Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

My Favorite Fast Recipe: Hot and Sweet Salsa Chicken

(image:  cookingismysport.wordpress.com)

This is my favorite go to meal when I have no time to make a meal.  Just throw it in the crockpot and leave!


3 lbs. Chicken thighs, bonless, skinless
2 cups salsa, medium
1/2 C brown sugar 

Place chicken in crockpot.  Mix sugar and salsa and pour over chicken.  Cook on low 4 hours.  Serve over rice.  Delicious!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Radio Fun!


I did my first radio show interview this morning about the book, Don't Put Lipstick on the Cat!   I can't believe how nervous I was!  You can listen to it here on The Bill Flynn Morning Show.  My interview is about 3/4 of the way through the show.  I love how the Bill Flynn Show really celebrated motherhood today!

Monday, May 4, 2015

BYU Women's Conference! So Fun!

Last week I went to BYU Women's Conference where they teach classes about raising families!  Can you see me in the picture?  Just kidding.  I am in that picture somewhere, though!  I had a great time signing books and also going to the classes.  My favorite class was called, "Honestly Acknowledge Your Questions, but first Fan the Flame of Your Faith."  The rebroadcast dates are here if you want to watch it.  I hear John Bytheway was awesome too!  Also, if you have time, check out my book review on Kim Thacker's book review blog, here.  Hope you have an awesome day! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Moms and Sports

(image: velcrobelly.com)

I know some moms love sports, but it's all greek to me!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Break!

Sorry it's been a week since I've posted, but we went to Arches National Park for Spring Break.  It was so fun!  Here's a picture of the family under one of the beautiful arches.  There is some beautiful country in Moab, Utah.

I love family vacations for the way it helps our family bond together.  This creates a family culture that helps build resistance to peer pressure.  It's so important!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What to Do if you Make a Parenting Mistake

You are not alone.  We all make parenting mistakes.  Often.  Don't beat yourself up.  Just learn from it.  Try to do better next time.  Forgive yourself.  You will find your children are very forgiving.  I can't count how many mistakes I have made, but when I apologize, all is forgiven, and we even laugh about it together.  Often the conversations that happen after the apology are very precious and build your relationship even stronger.  If you keep making the same mistake over and over, just keep trying.  Do not give up.  You will get stronger over time and as you get more sleep.  I remember I would sometimes get grumpy at my kids when they kept getting out of bed at night.  A short fuse from little sleep.  But all that has gone away.  I got better over time....and you will too.  Forgive yourself.  You will get stronger and your parenting skills will grow with time and experience.  I know this from my own experience.  Today I found myself not getting angry when my child made unreasonable demands in a rude voice.  I calmly told her the right way to ask me, and she immediately fixed the problem with no drama.  I thought...boy I've come a long way, to be able to do that.  And you will to.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What to do when your baby has Colic


Four of my babies had colic so I've garnered some wisdom over the years about what to do.  Here are some do's and don't's I've learned:

  • DO:  Take your child to the doctor.  He/she may have physical issues that are causing discomfort.  My babies had acid reflux.  This is VERY common.  The medicine for it doesn't hurt babies, so even if your babies aren't spitting up a lot (mine didn't), it's worth a try.  See if your doctor will let you do a trial run with the medicine.
  • DON'T:  Try and handle it all by yourself all the time.  Get help.  Family members and friends can help you take breaks from the constant crying.
  • DO:  Let your husband help.  A lot.  Ask for it.  Don't wait for him to offer.  And don't criticize his efforts.  Let him do it his way.  It's important not to criticize him if you want his help in the future.
  • DON'T:  Let yourself reach the breaking point.  If you feel yourself getting angry, call someone right away.  If no one is available, put the baby in a safe place, like his crib, and let him cry, while you get a short break.  Turn on the television or put in soothing music to help you calm down, or take a short bath.  Praying helps too.
  • DO:  Try many different tactics.  Baby slings are great and help you get more done.
  • DON'T:  Feel like you have to hold the baby 24 hours/day.  If you need to let them cry for a bit while you eat your dinner, it's okay.
  • DO: Try gas medicine for babies.  Many times that helps. 
  • DO: Try baby massage to get gas bubbles moving.  Try lots of things: baths, swaddling, burping, rocking, singing, stroking their forehead, driving in the car, vibrating chair, swing, or gently walking and bouncing (never shaking).
  • DO:  Plan ahead.  If you know there is a fussy time, get dinner made and a nap in for yourself before it happens.  Make extra portions of dinner to freeze for later.  Crockpots are a lifesaver.
  • DON'T:  Be afraid to hire a babysitter to give yourself a break.  Also accept meals from friends who offer.
  • DO:  Go on dates with your husband.  Colic is hard on a relationship.  You need to give each other some time.
  • DO: Buy earplugs.  Trust me if you are holding a crying baby a lot, this will save your sanity.  You can still feel good about comforting the baby, but it won't grate on your nerves so much.
  • DON'T:  Listen to criticism from other people.  Grandmothers used to stop me at the store and tell me to feed my baby more so he wouldn't cry.  I just ignored what they said, told them my baby had colic, and kept shopping. Nobody knows what your personal struggle is, so they do not have the right to criticize.  Don't worry about what other people think, and don't let them tell you it's your fault.  It's not.  Colicky babies just cry a lot, and you are doing your best, so don't listen to their negativity.
  • DO:  Know that it will end sooner than you think.  I promise.  Usually at around 2 1/2 months and sometimes sooner.  It won't last forever!
Hope these tips help!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter? And How to Find a Great One!

I was inspired by this great article on Yahoo to write a post on babysitting.  When my kids were younger I paid $2/per child per hour.  When I had five kids that was $10 per hour!  According to the article, that's not enough these days.  $13.44 is the going rate now.  Quite a lot, but I think it's worth it, when you find the right person, to pay enough to keep them interested.  How do you find the right person?  Networking!  You need to talk to your friends and parents of the teenagers you know.  Ask them these questions:

1. Does your daughter like children?
2. Is she too busy with extra curricular activities?
3. Will she play with the kids?
4. Will she help the children clean up after themselves?

When you ask these questions to parents of teens, they will pass along to their teen that these are the things you care about, and they can decide if they are up to the challenge.  This will help them fulfill your expectations.  You also need to tell them your expectations before you leave.  Lists are always helpful.

Another way to find great babysitters is to be involved in helping the youth while volunteering at a church or school.  You can scope out teens' personalities as you work with them.  Once you find a great babysitter, be sure you pay them enough so they'll want to keep coming back.  Always praise the things you see that they've done well.  This will make them want to do it again the next time, and usually it will inspire them to work even harder!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How to Help a Child who is Being Bullied


This is a tough topic.  We all feel sorry for the victims of bullies...and yet, the bullies themselves often come from terrible home situations which fuel their behavior.  When my son was being bullied by a boy he sat by at school here are the steps I took which seemed to work well.

1.  Find out the full story.  If your child hints at being bullied, stop what you are doing and take the time to get the whole story.  Find out if he is doing things to exacerbate the problem and aggrevate the bully's behavior.  You need to get the whole picture in order to fix what is wrong.

2. Once you understand the situation, talk with your child's teacher.  Teachers are usually committed to stop bullying, so they will be your ally.  They can talk with the bully and his parents if necessary.  It is never a child's responsibility to stop a bully problem.  Only adults are equipped to stop a bully.  Teachers need to be aware of what is happening, so they can foresee and prevent potential problems from happening.

3. Remove the child from the situation as best as possible.  If he sits by the bully, have him move to the opposite end of the classroom.  Teach your children to walk away from bullies and find a teacher.  If cyber-bullying is the problem, help your children block the offenders from their phones and email, and teach them to stay away from sites the bullies go on.

4. Give your child skills.  If they encounter a bully, help them know to remove themselves from the situation and report it to a teacher or parent right away.  Help them not to do things that will not exacerbate the problem, such as needling the bully about a sore subject.  Tell your child not to say mean things back to the bully, as it may escalate the problem.  If they see others being bullied, they should tell a teacher right away.

5.  Help them understand that it is not their fault.  No child deserves to be bullied. Help them understand that it is not their character that invites bullying.  Teach them that bullies usually have hard home lives and that they haven't learned to get their needs met appropriately.  Tell your children to be kind, but to stay away from the bullying behavior.

6.  Help your children have confidence and self-esteem through love at home and developing their talents.  This way, mean words won't bother them so much.  Help them know that mean things people say are never true, and that they can ignore and not believe the words a bully uses.  This is a skill they will need to have for life...so it is important to teach and re-teach this principle.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Blog Tour

Lindsay Weldon reviewed my book on her blog today!  Check it out here!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Talking about Tough Topics with Your Children

This is the best article I've ever read about how to parent well.  I LOVED it.  I wish everyone in the world could read it.  Click the caption to go there.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


I feel like Mothers show courage like this every day....every hour.  You are amazing!

Friday, March 6, 2015

How to See the Good in Your Children


I thought I'd expand on yesterday's post and list ways I've found to see the good in my children.  This is important because it affects the way you treat them.  And children can sense when all you notice is their faults.  They will act out more when this happens and the relationship will be strained.  Remember if they don't feel acceptance from you they will seek it in their peers, and that can be dangerous.  So here are ways you can see the good in them.

1.  Remember that their judgment isn't fully developed.  Expect mistakes, and keep teaching.  Don't criticize.

2.  Try to see what they can become instead of what they are right now, especially if you are having trouble liking them at the moment.

3. Try not to look at them through the lens of fear, but through the lens of love and patience.  You can pray for help with this.  It works.  You can also pray to see them through God's eyes.  This helps you see their potential rather than their failings.

4. Spending time doing things together builds a bond and helps you see the good in your children.

5. Compliment them for the good things they do.  Write down the things you love about them each night in a journal.  This works as well as keeping a gratitude journal for keeping a positive perspective.  Give them a kiss and hug each night and tell them you love them.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


(Author Debbie Macomber's facebook page)

I love this!  See the good in your children and your husband.  That's the recipe for a happy family!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Easter on a Budget!

I loved these low cost ideas to make the Easter table special for the kids!  Click the caption to go there.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It's Finally Here!

It's finally here!  My new humor book is now available on Amazon!  I'm so excitied!  Click here to get your copy!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

6 ways to Laugh with your Children


It's important to laugh with your kids.  It teaches them how to have a healthy perspective, to not take themselves too seriously, and to have fun.  It's also really great bonding time and is a great way to break up tense moments, and it can help a child lower their guard, so that he feels safe confiding in you.  Here are 5 ways we like to laugh together.

1. Tell your "Best, Worst, and Wierdest" moments of the day during dinner
2. Watch hilarious Youtube videos together.
3. Watch funny clean humor shows like Studio C.
4. Read comics like Calvin and Hobbes together.
5. Email each other funny internet pictures like the one above.
6. On Sunday nights, we like to read aloud from funny authors like Dave Barry or Patrick McMannus.

What are your favorite ways to share humor with your family?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Should you Spank your Child?


This is a hot topic that inspires debate, but my inclination is to say...probably not.  In raising five children, I have tried spanking, but it never worked well.  Punishment usually drives the behavior underground, and also gives the child a reason to think, well I paid for my misbehavior.  He won't feel the good type of guilt that will help him not repeat the behavior.  Also, if spanking is done in anger it teaches a child that it's all right to strike someone when you get angry.  Children learn more from what we do than what we say.

A better way is teaching, listening, and when necessary taking away priveleges, such as freedom, a toy, or driving the car.  If your young child is having trouble sharing, listen to him, teach him a better way, ask him how to solve the problem.  Then if the problem continues, you can take the toy away until he and his sibling figure out a way to solve their problem.

If your teen is having trouble turning in assignments, or getting to school on time, talk to them.  Ask them to find ways to solve the problem, and be willing to try them.  If the child seems unwilling to change, you may have to take away the car or his iphone until the behavior gets better.  Always teach that this is because priveleges come with fulfilling one's responsiblities.  This is how the real world works, and if they learn it at home, it will help them to be successful in the world.

Teaching, not punishing, will preserve the strong parent-child relationship that helps you to have influence over your children.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Totally me!


Good thing my kids are braver than I am.  They save me from spiders all the time!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Words of Wisdom

I couldn't enlarge this any more, but I had to post it anyway because I loved it so much!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Cat

Ha Ha!  This is totally our cat!  You can see why if you look at the title of my next book on the right!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How Busy Should Your Kids Be?


I used to vow I would never be like the parents in the picture above.  Then I had teenagers.  I have to admit, our house looks exactly like this every morning.  It turns out life is just busy.  It's not that you try to plan a million things, but each child's activities, along with family obligations, can make for a tight schedule.  So after being a parent for awhile and having children of differing ages here are my thoughts.

1. Young Children need lots of time at home with mom and dad.  They need the structure and stability of a routine and the attachment time with their parents.  I wouldn't schedule them for too many activities, unless they are extreme extroverts and seem to need people all the time.

2. Elementary Age kids also need structure at home with maybe one outside activity.

3.  Middle School Age:  It's important for this age to explore their talents and what they like to do.  I would say let them try lots of things, but remember to help them have homework and family time each day.  They also need some pondering time to figure things out.

4.  High School Kids need to explore their independence and develop talents for self esteem.  Let them enjoy their many activities, again making sure they are scheduling in enough homework, family, and ponder time.  Be sure to eat dinner as a family each night, if possible.  Teens need this bonding activity.  Establish good curfews to make sure they get enough sleep.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ideas For Playing with Your Kids!

Need fun ideas for teaching and playing with your kids?  (Or for giving them the gift of "Time" with mom or dad?)  I've pinned almost a thousand pins on fun activities to do with your children.  Follow my "Kids" pinterest board here. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why Your Child Needs to Hear the Word No


I am a strong advocate of positive parenting, and parenting without punishment, but instead, using love, teaching, and limits to mold children.  However, in light of some parenting trends taking positive parenting to the extreme and saying that you should never say "no" to your child, I have to say I strongly disagree.  Their idea, I think, is to work around the child's demands and spin it so that they can have an always positive response (For instance, if a child demands 5 scoops of ice cream, say yes, but give them five tiny scoops instead of full size scoops).

This is harmful to children.  The reason is that a child needs to understand that there are good limits to place on oneself for healthy reasons.  For example, how is the child in the ice cream example able to learn about eating healthy portions, if you teach him that he can have whatever he wants, whenever he wants?

A better way is to say, no, and then teach with love.  Say, "I wish we could all eat 5 scoops.  Ice cream is yummy.  But no, we have to try and stay healthy, and so we just eat 2 scoops."  If the child resists, it is a good time to teach him about how healthy limits help us to stay happy and free of illness.

Saying "no" when appropriate and with love and teaching will help your child grow up to be a happy and healthy, high functioning adult in today's society.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why You Should Put Your Child to Bed Very Early


Three words:  Reading, Homework, and Settling down.  Children do not get enough hours of sleep.  Even a teenage child needs as much sleep as a toddler.  We've always put our elementary age children to bed at 7pm and we start moving our teens toward bed at 8pm with lights out an hour or so later.  This is because it takes them a while to settle down.   They will putter around, and ask for drinks, and remember they forgot their homework every night.  When they are put to bed early, they will have a chance to settle down, read a little (very important), finish up homework in their beds and then fall asleep much earlier than if they started later.  It really works!  And it makes for happier children in the morning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Children Need to Know


My own addition to this list is that every child needs to hear the word "No" sometimes.  This is because they need to understand that there are limits in the world.  Children who don't understand limits grow up very unhappy.