Poison SafetyLittle kids are naturally curious. To learn, they use all five senses which can be problematic when they ingest something harmful. Knowing possible risks will help to keep your children safe from accidents involving poisonous substances.

Accidental poisoning happens and it happens quickly. It’s good to be aware of threats as ninety percent of all poisonings occur at home. Poisons can be inhaled, swallowed, or splattered on the skin or eyes. Children under five-years-old are at the highest risk.

Tips to Keep Kids Safe from Poison

• Choose only non-toxic plants for indoor and outdoor use.

• Keep all prescription and over the counter drugs locked away to prevent accidental ingestion. Childproof bottles are not always kid proof.

• Carefully dispense prescription and other medications, including vitamins.

• Place all household cleaners, including laundry detergent, bleach, and dishwasher detergent, on high shelves out of reach for young children.

• Childproof cabinets especially if your little ones are climbers.

• Keep cosmetics put away. Even the bath salts on the side of the tub can be a danger for small children.

• When visiting other’s homes, keep a close eye on your children. Substances may be in easy reach and not typical (pool chemicals, medications, etc.).

• Moms, check your purse for possible risks.

If in doubt, always assume the child has been exposed to a poison. Children are curious. They get into things even if the substance smells bad. The natural instinct is to get the substance out of the child but don’t induce vomiting unless directed by a healthcare professional.

Call the American Association of Poison Control Centers Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 with questions. Post the number in a handy location and put it in the contact list on your phone. Take the time to visit the AAPCC website for more information.

Their homes are safe and free from fear…
Job 21:9

Kids and Cell Phones

Kids and Cell PhonesA commonly asked question in parenting classes is, “When can a child have a cell phone?” The question is often followed by, “He tells me all his friends have one.”

Not all kids have cell phones. And there’s no perfect age. It’s a privilege, not a right.

Middle school and high school kids are the typical age group using cell phones. When Mom and Dad are no longer transporting or attending every event with the child, a cell phone is a practical tool. Parents need to determine the child’s maturity level, ability to be responsible, and the need to have a cell phone.

I recommend having a child make a pitch as to why he is ready and a cell phone is necessary. Have the child do the research as to the type of phone, features, available plans (provide the name of your carrier if adding onto an existing plan), his plan to take care of and use the phone responsibly, and why he thinks he actually needs a cell phone. Ask him to include overage charges, cost of adding another line to the existing service, or insurance for lost or broken cellular devices.

Use the child’s list and add your own pros and cons. The pros could be convenience, quick contact in emergencies, security as family members are a text or call away, and the added peace with teen drivers or kids out with friends. The cons could include disrupted sleep patterns, distraction of calls while driving (same level of distraction as intoxicated drivers), possibility of texting while driving, and potential radiation hazard. Unlimited Internet access and location sharing features are potential risks too.

If the discussion goes well and you think your child is responsible, start with a basic phone. Kids don’t need Internet access, apps, or a camera on their first phone. Think of the cell phone as a tool, not a toy. Kids can work up to a smartphone.

A cell phone contract is a helpful agreement. Remind your child, every family is different. The best buddy’s rules may differ from the rules you set. That’s okay! If your child wants a phone, he needs to follow the rules. Set limits and enforce them. Here’s a list of considerations when determining safety rules for your child’s cell phone use.

Safety Rule Considerations
• Mom and Dad’s texts and calls are answered immediately.
• Texting or taking calls from unknown numbers is not allowed.
• No phone use during mealtime, while driving, or when doing homework.
• Cell phone is charged in parent’s bedroom. (Determine what time it needs to be in the charging station every night.)
• Use the safeguards on the phone. Parents can create a password to restrict the use of features on cell phones, allowing only what’s appropriate for the child.
• For teens, if social media is part of the plan, join in on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and other sites. Have access to the passwords to check the child’s accounts if you have concerns. Keep open lines of communication. (Click HERE the Internet Safety post from last week.)
• Establish appropriate phone etiquette. Talk about what to photograph (and what NOT to photograph), as well as what to share with others. Photos and text messages need to be respectful. A good rule of thumb is “If you wouldn’t want Grandma to read the text or see the photo, don’t send it.”
• If the phone has app capabilities, download a Bible app. It’s great to have the Word of God in hand, literally!

As always, set a good example in how you use your cell phone. Stay off the phone while driving, during family time, and meals. Turn it off when your kids want to talk or spend time with you. It’s a tool, use it to keep track of one another, share events, and messages.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4 ESV

How did you determine your child was ready to have a cell phone? What additional rules do you have for your kids in regard to cell phone use?

Kid Safety on the World Wide Web

Kid Safety on the World Wide Web“Mom, my throat really hurts. I’m going to google Caribbean Passion to get a recipe for a smoothie.” His favorite smoothie shop made a tropical sensation with mangos, bananas, kiwis, and strawberries aptly named Caribbean Passion.

“Sure, sounds like a great idea.” As soon as the words were out, I realized my mistake. “WAIT! Add ‘smoothie’ in the search box.” I quickly joined my then 11-year-old at the computer. A conversation with a friend had come back to me. She had been investigating venues with rock climbing walls for her daughter’s birthday party. The search was going well until she entered Dick’s in the search box for the local sporting goods store and up popped a number of porn sites. Not at all what she expected!

Keeping kids safe in a technology driven culture is daunting. Computers, tablets, and smartphones make virtually anything available. The world is just a click away. Here are a few ideas to guide you along the way.

Open communication. Talk to your kids about what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate online. Respect is key, for others and themselves. My line with the boys has been, “If you wouldn’t want Grandma or me to see it or read it, don’t post it.”
Keep the conversations going as your children mature and begin to use the Internet academically and socially. Sexting and sharing drug, tabbaco, and alcohol related photos is common. What’s posted online is forever.

Keep the computer in a common area, kitchen or family room. Place the screen facing out so adults can monitor what sites kids are visiting and what is being posted. Security software is helpful, but Mom and Dad are the best to keep track of Internet travels.
Know the passwords for your children’s accounts and help them with the privacy settings. Coach kids to NEVER share passwords or personal information including age, birthdate, address, and phone numbers online.

Post a copy of Philippians 4:8. The verse on the computer screen will remind family members to visit wholesome sites.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Be a good role model in what you post, share, and watch online. 

If your child is participating in social media, join in. Friend him on Facebook or follow him on Instagram. Learn about social media. Click here for a link to one of the most comprehensive articles I’ve read on the subject of social media. The blog post includes good questions to ask kids and a list of specific sites and apps to be aware of for high risk online. The information is geared for teens and young adults, but is helpful for all ages. Continue the conversation with a discussion about faith and values. How can the love of God be shared through a Facebook account?

Eric and I sat down at the computer that day and found a number of terrific smoothie recipes, and only recipes, to sooth his sore throat. There weren’t any embarrassing surprises!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8

Keeping Them Safe

Keep Them Safe“You can’t keep them safe, so you have to get them ready.”

My ministry partner and co-author, Lori Wildenberg, shared words of wisdom with me a number of years ago when my kids were young. She knows I would have preferred to encase my boys in bubble wrap at that time. Now, as teenagers, that’s not even an option. (Like it ever was a viable option!)

Getting kids ready means training and teaching what they need to know to make wise choices. It’s the combination of wisdom, knowledge, and experience. We want our kids to make good decisions when no one else is watching. We also want our kids to be like Jesus, growing wiser and stronger as they mature. Here are a few guidelines for assisting kids in the process.

Helping kids grow in maturity and wisdom.
• Allow children to fail while they are still living at home.
• Keep them accountable for choices.
• Following through with consequences.
• Listen more, talk less.
• Trust God. He loves our kids even more than we do.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature,
and in favor with God and man.

Luke 2:52

This month we’ll delve into how to keep our little ones and not so little ones safe and more importantly, how to get them ready. I’ve listed a few links below for past posts on the topic of safety.

Related Posts
Hot Tips for Fire Safety
No Helmet, No Wheels
Water Safety for Kids
Preparing for the Unexpected


Independence Day Bars

Rocky RoadSweeten up the Fourth of July celebration with your family. This brownie recipe is sure to please everyone at the party!

Raspberry Rocky Road Bars
1 package brownie mix
(package ingredients)
1 1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts
3 1/2 C mini marshmallows

Mix brownies according to the instructions on the box. Add nuts. Pour into greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. (Check with a knife or toothpick.) Remove from oven and cover warm brownies with marshmallows. Set aside. Prepare frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
1 C butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 C milk
1-2 Tbsp cream
3 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
fresh raspberries
mint leaves

Melt the chocolate over low heat. Add butter and milk. Stir together until combined.
Place powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour chocolate mixture into bowl. Mix until combined. Add vanilla, mixing on medium until smooth. Add cream by the teaspoon until the frosting is at the desired consistency.
Spread over warm brownies and marshmallows. Allow to cool. Cut into squares. Place a mint leaf and a few raspberries on each brownie.

Tip: Cut brownies with a plastic knife. My sister-in-law taught me this trick. It works!

Parent Tip
Let the children decorate the bars with mini American flags. They can serve guests dessert.




Potatoes…on the Grill

Potatoes on the GrillOne of my family’s favorite side dishes to accompany pork chops or steaks when cooking on the grill is this potato recipe. The ingredients are simple. The preparation is a breeze. The taste is terrific. I hope you and your family enjoy the recipe too!

Potatoes on the Grill
6-8 large Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large sweet onion
4 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper
heavy duty foil
cooking spray

Wash the potatoes and cut into bite-size chunks. Do the same with the onion. Prepare a sheet of heavy duty foil, doubled, by spraying with cooking spray. Place potatoes and onion on the foil. Distribute chunks of butter over the vegetables. Add salt and pepper.
Gather the edges of the foil together and seal tightly. Place on grill 20-30 minutes prior to grilling meat.
Open the foil package carefully! I either pour the potatoes into a bowl or just transfer the entire foil package to a tray and serve out of the foil for a super casual meal.
Options: Add bacon crumbles or garlic cloves.

Parent Tip
For a picnic outdoors, have the kids make dinnerware sets for everyone. Use a Mason jar for each guest. Add a napkin, silverware, and a straw. Place one setting at each place at the table. Once dinner is served, use the jars as drinking glasses for lemonade, iced tea, or milk. (NOTE: Not for little ones as the jars are glass and can break!)

If you’re looking for a new marinade recipe, please check out Tonja’s Table. Tonja is a friend, 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting team member, and a fabulous cook!


Cider & Brown Sugar Brined Pork Chops

Pork chops on the grill is a favorite of the Danielson! This recipe calls for a cider brine to tenderize and retain moisture in the meat and brown sugar for sweetness. Try Cider & Brown Sugar Brined Pork Chops for Father’s Day!
xo Becky

Father's Day BDCider & Brown Sugar Brined Pork Chops
3 C apple cider or apple juice
1/3 C salt
3/4 C brown sugar
2 T black pepper
2 C cold water
6 thick-cut pork chops

Combine cider, salt, brown sugar, and pepper in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour into bowl, adding cold water. Cool brine completely. Place pork chops in a tight sealing container. (I use a Tupperware marinating container.) Pour brine over chops. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat grill to medium. Rinse chops, patting dry with paper towels. Grill for approximately 5 minutes per side. Serve with creamy potato salad, green beans, corn bread, and sundaes with all the trimmings for dad!

Parent Tip
Involve the kiddos in your family’s Father’s Day celebration. Children can set the table, decorate with balloons and posters, or scoop ice cream for sundaes or cones for a sweet conclusion to the meal.

Have a blessed Father’s Day!

Grilling With Dad:Fish with Banana Mango Salsa

This month is devoted to dads! My dad loved to grill and so does my husband, Scott. The June posts are dedicated to dads who enjoy cooking outdoors or at least like to eat foods done on the grill. Have a fun, relaxing, and delicious dinner!
xo Becky

Grilling With Dad-Fish with Banana Mango SalsaGrilled Fish
with Banana Mango Salsa
8 amberjack or mahi mahi fillets,
1½-2 inches thick
2 C pineapple-orange juice
2 T lime juice
½ C brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
5 T soy sauce
2 T oil

Combine juices, brown sugar, pepper flakes, soy sauce, and oil. Place fish fillets in ZipLoc bag. Pour half of mixture over the fish. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours. Cook remaining juice in a small saucepan until reduced to ½ cup of liquid. Refrigerate when cool.

Prepare grill with cooking spray. Remove fish from bag, discarding marinade. Grill to desired doneness. (Fish will flake when pulled apart with a fork.) Place on serving platter. Warm reserved, reduced juice mixture in saucepan. Drizzle over the fish. Serve immediately with Banana Mango Salsa.

Banana Mango Salsa
3 C diced banana
3 C diced mango
¾ C chopped red bell pepper
¾ C finely chopped sweet onion
5 tsp seeded and finely chopped jalapeno pepper
5 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 T honey
juice of one lime
¾ C chopped, fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients, tossing together gently. (If you are making the salsa ahead, add the banana just before serving.)

Parent Tip
When grilling with little ones, make a circle around the grilling area with a garden hose. Instruct kids to stay outside of the marked area to avoid burns. Keep a careful watch regardless.

With All Your Strength

May 4How strong are you? Let’s finish our look at Mark 12:30 by delving into strength. Really, how strong are you?

I think I’m strong until I spend an entire day in the yard working and wake up sore the next morning. Or worse yet, think I can handle the storms of life only to get knocked totally flat. I’m really not as strong as I think.

It’s helpful knowing my strength is nothing compared to the Creator of the universe. But to love Him in return, to love Him with all my strength, especially when I feel weak (which is often) is a tall order.

Jesus tells His followers in Matthew 17:20, For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” It’s not our physical strength that can move mountains, but power that comes from faith. This is complete and total confidence that God can do all things; move those massive mountains, change horrible situations, reconcile hurting relationships.

How can we love the Lord with all our strength? Here are four ways to love God and witness well.

• Believe He can do all things. Pray expectantly.
• Use time, gifts, and talents for God’s glory.
• Model perseverance, determination, and unconditional love.
• Be responsible in all situations and teach children to be accountable.

Parenting ShiftsOne of the best books on responsibility I’ve read is by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN with Julia Raudenbush. The National Center for Biblical Parenting recently released Cultivating Responsibility: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 9-12 as part of the Parenting Shift Series. It’s a great guide for parents to determine appropriate expectations and develop a heart for God in your tween. The book is laid out with 43 chapters discussing everything from money and technology to chores and homework. Scott and Joanne are the founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting and have many years of experience training parents across the nation with their heart-based approach to parenting. Cultivating Responsibility: Parenting Wisdom for Ages 9-12 is a terrific resource for parents as it’s a practical tool, loaded with real-life stories and biblical truth.

Love the Lord…with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30


With All Your Mind

May 3The Internet is a blessing and a curse. While it has opened the world and made life easier in many ways, it has also been very detrimental. A friend of mine is sure the good of the World Wide Web is equal to the evil that results from what’s on it and how people use it. She has a good point.

Scott and I have been vigilant in monitoring what our kids do online. It was a lot easier when they were younger. The family computer sits on the kitchen desk, screen facing out for everyone to see what’s being accessed. Philippians 4:8 is taped to the monitor as a reminder for us all. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Loving God with all one’s mind includes thinking about what we choose to put in our brain.

Think about…
• What do you read for fun?
• What TV shows  and movies do you watch?
• Do your music choices honor God?

Philippians 4 8The questions brought me up short! I really like mysteries; detective shows, books, movies. Not necessarily the most wholesome genre! Each has a case needing to be solved, usually a crime. And I like to snuggle up at the end of the day with a book. Not the best to fall asleep thinking about “who dun-it”! To help me keep the pledge and focus on what’s good and pure, Philippians 4:8 style, I’ve made bookmarks to keep on my nightstand to use with my current bedtime reading. It’s helping me, I hope it helps you too. Download the bookmarks. Print on card stock or colored paper. Cut the page into five bookmarks. Stick the verse to your computer monitor too!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30