6/30/16

A Rant About the Recent Ikea Dresser Recall

In the light of Ikea’s recent recall (27 million dressers), I thought a post about parental awareness might be a good fit for this week. *And please, keep in mind that just because this is how I feel, it does not mean that I am suggesting everyone in the world feel the same as me. It's just how I happen to feel about this particular situation/event.

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I preach to my husband regularly about the need to foreshadow any and all incidents that could result in harming our children (he’s very bad at this and no matter how many times I tell him, he still does not think ahead). It comes almost natural to me now. For example, just this morning alone, I left my girls in Emma’s room to play while I got ready for work. I surveyed the room before I walked out to assess the risk; it takes me only about 30 seconds. There was an almost broken baby doll stroller that could take out Alice’s eye if she landed on it just right (minimal risk), there was a game on the top of the dresser that if Emma got down, Alice could choke on the pieces (minimal risk), there was a chair that Alice could climb on and maybe fall and hit her head on any of the furniture around (high risk, move chair), there was a play cd player that had a strap Alice could wrap around her neck (moderate risk, ask Emma to monitor)… in the end, I got ready, and everything was just fine.

Poor Ikea has taken the majority of the blame for their dressers falling and injuring (killing 3) children, when the dressers were not secure, and the children climbed on the drawers or provoked the furniture to fall. Children will climb, I can attest to that! It is unfortunate. And it is unfortunately not Ikea’s fault but presumably the parents’ (or guardian’s) fault; if you HAD to place blame (I don’t encourage blaming, everything is in God’s plan). If I put myself in their shoes, my life would be over. The world would be crumbling around me and I would fall to pieces knowing that there is no way to bring my baby back. I don’t know that I would ever recover.

photo courtesy of msn.com

One of the steps of grieving is blame, and I get that. That parent, going through the situation themselves, has every right to blame the world, and even to blame Ikea. But, in the end, it’s really nobody’s fault. It happened. There’s no going back.

But, the part that really gets me upset, is the fact that all of these… STRANGERS, with no relation to those families at all, are blaming IKEA. If they were to mount their TV incorrectly and the TV fell from the wall and injured someone, who would they blame then? The TV company? The manufacturer of the mounting bracket? How about whoever made those little plastic anchors that hold the screws in the drywall? Whose fault is it really? I can tell you right now that anything I hang up has a 50/50 shot of staying up. I’m not skilled with anchors and all that jazz. I can hammer a nail in the wall for a half pound picture frame, but I would gladly pay someone to come out and do all the fancy footwork of mounting my TV on the wall. And if that TV fell, regardless of how well it was mounted or who hung it up, would I blame the TV company or the maker of the mount? Maybe at first, but then no. It’s not their fault. They made the product. Once you purchase it, it’s up to you to make it safe. And if you paid someone to make it secure and safe, then you should test it out to make sure it is up to your standards. It’s YOUR home, YOUR product, YOUR loved ones to protect.

But that’s not what’s happening with Ikea. Somehow it’s their fault that their stylish and functional furniture is unbalanced when the heavy top drawer is pulled out. It’s physics! Maybe I should start blaming Michelin when my car slides on wet pavement. It has to be the tires, right? My speed and the fact that the roads are slick has nothing to do with it. Why should I have to be safe and drive decent?

photo courtesy of nola.com

I’m off on a tangent now.

I may not have explained my frustration and the scenario to the best of my abilities, but when the world gets all I’m-going-to-point-my-finger-at-someone-else-because-it-can’t-possibly-be-my-fault, I tend to get a little heated. If everyone would just take a step back and think of the whole picture before pointing the blame, maybe companies wouldn’t have to baby their customers, or walk on eggshells to avoid lawsuits.

The moral of the story? Do what you’re supposed to do and secure your furniture! It all wasn’t meant to just sit there and look pretty; it needs to be safe and sound. And stop blaming everyone but yourself when you take the easy route and it backfires. And pray for the families who have lost their children. And think out every single scary scenario possible ahead of time – it could be what saves your child’s life.

And I might be the only frugal, yet stylish Momma out there that feels this way, but I will still purchase Ikea’s cute items and yummy meatballs.

Long live Ikea, and long live our children!

6/21/16

One Whole Year Old | Alice


My, my, my. The time just flies on by, doesn’t it? My little baby just turned one whole year old. We had her birthday party, and we did her one year check-up. What now?  Her first date? Prom??? She’s growing before my eyes!
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 Alice is definitely not like her sister. We always had a difficult time with Emma. She was never happy. It could have been that we were new parents and didn't have a clue what we were doing, or it could be that she was just always angry about something (I'm guessing the ladder because she's the same today). But Alice, she's the happy baby. She's always running around with a smile on her face. So active, and so full of love. She will give me kisses and hugs, and run to me like I'm the only person in the room. I love her more than words could ever tell, and I am so very lucky that God let me be her Mommy. 

She still has issues with chapped cheeks, and her ankles roll over so it causes her to have chapped and sore ankles too. She doesn't seem to mind really, but it itches her a lot when we put lotion or A&D on it.

She is very, VERY shy and she tugs at her clothes if someone other than the four people that watch her tries to talk to her. She cries when "strangers" pick her up too. She wants so badly to stay at school with Emma, and she loves to be out and about on the town. Alice also wants to do anything and everything Emma does, which causes more fights than anything. Emma can't stand for Alice to be all up in what she's doing. Poor Alice.

Grandma is Alice's favorite person, and if she's around then nobody else matters (I'm okay with that since Grandma is pretty awesome). Okie makes her laugh, and PawPaw is the one she runs to when she's either REALLY upset, or REALLY wants to play and giggle. I love that my parents love my kids; it makes it easier to leave them for a date night.


We took Alice to her one year check last week (I wait until a week or so after their birthdays because of shots).
Emma was always in awe of Dr. Murphy (their pediatrician). She’d watch his every move; she’d check out his tie, look at his long hair and beard, and she just loved everything he did (luckily it was the nurses who gave the shots). And then when she was old enough to talk she’d ask him what he was doing… all the time. Maybe she will be a doctor one day. Alice, on the other hand, hated him at this last appointment. From the second he put that “popsicle stick” in her mouth, it was on. Crying, screaming, and not settling down until we left the building. Poor baby.
Dr. Murphy is my favorite. I found him because he and my pediatrician as a kid were partners in the practice (Northwest Pediatrics). He has white hair, so I’m sure he’s counting down the days until retirement, but at each appointment I make it a point to tell him how many more years he has left (according to me). 17 more years to go; that’s unless I have another child. Seriously though, the day he decides to retire, I’ll probably cry just like Alice did with that stick.
The best thing that Dr. Murphy does, which is probably the exact reason I like him so much, is that he takes the time to explain everything. Why can’t I use Neosporin on the kids? They might develop an allergic reaction to it if we use it at such a young age. What is Roseola? Baby measles that aren’t prevented with the MMR shot. What is an early sign of asthma? Eczema. He goes over each and every thing. He also knows a lot of “practical” tips too, since he has five kids himself.
Anyway, back to my Alice.

Alice’s One Year Stats were good. Nothing to even talk about there really. Except she’s short and chubby. Lol!
  • Weight = 23 lbs. 15 oz. (96%)
  • Height = 29” (36%)
  • Head = ?? (75%) *I can’t remember and don’t have my book with me.
She got her four shots (which Emma had to watch happen), cried for 5 minutes, and we were out the door. She is vaccinated from all the scary stuff, and I couldn’t be happier.

Wait, actually, and I’m probably wording this all wrong (but you’ll get my point), right now she’s only 85% protected. Vaccinations at such a young age can only offer 85% protection. Even with the booster at 4 years old, a child can only be safe up to 95%. So there’s a 5% chance that my child can still get something scary because other children are not vaccinated and can still spread the disease. And to boot, if we ever hit a point where 25% of the population isn’t vaccinated, it could almost guarantee an epidemic and our children, even those vaccinated, wouldn’t be safe. There’s a reason why vaccinations were created… because those diseases and illnesses are no joke. It’s extremely painful and a lot of those that contract them will die. Why even risk putting your children in harms way?

Take it from Benjamin Franklin: In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.
Very blurry picture, but she's just so happy here!

6/12/16

Noodles & Company | Anniversary Celebration & Recipe Contest

“This post was sponsored by Noodles & Company as part of an Influencer program. I received compensation and complimentary products in exchange for promotion.” #NoodlesSTL #NoodlesCoMo


I just love eating out. No dishes, great food, and usually some leftovers for work the next day. Can’t get much better than that right? I mean, if I had all the money in the world I’d probably eat out each and every day.
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The family and I usually make it a point to go out to dinner once a week. I know it sounds silly (I mean, I’m always one for saving money and eating at home), but I like to get my girls out and about and into the real world. They can take in new sights around them, try new foods, and practice their etiquette. Yes, we are constantly telling Emma “you can’t be that loud in a restaurant, people eating around us don’t want to hear your toy play music all the time, and please don’t talk about your privates or going poo while we are in public.”
Anyway, this week’s choice was Noodles & Company. The girls have only eaten here one other time, but let me tell you that there is never anything left on their plates in the end. I’m pretty sure Emma has their name memorized now so that when I let her pick it might just be “Noodles” instead of “Old McDonald’s” next time. Sounds great to me!

I usually stick with the tried and true Mac and Cheese for Emma and Alice, and honestly, I’ll probably switch to getting a full portion of it for myself next time we go because I tried a bite of theirs and WHOA. It’s good. Way good. Beyond good. GREAT. Seriously folks, I thought McAllister’s had good mac and cheese, but this takes the cake! The kids meals let the kiddos pick two sides too, and of course Emma picked strawberries and a krispy treat this time (last time she was good and got broccoli), which I guess in the end worked out well because girlie ate the whole darn thing. Kid tested, mother approved, right?


I got a buff bowl this time which I had tried before and loved, and I loved it just as much this time because I devoured it. I’m sure I chewed a couple times. Haha. The hubs got the same thing he always gets… the Steak Stroganoff. I think he told me how good it was about a dozen times. Yes, it is good, but it’s a LOT of food. Alice (my one year old) loved it just as much and shared a bunch of her Daddy’s food.


And guys, don’t leave without a crispy treat. It’s the perfect dessert and I think they make it with love because they are so good. Melt in your mouth good. I mean, just look:


So, I bet you’re wondering why I’m going into such detail about how good our dinner was.

Noodles & Company’s Anniversary Celebration is June 13th through June 17th, and they have a ton of deals and fun stuff going on. I think you should go! Here is a list of the events:
  • Tuesday, June 14, guests will be able to purchase a Noodles & Company 16-ounce tumbler for $10. With the cup, guests will receive free refills (with the purchase of an entrĂ©e) now through December 31, 2016.
  • Wednesday, June 15, the first 10 guests in line between 6:00 pm and 6:16 pm, will receive a free Noodles Bowl and a Noodles & Company swag bag featuring plenty of Noodles & Company freebies.
  • Thursday, June 16, one lucky winner at three different St. Louis area locations – chosen at random – will win a Noodles & Company prize pack including free Noodles for a Year.
  • Friday, June 17, guests at all locations will receive a free Crispy dessert, in the shape of the No. 10, while supplies last. 

But that’s not all…

Starting Monday, June 13th through Thursday, June 16th, Noodles & Company is asking guests to kick off the festivities by participating in the ‘Best of the Guest Recipe Contest.’ Throughout the week, guests are invited to create a new dish by selecting 10 ingredients from a menu of options via physical drop box at each location, or online at  www.hamraenterprises/10yearsofnoodles

*The recipes must be completely original – not based on an existing menu item – and must feature exactly 10 ingredients from any of the five following categories: noodles, sauces, proteins, vegetables and herbs and seasonings.

Then, on Friday, June 17th, the top three recipes – deemed as appearing the tastiest as well as the most creative by the judges – from each location will be selected and then cooked to order and sampled by each location’s management team. One winner with the best recipe from each of the eight Noodles & Company locations will be selected to receive a Noodles & Company prize pack that includes free Noodles for a year. All eight winners will also have their photo and “dish” on display in their local restaurant during the month of July and one lucky grand prize winner, of the eight, will also receive 10 gift cards worth $10 each to give away to friends and family.

I really hope you attend the festivities at least one day. Kids enjoy going to Noodles & Company because the food is good, the atmosphere is very kid friendly, and they have those awesome coloring sheets. Parents love it because the kids love it! Plus, it's super affordable, duh.

In all seriousness, it's fresh food at low prices. The great tastes are just an added bonus. ;-)

REAL FOOD. REAL COOKING. REAL FLAVORS.

If you're not following me on Instagram yet, be sure to do so today because I'm participating in a great Loop Giveaway starting Monday June 13th!

Now, what should my next dish be at Noodles & Co. ?

6/6/16

Alice in ONE-derland


My baby girl is officially one year old. Yep. One whole year.


I started planning months ago for her first birthday party, which as you know, has become quite the “required to-do” since Pinterest came into existence. If I allow my inner old lady to come out, I’d probably even call it a circus of an event.
Back in January I started scouring said Pinterest for an idea. At the time, it was all about winter parties, so when I searched “first birthday party” all of the results that popped up were a “ONE-derland” theme, as in Winter Wonderland. Wow. Isn’t that just fitting? My Alice was really going to have her wonderland.  *I never would have chosen Alice in Wonderland if it weren’t for the clever play on words; ONE-derland.


Now, let me tell you that I am probably the most un-crafty person out there. My Dad can make just about anything, but give me a hot glue gun and the only outcome will be burnt fingers. However, I was bound and determined to make this party something special. I found the coolest ideas on Pinterest, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t about to spend a fortune on decorations that I’d only use once. Instead, I’d buy a few things here and there that I thought would be useful (and always with a coupon), and then piece them all together in the end. All-in-all, it worked out well and I only spent another $60 on decorations and serving bowls the two days before the party. I may need to buy more ink for the printer now though. Oh well.


The food fiasco was just that… a fiasco. We over estimated on the sides, and under-estimated the amount of meat (burgers really). We did a barbecue for the food (I wasn’t about to get all creative with the food too), so it was lots of hotdogs, burgers, pork steaks and ribs, but the burgers were such a hit that we were out of them quick. Oops! Then, the sides were potato salad, pasta salad, tomato and cucumber salad, pinwheels, veggies and chips. Let me just say that my fridge is packed to the brim with sides. The ladies in the deli did not give an accurate weight to person ratio. I’ll be eating it all week at work.

Then, let me tell you that my forgetfulness was on high with everything going on. I forgot the foam floor for my parents’ basement (although it’s probably a good thing now), I forgot the crock-pot to hold some of the meat in, I forgot to give Gene the house key when he made a special trip home to get the forgotten crock-pot, I forgot the SD card for the camera (so I barely have any pictures), I forgot to cut up and put out the celery, I forgot the blue streamers for the back porch, and I forgot the cookie stick things I bought forever ago for the dessert table. Honestly, I don’t think I even remembered to put shoes on Alice that morning! I was all distraught over forgetting everything too. It was one thing after another. Then, because I procrastinate (I’ll never change, no matter how many times my parents lecture me), I was finishing up the decorations and cupcakes when the first people started arriving, so I forgot to get pictures of all of my hard work! **I took some after the party, trying to cut out the disheveled tables.

 

 

 Looking back now though, the entire party was actually pretty great. There were about 40 people there, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone, but I made sure that the birthday girl was with friends her age (you know, start building lasting friendships young), and all of the family got a chance to hang out together. It was 3 or 4 hours of chaotic fun! We are all completely exhausted from it, and to be honest, I’m almost excited to get back to reality and work tomorrow. I said almost.

And Alice got the most wonderful gifts! None of them were necessary, but all of them are so appreciated (I won’t feel so bad about giving away all of her baby toys now). I hope I can get the thank you cards right… there were so many kids helping her to open gifts that I couldn’t even see straight!

 

 


I am so blessed to have such amazing friends and family in my life. And now, for my kids to have amazing friends and family, I am over the moon excited for them. Just think of all of the great memories they will make!

There is nothing better as a parent than your kids being loved and being happy.

 

Now, onto getting Emma’s birthday party planned and ready (it’s in one month)!