Monday, June 17, 2019

June 17, 2019

Journey thru Her Storms

Lauren is my baby, my only daughter, and my last child.

When she arrived into our lives, she was a bundle of beauty and joy completing our little family of four.

Monday, April 29, 2019

April 29, 2019

Severe Weather Prep Series Part 1: Tornado

No one likes to hear that tornado siren blasting, or the words "Hurricane Warning". Unfortunately, in the South, we have seen plenty of our fair share of both.

"This blog may contain affiliate links, which means if you click a link and/or purchase a product from their site I may receive compensation or a commission. However, all recommendations and opinions are my own. Grant it, I won't get rich, but maybe I can splurge on a cup of coffee! This won't cost you anything except the satisfaction of knowing you are keeping my coffee addiction alive."

Here in South Mississippi, it's a guarantee that one or both events will happen at some point during any given year.

In this 2 part series, I thought I would share with you some ways that you can prepare ahead of time and perhaps help with the days before it hits, during the storm, and tips on navigating the aftermath.

First, I want to discuss the powerful destructiveness of tornadoes.

"I don't think we are in Kansas anymore, Toto!" I just had to throw in a line from my favorite movie!

A mobile, destructive vortex of violently rotating winds having the appearance of a funnel-shaped cloud and advancing beneath a large storm system.

Tornadoes can form within minutes, can be short lived or lasting for miles, and can be extremely unpredictable in nature. The devastation can be incredible and terrifying. 

But, you can prepare ahead of time!

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A Tornado Watch has been Issued:

(This means current conditions conditions are favorable for a tornado to form.)

Designate a safe area for protection.
This could be a closet, bathroom, or storm shelter. This should be a room with no windows, preferably with no outside walls as close to the center of the house as possible. In my house, this is a walk-in closet right in the middle of my house. My bathrooms are along outside walls and have windows, so they are not a good safe place.

 Go ahead and prepare your safe room in case a warning is issued. Once a warning sounds, there isn't a lot of time to gather what you may need.

A few supplies that we place there are: Heavy blanket, pillows, shoes for everyone in house (preferably tennis shoes or boots), socks in shoes, football helmets for kids (in case of flying debris protect their heads! Pots will work, as well), and flashlight with fresh batteries. I, also, grab any daily meds needed, put them in my purse and place it with the car keys in the closet.

I always keep an emergency first aid backpack with wipes, hand sanitizer, a small pack of tissues, some paper towels, band aids and gauze, a couple of trash bags, and antibiotic cream in that closet on a shelf. It's always packed and ready to go.

Crack open a window in the rooms where you are mostly staying.
This is so we can hear a tornado siren better as soon as it sounds.

Keep a close eye on the weather, local news, or the radio. 
Having a weather alert radio is an excellent idea and money well spent!

Go ahead and put your phone and other electronics on charge!
If power lines are knocked down, you will be thankful for that full battery. Don't forget to charge your kids electronic devices, as well.


A Tornado Warning is issued:

(This means a tornado has either been sighted or the current radar depicts one for your immediate area.)

Have everyone immediately and calmly go to the safe place.
My husband and I are always last since I am turning up the TV volume (to hear in our safe area) and he will pull all supplies from the hallway into the closet.

Kids put on their helmets then socks and shoes if needed.
The blanket and pillows are there to cover you to protect from any debris or glass.

If you can still here the siren, the danger is still imminent!
Stay where you are. Do not attempt to capture that cool pic of the oncoming tornado. Your lives are way more important than a viral Facebook video!

Listen for the siren to stop or, if like me and you can't hear one close by, listen for the newscaster saying all clear in your area.

After the Tornado has passed:

First and foremost,
calm anxious kids and check for any physical injuries. 

Check on your pets.
Most likely, they will frightened and confused.

Assess any damage first in the house.
Broken windows? Power outage? Roof damage?

Check the yard, driveway, and outside areas.
Any trees down? Road blocked? Power lines down? How's the car?

Check on neighbors, family, and friends. 

Video any and all damage.
Now, here's where your cell phone camera will come in handy. This will help immensely with your insurance claims.

Extra Tips!

Here are a few more tips and reminders that you need to be prepared for.

Do not go around downed power lines, even if you have no electricity!
Instead, report the downed lines to your power company as soon as possible.

Don't be so quick to ride around town to see the damage.
Power crews, emergency personnel, and road workers are working overtime to help your community after the storm! Unnecessary sight seers are just hindering their progress.

Until you have thoroughly accessed the dangers, do not let your kids play in any rubble.
Rusty pieces of sharp metal or broken glass can hide in the grass or debris.

When starting clean up, wear heavy duty work gloves!

Something that few think about after a tornado are the dangers of uprooted and confused wild life. Wasps, hornets, and bees may have had disturbed nests and may be on the defensive. Be watchful!

Talking about wildlife, be sure to be vigilant with snakes, as well.
Fallen limbs or rubble are perfect places for them to be hiding. Another good reason to be wearing boots!

I bought a water and fireproof lock box years ago (best investment ever and very affordable!)
Every few months or so, I make sure our important papers...birth certificates, insurance, family contacts, favorite snap shots, small amount of cash...are kept in the lock box.

A lot of these tips can be utilized in the event of a hurricane, as well. Typically, if you are in the path or outlying areas of a hurricane, you may experience a few tornadoes from its spin off.
(As if a hurricane is not scary enough, Mother Nature!)

Part 2 of this series will discuss the various ways to prepare before, during, and after a hurricane moves through your area.

I hope these tips will help you prepare and bring a little ease of mind when severe weather strikes!

Do you have any helpful tips?
Let everyone know below in the comments, and as always feel free to share with others.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

April 14, 2019

Life Lessons from My Kids

As a parent, we all know there is a steep learning curve!

Life lessons can happen anytime and anywhere...even from our kids!

"This blog may contain affiliate links, which means if you click a link and/or purchase a product from their site I may receive compensation or a commission. However, all recommendations and opinions are my own. Grant it, I won't get rich, but maybe I can splurge on a cup of coffee! This won't cost you anything except the satisfaction of knowing you are keeping my coffee addiction alive."

Here's a peek at just a few of the things that my kids have taught me...the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Splash in every rain puddle possible.

If you make the screeching high pitched scream long enough, Mom will give in.

No scream needed for Dad, just look like you are going to do it.

Ask why often.

You don't have to draw in the lines to be proud of your picture.

Simple things can be fun.

Sometimes all you need is a cardboard box and your imagination.

Say 'I'm sorry' like you mean it.

Don't apologize for being you.

Always kiss the kittens.

Everyone dances to the beat of their own drum. Sometimes you are the drummer and sometimes you are the drum.

Just dance.
Life is God's Etch-a-Sketch. Every day you get a fresh shake.

It's ok to have a meltdown every now and then.

Roly Polys are magical creatures.

Pizza contains all the food groups.

Pizza doesn't solve all your problems but it can solve a lot of them.

Never stop learning something new.

Get excited!!! About everything!!!!

Be silly and laugh at yourself.

Water tastes better from a garden hose.

Sometimes you just need to eat dessert first.

Don't just do crafts with glitter...Wear the glitter...Be the glitter.

Give BIG hugs. 

If you listen to the rain, you can hear music.

Anything can be an adventure.

Mommy is pretending to sleep.

Daddy is actually asleep.

If you don't like the song playing, make one up.

Always dance.

There is no such thing as too much syrup.

Being on time is overrated. 

If you are gonna make splashes...splash big!

Broken colors can still make the picture pretty.

As parents, we must not forget to listen to our children. We have all fallen into that "tuning out" stage at one time or another!

Just remember, without growth life can become monotonous and stale. It doesn't matter if you are an adult or a child. Learning and growing should be a life long activity!

Play with your children.

Have a full on conversation with them.

Ask questions and listen to their responses.

You may be surprised and learn something new from their innocent wisdom!

And most of all, love them and savor the time you have. Their childhood is but a whisper in the wind.

Before you know it, that wind will carry them on to being responsible and wise adults.

I hope you enjoyed these life lessons as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you! Speaking of sharing, give it a pin, tweet, or share!

For more wise, funny, and insightful conversation from my kids, follow the hashtags #laurenism and #chadism on my InstagramTwitter, and Facebook  pages!

See all my posts and more creative and family fun ideas on Pinterest!

Until next time, check out these amazing and creative ways to change up your Easter Basket!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

April 07, 2019

A Spring Bucket List for Families

Springtime...what a beautiful time of year! It can, also, get pretty pricey.

"This blog may contain affiliate links, which means if you click a link and/or purchase a product from their site I may receive compensation or a commission. However, all recommendations and opinions are my own. Grant it, I won't get rich, but maybe I can splurge on a cup of coffee! This won't cost you anything except the satisfaction of knowing you are keeping my coffee addiction alive."

What do I mean? Well, Easter goodies, Spring wardrobe, yearbooks, Spring pictures, Prom, Spring Break, and don't get me started on Graduation costs!

If you have kids, you know how those expenses can add up quick!

I'm always on the lookout for free or cheap activities that we can enjoy as a family. And I adore sharing them with you!

Here are just a few of my favorite ways to get my family outside when Spring rolls around!

Take a walk

Go on a nature hike

Splash in water puddles

Play in the rain

Go on a picture scavenger hunt

Plant a tree

Spend the afternoon in the library

Have a picnic in the park

Go to the zoo

Climb a tree

Chase butterflies

Go wading in a creek

Camp out in the backyard

Stay up late and count stars

Create a garden

Build a firepit in the backyard

Roast marshmallows under the stars

Make a fort outside

Have lunch in your fort

Visit the local greenhouse and get some flowers to plant

Build a birdhouse

Make a birdfeeder

Paint rocks with fun or inspiring sayings

Walk around town and leave them for someone to find them

Make ice cream sundaes 

Bake some cookies

Visit the local farmers market

Take a nap in a hammock

Make a sun catcher

Go fishing

Go to a lake and feed the ducks

As you can see, it doesn't have to blow your budget to have Spring family fun!

Just get outside, make memories, and enjoy your family time!

What would you add to your Spring Bucket List? Do you have a favorite?

Let me know in the comments! And as always, feel free to share!

Want more budget friendly family fun?!
Be sure to check out my Holidays and Parties page for more creative ideas!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

March 31, 2019

Why Your Mom Should be Your Best Friend

It will happen. One day you will say something, or catch yourself in a mirror and that is when you realize "I've become my Mom."

Dont panic! It happens to most of us!

"This blog may contain affiliate links, which means if you click a link and/or purchase a product from their site I may receive compensation or a commission. However, all recommendations and opinions are my own. Grant it, I won't get rich, but maybe I can splurge on a cup of coffee! This won't cost you anything except the satisfaction of knowing you are keeping my coffee addiction alive."

But, why shouldn't you become more like your Mom? Think about it.

She was the person who brought you into this world, nurtured you, and helped you grow into the wonderful person you are today.

 I realize that not everyone had a wonderful childhood or loving Mothers. And my heart goes out to you if that is your case.

For me, I am truly blessed. I had the most wonderful childhood and learned so much from watching her. Dont get me wrong, it wasn't all rainbows and fairy tales! But the foundation she built for me shaped me into becoming who I am today.

As my kids are getting older, I am finding that our relationship has changed so much. I really do consider her my confidant, my partner-in-crime, and, of my best friends!

Mama and I on one of her visits home from Tennessee

Her birthday was this week and I couldn't help but to reminisce about the past and how our relationship has changed thru the years. Four years ago she and my Dad packed up and moved with my brother to Tennessee so he could attend the Art Institute in Nashville.

I was excited for them but devastated for me. You have to understand,  I lived on the same street as they did for years! 

It was almost a daily thing for me and the kids to walk to their house! So, you can see how excited I am for them to be back home here in the same town as me!

My parents in Tennessee

Which leads me to the reasons for this post.

I began remembering all the many sacrifices and hardships she had endured just to raise my siblings and me. We weren't an easy bunch, let me tell you!

Like a Mom, a best friend has certain qualities that exemplify all others. It's a special bond that continues to grow and mature as we do! Those qualities are never ending and ever lasting.

Mama and I on the day she moved back home to Mississippi

Here are just a few of the reasons your Mom should be your best friend as you are growing older!
  1. She's been there and done that.
  2. She's seen you at your worst and loves you anyway.
  3. She can be your biggest fan.
  4. She can, also, knock you down off your pedestal when you get too big for your britches!
  5. She is wise. Listen to her.
  6. She has the uncanny power of knowing what you have done before you get back home. 
  7. She knows when you are lying.
  8. She knows how to cook all your favorite foods.
  9. She knows exactly how to comfort you when you are down.
  10. She prays for your safety and happiness every night.
  11. She gets your crazy sense of humor.
  12. She will tell you the truth about whether or not your butt looks big in those jeans.
  13. She's the reason you survived childhood.
  14. She made your house a home growing up.
  15. She loved you before you were born.
  16. She let you learn from your own mistakes.
  17. She taught you how to tie your shoes.
  18. She is always ready for a shopping trip or lunch with you.
  19. She listens without judgement.
  20. She took you to Sunday school every Sunday.
  21. She taught you to respect others and yourself. 
  22. She showed you how to stand on your own.
  23. She taught you to ask for help when you needed it. 
  24. She encourages you when you are discouraged. 
  25. She laughed at your jokes, even when you repeated it for the 200th time.
  26. She fought battles for you that you don't even know.
  27. She won most of those battles.
  28. She was the first person to ever love you.
  29. She pays attention.
  30. She got you up and to school for 12 years or more.
  31. She taught you resilience. 
  32. She was the most important person in your world when growing up.
  33. She taught you how to love.
  34. She taught you how to be yourself.
  35. And she showed you how to be a good Mom.

These are only a fraction of the many reasons why my Mom is my best friend. But they are so much more than that!

As my daughter grows into a young lady, this list, also, becomes my goals for our future relationship changes. I do hope that Lauren feels the same way about me as I do about my Mom as she matures. She will be 15 this year, and I feel we are on the right path. All due to how my Mother raised me. 

So, thank you, Mama. Thank you for raising me with love and devotion. Thank you for guiding me to become a strong woman. And most of all, thank you for being my best friend!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

March 26, 2019

Creative Easter Baskets for the Entire Family

Its almost here...Easter! That wonderful time of year when Spring emerges from her long winter nap.

"This blog may contain affiliate links, which means if you click a link and/or purchase a product from their site I may receive compensation or a commission. However, all recommendations and opinions are my own. Grant it, I won't get rich, but maybe I can splurge on a cup of coffee! This won't cost you anything except the satisfaction of knowing you are keeping my coffee addiction alive."

Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and there is a wonderful scent of renewal in the air! Who doesn't love Spring, right?

Easter egg hunts, the warm sunshine, kids playing in the yard, cookies baking, Easter dinner being planned, and all that marvelous chocolate and goodies that the Easter Bunny brings. There is so much to look forward to! Did I mention all the marvelous chocolate?!

Of course, the annual trek through our living room by that notorious and elusive Easter Bunny is my kids favorite thing! And, I have to admit, planning those baskets and fixing them up are kinda my favorite thing, too. That and the chocolate, of course!

If you've read my post regarding Simple Ways to Make a Cancer Patient Smile, you already know how much I love baskets to brighten someone's day!

But what happens when the Easter Bunny (aka Mom) gets a little tired of the same-old same-old? Here's a hint, #mamaninja to the rescue!

Before I start my list, let us get a misconception out of our heads. An Easter basket DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A BASKET.


Yep. You heard me right. It can be anything that can be of use anytime of the year! Also, dont forget, Easter baskets can be and should be for everyone in the family, not just the kids!

Now that we have that little nugget of info out of the way, let's get creative! 

For the Baby or Mom to Be
Basket Ideas:
Baby bath, small hamper, decorative shelf box, diaper bag, hanging diaper cubby
Rubber ducky, wash cloths, bibs, sun hat, baby lotion, sunscreen, towels, engraved baby bible, diapers, travel wipes, car sun visor, changing table mat, rompers, cute little diaper covers for girls, coupon for baby pictures to be made, baby's 1st Easter scrapbooking supplies

For the Little Boy
Basket Ideas
New toy box, sand pail and shovel, plastic bucket with name painted, small inflatable pool, plastic tool box, toy crate, small indoor ball pit, a pirates ship, a toy grill,  a big dump truck, little red wagon, toy wheel barrow
Ball pit balls, plastic tool set, grill accessories, legos, floor puzzle, giant coloring book, crayons, stickers, craft or drawing paper, matchbox cars and trucks, Lil' Swimmers or new bathing suit, bath toys, bath paint, bubbles, magnetic fridge letters, hooded towel, stuffed animals, picture books, rock painting kit, baseball cap, sunglasses, new shorts and tee shirt, sandals, water shoes, glow sticks, playground ball, toy sword, pirate costume

For the Little Girl
Basket Ideas
New toy box, Barbie car, doll house, baby carriage, wooden crate with name painted, caboodle, jewelry box, plastic bucket, inflatable pool or ball pit, little red wagon, toy wheel barrow
Barbies, dolls, doll clothes, tutu, furniture for doll house, headbands, bows, sunglasses, Lil' Swimmers or new bathing suit, sunglasses, sun hat, purse, toy makeup, stickers, craft or drawing paper, giant coloring book, colors, rock painting kit, butterfly net, bath toys or bath paint, hooded towel, picture books, tea set, stuffed animals, magic wand, tiara, playground ball, glow stick necklace or bracelets, dress up clothes or shoes

For the Pre-Teen or Teen Girl
Basket Ideas
Overnight bag, large purse, makeup case, small laundry hamper, large caboodle, wooden crate for books, new backpack
Makeup and brushes, nail polish and accessories, new hair brush, scrunchies and hair ties, scarf, wallet, locker mirror, books, CD, DVD, iTunes card, small bluetooth speaker, posters for bedroom, strand of Christmas lights for bedroom, flip flops, shades, new bathing suit, school tee shirt, a pool float, water bottle or travel cup, cross necklace, bracelet or ear rings, light up charger cords, ear buds, new phone case, beach towel, a diary or journal

For the Pre-teen or Teen Boy
Basket Ideas
Tool box, tackle box, duffle bag, new backpack, a foot locker, sports gear bag, laundry basket
Tools, fishing tackle, rod and reel, iTunes card, books, flip flops, pocket knife, a good flashlight, sleeping bag, new bathing trunks, school tee shirt, canteen, water bottle or travel cup, baseball cap, shades, new sports ball or equipment, sport gloves, binaculars, bluetooth speakers, CD, DVD, new charger cords, beach towel, ear buds

For Dad or the Man in Your Life
Basket Ideas
Tool chest, tackle box, minnow bucket, ice chest (full of crawfish!), ammo lock box, duffel bag, briefcase, hiking backpack, a new charcoal grill, car wash bucket
Wallet, tools, mechanic gloves, tackle, new rod and reel, bluetooth speakers, car speakers, CD, DVD, BBQ grill accessories, BBQ apron, a steak branding iron, steak and burger seasonings, books, cologne or after shave, a beard and mustache trimmer, a subscription to his favorite magazine, baseball cap, shades, car detailing supplies, new rake or water hose, set of bungee cords or new tie downs, hunting knife

For Mom or the Lady in Your Life
Basket Ideas
Picnic basket, makeup bag, beach bag, tool box, decorative box, jewelry armoire, flower window box, a new large decorative flower pot, a decorative serving bowl, chip and dip bowl
Jewelry, wine glasses (with wine!), gift card for mani, pedi, or spa trip, electric racer, fuzzy slippers, flip flops, ankle bracelet, self tanning lotion (the good stuff!), new sunglasses with case and a clip for her visor, garden gloves, gardening stool and apron, fresh flower bulbs to plant, books, a journal, a pretty bookmark, a new Bible cover, a stuffed animal (yes, we love them, too!), CD, DVD, a subscription to her favorite magazine, perfume,  and dont forget the chocolates! 

So, get creative with those baskets and see their faces light up! And let me know what your absolute favorite thing about Easter is below!


Hi, there! My name is Shannon Dewease and I'm so happy you found my blog. I am from beautiful South Mississippi and live here with my family. My life can get a little chaotic, comical, and down right complicated, as you will find out. I can't wait to begin sharing my misadventures with you!

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