Bad Valentine’s Day Gifts

by Julie Fletcher

February 4th, 2008

This year, when your husband hands you a gift that you would rather not have, restrain yourself from giving him the look of death. I know, I know, many women will wonder why they should not tell him to take that emergency car survival kit and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

“Julie, don’t you watch television? Look at all of the diamonds! Chocolate! Roses! Shouldn’t he know better??

The straight answer is, “Yes, he does.?

Now, before you get all smug and think that I agree with the media’s over exposure of candy and flowers, I do not. Men know better than to fall prey to the marketing campaigns. At least, in their minds. You see, will a few flowers or chocolates keep you warm if your car breaks down in a freak winter storm? Can a diamond jumpstart your battery? God forbid you need to change a tire! What man in their right man would leave the woman he loves without a safety net?

Men think differently than we do. Often, when a man buys a gift, he has practical thoughts. ‘Can she use this?’ is probably the top question in his mind when looking for a gift. Your husband (or boyfriend) is really not trying to insult you. He wants to give you something that he found himself, something that you will use for a long time and maybe, just maybe think of him when you do.

Chocolates and roses will be eaten and die. Heck, you might leave those chocolates in the kitchen and forget about them, especially if he buys a huge box. A diamond, while beautiful, might just be left in a jewelry box to gather dust. If you have children, often this is exactly what will happen to any jewelry that mothers receive. I do not know how often my friends with small children have told me they loved the gift their husband or boyfriend purchased, but could not wear it.

So, in a mans mind, what is the point?

This Valentine’s Day, take a deeper look into that gift that you normally would scorn. Think of the motivation behind it, smile, hug your man, and tell him how thankful you are to have a husband thinks of you.

Posted in Uncategorized, Relationships, Holidays | No Comments »

Recipe: Applesauce

by Stacey Graham

February 1st, 2008

Mmmmm, there’s nothing better than fresh homemade applesauce.  Families are so used to buying jarred prepared applesauce that most of us have no idea how easy it is to make lovely chunky sauce ourselves with only a few ingredients.  This recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, you can bet the store-bought version would make your dentist cringe.  Try it today for your little ones on top of fluffy pancakes or hot as a great side dish.

4 McIntosh apples, chunked
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups all natural apple juice or fresh cider
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, a few pinches
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated or a few pinches ground

Place chunked apples, brown sugar, juice or cider, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium pot over medium-high heat and let cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing heat to medium when mixture comes to a boil.  Stir hot, chunky applesauce to break up cooked apples and remove from heat.
Source: Rachael Ray and the Food Network.  Would Rachael ever lead you astray?

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Dark Chocolate

by Julie Fletcher

February 1st, 2008

Chocolate is a wonderful thing. From ancient times, chocolate has been used in medicine and relaxation. Nearly everyone knows about Montezuma and his desire for, well…desire. His legendary consumption of chocolate drinks supposedly gave him the stamina he needed to keep up with a huge harem.

In recent times, chocolate has become the indulgence of choice for women. A guilty pleasure, sometimes hidden and eaten in times of stress or depression. But, chocolate does not need to be a guilty indulgence. This food is power packed with antioxidants and is actually very good for you.

When you buy chocolate for eating, remember that the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. Americans are used to the sweeter milk chocolate, but as we age our tastes begin to mature. Dark chocolate has a stronger, slightly bitter taste. Because of many cultures tendency to enjoy sweets, they have forgotten that the taste buds are geared to detect and enjoy slightly bitter items.

You can find different strengths of dark chocolate by reading the percentages on the wrapper or package. The higher the percentage, the stronger the bitter taste. Once you have become accustomed to the darker chocolates, your heart will thank you. Why? Because dark chocolate has those antioxidants mentioned earlier and helps protect the heart.

Hey, why not go grab a bar right now?

Posted in Uncategorized, Healthy Eating | No Comments »

My Personal Trainers

by Julie Fletcher

January 30th, 2008

I resolved to lose weight at the beginning of the year. Thanks to my children, I am well on my way.

You may wonder how a few children can help their mother in her pursuit of a svelte figure. Easy! Each time I make a plate or decide to have a snack, three little heads turn in my direction, six hands are held out, and three little mouths eat or drink most of whatever I have in my hand or on my plate.

Not only this, but chasing them through the house does wonders for my exercise routine. I lift, bend, twist and stretch muscles that I never knew existed. My behind is on the path to rival even the tightest muscled fitness guru. Thanks to these little personal trainers, my husband thinks my legs are the sexiest ever.

That’s right. Mommy is becoming the hottie she was before these munchkins caused the pregnancy weight gains.

Lift your laundry baskets in salute of the hottie mommies all over the world, because we might not be able to afford Oprah’s personal trainer, but we have made our own. Viva toddlers!

Posted in Uncategorized, Weight Management, Humor | 1 Comment »

Who wants a cupcake?

by Stacey Graham

January 29th, 2008

I love me some cupcakes.  I’m still mystified why on earth people should bake an enormous cake for any occasion other than a wedding and watch as it slowly shellacs itself onto a plate after the first few bites.  Honestly, who eats this stuff regularly?

The cupcake, in all its glory, got its start in the late 19th century from by the creation of making a cake using measurements (a cup) versus weighing out each ingredient.  This was a huge step in cookery history and we’re celebrating the heck out of it every time a kid has a birthday.  Oh, who am I kidding, I had them at my last one too.  Know as “Fairy Cakes” in the UK and parts of Australia, these diminutive cakes make a perfect craft for birthday parties as the partygoers can go crazy decorating their own.

Tara Burner from Making Cupcake Cakes told me she loves to make Cupcake Cakes in the shapes of snowmen and rainbows among others due to the small cake’s adaptability and ease.  Quick, simple and a snap to decorate, cupcakes are always a hit with the teeny crowd as well as a fabulous quick bite on the road.

Toss that cake mix and try this easy recipe for awesome wee cakes!

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 c. water
1/3 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar

Mix all ingredients well. Pour batter into cupcake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Mix cream cheese, 1 egg and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix well. Spread on cupcakes.


TIP: Want to pack cupcakes for school but don’t love the mess after their frosted?  Cut them in half and frost the center, then reassemble and pack in a plastic bag to pop in the lunchbox!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Bedtime Blues

by Julie Fletcher

January 29th, 2008

Each night it my children seem to get worked up right before bedtime. I am not sure if this is a last burst of energy, a futile effort to stay up with Mommy and Daddy, or just something that nature designed to test the patience of parents.

A few months ago I had struggled to keep the my three year old asleep at night. She and her sister did not want to go to sleep, but eventually tiredness would win out. The problem was that my littlest girl (Terisa) would wake up at nearly the same time each night. In an effort to keep her sleeping soundly, we moved the girl’s small toddler beds out of the room and gave them a full sized bed to share. With the comfort of being near her older sister, Terisa almost immediately began sleeping without many episodes of waking.

Still, the trouble of having them both fall asleep at a proper time persisted. Amber, my older child, would usually fall asleep before Terisa. Introducing music helped a little with Terisa…but they were still very worked up when we reached their bedroom. I have a routine, so the relaxation was in place and has been for at least two years.

Last night, I think I hit a winning solution. This may not work for some children, but for mine it was a godsend. I just posted about the Secrets Of Happily Married Women book and how it has helped my marriage. Perhaps, just perhaps those tools would work with my children! I know their nature. Part of this nature is being worked up right before bed, so I decided to just let them do their normal jump on the bed deal last night.

They ran to their room and started their bouncing. This time, I surprised them by grabbing my book, leaning against the wall and saying, “Ok guys. You can jump on the bed until I am done reading. When Mommy is finished, it is bedtime.?

Wow! They were so happy they very nearly bumped the ceiling with their little heads. Mommy was letting them jump to their heart’s content. When I had nearly finished the chapter I was on, they had already slowed down and were yawning. Amber, the oldest, has sensory issues, so the bouncing actually helps her body calm down. Terisa just follows suit.

We put their giant stuffed bunnies to bed, complete with baby blankets, then the girls got under their own blankets. It did not take long for their classical CD to lull them to sleep. A half hour or so of good fun instead of crying.

I am a happy mom today.

Posted in Uncategorized, Parenting, Activities | No Comments »

Enough Is Enough

by Julie Fletcher

January 28th, 2008

I am angry.

I do not know if all readers have seen some of the disgusting comments left by mentally deficient racists lately, but I am going to have my say.

Racism, no matter what part of the world you live in, is wrong. It is sickening and a sign of small intellect. Hate is nothing but stupidity with a different name. It does not matter whether you are hating someone for their heritage, religion, race, or sexual preference, the hate you display is a lack of intelligence.

I am sure many people will say, “Oh, but I have an education, I am a PhD, I am very intelligent, BUT…?

There lies your problem. In the ‘but’. Why does there need to be a ‘but’? Blacks are as intelligent as whites, with degrees in major departments. If not for amazingly intelligent blacks, there are many inventions we would not have today. Latinos did not depend on whites to drive their civilization or invent the products they use every single day. The heritage of native peoples in South and Central America is one that invented the most accurate calendar in world history.

It goes on and on for every race in the world. I will not even touch the subject of religion, that is even more explosive than racism.

What I will say is this:

Do not come to this blog and leave comments that insult other races, countries, or religions. Your comment will be deleted because the Family Resource Blog will not tolerate hate. If you have something to say that concerns such a topic, send me an email. Hate mail is fine, but I will not allow this sickness to spread from this blog and infect others.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

The Secrets of Happily Married Women

by Julie Fletcher

January 26th, 2008

Recently I was introduced to a very nice representative who works publicizing books. I was in search of a specific book to offer as a prize on another blog I work for, but Lauren, the representative, offered two books that may benefit readers here at Family Resource.

The first book that I am reading is The Secrets of Happily Married Women by Dr. Scott Haltzman. A short exerpt from the press release has this to say about the book:

“Dr. Scott Haltzman is a marriage counselor as well as a professor of psychiatry at Brown University. Drawing on extensive research and clinical experience, Dr. Haltzman claims that women can achieve marital bliss by working on their marriages LESS. “

When it comes to relationship books and gurus, I am a skeptic. No book has ever spoken to me on a personal level or really hit on a specific issue in my marriage. Until now. The Secrets of Happily Married Women grabbed my attention from page one. Each section in this book has something to say to me and the way Dr. Scott handles this subject is amazing. It is like having him in the room, talking to me and revealing the inner workings of his own mind as a male.

The book arrived early this week and from the first chapter I began putting his advice to work for me. There is nothing hard about using the book or its advice. You really do Work Less. I have seen a major improvement in my husband’s communication to me and our general mood. The really interesting part is that I have not spoken one word to my husband about this book or using the tools I have learned.

This book is one that every single woman in a relationship should have. I can promise you that if you read this book and follow the advice within, you will see an amazing change in your attitude towards your mate. No bookshelf should be without it.

Visit the site!

Posted in Uncategorized, Relationships, Building and Maintaining | 2 Comments »

Crafty mama : Notepad directions

by Stacey Graham

January 24th, 2008

I’m a crafty mama. I admit it though my craft closet is overflowing with odds and ends of unfinished projects. Nubs of wax for candles, stickers and sparkly glue - as the mother of five girls I’m lucky I don’t have sparkly glue running through my veins by now.

Here’s a quick and fun craft that is easy for kids as well as being eco-friendly by recycling your scrap paper. Have fun!

Notepad directions, step 1
1. Open your graphics program (Printmaster, Publisher, etc) and open up the postcard setting (or if in Word, divide your page into four equal sections).

2. Place your graphic within that square where you wish (i.e. at the top in the middle, bottom, watermark, etc).
Notepad directions, step 2

3. Using a paper cutter or in my case scissors, cut the paper equally into fourths. Now, what I do is use blank postcards from Avery, I use them as a guide for cutting, separating them at the perforations and cutting along the edges I need. After I’m finished cutting, I use that postcard as the back of the notepad. As I’m going to make this a large business card notepad, I’ll print off my BC graphics with the contact information onto the postcard (using the same postcard settings on my graphics program) and place it on top. I’ll take another postcard and print off an order form to use as the back of the notepad.
Notepad directions, step 3

4. I use 10 sheets of paper to make a 40 sheet notepad. After cutting, take the 40 sheets (10 sheets cut into quarters) and place them between my postcard blanks. Then, using padding compound from the Crafty PC and their vise (easy to make your own vise and other glue, see below) I make the notepad. Take the sheets, even them up by tapping the top of the pad on the counter. Place the sheets between the visegrips so only the tops poke out. Apply the padding compound to the ends of the paper sheets. Allow to dry and reapply. You can certainly make more than one this way, just stack them on top of each other and peel apart when completely dry.
Notepad directions, step 4

Alternatives to padding compound:
- Aleene’s Tacky Glue
- Hot glue (don’t recommend, very messy)
- Elmer’s

Alternatives to vise:
- phone books
- pencils with rubber bands around the end (hey, when you’re in a pinch…)
- bull clips
*I wrap my vise with plastic wrap so the glue doesn’t stick to vise and ergo to the other side of it, makes for easier clean-up too!

This can easily be adapted to any size paper and backed with chipboard for a more sturdy writing surface.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Resolutions, The Shark, and A New Book

by Julie Fletcher

January 23rd, 2008

It is time for me to update on my resolutions!!

1. Smoking- Cut down from a full pack a day to 5-10.
2. Weight- It’s coming off, finally. I need to find a before picture! Not a drastic change, but still, change. Clothing fits better and I have more energy!
3. Organization- Well, considering that I have a huge household, things are still going slowly. Too many people in the way, not enough time in the day.

So far, every single item of clothing has been washed, the curtains are next, blankets done…next comes the dusting. Again. I purchased a Euro Pro Shark Steam Bottle to help with this project and I have to say…don’t bother. Mine wouldn’t even spit out steam. The company wants me to ship it back to them, plus pay $9.95 for it to be examined.

Um. No way. If the product is defective, why would anyone pay more money to have it repaired? Forget it, back to the store it goes. Maybe if the good people at Euro Pro sees the review I posted on another site, they’ll send me a new one to make up for my lost money and pay for shipping of the old one back to them before I go back to the original store. In that case, I would definitely try it again. But, no more cash out of my pocket to them.

In other news, I will soon be running a small contest here on Family Resource! If you are in a relationship and want to learn how to make it work better, stay tuned. A new book will be offered soon as a prize!

Are you ready?

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