Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fire Safety Learned Firsthand

     Last week as I was washing some dishes, I smelled smoke and went outside. The whole side of my house was on fire! I am usually pretty calm in stressful situations, but all that went out the window on this particular day. I shouted at my boys, "Fire! Get out of the house!" Their sweet faces read confusion, but they obeyed as I chased them out the front door.  I was able to grab the phone and my keys and I called 911 as I ran. I loaded the boys in the car, and moved it a good distance from the house.
     I went close to the house to survey things. The fire was on one corner only, so I did what everyone tells you not to do. I went back inside. Once in, I grabbed our important paperwork, some family jewelry, my purse and Cooper's car seat. By then, the first responders were there giving me directions and clearing us away from the area. Thankfully, the fire was easily subdued, and the damaged contained to the outside. None of our personal property was even damaged! After things settled down and I realized how incredibly blessed I was, I thought about a lot of practical advice I learned from my experience. Here it is.

1. It is super important to discuss fire safety with your kids. I was blessed to have everyone in the same room when the fire broke out in the daytime. Circumstances would have been much different if it was nighttime, or I hadn't smelled the fire right away.  Discuss escape routes, what to do if you see or smell smoke, how to call 911, etc.

2. Have the right equipment. This one seems obvious, but I for one was very ill-equipped.  You need working and recently tested fire alarms, a fire extinguisher, and if you live on the second floor, a rope ladder for at least one window. You can find these online.

3. Keep your landline phone. I know it's the era of cell phones, and we often get rid of our house phone to save some cash, but 911 responders can have a hard time finding you if you live in a well-populated area. When I called 911 from my home phone, and I was shouting hysterically at the man on the other end, he calmly said, "Ma'am, are you calling from "such and such" address? We're sending someone there right away."  If you use your cell phone, they have to triangulate your call, and this process can be innaccurate in a densely populated area, especially condos and apartments. If you are not able to easily communicate in a crisis, respinse time may take longer.

4. Keep important paperwork in a Ziplock bag in an easily reached location.  Should an emergency arise, you can grab passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc in one shot.

5. Likewise, keep valuable or sentimental jewelry in an organized fashion so you could grab it in a hurry.

6. Keep your photos digitized! Have them saved on an external hard drive, or better yet, upload them onto a site that will store them indefinitely. This way, you will not be lugging around boxes and boxes of photos in an emergency.

7. Check your insurance policies. Make sure they are up to date, and cover all your high-ticket items. It may be necessary to purchase riders on certain items, such as jewelry. They are inexpensive and sooo worth it! Never ever go without renter's insurance. You can not afford the risk, and most policies start around $25 a month.

8. Never ever risk your life for stuff. If it is too smoky to see and breathe clearly, your only thought shoould be getting out safely. Yes, it will be inconvenient or sad to lose items, but never risk your safety for stuff.

I hope these thoughts will help you prepare your family for a fire. You never think you will need it until you need it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to Make Unhealthy Food Look Like Other Unhealthy Food

     I had a spare minute one evening, so I took it to do something creative. The only thing better than getting time to be crafty is ending up with something edible and delicious.  I saw the idea for these little burgers on Pinterest, and knew I would love giving it a try.  Not only was it easy, it was nowhere near as time consuming as I thought it would be. Here's what I did.
     I started by baking white cupcakes.  At the same time I poured a small amount of chocolate cake mix into a pan. You will only want it to be 1/4" deep. You will want to keep a close eye on the chocolate batter since it is so shallow and doesn't need much time to bake.

     Once the cupcakes are done, cut them in half with a bread knife. Use a small circular cookie cutter to cut circles out of the chocolate cake. This will be the meat part of the burger.

I layed the bottom part of the cupcakes out, then place the "burgers" on top.

I mixed three colors of frosting to look like lettuce, ketchup and mustard. I poured the frostings into ziplock freezer bags, snipped one corner a little bit, and squirted each color randomly across each burger.

I then placed the cupcake tops on the burgers, and made the finishing touch by sprinkling sesame seeds across each lid. Just moisten your fingers and rub the bun lids, and the sesame seeds will stick like magic!

These were fun to make, and only took me about an hour to create!  They would be so cute for a child's birthday party or cookout!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Awesome Deal on Amazon Local

     Today I want to give everyone a heads-up on a sweet deal offered by Amazon Local. Amazon Local is set up smiliarly to Groupon in that they have daily deals that save you lots of dough. Today's deal is for, a toy website that offers books, baby gear, bikes, educational toys, etc.  The deal only costs $12, but allows you to purchase $25 worth of goods, and get free shipping!  Better yet, new customers get an extra 10% off by entering the code YOYONEW10. That means you can get $25 worth of stuff for only $9.50!  Baby Einstein brand toys are also an extra 15% off, if you're in the market for something baby. This is the perfect opportunity to put something away for your own child, or an upcoming birthday party!  Head over HERE to get started!  I bought my new baby an activity mat for almost 50% off the list price!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Things You Never Say to a New Mom

     In honor of the arrival of my sweet little bundle, I thought I would do new mothers a service by compiling a list of things you should not say to a woman who has just undergone one of the greatest roller coasters in life. Here is what I've come up with. Please feel free to add the ones that bug you to the comment section.

Disclaimer: This is the list of a sleep deprived, cranky new mom. It is meant as a joke. If you are easily offended, this is not the post for you. :)

1. When will you have more children? Or Will you keep going for a boy/girl?
Folks, I know this is a well meaning question. You are curious. However, a woman who just suffered from back pain, heartburn, constant nausea, and labored for what seemed like three years does not want to think about the next time she will undergo these things. Furthermore, questions about trying for another sex insinuate that you're not satisfied with the children you have, and should strive for more. I find this question especially comical beacuse I have three boys. I am just trying to survive, here, people! Making more babies is not on my agenda right now!

2. How much weight did you gain/Are you exercising yet?
For real? Look, a general rule of thumb is to not ask a new mother anything you wouldn't ask a regular person. Would you go up to someone at work and ask how much weight they've gained? Of course not! And as far as exericse, why don't you go take a few laps?

3. Is your baby sleeping through the night?
This question is generally asked by someone who either has no children, or hasn't had any for decades. It is not the norm for a newborn to sleep through the night, and a baby who does is the exeption to the rule. Heck, I haven't slept through the night since I started having kids.

4. I don't believe in pacifiers.
Look, it's not a religion. There's nothing to believe in here. And I'm not sure what makes you think I care what a stranger in the grocery store believes in. Go on your way before I karate chop you.

5. He needs a hat/he's too cold.
My boys are little ovens. If I wrap them too tight, they will sweat like they're in a sauna. I don't expect you to know this, but could you trust that I've got it covered? P.S. If it's 80 degrees outside, they will survive without a hat, mittens, and those ridiculous snow suits you can't even buckle their carseats over.

6. They're out too soon.
Well I've got things to do, and unless you're volunteering to be a wet nurse, beat it.

7. You look tired.
That's because I am. FYI, to someone who is a little on edge, this is translated as, "Wow, you look like crap." It may be the truth, but we don't need reminded of it.

So that's what I've come up with. What drove you nuts when you were a new mom?

My little peanut. And no, he doesn't sleep through the night.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Introducing My Newest Little Nugget

     If you've noticed my absence, know that it has been for good reason.  I was away having our third little blessing, Cooper Dawson. He was born on April 6th at 8:16 am, weighing 7 pounds and 9 ounces. He was eight days late, but worth the wait! We appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and kind words!

 My sweet boy

 So precious

 Chubby little monkey

Ha! Love this one!

 Nolan, Daddy and Cooper

My boys!

I am one lucky girl!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Scripture Canvas Tutorial

     After seeing canvas after canvas on Pinterest, I decided to give handmade art a chance for my upcoming nugget's nursery.  I searched for quotes about kids, boys, babies, and finally found a scripture I loved.  It is from the book of Samuel, and the speaker is Hannah, who thought she would never have a child, but was blessed with one after years of heartbreak.  God rewarded her faithfulness, and her words were immortalized in the Old Testament.  I knew it was the perfect verse because I, too prayed for my precious little one, and am so thankful that he's about to be in my arms! 
     This project is simple, but slightly time consuming.  However, it was fun, so it made this fussy little project go fast.  Here's how I did it.

 I started with a large canvas from Michael's.  It was only $11 after I used a 40% off coupon.
I cut letters out of cardstock on my Cricut machine to get a feel for how the layout would look.  This gave me an idea how large I wanted the letters to be, and how the spacing would look.  If you do not have a Cricut, you can still wing it by buying letters at your local craft store, and skippping this step.

 Once I was satisfied with my layout, I cut the letters out of vinyl on my Cricut, and put them in place where the paper ones had been.  This allows for (almost) perfect spacing.

 I wanted my background to be a navy color, but I didn't want it to be plain blue, so after mixing various shades of blue, I liberally spread the paint all around the canvas, covering the letters.  You want to ensure that the letters are stuck very well in this stage, so your paint doesn't bleed where you don't want it to.

After you have allowed your canvas to dry for several hours, peel the letters off, and behold!  I colored in one word with a permanent marker because I liked the way it looked.  Your letters should have pretty clean edges, but you can always touch them up with a paint pen, or some White Out.

Obviously, there are many inspirational quotes and scriptures you can use, so get those creative juices flowing!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Month of Challenges: Day 18

     Today's challenge is to get your craft on.  You may take the next few days to plan out your craft, and work on it this weekend if that is what your schedule allows.  I always feel so accomplished when I finish a project, and can stand back and say, "I made that!" If you need some inspriration, hit up Pinterest.  Here are a few easy and cheap projects I found as suggestions.  Check 'em out, and get crafting!

 This bulletin board, shown by two twenty one, can be made simply by covering a cheap bulletin board with pretty fabric, and adding tacks along the edge.

 These coasters are made with cheap ceramic tiles from any home improvement stores.  Decoupage any napkin, paper, map, etc, and have personalized coasters!  I think it would be great to have a map of every place we've lived, so we take a little bit of that place with us on each move.  See Carolina Cottage if you would like to purchase them instead!

This lip gloss is made with only two ingredients!  How much fun would this project be to include the kids?  See Meet the Dubiens for instructions!

What kind of craftiness will you get into this week?

Thanks for following our month of challenges.  I hope it has been a fun time for you!