or family room.

3.  Use Security Features - Every computer has some form of security protection. Make sure Internet restrictions are set, and check browser history to see where you child has been online.

Toni Alvarez is a mother and a computer tech who writes for broadbandcomparison.org, a site where you can learn about fibre optic broadband, and also compare broadband rates and values for your business or personal use. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

5 Easy Strategies to Help Your Children Save Money

Most people can remember a time in their childhood when they truly wanted an item and had to save up for weeks or months in order to purchase it. Your children should be able to learn the same lesson by slowly saving up for important items they desire. For young children, this might be a new toy or a video game, while for teens this could be a new car or even savings for their college education. Although it can be a struggle at times to help children want to save rather than spend their money, it can help them to be more fiscally responsible later in life. Here are some easy strategies to help your children save money.

Kids and Money Large
1. Start a Savings Account: It might seem unnecessary to start an account for young children or those who are only saving minimal amounts of money. However, this is an important step to understanding saving and also understanding personal finances. Most banks allow children and their parents to start a bank account with no fees and a minimum deposit of anywhere from $20 to $100.

2. Have a Goal: Saving just to save is not beneficial for children or enjoyable. Most will need some kind of goal to work towards. Carefully consider what might be a good thing to begin saving for. It doesn't need to be something big. In fact, it is a great idea to start with something that can be purchased after saving for just a few weeks. After realizing how helpful savings is in order to make a larger purchase, you can start suggesting more and more expensive items.

SAKURAKO gets money from a cash register !
3. Visible Reminders to Save: The reason children struggle with saving is that they prefer instant gratification to something that is delayed and might take months or years. To help them deal with this, make some visual reminders to show them what they are saving for. You might clip out the ad for a new video game or bicycle they want, or for bigger items make a collage on their bedroom wall to remind them of what they are working towards.

4. Percentages of Allowance: Since most children don't have any jobs or way to make money outside of the home, money will come primarily from the parents. If you give them an allowance each week, set aside a certain amount for savings. This might be nonnegotiable or merely suggested, depending on your own personal parenting opinion. For example, if allowance is $10 per week, you might mandate that at least $1 goes into the savings account, but beyond that children will use their own discretion.

5. Track Spending: Have your children track their spending over the course of a month. Once they see how quickly money is spent on small items like comic books and candy, they may be more inclined to save up for more serious items.

By following these tips it will be easy to help children start saving and become more aware of their own personal finances.

Author Tanya Mitchell is a budget consultant and writes for Saving Up, a site which lets you compare savings accounts and get the highest possible interest for your hard earned money.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pamper Yourself with an At-Home Pedicure

Does day-to-day life have you running yourself ragged? If so it’s time to take a breather (if only for an hour) and treat those worn out feet to a little relaxation and rejuvenation. Follow these tips for an easy, enjoyable and inexpensive at-home pedicure and put a much-needed pep in your step.

Warm, Aromatherapy Soak

Start by filling the tub or water basin with warm (not hot) water to soak your feet in. Add your favorite aromatherapy oils or bath salts for added revelation. You can also create your own mixture using kitchen basics such as peppermint oil and milk. Or if you’re short on time, you can skip the soaking, a plan your pedicure for immediately following a bath or shower. The key is to soften your skin so that it’s easier to exfoliate.

Out with the Old

While the water is filling up, remove any old nail polish from your toes. Alcohol- and acetone-free removers are often less drying to your skin and nails but any old nail polish remover will do.
Next up, take ten minutes to allow your feet to soak. Grab a good book and a tasty beverage, put on your favorite album and take this time to relax.


After a good soak it’s time to exfoliate. Start by massaging a quarter-sized amount of foot scrub into your feet, starting at the heels and working up to the toes and ankles. Next take a wet pumice stone and lightly scrape the bottoms of your feel in a back-and-forth motion. Be gentle. The point is to remove dead skin and smooth down any callouses, not to scrape the feet until they’re raw.

Trim, Moisturize and Start the Base Coat

Now that your feet are feeling fresh it’s time to turn to the nails. Trim your toe nails straight across, smooth the edges with an emery board and gently push back your cuticles with an orange wood stick.
Before you paint your toes, take a quarter-sized dollop of moisturizer and work it into your feet in a circular motion. Grab a base coat, top coat, and vibrant, fun nail polish color and use toe separators to prepare your canvas.

Tip: weaving a rolled up paper-towel between your toes is a great inexpensive alternative to purchasing foam toe separators.

Choose Your Color and Top It Off

Once your base coat has been applied and dried, start applying the colored polish at the center of each nail out towards the tip followed by an additional stroke on either side until each nail is covered. Allow about five minutes for the first coat to dry before apply an additional coat if necessary. Help prevent chipping by finishing off with a top coat. Use an orange wood stick dipped in nail polish remover to fix any mistakes and remove any excess polish.

Allow the polish to dry & voila – happy feet!

Bio: Beth Smedinghoff is a content writer for Socks4Life where she blogs about the latest fashion and beauty trends. Her favorite winter trend is pairing women’s knee socks and boots but secretly can’t wait to show off her new pedicure. When she’s not blogging, she’s always trying out new DIY fashion and beauty tips.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Throwing a Super Bowl Party Everyone Will Enjoy

It's almost time for the biggest football event of the year. Are you ready? Whether you're inviting a couple close friends over or your living room will be packed full with your extended family, you'll want to be all set come game day. Here are some ideas to help you prep for your party.


The sky is the limit when it comes to decorating. String up streamers in your favorite team's colors, tack up team pennants, or let your fan flag fly and paint your face while donning a favorite player's jersey. The time is right to shop for football- or helmet-shaped bowls for serving snacks, as well as napkins, plasticware, or balloons in themed colors. Keep in mind that decorating is fun but all eyes will be on the TV screen. You don't need to channel Martha Stewart just to make your guests happy.


Party favorites like chips or nachos, veggies and dip, chili (good for warming up on a cold winter day!), chicken wings, deviled eggs, guacamole, seven-layer dip, or football-shaped cookies are all great foods to serve. Invite guests to pitch in with their favorite food item and send them home with leftovers (especially helpful if you've resolved to watch your waistline this year). Use burner covers to turn gas ranges into easy-to-clean tabletops, which are great for guests who are lingering in the kitchen near the snacks.


Although beer and football go hand in hand (at least according to commercials), not everyone likes beer. Be prepared for guests of all ages, and provide a selection of soft drinks or a punch that everyone can enjoy. For those who like a cocktail, try a Harvest Highball. Let guests know what beverages you'll have on hand and invite them to bring along their drink of choice. You might also want to have a bottle of sparkling grape juice or champagne on hand to toast the winners or console the defeated.


Your guests will obviously be at your house to watch the game, but keep in mind that not everyone likes football. You might have little kids (or adults!) who can't or won't sit still for the entirety of the festivities. Set up a card table where people can play a hand of cards, a board game, or work on art projects. Stick with a sports theme and make Super-Bowl-themed crafts. You'll probably want to aim for something simple to do as the background will likely be filled with folks yelling at the television in excitement or frustration.

You don't have to break the bank or overstress just to host a Super Bowl party. Just plan ahead, make sure the television is working, and everyone should be happy, well-fed, and entertained for the duration of the game.

Holly is a wife and stay-at-home mother who blogs on behalf of Sears and other brands she uses and trusts. She relies on gas ranges to keep her famous three-alarm chili piping hot while she and her family watch football on the weekend.

15th Wedding Anniversary Story

Once upon a time, a young man and woman met on the coast in New England...
They went their separate ways for several months, and when they were "brought together" again by a strange, but fateful turn of events, they were thousands of miles away from each other...

He started sending her cards in the mail...

Each one was a new Anne Geddes card, with adorable pictures of sweet babies...

She made plans to follow her heart and travel the thousands of miles to visit him. 

And, what happened to them?

15 years later, they have seven beautiful children who drive them crazy bring them joy every day. They look back at the years and wonder where they all went...but still look forward to many more years of making memories and fulfilling their sweet dreams together.

Happy 15th Anniversary, Best Friend! 
I look forward to making our dreams come true! 
I love you!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bullying — Parental and Child Rights (This is Our Story Series)

Over the centuries, stories have been told about the big, bad, boy down the street who picked on the little guy.  Most of us can remember either having been bullied or having been the bully to others.  School is a tough road for any child when they become the victim of peer taunts and teasing.

In our current day, bullying has been taken to an entirely new level.  One in which the bully gets away with the hurtful behavior, because children are forbidden to defend themselves in the school settings. When the pressure gets to be too much for the victim, the field of “mental health” steps in. 

Things should never have to get that far. No child should be locked behind barred doors in a psychiatric ward - or worse, pushed to the devastating depths of suicide - because he fell prey to a bully or a group of bullies. 

Imagine being a young child who relentlessly gets bullied, with no school personnel to set the bully straight. Thus, the bullying continues, day after day, diminishing and wiping away any hope of positive self-esteem. 

What is the result of that type of stress bearing down on a child who is in the prime years of their self-discovery? 

One young girl’s story shows us all what can happen when bullying spirals out of control. Unfortunately, there are many stories like this on the internet and on the evening news.  Some did not survive to tell their story.

This Is A True Story (names are withheld to protect identities)

She moved to a small community when she was 13 years old and attended a local public school.  She felt the kids were so different in this new school than where she had been living, and knew she was much more innocent then those she attended class with. She felt, in comparison to the other children, that she dressed “weird”. 

The children would make fun of her about everything under the sun, from not shaving her legs, to not wearing make-up.  When they couldn’t think of anything else to make fun of her for, they resorted to calling her “fat”.  At only 80 lbs, the bullies really had to stretch , but they found a way to make that obviously untrue insult hurt.

She would go home and cry herself to sleep.  When the school administration learned of the bullying, the girl was called into the office and was told to “grow up”, told that perhaps she needed psychiatric medications, and was warned that if she kept telling lies about the other children, she would end up a criminal in jail.
After some time, her parents pulled her out of that school.  With our Internet-era, and the injustice of not being heard by the school administrators, the young girl found the Internet a tool for her protest and inner turmoil.  She got hooked on chat-rooms and went from being innocent to being promiscuous.  At a young age she entered a world that was well over her head and far beyond her experience. 

One young man on the Internet wreaked havoc on her self-esteem and she began to believe all of the insults and depreciating comments. She thought about ending her life. 

By the miracle of having a parent who cared, a parent who asked questions and was there at the right time, she didn’t end her life that one night.  She began sharing her thoughts with her mom and on paper (journal-style). This helped to release so much of the pent-up thoughts and emotions that had been overwhelming her for quite some time.

She realized a few things about life through this trying journey and decided to choose her friends more carefully, which created a more loving and stable environment for herself.

What the Law Says

Again, this story is one of many.  Families have the right to know the law “prohibits bullying or harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution, during any program or activity conducted by a public K-12 educational institution, during any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity…” and the law “requires each local school administrative unit to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying or harassing behavior”. 

Schools are required to act quickly and eliminate any bullying that occurs on their school property, on the school bus, or at school events and functions.  Any complaint filed by a student or parent that is related to bullying must be acted upon by school personnel immediately.  If it isn’t, the parents have the right to file a complaint with the school Superintendent. 

Bullies need to be disciplined and their harassing behavior needs to be stopped.

State Laws on Bullying

This helpful website shows a map of every state in the United States.  When you click on your geographical area you will immediately have your state’s laws on bullying.

Children who feel stressed, pressured, and sad because they are the victim of bullying do not have a mental illness.  It is a normal response to peer stress that shouldn’t even be permitted to occur.

Additional websites that may be helpful:

Bullying Statistics

A blueprint for effective prevention of bullying

“Best Practices” that deal even more with how to prevent bullying

This article is brought to you by our friends at the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in Florida, a non-profit that is not only dedicated to educating Americans about their rights in the mental health sector, they are also actively involved investigating and exposing psychiatric violations against human rights. 
Join us right here on Mommy Rantings on Tuesdays in 2012 for our new series that is dedicated to providing parents with in-depth information, resources and personal stories on a variety of childhood disabilities, mental health and behavioral issues. If you're interested in submitting your own story, click here for contact information.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinterest Resolutions Round-Up

This year, among the typical resolutions of losing weight and saving money, I vowed to read more. As each year grows busier, it feels like I’m tempted more and more to abandon my must-reads for quickie television time and gossip mag catch-ups. But this year, I just want to get lost in a good book. Or twenty. My first literary venture? The popular Hunger Games series.

2012 is already busy, especially with a new year and new goals (and a million other things to do), but with a little help from the idea explosion that is Pinterest, all of us can and will achieve our New Year’s Resolutions. How, you say?
If you’re looking to exercise more and expand your health knowledge, Pinterest’s Fitness section has everything from motivational quotes to low fat recipes to workouts for every fitness level. Say bye bye to belly fat and hello to a summer svelte body!

Looking for tips on how to save money this year—and avoid the urges for retail therapy? First, check out this pin featuring 30 free ebooks about personal finance, and then mosey on over to Pinterest’s Food and Drink board, where you’ll find delicious recipes that’ll make you want to cook up a frenzy (and eat out less!). This DIY & Crafts board will keep you resourceful, too. 

For those of you wanting to revamp your closets and beauty regimens this year, sneak a peek at the gorgeous Women’s Apparel section, and get lost for hours in clothing confections so yummy, you’ll want to wear every last one of them. For new ways to style your hair (for hectic days or nights out with the hubby), check out these Hair & Beauty inspirations.

And if you’re reading resolution is anything like mine, Pinterest also has a lovely section devoted to Reading and Books: you’ll find cute quotes, ways to display your literary collection, and even how to make a reading nook for the kiddos. I also love how you can find reading glasses tips and reading lists galore!

If you don’t already have a Pinterest account, request an invite, follow my boards (of course!) and start pinning your inspirations. The bevy of ideas that can be found on the resource are invaluable, and you’ll be that much closer to completing those New Year’s Resolutions. How easy was that? 

Author Bio: Molly Borter works as a content writer in Indianapolis, IN. When she’s not blogging about how to care for bifocals, she loves bargain shopping, spending time with family, and trying new restaurants.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

10 'Mommy and Me' Dates for Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, some of us moms are thinking about the romantic side of the holiday, while there are plenty of mothers who are simply looking to spend some time with their children to celebrate the concept of the holiday. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to spread the love around, so why not choose one of these ten great activities specifically created for a mom to enjoy with her kids?

1. Heart Shaped Cookies

Throw together some sugar cookie dough and allow it to chill for an hour or more. Then you and your child can roll out the dough and you can teach him or her how to cut out little heart-shaped cookies. After the cookies are baked, decorate them with swirls of white and pink icing or with sprinkles. This is a wonderful way to make some sweet treats that are perfect to enjoy for the cold holiday.

2. Nature Walk

Even during the cold days of February there is plenty to see and hear at the park. Bundle up your kids and take them out to enjoy a wonderful walk in the park. If there is snow on the ground, enjoy a fun snowball fight or simply look at how nature is coping with the cold weather.

3. Family Movies

If you would rather enjoy a day in, why not share some movies with the kids? Try to find your favorite movies from when you were a child and share them with your children. This is a great way to enjoy your time indoors if you or one of the kids is feeling under the weather. Pop some popcorn and enjoy some time vegging out in front of the television, guilt-free.

4. Paper Heart Cut-Outs

Show your children how to fan-fold a sheet of paper and then draw a heart on one of the end segments. If both of the heart’s edges touch either side of the fold, when the heart is cut out, it will reveal a chain of hearts all strung together. Cut out several of these and hang them up in your child’s room.

5. Heart-Shaped Sun Catchers

If everyone is missing the sun in the cold February days, make some sun catchers. Purchase some pink, white, and red tissue paper and cut them into hearts with your children. Show your children how to line the edges with lace and have them write messages on the hearts in black marker. Then have them tape the hearts to a sunny window and watch how they glow.

6. Heart-Shaped Pins

Help your children make heart-shaped pins by purchasing little wooden heart cut-outs. After the children have painted the pins and decorated them with rhinestones or glitter, allow them to dry and then hot glue some pin backings to the rear of the cut-out. This is a fantastic way to make some wearable art for this holiday.

7. Valentine’s Day Mural

Spread a piece of butcher’s paper on the ground and put out a box of crayons or markers. Then have your children draw pictures of everything that they love. Get down and do some drawing with them as they create a Valentine’s Day mural. Afterward, tape the mural up on the wall as a souvenir of your Valentine’s Day together.

8. Valentine’s Day Cards

Ask around at work or at a local retirement home to see if there are some people who would love to receive some fun letters for Valentine’s Day. Holidays are more fun when they are about giving rather than receiving, so sit down and make some Valentine’s Day cards for strangers who could use some cheering up.

9. Valentine’s Day Reading

Gather up stories about love and friendship and read them out loud to your child. If you are feeling especially creative, you can make them up yourself. After telling them a few stories, ask them to make up one that they can then tell you. If you like, you can have them illustrate the stories or act them out.

10. Car Ride

Make sure that your auto insurance is up to date and take the kids for a drive. Whether you go to a favorite friend’s house or you simply hit the road and drive out to the park or the movies, have them think about the fact that love is a journey, and that there are many ways to love someone. A car ride is also a great way to simply get out of the house without getting into the cold! When Valentine's Day rolls around, don't let your little ones be left in the cold. Take some time to think about what fantastic Mommy and Me dates could delight your whole family!
Author Bio: Jessica H. is a car insurance specialist who enjoys weight training, hiking, and jogging in her spare time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beat Winter Boredom With These 5 Fun Indoor Activities

Our needs for warmth and comfort draw us in to spending more time in our homes as the colder weather sets in. The days are shorter, it’s dark when driving home from work and we just want to cozy up to a nice fire with the family and watch a movie. But let’s face it. While I like a nice fire with the family and think it’s a great way to spend quality time, spending too much time indoors can give almost anyone cabin fever. Here are five fun indoor activities I think will help you and your children overcome seasonal restlessness.

Rock Wall Climbing

Rock wall climbing indoors is a fantastic way to satisfy warm weather climbing enthusiasts. It’s not for everyone but I have seen Moms and Dads try it for the first time and get hooked. Kids love to climb so they will be very excited to try it. It’s a safe and invigorating activity that will get your heart pumping. My hometown has several rock wall climbing gyms and chances are your hometown has one too. My nephew took to rock climbing like Spiderman the first time he tried it.


Bowling is one of the best indoor family activities around. Kids, adults and even grandparents love it and its also good exercise. Aside from bowling, bowling allies are also great places to have a kid’s birthday party. My nieces and nephews have had a few parties there and had a great time. There are also arcade games and air hockey too. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who does not like bowling, I am pretty addicted myself. It’s the best fun bar none!

Board Games

While most might not think of board games and exactly thrilling for adults, if you play with your kids you just might find yourself enjoying it. Go look in your closet and dust off a few of those old games, especially those that require interaction, like Charades or Scrabble. I remember as a child playing those games and also playing Monopoly and Rummy for hours on end with my brothers and sisters. It’s a fun way to stimulate your child’s developmental thinking. These games can also be played on the iPad or any other tablet computers and guess what, you won’t lose any pieces! So if you are into gadgets, download some games and gather the family around!


In today’s modern fast-paced world, the art of storytelling seems to have taken a back seat. But it’s a marvelous and unique way to quell seasonal boredom, especially with family. When it’s cold out and there’s nothing on TV, start a fire and gather the family around. Pick a short story such as a fairytale or myth and have each family member take turns reading passages. Try pausing the storytelling and ask what they think will happen next. You might even end up with an altogether different story than what you started with! Get grandparents involved too. As a child, my grandparents stories would take me to another planet- I loved the journey!

Indoor Gardening

Indoor gardening is an excellent way to both involve your kids and grow great tasting herbs, fruits and vegetables. A traditional outdoor garden requires a lot of work and is probably why some kids aren’t all that interested. But indoors, setting up and maintaining a hydroponic garden or terrarium is pretty easy. Visit your local gardening center where you can buy a starter kit to get you going. Have each child care for a plant and chronicle its growth each day. They can even take daily or weekly pictures so they have something to look back on.

Winter doesn’t have to be fraught with boredom and inactivity. Don’t let all the pressures of holiday shopping, coordinating social functions and shorter days get you down either. And if they do, you can always turn to family. A get together is often just the right thing to do during wintertime and with these five fun indoor activities, the stress and seasonal funk will just melt away.

About the Author Karen Ho Fatt 

Karen lives in the Canadian Rockies and spends a lot of indoor quality time with her family when it is cold outside. She is a designer and writer, providing valuable tips and advice for families looking to improve their outdoor lifestyle. Her website features outdoor fire furnishings such as fire pit conversation sets and the popular family Blue Rhino propane fire pit.

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