Archive for August, 2009

GoodNCrazy Book Review: Sex Ed Discussion

August 31, 2009
101 Questions Kids Really Ask…
healthyedudynamics.com puberty education

And the Answers They Need To Know
Author: Mary H. Halter
Book Review


Head’s up everyone.. it’s that time in my world. Yup. Puberty.
No not mine..
My tween’s.

Have you been to the sex ed. health course put on by your kid’s school? The one where the boys sit and titter and the girls cover their mouths with their hands? I have. And quite honestly I was basically shocked at how really Terrifc it was. The nurse was funny, and put all the girls (and their mom’s) totally at ease. She had correct information and it was plentiful and helpful. I swear I even learned a few things!

What was your ‘maturation‘ class like when you were a kid?
Mine?
A joke.
I left thinking… huh? They use all that… for what?
When will this happen? How? Where!? Can I just please be a BOY!

And what kind of help did you get at home?
Let me quote the Sum Total of advice I got:
“You need to get up there all the way or sometimes it hurts.”

I am not kidding. I didn’t dare ask, and therefore no one helped. I got more information from the Jr. High Volleyball bus than anywhere else. And believe me, that’s NOT where I want my daughter to get her information.

As an adult I tend to be the parent who uses anatomically correct words with my children. I tend to encourage them to ask questions, sensitive and otherwise. I tend to find quiet times to talk to them about big issues from drugs, to age appropriate body discussions, to how they behave when they see someone else who is hurting for any reason at school or church or where-ever. And yes. My daughter has already received the cervical cancer vaccine.

So I jumped when given the chance to read and review 101 Questions. I’ve never been one to shy away from the tough issues. Whether you are like me or a bit more reserved when it comes to sensitive issues, this book will help you talk to your tween.

101 Questions Kids Really Ask comes from the organization: Healthy Edudynamics. The author, Mary Halter, created this book as a companion to the whole comprehensive health education program she helped develop.

Apparently there were teachers, parents, grandparents and health professionals begging to be able to take home some of the materials from the program! I can see why. I’m loving this book too! The Author found that all children have the same basic age-appropriate questions… and she asks us to imagine our next generation:

“…where the kids move through adolescence with a holistic, healthy and respectful view of their bodies and the bodies of those around them.”-Mary H. Halter

I love how it starts out with ACTUAL questions tweens asked during Ms. Halter’s classes.
Some examples are:

  • Is there something you can eat to make sure you have smart sperm?
  • Why don’t girls stand up to pee, and why do boys have to stand up to pee?
  • Questions about boys having ‘good tummy aches’.
  • Are you sure babies don’t go to the bathroom inside the mom?
    —this answer starts with: Time for a short anatomy lesson! (I think that is brilliant, pointing out when it’s time to talk about body parts as well as the whole answer.)
  • How do you keep from having puberty?(I like the answer for this one so much I’m sharing it here)
    —”Puberty is something that happens to all of us. It is not something that a person can keep from happening. It may sound scary and seem like something a person would want to avoid, but it’s really an awesome time in your life!”
  • When should a girl start to shave?
    —After explaining some whys about a girl’s body, she answers this way: “Shaving is a personal decision and needs to be discussed with a caring adult.” (I’m totally impressed with the way they encourage kids to find a ‘caring adult’ to help them out.)

Other parts of the book include:

  • Questions asked about babies
  • Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault (including bullying)
  • Later in the book there is an area for ‘sensitive’ issues.
    Intercourse, homosexuality, Sex before marriage etc.. and there are terrific answers… (but again I’m most impressed with the parts that suggest ways parents can talk to their children and answer them with positive, physiologically correct answers and yet still insert the parent’s own values.)
  • When should I discuss puberty with my child.
  • And ends with helpful diagrams and images that will help you when your child begins asking questions

If you are a friend, cousin, aunt, grandma, or parent of a child who might chose to source you as a ‘caring adult’… then this book is for you. They also sell a puberty DVD that will help you to help your kids. And the Healthy Edudynamics Blog is also a great resource.
You can purchase both the book and the DVD for only $19.99 plus S&H directly from the website.

Here’s to my healthy tween!

Got Chips?

August 26, 2009
Frito Lay Babies
Oh please?
Can I haz sum?
Frito Lay Babies
Just one… please!

Frito lay Babies
Oh thank you..
See? That wasn’t so hard?

Frito Lay Babies
Yeah, enough already!

JumpStart: The Wii Edition

August 25, 2009

My Kids Are So Excited About The New Jumpstart Game for Wii!

Logo

A few months ago I got word from Jumpstart.com {kids educational computer game gurus} that they were about to release their first Wii game!

It’s called Pet Rescue
Talk about a rockin’ name? They showed me this video and I made the mistake of showing my 5yrold! He jumped up and down and has been giving me grief for weeks…

“when is it coming…?”

“Is it here yet…?”

TaDah! Last week..? It came. Jumpstart Pet Rescue for Wii.

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

And away we go……!

Boy playing Jumpstart Wii Pet Rescue Game

TK playing the Wii right out of the box… he can play most of the Pet Rescue areas, but he needed help with several parts. No worries? He simply roped his big sisters into ‘helping’ him.. Which really meant they got sucked into playing, and even completing a few levels of their own!

Even my 8yrold is thrilled to play the game. She said she wished it were a little bit more challenging, though? So that tells me it’s a great game for the age range of 4-8. Because it is plenty challenging for my 5yrold!

Here are some direct quotes from TK:

“When you’re at “Petland” you can teach your pet tricks! I taught my doggy to roll over and to jump up and up REALLY high!”

“There’s this slide thingy and when you go on it, that’s my other favorite part. It’s like a rope and it’s like you’re saving somebody, it’s like a Hang Glider!”

“When you fill up a book, (not really read it..) the first one was: my first day of school and you fill the whole book up and it stays in the library and when you go out of the library there’s another pet and it jumps out of a hiding place!”

Blueberry Sour Cream Bundt Cake

August 24, 2009
Say that 5x really fast!

This just might be the Best Blueberry Cake ever.

I must have this cake at least once per summer. Wanna know a trick? Teach your tween to cook and SHE’ll make it for you! That’s been the deal for the past 2-3 months. I told her if she’ll do the baking… I’ll happily be the cleaner-upper!

This cake is beyond yummy, and beyond pretty! It’s not totally easy to make and I was impressed that she made the cake part without any help from me at all…

The recipe I’ve been following for years calls for a bundt pan, but the recipe I re-found online from Penzeys Spices calls for a boring 13×9 pan.. believe me(!) go for your inner Martha here! USE a bundt pan!

Cake batter:

* 2 3/4 Cups flour
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 1 tsp. salt
* 3/4 Cup butter, softened
* 1 Cup sugar
* 3 eggs
* 1 1/2 Cups sour cream
* 2 tsp. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

Streusel:

* 3/4 Cup brown sugar
* 3/4 Cup chopped walnuts
* 1 1/2 tsp. CINNAMON (we used CHINA)
* 2 Cups blueberries, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream and VANILLA. Beat for an additional 2-3 minutes, until well blended. Combine the streusel ingredients except for the blueberries and reserve 3/4 cup. Toss the rest of the streusel with the blueberries. Spread 1/3 of the batter in the pan, top with 1/2 of the berry mixture, another third of the batter, the rest of the berries, and finally the remaining batter. Sprinkle on the reserved 3/4 cup streusel topping.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully turn the pan over onto a serving plate or cake stand and remove from pan. When completely cooled (2 hours or so) sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Totally yummy with real whipped cream of course!

Want more recipes?
Try these over at ASouthernFairyTale.com!

Church Chat: Some Spiritual Thoughts

August 22, 2009

I had to give a lesson in Relief Society.

(The Women’s Group in my church: read here for more.)

I wasn’t given a lesson manual or anything, the instruction was.. pray and think about what you feel the women in your congregation are in need of hearing.. ? Oh great…?

Turns out I had just picked up a book by Sheri Dew titled:

God Wants a Powerful People

I was intrigued with the title when I saw it. The word Powerful especially. People strong enough to withstand the trials and troubles of this life. People able to make it through tragedies and worse. It made me think about powerful people I know, whose lives are filled with difficulties and how amazed I am at them.

The Author tells a story about how she was given a pass card to enter church buildings after the security had been increased. But she had not needed it very often since she was recognized around the grounds by security. There was an early meeting she was attending and found that the security guards were not there and a door was locked. She rang a buzzer and the person who answered said, “Sister Dew do you have your security card with you?” When she answered yes, he told her that the card would get her into all the doors.

Here’s what she had to say:

The irony was unmistakable. For months I had carried with me a badge that had given me privileges I hadn’t understood or, worse, taken advantage of. I had not understood that badge’s power.

Isn’t that true of most of us? We have a power within us that is unmistakably given from on high. If you draw on that power you pretty much cannot fail.

Further in the same chapter of the book Ms. Dew points out 4 ways we can live up to this power given:

  1. God wants a powerful people. (Seems clear to me, if God wants it, it’s gonna happen eh?)
  2. He gives His power to those who are faithful and who qualify. (I’m guessing she means if you live a cruel and mean life, even though God wants to bless you He cannot. It’s that simple.)
  3. We therefore have a sacred obligation to seek after the power of God and then to use that power as He directs. (Again it’s simple: ask and it shall be given. Gives me the feeling that God is ready and waiting to offer assistance, waiting for me to just ask.)
  4. When we have the power of God with us, nothing is impossible. (There’s a popular phrase: Nothing is impossible for two people as long as one of them is the Lord.)

I’m not trying to ram my religion down your throat. I promise. But if you are willing to think a little deeper about your own religion or maybe your own spirituality? Then I’m happy.

Here’s a scripture she quotes:

And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them.

I like that. ‘…thine angels have charge over them.’ Sorta like a mother’s prayer over her children when they leave each day, huh?

Here’s my take away lesson from thinking about all this.
I have set a goal to invite the spirit into my life each morning. To look around and find the small and simple ways that the Lord is trying to ‘talk’ to me. And to genuinely listen. Sort of like saying a simple prayer each morning:

Dear God, please help me to hear when the spirit whispers, and then to act on it!

**
As a side note… a week ago, we were about to pass thru an intersection where the light was green. When out of NOwhere a cop car with lights on but NO siren came flying from the side direction running the red light! I totally did not see it coming. I was able to screech to a stop and felt like I barely missed a complete T-bone nightmare? Who knows? Was I protected? I dunno. But the kids were just as upset by it as I was, and we all agreed… it was a really close call.

I think I’ll stick to my simple daily prayer.

Family Reunion: Picture time…

August 20, 2009

How to document such a thing?

A Family Reunion is like…a box of chocolates….
Wait no.. it’s like stubbing your toe in the dark…
Wait… it’s like a giant hen house of cackling hens with the baby chicks running everywhere…
Or.. more like a zoo? The mess? The monkeys? The FUN!
Heaven… or Hell? Sometimes a little of both.

little boy in sprinkler black and white summer time fun

I come from one of THOSE kinds of families. The really big kind.

Please meet my big fat Mormon Family. 65+cousins on my mom’s side alone… Those 65+ cousins are nearly all grown and have children of their own.. how many you ask?? We lose count at 175+? Some of those cousins already have grand-kids. In fact I am a great aunt 3x over!

We get together every other year, rotating through my mother’s siblings like a roulette wheel. This past summer my mom was the ‘host’. This means everyone was invited back to our homestead in Eastern Utah… where 4Wheelin’ is King and staying dry while river rafting is NOT an option!

Who might you find at this big fat Mormon reunion?

A Dad with his baby… (OMGosh you did NOT just say THAT!)

Dad and baby family reunion

A Grandma…(contemplating the dishes for that many..again!)

grandma at family reunion

A Great-Grandma—My Dad’s Mom, My Dad’s grand-daughter (and my daughter).

great grandma and great grand kid family reunion

And a Happy Couple along with cousins teaching each other how to create earth shattering ARMpit Farts!

Photobucket

And one more for good measure…


It was pointed out to me recently that I’m not in any of the pictures from our recent trip to Utah? Um.. does anyone else have this problem? Where it appears that the whole family went on vacation and LEFT MOM HOME???


Next week.. the anniversary trip.. and I promise I AM in some of the pictures!

Keyboard Shortcut Keys I Use

August 18, 2009
Keyboard shortcut keys

I can’t live without these babies.
Keyboard Shortcuts for Firefox and Internet in general:

1) There are times when nothing will do but a heart.
Not the word. The icon: i♥u.
alt + 3. {Easy huh? ♥♥♥}

2) I open my pictures folder ALL. THE. TIME. Here’s a tutorial on how to create a keyboard shortcut to open your pictures folder.

3) My new favorite (this is thanks to the fabulous @ErinJeany who promised a tutorial complete with screenshots so-go-bug-her-about-that-eh?) is to download the FireFox Add-on called: InFormEnter. It helps with all that blog-commenting-form-entering especially helpful if you have a long blog title!!

4) F5, I swear the twitter world kept this secret from me! F5 is ‘refresh‘. As in when you are on your replies page in Twitter: F5 will refresh your replies! (And any other webpage.)

5) F6, I just found this one too. Jumps you up to the http:// box when you are in a webpage. I LOVE that!

6) M-dash. What? You know that longish dash thing? Like this—… {alt + 0151}

7) á: alt + 0225 { Voilá!}

8) è: alt + 0232 {When you must type Renèe}

These are some more common ones you might already know, but just in case:

Control T: Opens new tab
Control+shift+T: Opens recently closed tab (need this ALL the time!)
Control W: Closes the 26 open tabs I find opened and I don’t always know how?!
(Would love to be able to highlight and close more than one at a time tho??)
Control A: Select all
Control C: Copy selected
Control V: Paste Selected
Control F: Open Search Bar
Control J: Open downloads box (good when you need to revisit a recent download)
Control K: Switch to google search bar
Escape button: Stops loading a page
And a whole slew more @: Arnold’s Site.

*UPDATE
Jenn from You Know That Blog has added some more ‘alt codes‘ (I didn’t even know they were called that!)

© alt+0169
° degree alt+176
¢ alt+0162

Here is a list of more ‘alt codes‘.


Does anyone know how to get blogger.com to create a shortcut for entering a link? {It’s control-K in word?}

Photo Credit: Kathryn_Rotondo

To Cell Phone or Not To Cell Phone?

August 14, 2009

It’s that time. You know….
Time to make the big decision…
Should we or shouldn’t we?

The oldest is 11.

And She’s going to Jr. High in a week.
And she thinks she needs a cell phone.

And for over a year… we’ve said no. What the heck does a 10yrold need with a cell phone? Did you have one when you were 10? What did you do when your bus was late from a field trip? What did you do when you were ready to come home from a sleepover? What did you do when you got sick at school?

Oh my heck! You used a PHONE… how crazy is that, you walked up to a teacher and asked to use the phone?

The thing is… she’s going to Jr. High NOW, {that would be 20 years different than when I did}. If she’s freaked out at a friend’s house and doesn’t dare ask to use the phone..that could be awful.. if her bus is late from a volleyball trip over the mountain… I’ll be home assuming the worst… if she’s at the skating rink with friends and they are finished early and were forced to sit there waiting… I’d feel bad at least?

These all three happened in the last year. And each time she either borrowed a friend’s cell phone, or I ended up leaving my phone with her.

So which is it? Does she NEED a phone.. or do I need her to have one?

In my post ‘You Gave Your Toddler A Cell Phone?’

Um.. I was shocked.. to say the least. Over 70 people voted, and there were 4 who said they would or already did give their toddler a cell phone! Wow I thought that sounded crazy?

You can see the discussion in the comments on that post.. after chatting both here on my blog and over on Facebook.. I was enlightened as to WHY people offered their toddler a cell phone.

Blogging Pal Arizona said:

I was in the hospital for 6 weeks when I was pregnant with my twins (and then for 2 more weeks while they were in the NICU) and I gave my son a cell phone while i was an inpatient so he could always get a hold of me. He was 2 at the time. Yes. 2 YEARS OLD. I set it up to speed dial me and he would call me or I’d call him and we’d talk (as well as you could with a 2 yr old!). It helped alleviate the stress he was going through with me gone and it made me feel a little better that I could call him and hear his voice when I wanted to. He used to say he had Mama in his pocket. My husband took it away from him a couple of times because he said my son was going to get brain cancer from it, but I made sure he got it back. When I got out of the hospital we took it away for good since he had no one to call anymore. When he goes out with my MIL I sometimes give him the phone again so he can call if he gets lost (he’s now 4 and can do that).

Others voted to never give a kid a cell phone, instead let ’em buy one when they are out of high school:

From Chatty Natty’s teaching experience:

I voted never! I think it’s completely ridiculous how children these days are glued to technology, especially their cell phones. Whatever happened to being a kid?

However nearly 75% said they would buy a phone for a kid age 11 or older. I’m not saying my poll is scientific or anything. But that’s a pretty big percentage? And while here in our household we’ve been sittin’ the fence for a long time… we are currently leaning towards the cell phone side of the pasture.

Mom of older kids: Georgie puts it this way:

when all the children were in 5th grade we got them a pre-paid phone they had to prove responsible by buying their minutes and not loosing or tearing up the phone-

doing it this way taught them more than responsibility since it was prepaid and they used allowance to buy minutes they learned to keep conversations and texting to a minimum

Once they hit 6th grade we added them to our plan…so far so good

According to The Yankee Group {a research firm}, 54% of 8 to 12yrolds will have cell phones by 2010. And as of last year, about 60 percent of teenagers had cell phones.

I think we all agree there is a safety issue concerning kids tween to teen, making it worth getting them a cell phone. But what about the dangers associated with cell phones themselves? We recently sat thru a discussion sponsored by my local church about ‘Sexting’ in addition to other problems. Do I want to open my kid up to some of these issues? Here is a great article explaining some dangers associated with kids and cell phones. (FYI: They want to sell you parental control software..but I still appreciated the article. )

That brings me to companies who sell phones aimed at tweens and younger? Phones that have few keys, and parental controls built in, and limits on everything from incoming to outgoing, texts and all that… Kajeet.com is one and there are others?

Here’s the bottom line for me. What do I want her to get out of having a phone? I think it’s a really great way to help her learn responsibility (both in limiting herself to calls we approve of, and taking care of the phone), and learn to adapt and adjust to these exact ‘scary’ things in this big world. I don’t want to scare her. I want to empower her with knowledge and understanding that these things don’t have to happen to her. That she can control it. And stay away from it.

Because honestly there are a lot more bigger, scarier things out there, High School is right around the corner, {I can barely imagine having a teenage driver}! I’d rather she practiced a little independence and responsibility now when the outcome (like her academics) aren’t going to count so much in her future.

What are your thoughts? Can a kid in Jr. High make it without a cell phone?


An additional resource I found interesting is this Texting Primer for parents from AT&T: Text2Connect with Teens


From ParentMap.com: A cell phone contract
Time limits, Phone Curfew, Minutes, Texting, Costs.


What features to look for when buying a phone for your Tween, from looks to Technology.

*note: See my twitter favorites folder for additional opinions on cell phone use for children.

Check out the comments, Jenn’s story about her daughter has just convinced me. The phone IS happening!

Do YOU Make It? These Moms Do!

August 14, 2009

A big shout out today for Quinn Curtis… A gal who has taken what life has thrown her and not only made lemonade, she’s made a banquet of possibilities for other Moms Who Make It!

Quinn (Of CreatedByMom.com) and Jyl (of MomitForward.com)

I was so excited when I realized that Quinn’s Moms Who Make It conference was scheduled when I was going to be in Utah! I finally got to meet some of my fave Utah bloggers/tweeters and more! (You’d think I’d have met them while I LIVED there huh??)

Some great moments for me were:

Big Thanks to Marcel Walker for ‘donating’ this real photo to my blog today! She rocks.. check out her photog stuff, if you are in Utah.. You’ll be happy you did! (@rawmelissa, @quinncurtis, @sugarjones, @todaysmama, @wasatchwoman, @startupprincess)
  • Meeting up with Pam Baumeister the editor of Wasatch Woman. Pregnant and all.. how I wish I’d gotten a photo of her cute self!
  • MEETING the cookies made by the Dough Girl! (I mean meeting Tami the Dough Girl..)
  • Listening to Sugar Jones talking about ways we all can overcome the crap thrown at us.
  • Being amazed by Cari Greers story. Her face was almost literally ripped off during a horrible car accident, she was able to recover and keep her chin up..
  • Hearing Kelly King-Anderson talk about her life and the ways she keeps the spiritual IN it!
  • Did I mention cookies? (Oh my gosh the Ginger ones…!) Dough Girl promises me she will ship them to Oregon soon!
  • Riding in a car with the MomFaves team to get a coffee/soda…
  • Brainstorming ways to use social media for a local photographer: Marcel Walker.
  • Sittin’ in the BACK of the room with supermomcentral for the break out sessions!
    (Dude— Lauren: Like.. did you take any pictures? I have none of ya!)

Sugar Jones gettin’ a facial, YO! Debbie of Cranberry Fries and Evonne Sell the Life and DANCER of the party from Sell Party of 3! The MomFaves Dynamic Duo: Josh and Rebecca Unfried, April from SweetLifeInTheValley.com, Julie from CrazyBeautiful , Danielle Mahoney of Dream Dinners in Orem (think she’ll cook for me next time I’m in Town??)

I was already a fan of the awesome Seth Jenks. But meeting him in person was seriously a treat.. he’s just a kid for pete’s sake! Look at his baby face.. ahem.. he’s single everyone!

Marie from MakeandTakes.com and Kim from YouCanMakeThis.com, With Jyl from StuffinHerFace.com oh I mean… MomItForward.com

And now.. the ultimate Utah #followfriday
Moms Who Make It List:

@createdbymom
@jacquefairbourn
@
ProjectSAHM
@
ScrapItUp
@ktnaturals
@
thesassymom
@Jefra
@
SeagullFountain
@
ArtShoppeUtah
@LittleTipsyBlog
@
georgana
@crazibeautifulW
@olivejuiceandco
@daniellemahoney
@sethjenks
@jylmomif
@momfaves
@evonnesell
@supermomcentral
@keepingupwmom
@makeandtakes
@laurabarnett
@youcanmakethis
@inevergrewup
@rawmelissa
@carissarogers
@wasatchwoman
@todaysmama
@emihill
@sugarjones
@startupprincess
@marcel_walker
@petite_elefant
@sweetlifeinthe
@mydoughgirl
@thepottedpansy
@phemom
@thrilledrebecca
@shoeparty
@rhonnafarrer

Whew! My fingers are tired… and I’m totally missing some! I’ll keep updating this list… please send me any if you have them!? Thanks!

I Heart Silly Faces (and cousins)

August 12, 2009

Here’s my official I Heart Faces submission.

My nephew. I didn’t even ask him… he’s just silly by nature! (please click to see my runner up photo below—I had the hardest time deciding which one to submit this week!)