Based on statistics 1 of my children

I am a mom of 6 VERY different kiddos and a unique son in law was added in the mix last year. My growing family fricking rocks, perfect hell NO, but awesome? hell YES! I LOVE IT and look forward to what the future holds for each 1. Seeing them all grow and change as they walk, and sometimes run thru these years is priceless. Ups and downs? Yes, of course! Adventure? Absolutely!

Now the not so pretty truth… Based on statistics chances are at least 1 of my kids will never have kids, 1 may have lots of kids, 1 may marry someone of a different race, 1 may be gay, 1 may end up a teen parent, 1 may become a drug addict, 1 may become a felon, 1 may drop out of school (high or college), 1 may get on food stamps, 1 may be fat, 1 may change their religion 5 times or choose to not believe in a higher power at all, and the list goes on, these are just a few things that some people in today’s world look down upon and choose to judge others over. I am not saying that I have never judged someone, we all have, everyone judges, period. But I have chosen to be more aware of how my comments, reactions, and the look I give people can affect how they feel about themselves. I have chosen to accept. Accept that even if I do not agree or like what someone else is doing that it is not my place to “make them feel bad about it”, especially not as a parent.

“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” ― Billy Graham

When it comes to my own kids, and I speak for MYSELF here, it is my job to raise them with love, security, nurture, faith, comfort, rules, guidance, respect, focus, limits, structure, consequences, routines, traditions, expectations, and so so so much more. As a mom of many I choose to be very open minded, maybe it is easier for me than others to make that choice, I don’t know. But what I do know is that our youth are suffering and it is heart breaking! Over just the last 2 weeks I have spoke with 3 teens (and many more over months & years) that are going thru stuff  that they can’t share at home or with their families or that have tried and have been judged and called a sinner etc. How do you think they feel right now? What kinds of things are they thinking? Life is hard on adults, imagine how hard it is on our youth… I am not saying that I am a better parent then anyone else but 1 thing I am without a doubt is understanding. I understand my kids will make mistakes, and will make choices I will not approve of (but WILL love them thru it), will fall on their faces, will sneak behind my back and break rules, will be people others will judge, will judge people themselves, and will do their best to find their way in this harsh crazy world we all live in, I did these things, we all did at some point.

Lord please help me to be the mom my kids and other kids can come to and openly talk to and trust, help me be a person who can show them they are loved and important and that THEIR feelings matter if they don’t have that at home or in their circle of people, help me to try not to “understand” what they are going thru but to be the listening ear and the loving hug that they need when they have made a choice that is out of the “normal” for the world, help me help others to open their hearts to our youth and to love them unconditionally.  My heart is breaking for so many young people that don’t have love and acceptance, especially by the people they love and cherish. I know there are things that my kids have not told me and may have been more comfortable telling other people or each other (their “sister code”) but as long as they are able to talk to a person they trust about whatever it is then it puts my heart at peace, yes I want them to be able to tell me anything, of course, but I also know my teens and how it is hard for teens including mine to tell their parent(s) things when they think they may have “let them down”.

I, over time, have asked my teens, sometimes in a round about way, how they would expect me to react and/or want me to react to different situations in life as they come or how they would react if someone they love were faced with trails. Love and acceptance goes a along way… Yes folks, their opinion matters! Doesn’t mean I will do it their way but their opinion how they would come out of a situation in the most positive way matters. I have not personally dealt with all of these situations listed but know people who have and asked for their feedback as to how they did or wish they had handled it. To name a few…

If your child comes home this evening and tells you that he/she is gay, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, and be their trusted guide thru this new journey in their life! Do you have to like it!? No but they are your child and after all, God made them just the way they are 🙂 They will be bullied and judged enough during this journey, be the support they are longing for. Will it be hard for you to hear? Possibly, but imagine how hard it was for them to tell you and how scared they were but trusted their guide to talk to you shaking inside hoping that you will just pull them in and hug them tight and tell them you love them just they way they are.

If your child comes home this evening and tells you that he/she is using drugs and needs help, HELP THEM, ACCEPT THEM, LOVE THEM,  and be the trusted guide to get them thru this oh so heavy battle. God has given each of you the strength to walk this walk and get thru this and onto a path of sobriety. Easy? No Worth the struggle? YES!

If your child comes home tonight and tells you that they have been sexually abused, BELIEVE THEM, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, CHOOSE THEM, NOT the abuser (NO matter how much you “love and trust” him or her!) and be their trusted guide to healing and trusting that God has not punished by “allowing” this to happen to them but has equipped them to help others and to grow from their experience. Help them see this and truly believe it. Some of us have been there and know how easy it is to blame things that happen on our lives on our past, help them to grow away from doing that. Help them to build their happiness, security and safety higher than ever so they can reach others with their strength. Sadly a lot of times the abuser is believed and chosen over the children, the victims, this my friends will forever damage the child, their world, their hearts & souls, their trust, their bond with you as their parent and who knows what else. God trusted you to raise and love your child, choose them.

If you find drugs or cigarettes or porn in your childs room, LOVE THEM, TALK TO THEM (maybe yell a little hehe), ACCEPT THEM, try to understand that this could be an addiction and they may be silently screaming for help. God has equipped you both with a way to break this cycle and to heal from addiction and to get to a brighter path. You can do this together, but addiction alone is a harsh and scary thing. Don’t turn your back on them. Right now is when they need you the most.

If your teen comes home today and tells you she is pregnant or he got someone pregnant, LOVE THEM, TALK TO THEM, ACCEPT THEM and face what has happened together. You, at this point, can’t change what has been done. All you can do is join together and discuss what the next steps are. They will be scared and nervous and so unsure of what will happen to their future. Assure them they are not alone. Is it okay this happened? Of course not, but it did and now the should’ve would’ve could’ve crap has no meaning. God equipped you all with the patience, strength and faith to walk this path so get to stepping and have faith it is all a part of the “bigger plan”.

If your child is caught stealing and you get that dreaded call from the police or family member they stole from, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, HELP THEM, be the person that can and will teach them it is wrong and that they will have to face the consequences that come with breaking the law. God has given you the patience and strength to love them thru bad situations and when they make mistakes.

Our kids are going to f**k up folks! We all have, we all still will! We are all only human and often times we forget that our youth deserves the same 2nd, 3rd, 18th, 21973268th chance with us as parents as our maker gives us! I will say it again, NO I am not a perfect parent and NO I am not telling anyone how to parent I am simply stating how we as parents can change our future our youth with loving them thru the crap in this world. They are NOT “just kids or just teens or just children” they are people, people with REAL feelings, heart, emotions and souls who are fueled by and need love, care and support from us adults.

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Mama Bear Plus 6

A large family-How to keep it all together!

If you are like me, trying to keep track of everything without post its, scrap paper taped everywhere, an occasional pen art reminder on the back of your hand, dry erase boards full, desire for a chalk board refrigerator or wall, an overloaded smartphone calendar etc is IMPOSSIBLE! And with all those things I still miss so much, why? NO organization to the madness!!

The dreaded call from the dentist office stating that this is the 2nd time we missed an appointment and next time we will be charged and/or placed on a “walk in and wait basis” and the next time you see the smiling receptionist there she quickly loses her smile and stares at you with the “how dare you miss appointment and don’t call in so we can see someone who takes their teeth care more serious” look… Ya enough is enough! I like having friends and chatting it up with all office staff everywhere I go! It is time to fix this!

My 1st thought, create my own family calendar that has more than the usual “Calender fit for the whole family” (whose family!? NOT mine!) LIE! 1 that will fit all our 6 of us and has room for other family members that I need to remember stuff for, just because they have grown up and moved out doesn’t mean there isn’t any special dates or appointments that I need to know for them from time to time! They just moved they didn’t fall of the face of the Earth!

I get it, I need a unique calendar and so I shall make my own. Buuttt until then, which could very well be by the time my own kids need it for their families or maybe their families after that, or may always remain an idea or thought, I will have to use 1 that works best for us. 1 that can keep up with this crazy thing we call life in this house. I have searched and have found very few that I like. I get it, most families don’t have 6+ kids, but I do so I need what works for us!

I found this Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Wall Calendar! It is AWESOME! It is filled with monthly projects, because yes I space so much stuff and need reminders like these, it has space for dinner menus (um heck to the YES!), it has plenty of space for all my crazy crew and all their “stuff”, it has space for mom too (yes occasionally I take time to visit the doc or dentist, I know shocking!), it has space for notes and reminders (thank goodness!), the quotes on each page are an added bonus cause sometimes we need like things like positive sayings to keep us on track, and so on! I am SO digging this Amy Knapp chick, she has a clue about life chaos and I like people like that!

So if you are a nut job like myself and have a large family whether it is your own kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews, a retirement home, a pet hotel, a zoo, etc grab yourself 1 of these calendars and organize your life this year! Do it for your sanity (and for your children’s safety!) and for your reputation at the dentists office!

 

P.S. Happy Organizing! If you have any tips or calendars or suggestions please share them with us!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Hot Cocoa Mama Style

Ahh December… Just saying that word makes me instantly think of the smell of pine or apple cinnamon, the colors red and green, Christmas lights & music, all the awesome Christmas movies that play that make me all giddy,  all the temporary delish coffee creamers and so much more including making me want to drink hot cocoa (yes only in December do I crave this stuff!)!

Anyone who knows me knows I will drink my coffee iced all year, yes even on the 5 degree snowy days but I sure do love a good cup of hot cocoa, who doesn’t!? I do however like to spice it up a lil, I mean plain hot cocoa is good buuutt add a scoop of instant coffee grounds (I highly recommend that you skip this step when making a cup of hot cocoa for your children, just saying!) and it is now GREAT and what is even better (yes it can actually get better at this point!) is adding my own amount of those lil tiny marshmallows! Now whoever thought of packaging those for people like me and so many others who love a lil hot cocoa with their marshmallows is genius! And then there are those days when peppermint is calling my name so I may add a small scoop of peppermint chips as well, YUM!

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Do you buy store bought hot cocoa or make your own!? I usually buy several boxes of store bought for the days when I run out of my homemade stuff so the kids don’t go without when my hands are too frozen from snowball fights to whip up a batch of homemade. My kids will drink this stuff daily and on the weekends sometimes several times a day during the cold months! (Just an FYI, you can add lil things like peppermint chips or mini choco chips and it makes it a great way to sneak in some chia seeds or supplements hehe)

Our Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 cup Powdered Coffee Creamer

1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Mix all ingredients well, I use a fork or whisk. Store in an air tight container.

FYI: I found a recipe that also uses Ovaltine in it so if you would like a “malt hot cocoa” then you can add 1/2 cup Chocolate Malt Ovaltine to the mix. You can change the ingredients as needed to make it sweeter or add flavored coffee creamer to change it up as well! The possibilities are endless and just think, you have all winter to try all kinds of cocoa!

 A day after Christmas shopping… You know the day that you fight the crowd, spend more than you ever imagined, took an hour to find a parking spot, couldn’t find what you were looking for, forgot several items on your list, and the list goes on. On days like those there are thing like Baileys, Kahlua, Smirnoff Whipped Cream or Marshmallow Vodka, Peppermint Schnapps, Rum… You get where I am going with this! A lil splash when the day is done= Hot Cocoa Mama Style!

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Hot Cocoa shopping right here!


P.S. If you have any great recipes or ideas to share, please don’t hesitate to comment below! Thank you =)

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

Finding life, family and work balance

Since I work from home (and currently go to online school) I always hear people say how lucky I am or how lucky my kids are to have their mom home etc. Yes I feel SO blessed to be able to work from home with them and have a flexible schedule (my wish for all parents that want flexible schedules!) I am home to make meals/dinner, to go to school things, to run them to all their appointments, to run them clothes or money when they forget it and the list goes on.

On a side note: I don’t think my teens feel very “lucky” having mom home. No messing around after school, no ditching school, no sneaking people over and any other things teens look forward to when their parents are away. Not that they would do this if I worked outside the home but there is no opportunities to find out hehe.

Working from home is HARD, it is not all fancy and fairytale-ish as some people and media make it seem! With all the things and more mentioned above it is VERY distracting when trying to get things done! There are days and weeks that fly by that I feel like I wasn’t productive at all. And as those types of days and weeks pass, the list of things to do gets longer and income coming in is affected. I make lists, print calendars and create deadlines and it still doesn’t keep the distractions down! From cell phone to laundry to dogs to cats to house phone to emails to doorbell to cooking to trying to keep the house clean to kids kids kids… There are distractions around every corner. There are days when they get the best of me, what can I say, I am only human!

This month (December) (I know, crazy to do around the holidays but cant keep putting it off!)I have started a new way of making my time productive as well as meeting the needs of the house and family. I have a planner now and started literally making “appointments” for stuff that needs to get done, plus using my printed calendars I have created time slots with beginning and ending times not just jotting 6-8 things that I need to get done each day on it. I need to be more disciplined and make time for the “work” stuff and time for the kids so I am not always saying to them that I need to get this and that done before we can go for a walk or before we go on a bike ride or sledding or just laying with them watching a movie and NOT feeling guiltily about doing it and then half the time not getting to do any of it cause it took too much time to tend to 3 things at once while trying to take a call or write a page in my book or get research done for school. I am determined to balance life, work and family and will continue to look for ways to do so as I live and learn. So starting with this and will see how it goes 🙂

Want to share this awesome blog I so enjoy reading! Plus she has GREAT tools & tips for organizing your life!

http://justagirlandherblog.com/how-i-organized-my-whole-life/

My kids are in school M-Fri, except for my son who only goes part time 3 days a week, and I pretty much have time from 8-3pm give or take to be productive so starting here and NOW! I will keep everyone posted as I go thru this new structure and system as I have had several emails asking how I balance it all, so I am admitting to the world that I don’t have all the right answers and I don’t have it all together, yes I am scattered a bit but I am a work in progress! Hmm maybe a great idea for a newsletter!

I suffer from “Guilty Mommy Syndrome”! I feel bad when I can’t give them all my time and attention. I try to live by the moto “Housework can wait, they will only be little once” Buuutt all my work is “Housework”… And this my friends is how I get SO far behind!
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When my son, who is 6, is home on his non school days he has a hard time with mommy not being able to give him all my time and attention so I have found him several workbooks that he works in while mommy works. We also LOVE ABC Mouse! I also used ABC Mouse when I ran a childcare and used it when I taught preschool. I HIGHLY recommend it! And the best part… Try it FREE for a whole month! Guaranteed you will be sold and your kids will love it, just saying 🙂


Here are some planner/organize your life products! I bought and love so far, the “Mom’s Family Desk Planner”

P.S. Do you have any time saving, balancing life/work, get stuff done tips that you can share!? Please please do! We are all opens ears/eyes here!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Dreams can become reality

I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. I lived there for 36 years, till July 17th of 2012 when I packed up 5 of my 6 kiddos (my oldest daughter would soon learn she too had outgrown Tucson and join her mama along with her then fiancé just 2 short months later) & my 2 labs in my suburban and left behind all I ever known following the moving truck with all we owned in it!

 Tucson, when you get burned out on a place you just know it is time to go & I was burned the heck out. On top of the fact it is not voted to greatest place to raise kids, and I have plenty of those! As for us, we had seen and done it all! Is it a bad place to live? No not really. There are actually people who love it there and will never leave. There are people who have it on their list of places to move when they retire, which is a great idea for those who love the heat and desert!  And even weirder, people vacation there in the summer & never leave the hotel pool!

I was ready for a change! Ready to leave behind the negative memories. Ready to create a new life in a new place with new people. Ready for a peaceful place. Ready for water, lots of water and trees lots of trees! A new beginning!? YES please!

I had been burned out of Tucson for several years but as time went on the urge to go got stronger. Even when I tried to convince myself that I should stay I couldn’t and let’s face it I am good at talking myself into stuff & could not get past the desire to GO! I had spent many hours researching places to move to  over the years that was very family friendly, places that had water, green and trees. Places that had stuff to do, places that had nightlife but not overcrowded with clubs, places that had good schools and affordable living. Places that had NO natural disasters, that it is important you know!

After having a list of 10 I narrowed it down to 5 then to 2. My finals- Colorado Springs & Spokane. How do I choose!? Write them on paper, put them in a hat and draw!? Eeney Meeny Moe!? Look  for jobs in both places and see what happens!? Geez this is hard! As I am praying, contemplating, and struggling with this I decide to start looking for a house. Do you know how scary Craigslist can be!? SCAM City! Found so many nice houses that were attached to scam after scam… Then it hits me! Place my own “searching for house” in both places and see what happens! As I pray God please bring the house that is meant for us in the place you want us to be!  Yes I am a big dreamer aren’t I!? But I can never dream bigger than my God can make happen!

 We received many emails about houses, some scams yes but some real people with real houses in both places. Most not for us but a few that would work.  We got excited over a few and even placed deposits on 2 that fell thru, both in Spokane. Frustration sets in… Maybe He wants me in Tucson. Why would He want to punish me like that!? He taught me patience during those trying months no doubt! Then the email that changed my life came in the early months of 2012! An email from a couple that live in a house and had another house that they wanted to rent out/sell  in a little place right outside of Spokane, Nine Mile Falls. Isn’t the name enough to put a smile on your face!? It just sounds beautiful! After many emails and phone calls back and forth I knew this was it! SO much so I sent my daughter & future son in law to WA to see it & take lots of pictures for me since I couldn’t go due to work (well just being honest, to make sure it wasn’t another scam hehe)

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The week they were there they fell in love with the area, the house, all was a go 110%! My daughter kept saying “Mom this house and area is so you, it is so beautiful, everyone here owns labs, it is somewhere  you will love to no end, you must go! And the kitchen mom, it IS the kitchen of your dreams!” (she wasn’t kidding!) That girl knows me all too well! Spouse at the time lined up a great job offer while I would spend my time working on the business we planned to open there, schools checked out to be beyond excellent, all seemed to just fall into place…

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Fast forward past the crappy next few months of my marriage ending, closing businesses, almost backing out of move (after all what crazy lady would pick up 5 kids and 2 dog and move with no spouse, no job, no plan to a place I had never even visited!), SO many life changes and we are right back to where dreams really do come true! July 17th 2012 we leave “all we ever knew” to a new “all we could ever dream of”!

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P.S. If you could move anywhere, where would you go!? If it is somewhere other then where you live now, what is holding you back!?

Mama Bear Plus 6

How is my oldest child still alive?

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How is my child still alive!?

A friend of mine recently had a baby and had asked me about any good new mom blogs, we talked for a bit about what she has been told, read and thinks is good and not so good advice. Wow times have changed haven’t they!?

Being a young mom when I had my 1st daughter and so clueless I must have read every book there was to read on pregnancy, birth and raising kids. I am an only child raised by my mom, grandma and uncles so my mom was not ooberly full of advice and info so I went by what I read. When I had my 1st daughter over 20 years ago there was no internet, no groups or hangouts online, no parenting advice columns, we new moms read real books in real libraries or magazines on grocery store shelves.

I read that breast feeding was good but was not  supported in the hospital I delivered, they said formula was better with all the extras breast milk didn’t have(whatever that was!) plus they said it was easier then nursing (which I learned with the next baby was NOT the case!)so I gave up after 2 short months. How was I to know any better!?Hey at least she was born when there was an actual formula instead of the home made stuff from back in the day right!? As far as my next 5, “breast was best” was making its way and was more encouraged as time went on so to follow the good mama standards they were all breast fed at different lengths. I can tell you honestly that I don’t see a difference in breast or formula babies when it comes to MY “all so different kiddos” now that they are older. So for all you formula choosing mamas, no need to be feeling guilty!

 No solids till 6 months but you could put rice cereal in bottles to help them sleep better!? Huh… Well of course she had lots of rice cereal in a bottle; they actually made bottles for solid foods so no need to cut the nipples of her regular bottles! Started the rest of the children on solids as they were each ready, and I do believe that I added cereal to all their bottles even when they stopped selling the “solids bottle”. Just an fyi, no allergies in any of my kiddos.

  sassy-bpa-free-baby-food-nursers_BG02470No need to use bottled water tap was fine but you must boil bottles and nipples before use so I did. I must be honest here, I only did this for the 1st few weeks then washed by hand and that’s it. I did however buy the Playtex bottles with the liners (clean bottle every time kinda bottle lol), even if the 1st type had the brown rubber nipple you had to stretch over the top of the bottle and I spilt at least half of the bottles I prepared. Thank goodness for the advance in bottle technology as the years went on. Was a Playtex, Avent and Dr. Brown bottle user.  I know now if I had an infant I would be lost without a doubt over which bottle out of the 200 on the baby isle I would use.

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Do not let her stand on her legs till 6+ months or she will be bowlegged for life. Let’s face it, trying to get an active 4 month old to stay seated on your lap for long periods of time was not going to happen, so she stood and jumped up and down on every lap that would allow it. I spent the 1st 2 years staring at her legs as she walked to make sure I addressed the pediatrician if I was a glimpse of bow in her legs.  By the time I had my 3rd daughter I bought her a jumperoo and exersaucer to exercise her legs by the time she 3 months and guess what, no bow in any of their legs!

She should be woke up at night to be changed and fed. This got me confused with the whole “sleep when baby sleeps” advice so I went with the sleep part. Followed the same with each 1 of the rest of the children, they all seem fine today, at least I don’t think it had any long term affects.

Rub her down with alcohol if she ever ran a temp. I must admit I did this. Didn’t you with your infant!? Although I don’t think it helped much. Never tried this again after the 1st year of my 1st daughters life. I even administered all those recalled cough syrups they do not even make any more, oopise.

Babies slept best when the room was dark and quiet. I was a complete sucker for this advice! Dang this made my life so much harder than it needed to be, but I learned fast with my next 5 children that this advice was a huge no no. The rest of my babies could sleep in the living room with the normal house stuff, other kids, vacuum running etc. Ahh what a blessing!  Thank goodness I learned that advice was NO good fast!

Belly to sleep so they didn’t choke if they vomited was stressed in every book I read so I made sure I did that. Good grief how scary now that I think back. By the time I had my 2nd Pampers had “back to sleep” printed on all their diapers and hospitals started teaching this. So the rest were back sleepers till they learned to roll. As a person whose life has been affected by losing a child that even though he was not mine we loved him dearly, to SIDS I cannot stress this enough! Even side sleeping is not considered safe anymore!

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Co-sleeping was a huge no. So she was in her crib from day 1. My 2nd daughter as well. My next 4 were all co-sleepers from about 6+ months till they were ready to sleep in their own bed. Confession-my son is 5 and still sleeps with his mama. I know he will soon be in his own bed so I am enjoying this as long as I can. Co-sleeping is not for everyone and I do not suggest it for every family, especially families with newborns. But then again that is only my personal opinion. I have been reading SO many oh so sad stories in the news about infants that lives were lost due to co-sleeping,  ugh. SIDS may or may not be preventable but if there is a way to reduce the chances then, do that lots of that, the loss is far too tremendous!

Do not pick up baby every time she cries cause you will spoil her. Let her cry it out. I am a complete sucker for a baby cry! This was advice that went in 1 ear and out the other. My own personal feelings took over and I felt the need to comfort my infants every whimper they made and will do the same for any infant in my care, always. And sure as heck can’t wait to “spoil” the crap out of my grandbabies! They don’t cry to annoy, they need something, even if it is just to be loved and feel close to you.  Yes some are a lil more needy than others, so are adults!

The good ole whiskey on teething gums. Can honestly say I never tried this. But am not judging or knocking you if you have or do! Good ole frozen rags, Oragel and teething tabs work just fine.

If she starts to suck her thumb make sure to out hot sauce so she doesn’t keep doing it & have buck teeth. Oh dear, I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. Out of 6 I had 2 pacifiers users that didn’t “abuse” the length of pacifier time and 1 finger sucker that took some time to break but all is good without hot sauce (okay so what if she needs braces in a few years haha!)

Let the TV occupy your child as long as it is somewhat educational. Guilty. Barney, Big Comfy Couch, Sesame Street, etc was always on at our house and yes my 1st daughter spent much of her day walking around singing and dancing to these shows! As more kids came they begin to play more together and outside etc but to this day my youngest who is 5 still loves some PBS and Sprout within reason!

Bite your child back if she bites another child. I think I may have done this but I think it was when I got bit I then lightly bit back. Well maybe not lightly but I know for sure I didn’t break skin! (I am so only kidding!)

I know I missed lots and there is so much more out there, please please share any and/or all the weird, bad, or even good parenting advice you have gotten and either followed or didn’t follow! Can’t wait to hear these!

FYI: Do not follow anything that I did or do with your own babies until you consult your child’s doctor. ALL babies are different.

Mama Bear Plus 6

When tragedy strikes

What do you tell your children when a tragedy strikes in our world?

How do you respond when tragedy hits?

Do you let them watch the news coverage?

Have you ever considered going to help where the help is needed?

We live in a world where bad things happen. Period. We can try our best to keep our kids from hearing about it, if that is your choice but if they are in public school it is impossible to do so. And my thoughts are that I would rather my younger children hear about this stuff from me and/or at home where I can explain and well… kinda sugar coat it and make them feel safe. It is hard to explain to a young child that some people are sick and need help and if they don’t get it then they do bad things or that there may be times when someone is so hurt and sad and that they don’t have anyone to help them feel or get better and they make choices that are unsafe and hurts others or how Mother Nature is not able to be controlled and sometimes she brings big bad storms to different areas. I explain that we will do all we can to stay safe at home and at stores etc and that teachers and school staff are trained to keep them safe from bad people while they are at school. I explain that yes it bad when bad storms it places and take people’s homes and businesses but that we have to see beyond that and see how wonderful it is that people all work together and build relationships and new towns and homes and it is all fresh and new and with it comes many new friendships. Not sure my answers are the best and not sure how other parents answer these questions or concerns but it keeps my kiddos concern for themselves and others at a minimum and we all know that they should not have to worry about the big bad world as children, they will have enough of that when they grow up.

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Honestly it tears my heart up when I hear bad news, duh, doesn’t it hurt everyone!? I am pretty good at not freaking out too bad when I hear of crap on the news or radio in front of the kids but do express my sadness & concern, after all they need to see how we adults handle tragedy so they know they can go thru the emotions as well and will get thru it. Eyes are always on us parents. Yes even in our weakest moments…

We are not big TV watchers in our house and surely do not watch the news very often at all. When needed, I do allow them to watch the news. And I am right there while they watch it and explain what is going on and the updates etc. When something bad has happened I do not allow them to watch the coverage over and over and not after the 1st day. I feel as a small child sees the news coverage it will scare them and make them nervous as it is no matter how much I tell them they are safe and if they keep watching it their little minds may think that it is happening over and over as they may not understand that it is recorded and is just being replayed and oh how SO scary that would be for a little 1.

1 day as we are watching some severe storm coverage and how the towns had been leveled my 7 year old daughter is watching the coverage with me and say “Mommy who is helping them? Who can help them if their cars and tools are all gone in the storm?” I explained that people from all over go and help. I tell her America pulls together and people fly and drive there from all over the US and help them pick up the pieces, hug them when needed, get them to shelter, help them rebuild etc. And she says “Well we have a big family and we could help a lot if we all go there.” She had a great point and what a HUGE blessing that would be to be able to go and help others when help is needed. What an impact that would have on our whole family to truly be able to help out where help is needed and to be able to touch someone else’s life. So on the list of things we NEED to & will do it goes.

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P. S. These are just my thoughts and the way I handle these things and life with my kids. It may not be “right” or “wrong” but it is what works for us. I would LOVE to hear how others handle these types of things! Please share your thoughts!

 Mama Bear Plus 6

Our kids with social media, apps and sexting, oh my!

Every parent says it won’t happen to them or their child. I am here to tell you that you & your child are not excluded from the negative  social media/apps and sexting world. If you have kids of any age, please take a moment to read this and to open your mind up about what is out there at our children’s fingertips, and this is only a small portion of it!

I am a mama of 6. I have said “I have been there done that, it will not happen to my kids I keep an eye on all their activity, I know who they are friends with. I check their phones and FB accounts” and the list goes on. I can tell you that I was not prepared for what I did find out when I dug a little deeper about what my kids were really up too! Always trust that mama instinct! From that point on I want to inform all parents! I want to shout it across the mountain tops! Let’s keep our children’s innocence as long as we can folks!

Remember MySpace!? Was it just me or did it seem like technology was amazing but semi innocent back then compared to now!? I had 1, my older 3 daughters had 1 and it never seemed like it was problematic with negative stuff. But now a whole new world is upon us and we as parents are just trying to stay caught up with it all…

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So I will break down what I know about social media/apps and sexting. I will also include what teenagers from several age groups have to say about each app. Some opinions are from my children and some from some other teens I have talked to. Reminder: These are all just our views on these types of things. They will NOT be the same for every person or family. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Let’s start with FB… Wow what a great thing this is for some people! I have found friends from high school, long lost family members and have connected with some pretty amazing people, like all of you, after all you most likely clicked on my blog link that is somehow connected to FB. It has been a great tool in so many cases. Sadly FB is not such a positive place for everyone, especially the little people. The amount of lies, harassment, bullying, negative drama and straight up ugliness that FB is used for in the teen world is shocking! No not all of it is horrible but it is a great place to get caught up in it all. This is where us parents need to step in. Always have your child’s password, always. Check their messages often, do keep in mind that they will delete the 1s they do not want you to see. If you feel like there is missing info in a message conversation it is probably due to some of the message being deleted. Ask questions, check out their FB friends list. I often look at ages and what some of the people are up to and if I don’t like what I see I delete them for them while I am on their FB. There are rules, new rules due to me finding stuff I did NOT like a few months back when I happened to dig up some disturbing info, like lies and fake pics, and not so positive stuff. FB deleted for 4 months and new 1 was allowed to be created recently with new rules. Break them, FB gone till you move out! These are our children, we are the parents they need to protect them from all we can as long as we can. Rules, only add people you know, no guys over 18, do NOT erase messages, know I will be on it daily and sometimes several times a day, and anything else I can think of as I go along in this world of parenting.

Teens say: “FB is really cool, it helps us stay in touch with people from other states as friends have moved, it is also a great place to share pics of our lives. We like it to be able to “spy” on each other and see what our enemies are doing as well. We are friends with people on there that we are not true friends with just to be nosy about what goes on in their life. (hey at least they were being honest!) FB can be really bad. I have had friends that were bullied so bad on there. I have had friends want to kill themselves over things someone else posted about them.”

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Now onto Twitter. I use my Twitter account for my fan/blog page and that’s it. Some people I know live by Tweeting, to each is own! My kids have 1 and I check it often but there is not too much that goes on in that part of the world in this family. Although I do keep in mind that that can change at any moment so my guard stays up.

Teen says: “I don’t use Twitter. I have made several accounts and say I will start to tweet but don’t. I like it to update my every single thing I do everyday, hey some people want to know this stuff. I use it to retweet things I like.”

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Any of you heard of Tumblr? I will explain it as a teens type of blog kinda thing. People follow each other and they post and re-post pics, videos and stuff from each other or the internet. As with anything else, there is good and bad stuff about it. The good, there is some pretty neat stuff that people from all over the world share, some positive upbeat stuff that I would even “re-blog” if I was into that sort of thing. And then the bad… You cannot control what the people you or your child follow posts. There is a lot of sex on there, I mean a lot. And there is no way, at least that I have found, to edit it out or block every sex posts, pic or video unless you just delete the Tumblr. Soo my talk with my kids, if you see something that is inappropriate, unfollow that person, if I am on your account and I see something I don’t like I will unfollow them for you, you are welcome! If it keeps up, Tumblr goes bye bye.

Teens say: “Tumblr is great. I don’t talk to anyone on there but I love all the stuff I can repost that means a lot to me. I love all the gay rights support they post on there that teaches people to love everyone. I love all the great pics from all over the world, it lets me see places I may never see in person.”

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Oh lil ol Instagram. I love the app, I use it often, I follow a few people and so on. For teens it isn’t too bad. There are no rules and people can post what they want. If your child follow those type of people that posts pics of drugs, boobs, sex etc then they will see it in their feed. Again, UNFOLOW those types of people! The good, there is not much bullying or harassing on there, at least not for my kids, yet.

Teens say: “I love Instagram. I love the filters I can use. I am not sure why they started allowing videos but it is cool I guess. I like being able to use hashtags since I don’t use them on Twitter. My cat has his own Instagram”

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And then there is Snapchat… Aww that cute lil ghost figure. That must be a cute lil app. NOT! Being able to send pictures to people of any and everything you want and they can only view it for 3-10 seconds for it never to be seen again, or so you think. Now people are screen shotting your Snapchats and lots of boob and other area pics are floating around the internet, oopsie! No parents, just no.

Teens say: “Oh Snapchat, you mean Sexchat. Funner than texting but gets out of hand very quickly. Fun when you make funny faces with friends. I don’t use it, my parents said no way when they took my phone and opened a not so great Snapchat from a friend.”

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Vine. I use Vine, it is a cute and easy way to upload my kids silliness without losing all my FB friends and family from bombarding my wall with them hehe. Again with this app, it is all about who you follow. And for kids without a smart phone and access to this app, Vine is everywhere! And there are some “not so good for our kids viewing” Vines. All you can do is beware of what your child is viewing as best you can.

Teens say: “Vine is so awesome. I have seen so many great Vines. I am addicted to watching Vines and yes I have seen some Xrated stuff but I just move on. I follow lots of people on Vine and sometimes even the best people post sex Vines. I don’t know what the hype is, I think Vine is so dumb.”

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Now these are the only apps that I am familiar with and that majority of teens including mine use. There are SO many more! I beg of you to please please share with all of us your experience with these or any other apps that you know about and what you have seen with each 1.

Last but not least…Sexting. UGH UGH UGH! This is sooooo awful in this day and age. It can be as simple as :You have a nice butt” to very aggressive sexting and can and most likely will get out of hand very quickly. If your child has a regular phone you can check their messages often, check who they are calling and texting (may or may not do you any good to “prevent” this) and make sure you talk openly with them about what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Now if you child has a smart phone, this can be good and bad. They are open to a whole world of apps and “stuff”, Ipods allow this too with NO way form you to monitor it, just an FYI on that 1! Verizon has the neatest “Family Base” addition that you can add to your lines and have access to it all! I love that idea, until they turn 18 of course! If you have Verizon look it up and if not then check with your provider to see what child safety options they offer and get them! The texting allows kids to be people that they are not and sadly these days kids want to be someone else and better than this person or that so the lies that accumulate is unreal. Keep a close eye parents, our kids are worth it 🙂

Teens say: “Oh sexting, yes I guess you can call it that. Sexting, hmm is that what they call it these days? Yes my boyfriend and I do it, we are not allowed to spend lots of time together so we have intimate conversations via phone or text. Hey at least it is safer than having sex. It has gotten out of hand for me before and it scared me.”

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P.S. Please share any comments, info, advice, etc that you have on this topic or 1 related to it! We can all use resources and info to help keep all our children safe! Also too, Pin, share and tell your friends about this and other blogs and info! Sharing is caring 🙂

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

Meal planning or go with the flow?

A common question I get asked often is: How does your family plan your meals!?

Are you the family that shops for what you are cooking the same day and make everyday or other day trips to grocery store?

Are you the family that shops 1 time a month and stock piles everything?

Or do you shop a few times a month for your meals?

Do you even cook!? Or is it can/cold stuff/boxed/microwaved (is microwaved mean cooked!?) every night for dinner?

I have met families that do not cook and eat out pretty much everyday aside from TV dinners. Hey if that’s what works for you!

I am always curious to know how others do it and what works for them.

With my big family I feel that some type of routine/schedule/plan is a MUST! For the mind and bank account!

We work with a 2 week meal plan. It goes a little something like this, on every other Sunday we get out a notepad I start a list of things we need for breakfasts, lunches snacks, household, etc. We have a list on the fridge and when we are out of something it gets written down on the list, whether it be toilet paper or nail polish remover (which we use SO much of in our house!) toothpaste, bread, or if there is just something the kids saw or thought about that they want or would like to try. We pick many of our ideas from Pinterest. We actually took a 1  month Pinterest meal challenge and out of everything we cooked from there we only had 1 fail! Each kiddo gets to choose what they want for dinner(s). They LOVE being able to have a say so and picking foods they enjoy and/or can help prepare. Makes them feel important and that makes me smile 🙂  The dinners are written on the right side of the paper. We list 10-14 of them and 2 special desserts (1 for each week). Then I take each dinner and write down what we need to buy for it and gather any coupons I may have that I need for this store trip. I make a Costco list and a grocery store list.

We then take this awesome meal planner that my oldest daughter made me and put our meals up for the 1st week. It makes it so easy to know what to thaw out, soak, prepare, etc. for that nights and the next nights dinner,  talk about making life simpler in little ways like this! I try to prepare meats and sides that can be used for more than 1 meal, for example, boiling and shredding chicken breast for tacos 1 night and chicken noodle soup a few nights later. Or home made re-fried beans for a side for dinner 1 night and bean and cheese burritos next night or night after. Makes cooking easier and groceries stretch out longer. Who doesn’t love that!?

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This is what works for our family! Does it mean that I don’t ever have that annoying “in the middle of the week missing 1 item for the dinner I already started making” store trip!? Of course not, it happens occasionally but for the most part groceries and feeding the cubs is not something that gives me a headache anymore with our method and that I am SO grateful for!

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P.S. What works for you and your family!? Please share any tips or ideas that you may have! We all learn from each other and sharing is caring 🙂

Mama Bear Plus 6

What does your Sunday look like!?

Our wild and oh so enjoyable Sundays begin with me trying my best to get up before every else so I can have a tasty cup of hot coffee on my patio enjoying the temporary quiet, just God, nature & me.

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Kids up at 8am (if we are attending church that week and if we are not it is a “get up when you want, stay in your jams” kinda day as we all need a Sunday like that every now and then!) in hopes everyone is showered, dressed and fed by 9:15 if we are stopping by our small local coffee shop for some small talk and an awesome custom coffee and 9:45 if not.

Coffee in hand from home, or Suncrest Gourmet and we are off to service to have our faith meter filled at our local church connecting with the people chatting about this or that and for approx 90 min of songs of worship and an informative service from our Pastor. The teens normally take this time to volunteer their help in nursery services while the littles go to their groups.

After service and our goodbyes we head home to prepare “linner” (lunch/dinner) for the whole fam bam, including my oldest daughter & her hubby that come spend every Sunday with us and bring their 2, 4 legged children, their 1 blind and 1 half blind oh so adorable sibling pugs, Iggy & Kensey, who enjoy running the property and playing with our dogs & of course getting showered with love and attention (and sometimes ice cream hehe) from all of us!

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By Friday we have usually have planned the oh so horrible for us oops i mean delish meal, appetizers and dessert we will be making on Sunday. It is our “splurge, stuff our faces & drink gallons of iced tea” day where nobody worries about how bad our food choices are for 1 day. Don’t judge us, we behave all week to be able to do this 1 day, hehe!

The day is spent laughing, talking, of course the occasional argue, playing video games, playing hide and seek, coloring each others hair, a visit to the lake, playing ball, building a fire and making smores, crafts, and the list goes on.

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I often find myself looking at life my, my kids, where we now live etc and wonder if I am dreaming, I ask myself what I did that was so wonderful that I deserve to be this blessed. It is days like these where everything that means the most to me, my whole world is in 1 place at 1 time and the nothing can be sweeter. It is days like this that make me look around realize how absolutely rich I am in SO many ways no matter how much money I do or don’t have in the bank, days like this that I am overly grateful and thankful for each breathe I and each 1 of my children take, days like these that I am at times not able to process how blessed I am that it brings tears to my eyes that I often end up sitting in my bathroom after the sun sets and just have a good cry and talk with Jesus about how He trusted me with these precious lives and pray for the ability, skills and patience to continue. Days like these that I hold people I know even closer to my heart that have experienced loss of a child or loved 1 and who can only spend moments with them in memory. Days like these that I say that I will try harder to not let the petty stuff bother me and I will be grateful for each struggle, tantrum, argument, and mistake my kids make as there are so many people that would give their right arm to have their child back in this world even if it meant dealing with the bad stuff like when they don’t follow your rules or guidance. Days like these that I pray for each 1 of my children to feel the “deep, so strong its unreal” love I & the good Lord have for them every minute of their lives, thru the good and the bad.

Take a moment out of your day to read this blog post from Single Dad Laughing, I was in tears and moved beyond words by each parent that shared. Sure makes ya think… http://www.danoah.com/2013/09/truth-from-parents-of-children-who-died.html

I always end each Sunday with anticipation of a fresh new week!

P.S. What does your Sunday look like or do you have another day of the week that is your favorite and why!? Do tell 🙂

Mama Bear Plus 6