Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Forgetting That Children Have Rights

Child Camel Jockeys

The trafficking of young children for forced labor is one of the fastest growing areas in international crime. A study by the Ansar Burney Trust found that child trafficking has picked up considerable momentum over the past few years and one of the most disturbing roles these children were being forced into were those of camel jockeys.
The Ansar Burney Trust has for the last 16 years been working to bring to an end the cruel and atrocious act of using innocent young boys as camel jockeys in the Arab world. These children, some as young as 4 years old, are forced to work up to 18 hours a day in the scorching heat of the deserts.
At the Races© ABT
The child who cannot stay awake for the 18 hours of gruelling work is given a “karba” (electric shock), while those who decide to disobey orders or play games are beaten and tortured. Stories of cruelty inflicted on many of the children rescued by Ansar Burney Trust involved them being tied up in chains in the desert heat, beaten with metal rods and leather whips, cut with blades and being raped by their “owners”.
They are deliberately underfed and malnourished to keep their weigh down and allow the camel on which they ride to run faster. Some are fed only three biscuits a day with water, while others are given dirty and unhygienic food – worse than what is fed to the camels. If that does not bring their weight down, they are forced to wear metal helmets to make them bleed and reduce weight that way.
Another reason that very young children are used is the fact that when scared or in pain – they scream; and the louder the child screams in pain the faster the camel to which he is strapped will run.
Child Camel Jockey© ABT
The children are fastened to the camels with Velcro, but the ride is so rough that many fall and are gravely injured – dying a few days later due to the lack of medical attention or care. Some die on the spot by being crushed under the feet of racing camels and some are even killed by the owners of the camps because they wanted to leave. Those who survive, bare scars of their torment and permanent disabilities.
We estimate that as of last year, there were more than 20,000 children working as camel jockeys all over the Middle East – majority of whom had been smuggled from South Asia and Africa.
A Glimmer of Hope
Ansar Burney with rescued camel jockeys at the Rehabilitation Center in Abu Dhabi© ABT
UAE: In November 2004, Mr. Ansar Burney met with His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. At the meeting a decision was taken by the UAE leadership to ban the use of underage camel jockeys and enforce the law with a punishment of fine and imprisonment. A centre was established a week later in Abu Dhabi under the authority of Ansar Burney Trust; it has the capacity to house 400 children and provide them with clean food and clothing, a good education, excellent medical treatment and a safe shelter. After 4 months, these children are to be repatriated back to their home countries.
QatarIn May 2005, the Government of Qatar has announced severe punishments on the use of underage children as camel jockeys and ordered to replace them with robots. The Qatari government and the Ansar Burney Trust plan to establish a centre in Qatar for the treatment and rehabilitation of the children rescued from camps in the country.
Examples to follow: The Ansar Burney Trust is currently in the process of persuading other Middle Eastern countries to follow the example set by Qatar and the UAE; and ban the use of underage children as camel jockeys.
For more information,. please click here


Amazing from the moment of conception.

I came across this story when I was looking up "Children's Rights".  This is only one of several horrible stories on the same website of the lack of compassion being shown to the world's children.  (Find the website HERE.)
This type of thing just shows that we're living in a world that doesn't understand that children have the exact same rights to freedom, compassion, love, and life, that adults have.  It also shows me just how blessed we are that some of us DO recognize their value and rights.  Children are a gift.  They deserve to be treated as such.  And, as any other gift we're given, they can be taken away.  Having children isn't a's a privilege.
I wanted to make people aware that this shit even exists.  It's easy to live our own lives completely ignorant about these events.  (I sure didn't know about this before today!)
As a whole we need to work together to make people aware of the way children are treated across the globe.  We can peacefully parent our own children, and slowly that is going to make a difference in the world we live in.  But this message...that children are a blessing, and they need protection no matter where they're born, or what their needs to be shouted from the rooftop!
Children deserve the very best, starting the second they are conceived.  No child should ever have to feel the pain of being circumcised.  No child should ever have to be afraid, to be hurt, to be neglected...
And, if there's one thing I will continue to do as long as I live, it's to stand up for those who cannot speak, and those who's voice is so small that it's easily ignored.
 "Greatest Love Of All"

I believe the children are our are future 
Teach them well and let them lead the way 
Show them all the beauty they possess inside 
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be 
Everybody searching for a hero 
People need someone to look up to...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kids Should Come With GPS (Or Some Other Means Of Tracking Them!)

I hear ya, sister!

We just got back from taking the kids into Zellers (similar to K-Mart for Canadians), to look at the winter coats.  They're 50% off today, and my the coat my husband bought last year has a hole in we thought we'd go in and atleast have a look.
We had all three kids with us, and didn't use a cart...I held the baby and the twins just walked with us.  Everything was fine for a few minutes.  My husband looked at coats, and the kids and I stood and smelled all the different gel air fresheners.  They were very clearly not into shopping...they wanted to look at the toys, but I was afraid to take them all there by myself (just incase one of them took off running).
Both of the twins started testing their limits.  Each of them took turns running a little farther away before coming back.  I told them we should go and get Daddy and we'd go look at the toys for a bit, but they just weren't having it.  My daughter decided to bolt.  She headed in one direction as my son went the opposite way.
Now, my son was part way down the main isle when Ooey took off.  I had to run, grab his hand, and try to chase after her.  By the time I'd grabbed him, she was out of sight.  I ran around the section she was in about 10 times, baby in my arms (she's 22 lbs., btw), and my Big Boy running next to me.  I was FRANTIC.  I've never lost any of them before, and it just figures that it happens to me the first time during the Christmas madness!!!
After going around, and through, the baby area about a million times, I realized I wasn't going to just turn the corner and find her, and my husband was still MIA.  So Baby Girl, Big Boy, and myself went tearing up to Customer Service...butting infront of everyone.  (I would have DARED those other people to say something at that point!!!)  I told them that I lost my daughter, and they called a "Code Yellow"...meaning a child is lost, and all staff were to stop doing what they're doing and look for her.  I gave them a description of her clothing, and told them that she has light blue eyes and blonde hair, and then I was off...going back to look for her.
As soon as I turned around, a girl I used to work with in the restaurant there saw me and asked me what was wrong...I told her that Ooey was missing and she asked what she was wearing.  Thankfully she knows my children, and was the one to stand at the front doors to make sure no one stole her before she was found.  (All other exits are also guarded by staff.)

I knew at that point it was only a matter of finding her.  No one would get her out of that store.  (Still...I couldn't barely breathe!)  I ran back to where I saw her run, and didn't see her running around there, so went back towards the winter coats where I last saw my husband.  Finally I saw him and ran straight to him, and told him that Ooey was gone...she ran off...take the other two...wait here, I'll be back!

I went back again to where I'd last seen her run, and there was a woman there carrying a baby in it's carseat. I must have looked as afraid as I felt...she asked me if I was missing a little girl.  I said "I am!"  She told me that she was hiding inside the $15 clothing rack.  I yelled a "thank you!!!!" as I ran to the rack.  I saw her little feet sticking out and I ran over and she sat there looking up at me.

"I got lost", she said.  0_0  Uh...yeah.  No kidding.  I grabbed her hand and helped her get up, and I picked her up and held her so tight.  I wanted to yell and cry at the same time.  I have NEVER been so afraid in my life...I said "I lost you and I was so afraid!!!"  She said "I ran off."  I told her that the announcement she just heard was about her...that everyone was looking for her.

As I brought her out of the baby section, I saw two employees walking by and heard one say "do you know if we're looking for a girl or a boy?"  The other one said "no, I'm not sure."  I said "You're looking for a girl.  But I found her!"  (These were also two ladies I worked with when I worked there.)

I immediately took her to my husband, so he'd know I'd found her.  I told him where she'd been all along, and then took her and Big Boy up to the Customer Service desk so they would know she was found.  I stuck both of them inside the cart.  At that point I wasn't willing to risk losing one of them again!

As we started to walk away, one of the employees behind the desk said "You can breathe now."
Yeah right.

It took me two days to stop feeling like I did when I couldn't find her.  Still, just thinking about it makes me weepy.  It's my worst fear...losing one of the kids.  And it happened...for a few minutes.  I hated that.  I hated being that mom who had to tell them that my child was lost.  I hated being that mom who actually LOST one of her kids.  Embarrassing and terrifying all rolled into one.

The reason I'm documenting this on my blog is because it wasn't until I talked about it with family, and on Facebook, that I found out that (eventually) it happens to everyone.  I guess the only way to know 100% without a doubt that it's never ever going to happen is to tie our children to us when we go out.

I ended up having to have our first "stranger danger" talk with the kids...something I've managed not to have to tell them yet.  But now they know.  (Mostly.)  And they aren't afraid of people now anymore than they were before, which is good.  I don't want them to be afraid...I want them to be AWARE, and not to put themselves in harm's way.

Oh, and one final part to this story...
I remember being about 4 years old and swiping a pint of strawberries off the counter at the grocery store.  I hid under a triangle sign and ate them, even when I saw my parents go by.  Even when I heard my name on the intercom.  And when my mom finally found me, I got spanked.  The end of that story sucks, but I've always laughed a little, not realizing the fear I put into her.
I called her that night and apologized for that day.  Suddenly that story isn't so funny.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Info Cards...US and Canadian Stats

The top picture is the front.
The bottom picture is the back.

I just got these in.  If you're interested in purchasing some of these, please send me an email.  They're $3 for 25, or $5 for 50.

Send emails to:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just So You Know

I did have a post on here about "Making the cut", which I have had to remove.  The links on the post were to a site online that Google has determined distributes malware.'s gone.  Just wanted you to know that I took it down to protect your computer.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baltic Amber Teething Necklaces

So I'm selling a few teething necklaces.  They're $20. each, and I can ship the same day I receive payment.  Within Canada or the US, I'll pay the shipping.  To the UK (or anywhere else), please add $3 for shipping.

This is one on my 3 year old son.
They all look the same, and are all roughly 12 1/2 inches long.

I actually bought them to sell at a mom-2-mom sale, but I thought I'd give all of you a chance at them first.

If you're interested in buying a necklace, please just leave me a message with your address, and I'll tell you how to pay for it.

Send messages to:

For information on teething necklaces, check out THIS POST.

And one more thing.  I did not believe these would work when I bought one for our baby girl.  It was only out of total desperation that I ended up ordering one, and I cannot stress enough how wonderfully it has worked!  I wouldn't sell them or endorse them if they didn't work.  It has saved my sanity, and the baby has now cut 12 teeth...the first two came in before the necklace arrived, and it was 3 days of screaming for each tooth.  Even baby Advil didn't help her.  It's a horrible feeling to watch your little one screaming in pain and not be able to help.  She was refusing the breast, she didn't want to be held or touched, and every time she finally fell asleep and I would put her down, she'd wake up screaming.
Within an hour of putting the necklace on her, she was smiling again...something I never thought I'd see again.  Within two hours she was laughing and she was back to that happy baby she'd always been.  I should also mention that she's cutting her 4th molar right now, and hasn't so much as whimpered.  (But take that necklace off for two days and you'll see the feisty red-haired attitude come out!)

I have also put a necklace on each of my 3yo twins, and it has kind of leveled them out.  The best way I can describe what's happened after they got the necklaces is to tell you that before they got them, they were about a 10/10 on the crazy scale.  With the necklaces, they're about a 7/10.  It took about two days of them wearing the necklaces before I noticed any difference, and it's been about a month since they started wearing them and if I forget to put them on the kids in the morning, I notice within an hour or two (because they'll be driving me CRAZY), and once I put them on, they're calmer within an hour or two.  I told them that they're "Rescue Hero" necklaces, so they ask for them when they get out of bed, and they're excited to wear them.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Take care.  : )

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm Obsessed (Food Post)

You should know I have a problem.  It something I have to eat every day...sometimes more than once...

"Nasty Wrap"

It looks gross...I know.  But it's awesome!

1 whole grain tortillia wrap
2 eggs
1 baked potato (grated)
yellow pepper (diced)

onion (cut in small pieces)
ham (cut small)
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup brown beans (I like the ones in molasses)

Toss potato, pepper, onion, and ham, into frying pan with 1 tsp. oil (or butter).
Fry until pepper and onion is tender.
Wisk up 2 eggs and dump into frying pan, making sure to cover all ingredients with egg.

Cook on both sides.
Put finished egg mixture into wrap and add cheese and beans.
Wrap it up and gobble it down.

I also have another problem.  It's a sweet treat and I LOVE it.

Yummy cottage cheese snack

1 ripe banana

1 cup cottage cheese


Cut banana into slices (into a bowl)

Add cottage cheese and honey and mix up.
(My husband likes this with sour cream instead of cottage cheese.)


Gingerbread Cookies

One more recipe to put into jars.  I'm going to make up a basket of baking stuff for "Nana" and her and the grand kids can make up cookies when they visit.  This is by far the most basic gingerbread recipe that I could find online (it was found HERE).  In the basket I'm also going to put some molasses, a pound of butter, some Crisco, and a few little containers of sprinkles and whatnot.  This recipe has very little wet ingredients, so most of it can go into a jar easy enough.

Of the three recipes I've posted over the last two days (all three are going in the basket), I think that only the few things I listed above are things Nana won't have on hand.  If you make up a cookie basket, add the extras you don't think the person would have (maybe vanilla extract).

I never got to make gingerbread men as a kid, so I think we'll be making them here too!


2 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening (Crisco)
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. molasses
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. hot water
1 tsp. vinegar

Mix all ingredients. Roll onto well floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into gingerbread men. Place on greased cookie sheets dusted with flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done, they will look dry, but still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, the cookies can be frosted with the icing of your choice

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

I am going to be making up jars of the dry ingredients (layered) as Christmas gifts to the kids' grandparents.  They can paint the outside of the jars before I fill them, and make them during a visit!


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats


  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Easy Sugar Cookies

Prep Time:  90 minutes
Total Time:  2 hours
Yield:  Makes 32


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted candies, sprinkles, or colored sugars, for decorating (optional)


In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Reroll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Cool completely on wire racks. To ice cookies, spread with the back of a spoon. Let the icing harden, about 20 minutes. Decorate as desired.

Cook's Note

Use flour on utensils to keep dough from sticking: Dip the cookie cutters, and dust the spatula before transferring uncooked dough to a sheet. Rolling dough between two sheets of floured parchment will keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.
To make icing, sift 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in 3 to 4 tablespoons milk, water, or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thin, whisk in more sugar; if too thick, add more liquid.  *Add food colouring if you like!*

This is a great recipe to put into jars for family members.  Layer ingredients in a clear mason jar, tighten lid, and tie with a red and green ribbon.  If you're really handy, you can cut out a Christmas-themed square of material and cover the lid with it (use the ribbons to hold it in place).  Write out recipe on a small piece of paper, fold, punch a hole in the corner of the paper (you might want to fold it and punch the hole before writing the recipe!), and attach to the ribbon.

It's also nice if children get to paint the outside of the jar before filling.  It's a great (easy and cheap) gift for family members, and a great way to get grandparents to bake with the kids!  (They can make them when they're together!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

These are the ones my twins made...before sparkles.

I have been wanting to make ornaments with the kids for the tree, and found these recipes for ornaments HERE.  I remember making them with my mom, and we had a great time painting them after they were made.  The recipes that I've seen said 7 years+, but the twins are three, and I'm sure they'll be able to pull it off.  I'll post photos on here of the ones we've made after they're all finished.  Until then, enjoy making your own!  (If you want some of your photos put on here too, just email them to me at:

Oh, and if you make more than your tree can stand, these would also make great additions to any gift (tie on with ribbon), and I'm sure there are more than a few grandparents that would LOVE getting a few of these!  (When they're all done, write the name of the child who made it, and the year it was made, on the back.)

Happy baking!

This is an excellent recipe for homemade ornaments.
The dough is very easy to work with, and once baked
the ornaments are very firm and easy to paint.
1 cup salt
2 cups flour
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Water-based paints
Place dry ingredients in a bowl, add the water
and oil, then stir until blended. Once the dough
holds together, make it into a ball and
knead it with your hands to make
a smooth texture.
Place the dough
on a cutting board, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough
out into a pancake shape that is a bit thicker
than you would use for regular cut-out cookies. Cut out
the ornaments with cookie cutters, design your own
ornaments using a blunt knife, or shape dough with
your fingers. Punch or carve a hole into the top of
the ornament to thread a string through to hang the decoration.
Bake at 250 degrees until hard (for one to two hours).
Once cooled, paint with water-based paints if desired,
or glue on glitter using white household glue. Thread a string
or ribbon through the hole and hang the decoration on the tree
or elsewhere in your home. These ornaments can be reused year after year.
**I should mention that I've seen this recipe several times, and it uses anywhere from 2-4 cups of flour, and this was the only one with vegetable oil.  So, do what works for you.


These ornaments are just about the most eco-friendly holiday ornaments you can make. Although these ornaments are very fragile, you can reuse them year after
They really do look cute!
year if you handle them with care.
Fresh eggs
Sterilized sewing needle (sterilize by holding over a lit match)
Water-based paints
White household glue
Pipe cleaners
Poke a hole into the top and bottom of
each egg. Blow into the hole at
the top of each egg (the small end) so that the insides of
the egg comes out through the bottom hole, into a bowl
below. Save all the eggs’ insides for cooking. Paint the eggs
with water-based paints, or coat the eggs with
white household glue before covering their surface with glitter.
Bend one end of each pipe cleaner into a “U” shape (so that
the “U” is about 1 inch in length). Gently insert the other end of the pipe cleaner into the
top of the egg, and use the end with the “U” to hang the egg on a tree.

Here are a couple more, found HERE:

3/4-1 c. applesauce
1 (4.12 oz.) bottle ground cinnamon

Mix applesauce and cinnamon together to form a stiff dough. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut with cookie cutters. Make a hole for ribbon. Carefully place on rack to dry. Let air dry several days, turning occasionally. If you prefer they may be baked at 150 degrees for 5-6 hours.

This one is a little different:

4 oz. can (approximately 1 c.) cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. applesauce
2 tbsp. white glue

Combine ingredients. Work 2 to 3 minutes (knead) or until smooth. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, do not roll any thinner. Use cookie cutters (Christmas type). Let air dry for 24 hours or in a low oven bake at 200 degrees for a couple of hours until dried out. Be sure to put hole in ornament to hang it with prior to drying process.

Popcorn Christmas Decoration

Oh, and lets not forget the popcorn tree decoration!  I've never made this myself, but my husband has.
1.  Make some popcorn with any method you prefer. At least one large size bowl is needed, but that will depend on the size of your tree. Be sure to let the popcorn cool before you continue on to the next step. Better yet, use stale, day old popcorn as this will be less likely to crumble and break.

2.  Thread the needle, but do not cut the thread from the spool. It will take a lot of thread for the popcorn garland to cover an entire tree.

3.  Start stringing one popcorn at a time by inserting the tip of the needle into the center of each piece. Keep sliding it further down on the thread making room for more popcorn. It's best to slide the popcorn to the end of the thread to prevent knots. Once you feel that you have enough garland for the size of your tree tie off the end of the thread by looping the thread, pulling tightly, and going under the loops a few times. Make sure that it is well-secured, so that popcorn won't fall off, and then gently cut the thread.

*You can also alternate popcorn with fresh cranberries, or separate popcorn into a few small bowls and spray with a mixture of water and food colouring (the night before stringing to allow time to dry). I've seen it done with red, green, and white (un-coloured) popcorn, and it looks really neat!
4.  Carefully hang the garland onto your Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Winter Coats And Carseats

Well, I have one of those husbands who are pretty sure I'm crazy when I say things like the kids can't wear winter coats in their car seats.  He says "they'll get cold", or "they're going to get sick".  And, even if he was right (which he's not, because colds are caused by a virus, not COLD), I'd still rather my kids get a cold than to get dead.

So, because he never believes me until I can PROVE him wrong, I took these photos of our 3 year old daughter in her car seat when it was in the house.

Strapped in as tight as I could do up the straps
with her winter coat on.
The first photo shows her in her coat, all strapped in as tight as I could get her, with the chest clip in the "right" position (armpit level).  With the coat on, she was snug as a bug.

Coat off.  Chest clip is not in the right position.
The second photo shows her with her coat taken off.  I did not loosen or adjust the strapping at all when I took her out, I only un-clipped it and slipped her out.  When I put her back in, I just re-clipped the crotch strap and chest clip, and didn't adjust anything.  You can see already that the chest clip isn't in the right position.  It's too low.

The space between the straps and her chest are as wide as my hand.

When I put her back in and clipped in the straps exactly as they were when she was wearing her coat, you can see that there is more to this than the chest clip being a little low.  The straps were so loose that I could put my hand sideways between the harness system and her body.  Since I didn't use a tape measure in the photo, I'll tell you that my hand is 4 inches across.

Side view of the space between her chest and the clip.
So, clearly there is no safe way to strap a child into a car seat wearing a bulky winter coat.  If you were in an accident, the coat is going to compress and leave your child in a seat that is far from safe.  But don't worry, there are a few ways to deal with it.

What I do is put the kids in their car seats wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a light sweater or sweat shirt.  Then, after strapping them in safely, I put their coat on them backwards, putting their arms in the sleeves, and tucking the coat in beside them.  (Not behind them because that can add bulk too.)

We also always have a few blankets in the car to cover legs, and if it's too warm to put that coat on them backwards, but too cool to just have them in there in a sweatshirt, I will put a blanket over their chest, leaving only their arms out.

If you have time to warm the vehicle up before you get in, that's ideal.  No need to put a coat on backwards, no need for blankets.  Just get in and go.  If you want to take the coats with you, you can always put them on the kids so you can go from the vehicle to the store/mall/house you're going to go in to, and they'll still be warm.

It's pretty easy to keep them safe in the winter if you know the risk involved in putting them in their car seat in their coats.  Sometimes all we need is to be told, and our creativity comes out.  (I'm sure there are many other great ideas out there on how to keep kids warm in the vehicle without a coat, but the ones I listed are the ones we've used.)

Now you know.  : )