Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Today on the "Family Friendly Morning Show" we read a beautiful piece from Laura. Thank you, Laura for sharing something so personal and blessing us with your story. Please keep Laura and her family in your prayers today.

Hi Brooke,
I listen to your show every morning on my way to work. I wanted to share this with you. I just lost my mother on Thursday. She was a very Godly woman. She served the Lord her whole life. She taught Sunday School for almost 60 years. Someone had sent this story to me a while ago and I took a photo of my mothers hands on Christmas Day and put it with this story. I don't know if you have ever read this or not but it is a blessing to me. My mothers hands were always folded in prayer. She never met a stranger and she never failed to tell anyone of God's love. She has been reunited with my father, brother, her mother and host of other friends and family but most of all with Jesus.

Laura Hinton

Grandma's Hands
Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her, she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat, I wondered if she was OK.
Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking, she said in a clear strong voice. I didn't mean to disturb you, Grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK, I explained to her.
Have you ever looked at your hands she asked. I mean really looked at your hands?
I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.
Grandma smiled and related this story:
Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all of my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer.
They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They dried the tears of my children and caressed the love of my life. They wiped my tears when my husband went off to war. They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold our newborn daughter.
Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse. They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.
They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.
These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of my life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when He leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.
I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.
When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I thank grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

Help or Hindrance...Polite or Pushy

There are so many times in a person's life when a helping hand could be beneficial. There are other times in which someone might think you need a helping hand but you would rather handle things yourself. To prevent overstepping one's boundaries, it is important to ASK someone if they need or want help. Then specifically find out what the need is. Never take it upon yourself to do what you think would be helpful. And once you ask someone if they would like you to do something for them, like their laundry for example, if they say, "No thank you" just be accepting of that. Your effort to insist that you are going to do it anyway or taking it upon yourself to handle the laundry when they are not around, will only lead to hurt feelings. On the otherhand, be open as much as you can to accept the help of others. There is no shame in allowing someone to help you work your way down that old To Do List. And by all means, if someone offers one type of help, but you would prefer them to help with an alternate situation, make your desires known. In either case: 1) Use Diplomacy 101; 2) Set Appropriate Boundaries; 3) Know What You Feel Strongly About and Determine Where You Can be Flexible; and 4) Know When It Is Appropriate To Hold Your Tongue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Make-Up for Busy Moms


We know that beauty comes from within, but it's also nice when you feel pulled together on the outside too! Parents.com has compiled advice from make-up artist-moms who share some great tips. Click here to find out how you can glow on the go!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Converter Box Blues

I don't think there is a person in the Greater Cleveland area that is unaware that the television communication system is switching from an Analog System to Digital on February 17th. Those with older model televisions that utilize rabbit ears or are connected to a roof antennae must either be connected to a converter box or cable in order to receive signal. The converter box is $49.00 but with a coupon sponsored by DTV-2009 the cost would be reduced to $9.00. Unfortunately, you may also be aware that if you have not contacted DTV-2009 by now, you are being put on a waiting list for the coupon as there are no more coupons available...they have run out of funding. Hmmm, you would think they would extend the date of the switchover right? Anyway, that was not my dilemma.

I called in record time, received my coupons, never opened the envelope, however, as I was going to do that when I was ready to actually purchase the converters...I had until February 17th, RIGHT? Others I know had the same idea and passed their envelopes to me so I could get their converters whenever I picked up my own. I needed to go to Best Buy the other day and I thought, "Ahhh, the perfect time to also get the converters." I grabbed a stack and waddled to the register in an effort not to drop them. The cashier was so cheerful and she began to help me open the various envelopes to obtain the coupons.

HERE COMES THE BLUES...As she completed ringing each converter box she proudly announced the subtotal and said, "Now, let's put these coupons through and you will be much happier with your new total." But suddenly instead of announcing the new total, she said, "Something is wrong. My register won't accept these coupons." It took a moment but we soon visualized AN EXPIRATION DATE ON EACH COUPON. Why oh why would an expiration date have been initiated in a situation such as this? In fact, even IF an expiration date had to be initiated, why would it not have been February 17th...the only date we have heard over and over again on every single commercial regarding this switchover?

She noticed there was a retailer number on the back of each coupon and said, "I'm sure there must be some way this can be overridden." I truly appreciated her optimism but at the same time I was flabbergasted. After reaching a person at DTV-2009 not only did I find out that there was no override measure but that if someone was ever granted a coupon and did not use it before the expiration date, they could "never" be issued a coupon again so please, if you have received your coupons, check the expiration date and use immediately if it is not too late.

I feel a letter to my congressman coming on....Times like these, pray for patience and thank God for peace. (smile)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

McKay Hatch

I believe that our greatest American strength is in the integrity of our youth. How we raise them and how they take their place in society will determine the future of this country.

I watched McKay Hatch this morning on the Fox News Channel. He is 14 and fighting huge odds to stand for his belief.

Like many adults, McKay decided that cussing presents a negative attitude that supports and often causes other problems. He started a club with his friends that promotes a commitment to "No cussing". Over 30,000 people have joined his club and are supporting his efforts.

Unfortunately, McKay and his family have received more than 60,000 negative e-mails, phone calls and death threats. McKay told the reporter, "I will not let the bullies win. I will continue to fight for cleaner social interactions."

How fantastic that a 14 year old is taking such a stand. I can't wait to read his book, The No Cussing club, how I fought peer pressure and how you can too! From the most cyberbullied kid in the world!

You can find McKay at www.nocussing.com

Recipe Of The Week - Apple Salad

Ingredients for Salad:

1/2 head lettuce
1/2 bag spinach
4 apples (cut into small pieces)
1 can cashews
Baby Swiss Cheese (cut into small chunks)

Ingredients for Dressing:

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon chopped onion
1 cup salad oil
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup cider vinegar

Combine the top 5 ingredients together in a large bowl.
Mix the dressing ingredients together pour over salad and toss.
Technically, this is called the Christmas Apple Salad but it is delicious anytime.

Friday, January 23, 2009


We talk a lot about adoption at 95.5 the fish. There's nothing more noble, more Godly or more compassionate than adopting a child and providing a loving home. There is also nothing more satisfying than providing a caring and stable home for an adopted child.

But..."Where do I start? How can I be sure? What challenges will I face?"

Perhaps you want to adopt but all those little details - those nagging questions keep your desires hidden. It's a big step and you should have all your questions answered "before" you begin. But where can you go?

Laura Christianson is a great friend and a wonderful writer. She has a blog that overflows with adoption information. Families.com named her book, The Adoption Decision: 15 Things You Want to Know Before Adopting, as one of their top-rated non-fiction books about adoption.

If you are thinking about adoption and you need to talk to a trusted professional - check out Laura at
http://www.exploringadoptionblog.com/ She wrote a wonderful article series on "Funding Adoption".

If you've already adopted and just need helpful information like "when to tell your child he's adopted", check out her blog and other books like The Adoption Network.

Apple on a Stick

Great Recipe Paula. Sounds yummy!

Do you have a child that doesn't like fruit? Many toddlers have a hard time with fresh fruit.

In my home daycare, God's Little Angels, we had several children that liked the color of an apple or the feel of a pear. They liked to carry them around but when cut, refused to put it in their mouth.

I was concerned about their nutritional needs, especially since they also wouldn't drink juice. Food is always an issue with children. Most of the time the vitamins they take may prevent problems. However, the habit of eating properly not and in the future is something that must be addressed.

I like to make boring issues - fun. Instead of forcing children to eat properly, why not help them to get excited about the foods they need?

Try Apple on a Stick

Cut in half, core and peel an apple. Take a straw and fold it in half. (You can use a Popsicle stick if you have it but it will be a little more wobbly.)

Stick the folded straw like a "V" in the inner side of the apple. Make sure the straw penetrates at least 2/3 into the apple.

Present the apple as "A little tree" or "Apple on a stick" or "A parachute"

Sit with your own apple on a stick and have fun with your child by seeing who can eat the branches or what shapes you can make as you bite.

Have Fun!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

3 Free Things

Time is tight and money seems to be tighter. Thankfully we have a few weekend family fun ideas that won't cost you a penny! Here are 3 free things to do in Ohio this weekend:

It’s Friday movie night! The Medina County Park District will present "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" at 7 p.m Friday. Meet at the Wolf Creek Environmental Center, 6100 Ridge Road (state Route 94), Sharon Township. Popcorn is also free!

Cleveland Metroparks is staging a musical program at the CanalWay Center off East 49th Street south of Grant Avenue in Cuyahoga Heights. Bring instruments and some songs you have written or hits by your favorite songwriters. 1-3 on Saturday.

Need a place for the kids to burn of excess energy in this cold? Saturday gym provides two large rooms to climb, jump, ride trikes, and play. 19824 Sussex Rd. in Shaker Heights. Saturday gym is open from 10-12.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How fast can you get out of the kitchen?

When my children were at home I wanted to get out of the kitchen as fast as possible. If the kitchen was cleaned up it meant more time to play or talk to teens. There were two tasks that I simply hated. I didn't mind loading the dishwasher - but unloading was just too much too bear. (Yeah...I know...crazy but lovable?!?)

When the children started using the microwave, they seemed to always forget to place a towel or plate over the food. Every evening there was this spattering of food on the walls and ceiling of the microwave. After it had been heated several times - I needed a sandblaster to get it off. I would hold my cup of water for tea and stare into the yuck of splatters. "Should I make my tea braving the thought of germs and make the mess worse or take the time to clean it up?" Most of the time I went without tea.

One day I saw an advertisement for this miracle cleaner. You popped it in the microwave and it would burst forth with steam. All you had to do was gently wipe the microwave and voila! I put it on top of my grocery list. Unfortunately, when I saw the price - it didn't fit my budget for luxuries that I can accomplish with a little personal discipline.

I thought about the ease of that product all the way home. That's when it hit me.....it's not some miracle chemical that does the cleaning - it's the steam. I picked out the glass measuring cup because it had been tested so many times in the microwave. I filled it with water and placed it in the microwave. Knowing I had to make steam, I set the timer for 5 minutes. I resisted the urge to open the door for another 15 minutes.

When I finally opened the door, the microwave was full of steam. The walls were gushy with a mist of water and leftover debris. Just like the commercial, all I had to do was wipe with a clean cloth or paper towel.

So....hurried mothers of toddlers or frustrated moms with teens - no more fighting over the dirty microwave. Brew a little steam and Voila! And if you want the smell of clean, put a drop or two of lemon extract in the water. A mint leaf will also do the trick.

Do you have a cleaning chore that you absolutely hate? Write and let us know. The winner will receive her choice of one of the booklets offered on my website. http://www.debbiejansen.com/

The Penny System - for stubborn discipline problems
Potty Train your baby in just one day.
Goof Proof Holiday
Emergency booklet
How to teach faith to your child
Stay at home Dads - the newest Supermen
Shopping and Eating out with children

God loves you,


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Megamom serves up smorgasbord of information

Hello Mom Squad Friends!

I have a lot of resources on my website and I hope you all feel comfortable about coming by to see me. But today, I want to tell you about a woman whose done it all. She's a great friend of mine and a terrific writer. She has wonderful tips and more information on her website than most of us could read in a year.

Her history is a story of mercy and God's love. She's moved from liberal activist in her early 20's to devout Christian. She's a wonderful speaker and has written 9 books and over 800 articles.

But get this.....WOW! She has twelve children, four with Down syndrome. That's unbelievable. But there's more...she also home schools and is a Montessori teacher.

I hope you will check out Barbara Curtis on her website. She's a great lady and I know you'll enjoy her writings. http://www.mommylife.net/ I like her book, The Mommy Manual - but I think my favorite is Lord, Please meet me in the Laundry Room.

Hey Brooke! Maybe we can get Barbara for an interview.

God loves you,


Monday, January 19, 2009

Mom Squad Power!

Hello Mom Squad Friends!

I am so excited to be part of this wonderful group. I attended the Christmas Luncheon at Hartville Kitchen and was blown away by your dedication and enthusiasm.

You are a wonderful group of ladies and I applaud all of you.

I want you to understand that no matter how busy I am, your questions and comments are my first concern. I believe that God has given us the tools to handle every problem we face. There is no problem that we can't find a solution for. It may not be the one we want and it may not be the solution we like - but we can change our lives and survive anything this world dishes out.

How can you say that Debbie?
Because I've tested it and found it to be true! If I do my research and I study the problem from all angles, I can figure out a workable solution. And guess what? You can too! I'm no genius. I'm not some psychological guru or some miracle worker. I'm just a Christian who constantly asks God to help me solve the problems we face. I want to stand beside you and help you find the peace and blessed life I've enjoyed.

You can do it! You have the tools! Anything is possible if we work hard and ask for God's help. And moms....guess what...YOU are the most powerful people in the world! YOU have more power than any president, more power than any rich executive and more power than the smartest person on the planet.


Yep! You do. Sitting beside you or running somewhere in your home may be the next great inventor. Your child may discover the cure for cancer. Your child may become president of the United States. Your child may be the next Bill Gates discovering some major new technology that will give him billions to spend on Christian efforts. Your child may become a missionary and his work may save a country and turn their hearts toward God.

Those great people running through your home will need to rely on their faith, their character and their honor to guide them as they lead others. Where does that begin? With you! You teach them how to accept your faith. You teach them how to grow into productive adults. You teach them how to live with a world view. Don't you dare believe the lies of contemporary psychology that wants you to think there's nothing you can do. The truth is that you CAN make a huge difference in your child's life.

Yes, mom - you are the most powerful person in the world because you hold the future in your arms. YOU can change the world - I promise!

But, how can I know if I'm doing it right?

Pray, ask questions...and then stay tuned. We'll get the job done together!

God Bless you,


Friday, January 16, 2009

Debbie's Debut!

We are delighted to introduce a new contributor to the Mom Squad blog! Here is a brief bio of our friend Debbie Jansen.

Debbie has been happily married to Ron for 34 years and has three children. Debbie is the founder of the Family Training Center.

Debbie first book Discipline Exposed – surviving fried worms and flying mudballs, provides the basics of discipline to busy moms. Debbie has four other books in the works, The Lighter Side of Chaos, Mommy Detective, The Power of Parenting and Child of Light.

You can learn more about Debbie by visiting her website. http://www.debbiejansen.com/

Debbie will be submitting helpful parenting tips, articles, and much more. Welcome Debbie, we are proud to have you aboard!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coping With The Death Of A Pet

Those that do not have pets may not understand the sadness that accompanies this type of loss. But a pet is a member of the family and a grieving process needs to take place just as in any situation of loss. Here are two websites that are very informative and helpful regarding this situation. www.pet-loss.net and www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/coping_with_the_death_of_your_pet. They cover all the bases and have many suggestions on how to deal with grief, how to discuss the loss with your children, whether you should get another pet and if so when is the right time to consider such a decision, etc. It is great comfort to know that you are not alone and there are even support groups to help you deal with the pain that is created by the feeling of loss. Do whatever you need to do to manage your sadness. It is okay to cry and for your children to cry but don't hold your grief in as that could create other problems. You can have a memorial for your pet, write a letter to your pet, create a scrapbook. Though the situation is sad, may the loving memories of your time together bring you great comfort and peace.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


You may remember that the Mom Squad Blog and Forum featured a review of a book by Pam Mitchell called Maggots, Miracles & Me (see Archives Sept. 8, 2008). It is a wonderful book about Pam's life, various medical complications from diabetes, etc. and how she was able to avoid amputation via Maggot Therapy. Well, now Pam's journey is going to be featured on the new television show, The Doctors on Wed. Jan. 7th, WKYC Channel 3 at 3PM. Here is the site and once you enter the site, the clip to the right is a brief overview of the features for that day. Those are actually Pam's feet in the clip. http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/show_page/90

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Coolest Calenders for 2009

This is a great time to start fresh, and get organized for the year. The right calendar can help so much in that mission. We have found a few favorite's that are practical, affordable, and pretty cute too!

Mom's Plan-It 2009 Magnet Wall Calendar. This best-selling organizer is the perfect 17-month planner for busy moms. A handy storage pocket, built-in magnetic hanger, 442 stickers, and extra-large grid all make it a breeze for Mom to keep track of up to five family members!

The Big Grid Family Organizer. The essential organization and communication tool for the whole family. Covering 17-months, this over-sized wall calendar enables you to keep track of appointments, events, to-do's, birthdays, and much more.

Find these calendars and more (many with free shipping) at: Calendars.com

Oh, and my personal favorite: The MomAgenda! Find out more at: MomAgenda.com