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Monday, December 31, 2012

Recipe Monday - Some Holiday Sides

I made some really easy sides the other day for Christmas dinner. Now, these won't be winning any awards for the "from-scratchiest-bestest-hardest-ever" category, but if you've only got 30 minutes and you need something to bring to a dinner party, they are delicious.

Candied Yams:

I went right for the canned yams with this one. My mom does it from sweet potatoes proper, but I'm just not at that level right  now.

Large can of sweet potatoes / yams in syrup, drained
cup of mini marshmallows
2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Mash the yams and melted butter together in a big bowl.

Add the sugar and spices, and 1/2 cup of marshmallows.

Spread in a casserole dish (I used a pie pan)

Spread the remaining marshmallows on top.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350, or until the top marshmallows are golden brown and puffy.

Green Bean Casserole:

I used real green beans for this, but I'm sure you could use canned.

Four to six cups of green beans (steamed)
can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of milk
salt and pepper
cup of French fried onions.

Mix green beans, milk and cream of mushroom soup in a big bowl. Add 1/2 cup onions and spices and stir well.

Pour into 8x8 casserole dish and spread the remaining onions on top.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Preschool Pointers - 18: Wait, Just Wait


You want to take your kids out but they're playing so incredibly nicely. You know if you hazard into their 'pretend' territory, you will ruin this idyll, you will turn it to tears and tantrums...just by being you.


You want to take your kids out, but they're being complete pills. Throwing tantrums, fighting, making a big deal out of nothing, intentionally setting verbal traps for you, etc. You can't move them into public in this state.


If you happen to have nothing scheduled in stone where you absolutely must be somewhere at a certain time, do not stress over when you leave. Let it happen, don't force it to happen. (You can do this with a scheduled event, too, if you start early enough, and have a backup plan for if they actually get in the car at a reasonable speed.)

For instance, this morning, I told the girls I'd take them rollerskating. Now, usually this would mean me moving immediately...grabbing the skates, putting on socks and shoes, harassing them out the door, let's get a move on.

But, since we had nothing else to do today, I told them, and they got excited, but when they didn't move toward getting out of the house at all, I waited. I let them play their games. I did some work. Then when they brought it up again, I immediately set down my work and got their socks and shoes. By the time I got out of their room with the supplies, they were playing again. I let them play. I picked my work back up. When they brought it up a third time, I put their socks and shoes on. I went to get them out of the house, but they had begun playing again. Same thing. About an hour from when I first mentioned it is when we finally got out of the house. With no muss, no fuss, and everyone on the same page.

I've said before that you only have between 5 and 30 seconds from when the children decide to do something to actually do it. The difference in this pointer is that if you happen to miss that window, don't sweat it, don't force it. Wait for another one to come along.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Use Goodwill with Good Will

Being the holiday season, we've made a few trips to Goodwill, dropping off old, unused toys, and picking up new (to us) ones!

I'm not really big into huge causes and I can't contribute much to society at this point in my life, but I love Goodwill because it's an easy and local way to show my kids that giving is not only important, it's also fun.

We've been going since they were two. I bring them with me so that they understand that their toys and clothes don't just 'disappear,' they go to other people.

My kids will say, afterward, "Hey, where did our little chairs go?" or "Where did that shirt I loved go?" And I get to remind them that we gave them away. And they'll say, "Oh yeah! They were too small. We gave them to other babies who need them!"

Now, at first, they just knew that when we went to Goodwill, they could pick out a toy.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Cool new racecar? Neat! They didn't know it was supposed to be remote-controlled. In fact, we still have this car. Because they really like it.

Other toys they have picked, we have used for a while, then given back. Almost as if we're borrowing them or renting them. The girls are getting a good sense of use and reuse from our quarterly trips.

And some of these toys are amazing. We plan on keeping these for a while (well, the horse will go back soon as they're getting too big to ride it. But the keyboard is gold. And when they've outgrown it, someone else will be able to use it for years for $4.)

The sting of losing their music table didn't hurt so badly when we got a little horse in return. And while right now the girls are associating giving with getting something physical, soon, they'll associate giving with getting a good feeling. Helping is important. This broadens their world view. They don't just see our living room, their toys. They know that those toys can go to other homes and that sometimes we bring home toys from other people too. It's one big giving tree (with a few dollars, of course.)

And for me, the clothing is amazing. Some of our best stuff is from Goodwill. Yeah, I can get the $3 shirts on sale at KMart, and I do. But there's some real quality and unique clothing I've gotten at Goodwill for the same price. Because I'm just not at a place right now where I can spend $20 on a shirt or $50 on a sweater that they'll outgrow in two months.

That amazing sweater? Goodwill. No way I could afford something like that firsthand.

That shirt with the personality and flair? Goodwill.

And as we grow out of our clothes, we donate them right back.

It's important to teach your kids about charity and giving in ways they can see and understand. Doing this has shown my kids that it's easy to give. It's also shown them that there is no shame in taking when in need. And most importantly, it's shown them that everyone can have excess of something and not enough of another thing and we all need to share together.

This week we'll be packing up some barely used tricycles (the girls grew out of those in a hot second before we could use them enough), gently used comforters for kids' beds, and a plethora of clothing and toys we no longer use or need.

Goodwill. It's about good will.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gifting Books Giveaway WINNERS

I'm so happy to announce the winners of Finding Home, from the Gifting Books Giveaway!

Julie Kornhausl and Ki Pha!

CONGRATULATIONS, and I hope you enjoy it!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Guest Post - Dangerous Bugs for Dogs

Sometimes we're so busy looking out for our kids, we forget about our pets! I'm lucky enough to have a guest post on some outside dangers to dogs...bugs.


Have you ever watched your dog chase fireflies after dark? They run and hop around, just trying to catch something. Then, perhaps it occurred to you, what if those bugs were dangerous? Are they bad for your dog if eaten?

Insects have been around since the beginning of time, outliving even the dinosaurs. In all that time, they
have developed measures that allow them to defend themselves against predators. Unfortunately, this
often means they can be toxic or downright dangerous to our dogs.

Yellow jackets, wasps, and bees, oh my!

The most familiar threat is the sting. Many insects like bees and even ants carry venom as a defense
against anything that violates their territory. Be sure you keep your dog away from any nests and have
insect nests such as bees relocated if possible.

Creepy crawly spiders

Another dangerous insect is the arachnid. Spiders and scorpions often carry some of the most deadly
venom in the world. Keep areas like under the porch and storage areas cleaned to reduce the chances
your dog would wander into a hazardous place.

Caterpillars and cocoons

Here is something that many people would not consider- the danger of a bug that children used to play
with at the park. They inch along and eat leaves. But, did you know that caterpillars and similar pupa can be hosts for the toxic chemical Omphalea, which can be secreted by various caterpillar species. Don’t let your dog eat or play with these creatures.

Like a moth to a dog’s mouth?

Then there is the moth and butterfly. These dancing, fluttery creatures float around lights or flowers.
But, much like their previous state, their wings can contain harmful toxins. Various species of moth
actually host trace amounts of hydrogen cyanide on their wings. In large quantities, these insects can
cause upset stomach and vomiting.

The firefly

This childhood favorite is actually a very toxic creature. The enzyme luciferase is secreted in order to
create the light we love to see. But, that very enzyme is very toxic to your dog. These “lightning bugs”
are very intriguing and are bound to catch the attention of any pet around. Be cautious about your dog
ingesting any number of these insects. If there is toxicity, it will commonly show signs within the first
thirty minutes.

Pesticides in bugs?

In general, bugs are seen as a pest. We spray with pesticides to keep them from invading our living
spaces. Unfortunately, this does affect our pets as well. When you spray an insect, they carry those
chemicals with them. If your dog manages to munch them up faster than you can toss them out the
door, you could be poisoning your pet. Be cautious when selecting pesticides and it’s preferable to
utilize traps instead so that the poison is contained.

Bugs can be intriguing and often beautiful, but that doesn’t mean they’re a healthy part of a dog’s diet.
Sure, we dog owners may know better than to eat a bug, but our dogs may find it an irresistible, but
dangerous, treat. Keep your dog safe and beware of what they put in their mouth.

Author Bio:

Brandon Kennington is the inventor and owner of the Porch Potty – the world’s first automatic grass doglitter box. As dog owner and a busy business owner, Brandon invented the Porch Potty when he didn’twant his dog to have to wait all day to go. Porch Potty admires dog owners and also provides great tips for dog lovers on the Porch Potty Blog.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas '12

Christmas at age four has been better than Christmas at age three, for sure! (As much as they loved the holiday last year, I remember crying by 9 a.m. (and that was me. Who knows when they started!))

Anyway, great day, great day! We started with the stockings.

The winner there was the rainbow lollipops.

Then they attacked the presents under the tree.

Their favorite toys were some $3 grabbers I got out of the Toys R Us bin. Obviously.

Although Natalina did a 10-minute happy dance when she opened the cotton candy maker. I'm sure I'll be just as thrilled when I actually have to make cotton candy for them.

Of course, that all fizzled into fights over who got more maple syrup on their French toast, and who the drum set actually belonged to. Nice.

I leave you with this: This is Natalina's genuine expression when told there were no more presents to open.

Dead laughing. Oh, you spoiled child. Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Recipe Monday - Christmas Cookies

For this recipe Monday, let's just recap a few cookie recipes with new pictures!

First, anisette cookies. These came out better than last year's! I cooked the whole batch this year, and ended up with nine dozen cookies.


Next up: Sugar cookies.

These also came out better than last year. The full batch yielded six dozen cookies. (I halved this one last year, too).


Here are some action shots.

Of course, not all of them were artistic masterpieces...Natalina apparently takes after me in the kitchen.

Oh well. Sorry, gingerbread man.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Moment of the Week - 122: Christmas Lights

Our first family Christmas tradition is going to see the lights at the lake. We've done it ever year since we've been here.

I guess I didn't take pictures the first year we went, but here are a few from last year for reference.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Preschool Pointers - 17: How to Hide Presents


You went out shopping for your kids' Christmas presents, and you think, man, they'll never check here! (At four, my kids aren't looking for presents specifically. They're into the Santa thing, hook, line and sinker.) But they will check there, and everywhere. Because they just find stuff. They just do. So, what to do?


Use the goldfish attention span to your advantage. Have most of the presents in bags, slightly harder to see. This will, hopefully, be enough. Leave two more boring presents out in front. Hopefully, in the two seconds between them finding the stash and you hearing them find the stash, they are distracted by your decoy and don't go farther. Then shove them out of the room, and tell them that those are presents for them from you, but not to look anymore because they're only for Christmas day.

Now, this won't work for every child, and hopefully your hiding is better than mine. But it somehow magically worked for mine. They know they're getting a Rapunzel comforter from ME. And they didn't see all the other gifts...only three more days to go, right?


Friday, December 21, 2012

In Defense of the Big, Bad Media

I want to take a tiny, inconsequential sliver of the gruesome tragedy in Connecticut and apply it to the broader hatred and ranting I'm seeing pop up everywhere...against the media. And it's not like this is new. Everyone hates the media, it's cool. I hate it, too, promise. For some reason, though, I'm seeing a lot of backlash against the workers of news themselves. And, honestly, they don't want to be there. But what are they going to do? Quit? They need to eat, too, and 20 years ago, they thought journalism would be a cool thing to do, yo. Or they're kids and they just decided it would be cool, like, last year. But either way, they don't want to be there.

Now, I have been fighting for fewer words and less coverage since the event itself, but we need to get to the root of the coverage problem.

I'm just going to list some things out here:

1) The media is not profiting off this tragedy.

To help you understand this, I first want to break down the hierarchy of news money makers. The local affiliates get nothing. I mean, seriously, people, the local newsrooms don't even make enough money to hire a decent staff. I'm sure you don't keep up on journalism postings, but given my background, I do. I just saw a job at a CT local, considered a medium to large market, for a reporter who can shoot and edit her own packages, produce and run cut-ins, and update the website.

That's five jobs. That's FIVE jobs. And this particular station had just laid off ten people. They're hiring two people to replace those ten.

And the people on the street? The glamorous reporters, the cool producers in the booth, the chic photogs behind the camera? They make nothing. They're not pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars (well, some are, but even in national news, that's a lot more rare than you would think.) These people are just doing their jobs, for probably $10 an hour, maybe $20, and you know what? If they don't do their jobs? If someone else does their job better than them (like, say, Facebook and Twitter or the other stations?) then their station lays ten more people off.

It's not about making money. It's about feeding families. Just like when you go to your job.

2) The media is not its own thing.

Let's move on from the little guys, though. If anyone is profiting off this,  it's corporations. GE, Meredith, and the like. You think that's a joke on 30 Rock? It's not. The next time you want to ram into some news organization, look one rung up. They're all run by huge companies now, many of which have nothing to do with news.

We're blaming the wrong guys. I mean, it's really easy to blame the 24-hour network idiots you actually see camping out in Newtown, attending private child funerals. Who doesn't hate those guys? But this is not the investigative piece of the story. These reporters are not there of their own volition. Their corporate bosses are telling their bosses are telling their bosses are telling them to do something that makes their skin crawl, that makes everyone's skin crawl.

Media really isn't it's own thing. And this is the problem we have all over the country that we're keenly aware of in other businesses, but somehow we forget when it comes to media...that they're also just another penny in the pocket of multi-million-dollar corporations.

Now, in order for these corporations to get paid, they will have to keep their ratings high all the way until February. Because advertisers look at TV in February, in May and in November. These are called sweeps. What they could possibly do is go to the advertisers in question and show them the numbers from this month, but, honestly, it's not going to matter all that much.

I don't know, I could be wrong about all this. I'm only talking from the view point of someone who once produced news shows.

3) The media has a job to do.

So, why do they do it? Why are they there?

Well, because it's a job, really. It's their job.

For some in news, it's a noble drive. They truly believe that through coverage of such events they can evoke public outcry, public thought, political change. Perhaps the angle they take on a story will prompt letters to congresspeople, will prompt votes for or against gun control, accessibility to mental health care, or any other of the myriad of political agendas people have glommed onto. Because the public is no better than the news. The public is just as blowhard-y, just as loud, just as full of hot air in the face of tragedy. All that meme sharing, all those viral blog posts. The public is hungry for this story. And maybe with enough information, they can actually create change for the better.

There are, of course, those out for the glory. For the show reel. For the 'career-maker.' And even those not in it for that can get carried away, can forget, can distance themselves, purposefully or not, from the story. Because to deal in that environment takes a lot of nerve, in the best and worst sense of the word. So, yes, the shots of the millions of cameras, the bragging about the media descending upon Newtown--gross. I agree.

It's a sickly competition, isn't it? But what can one do?

We certainly can't change it by crying outrage and bringing more attention to the business. That, you see, is what makes the business. Attention from the public continues the story. If you don't want to know the gory details, stop watching them.

And there is some good to be done here. Check out the Hartford Courant's coverage. Now, I have no love lost on the Hartford Courant. They laid my husband off, plunging us into  two years of grief and poverty. So, I'm not like, their secret champion or anything. But they are being heralded for their "tasteful and complete" coverage of the story.

That's a bit more how you enact change. Make a big deal out of the corporations doing it right. Heap accolades upon them and other news outlets (meaning the organizations behind them) will want to do the same.

But going back to the Courant, they are searching not for "angles" but for the stories that will affect change across the nation. Uncovering the background of the gun-loving townspeople, and looking at whether or not this outlook is dangerous, or whether it's just a coincidence. There are deep questions here that need to be answered. We could let the NRA do it, the politicians do it, the public Facebook meme-ers do it, or the journalists do it. Actually, we can't let any of them do it. Because all of them are going to do it anyway.

4) There is no thrill to this story.

It's okay, you can disagree on this one. But I highly doubt you'll be able to find one newsperson, in even the darkest depths of the most private newsroom reveling in this. Stories that are thrilling are investigative pieces, Watergate would be a good example. A piece where you get to play detective, where you get to right a wrong, bring an evil to light. This story is not one of those. It's just a horrible, horrible thing that happened.

Honestly, the Onion posted the best take on this, in my opinion.

5) The media is all the same (and this includes armchair Facebook journalism)

And I hate this.

Actually, I love it in its way. Genius, really. The Denver Post reports about how awful the news is by hanging out at local Newtown restaurants and eavesdropping on conversations. By harassing a woman for an interview who had already told television crews no several times. It's a whole other angle. And one that makes the Denver Post look so sanctimonious, all by doing exactly what every other news organization is doing.

Great job, guys.

And horrible job.

What we should have done, in my opinion, is had a media blackout out of respect for this community and this tragedy. I hoped when I turned on the news that day at ten p.m., I would see nothing. A time to mourn, to process, to grieve.

But that is not the news. And by watching it when it shows stories we're tired of or think have been completely overdone, we are pushing the very stories we say we don't want to see to the front page again and again.

And by posting on Facebook about how everyone just needs to leave the community alone, we are not leaving it alone. We are continuing the conversation. And by crying out against the politicization of the issues at hand, we are furthering those agendas.

If we want quiet on this issue, we have to be quiet.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gifting Giveaway Post!

gifting books giveaway hop
Gifting Books Christmas hop was organized by Reading Romances!
Time for a great giveaway hop! Look below for lots of freebies and new friends! The question is what's the best book you've gotten? For me, it was Jane Eyre. My favorite book.
What you can win here: Finding Home
Number of winners: 2
Open to (INT, US or US/CAN): INT
How to enter: Use the Rafflecopter below!
Check out Finding Home!

Jessica Deitermeier is on the run from her family and from herself. The rings her mother bequeathed to her upon her untimely death are worth money, and her uncle will apparently stop at nothing to get them.

She makes her way from Boston to Minnesota and finds work on a small farm. Everything goes smoothly for four months...until the farmer's “prodigal son” comes home. The dark, moody Ben Elkers shakes Jessica on a level she doesn't understand.

Ben Elkers is a failed businessman. When he loses all his money in bad investments, he makes his way home to Sauk Centre. After leaving his parents without so much as a phone call for the holidays, he's surprised when they welcome him with open arms, but even more surprised at the fiery red-headed girl sleeping in his old bed.

Together, they discover the importance of family and decide to do whatever it takes to find home.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you check out all these other great prizes, too!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Finding Home Release!

Just in case you didn't know...I'm also an author, and my newest book came out today!

I'm so proud to announce the release of my next book, Finding Home, today!

It's a holiday romance with some suspense thrown in, the story of two people desperately searching for home in their own different ways. It's got farm living, a bar fight, coveted family heirlooms, dark family secrets, city life, Christmas and of course, sexy tension etc.

The cover is beautiful. At this point, you've seen it, but let's show it again, shall we?

Here's the blurb, and below the links, I'll give a new excerpt!

Jessica Deitermeier is on the run from her family and from herself. The rings her mother bequeathed to her upon her untimely death are worth money, and her uncle will apparently stop at nothing to get them.

She makes her way from Boston to Minnesota and finds work on a small farm. Everything goes smoothly for four months...until the farmer's “prodigal son” comes home. The dark, moody Ben Elkers shakes Jessica on a level she doesn't understand.

Ben Elkers is a failed businessman. When he loses all his money in bad investments, he makes his way home to Sauk Centre. After leaving his parents without so much as a phone call for the holidays, he's surprised when they welcome him with open arms, but even more surprised at the fiery red-headed girl sleeping in his old bed.

Together, they discover the importance of family and decide to do whatever it takes to find home.

Buy it HERE at Resplendence Publishing today to get your holiday romance read on!
If you'd like a little taste, here's an excerpt from the first few chapters.

Ben inhaled the steam as he stepped into the recently used bathroom. What a vision his parents had procured. And as a farmhand? That girl should be royalty. Her crimson hair curling around her face where the tie couldn’t hold it back, her delicate features and little snub nose, the way she held herself—they all spoke to good breeding and wealth. And her eyes, a vibrant emerald that nearly held him hypnotized.

He saw from her hands she wasn’t accustomed to life on the farm and from her sweater and posture she had style and grace. His mother had said from the girl was from Boston but she never talked about home. Ellie had been warning him not to broach the subjects during his father’s arrival and their homecoming dinner, but Ben didn’t know if he could hold back. He wanted to know everything he could about the beautiful creature helping his mother cook downstairs.

He’d had a lot of girls in the city, especially in the beginning when he was so confident he’d spent loosely, out to impress. Fancy dinners, investor meetings, penthouse suites…Ben had done the whole thing. On his own dime. A dime he didn’t even have yet and now probably never would.

But none of the wealthy blondes or brunettes had called to him the way this girl was after only a brief meeting. She had an innocence about her, tied to a protective barrier he couldn’t quite make heads or tails of. He got the impression she wasn’t in Minnesota because she liked the weather. Her accent was fully Massachusetts. He wondered what had brought her all the way out here.

He folded a towel around his powerful hips and went out into the small hallway. From habit, he headed for his old room. And he ran straight into Jessica. The girl had just been coming upstairs, and Ben reached out his arms, grasping her to stop her from falling backward. The feel of her soft sweater on his naked skin sent goose bumps down his spine, and he felt an unwelcome arousal creeping up beneath the towel.

“Are you okay?” he asked, his voice a bit breathless. “I almost killed you.”

She looked up at him, those soulful eyes capturing his own and not letting go. As they stood there, a crazy impulse swamped Ben and before he could stop himself, he drew the girl against his chest. She gave no resistance, just a soft whimper of surprise. Her head rested on his damp shoulder. She smelled of cookie dough, the old farmhouse and everything he loved. His heart rate quickened, and he dropped his arms, allowing her to step back.

She glanced at him again, under her long fiery lashes, before moving past him, holding up the bundle in her hands. “I was just going to replace the linens.”

She closed the bathroom door behind her before he could respond.
When Jessica returned downstairs, Ben was waiting for her, his hand on the banister. He was dressed in a black button-up and tight European-style jeans. He’d combed back his black hair, and it stayed that way because it was still wet. He looked sleek and sure of himself, a lazy smile on his bow-shaped lips.

“My lady, the parents of the house request our presence at the dinner table.” He swooped out his arm with a flourish, twirling his hand and taking a mock bow.

She giggled and slipped her fingers into his palm, her nerves tingling at the touch. He led her to the dining room, rubbing the back of her hand with the pad of his thumb. Every muscle in her body tightened at his movements.

“A true family dinner?”

Ben stopped and turned her toward him. “Is there any other way?” he asked.

Jessica thought about it. She was an only child, and before her parents had died, they’d treated the Christmas holiday like any other time. Sure, on the day itself, there had been presents, maybe a few carols, but certainly no special dinners. No visiting with relatives, either. That had been completely out of the question. Her father didn’t have any family, and while her mother had a brother who lived a half hour away, just outside Boston, they didn’t speak. Even the mention of Uncle Travis’ name had put her mother in a huff. Jessica had learned early on that she would never meet her family, that she shouldn’t want to. She only knew she had some young cousins from the note Travis had written her after the funeral. Whatever had happened in those years before Jessica had been born, it was unforgivable.

A throat cleared from the other room, and Jessica found Ben's father, Harold, staring at them from his spot at the head of the table. She felt sure he would reprimand them for stalling until the stern lines of his face softened into a smile.

“It’s time to eat,” he said gently, “but before you head over here, look up.”

Hanging above their head was a sprig of white berries and dark green leaves, tied to a hook on a string.

“The mistletoe?” she asked.

Harold nodded. Strong arms drew her close. Of all the ways she could have spent the Christmas season, she’d never imagined she’d be in the arms of a dark, handsome stranger, sharing a kiss.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guest Post: Thinking of Going Back to School? How to Balance Education with Motherhood

Today I've got a guest post about going back to school as a mom, which is great, since I'll be starting on my Master's degree come January.

In this modern day and age, women are as much capable of providing for their children as men do. Yet in order to secure better paying jobs and a promising career path that can assure their family's financial stability, single mothers often have to go back to school to accomplish a degree. While throwing yourself back to college may seem physically and mentally challenging, the actual ordeal is balancing your educational responsibilities and family obligations. Absorbing all the things you are taught at school on a daily basis while making sure your baby has enough diapers or formula will be extremely difficult to juggle. Below are key pointers to remember in order to successfully balance education and motherhood.

Have a Plan

Planning thoroughly will help you balance these two exhaustively demanding aspects of your life. A daily and weekly plan will keep your baby needs well supplied while also allowing you to fulfill school requirements. Most colleges provide the privilege of adjusting your subjects and schedules. Make sure you take advantage of this privilege though. Remove as many free periods in between subjects as you can, so that you can go home earlier and attend to your children's needs. During your school breaks, use the time wisely by creating a shopping plan for your baby's supplies. You can also use this free time to accomplish school assignments in advance.

Online Courses
With technology advancing to immense heights, different industries are now able to offer better solutions, one of which is online courses. It is indeed possible and even increasingly prevalent to earn a college degree right from the comforts of your home. There are diverse benefits to securing a degree via the Internet. This option allows single mothers to finish a course while still being able to monitor their children closely. Moreover, it saves time and energy from having to commute back and forth from the facility, resources that mothers could be using to get some much needed rest or to care for their children.

Involve Your Children
If they are old enough, say 8 years old or above, teach your children to perform simple enough chores on their own. This may include tidying up their playroom after their finished playing, putting their dirty clothes in the laundry bin, or cleaning up after they finish eating. This not only helps you conserve time and energy, but also allows your children to establish a sense of responsibility. Of course, as a parent, you must always ensure the activities your children engage in are utterly safe.

Hire a Nanny

If you have a young children, it may be sensible to hire a nanny. Hired helpers can perform general home cleaning and child care while you're away. Though it does cost money, you will be able to ensure that your child is safe and given adequate care and attention during your absence.

Overall, balancing education with motherhood will be a very stressful process. However, given the right plan, family teamwork, and determination to achieve your set goals, the process is completely possible.

Jessica Ford writes about education, parenting and more. Her proudest work is on the best online masters degrees.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Recipe Monday - Pumpkin Pie

I made my first pumpkin pie over the weekend, and it was a smashing success. The best pumpkin pie I've ever eaten, and I don't even like pumpkin pie.

9 inch pie crust
Pumpkin puree, 1 can(15 oz)
Condensed milk, 1 can (14 oz)
Eggs, 2 nos.
Ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
Ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon
Ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon
Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
Pumpkin Spice, 1/2 teaspoon

To make the crust:

I used 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs mixed with three tablespoons of sugar and 1/3 cup of butter.

I baked it at 350 for 8 minutes.

To make the pie:
  1. Pre heat the oven to 425 F
  2. Whisk together pumpkin puree and condensed milk, add the spices, salt and also beat in the eggs and mix well till they form a smooth mixture. 
  3. Pour this mixture into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Now reduce the oven temperature and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the fork inserted comes out clean.
  5. Let them cool. Serve it with dollop of whipped cream or as desired.

To make the whipped cream:

I mixed a cup of heavy cream with 1/3 cup of confectioner's sugar and beat until fluffy.



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