Role Mommy 411

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chef Mama Approach for the upcoming holidays...FOCUS!

Joining our incredible parenting contributor community is Shelleen McHale, better know as Chef Mama. This month, she offers Thanksgiving decorating tips and recipes that will put a little zest into the holiday festivities!

Do you ever come into the holidays and feel like you are training for a marathon? It is almost like taking a big breath for a month and then letting it out after the holidays are over. Let’s focus on Thanksgiving first…one thing at a time, as I say to my kids. Or better yet…focus! Just focus on one holiday at a time.

As moms we have the tendency to try and do so many things at once which causes us to go through feelings of being overwhelmed and then feelings of guilt. This holiday season I want to help remove some of the stress and implant the joy that holidays are suppose to bring…family, friends, smiles, stories, great meals and the making of memories.

As we get close to Thanksgiving, I would like to challenge you to come up with ways to express thankfulness. I am going to share a couple simple ideas but would love to hear from other moms that want to share their ideas. Please send your ideas to and maybe we will even supply the ideas to you through Role Mommy. And then, I will give some fabulous turkey left over ideas.

The Thankful Tree or Wreath

This is a simple way to get everyone that will be together on Thanksgiving the opportunity to share what it is they are thankful for. Don’t worry, if you are shy or know other family members that are, there is a way to share without people having to know who shared what.

Thankful Tree
• Leaves that are pre-cut our of paper or light foam (you can use edible leaves as well and add to cakes, cupcakes, etc.)
• Permanent Markers
• Fake tree cut out of paper, poster board or large piece of foam. You can get real creative and use a real branch too.
• As the guest arrive, give each one 2-3 leaves and ask them to write what they are most thankful for this year.
• Have a basket or bowl for them to place their written on leaves in.
• You can now do one of two things:
o Place randomly 2-3 leaves next to each persons plate, and when everyone sits down for dinner you go around the table and ask each person to read their leaves. **Far too often we are just happy to have the meal on the table and we just dive in without thinking. This is a great way to get everyone to stop and think.
o Attach the leaves to your tree and have it in the center of the table. Ask each person to choose one of the leaves that they felt was the best and read it out loud.

Thankful Wreath
• Same as the tree, only it is made via a wreath format.
• You can use leaves or hand prints to make the actual wreath
• Follow same instructions for sharing as the Tree

Now for Chef Mama’s Frugal Turkey Leftovers Recipes

Lunch Idea: Turkey Tortellini Soup
Ingredients: 1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1 package frozen cheese tortellini
1 large can chicken broth
Cut up leftover turkey
Spices to taste salt pepper Italian seasoning
Directions: Add broth, frozen veggies and turkey to large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Add tortellini and spices and boil 10-12 minutes. Serve.

***While soup is boiling you can make or make another day****
Turkey Salad Pita Pockets
Ingredients: Leftover turkey (cut up)
Diced apple and almonds
Pita Bread
Directions: Mix turkey apples pecans and mayo. Stuff mixture into pita pockets. Amounts of each ingredient will vary with the amount of leftover turkey you use and how many people you are making it for.

Dinner Idea:
Cheesy Turkey and Rice Casserole
Ingredients: Left over cut up turkey
1 cup instant rice
1 cup water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Frozen veggie of choice (optional)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions: Mix rice and water in casserole dish. Add mushroom soup and veggies. Stir. Add Turkey and stir. Sprinkle top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serve.

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Chef Mamas! For more great recipe tips, visit Chef Mama today!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This morning, when my son woke up with a rash on his nose, cheeks and chin, I went straight to my computer. Unfortunately, we've had an outbreak of Staph infections in our neighborhood and my son, who's been battling a cold for two weeks now suddenly woke up with a sore on his nose and pimples on his face. With the help of Google, I was directed to - an amazing website that gives you the symptoms to every ailment your child could potentially encounter and even tells you what the possible treatment will be for each illness. I then typed in Staph infection and tons of information popped up. Of course, that doesn't take the place of a doctor visit but when the pediatrician's office doesn't open until 9am, sometimes it helps to have a website that could spell out exactly what your child may be suffering from and offer short term treatment options while you wait to be seen by your doctor. So any time you want to look up something about your child's health, visit - a fabulous find for parents!

Monday, November 05, 2007


One word can help save your preschooler’s life.
I’m not kidding–it happened to me!


Every parent screams those words hoping to stop a child in their tracks and prevent them from getting hurt.
That’s exactly what all parents are supposed to do, stop their children from getting hurt when danger is just ahead. However, there’s a problem with just screaming stop or danger, and most parents don’t realize it until it’s almost too late. That’s what happened to me. I had to watch as my 3-year-old was almost killed because I didn’t think about how he would react to me screaming, stop—danger!

Who knows why children stop listening. Maybe they simply choose to ignore you or maybe they’re at a stage in their development where they’re more interested in a power struggle than listening. Either one of those scenarios could cause you to have to watch as your child walks directly into danger.

Screaming DANGER—DANGER doesn’t tell your child what you want her to do instead of what she’s doing, and it doesn’t do it in less than 1.5 seconds. If you try to explain what she should be doing instead, during this moment of danger, you could literally watch as she gets hurt or worse.

So what can a parent do?
Parents can use a word that will stop a preschooler in her tracks, share all the information about what you want her to do instead, AND it’s all done in 1.5 seconds.

What’s the word? The word is FREEZE!

The word FREEZE works ONLY if it’s saved for a situation where real danger is seconds away, like it was with my son. He stepped right in front of a car to grab a ball. By saying FREEZE he stayed where he was just long enough for me to literally grab him and pull him back up onto the sidewalk.

Saying FREEZE reduces the possibility of ignoring you, BUT only if you teach your children the freeze game and then NEVER play the game again, unless needed!

Here’s what you do.
Take your children outside one afternoon and tell them you want to play a fun game with them. Don’t say what the purpose of the game is or you may scare them or cause them to ignore you.

The FREEZE game is the same game you played as a child, with one part removed. In this “save your life” version of the game a parent is the one who runs around trying to freeze the children. If your preschooler wants to unfreeze a sibling, like the real game, tell him this is a different type of FREEZE game, one where only parents can freeze and unfreeze children.

Play several rounds until you’re sure they’ve learned the game well, and then go back inside and don’t mention anything else about the game.

Over the next couple of days randomly yell out FREEZE a couple times, to make sure your children do indeed freeze for about 3 seconds or less. If they don’t, take them out and teach them again and again, until they understand.

Then tell them, “Mommy and Daddy will never be playing the FREEZE game—as a fun game again.
Say, “You’re never allowed to ignore that word!” When you hear FREEZE, it means Mommy or Daddy’s eyes see something your eyes don’t see—and you’re in danger. You must FREEZE your body in whatever position you’re in when you hear that word, and stay frozen until Mommy or Daddy unfreezes you!

Notice how I explained all of this by using very basic words. Parents need to remember to scale down their language at important times like this, so a child can really understand. Also, make sure to yell out FREEZE every once and a while to make sure they still remember what to do.

My 3 yr old is now 24 and very much alive—thanks to the word FREEZE!

Sharon Silver is the founder and director of Proactive Parenting. For more solutions like this, go to