6/29/15

Things to Do - Moms Demand Action's Be SMART campaign

Lobby day picture

We haven't heard from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in awhile now, so I asked them to update us on their campaign for common sense gun laws. As a gun-owning family (Dan hunts), Moms Demand Actions's new BE SMART campaign is near and dear to my heart (all of our firearms are kept in locked gun safes).

No matter how strongly you feel about gun rights issues, I think we can all agree that, as a society, we need to keep children away from loaded firearms in the home.

So please read below as Moms Demand Action member Kristin Jones updates us on how best to do this.
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How often do we hear about children unintentionally shooting and injuring — or even killing — themselves or others after accessing an unsecured gun? Many of these shootings have a common thread: they may have been prevented if adults safely stored their guns. Tragically, as happened recently in Lunenburg, Virginia, a two-year-old boy unintentionally shot and killed himself after accessing a handgun in the dresser drawer of a family friend’s home.

Gun safety starts with everyone – gun owners and non gun owners alike – to ensure that a gun never gets into a child’s hands in the first place — and that means practicing safe storage, like keeping guns locked in a safe.

These types of shootings are preventable and why Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America recently launched a campaign called Be SMART. Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of American mothers fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and protect people from gun violence.

Be SMART aims to prevent unintentional child shootings by promoting the safe storage of guns. This new public education campaign asks gun owners and non-gun owners alike to come together to reduce the number of unintentional shootings, suicides and homicides that occur when firearms are not stored responsibly and children or teens get ahold of a gun. Every year, about 100 children 17-years-old and younger die in unintentional shootings, and more than 400 die by suicide with a gun. Many of these deaths are entirely preventable with responsible gun storage. These are five steps that can help keep kids safer:

S – Secure guns in homes and vehicles.

M – Model responsible behavior.

A – Ask about unsecured guns in other homes.

R – Recognize the risk of teen suicide.

T – Tell your peers to be SMART.


I know it’s difficult to talk about guns with other parents but as a mom of two elementary school kids, I now make sure to ask other parents about guns in their households and how they’re stored prior to my children’s playdates.

It may seem like an awkward conversation to have the first time, but parents already ask about allergies and backyard pools. Access to guns is a safety risk too.

I recently posed the question to the mother of my son’s new friend when I took him to the house for their first playdate. She said they do have guns, followed by an emphatic, “we keep them secured in the basement.”

Yet, with all the playdates my kids have been on, no one has ever asked me about a gun in my home. I think it’s because they do not think about it or they feel too awkward about bringing it up. If we are to increase child safety by lowering child access to firearms however, not only should we ask the question we should also be transparent. When kids come to our house for instance, I now ask about allergies and self-disclose that we do no have guns in our house.

Having conversations about gun safety and safe storage with children and their playmates’ parents are conversations that no parent can afford to skip. Maybe if we all start these awkward conversations, our communities will endure fewer tragedies like the one in Lunenburg. But talking isn’t enough. It is important gun owners take the necessary steps to properly secure their guns when children are in their homes.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.besmartforkids.org. Click here to download a useful handout to help you learn how to talk about responsible gun storage.

- Kristin Jones

6/26/15

Things to Do - Grateful List (May 2015)

044-storyboard

ARTS
* Watching Footlose (the original) with P
* Watching Empire
* Reading Station Eleven
* Reading The Wallcreeper
* Wyatt Cernac live at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse
* The Tallest Man on Earth live at the Lincoln Theater
* Watching Jasmine Star's The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience on CreativeLive

ETC.
* T and his whoopie cushion (so much happiness)
* Fitbit challenges (even when I lose)
* Soccer practice at dusk
* F's straight A report card (neither P nor T receive grades yet)
* A perfect Mother's Day - Monkey Kingdom at the drafthouse with cheese fries, the library, a fantastic photoshoot with a new client at night, and steak salad for dinner (thank you Dan!)
* Moms and wine on our porch
* Cava, Legally Blond, and facials for mom/daughter night with P and F
* P as Sacagawea for wax museum night
* Family dog walks at dusk
* Fris-bat (frisbee baseball with a stick) - the children's newest front yard obsession
* F's spring concert
* Dinner under the stars for dinner club
* 2 new family photoshoots with fantastic new clients
* P - "Mom, we used to be so little and have such great imaginations and now all we want is an iphone."

VACATION (Savannah, GA Moms' Weekend)
* Peach sangria at City Market
* Billy's Place for dinner ("In My Life" on the piano)
* "Big Ugly Fat Fuckers Eating Together" - The Lady Chablis on buffets
* J Crew and Gap sale racks
* Slow ride pub crawl
* How skinny I look next to drag queens
* Watermelon ice tea
* Fried green tomato BLTs

VACATION (Memorial Day Beach House)
* Everyone's signature "thing" - The Dori, hairstyle; The Hector, howl; The Melissa, mango-rita, tonic, vodka, and a splash of lime
* Sunday night dance party
* Pool, hot tub, beach, repeat
* 39 people working together
* 75 degree weather
* F kayaking with dolphins
* Smores on the beach and glowsticks in the dark
* F helping with the little kids

THE KIDS' LISTS:

F - Minions, peace, love, my family, a nice house to live in and food to eat, that everything is so great, my teacher, reading, the beach

P - Freya's amazing concert, my family, Minions, my teacher, dog walks, our beach house, the swimming pool

T - Freya's concert, my long playdate with Ian and Mateo, my teachers, the beach house, playing, my family, the hot tub


6/25/15

Things to Read - On the Bookshelf (Kids' Reading, June 2015)

Painted in Waterlogue

1. Minions: The Junior Novel
- All three of my kids are somewhat Minion obsessed. I don't quite understand, I mean they're funny enough as co-stars, but I can't imagine a whole movie of just Minions. But F read the book and loved it. So who am I to judge?

2. Meet the Dullards - After I read about the Dullards on Silver Shoes and Rabbit Holes, I immediately reserved a copy from our library. And it did not disappoint. Especially when the Dullards LITERALLY watch paint dry. My kids could not stop laughing.

3. History Safari - My mom mailed History Safari to the kids after discovering it in a thrift store. And since then it has become T's favorite book. I'm not sure why (he's too young for the text), but the pictures are very detailed, so he enjoys looking at them and asking us questions about ancient times.

4. WALT DISNEY'S STORYLAND : 55 Favorite Stories Adapted from Walt Disney Films - I loved this book as a child. And even with a battered covered and destroyed spine, my kids seem to enjoy the old stories as much as I did. Davy Crockett. Pinocchio. Paul Bunyan. So much fun to discover them all again.


6/24/15

Things to Do - Interview the Kids (June 2015)

Every six months or so . . . (click here to see past interviews).

interview (6 of 6)
interview (5 of 6)

F (AGE 9.5)

FAVORITE COLOR - Blue
FAVORITE BOOK - Out of My Mind, Holes, Almost Home, Silver in the Blood, Garfield comics
FAVORITE SUBJECT AT SCHOOL (3rd grade) - Reading, science
FAVORITE SONG - Taylor Swift and Katie Perry songs; Uptown Funk
FAVORITE FOOD - Steak, mashed potatoes, turkey, and chocolate cake
FAVORITE MOVIE - Singing in the Rain, Legally Blond
FAVORITE TV SHOW - Jessie
FAVORITE TOY - Sophia (My American Girl doll)
WHAT I'M SAVING UP ALLOWANCE FOR (OR ALREADY SPENT IT ON) - A giant Minion
FAVORITE FAMOUS PERSON - Marie Curie
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? - Scientist/author/poet
BEST FRIEND - Mika, Alessandra, Natalia
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY - Play Settlers of Catan
FAVORITE PLACE TO GO AS A FAMILY - Go to the beach
FAVORITE THING TO DO AFTER SCHOOL - Watch Brainpop
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY WITH T - Frisbat
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY WITH P - Frisbat
DREAM VACATION - Paris
FAVORITE MUSEUM - Art museums
FAVORITE SEASON - fall
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER? - Go to Menchies, go to Europe, go to the pool
FAVORITE MEMORY FROM THIS WINTER/SPRING - When P dumped an icebucket on her head for the ASL challenge; Mt. Everest at Disney World

interview (1 of 6)
interview (4 of 6)


P (AGE 8.5)

FAVORITE COLOR - Turquoise
FAVORITE BOOK - A Long Walk to Water, The Big Nate series, Babysitters Club comic books
FAVORITE SUBJECT AT SCHOOL (2nd grade) - Gym class, math, music, economics
FAVORITE SONG - This Is How We Do; Titanium; The One that Got Away; Uptown Funk
FAVORITE FOOD - Tacos and daddy's blueberry cobbler
FAVORITE MOVIE - The Hunger Games; Divergent
FAVORITE TV SHOW - Liv and Maddie; Jessie; Casey Undercover
FAVORITE TOY - Can it be a sport? I love soccer.
WHAT I'M SAVING UP ALLOWANCE FOR (OR ALREADY SPENT IT ON) - A giant talking Minion; I'm saving up for vacation this summer
FAVORITE FAMOUS PERSON - Katie Perry, Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, and our first future girl president
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? - Interior designer or video game designer
BEST FRIEND - Laney
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY - Family boardgames and family TV shows (Parks and Rec; How the States Got Their Shapes)
FAVORITE PLACE TO GO AS A FAMILY - Go on vacations, the beach, fishing with dad
FAVORITE THING TO DO AFTER SCHOOL - Playdates and soccer practice
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY WITH T - The bunk bed game, the dog walking business, making videos, and wrestling for fun (I always win)
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY WITH F - baseball, the dog walking business, and making videos
DREAM VACATION - London, the Amazon rain forest, and Hawaii
FAVORITE MUSEUM - The Spy museum
FAVORITE SEASON - fall, it's fun to play in the leaves and the weather is perfect, plus there aren't a lot of bugs
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER? - Go to Europe, Camp Troutman, and speech lessons
FAVORITE MEMORY FROM THIS WINTER/SPRING - Snow days, visiting Grandma T, NYE party at Dori's house, sledding, hot cocoa

interview (2 of 6)
interview (3 of 6)

T (AGE 6)

FAVORITE COLOR - Blue
FAVORITE BOOK - The Civil War book
FAVORITE SUBJECT AT SCHOOL (Kindergarten) - PE and music
FAVORITE SONG - The Eye of the Tiger
FAVORITE FOOD - Waffles, yogurt, tomatoes, and apples
FAVORITE MOVIE - Westerns
FAVORITE TV SHOW - Kickin It, Max Steel
FAVORITE TOY - Cocoa; guns and swords
WHAT I'M SAVING UP ALLOWANCE FOR (OR ALREADY SPENT IT ON) - A bow and arrow; I really want a cross-bow toy
FAVORITE FAMOUS PERSON - Taylor Swift
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? - I have no idea
BEST FRIEND - Ian and Graham
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY - Watch movies
FAVORITE PLACE TO GO AS A FAMILY - Williamsburg
FAVORITE THING TO DO AFTER SCHOOL - Playdates with Ian and Graham
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY WITH P - Sword fights
FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY WITH F - Make videos
DREAM VACATION - London
FAVORITE MUSEUM - The Crime and Punishment museum
FAVORITE SEASON - Summer, because of my birthday
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER? - Go to the Museum of Crime and Punishment; baseball games
FAVORITE MEMORY FROM THIS WINTER/SPRING - Sledding

6/23/15

Things to Make - Shea Butter Lavender Bath Bombs

bath (1 of 1)
bath (1 of 3)
bath (2 of 3)

In the past, the kids and I attempted bath bombs a few times, all of which, until now, have been drastic failures (i.e. huge bubbly messes that overtake our counter tops). But we finally figured out a recipe that works for us, just in time for last week's teacher gifts (T had three teachers in his classroom this year, as did F. P only had one, but that's still seven teachers overall, which equals A LOT of gifting).

SHEA BUTTER LAVENDER BATH BOMBS (adapted from this recipe):

Ingredients:
* 5 drops lavender essential oil (feel free to use more or less depending on how strong you want the smell)(available here)
* 1.5 cups baking soda
* 2 tablespoons epson salt (available here)
* 3/4 cup citric acid (available here)
* 2 tablespoons melted shea butter (available here)
* 1/4 cup water (though you won't use all of it)
* A few drops of food coloring if desired
* Minced lavender (optional)

1. Mix the baking soda and salt. Then add the fragrance. Mix well.
2. Add the shea butter and mix again.
3. Add the citric acid last (because it will react with the liquids if the liquids aren't well mixed). Mix.
4. Add the water about 1 teaspoon at a time. Mix well after you add each teaspoon, as to avoid a reaction.
5. Once the mixture feels like wet sand (clumpy enough that you can mold it into balls), stop adding water. DO NOT OVER ADD THE WATER OR YOU'LL END UP WITH A BUBBLY MESS, TRUST ME; if you think you're almost there then start adding drops of water instead of teaspoons).
6. Either use molds to make the bath bombs (like an ice cube tray) or form the mixture into small balls using your hands (we found that making balls worked best, as everything tended to stick to the molds).
7. Let dry overnight.

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