Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baking With Kids!

Love Baking

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wake Up and Smell the Sexting, Parents! by Kristen Thompson-Riley

I will get some criticism for writing about this, but it’s important for all parents to hear. And when I say "All", I mean ALL, even those with babies and younger children. You need to know what is in store for you, because it’s only going to get worse.

Sorry in advance, kids. To parents, you’re welcome. Listen up!

My boys would probably say I’m a bit crazy when it comes to their phones and iPods. Maybe not even "a bit", but just downright crazy. I have reason. I have multiple reasons. I have 4 reasons ranging in the ages of 10 to 19. While I try not to invade privacy, these are my children and I have the right to invade. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyhow. When they turn 18, I stop invading. Yes, my 19 year old is now breathing a massive sigh of relief, but it doesn’t mean he can act-a-fool without getting feedback.

Cell phones are a blessing and a curse. I grew up without one. My kids have a hard time believing that I made it until I was 20 before I had a cell phone. And then it was their dad’s bag phone. My first official cell phone was the monster that had a 20lb battery attached and looked like a VCR with an antenna stuck to the side of your face. I carried that sucker proudly around in my purse (leaving no room in my purse for anything else, mind you). And when I’d get a call, I’d excitedly heave it out of my bag, screw on the antenna, press on the green button 15 times to answer it and stand against a window for reception. Once the call started, I knew I only had a select few minutes to chat because cellular phone charges were highway robbery. I think my first plan was in-state only and it charged me per minute during the day, but it was free nights and weekends. By the evening or weekend, I was so tired from carrying it around, I’d just tell people to call me on my house phone anyway.

I’m almost 40 and have been active in the last 20 years of cell phone evolution. The plans are more reasonable, and the phones are small and lightweight, so one would say that it’s improved since 1993.

This "one" would say No, it hasn’t….

I’d like to rewind cell phone technology back about 10 years with, still, the better plans, but the simple flip phone. No texting, no apps, just calls. Remember that time where you actually used a phone to call people? There’s a concept, kids! I could go on a tangent about how much more personal and important it is to actually speak to a person, but this is not my rant today. My rant is focused elsewhere. I’m here to enlighten my fellow moms and dads on apps these little things our kids say "Hey, Mom can I buy such-n-such for 99 cents?" And the parent busy with something else acknowledges and may or may not make a mental note of "Junior just downloaded the game, SnapChat". Guess what, mom. SnapChat is NOT a game. And, guess what else? Most of the "dangerous" apps are FREE!

I had a MySpace page before my kids even knew what it was. When my eldest turned 12, he asked to have one. His dad and I reluctantly agreed under several stipulations: We set it up with kid controls. We knew the password at all times. And we would be checking it. Weekly. Daily. Whenever we damn well pleased. Then Facebook came along and Myspace disintegrated into cyber air. Like the rest of the world, he migrated over to Facebook, as did I. Same rules applied. Then Twitter came along. Kids left FB in their dust. This mom opened a Twitter account. Instagram followed. Mom followed. Notice the trend? But then things got tricky. Some of the open forum format changed to apps that you’d have to be invited to, to apps that were just between two people, to apps that take a quick photo and within seconds it disappears in cyber space to never be traced. That app? Snapchat. While I could somewhat regulate social networks (and sometimes not successfully. Mom-stalking isn’t fool proof), these other apps had this mom stumped. While investigating on what I could see, I was dumbfounded by some of things kids were posting for the world to see. Where are these kids’ parents? Do they know? Do they care? Am I breaking a Mom to Mom unsaid law by not informing them? I WANT to know. You better tell me, fellow parents! I will knock a Mann kid out. Look, I’ve seen things my kids have posted that have made me go "Woah! Oh no he didn’t!!". They have had posts removed, comments removed, pictures removed, accounts deactivated, phones taken, iPods taken, phone service disconnected. Yes, we went there. They know what is acceptable and what is not. Simply put:

If you post something that you’d be embarrassed for your Mom to see, don’t post it." THAT’s my rule. Like or not, you break it, we’re going to rumble.

This leads me to alerting parents who are unaware of the unsaid convenience of, not only texting, but sharing pics, videos, etc.. I’m not aiming usage of these at just teens, but sadly preteens and children under the age of 10 as well. Many times they stumble upon something innocently, whether it’s their peer cursing, borderline inappropriate content, and even outright TRASH. My 10 year old has a texting app on his iPod. He is not allowed to have a phone, but we agreed to let him have an app to text me, his dad, his brothers, and his stepparents. If he wants to call a friend, he can use my phone. He also has an Instagram account where photos and now videos are shared. I can see who he follows and what they post. I’ve unfollowed a dozen or more of his older brothers friends unbeknownst to him, because of their inappropriate posting and language. I am THISCLOSE to deleting everyone but family and his 10 year old friends. My 13, 15, and 19 year olds have/had KIK, vine, snapchat, ooVoo and the usual suspects Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. At least if you’re going to let your children have these apps, be informed:

Facebook and Twitter are social networks. If you don’t know what they are, you need to be hit on the head with a hammer. Both social networks have Inboxes. Check them regularly, parents. Don’t assume your kid is making great decisions if you don’t see anything on their "Wall". Word to the wise, have them access Twitter from your iPhone and now ALL notifications come to you automatically, even inbox messages. Know their passwords. Always.

Instagram: Pros fun place to share videos and photos. No inbox feature, so everything is "out there".

Cons if you don’t keep up with who your kid is following, you’re being naïve. My 10 year old has 13, 15, 19 year old brothers who all have friends with Instagram accounts. The chances of him seeing or reading something above his 10 year old sweet, innocent brain are great. Know their passwords and check Followers and what they post. Regularly. Unfollow, delete, block, unfollow, delete, block. Repeat.

Vine: Don’t let the description "The best way to share life in motion. Create short, beautiful looping videos in a simple and fun way" mislead you. These looping videos can actually be a lot of fun to share. My oldest son has made some hilarious ones, but vine does not regulate Rated G vs Rated X. If your kid has a vine account or follows someone who posts vine videos, WATCH THEM. Vine doesn’t know or care if it’s a 21 year old adult or an 8 year old kid on the receiving end. And remember, even if they don’t have the Vine app, if the person posts them to Twitter and your kid follows them from their Twitter account, they can watch them there.

KIK: Instant Messenger. Basically if you don’t know a person well enough to know their phone number to text or call them, you can KIK them. My mindset, if you don’t know them "that well", you don’t need to chat with them about anything. Ever.

User Reviews on Google for KIK:

"This app is awesome and cool my kik is ________. Kik me no guys jst girls from Detroit. I’m 15. Hit me up." - I purposely did not post this person’s KIK name, but I can tell you if I see my 15 year old’s KIK name on FREAKING GOOGLE for someone to "hit him up", he’s going to get "hit up" alright. Hit right upside the head with his iPhone before I crush it into 10000 pieces. And who’s to say this is a 15 year old kid and not some 42 year old creep living in his mother’s basement preying on young girls? Yes, I may have watched one too many episodes of 20/20, but that shit is real, folks!

"Definitely a great app if you don’t like giving people your number. It’s just like texting someone. 27 year old woman looking for friends. KIK is _____________."

What if that 27 year old woman "looking for friends" is KIKing your 11 year old son?

I will say KIK isn’t horrible if you manage it and know who they’re talking to.

ooVoo: "ooVoo video chat gives you two things no one else can" (now THERE’s a wide open statement) "Free multistream video calls with up to 12 people at a time along with unsurpassed stability and quality." This is the equivalent to FaceTime for iPhone users, and Skype. Be the mom or dad peeping over from behind the dresser to make sure there’s a recognized person on the other end. And they are age appropriate. And clothed. Better yet, pop a squat beside your kid and say "What up, home dog?" While it may deduct a few parental cool points, it’ll start to deter the caller to have these ooVoo conversations for fear she’ll have to speak to your super embarrassing mother.

And last, but certainly not least, SnapChat. Don't let that cute little ghost fool you. The official description says "The fastest way to share a moment on iPhone". Pictures/videos are created, an alert is sent to the receiver, they watch it and within 10 seconds it’s gone. No record, no trace. Parents, THINK ABOUT IT.

Snapchat is bad news folks. My advice is to delete the app if you see it. Period. If they have an iPhone and want to make a video, they can with the iPhone camera or now they can do it on Instagram, which has supposedly regulated their site not to post inappropriate videos. We shall see….

A new app is released quicker than you can blink. And I find that if weren’t for my parental stalking, I’d be completely clueless to all the new ways kids are connecting and sharing information. There are tons I did not cover, but these are the teen faves. The fiancé and I have 4 teens with smartphones, and 2 ten year olds with iPod touches. 6 multiplied by these apps equals A LOT to keep up with. (Ok, 5 since my oldest has graduated to a non-stalking mom. My eyes are still open in the public forum). In this day and age, we, as parents, have to look out for our kids and for each other. I seriously long for the day that my biggest parental concern was cars coming down the street while they rode bikes. I could see in clear view the danger. Technology blinds us to danger, a danger of kids growing up a little fast, knowing more than they should at a young age, and exchanging inappropriate information for it to only *POOF* disappear within a 10 second window and we are none the wiser. Don't be the parent who thinks "My kid would never do that."

Get wise.

I’m the unpopular mom who takes her kids phone and iPod at bedtime (even during the summer) and plugs them in my room. As recently as last night, I got the big SIGH when I asked my 13 year old for his phone. When he’s 18, he can vine, snapchat, tweet, and kik until hell freezes over. He just better hope it doesn’t cross a public forum that I see it. Just because they are bigger, doesn’t mean I still won’t knock a Mann kid out.

I now stand to be on the Most Hated list by kids because of this blog, but as I’ve seen many post on Twitter after saying something painful, but true:


Note: I have now started a series on Parenting and Social Media due to the increased interest in Kids and Social Media. Please keep checking back for weekly updates. Here is Part I:


Amazing & Affordable Prom Dresses by Susie Jackson

I love this dress!


Reprinted with permission
I have a teen who has longed for the day she attends a prom or dance. She thinks that is going to be the it moment of her life! She is excited about formal dresses! She can't get enough of looking at them and dreaming. I can't blame her they are fun to look at but a lot of times when I see the price I gasp with disbelief in shock.

You know what I mean moms?! But recently, she saw with me the
DressFirst.com web site and fell in love. As a mom I have always since she was young, taught her how to be a lady and be modest. I love the dresses they provide at DressFirst.com because they are so pretty yet cover up! These dresses are dreamy and they offer a grand selection! I think one reason girls love dresses like this and long for the events they can wear them to is because it makes them for one night feel like a true princess. But we know they all truly are anyways! Right moms!

Now what's great about these
prom dresses is that you can wear them to other events besides the prom. You can wear them for formals,dances,balls or other special events. They even offer wedding,cocktail,bridesmaid & evening gowns. They provide discount prom dresses for any budget. Right now for a limited time they are even offering free shipping, now how can you beat that. The web site is easy to use and understand. Now I am not afraid of the price when my teen finds her prom dress when that day comes! Here below of some samples of some of my personal favorites. Aren't they gorgeous dresses! I love the colors and cuts. Simple & elegant. They do offer more flashy if that is your flare too! 

Visit Susie at her blog: Homemaker-Mom.Blog.  Susie reviews products with her 'Homemaker Seal Of Approval'. She also shares frugal tips and her homemaking journey.
Please note, views/photos in this article were made available by the guest blogger.   The owner of
'Renew the Woman In You' receives no compensation from items or information provided in this article. 
  Please contact Renew if you believe any violations (including copyright) have occurred. 


The Season of Romance Wasteland by Sherry Daniels

7-year-old: “Mom, what is sex?”

Mom (thinking back through the last seven years, and finally, shrugging): “I have NO idea.”

Do any of these confessions sound familiar?

‘I can’t remember the last time we went on a date.’  
‘My husband and I seem more like roommates than a married couple.’
 ‘When I look at our bed, I don’t think ‘sex’, I think ‘how many more hours left before my head hits that pillow.’”

So here you are, with newly found time and energy, wondering how to reignite the spark you and your husband shared in the beginning. Awesome! Now what? 

PLAY TOGETHER: Literally. Go out and have fun! What were some of your favorite activities when you were dating? Perhaps:

v  Snow skiing, sledding
v  Hiking nature trails
v  Visiting flea markets
v  Bike rides
v  Competitive sports
v  People watching, bird watching
v  Fishing
v  Fly kites
v  Explore a city you haven’t been to
v  Go bowling, dancing, roller skating, golf
v  Go on a picnic

You get the idea. Couples tend to get so serious about the business of being grown-ups they forget to play together. Make a list together and plan weekly dates. (Even if getting out on a date is difficult, you can still make connection dates in your own home by committing to a time with each other. Turn off the phones and TV, grab your favorite beverage, find a quiet spot and let the kids know that they cannot interrupt unless it requires speed-dialing 9-1-1.) For more dating ideas, see 58 Years.

PEN HIM IN: Make a date for sex--no cancellations, no excuses.  This may sound a little anti-romantic but the planning and anticipation is actually very romantic and very exciting. Give your husband little reminders that you are looking forward to your date. 

v  Sext him
v  Leave love notes
v  Take a selfie for him only
v  Send him flowers
v  Start a love story, adding a paragraph and passing it back and forth

NO WORRIES:  Please don’t let insecurity about post-baby changes in your body keep you from intimacy. Over and over again, I hear the same refrain from men: Sensuality and sexuality have nothing to do with the perfect body. Looking sexy comes from within, an aura of desire, confidence and making your partner feel like the sexy one. Want to feel more sensual/make your partner feel sexy? 

v  Flirt (flit your hair, bat an eye, whisper in his ear)
v  Wear something sexy
v  Wear nothing at all
v  Dance for him
v  Play truth or dare
v  Go parking
v  30 second kisses and hugs
v  Massages, foot rubs
v  Feed each other, make a rule you can’t feed yourself.  Try it in bed.
v  Act out a fantasy

START OVER:  When we are young, sex is great with little or no thought, but as we age, sex changes. This is a two way street because men’s testosterone level begins to drop starting in their early thirties. The changes can become a great equalizer as men naturally take more time in the bedroom. So talk about sex from a fresh perspective. Be silly. Be sexy. Be wild. Experiment.

GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER ALL OVER AGAIN:  I know, we are parents.  Parents talk about kids. And money. And job security.  And household chores.   But is that really all there is to life?  (If you’re stilling trying to answer this question, the correct answer is a definitive: no!) When was the last time you really gave each other time to hear your deepest stressors, longings and dreams?  Having an intimate conversation—now, that’s romantic. Topic ideas:

v  Newest fantasy
v  Bucket list
v  Strangest dream
v  Dream vacation
v  Answer this: I never… (or) I always wanted to….
v  Describe a perfect day
v  What do you like most/least about yourself
v  A powerful childhood memory
v  Deepest worries/greatest satisfaction
v  Secret ambitions


Sherry Daniels is a Licensed Professional Counselor providing individual, couples and family therapy since 1994.  She serves a broad spectrum of clients at her private practice in Fenton, Michigan.    Her passion is working with couples and families.   She states: "It is possible to repair the problems that develop in a relationship. I break each problem into solvable steps. I help you sharpen the skills you have and develop the tools you need for a loving, enduring relationship."
     Sherry is an interactive, solution-focused therapist.   Her approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges.   She integrates methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client with an attitude of compassion and understanding.
She actively updates her skills and knowledge base with ongoing training including John Gottman Relationship Training.     Ascend Counseling Services

Monday, January 13, 2014

Essential Oils--The Top Five from "Oily Mom" aka Patti Dolan

Hello!   I am Patti Dolan, a busy mom of two boys, happily married to a wonderful husband.  I am a registered nurse and a Christian yoga instructor. I'm known as the "Oily Mom" because I'm also a  Young Living Essential Oils Independent Distributor. 

Essential oils are the essence from plants, flowers, trees, roots and seeds. Used since Biblical times, they're known for their life-enhancing, healing properties. 

I am going to share with you my FIVE favorite oils that I use for my family --these five oils have literally replace my medicine cabinet!

#1! Peppermint: I use this topically, to cool fevers (placed on temples, nape of neck, and feet). We also drink a drop of peppermint in a glass of water to relieve tummy aches!

#2! Thieves:  This is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary.  My boys have this rubbed on their feet every night at bedtime for immunity protection.  We diffuse Thieves in our house in the winter and also add it to our water.  There is also a huge line of Thieves household cleaning products and personal care items (such as toothpaste).

#3!  Lavender:  I begin diffusing  lavender an hour before bedtime in each of our bedrooms to promote a relaxing environment for sleep.  (LOVE the diffuser, because it will turn off a few hours later on its own after we are all in dreamland.)  Lavender provides itch-relief from bug bites and if applied quickly, can help keep a burn from blistering.

#4!  Lemon:  Each morning, before I put anything else in my system, I drink a large glass of water with 1 or 2 drops of lemon.  Why?  Our bodies are generally acidic.   This drop of lemon in water helps alkalinize our body.  Research has shown that cancer cells can develop and grow more rapidly in an acidic environment.

#5!  Panaway:  This is a blend of wintergreen, helichrysum, clove and peppermint.  I use this for everyday muscle aches, pains, or headaches.  Soothing and cooling - Love, Love, Love it!!!
Well, these are my favorites in a nutshell. There are literally hundreds more available. 
From time to time Patti receives a $20 voucher.  If you're interested or you'd like more information on essential oils and Young Living, email Patti: at dpsad95@gmail.com. Check out her Facebook page.
(Please note, the publisher of this blog receives no compensation from this product.)

God Bless!!!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What New Year's Eve Meant To Me

While everyone else was partying, singing and pretending they were going to make improvements come the New Year, I was far too lame. 
For whatever reason, New Year's Eve hasn't been a favorite holiday since my twenties.   I'm not terribly interested in waking up with a hangover, nor driving on streets after midnight.   Loud and half-naked rock stars annoy me.  So do overcrowded (and overpriced) bars.  Again, I'm lame.
I prefer having my kids with me anyway. And so far, they're not quite ready to ditch me on New Year's yet.   So, I thought I'd own up to what I was really thinking on New Year's Eve during the countdown.
Finally, bedtime!

58 years

In remembrance of my parents 1st Heavenly Anniversary, I decided to make a list of all the great date nights my husband and I should plan.    

Then I decided to ditch the dream date list for activities we might actually get around to.   Not only are these ideas affordable, they also provide a lot more intimacy than any loud night on the town.   In fact, if I can remember WAYYYY back to our first year together (when we were both incredibly romantic and incredibly poor), the best dates we had were the simple ones.    Here are some of my ideas:

Got Ideas?   Add them below.

Feeling Emotional? Show it!

Dr. Lauri Nummenmaa,
Aalto University School of Science


As an emotional person, I found the following article "Study Finds Emotions Can Be Mapped to the Body" (by @ Shannon Firth), fascinating.
The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, was conducted by Finnish researchers in an attempt to determine if emotions cause universal physical reactions.  (A simplistic example: Do most people feel "butterflies in their stomach" when they are nervous?)
The study included 701 participants.   Using words, stories, movies, and expressions to illicit emotions, the participants were then asked to highlight their physical sensations on two human -shaped silhouettes. (Note: the sensations were based on a participants' "perceived physical reaction" and were not monitored or confirmed medically.) One silhouette was to be used to depict increasing sensations, the other to depict decreasing sensations.   Body parts colored red indicated the most intense sensations, yellow were strong, blue meant dulled sensations, black equated to absent sensation.  
Emotions Mapped:


Visit Emotions Mapped to see the results.
Find Actual Study Here
Feeling Emotional?   Click here for Middle-Stage Mom's version:

Plot Your Emotions