Fighting For My Kids

I like to keep things light on DaringYoungMom. It’s a place for silliness and positivity and jello. But, every once in a while, my desire to share something that will contribute to long-term happiness outweighs my desire to make you laugh.

So, let’s take a minute to talk about pornography. It’s truly the worst. I have too many friends and family members whose lives have been affected negatively by it to pretend it doesn’t exist. Guess what. I don’t know one person who has been affected positively by it. But that’s just anecdotal. Scientific research is showing more and more how exposure to and addiction to porn harms individuals, families, and our entire world.

You can read more on Fight the New Drug. It’s a fabulous website created by a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about pornography with a science-based approach so individuals and families can make informed decisions about whether to let the new drug of pornography into their lives.

I choose not to, as much as I can possibly control it.

What I didn’t know was how to teach my kids about this topic in a way they could understand. However, I knew from my research that porn addiction often starts with young children, children too young to deal with the images they’re seeing (heck, I’m too young to deal with those images), children whose brains are still developing, hindered by an addiction as powerful as any illegal drug. With pornography, your brain creates its own drug and many scientists and health practitioners believe it’s as difficult to overcome as heroin addiction.

Here’s the good news. More and more groups from all backgrounds and moral/ideological traditions are springing up to fight the tide of this drug.

A friend recently pointed me towards a website specifically designed to help kids stay away from pornography before it becomes an addiction. The website points to a book to read with young children to help teach them practical tools to resist the pull of pornography.

We bought the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures and went over it with our kids on Monday night. It was amazing. Talking about porn causes me major anxiety but I was completely calm as Dan and I shared this information with our kids. It was serious but not stressful and it gave me a feeling of power that I could teach them concrete ways to deal with the images they will doubtless come across in their lives.

Read more at the Fight the New Drug website. Fighting porn isn’t just for religious prudes anymore. It’s a global issue that crosses gender, race, religion, and political lines. It’s something that matters. Consider ordering and reading Good Pictures Bad Pictures with your kids. It’s a fight we can win, one educated, empowered person at a time.

For teens already struggling with porn addiction, visit Fortify.

Posted in get serious, parenting, What Thompsons Do | 4 Comments

Rainbow Jello Recipe

This Rainbow Jello was a special occasion staple in my house growing up. It takes time but it’s really simple and looks amazing. If you’re feeling adventurous, or wildly immature, you can try to peel off each layer with your fingers and eat them individually… or not. My eleven-year-old made it for Easter this year with no assistance and it was a huge hit. Enjoy!

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Rainbow Jello

6 – 6 oz packages of Jello in rainbow colors (the large boxes)
12 Tbsp sour cream
6 Cups boiling water
12 Tbsp Cold Water

Dissolve 1 package of Jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Divide in half. Mix 2 Tbsp of cold water into first half. Pour that into a 9 x 13″ pan. Let set until firm (approximately 20 minutes*).

Whip 2 Tbsp of sour cream into the second half. Pour the cloudy mixture over the clear jello. If you don’t want little pock-marks on the surface of your jello, be careful to remove bubbles before pouring the final layer. Let this layer set until firm (approximately 20 minutes).

Repeat with each additional flavor. Cut into squares to serve.

When halving this recipe, use a 9″ square pan and allow approximately 10 minutes for each layer to set.

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*The setting time is up to you. Laylee only let each layer of the large batch set for 10 minutes and had very few problems with the upper layers leaking through.

Posted in holidays, recipes | 2 Comments

How Can I Be Happy About This?

“Three minutes.

That’s how long I had to work hard to focus on the positive before I began to feel happy. Three minutes of work to turn a nightmare into a great memory.”

[Read more at HowDoesShe.com]

Posted in aspirations | Leave a comment

Not Quite Insta

I have a love-hate relationship with all things social media. I love the way it creates and extends relationships across distances but hate the way it distills people’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs into sound bites.

I find that often people I love and respect say thoughtless, hurtful, stressful or inflammatory things on the internet that they would never say to someone in person. For some people, Facebook seems to be a dumping ground for all their worries, fears and insecurities.

Less and less are Twitter and Facebook happy places for me. I use them as I need them, but they’re not fun like they were in the beginning. They are not my “happy places.”

Because of this, I’ve been resistant to expand my social media horizons.

Finally, about 50 years after everyone else, I joined Instagram last week and WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG!?

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This is the happy social media hub. It’s a place to post small pieces of light, joy and humor in the form of photos. Little slices of life. I love it. LOVE. I’m way late to the party, but Instagram has replaced Facebook for me as a daily go-to to see what’s happening in my friends’ lives. This is the real stuff. It is 99% positive. It is visually pleasing.

Instagram – Look at the frog I found at work.
Facebook – I am suing my employer for discrimination.

Instagram – My desk is messy because I just wrote an awesome paper.
Facebook – Here’s a link to a whitepaper about how all is lost.

Instagram – Doesn’t my crazy Ragnar hat look rad?
Facebook – I’m so sick of all the crazy Ragnar people. They are a sign that the government wants to take away all of our rights and deprive us of Oreos.

So, join me on Instagram. Because it’s awesome. Because I want to know if you found a frog at work. Or what your daughter’s milk mustache looks like. These are the things that matter to me. Life is too short to not share pictures of your cat all day.

Posted in Blogging, technology | 1 Comment

FOOD FOR GOOD in Seattle

Oh Gates Foundation! How I wish our schedules would line up sometime. gates foundation

They throw the coolest family education events. One is going on this weekend on April 5th, FOOD FOR GOOD. It’s a free event about food and nutrition for kids of all ages.

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Apparently childhood obesity is finally on the decline. Hooray! So all this talk about healthful food and nutrition is making a difference. The day will have all kinds of cool games, storytelling and art activities from local community groups.

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Check out their Facebook page for more info. If you go, email me and tell me all about it!

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All photos are property of The Gates Foundation.

Posted in around town, food, health | Leave a comment

Novica – Review and $75 Giveaway

Do you remember when I became obsessed with only buying fair trade items?

Dan does. It was the year I told him exactly what I wanted for Mother’s Day but said I only wanted it if he could find it made of recycled glass by people in fair working conditions or previously-owned. He spent hours with the kids in an antique store finding me the perfect glass pitcher. I bought him a bathrobe and called the company to verify the working conditions of the textile workers. I wanted to know they had air conditioning, a fair wage.

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Yeah. We got tired and lazy and we just started buying stuff again, trying not to think about where it came from or how it was made. But I still think about it, a bit. It just takes work to know what you’re buying.

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That’s why I love Novica. It’s a website that partners with National Geographic to bring fair trade items from artisans around the world to consumers worldwide. Each of the items offered for sale comes with an artist bio and information about where and how it’s made. You can view these profiles online as you’re browsing and feel secure that you’re helping small businesses flourish, often in impoverished countries.

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Novica also partners with Kiva.org to provide microcredit loans to their artisans, allowing them to start or grow businesses, employ others, and preserve ancient artistic techniques. You can offer a zero interest loan to an artisan through their website.

To give me an experience to blog about, Novica offered me a $150 gift card, which I spent $75 of and I’m giving the other $75 to you.

There are a ton of great products to choose from. It took me days, and sadly, by the time I made my mind up, the item I wanted had sold. I’ll have to check back later. Stock varies from day to day as artists sell out and get back to work creating. So, if you find something you love, snatch it up right away. It’s a great way to buy gifts and feel good about what you’re purchasing.

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I went with this great Ica Traveler cotton handbag with leather accents. It is big enough without being enormous and has great organization with pen holders, cell phone pocket and two zipper pockets. It’s really pretty and well-made and I’m enjoying carrying it around.

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It came quickly, considering it made its journey all the way from the Andes in Peru. When I placed my order, the website was glitching so I called the number on the screen and they completed my purchase over the phone.

A few other items I like that are still there are:
Leather Wristband Bracelet
Family Love Elephant Necklace
Soapstone Candle Holders
Brown Leather Messenger Bag

They also have leather handbags, jewelry boxes, sterling silver necklaces, Mother’s Day gift suggestions, blue drinking glasses, and much more.

Leave a comment if you love shopping fair trade and want to do it for free. I’ll use a random number generator to choose a winner at 10pm PST on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014. Good luck!

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Posted in contests, poser in granolaville, Reviews, shopping | 39 Comments