Helping Kids Deal with Fear of Storms

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Kids are often scared of storms.  As parents, we want to do what we can to help them through these times.  We've got some easy tips you can follow to help your own child when a storm strikes.

Last night, we had some pretty bad storms around here — including tornados.  My daughter actually had a pretty traumatic experience as a result.

She and her dad were helping with our church’s Fireworks display when the weather started to turn.  The men were closing the tent and tying things down when their phones all went off with the alert — tornado warning.  My daughter instantly started to panic.  She was in tears and was telling her dad that she was afraid she would never see her mom again.  He tried to get her into the Quicktrip next door, but she was too scared to go.  He looked up and could tell that the direction towards our house was away from the storm, so the men there told him to leave with her.  Turns out that the tornado was very far away from them, so no damage to the area where they were at — thankfully!

All the way home, my daughter kept telling herself “Calm down, Emma.  It is going to be OK.”  She came running through the door yelling my name and grabbed me and held on for dear life.  She was terrified.  She was shaking and was very pale.  We got her calmed down and had all of the kids take a bath and headed to the basement as a family – to watch a funny movie and take everyone’s mind off of things.

We went back upstairs at 9 pm and put the kids to bed when it happened.  The tornado sirens began to screech right outside our house.  All 3 of my kids ran down the stairs as fast as they could…..all of them in tears.  We got them into the basement and turned on the TV.  There was no mention of a warning.  It was at that moment that both of our phones alerted us and a few second later, we saw the warning pop up on the screen.

A tornado was in our area (thankfully it was a couple of miles southeast of us), but we later learned that there had been funnel clouds dropping all around our city for most of the evening (don’t tell my kids).  At 9:15, when we had the all clear, we took them back up the stairs and told them it was time for bed.   They were too scared and it ended up being a sleepover in mom and dad’s room.


This was our very first real experience with storms.  We kept our kids calm and we got through it and best of all, there was no damage where we lived and no one was injured as a result of any of the storms.

Kids will be scared of these storms, but there are things we can do to help them get through it:

1. Talk about storms before they happen.  In the moment of a storm, kids are often too scared to understand what is going on.  They just want to be safe.

Talk about thunderstorms and lightning when it is not storming.  Talk about tornados and what to do if we hear a siren.  In fact, when you hear the test sirens in your area, have your kids practice what to do and where to go.

When they know what to do when it storms, they feel more in control and that can really help them to stay a bit more calm.

2. Don’t try to pretend it is not happening.  Kids are smart.  They know what the sirens mean.  They can see dark clouds in the sky.  If they ask if there is a tornado, do not lie to them.  Just stay calm and say yes and ask them to come with you to your shelter.

3. Remind them why they are safe.  When the storm strikes, remind your children that they are away from the lightning, wind and hail when they are in the house.  If it is a very bad storm, take them to your basement (or shelter) and again, remind them how they stay safe where they are at.

4. Distract them.  Keep the things you need handy in your shelter area.  This would include flashlights, batteries, food, water, weather radio and even games.  Play cards with your kids so they take their minds off of the storm.  You can keep board games handy.  If the power is still on, you might be able to pop in a fun movie into the DVD player.

5.  Keep calm yourself.  As an adult, we know the damage and what can actually happen as a result of these storms.  Many of us have seen the destruction and fear it ourselves. However, in the moment when your child is scared, they can not see the fear in your face, as that will make them more frightened.  Find a way to stay calm yourself and your child will feel better when they see that you are not worried.

Do you have anything to add to our list?

BBQ Cheddar Bacon Turkey Burgers

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Looking for something new to try on the grill?  You've got to give these Cheddar Bacon Turkey Burgers a try - they are lean and still have so much flavor!!!


  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely diced green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped bacon
  • Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, McCormicks Montreal Steak Seasoning, Johnny’s (your choice, use one or all)

turkey burger 2

Add all ingredients together in a large bowl. Using your hand mix well. Roll mixture into handful size balls, flatten into patties. Season.

Place on hot grill and cook for approximately 4 minutes on each side, until cooked all the way through.

Serve on a bun or over a bed of lettuce.

turkey cheddar burger

S’Mores Stay At Home Dip

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Have you tried this S'mores dip?  It is DIVINE!!!!!!  It is super simple to make and you're family will be coming back for 2nds, 3rds.......

My most favorite summertime dessert is definitely S’more! Unfortunately with the responsibilities of work, kids and life we just can’t find a way to go camping, or set up a campfire often enough to enjoy this sweet gooey treat. That’s why I have decided that this Stay At Home S’mores Dip is the most amazing alternative. Even better is perfect for family get together’s, parties or just a fun treat to finish off a fun day in the sun.


  • Chocolate Chips
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers
  • Cast Iron Pan (approx 6-8 inches in diameter)
  • 2 TBSP oil (vegetable, canola, olive or even coconut oil will work)

smores choc chip

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place the cast iron pan in the oven and let heat (empty) for 5-10 minutes. Using an oven mit remove the pan from the oven and pour in oil. Sprinkle chocolate chips in the pan next and gently mix them around in the oil. The chocolate chips should begin to soften and melt.

smores dip ingredients

Add marshmallows one at a time on top of the softened chocolate chips, until the entire pan is filled with marshmallows.

Place the s’mores dip back in the oven to bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

smores dip 2

Remove from the oven and serve with a side of graham crackers for scooping.

***Beware this dip is beyond addicting!

    smores ingred 2

Hidden Valley® Ranch Seasoning Mix Copycat Recipe

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Want to make your own Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing?  We've got the perfect recipe for you!

Do you use Hidden Valley® Ranch Mix to make salad dressings, chip dip or even in various recipes? I know I use it quite often. However I hate how much it costs, and even more so I hate all of the unknown ingredients listed on the packaging. This Hidden Valley Ranch Mix Copycat recipe is awesome. Tastes exactly like Hidden Valley brand (or better)!


1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
2 TBSP dried parsley
1  tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a blender and pulse until smooth. To make Ranch Dressing simply mix 1 TBSP of Hidden Valley® Copycat seasoning mix with 1/3 cup Greek yogurt and 1/3 cup milk.

Forget the store bought!  Make your very own Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing at home!


Olive Garden Copycat Salad Dressing

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olive garden ps

Yum Yum! Do you ever just crave a refreshing Olive Garden Salad? What’s the salad without the special Olive Garden dressing? Instead of going out for an expensive dinner, enjoy a relaxing night at home with this tasty Olive Garden Salad Dressing Mix Copycat recipe. You are sure to love it!


  • 1 packet Italian Dressing Mix
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  •  1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

olive garden dressing pin

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor, whisk or blender. Pulse or mix until well blended. Serve over a refreshing garden salad and store excess salad dressing in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

10 Awesome Kitchen Hacks!

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There are lots of amazing kitchen hacks out there  -- and many are truly amazing!  We've put together a list of TEN hacks - all of which will save you money!!!

I love reading about all of these amazing hacks to make life better.  They usually are things I’d never have thought of myself!  While many are about making life simpler, there are some which actually can save you money!  We’ve put together a list of TEN amazing hacks which are designed to do just that – make your wallet happy!

Just click the link below and you’ll go right to the idea!!  Tell them we sent you their way!!!


How to Clean Your Dishwasher with Tang // by One Creative Mommy

How to Remove Rust Stains from Knives with Lemon Juice // by Thrifty Jinxy

DIY Glass Kitchen Canisters // by Penny Pinchin’ Mom

Why You Should Grease Oven Racks // by Thrifty DIY Diva

DIY Bandits Oil Disinfecting Kitchen Spray // by Live Simply

Spray Measuring Cups with Cooking Spray // by Our Best Bites

10 Uses for Ice Trays // by Recipes to Make

How to Clean Your Microwave without Scrubbing or Chemicals // by Simply Stacie

DIY Jet Dry // by The Thrifty Couple

DIY Sponge Icepacks // by My Kitchen Escapades

Cream of Broccoli Soup

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This is the tastiest Cream of Broccoli soup you can make......better than anything you'll find in the store!!


  • 3 cups broccoli
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or whole milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Sour cream & Cheddar cheese (optional toppings)


  1. Pour chicken broth, water, broccoli into a large stockpot. Turn stove top to high and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile in a saucepan melt butter over medium heat, saute onions until translucent. Add flour and create a rue. Once it has a thick paste like consistency, slowly add cream and whisk well.
  3. Add cream mixture to boiling broccoli (do not drain liquid).
  4. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper or other seasonings to taste.
  5. Serve with cheddar cheese and sour cream.
    ***If you do not like your broccoli chucky. Once the broccoli had cooked completely you can blend with with a hand mixer or blender to get a softer creamer texture.

This is the tastiest Cream of Broccoli soup you can make......better than anything you'll find in the store!!

DIY – Chic Rosette Wreath

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This adorable wreath is super simple to make and will bring a gorgeous touch to any door!

I am in love with making these rosette flowers. They are so easy to make and no matter what texture of fabric you use they look awesome. For this project I used several different textures, burlap, tweed and a soft sheer fabric. However, I think what really put the finishing touch on these rosettes were the little white pearl beads.


  • Metal Wreath 12 inch
  • 1 1/2 – 2 yards of fabric (use mixed textures – I used 1/2 yard of burlap, tweed, and sheer)
  • Burlap Ribbon
  • White pearl beads
  • Hot glue gun and glue


  1. Using burlap ribbon fully wrap medal wreath. Hot glue to seal closed.
  2. Make 40-50 rosettes. To make rosettes tear strips of fabric 2 inches wide. Take a strip of fabric and wad up a small end piece, wrap fabric around and around. Glue a pearl to about 3/4th of rosettes.
  3. Glue rosettes at random to burlap wrapped wreath.

wreath ppm

30 Red, White & Blue {Patriotic} Recipes

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Check out this awesome roundup of THIRTY Patriotic Recipes!!!

July 4th will be here soon!  If you have a party planned, you might want to try something new and fun for dessert.  Check out this list of THIRTY (30) fun patriotic desserts – perfect for any night of the year (but moreso with Independence Day).

  1. Red, White and Blue 4th of July Tart
  2. Raspberry Dessert Shooters
  3. Red, White and Blue Brownie Pops
  4. Patriotic Popcorn Crunch
  5. Fireworks Inspired Cupcakes
  6. Patriotic Trifle Bowl
  7. Yogurt Parfaits in Tortilla Cups
  8. Old Glory Cupcakes
  9. Red, White and Blue Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches
  10. Cheesecake Stuffed Stawberries
  11. Fruit Skewers
  12. Fourth of July Pancakes
  13. Very Berry Moscato
  14. Spiked Strawberry Shortcake
  15. Pudding Popsicles
  16. Firecrackers
  17. Strawberry Shortcake Push Pops and Lemon Whipping Cream
  18. Strawberry Crumble Cake
  19. Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad
  20. Patriotic Party S’Mores
  21. Chocolate Flags
  22. Red, White and Blue Fudge
  23. Lemon Berry Trifle
  24. Preschool Parfait
  25. Patriotic Pound Cake
  26. Patriotic Pizza Flag
  27. American Flag Cheesecake
  28. No Bake Flag Dessert
  29. Patriotic Pinwheel Cookies
  30. Firecracker Cookies
  31. Fruit Rockets

Brunswick Stew – Crockpot Recipe

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brunswick stew

We recently had some Brunswick stew at a local restaurant and realized it was something we really liked! So of course we went home and began reading recipes. There are tons of different variations of Brunswick Stew, however this is the recipe we came up with and after 10+ times of making it now – it has officially become a family favorite! The best part is it’s one of those meals you make after another…so we always make pulled pork sandwiches the first night and then know that the following nights dinner will be followed up by some Brunswick Stew!

5 cups pre-cooked (or left over) pulled pork
2 cups beef stock
1 medium onion, diced
5 golden potatoes, diced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
2 cups carrots, diced
1 can Italian tomatoes
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce


Place all ingredients in a crockpot on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-9 hours. Serve with some rolls and enjoy!

brunswick stew 2