12 Tips to Help you Stay Safe this Holiday Season

During the holidays, the potential for thefts and robberies increase because more people are out and about, and they are carrying more gifts and money than during other times of the year. Here is a list of 15 things you can do to be safe throughout the holiday season:

  1. Don’t leave valuables in your car or SUV. If you must leave packages in your car, always put them in your trunk.
  2. Don’t keep cash in your wallet. Instead, keep it in an inside pocket and only carry the credit cards you’ll need.
  3. Be sure to carry a cell phone with you at all times. If someone makes you suspicious or uncomfortable, notify security or call the police.
  4. Carry your purse close to you, always with the opening facing your body.
  5. Don’t leave a purse on a counter or in a shopping cart unattended.
  6. Always park and walk in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings. Stay with the crowd — there is safety in numbers.
  7. Don’t keep your wallet, credit cards or cash in a backpack. Pickpockets can quickly and easily remove items without you even noticing.
  8. Don’t announce your new big-ticket purchases after the holidays. Break down the boxes of TVs, stereos, computers, etc. and turn them inside out before putting them in the trash.
  9. Protect your credit card numbers and other personal information. Carefully dispose of receipts that have a credit card number on them. Never provide credit card information in response to unsolicited calls or emails.
  10. If you’re traveling for the holidays, make your home look “lived in.” Have a friend or neighbor collect your mail and newspapers or have your service suspended while you are away. Use timers to turn lights off and on.
  11. Be aware of people around you when you are using the ATM. When possible, use one that is located inside a business.
  12. Be aware of people just “hanging around” anywhere — especially near pay phones, public rest rooms, building entrances and garages.

Because “do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work.

the kid

I come from the time where kids were raised in the way of “do as I say, not as I do.” And while that worked (kinda) for my parents, I don’t want that to be the way I parent. I mean, I know that sometimes the kid just have to do something, “because I said so,” however, if I want him to do something the “right way,” I feel I’d better be providing a good example of what the “right way” is.

Want him to eat his vegetables? I’d better be eating mine.

Want him to watch less TV and read more? I’d better have a book in my hand, more often than the remote.

Want him to do his chores, before playtime? Then the kitchen should be clean, before I logon to Facebook.

Want him to turn off the video games and go outside and play? I’d better be turning off the computer and getting some sort of physical activity in as well.

I could go on and on, with example after example – but I think you get what I’m trying to say.

You see, as easy as it is to say, “I’m the parent, and you do what I tell you to do,” It’s easier – in the long run – to provide a good example of what “doing the right thing is.” If you want kids to choose to do the right thing – you have to show them how, in addition to telling them.

5 Places for Moms to Make New Friends

Friends Photographing Themselves

Hey, mama! Think you’re too busy to make friends? Or, if you’re like me – a total introvert – you find it hard to do so. There are many opportunities throughout your day to make friends.

  1. Work – Making friends at work should be the easiest, since it’s where you spend most of your time. Take time to get to know your co-workers. You may be surprised by how much you have in common with some of them. Look for common interests, fashion styles, etc. Strike up a conversation in the elevator, or in the cafeteria. You never know, your new best friend could be sitting in an office just two floors down.
  2. Church – If you attend church together, you already have one thing in common: your faith. Build on that. Do you both have kids that are around the same age? Are your husbands friends? Maybe invite her family over for a cookout, or movie/game night.
  3. The Gym – While most people don’t go to the gym to socialize, there are still opportunities to do so. Does she have a physique or workout routine you’d like to emulate? Maybe strike up a conversation in the locker room (not when naked, because that’s weird), it’s possible you can become workout buddies, leading to a friendship outside the gym.
  4. PTA/Other School Committees – Your kids are already friends – or at least they probably know each other. Start off with playdates to see if you have anything in common. I know it sounds like you’re interviewing for friends – in a way, you are. You have kids who go to school together, so it’s safe to assume you live in the same neighborhood. Invite her over for coffee, maybe form a book club with other PTA/school moms.
  5. Book Club – Are you an avid reader like me? Find out if anyone you know is a member of a book club, ask if you can join. Or, search online for book clubs in your area. You already have your love of literature in common – maybe there’s more.

You see, it doesn’t have to be hard to make new friends. You just have to put some effort into it – just like you would building any other relationship.

What about you? Where did you meet your BFF?

photo source

What’s your favorite food to eat at Christmas time?

It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone, mine is ham. ;)

Last week, I wanted to do a practice run for our Christmas-eve dinner – which we always have at home, just the three of us. I headed to the HoneyBaked Ham store in Livonia, Mich. to get what I needed. Because I’m all about making meal preparation as easy as possible – and HoneyBaked makes it super easy – I decided to get the pre-cut ham slices that they sell by the pound.

Ham

One of my favorite things about HoneyBaked is its selection of Heat & Share Sides. As the name implies, all you have to do is heat them up – right in the package! While I was in the store, I picked up packages of their garlic roasted mashed potatoes and cinnamon apple slices. You can either heat the sides up in the oven, or the microwave. When I cooked for my Thanksgiving post, I used the oven. However, as I was cooking for this post, I was running short on time (super-busy workday) and used the microwave. There were chunky parts of the garlic roasted mashed potatoes that weren’t cooked all the way through. I highly recommend using the oven, instead.

I also wanted to try their signature sweet potato soufflé, unfortunately, they didn’t have any on hand. So, instead, I made some Italian-cut green beans I had on hand, for the second side.

Final Plate

Now, I know you’re wondering what I did with the cinnamon apple slices. Well, I made a pie – quite possibly the ugliest pie ever made, but I received rave reviews on taste from the hubster and the kid. To make, I just bought some pie crusts from the store, added the apples and voila – ugly, but yummy, apple pie.

Ugliest Pie Ever

In addition to the above, I also picked up some of these…

Cinnamon Rolls

Don’t they look delicious? They’re brand new to HoneyBaked Ham. I can’t wait to try them.

From now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle.

Check out this amazing limited time coupon for $8.00 off any Bone-in Ham and Turkey Breast or Boneless Ham and Turkey Breast from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious!  (This offer is valid only at the following locations: Rolling Meadows, Orland Park, Villa Park, Morton Grove, Naperville, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano, Mesquite, Hurst, Lewisville, Houston, Austin, Spring, Clear Lake, Sugar Land, Indianapolis, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Roseville, Birmingham, Troy, West Bloomfield, Livonia, Flint, Dearborn Heights, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Ann Arbor, Canton Township, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Mechanicsburg, Monroeville, San Antonio, Bellevue, and Lynnwood.  For store addresses click here.)

Donate $1.00 to Feeding America during checkout at the register of any HoneyBaked store. $1.00=10 Meals!

Disclaimer: This is a compensated post, however all opinions are my own.

Not your mama’s mac & cheese recipe (because it’s my mama’s).

Happy early Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m about to log off, and start cooking, so I thought I’d post my mom’s macaroni & cheese recipe. As we’ve gotten older, my cousins and I have been assigned various side dishes, to cook, for the holidays. My assignment is the mac & cheese.

(I’m cooking for two houses, so there are twice the ingredients.)

I normally use a 9 x 13 pan.

Ingredients:

  • 1-16 oz box of elbow macaroni
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of Velveeta
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese (I use ¾ cup of each)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • Seasoned salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Boil noodles
  3. Heat butter& milk in a pot
  4. Add Velveeta & 1 cup shredded cheese
  5. Let mixture melt
  6. Stir in (beaten) egg
  7. Add seasoned salt, pepper & onion salt to taste
  8. Stir mixture
  9. Pour enough mixture to coat bottom of pan*
  10. Put in ½ the noodles
  11. Add in more sauce & ½ of the left over shredded cheese*
  12. Add in the remaining noodles, sauce & shredded cheese*
  13. Bake, uncovered, for 35 – 40 minutes, at 350 – 375 degrees

 *Make sure mixture is all distributed evenly.

So, there you have it. If I remember, I’ll edit this post, to include a picture, of the final product.

Hope you all have an awesome Turkey Day, filled with laughs & love.