Weekly Giveaway Link Up – Come List Giveaways and Enter Them #Giveaway #contestalert

Giveaway Linky for Bloggers who have Contest to list & People Who Want to Enter

This is how you put details into the linky below. ONLY list giveaways and please make sure to check out other giveaways listed as good bloggy karma

Name of Blog – Giveaway Item – End Date

Then choose the direct URL to place within the URL area of Mister Linky below. DO NOT link to your home page!

Blueberry Muffins with Our Very Own Blueberries

When we bought this house last year, we loved the fact that we owned two blueberry bushes, but really what are we to do with blueberries? It wasn’t until this home that I actually started to take an interest in cooking from scratch and having blueberry bushes has assisted in allowing me to make yummy treats. I decided to test out a blueberry muffin recipe and well it was a total fail.  Honestly, I have not mastered the skill of baking,  even though I adjusted this blueberry muffin recipe to my own liking, it still came out bland.

Blueberry Muffins Recipe

I must admit though, it was fun to have the kids pick the blueberries from the bushes, then spend some much fun in the kitchen with my son, Aj. Aj isn’t usually the one in the kitchen with me, so it’s a very cherished moment when he stops his world to come into mine for a bit. Even if it’s only to lick the batter from the beaters, or to watch me to ensure I give him the beaters when done …

Blueberry Muffins with the Son

We had a great time chatting it up in the kitchen and while the kids didn’t like the blueberry muffins, my fiance did and so I guess that counts for something, right?

Blueberry Muffins Recipe 3

What have you made with blueberries before that came out bland? What have you made that came out delicious?

How to Open up Communication with Your Tween or Teen

It’s that time, your child has grown into this tween or teenager overnight, or so it seems. Suddenly you are no longer the center of their world and they tend to talk to their peers more so than you for guidance and support. In my opinion, having a tween or teen that goes to a peer for all of their guidance and support is not the best scenario. After all, I am sure you remember what your peers probably would have given for advice and support, none of which is probably the best in the eyes of a parent.

I am here to share with you some tidbits of information that successfully worked for me, while I have yet to have a child who doesn’t come speak to me about everything going on their world, it’s only because I ensure to implement the following procedures to keep our bond strong no matter what age they reach. Fingers crossed that this works for you, too!

How to Open Communication Between you and Your Older Child #parenthood

One the best ways to really encourage an open communication between your child and you is to have that dialogue from day one, sadly not all parents are proactive in this and when life happens, sometimes our children slip away from us a little bit. No fear, you can always pull your child back in and have them become a more open and talkative child who comes to you for guidance and support.  Maybe you are in a newly form blended family, where a child just moved in with you from their other parents home or maybe you are fostering kids, or maybe just maybe, you never even thought about being proactive in encouraging a strong open communication in your household and now you are ready to gain that parental control of open communication back. Irregardless of what has you wanting to try anything to get that child to speak to you, this method will assist in building trust, communication and support between your older child and you.

Step 1 – Use a Notebook as a means of Communicating

It’s not always easy for grown adults to talk to someone face to face, so why should you think any differently of your older child? A notebook setup for you and your child to “talk” to each other through can really assist in building communication that eventually will lead to face to face communication.  Grab a notebook and set it up as a private notebook for you and your child’s eyes only. This is a place where each night (or day) your older child can write down anything they want, anything that is on their mind. The notebook will be passed between you and your child each day; whether at end of day or beginning of day is up to you based on your family schedule/routine.

Step 2- Anything is Allowed to Be Written/Discussed in Notebook

I am sure at first your child will have difficulty in expressing what is going on in their mind, after all remember, you are utilizing this as a means to teach them how to express themselves so that eventually it will come second nature to them in a face to face scenario. While anything and everything is allowed to be written & discussed in this notebook; your ultimate goal as the parent is to guide this notebook communication to be a balance of happy thoughts, personal issues and personal feelings as well as the bad things going on in your child’s life. This notebook is not meant as a negative venting machine, it’s meant to be used as a tool to teach the child to communicate and balance their feelings about the world they live in.

Step 3 – Have Patience

It took years for your child to get to the point where they no longer confide in you, and it may take a couple years to gain that trust and communication back from your child. The best advice ever, as part of utilizing this notebook as a tool, is to remain patient yourself. Each day your child is to write in this, and each day you are to reply in the notebook. Keep your replies balanced and as optimistic as possible. With your written words, you can encourage your child to view whatever is going on with them in a different light. That is your most important mission as a parent using this notebook method to open communication between your child and you; teaching your child to be comfortable speaking to you about anything as well as teaching your child to have more of an open, optimistic mindset about life and things that they cannot change.

Step 4 – Spend 15 Minutes Each Night with your Older Child

You cannot simply use one tool to open dialogue between your child and you. There must be a combination of tools used; in combination with the notebook tool, ensure that each week night you are spending 15 minutes alone with your older child. This 15 minutes can be spent talking, playing a card game, laughing and talking about your days. The biggest key to this 15 minutes is that your child leads the time, it’s about them only and no one else. It’s about them having that one on one time with you because we all know we have to work, we may have younger children taking up all our attention and so forth; this 15 minutes each night with your older child shows them that they still matter. That no matter how busy and stressful life can be, that they are still an important part of your life. The 15 minutes really helps build self esteem, trust and communication.

Enjoy the teenager years!

Combining both the notebook and the 15 minutes each week night with your older child will really prove to be quite successful in getting “your child back”, sure they won’t ever be that little girl or boy again, but at least you can rest assured knowing that you did the hard work and had patience enough to trust that they will at least come to you when times are tough. I wish you much luck during the tween and teen years, and if you have any other methods that worked well for your tween/teen years, do feel free to share in the comment section below!

Happy parenting to you and yours. 

Help! Blending a Family With Little to No Drama

Blending a family can bring on a lot of stress. When you think about it, there are his kids and her kids who both have, more than likely, been raised with different rules and in a different environment.  The most important piece of advice I can lend about blending a family for the first time is this:

When blending a family of two sets of children {his and hers}, make sure to discuss how you will combine rules, boundaries and expectations. Both sets of children do need to have the same rules based on age group, otherwise you are setting up your blended family home for disaster; a war against his kids versus her kids. 

It can be very difficult when you have one adult move in with the other adult’s already established household, this means one set of the children are already acclimated to the rules, structure and expectations of them within the home. Adding a new set of children into an already setup home, may be more difficult than if you all can simply start together in a new-to-everyone home. If you are like most parents of divorce, then you are probably making a decision to move in with your partner in their home or vice versa; this makes communication a huge necessity. It’s best if you and your partner can discuss every concern and step beforehand.

When blending a family of two sets of children {his and hers}, make sure to keep an open mind about the children involved, after all they are used to listening to Mom and Dad, now they are being combined into a home with new siblings and one new parental figure. Transitioning from a single divorced parent home to a blended family home hits a child completely different than the adults, after all the children didn’t fall in love with your partner – you did.

Keeping an open line of communication from day one with the children involved in blending the family is best. Both parents need to have an open mind and open heart about each others children. These children have all experienced divorce {or separation} of their parents and sometimes with divorce or separation comes two parents who are not the friendliest with each other, if you are the type of divorced parents who get along for the benefit of the children – I give you a HIGH FIVE, as one judge told me, “that is sadly, not the norm.”

How to Blend a Family of Divorced Parents & Kids without Drama #Coparenting

By the time you blend your families together, into one happily blended unit, you will have already realized the type of co-parents each of you will have to deal with. You will, by now, know if the other mother and other father are going to be accepting of you as a new parental figure in their child’s life or not. If the other parent is not accepting, this is going to be a long uphill battle, it will do you some good in simply accepting things you cannot change. Never make the children feel as if you do not like their other parent, try your best to do right for the children’s sake.

When blending a family, you have to take into consideration a lot of factors as to how to handle the children involved; type of environment they are used to living in, their ability to communicate both feelings and thoughts, and their overall acceptance of having new siblings and a new parental figure. In all honesty, the most difficult part of blending a family is to have an open mind and an open heart, each child will come into this blended unit with their own issues; both good and bad, work with each child at their level to ensure they feel trust, love, compassion and safety. All children need, both in a blended and non-blended family unit is – trust, stability, reliability and love.


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