Why Children Shouldn’t Play With Matches: Fire Prevention and Safety Tips

Easter is supposed to be a day of glory, celebration, resurrection and new life.  Unfortunately, this past Easter Sunday while watching the news I heard about a tragic story about a brother and sister, both only 4 years old, who had died earlier that morning after a fire erupted at their grandfather’s home Queens, NY.  What made it even more devastating was that the fire was apparently sparked by one of the children playing around with a lighter in a basement bedroom.  This was truly a sad story, but also frustrating because it could have been prevented by teaching that child about the power and danger of fire.

THM_FirePreventionSo today’s post is a sort of fire prevention PSA, I’m not waiting until October for Fire Prevention week.  If this information can help to prevent even one fire or save one person, sharing it now is well worth it!

According to research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each year there are more than 1.3 million fires reported in the United States. These fires cause more than 3,400 civilian deaths, 17,500 civilian injuries and cause more than $12.4 billion in property damage.

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TGIF: Toes Go In First! Nature’s Sleep Slipper Review & Giveaway

After a long day of being on my feet – commuting, at work and errands/activities with the kidlets – I love to come home and kick off my shoes and slip my tired and worn out tootsies into a comfy pair of slippers.  It’s actually the first thing I do when I enter the house, even before I take off my jacket or put down my purse.  I have my slippers waiting for me on a shoe tray right by the front door entrance.

Finding a comfy pair of slippers though isn’t as easy as it sounds, because I’m pretty picky.  Most slippers look cute and fashionable, but either there isn’t enough cushioning or their construction is pretty flimsy.   It’s even a long-running joke in my family that when in doubt about what to buy me — for my birthday, Mother’s Day or Christmas —  they should get me slippers because I’m always on search for that “perfect” pair.

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When Are the Stories of My Children No Longer Mine to Tell?

Creating and maintaining The Harried Mom takes a lot of work. I started this blog a few years ago as a creative outlet for myself, to share my stories about everyday parenting – the good, the bad and even those forehead slap moments that we all experience with our families. Over time the site has evolved to also include family meal ideas/recipes, DIY kid crafts, reviews and fun activity/outing suggestions to do with kids. In the next week or so, I’ll even be debuting a new look to the blog!!

THM_WhenAreStoriesNoLongerMine_1The Harried Mom truly is a labor of love.  See, my #1 job is being a mom & wife ILR to two kidlets and a husband I just adore. After that, I’m a mom who works away of the home (because every mom is a working mom, my job just happens to take me out of the home) in a fab career.  This blog is what I do “after-hours,” at home once the kidlets have gone off to dreamland, The Hubs fed and laundry is done (well, sometimes!). It does take a lot of time, effort and lots of understanding from my family & friends, but I really enjoy doing it so it’s worth it.

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Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks – Cookbook Review, Recipe & Giveaway

My favorite cooking appliance isn’t in my kitchen, it’s right outside, literally. It’s my gas grill! I love cooking meals on the grill and use it all year-long — in rain or shine, snow or sleet, as long as there is a clear path leading to the gill, I cook on it. It wasn’t until a few years ago though that I started to plank grill.

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Grilling with a plank is a lot like using a pan, except the plank has the ability to produce smoke. This method is great because it provides a stable surface to grill your food on while at the same time infusing it tons of flavor. It’s also healthier than traditional grilling, as dishes remain juicier and require less added fat and salt for flavor.

So when Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks by Dina Guillen showed up at the house, I was excited. Up until that point I’d just been pulling plank grilling recipes off the internet, not realizing there were whole cookbooks devoted to this cooking method. Plank Grilling – 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks is the perfect cookbook for a grill plank beginner or even an intermediate planker like myself. Continue reading ⇒

I’m Leaving (And Returning) On A Jet Plane…

My father worked for the same company for 41 years and in his entire professional career he never was sent out-of-town on a business trip.  In fact, he never spent even one night away from home when I was growing up.  I on the other hand have been working for 20+ years  and I can’t even begin to tell you how many business trips I’ve been on.

TravelingmomI love my career in public relations and its given me the tremendous opportunity to travel and see many places, both large and small in this world.  It’s due in large part to my many business trips that I can brag and say that I’ve visited all the contiguous 48 United States (I’ve also been to Hawaii on my honeymoon, so I’ve been to 49 states,  all I need is to cross Alaska off my list).Continue reading ⇒

Eggs-Tra Special Kid Craft – Onion Skin Dyed Easter Eggs

For most of my childhood coloring eggs, wearing fancy hats and chocolate bunnies were an integral part to my family’s annual celebration of Easter.  I’ve been carrying on the tradition with my own kidlets, but I’ve officially had it with those Easter egg coloring/dye kits.  They’re so messy and my eggs never turn out as vibrant, fancy or pretty as the ones  featured on the kit’s packaging.

So when I read in our church bulletin a few weeks back that a woman from our parish was going to host a workshop demonstrating how to dye eggs with onion skins, I was intrigued. I had never heard of this technique before, but from what I could find out it looks like its roots are in the Greek culture. As you seem, the results are beautiful and unique looking Easter eggs!

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A Journaling Journey – Rustico Leather Travelers Set Review

disclaimerJournaling is currently a big thing in my house.  Not to be confused with a diary which recounts one’s daily activities, journaling encompasses lots of things — from recording feelings and experiences, to collecting slips of important papers and photos to jotting down poems, sayings and sketches.  I like to think of journaling as sort of an analog version of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or even blogging!

THM_Journaling_RusticoReview1My kidlet’s journals, I have no idea what’s inside, I didn’t look

Both of my kidlets have their own journals and there are lots of times that they suddenly dash off to their rooms to scribble down whatever it is they put in there.  See, I’m not quite sure what’s in there because whatever they put in their journal is totally private and unless they want to share it with me – this mom doesn’t peek!

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Meatless Meals – Veggie Quiche

Most weeknights The Hubs and I don’t get home until after 6:30 pm from work.   Once we do get home we try to spend as much time as possible hanging out with the kidlets before they go to bed.  That means we play board games, build LEGOs, play with Super Heroes/Disney Princesses, read books or if it’s Wednesday night, give the kidlets baths!  By the time 8 pm rolls around the kidlets are safely snuggled into bed and The Hubs and I are starving!  But who wants to start cooking a meal at 8 pm to eat at 9 pm and then go to bed not too long after?  Not this gal – so lately I’ve been making extra meals/dishes on Sundays that we can just re-heat during the week.

THM_MeatlessMeals_VeggieQuiche3My Veggie Quiche – made quick & easy!

One of my current favorites is making quiche.  This might be a little rudimentary, but I have had people ask me what it is — a quiche is an open-faced pastry crust with a savory filling thickened with eggs. I like quiches because they are so versatile. You can fill them with just about anything you have in the fridge — cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables — and you can serve it either hot or cold.   They are the perfect meal to make in advance, store in either the fridge or freezer and pop out when needed.

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Kit Lit – Goodnight Songs by Margaret Wise Brown

When my kidlets were really little there were two books that they begged me and The Hubs to read to them at bedtime each night.  One was Goodnight Moon and the other was Big Red Barn, which both happen to be written by Margaret Wise Brown.  Brown is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time.  Her use of rhymed verse coupled with beautiful illustrations of realistic characters and objects have lulled children, including my own, to sleep for generations.

Though Brown died in 1952, she has a new book of out now called Goodnight Songs from Sterling Children’s Books.  The book isa collection of previously unpublished lullabies that is gorgeously illustrated by 12 award-winning artists.

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If You Don’t Laugh, You’ll Cry

Over the weekend I had one of those face palm parenting moments.

It happened when I went into the kidlets playroom to see what they were up to. I found my six-year old son sitting perfectly content on the couch watching cartoons, but my daughter was nowhere in sight. Unlike my son, she gets bored pretty quick watching cartoons. My girl is constantly in motion, she always has to be doing something so I knew I’d find her around the corner creating a masterpiece at her art table.

That’s when I discovered this:

THM_LaughCry_1One of several clumps of hair I found on the ground that morning.

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