Jan 25, 2016

5 Great Hobbies for Busy Moms to Try Out

As a busy mom, it can be hard to find time to dedicate to yourself. But, if you ask me, spending time doing things you like is essential. Here are some hobby ideas for you to consider.

1. Gardening

Gardening is great for so many reasons. It gives your body a pretty extensive workout, and that can only be a good thing. Not many people realise how much exercise your body get just from doing some digging and planting some trees. But that’s not all that you can get out of gardening. It can be a great way to express yourself creatively too. You also get to spend some time outside enjoying the fresh air. You could even get your kids involved as well if you like.


2. Jogging

You need to keep your body in good shape, and doing a physical hobby allows you to do this. Jogging gets you out of the house, away from all the pressure and stresses that come with it. This means you can clear your head and do something positive for your body at the same time. What’s not to like. When your partner is looking after the kids, and you have a spare hour to kill. You could put on your running shoes, head to the park and make the most of the opportunity to improve your fitness.

3. Creating Scrapbooks

Your kids grow up so fast, and you want to remember all those important landmarks and milestones. The best way to do this is to create family scrapbooks that you can develop and add to over the years. It’s a lot of fun, and you have to put in a lot of effort to maintain them properly. And then, in years to come when the kids are older, you will all be able to look back over the scrapbooks. It’s the perfect hobby for parents who don’t have much time but still want to do something special.

4. Blogging

Loads of moms are turning to blogging as a great way to keep themselves busy and talk about the things you love. Just have a look at the blog you’re reading right now and get some inspiration to set up a blog of your own. It’s a great way to meet new people and make new friendships over the internet. It’s a social activity that’s a lot of fun. You don’t have to be a great writer to give it a go and find an audience that’s interested in what you have to say. Just find a niche that allows you to discuss the things you’re interested in most.

5. Cooking

As a mom, you probably spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking already. But if you try to stop seeing cooking as a task and more of a hobby, it can be a lot of fun. You should try new things and read some interesting recipes and test them out on your family. It’s a great skill to have, so give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen? If it goes well, you’ll find a new hobby that you’re interested in, and you’ll be able to give your family some good food to try out.


Jan 6, 2016

Gifts for Patriotic Men

If you’re struggling to come up with a gift idea for your husband, then I have a solution you may appreciate. The best part is that it doesn’t involve annoying gag gifts, ties from the local department store or anything out of a tool department. What I propose is that you give your dear spouse something that may prove to be much closer to his heart.

Share His Patriotism with a Flag
Your husband is proud to be an American, so you may want to consider investing in a quality flag that he can display from your front porch. Durable flags made from nylon can stand up the wind and will retain their colors longer. Include a spotlight so that he can fly the new flag at night or even in the rain and still be in keeping with national flag protocols.

Pride in Service
If you’re married to an active duty service member or a veteran, then add an armed forces flag to his collection. In addition to the standard armed forces, you can also get special flags for retirees, or go with a flag that proudly displays which war he served in. If he proudly serves the community in the fire or police departments, then consider a service flag for these important careers. You may also decide that a POW/ MIA or Wounded Warrior flag is a great choice for a gift on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day.

The Display Case
Special flags deserve to be protected and preserved. Oak, cherry, maple or poplar memorial cases can be used to keep that perfectly folded flag ready for display. Whether the flag was a gift for retirement or came to the family as part of a somber occasion, you’re sure to please your husband by giving him an appropriate way to display and preserve the colors.

When it’s time to pick up a little gift for your husband, contact us for more information on different flags, accessories and other items. You can share your husband’s patriotism and let him know how much you appreciate his service with the right choice of flag. He’ll cherish it more than another set of wrenches, and it will be something he holds on to for years to come.

Jan 5, 2016

How to Make Your Bathroom Safe for Children

The bathroom, as it is even for us adults, is the most dangerous room in your house for your children as well. Worries about germs aside, the tub, sink, and toilet are potential drowning hazards. With water also comes the risk of slips and falls. On top of that, the chemicals and detergents often found in bathrooms are generally hazardous in one quantity or another. As a parent, it is your duty to protect your child from the dangers of the bathroom, and here’s a good place for you to start.

Restrict Access to the Bathroom

Your child should never be in the bathroom without adult supervision. The best way to prevent this is with a hook and eye lock that is on the outside of the bathroom door. Be sure that your spouse and older children lock it whenever they leave the bathroom. While this is a great safeguard to have in place, however, it is not guaranteed.

Use Non-Slip Mats

The bathroom is filled with surfaces that can get dangerous when they are wet. To prevent this, use non-slip mats. At minimum, you should have one of these outside of the bathtub and inside of the bathtub. In front of the sink is another good place to consider. Keep an eye to how your bathroom is laid out, where water could splash and where the edges of counters are. These are the areas where your child is most likely to injure themselves.

Avoid Mold Exposure

When mold and/or mildew grows in your bathroom, it can cause respiratory problems, along with upset stomach, even fever and vomiting. To prevent growth in bath toys, be sure they dry out thoroughly after each bath. Remove any excess water and store these items in a mesh bag. To prevent mold and mildew growth in the bathroom, be sure that towels are dried properly and that the bathroom is well-ventilated.

Keep Appliances Unplugged

It is very easy to run out of the bathroom in the morning and leave your straightening iron, blow dryer, or electric razor plugged in. However, electric appliances are very dangerous for young children. This is especially true in the bathroom, where with a little water, these appliances can lead to electric shock. Try to remember to unplug your bathroom tools whenever they are not in use. Not only do they pose a shock risk, they can burn or puncture your child’s skin.

Keep Toothpaste, Shampoos, Razors, and More Out of Reach

There are a number of products that are typically stored in the bathroom that pose a threat to your little one. This includes razors or other sharp tools as well as substances that are harmful if ingested. Begin by trying to store any pills or poisonous substances in a medicine cabinet or on a high shelf. You should also remove all shampoos and soaps from the tub before bathing your child. Finally, keep any cabinets that are at child level locked, empty, or filled with safe things like toilet paper, bath toys, or towels.

Be Wary of Pooling Water

It takes less than an inch of water to drown anyone, including a child. Because of children’s curiosity and inexperience, as well as their lack of coordination, it is important to always drain any pooling water completely. As soon as you are done with bath or sink water, pull the plug.

Familiarize Yourself with Emergency Services

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but be sure to familiarize yourself with nearby hospitals and pediatric urgent care centers like Night Lite Pediatrics. Keeping the number of your family doctor handy is also good practice – in the event of any confusion of the severity of an injury, they can advise you in whether urgent or emergency care is needed.

Lautaro Martinez is a freelance writer and family man who contributes insights and advice on issues from child care to family living and home improvement.

Dec 23, 2015

Iceland: My Dream Vacation

You know how sometimes you'll sit and daydream about the things you'd love to do one day?  I find myself often thinking about traveling - packing my little guys up and seeing the world.  We take little road trips, and I teach them how to be a respectful tourist, but to leave the country and really travel? That would be amazing.  One of these days, I would love to bring them to Iceland.

Why Iceland?  It is a beautiful country that boasts breathtaking landscapes, amazing adventures, and so much more.  I would seriously take the trip just to see the Northern Lights in person.  An Iceland holiday would be one to write about in the Christmas card, that's for sure.

My Iceland Bucket List

Iceland has one main road, Route 1 (or the Ring Road), that goes all around the island and can bring you to some of the most famous attractions.  Take for instance, Seljalandsfoss - a gorgeous waterfall that is one of the highest in the world at 63 meters.  You can actually walk behind this waterfall!  Can you imagine the beautiful pictures?

Another thing I would love to see would be the Mývatn Nature Baths: a natural lagoon where guests can bathe.  The water supplies for the lagoon run straight from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. The water has a temperature of about 130°C (255 F) when it arrives to the huge basin beside the lagoon itself forming an impressive, man-made hot spring. Altogether, the lagoon and the basin contain around 3.5 million liters of water with a temperature of 36 – 40°C (97-104 F).

And Puffins!  Iceland is rich with bird and marine wildlife, and popular with ornithologists who visit during the nesting seasons to catch a glimpse of dozens of bird species, including the Atlantic Puffin. There's special tour packages that allow tourists to travel by boat to smaller islands where they can get a close up look at one of the cutest seabirds out there (ok, so I'm biased, I love puffins!)

If nature isn't really selling you on how awesome it would be to visit Iceland, they also have a rich city life as well.  Reykjavík is the capital city of Iceland, and is known for being a family friendly place with high chairs in every restaurant and strollers lining the sidewalks.  A safe and clean city, Reykjavík has a compact center that makes it easy to navigate by foot - perfect for sightseeing and showing your family all the sights.  At night, a vivid nightlife takes over with nightclubs and "jammith" as the locals call it - it's definitely one of the hottest party scenes to check out.

To end the day, staying in one of the beautiful Iceland hotels would top it off perfect.  While some may prefer the authentic camping or hostel stay while visiting Iceland, I dream about staying in one of the luxury hotels like the Frost and Fire (Frost og Funi in Icelandic) nestled in the hot springs area. Hótel Rangá would also be one of my top choices, a volcano base hotel where you can see the Northern Lights.

(photo credit for all photos goes to guidetoiceland.is)
Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world?

Dec 15, 2015

Pearls: a Luminous Choice for Your Personal Style

Pearl jewelry is enjoying a heyday and for good reason. The classic choice comes in a range of colors, shapes, and price points, making pearls accessible to just about everyone. Celebrities are often seen wearing them at red-carpet events, and pearls can lend an elegant touch to many occasions. Let’s get acquainted with the ins and outs of pearls and learn the best ways to wear them.

Types of Pearls

Natural pearls, which are extremely rare, are made when a speck of sand or soil gets stuck inside an oyster or other mollusk. The mollusk reacts to the irritant by coating the speck over and over with layers of proteins and minerals called nacre, eventually creating a luminous pearl. Nearly all of the pearls on the market today are cultured, meaning a starter bead is intentionally placed inside the mollusk to start the process, then the pearl is harvested after a period of time ranging from one to eight years.

The most common types of pearls are Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea, and freshwater. Akoya pearls can be pink or gold, while Tahitian pearls are a luminous black. South Sea pearls are usually white, and freshwater peals come in a wider variety of shapes and pastel colors.

Pearl Jewelry

Pearls are used in all sorts of settings and types of jewelry. Rings, necklaces, and earrings are popular choices, but bracelets and watches can also include pearls. Some people enjoy the look of irregularly shaped freshwater pearls for their jewelry collection, but others prefer the more uniform roundness found in akoya, South Sea or Tahitian pearls. Settings that hold the pearl firmly in place are best when it comes to preventing damage.

How to Wear Pearls

Once delegated to the Sunday-best wardrobe or wedding attire, women are now wearing pearls on a daily basis. Even when paired with jeans, they add a touch of elegance. One of the most popular ways to wear pearls is on a necklace, like this pendant from Milano. A necklace can be worn in a variety of lengths, from very short to long enough to double up.

Many women like to wear pearl necklaces in layers so that the different lengths and pearl diameters offer a textured look. In fact, with all sorts of pearl jewelry, “more is more” seems to be the common theme. Earrings are often large, dangly and chandelier-like. Rings will commonly feature multiple pearls sometimes paired with diamonds. The romance of pearls lends itself well to the current chunky bracelet trend, too. Multiple rows of pearls paired with gold chains or bangles create a weighty yet elegant look to wintertime ensembles.

Caring for Your Pearls

If you would like to stock up on pearl jewelry, you have a couple different directions you could go. However, if you choose to invest in cultured pearls or if you are lucky enough to inherit a set of natural pearls, you’ll want to treat them very carefully.

Pearls can be damaged or scratched easily, so take them off as soon as you get home. If they need to be cleaned, use a gentle cleanser and light touch to scrub them before letting them air dry. If you notice they are starting to lose their luster, this might be because they’ve come into contact with perfume or chemicals. Be sure to steer clear of both, even hairspray, when you are wearing pearls.

Store your jewelry in a dark, cool place when it’s not being worn. Also, consider getting your necklaces restrung every few years to protect the longevity of your valuable pearls.

Pearl jewelry will never go out of style. You can make sure your jewelry sets last well into the future by choosing quality pieces and taking good care of them.

Nov 29, 2015

You Don't Have to be SuperMom

I'm sure some of you have noticed my hiatus from writing lately. At least I hope someone has.  I mean, there is someone reading what I write, right?!  Besides you, Mom.

I don't know.  It's kind of felt like I haven't had much to say lately.  I mean, many of you consider bloggers to be experts in their niche, right?  Isn't that our whole point of being here? I chose parenting as my niche, because when I first became a mom I knew it all!  Oh buddy, was I wrong.  I mean, when they were tiny, I knew when to feed them, how to get them to sleep, what was wrong when they cried.  Now that they're getting older though, the more I get that overwhelming urge to run away.

The two year old will be whining, the four year old wants to fight and argue with everyone, the house has become a disaster that would make my own mother disown me, and I don't even know where to start to fix any of it.  Or if it's just all normal.

It's 11am on a Sunday.  One kid is still in his pajamas, and the other... well I'm lucky if I can keep a diaper on her.  Right now she is hopping around in a pillowcase like she's gonna win the world championship sack race, while Bubba is chasing her on his bike.  There's pillows and blankets everywhere and what I'm pretty sure is crumbled up toast from their breakfast all over the rug.  And right now? I'm just happy that they aren't yelling for me.

That's what being a mom really looks like.  At least in my world.  Maybe your kids have their hair fixed at all times and their toys are all put away.  Maybe you made a full breakfast and sat down to eat with them, while I was thrilled that mine were taking bites of their eggs while running circles around the house because getting them to eat anything is like pulling teeth.

Sometimes you have to relax I guess.  Trying to fit into this SuperMom role doesn't always turn out how you want it to, and you can't let it get to you.  That's what I have to keep telling myself lately, because otherwise I would feel completely hopeless.

Then I think about how amazing my kids are.  When they're making that mess with the pretend food, it's because they were making lunch for Momma.  When she refuses to wear pants, it's because she wants to be a big girl and pee on the potty.  When they're crying about not being able to go into the kitchen with me, it's because they want to help and to be closer to me.

One day, I'm going to realize that I can't remember the last time we laughed at bubble beards, because I was in too much of a hurry to let them have a bubble bath and play in the tub.  My daughter wont want me to sing to her anymore at bed time, my son will stop coming to me to kiss his boo-boos, and they're both going to grow up one day and have families of their own.

Life is too short to waste.  It's time to remind myself that instead of getting overwhelmed and feeling like I'm doing something wrong, I need to focus on the things I'm doing right.

Nov 14, 2015

The Importance of Gratitude

In an increasingly individualistic society, it’s hard to understand why we need to be grateful and what the benefits of gratitude are. On the one hand, we are used to provide for our needs alone (most people feel that money can and should buy almost anything), and on the other hand, if someone helps you, your first thought is to do something in return and be even, instead of feeling and expressing authentic gratitude.

So why is gratitude such an important value if everyday life suggests we can live without it?

Gratitude means, first of all, understanding and valuing the kindness that stands behind a good action directed at you. Feeling of loneliness and alienation disappear when you realize that someone out there really cares about you - gratitude works like a social binder that brings people together.

People who make a habit out of expressing gratitude enjoy a wide range of benefits with a direct impact on their well-being:

Being happy

Researches have suggested that people who are grateful are also happier. Cultivating gratitude brings other positive emotions as well, such as feeling energetic, enthusiastic, empathetic and hopeful. The good thing about relying your happiness on gratitude is avoiding the negative phenomenon called hedonistic adaptation – for instance, if you are happy only because you have money, you’ll need to have more and more money in order to experience the same level of happiness in the future. With gratitude, the level of happiness increases as we make habits like holding a daily gratitude journal.

Improving health

Several studies performed in the last years have shown that people who keep a gratitude journal exercise more, sleep better, and experience fewer physical symptoms. Feeling gratitude instantly induces a relaxation response and tackles the symptoms of depression. Gratitude has extraordinary effects on sleep – people who count their blessings often enjoy improved sleep quality, have increased sleep duration, and need less time to fall asleep. Gratitude has also been linked to a lower risk of developing coronary diseases as it lowers stress levels.

Eliminating negative feelings

It’s hard to achieve results by simply saying “From now on, I will improve my self-esteem”. Negating bad feelings will not make them disappear instantly – you need to replace them with something good, and gratitude is the root of all these positive aspects: optimism, spirituality, altruism, confidence, and empathy. The result is developing a brighter personality.

Boosting your career

Do you know the main reason why most people quit their job? You have probably dealt with it too – not receiving recognition in the workplace. Gratitude makes wonders both for people who express it and for people who receive it. Gratitude strengthens the relationship between mentors and protégés, encourages networking, makes managers more effective, and improves decision making skills. A workplace where gratitude plays an important role is more enjoyable and allows people to advance their careers.

Making your days better

There’s a famous quote saying “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” (Annie Dillard). Gratitude has the power to change your day for the better. Let’s say you are having a bad day because you had an argument with a friend, someone yelled at you, or you were stressed at work. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and think only about the bad things in your life. Your mind frame won’t change unless you decide to do so, and one of the most efficient ways of immeditaley feeling better is thinking of the things you need to be thankful for: being loved by family and friends, having a roof over your head, and simply being alive.

Improving your personal relationships

Every friend, family member or co-worker we come in contact with will make us angry at some point. Instead of reacting in anger and getting mad at them, stop for a moment and think of the reasons why you should be grateful for that person – such as the good things they have done for you. Switching your attitude will enable you to express your discontent without hurting them or being rude.

Learning how to feel and express gratitude is like getting lemons and making delicious lemonade instead of complaining about their sour taste, don’t you think so? In the end, everyone will be happier!

About the author:
By Spirit Room, a Winnipeg spiritual direction service, similar to a Winnipeg psychic or medium (http://www.spiritroom.ca).

Nov 12, 2015

Private Schools Can Offer Educational Advantages for Parents and Students

The first Catholic school in the United States was established in 1606 in the town, which is currently known as St. Augustine, Florida. The school was founded by the Franciscan order. Georgetown was the first Catholic college that was formed in 1789. Georgetown continues to be one of the most prestigious universities in America. Since the 17th century until present-day, thousands of private schools have been established. According to the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), there were 30,861 private schools in the United States during the school year of 2011 and 2012 and more than five million enrolled students. 42.9 percent of students attended Catholic schools, 19.8 percent attended nonsectarian schools and 14 percent attended conservative Christian schools.

Private school education provides parents with the choice to determine which program matches their expectations. Many parents who select private schools over public education are satisfied with overall structure of the programs. Some of the factors that parents consider are the teacher to student ratio, disciplinary effectiveness, academic standards, graduation rates, standardized test scores and opportunities for student to partake in extracurricular activities. Some parents also incorporate the schools’ religious foundations in their school selection criteria.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, parents are more satisfied with the opportunity to select the right schools as opposed to being required to enroll their children in a district neighborhood school. Some parents believe that public school districts may not provide students with a well-rounded education, and many fail to meet the needs of students. Many parents also believe that private schools offer a better learning environment and more one-on-one attention from teachers.

When determining which schools offer the best private education, parents must conduct research on the each school’s ability to provide the right environment and education that's needed for their children. If you’re considering private school, you should first discern the specific needs of your child and jot down your expectations. There are websites available online, such as Private School Review, to help you create a list of schools in your area. You can determine which schools offer the right schedules and curriculum for your child and whether the tuition fit within your budget. If you’re looking for single-gender schools, you can also find this information throughout your online research. There are many schools that are designated as girls’ schools and boys’ schools, like the Archer School for Girls listing. Before making the final decision, tour the school, get a feel for the environment and discuss your questions and concerns with the school administrative staff and teachers.

When a parent is actively involved in his or her child’s education, it can result in a positive outcome as a whole for the child. One of the beginning steps that a parent can make to show support to the child is to select the school that offers the best education all-around. Many private schools have strong foundations in providing quality education and guiding students to become successful and productive citizens in society.

Nov 9, 2015

Reducing Spit-Up: GERD vs GER and how Enfamil A.R.™ Can Help

Tracking PixelI received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. Consult your pediatrician before making changes to your baby's diet or if you have concerns related to your baby's digestive health. Please see the product label/website for acceptable use and benefits. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-800-BABY 123 or through the Contact Us link on Enfamil A.R. or Enfamil.com

When my four year old was a newborn, he was... how should I put this? A productive burper. After a feeding, I would lay him up on my chest, pat his back a few times, and then shudder as the spit-up rolled down my shoulder. I tried several things that the pediatrician recommended: like keeping him upright after a bottle and stopping after every ounce to burp him. He still spit up. That's when we found out about Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER for short), or uncomplicated reflux.

Not to be confused with GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Acid Reflux), GER isn't usually a result of excessive acid production. Though parents often associate frequent spit-up and irritability with acid reflux, about two thirds of otherwise healthy infants may have uncomplicated reflux. It's common for babies to spit-up while their digestive system develops, and every baby has periods of fussiness and irritability.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends conservative management and lifestyle changes as first line options and advises against the overuse of medications that reduce the production of gastric (stomach) acid. One of these changes includes using thickened feedings such as Enfamil A.R.™. Enfamil A.R provides the benefits of thickened feedings with more balanced nutrition and less hassle compared to adding rice cereal to formula.

My little guy would've really benefited from using a formula like Enfamil A.R. We had the joy of adding extra rice cereal to every one of his bottles; and let me tell you­ the measuring, shaking the bottle until it all dissolved (that was a workout in itself), cleaning the dried cereal from the bottles... hassle wasn't even the word I'd use.

Enfamil A.R. is the #1selling brand of formula for spit-up and is clinically proven to reduce spit up by over 50% in infants with frequent spit up while still providing the complete nutrition your baby needs to reach key milestones.

Oct 28, 2015

Pharmaceutical Profession and You! Drugstore

For most people, pharmacies are completely different than any other type of shop. Most of them exuberate with cleanliness. It is only to be expected given the importance of hygiene in such places. Medicines need to be kept in certain temperature, humidity and light otherwise; they could turn bad in no time. Nevertheless, even though pharmaceutical shops are quite specific, same rules apply to them as any other type of shop.

Have in mind that profit is what drives any company. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical industry in general are regarded as one of the most profitable undertakings. However, there is always a price to success. The fact that companies are achieving high profit means that it will attract more competition. This is at the same time, the biggest problem within this industry. Companies are forced to constantly think of new medicines so that they can remain relevant. Anyway, this makes research and development the most important branch of any organization. Under this pressure to constantly provide new drugs (and more importantly to invent new drugs in order to compete with other companies), pharmaceutical giants often disregard some general rules sending volatile medicines on market. Due to this, there is a great mistrust towards them in last couple of decades.

Similarly goes for supplements. These products are some of the newest and most popular items which you can purchase in every pharmacy. Unlike regular drugs, they can be called ultimate product because they can be used by both sick and healthy alike. Fast growth of this market led to appearance of numerous vitamins and minerals that do not fulfill their function. There is public debate in USA as to how to regulate this market and allow only proper medicines. Specialists from You! Drugstore warn consumers not to rush when it comes to shopping. Instead, they should check each product individually and decide whether the thing which is being purchased is fulfilling its role.

Back in the days, pharmacies were local undertakings that meant to provide patients with drugs. Nowadays, they are similar to any other store when it comes to marketing. Pharmacists are willing to force drugs with high profit margin upon user, whether they can perform well or not. In a sense, your average pharmacist is very similar to any other salesmen, which is not necessarily positive. Additionally, pharmacy owners invest good money into training of these individuals. Adequate skillset is needed in order to properly promote and sell products.

But, even with all its downsides, pharmacies have seen certain improvements. Online shopping was recently introduced into this business that allowed more comfort for patients. Even though most pharmacy owners will claim that internet had negative impact on their profit (because patients will buy only the drugs which they need) it allowed them to do business with less expenses. At the same time, today it is possible to cover much bigger area and to store all your medicines in one place. This makes logistics better, especially for pharmacy chains.  

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