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Thursday
Jun142018

6 Main Steps To Building A Happy Family

Having a healthy and happy family is something we all aspire to have. But in today’s high-stress, and demanding society, meeting this goal is a challenge. Being healthy and happy takes a plan of action. It will not just happen.

Setting Goals

When you begin a family it is important to define your core values and standards. Do not assume that your partner or other members of your family know what your goals are. It is important to verbalize them and while we should not need anyone’s permission, we have to be on the same page. For example, if your goal is to work your way up the corporate ladder, then become a small business owner before you begin a family, your partner should know that. If their idea of the road you are on takes you to a comfortable position in someone else’s company and working until retirement, you have issues to resolve.

Making a place for each member of the family

This is something that many families do not address until it is too late. We begin on level ground. Each partner works hard, plans for the future, and makes their partner a top priority. Then we expand our families. As the children grow so does their academic and social lives. School, after-school programs, sports, dance, and relationships for this little person who is totally dependent on you begins to take over. Soon it becomes a struggle determining who will transport, assist, participate, and nurture these important parts of your child.

 

If this is not openly and honestly worked on, it is inevitable that one parent will feel they have the lion's share of responsibility, and that can lead to resentment. It begins to feel that everyone is being considered except for the parent who is doing the majority of the work.

 

Adult together

It is important to remember that our children learn their relationship guidelines through us. It doesn’t matter what we tell them. They absorb the emotions in the air. They observe the way the adults interact. If they treat each other with love, and respect, they get that. If they are inconsiderate, abusive, and selfish toward each other, they get that too.

 

Take the time to stay connected. Show an adult force in the house that protects and nurtures every member. Treat your partner as if you just met them. Open doors for them, bring them cards, or delectable chocolates like Lindt Lindor Truffles for special occasions. Say please and thank you. Teach your child how to treat others and how to expect respect for themselves by setting a good example.

Have healthy activities

It is important to have family activities that keep the family healthy. Make it a point to walk together, go to the park, ride bikes, or swim together. Take the stairs and park far away from the mall doors. Keep your family active in a normal way that fits into your lifestyle. This helps you avoid problems.

One rule for all

When it comes to eating a healthy diet, there should be one rule for all. Do not fill your child’s plate with veggies while you munch on french fries. Try growing a few fresh veggies or fruits together. Experiment with tastes and textures of foods, and create a family diet that tastes great and is good for you.

Have an escape plan

We make plans for when things go wrong financially, emotionally, and socially. But when we mess up in our family, we expect those who love us to just roll with it. Acknowledge when you have made a mistake and ask for forgiveness. Do not hide behind your position or point out your partner’s weaknesses to divert attention from your own. Every family should have an escape plan. This is a place they can go and ask for forgiveness or help without fear of retribution or condemnation.

 

These tips are common sense. However, many families spend their lives without ever facing them head-on. This is a big mistake. It is never too early or too late to set the plan in motion for a healthy family.

Photo credit/site https://pixabay.com/en/beach-family-fun-leisure-ocean-1867271/

Saturday
Apr072018

Fresh Ideas to Help You Get (and Stay) Organized

 

So many of us wake up in the morning and immediately feel overwhelmed because we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. In reality, if we could just get our lives a lot more organized we’d have plenty of time to get everything done and even have enough time to grab a quick break here and there throughout the day instead of rushing around like maniacs all day long.

You have plenty of energy because you use the best coffee beans to make delicious coffee to give you a caffeine kick in the morning that lasts throughout the day. Now it’s time to take your organizational skills to the next level in an effort to improve tackling tasks and ultimately improve other aspects of your life as well.

With that said, let’s take a look at a few fresh organizational ideas to put you on the road to achievement so you can finally begin scratching items off of your to-do list every day.

Tip #1: Create a Task List with Your Daily Responsibilities on It

Many people suffer because they have a million things to do and they often forget to do most of them because they do not write them down. It’s going to be nearly impossible to tackle your most pressing tasks if you forget to do them every day because you haven’t written them down physically or digitally. So begin writing a task list each day. It can be a list on paper or you can use an app like Remember the Milk or Todoist if you prefer to digitize your list of pressing responsibilities.

Tip #2: Prioritize Your Three Most Important Tasks Each Day

 

 

Some people have a tendency to feel overwhelmed because they try to do everything, even when they do not have enough time. That’s why you have to start prioritizing your most important tasks so you can ensure you get them done during the day. Other tasks can either be completely ignored or pushed back until a later date when you have more time.

But definitely make it a point to start prioritizing the things that matter to you the most. Otherwise you’re going to skip these important tasks and even if you accomplished 1000 other things that day, it will feel like you didn’t get anything done. So get your priorities in order and work on your significant tasks every day and you’ll feel like you’ve climbed a mountain when you’re through, even if you only completed those three tasks.

Tip #3: Get Rid of Physical and Mental Clutter

You will absolutely feel scattered and out of sorts if your life is filled with physical and mental clutter. You have to tackle these problems head-on and get rid of all of the unnecessary junk in your life because it’s making you feel stressed, anxious, and completely overwhelmed even though your life doesn’t have to feel so chaotic.

The best thing you could ever do for yourself is to clean up your physical clutter. Believe it or not, by having your house, office, and car clutter free and orderly, you’ll feel like your life is free, clear, and filled with lots more open space. This will help you think clearly, see things differently, and in the end eliminate much of the stress you experience in life.

If you can get rid of your mental clutter as well, you’ll really start the fire on all cylinders and your productivity and organizational skills will go through the roof. So if you have lots of unnecessary things on your mind, you can tackle those mental tasks or quit thinking about them and move on to more important things.

Final Thoughts

It may seem nearly impossible to get and stay organized, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. If you use the tips we shared today, you’ll be able to organize your life, become lots more productive, and feel a lot healthier and free of stress and anxiety.

 

 

Thursday
Aug172017

How to Arrange a Bedroom for Children

I bet that parents all over the world share the same battle cry with me: “Kids, clean your bedroom!”

As a mom myself, my children’s bedroom is where I usually find exhausting and challenging to arrange and keep tidy.

While festive events such as holidays or birthdays give me the motivation to clean and organize things, I still couldn’t calm the clutter. But that was before! I am still no expert in this, but my continuous effort (and battle) somewhat taught me important things when arranging the kids’ bedroom.

Get Down to Their Level

I think we should take this tip literally. Getting down to my child’s eye level allows me to view their room the way they see it. I realize that for me to arrange their room, my solutions must fit their skills and needs.

  • What most adults like us forget is that our ways and means of organization does not translate to younger children’s ways. Their dressers or drawers might be too large or too heavy for them to manage.
  • Closet hangers could be out of reach or won’t fit their tiny clothes.
  • Toy containers might be too high for them to segregate toys accordingly.

What could be “organized” to them might not pass your standards (not even half of it) so look at it from their vantage point, so you’ll be on the same page with them.

Let the Kids Decide

It is important to hear what your children say. Engage them in making decisions on what stuffs to stay and what goes. You will be surprised how this could help your organization goals easier to achieve. Let us look at this cleaning and organizing thing as a learning activity rather than a task or errand.

Most importantly, expect for it to be a trial and error activity. Soon, you and your child will determine what works for the both of you and what could be the root of the problem.

Try to develop a checklist that your child can follow. I will try to devise my own soon and allow my kids to take part according to their skills and needs. Hence, involving them makes it possible for them to understand why to keep their room clean and organized.

Do it one at a time

Consider organizing the sections mentioned above one at a time. Tailor your efforts of de-cluttering their room until it makes sense to them. Focus on a single zone and find out what falls into the category of donating it, keep it or store it.

Again, doing this whole thing could be overwhelming to your children thus, give the kids and yourself an ample time to sort out stuff.

Typically, a child’s room is composed of the following zones: toys, clothing, school stuff such as books and papers and other random things like memorabilia, souvenirs from parties or uncategorized gifts.

Instead of giving them “threats” or having that deadly stare, we should exert all our efforts to teach them organization skills and methods. I also learned that my supposed-to-be sad face wouldn't help.

Practice and Patience Please!

Times can get rough, and a messy room could be one of the least issues you want to deal with thus, the more important it is to teach your children the process of organizing and tidying their rooms.

Regardless how fancy your containers and storage boxes are, kids won’t use them accordingly if they don’t understand why and how to use them. Start the soonest possible. Have you tried any of these techniques? Bet they’d helped you a lot!

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Thursday
Apr132017

5 Snacks to Stop Buying and Start Making at Home

You're a busy mom. From the moment the alarm goes off until you hop into bed, you're always doing something – dropping off the kids at school, picking them up from soccer practice and getting some work done somewhere in between the madness.

Who has the time to make snacks? You're too busy wondering what you're going to make for dinner. I know this sentiment all too well. It's much easier to pick up a few staple snacks at the store and call it a day.

But I've found that it really doesn't take that much time to make some of your kids' favorite snacks at home. As a bonus, your homemade versions are usually healthier and less expensive.

Here are five easy snacks to stop buying and start making at home:

1. Yogurt Pouches

My kids love yogurt pouches, better known as "Go Gurt." And I always assumed they were a healthy snack choice – until I read the ingredients.

Aside from the strange ingredients I couldn't pronounce, the yogurt in these pouches had a surprising amount of sugar.

Yogurt pouches are so easy to make at home, and you can buy ZipZicles online that can be filled with your own little concoctions.

When I say these snacks are easy to make, I'm not exaggerating. If you have a blender (food processor will also work), yogurt and fruit, you're good to go.

Experiment with different fruits and ratios of fruit to yogurt to get the flavors and textures you want.

When you're done blending, use a funnel to fill the ZipZicles pouches and enjoy. If you don’t want to use pouches, you can just fill a baby mason jar with your yogurt. But kids really do love eating out of these pouches.

2. Apple Chips

We love fruit chips in our house, but apple chips are the best, according to the kids. Store-bought apple chips can be expensive (like $1.50 for a very small bag), but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can use your own ingredients and ditch the preservatives and added sugars.

To make your own apple chips, you'll need two things:

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon

Sure, you can make these chips in a dehydrator, but that would take forever. We bake ours in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.

  • Bake for 30-45 minutes.
  • Flip the apple slices.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Bake for another 30-45 minutes. 
  •    

The chips come out crispy, and they're naturally sweet. Cinnamon makes this treat taste delectable.

3. Cereal Bars

Cereal bars are a great way for the kids (and adults) to get their servings of whole grain and fruit. But these bars can be expensive when you buy them in the store. They're also loaded with sugar and other questionable ingredients.

Making your own is easier than you think.

The trickiest part (and it's really not that tricky) is making the crust.

Here's what you'll need to make the crust:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups oats
  • I tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups pastry flour
  •  2 tsp. baking powder

You could even turn this into a yeast-based crust and make the dough in your breadmaker to save time.

The filling is so easy to make. Just blend your favorite fruit with a little bit of water.

To make your bars, roll out the dough, cut into bar-sized rectangles, place a dollop of filling in the center, fold the dough  over, and seal the edges to keep the filling inside.

We bake ours at 350F for about 15-18 minutes.

4. Trail Mix

Have you seen the cost of a bag of trail mix? Furthermore, have you looked at the ingredients in these mixes?

It's incredibly easy to make your own trail mix blend, and you can add whatever ingredients you want.

  • Cashews, almonds and pecans.    
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried fruit
  • Dark chocolate chunks, peanuts and pistachios.     

You're only limited by your imagination and your taste buds when making your own trail mix blend. We've even added spices to our mix for a unique flavor twist.

5. Fruit Leather

I can remember eating Fruit Roll-ups as a kid, and now, my kids love them, too. But I can't bring myself to buy a snack that's loaded in sugar and preservatives. The amount of actual fruit in these snacks is questionable.

Like apple chips, fruit leather is so easy to make at home. You don't need a dehydrator either – just some parchment paper and a little time.

To make your fruit snack, puree your fruit in a blender or food processor. You can blend just one fruit, or a mixture of different fruits.

Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the puree onto it. Make sure the puree is evenly distributed across the pan to allow for even cooking.

All that’s left to do is bake your snack at 175F for three to four hours. After two hours, check the fruit leather every 30 minutes, and remove it when it's ready. It will be done when it's dry to the touch.

Which snacks do you make at home? Share in the comments!

Bio: Joe Hughes, known by most as the Village Baker, is an expert in homestyle cooking techniques, with a primary interest in baking. He runs the very popular website, http://www.village-bakery.com, which provides the latest homestyle cooking news, techniques, tricks, and recipes. He can be reached at Joe@Village-Bakery.com.

Thursday
Mar162017

Baby Mantra's Bundle: The Perfect Baby Shower Gift

Baby showers provide some of the fondest memories surrounding the birth of a child. Friends and family come together to celebrate a new life and offer gifts so that parents can have a head start on this exciting journey. Aside from the games and delicious snacks, guests are tasked with finding the perfect gift for the parents to-be. Baby shower gift ideas include something off of the registry, something homemade and sentimental, or something special that guests want to share with the family.

While gifts can only help prepare new parents for so much, they are a great way for guests to join in on the celebration and introduce parents to new products for baby. Luckily, with the help of Baby Mantra’s Baby Shower Gift Pack, you can get everything a mom or dad needs to prepare for their newborn’s bath and body care.

Baby Shower Gift Pack

The Baby Mantra Baby Shower Gift Pack helps moms and dads prepare for the arrival of their new bundle of joy. With natural baby wash and newborn shampoo, all products are EWG Verified, tested for allergies, free of parabens, fragrances and dyes. The pack is a great way to purchase a variety of essential products at one time. Safe and healthy, new parents can be confident that their little one’s skin will be protected and cared for day and night.

The Pack Includes:

●     Newborn Wash and Shampoo with Coconut Oil and Lavender

●     Calming Lotion with Shea Butter and Lavender

●     Calming Massage Oil with Apricot

●     Bubble Bath with Lavender

●     Diaper Rash Ointment with Sunflower Seed Oil

The next time you are in need of the perfect baby shower gift, head to Baby Mantra to check out The Baby Mantra Baby Shower Gift Pack, and other all natural baby products.