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Family Matters: Don’t Run Out of Time


RunningI’m sitting at my desk; it’s 5:45 p.m. and I have no idea what I need to do next. My email is 12 inches deep. Do I need to stay at work and finish returning emails? Do I need to go home and cook dinner for my family? I missed my workout earlier this week, and I would really like to go work out tonight. My son, Luke, has a track meet tonight. Should I go to his meet since I have not been able to attend one this season? I have no idea what I need to do, but I need to make up my mind right now!

I chose to go to my son’s track meet. Thank the Lord I did because he placed first in both of his races! Had I not gone, yes, he would have been disappointed, but I would have been heartbroken that I did not get to share that experience with him. 

Life is about finding balance every day. We have to learn to put our lives into compartments. We get up in the morning and focus on our families, making the most of the morning rush. Then, we get to our jobs, and we need to do the very best we can to be successful in our careers. At the end of the day, we should turn the office lights out, go home and focus on what’s really important: our family, our personal life and our health. 

The benefits we will gain from finding daily balance in our lives is so rewarding. Picture my son down on the starting block about to run his race. He turns around and waves at me saying, “Mom!” He was making sure I was watching. After he won the race, he runs to the stands and calls me down to the track — me, his MOM! We high-five each other and cherish the moment. 

In twenty years, I will not remember all those work emails, but I will never forget my son turning around on the starting block and waving at me, his MOM! Don’t miss out on opportunities to seize the moment with your family. Count your blessings and give thanks for those special moments.

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Family Matters: Pets


Washing the DogMy friend lives in a beautiful home in the country where her four big Labrador retrievers have plenty of space to run and roam.

They take full advantage of it, coming home sweaty and more than a little stinky most times. But there’s nothing worse than when they encounter a certain black and white adversary on their adventures.

This happened not too long ago, and all four dogs came home “skunked,” that is, sprayed by their furry foe as it tried to protect itself.

Luckily, she knew exactly what to do.

She kept the dogs outside while she prepped the anti-skunk wash.

Then she mixed together:

  • 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp liquid dishwashing soap

Of course, she had to make four times this much.

Wearing rubber gloves, she washed the dogs with this solution, being careful not to get it into the dogs’ eyes. She rubbed it in, but don’t let it sit too long as it can bleach their coat. Then she rinsed each dog with the garden hose (luckily it was warm outside).

After that, she shampooed the dogs with regular shampoo and left them outside in the sun to dry completely. By that night, they were ready to come back into the house, stench-free.



Family Matters: Finger Painting


Finger PaintingThis age is a great time to get crafty with your little one! Try this homemade finger paint recipe. It’s non-toxic, so don’t be overly concerned if baby wants to taste!

Ingredients:
2 cups cornstarch
1 cup cold water
4 1/2 cups boiling water
liquid food coloring

Directions:
Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and stir together. Pour in the boiling water and stir between each cup. Keep stirring until it reaches a pudding-like consistency. Separate it into individual jars or bowls, and add the color. Paint away!



Family Matters: Teething Biscuits


Baby BiscuitsBaby should start getting teeth, so make sure they have something to gnaw on to soothe their gums. You can make your own teething biscuits, just remember to never leave baby unsupervised with anything that goes in their mouth!

Teething biscuits

Ingredients:
1 cup infant rice cereal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 mashed banana
2 tsp cinnamon
4 to 8 Tbsp water

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425° F. Mix everything together in a medium sized bowl, starting with 4 tablespoons of water and adding more if necessary. Mix well until a dough forms. Roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutter or cut into squares. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 15 minutes.

Let cool completely. Store in air-tight container. These can also be stored in the freezer. 

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Family Matters: Making Baby Wipes


Baby WipesMaking your own baby wipes at home is easy at 1, 2, 3. The basic recipe is simple and effective, and it can not only save you money but also give you assurance you know exactly what’s touching baby’s delicate skin. Once you master the basic recipe, you can add a few drops of essential oils if your baby’s skin can tolerate them.

Original Recipe for Wipes
1/8 to 1/4 cup baby shampoo
1/8 to 1/4 cup baby oil/olive oil
2 cups lukewarm water

Mix liquid ingredients gently. Place the wipes in the container, then add the solution and invert a few times to make sure the wipes all get sufficiently moistened. Use just enough solution to moisten. Extra solution can generally be kept refrigerated.

For the wipes, cut a roll of premium paper towels in half across the middle. Thread one end of the wipes through the cardboard roll and they’ll dispense easily.



Family Matters: Slow Cooker Delight – Sweet BBQ


BBQOur family enjoys all types of barbecue, and recently a friend shared a recipe which we absolutely loved and have made several times already. The recipe is so easy (which with a family is great), and it cooks while you sleep or while you are busy during the day. Try it and see for yourself!  

Slow Cooker Delight – Sweet BBQ

Ingredients:
pork loin or pork roast (medium sized)
1 pkg McCormick Grill Mates BBQ Rub
1 1/2 cans Dr Pepper
1 (16 oz) bottle Claude’s Barbeque Meat Marinade (liquid)
6-8 fresh garlic cloves
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce

Place pork in large slow cooker and rub the Grill Mates BBQ Rub all over the meat. Add the Dr Pepper, Claude’s Barbeque Meat Marinade and the fresh garlic cloves. Cover and cook 6-8 hours (until it is falling apart). Once it is cooked, pour out all of the liquid and garlic cloves in the slow cooker. Add Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce over the pork and heat to serve. 

The pulled pork can be served as a main dish with vegetables and a salad, or make pulled pork sandwiches served with chips or french fries. My kid’s favorite is to put the pulled pork and grated cheese in a flour tortilla and make a rollup. 

It is simple and easy recipes like this that give you more time to spend with your family and make great recipes to pass down for generations to come. Make this recipe and fill more than their stomach – fill them with sweet memories. Count your blessings daily, and give thanks for the time you are given with your family.  

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Family Matters: Never Too Old for Story Time


ReadingMom, will you read me a bedtime story? Cherish these words spoken from your child because they will not say them forever. My daughter Grace is now twelve and we are long past the bedtime stories.

The other day I was reading an article (nothing I haven’t really read before) about the more you read to your children, the more they will enjoy reading and the better readers they will be. I thought about Grace and how reading and spelling are not her favorite subjects in school and thought for a moment, maybe I should go back to reading her bedtime stories. I finished reading the article and didn’t think too much about this anymore.

Later that same night, I tucked Grace in bed like I usually do, kissed her on the forehead and said good night. As I was walking out of her bedroom, I heard those familiar words once again. Mom, will you read me a bedtime story? Did she just say what I think she said? My 12-year-old just asked me to read her a bedtime story! I am a woman of faith, so I believe the Lord was looking down at me with a wink in his eye and saying here is your opportunity. What are you going to do with it?

We have been reading together every night for the past two weeks. This is a special time that we both look forward to and one that I am going to cherish. Don’t miss out on opportunities to seize the moment with your family. Count your blessings and give thanks for those special moments.

 



Family Matters: Homemade Flea Spray


Flea SprayI loved having dogs but did not love the fact that we constantly battle flea control down here in the South.

Veterinarians will tell you plenty of ways to get rid of fleas, but there’s a natural remedy as well.

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water together in a spray bottle, and apply the mixture directly to your pet’s coat. Finish by rubbing it in well with your hands, and your pet is largely protected from those nasty fleas.
Fleas hate the smell and taste of vinegar, and they do their best to avoid it.



Family Matters: Barefoot


BarefootBefore baby starts walking, leaving them in bare feet or socks is best for their development. At this point, the bones in baby’s feet are still soft. The bones don’t actually finish hardening until they’re about 5 years old.

Having flexibility is important as baby’s arch is developing, and there’s no real reason for shoes at all if baby isn’t walking.

When baby does start to walk, sometime around 1 year old, being barefoot is still best. Let them feel the floor with their feet and be able to easily grip with their toes.

When you do transition to shoes, a soft-soled, low-top shoe is best. That’s a far cry from the rigid high-tops we might have grown up with. However, the softer shoe will allow baby’s foot to form naturally and facilitate easier walking.

TIP 13-36 Months: If you want to keep track of your little one as they toddle around the house, try some of the baby shoes with built-in “squeakers.” If you can stand the squeak, you’ll always know where baby is!



Family Matters: Sippy Cup


Sippy CupAt about 10 months old, baby can drink from a cup.

Let him.

Using a sippy cup instead of a bottle promotes fine and gross motor skills, as well as important oral development.

Baby doesn’t really need to nurture the sucking reflex with a bottle, which soothed them as an infant. Now, they can also be a big kid and drink from a cup.

To transition baby to cup, use the same liquid they are already familiar with in their bottle. If baby is still nursing, introduce diluted juice, small amounts of water or formula in the cup.

Let them practice in their high chair and don’t worry if they don’t get it right away. Learning to tip the cup so far back takes practice!

TIP 7-12 Months: Let your little one “pick out” the cup he’s going to use. That might help with the transition. Also, sippy cups with a flexible spout are more like the bottle or breast and might make the transition easier. 



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