by Melanie

You’re Safe With Me

January 14, 2014 in Coffee Table by Melanie

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Does it make me anti-social if I don’t want to chat with the dentist while he’s working on my daughter’s teeth? He was asking me about my family’s summer plans (it’s JANUARY) and talking about our last visit when Bree was having her first ever cavity filled. She had a few tears trickle out from the corner of her eye because she was listening to music on her phone and heard a song that made her think about how much she didn’t want to be there. He kept laughing about it and rephrasing the “joke” so I would get it and start laughing with him.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to laugh at my kid with you, Dr. Dentist. I’m sure he was just being social, but I found myself trying to come up with the least rude way to tell him to stop it! Maybe I’m not as nice as I think…

Although, come to think of it. This isn’t the only time I’ve had this issue where someone is laughing at my kids (in front of them!) and expecting me to join in. I know one person who does this EVERY time I see her… and when I don’t join in, she keeps trying harder and harder (makes fun of them even more) to get me to laugh along. It drives me insane.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think learning to laugh at yourself is an important life skill. But here’s the thing: laughing at yourself – or even with someone else about you – is one thing. Being mocked and humiliated is something else entirely. And when the mocking and humiliating is done by someone in your family, that’s even worse.

I passionately believe that my kids should be able to feel safe at home. And they should feel safe with me no matter where we are or who we are with. Why would they ever tell me what’s going on in their lives if they know it is going to become a punchline for the sake of a cheap laugh? How are they going to trust me with the big issues in their lives if I take any opportunity to make a joke of the small things?

chuckI have to admit, I do post the fun things my kindergartener says on Facebook. I have a regular feature on my family blog called “Words with Chuck” that is simply full of quotable moments from her life. She is hilarious – and she knows it.

But I don’t post her failures as punchlines. I don’t post her struggles as juicy stories. And I certainly don’t post her mistakes as invitations for mocking.

She’s just naturally hilarious. The other day I was making dinner, and she was hanging out with me in the kitchen when she dropped what she was doing and walked to the back door. She threw open the door, blew kisses at the sky, and closed the door again. Then she turned to me and said, “Mom, I’m blowing kisses to Santa and Jesus!” Looks like she’s got all her bases covered.

So here’s my question for you: do you think there’s a difference between sharing a cute story and making fun of your kids? Does it bother you when people laugh at your kids – or is that just the mama bear in me? What do you do in that situation? What would you have said to Dr. Dentist if you were me?

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by Melanie

Family Home Evening Fix-Up

January 11, 2014 in Family Room by Melanie

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Every Monday night at 4018 is Family Night. We turn off the phones, ignore the doorbell, and just spend the whole evening together. Definitely my favorite night of the week.

A typical FHE looks a lot like this: We eat dinner when Mr. 4018 gets home. After cleaning it up bit (read: piling up the dishes in the sink), we gather in the family room.

Then we gather in the family room. Whoever is conducting that night gives us a warm welcome and calls on several people to choose songs for us to sing – usually our own family versions with crazy actions. My favorite is the melted snowmen dog pile on dad at the end of “Once There Was a Snowman.”

After an opening prayer, then comes the “family council” part of Family Home Evening. We pull out the family calendar and update the coming week and figure out how we’re juggling the chauffeur duties, church meetings, play rehearsals, practices, and games.

Next is the spotlight where one person tells us something awesome about themselves, shows us something awesome they can do (I make them play something on the piano), and then we all go around and say what we think is awesome about them. It’s awesome.

After a lesson, activity, closing song and prayer, we end with a tasty treat.

We’re good at getting together every Monday night, but it’s usually thrown together at the last minute and I think we could be doing more. That’s where this project comes in.


Our first FHE of the year was spent talking about changes we want to make and how we can make it better. We used this page to get the conversation going and take notes.FHE-pin

You can use this page, too. Just click on the image for the full-size version and then save it.

I learned some things I wouldn’t have guessed and had some suspicions confirmed. Joy requested that we never attend another sporting event for FHE. Ever. According to Bree, we need to laugh a lot because it’s a lot better than when we get “icy.”

We decided to focus more on scriptures for the lessons and that whoever is assigned the lesson, activity, and treat will talk to each other about ways to make them go together.

I’m calling part one of project FHE fix-up a success. What do you do for Family Night?

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by Melanie

Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps

January 8, 2014 in Kitchen by Melanie

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I love sandwiches. Jason’s Deli and Cafe Zupas are some of my very favorite places to grab a bite.

But then there was this one time…

We went to Disneyland for a week, and my husband had this great idea to only eat one meal in the park every day to save money. It really is a GREAT idea, but unfortunately, he didn’t tell me this fabulous idea until we were already there. We had a bunch of stuff to make ham sandwiches on the drive, so every day we went back to our hotel and had ham sandwiches.



For an entire week.

Ever since that week, we don’t love sandwiches quite so much, and I have learned to be a lot more creative with our lunches.

This is one of my latest faves:


Start with a tortilla or a fancy wrap. Spread it with Ranch dressing and mustard. Layer sliced chicken, ham, and cheese like provolone or Swiss. Add lettuce – or if you really want it to be amazing, use arugula and spinach leaves – and tomato. Bree loves to add cilantro, too. And my motto is “everything is better with avocado.” Then wrap it up and enjoy. Simple and delicious. yum!

Have you ever eaten a food so much that you just couldn’t handle eating it anymore?

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by Melanie

Cuddle Up

January 5, 2014 in Great Room by Melanie

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cuddleI am so excited for tomorrow.

Ridiculously excited for a Monday.


It’s “Cuddle Up Day!”

Sounds to me like it needs to be celebrated in sweats on the couch with whipped cream-topped hot chocolate and some sweet daughters… until my favorite hunky husband comes home from work and we send the cute daughters to bed and do a little more cuddlin’. This may be my new favorite holiday.

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by Melanie

We Love to Celebrate!

January 2, 2014 in Great Room by Melanie

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chuckFirst of all, how did I NOT watch Chuck when it was on TV? Definitely my new favorite Netflix find. Plus as an added bonus, I get to catch a few glimpses of Matt Bomer while I wait for the next episode of White Collar. Win!

Now on to what’s really on my mind today… I remember an article floating around awhile ago about how moms that do too much need to dial it back a bit so the rest of the moms don’t have to feel bad. I went searching for the article and it’s actually a lot older than I thought – almost a year ago. Did you see this?

Can we bring the holidays down a notch?

I have to admit I’m really not a fan of this article. Yes, some people may go a little overkill, but why not? Life can be so hard. Why not take advantage of any excuse to celebrate?

If you’re doing it to keep up with everyone else, just stop. If you really love breaking up the drudgery of life with fun days, there’s no reason to take it down a notch. Just do what you love!

butterbeerWe like celebrating random days like having butterbeer on Harry Potter’s birthday and eating with our hands on disposable tablecloths on “no dirty dishes day.” Did you know National Kazoo Day is a real thing???

I love making fun memories with my kids while they’re little enough to think it’s fun to do silly stuff like that. In fact, I think I do more for the random wacky holidays than the big ones. Leprechaun traps and bunny tracks? Not for me. Waffles for dinner on Waffle Day? Absolutely.

Of course, there is already plenty for a busy family to do that takes up our time. So even though we like to add fun celebrations, we like to keep them simple enough that they don’t add a bunch of stress.

sleepOur New Year’s Eve celebration was really simple and really fun with plenty of yummy food, fun games, and LOTS of laughing. The girls tried to stay awake long enough to ring in the new year, but they didn’t quite make it.

Tomorrow is Festival of Sleep day. Maybe to make up for all the sleep we lost on New Year’s Eve? The kids have to go back to school, so we can’t sleep in, but I’m seriously considering an early bedtime as our choice of celebration. Does that sound fun to anyone else?



Friday, January 4 is Trivia Day and my kids are HUGE fans. Their favorite dinner conversation is “Family Quiz.” We ask each other questions about family members and learn lots of fun things about each other that way. Like “Who does Beth have a crush on?” and “What did Mom and Dad do on their first date?” Everyone guesses what they think the answer is, and then whoever the question is about has to give us the real answer. I’m not sure if Beth will give us the answer to that one, though. She’s pretty protective of the identity of her latest crush.

How will you celebrate?

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