Archive for November, 2007

A Woman and Her Castle Bread

“Look kids,” my husband exclaimed excitedly, “we are having castle bread for dinner.” I had to smile at my husband’s remarkable attempt to smooth over another one of my attempts at homemade wheat bread. Instead of turning out smooth and rounded, the way bread is supposed to look; it was sunk in the middle with pointy castle peaks on each side. With its wheat texture, it looked just like a dilapidated sand castle whose tide had come in.

In spite of all the “poke fun” dinner table comments, I did learn the secret magic about bread making. As I was gathering all of the necessary ingredients, I suddenly had two little helpers that, more than anything, wanted to sit on the counter and help mom make bread. As my little ones helped me mix and knead the strange stuff, we laughed and joked. It put a magical spark into my otherwise hum drum day. It also gave me opportunity to reflect how thankful I am for my little ones and their willingness to help mom in a pinch.

This bread making episode was just the sort of magical moment I want to have more often with my kids. I also learned that creating a magical moment of family bonding makes me a fairy princess in my own right; flour covered nose and all. This fairy princess is still smiling inwardly at her husband’s princely comment, and I just have to add that nothing should stand between the magic of a woman and her castle bread.

Look for more Parenting Tips at Childn Parent

By: Debby Hoffer

Add comment November 25th, 2007

Create the Perfect Children Bedtime Routine

Our house has always turned into the crazy house come bedtime. Taking two hours to get the kids in bed, or at least getting the kids to stay in bed was a nightly battle for us. By the time they were actually asleep, my husband and I were exhausted ourselves, not to mention frustrated and ready to sleep. One day we decided that we were done fighting with our kids every night. Enough was enough.

Now, at 7 o’clock, the kids know that it is time to start our nightly routine. We do the same routine every night so that there is not any confusion and by 7:30, all of the kids are asleep. We have heard of families like this, but never thought it could happen to us. Yes, it was a hard adjustment, but we remained firm and now bedtime is Mom’s favorite time of day.

Choose the children’s bedtime routine that is right for your family. You will not only provide your children with structure that they need, but will give mom and dad the time that they need.

Start by compiling a list of everything that needs to be done before the kids get in bed, things like brushing teeth, getting in pajamas, preparing for the next day, and story time. Once you know how long these things take, you will know when to start preparing for bedtime. Most important, let your kids know that you mean business. Reward your children for going to bed on time, and be firm and fair with bad behavior. After just a few nights they will be on schedule and you will have happier kids, and very happy parents.

Go to Child n’ for more great parenting tips.

By Vanessa Lee

1 comment November 20th, 2007

Mom, Can We Go Skiing?

“Mom, can we go skiing this year?” My fourteen year old daughter questioned. Inwardly I groaned as I thought about the shrinking balance in my checkbook. A Disneyland vacation had really taken its toll on the family budget. I eyed the oatmeal container and wondered if I could get my five kids to eat cheap oatmeal for a month. Wishful thinking, I knew. “No honey,” I sighed “I don’t think we will be able to do that this year.” A week or so later, after writing a ski article for, my answer changed to a maybe. I never really realized just how affordable skiing can be.

As I wrote the article, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview a manger of a major sporting goods store and a ski school director. Both had insights and useful tidbits of information on how to make skiing an affordable experience for every child and parent. Writing about real life on the Childn’ Parent website is a treat as I get to share valuable information with other budget conscious parents. So read my article about skiing safely on a budget and gear up everyone! Let’s hit the slopes!

By Debby Hoffer

Add comment November 14th, 2007

Keep Your Child Safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It is odorless, colorless, tasteless. This silent killer, without a sound, can kill your sleeping child. It is called the “unseen enemy.” This chemical gas, carbon monoxide, is produced when fuel such as kerosene, charcoal, oil, wood, or natural gas is burned. Today, many families have gas appliances in their homes as well as recreational vehicles that burn fuel. Many families also have diesel or gas powered generators used in electrical emergencies. These too, if not monitored carefully, can be dangerous and produce a toxic level of carbon monoxide. With more and more parents becoming aware of this potential danger, extra measures of safety are being taken to make sure that children are protected from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Why is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?

Oxygen is carried by red blood cells to various parts of the body. At a high level, carbon monoxide interferes in this process, bonding to the red blood cells and blocking oxygen from reaching the delicate tissues of the body. Red blood cells actually pick up carbon monoxide faster than oxygen. Being exposed to higher levels of carbon monoxide inhibits the body’s ability to get the oxygen it needs. Internal tissue damage can occur and, at toxic levels, even death. All of this can happen in a very short time. Sleeping children and adults seem to absorb carbon monoxide faster, and when you are asleep, symptoms are not readily apparent. Parents need to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to keep their child safe from its deadly effects.

Recreational activities can be killer culprits in carbon monoxide poisoning. Grilling and boating can be especially dangerous if preventative safety measures are not in force. When firing up the grill be sure to do it outside in a well ventilated area. Grilling in cabins and/or tents is a fire hazard and could also cause a build up of carbon monoxide. Matches need to be controlled as well so that little children don’t wind up playing with them.

The danger of carbon monoxide poising while boating comes largely from the boat’s gasoline powered engine. Houseboats with onboard electric powered generators also pose a threat. Generators that vent toward the rear of the boat present a significant danger to those swimming on the swim deck, or near the rear swim platform. Carbon monoxide tends to accumulate just above the water and near the rear platform. It can fill the air space beneath the stern deck and reach toxic levels in minutes. Carbon monoxide can also build up around any exhaust vents inside or outside the boat.

Read this family safety article with help on symptoms, treatment, and monitors at Childn’Parent.

By:  Debby Hoffer

Add comment November 6th, 2007


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