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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.  

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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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. 



Family Matters: Ear Infections


Ear InfectionsOne of my good friend’s baby has had a rotten go of it.

She’s congested. She coughs a lot. Her little nose is stopped up, and she constantly tugs at her ears. She’s had ear infection after ear infection in her short little life.

My friend finally opted to have tubes put in her ears, at the recommendation of the pediatrician. Ear tubes are plastic and shaped like a hollow spool. Doctors suggest tubes for children who have repeat ear infections or when fluid stays behind the eardrum. The tubes drain the fluid and hopefully, the child will not only have fewer or no ear infections but also fewer upper respiratory problems.

Tubes allow air to enter the middle ear and flow back out into the ear canal. They clear fluid from the middle ear and restore hearing while preventing the future buildup of fluid. They also release the feeling of pressure and pain for your little one.

She took her baby in early one morning. The procedure usually is on an outpatient basis under light general anesthesia. She went home about two hours later. That’s been two months ago, and she hasn’t had an ear infection or bad cold since.

 TIP 0-6 months: Use wax or custom ear plugs to keep baby’s ears dry after tubes. It’s also not a bad idea to use them while they swim, as well, to keep the ears dry. 



Family Matters: Brothers…Make a Difference


BrothersIt’s funny to me that I have four daughters but grew up with seven boys…3 brothers and the others were family. I was a “tomboy” by every means and enjoyed hanging out with the boys and their friends. It was a given that no one messed with me or they would be answering to more than one. It was a great feeling knowing my brothers loved me and wanted to protect me. I always knew I was special to them, as they were to me.

We all married and have children of our own now. My brothers live close and I see them regularly. While my “other brothers” live away, they are not forgotten. I am always telling my girls stories of how much fun my brothers and I had growing up on our dairy farm. Having brothers was (and still is) a blessing and I treasure every moment with them.

We recently found out my youngest brother has cancer and will soon begin chemotherapy and radiation. It was a shock to our family, but we are all committed to facing it together. I now find myself in the role that my brothers played in wanting to protect and comfort him at all costs. I daily ask the Lord to give him strength to face each day and peace in knowing that he is loved by so many who will be there with him through this trial. My heart is broken and tears are shed, but my faith keeps me focused and gives me hope in the tough days ahead.

There is a lot that my brother will need in coming months. We will see that his needs are met, but most of all, he needs our prayers. In my family, we know there is “one greater” and we look to Him daily for direction, comfort, peace and understanding in all things. Our families have faced many trials over the years. The one thing we know for sure is that prayer works miracles, and that is what we are now praying for. God is good and His love endures forever.

Remember that even though we are not kids anymore, we need to always love and support our siblings. Don’t miss out on opportunities to tell those you love how you feel. Reach out to your “brothers” and let them know how special they are. Most importantly, PRAY daily. It makes ALL the difference. Count your blessings and give thanks for time with family!

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Family Matters: Pizza and a Movie


Pizza Movie

Friday night at our house has always been a traditional pizza and movie night. When the kids were younger, we would take them to the video store every Friday night. First, we would order our pizza. Then, the kids would pick out a movie for them, and my husband and I would pick out a grown-up movie for us. By the time we made our video selections, our pizza was ready to take home.

Times have changed over the past 16 years. We no longer go to the video store, and we can now download or stream the movie of our choice. We no longer need to get a kids’ movie and an adult movie. Now, it’s usually a guys’ movie and a girls’ movie. However, one thing remains the same; Friday night is always pizza night!

Over the years, I have tried all kinds of pizzas: ordered in, homemade, frozen, cook it when you get home pizza, etc. This past Friday night, I wanted to change it up a bit and made a pizza casserole. My kiddos and husband were impressed that I made something new that kept with our traditional Friday pizza and movie night!

Pizza Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 (16 oz) bag rotini or penne pasta, cooked
1 (32 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
4 oz sliced pepperoni
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 cup sliced green bell pepper
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced bottom mushrooms
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place cooked pasta in a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Top with spaghetti sauce and all other ingredients except the cheese.
Top the entire dish with the shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.

BITS & PIECES
Many casseroles can be assembled ahead of time and chilled until baking.
Remove the dish from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before putting it
in the oven. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Family Matters: Another Dog?


DogI’ve been facing a dilemma recently, that being whether or not to get another dog.

I had three of them until they dug under the fence into the neighbor’s yard, and she let them out of her gate without bothering to tell me that they’d gotten out.

I was trying to be a responsible pet owner, I really was, but perhaps an Australian shepherd puppy and a German shepherd puppy weren’t the best choices for a smallish, suburban backyard.

That was over a year ago, and I’ve gone back and forth about getting another dog.

On the pros list: I love dogs. I would enjoy their companionship and having company when I’m home alone. I’d love to “rescue” a stray and give it some love. The boys would like it.

On the cons list: Nothing can change the fact I work long days and am not home to give a dog a lot of attention during daylight hours. I still have the hole under my fence. Vet bills can be expensive.

So, I’m still pondering.

What do you think?



Family Matters: First Words


TalkingBetween 8-12 months, your child should say his first word.

“Dada” is a very common one, and while dads are of the utmost important, the “d” consonant blend is very easy to say. So, don’t despair, moms. It’s just the path of least resistance at this point.

My boys had to do things their own way.

My older son’s first word was “light” and my younger son’s was “bird.” Now, the older one talked later, much later, than average, but I have no idea where “bird” came from with the younger one.
During this time, they’ll probably add another word to their vocabulary, babble and make noises all the time.

If your child isn’t talking, don’t worry, but if he’s not much into babbling, just ask your doctor for a quick check-up.

TIP 7-12 months:  Around 12 months, baby can scribble with a crayon. Give him a washable version and some paper, and let him go to town!



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