Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Stealthy Healthy Eating: Persuading Your Kids To Try Vegetables


Any parent will be familiar with the following conversation, usually held in hushed voices with a fellow parent:

"I love him, I do. It's just... he will not eat what's good for him! I don't know what's wrong!"

"Oh, I know. Mine are all like that. I've tried everything, but they're so stubborn..."


Before you have children you look at other people's, see what they are eating and are mystified. "That can't be good for them!", you mutter to yourself as you see the child eating chips, or peanut butter and jelly. So why are they being given it?

As any harassed parent will tell you, it comes down to one simple fact. While what your kids eat is important, it's not as important as their need to eat something. You might want everything to be nutrient-rich and healthy. But sometimes your kids will disagree.

Before you get too frustrated with them, take yourself back to when you were their age. Did you eat broccoli, carrots or bean sprouts without protest? Really? It's a fact; kids tend to be picky eaters.

So what's the deal? Do you abandon the well-meaning plans to feed them healthy food? Accept that it's a life of burgers and nuggets or nothing? No - keep the healthy eating flag flying. You may just need to get creative.

Hide The Veg, Trick Your Child

Many parents will be horrified by the idea of conning their kids into eating right. "What kind of a lesson does it give if I'm using subterfuge to keep my son healthy?" you may ask. Well, that's just it - no lesson at all, if you do it right. They won't know.

Using the right knives, from sources like Cut it Fine or others, chop the veg up real small. Use it in their favorite sauces, and invent a name for it. After they've been eating it for long enough, you may admit to them that the meal has a "secret ingredient." Without realizing it, they've found they quite like courgette, onion or similar foods.

Presentation Is The Key

One of the reasons the above trick often works is because kids are very visual. If they recognize a food as something they like, they trust it and go with it. If they feel the opposite way, they will rebel. This is why it can be a good idea to play with how you present veggies, and which veggies you pick.


Peppers look exciting and colorful - and if you stuff them with spaghetti sauce and some meatballs, they can be delicious too. Once your kid likes one healthy meal, they'll be more open to trying others.

Have Fun With Mealtimes

As you gain your kids' trust as someone who knows their way around the kitchen, you can have more themed days. Get them to be excited about trying new things by having a day set aside where you'll make something different. Another night can be "breakfast for dinner" night. As they get used to this kind of routine, you'll find it easier to establish the right way of eating.



At the bottom of all this, it is important to remember that truth. The fact that your kid eats is more important than what they eat - but if you can make them see the good in healthy food earlier, it's a gift for life.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Maintain Your Home, Maintain Your Health: Why Those Repairs Are More Than Simple Vanity

Home maintenance is one of those things that we're all guilty of letting slip from time-to-time. There's a lot of it - that big new house isn't seeming like such a good idea now, is it? - and to try and keep on top of it all isn't realistic. In the midst of juggling a busy family life, work and everything else - something has to fall by the wayside.
Now, I'm not about to start castigating you for that. It's easy to see how it happens, and yes, in a perfect world it wouldn't be the case. But given the year that 2016 has been, I think we can all agree we live in far from the perfect world!
With that said, a word of caution might be necessary. If you are limited on times and funds, there are particular areas that you have to ensure you focus on. Not for the sake of your home keeping up with the latest trends or anything so silly - but for health. There are some areas you just can't afford to overlook, so let's examine then so you know where the priorities have to go...
Heating - You Have To Keep The Home Fires Burning
When your heating is on the fritz, the ways around it become evident. Why shell out what is almost always an extortionate repair bill when you can just put another sweater on? And weren't blankets made for occasions such as these?
But the truth is that keeping warm is not a matter of luxury - it's a question of health. The consensus among doctors is that we should try and keep our homes around 64F/18C. This is particularly the case for the very young and the very old. Unless you want to take huge health risks, then heating repair should be at the top of the list.
Excess Moisture - Worry When It Starts To Paint It Black
Mold problems in the home should be treated as an emergency, yet for some reason too many of us don't do so. Instead, we more treat them as a problem that has to be fixed, yes, but not something to worry about. In fact, you'll find more people concerned with the aesthetic impact.
This is troubling because black mold is incredibly dangerous for your health. In fact, a poorly-ventilated and excessively-moldy house was seen as a leading contributor to the deaths of actress Brittany Murphy and her husband. So this is not just a scare story; if you don't stay on top of this issue, then the consequences can literally be fatal.

There are plenty of other areas of home maintenance that can be problematic if left for too long, but the two above should be your primary focus. If your budget and time is limited, then these issues have to be fixed. Anything else can be left to fall by the wayside to an extent, but it is imperative it is not the case with these.
If you feel this point is being made a little too forcefully - it's not. It's just that important, so if you know you have an issue in this area, take care of it now.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pirasta, Really Large Coloring Pages! #2016HolidayGiftGuide



Hey neighbors!

Do you have children who like to color?  Any who have ever colored on the walls?  If so, check out Pirasta!  Their coloring pages are AMAZING!  I received a Funny Farm Coloring Poster. (63" x 36")  My walls all have grooves, so instead of hanging on the wall and coloring, we spread this out on our puzzle table.  It hangs over the edges!



This coloring poster is so huge, it will take hours of work to finish.  I love the detail and just the fun things you find on this coloring page.  Many animals are wearing clothing.  A dog is playing cards.  A horse is wearing sneakers.  There is a cow wearing sunglasses.  A horse is driving a pickup truck!  All funny things for kids to color. Good, clean, fun play, especially for snowy or rainy days.



We had a friend, a young boy, visiting us for a week and he spent quite a bit of his free time working on the coloring page.  He really enjoyed seeing the different animals and what they were doing.  He had been helping his dad outside, but kept coming in to spend time coloring.  The pictures of course are nice and big, which make them easier for little hands to color.  And then again going out of the lines isn't a big deal, as long as it stays on the page.



I personally enjoy coloring too, so I will be working on this over our long, cold, winter.  I am sure my daughters will be helping too!



Pirasta has several other coloring poster themes.  Some of them are educational too, like the What a Colorful World and Let's Color America.  They also have smaller coloring sheets, where you get 20 pages.


Visit their site and see all they have to offer.  Large posters are presently, $29.95 with a flat rate shipping of $7.95.  They have free shipping on orders over $75.  This is a great gift idea for holidays, birthdays and just because.

Follow their social media too:
Facebook - HERE
Tumbler - HERE
Instagram - HERE

Thanks for stopping by!  See you soon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Advantages Of Being Friends With Your Neighbors

A large number of us don't know the people we live near.

It's probably one of the things that has changed most about life in the last 100 years. Before now, it would have been considered unusual to not at least be on first-name terms with your neighbors - now most of us don't even recognize them by sight. Some TV shows still depict a world in which everyone knows everybody else, but nothing shows further how unrealistic this is than this detail.

Whether you think this is a change for the good likely depends on your personality type. For an introvert, not knowing your neighbors is a blessing. You revel in the anonymity, the lack of forced small conversation and the complete absence of gossip. For an extrovert, it probably seems like a shame - your desire to talk, be around people, naturally includes those you share a street address with.

No matter which way you see things, there are benefits to clubbing together as a group. We all know about Neighborhood Watch schemes, but it can go further than that. Sometimes, there is more power in being one of many - and your neighbors, thanks to convenience, might be the key to unlocking some of these.

You Can... Share Exercise Equipment


If you have ever bought a piece of exercise equipment that now sits unused, you'll know the folly of that decision. Think of the exercise bikes, treadmills and rowing machines cluttering up garages across the land.

If you invest in these pieces with neighbors, you get the best of both worlds. You can share the cost and also banish the excuse that you live too far from the gym to work out. You can either work on an exchange scheme, where you each host one particular set of equipment at the other's can use it at their convenience. Or one person with a lot of space provides the facility while the others pay for the equipment itself.

You Can... Make The Most of Bulk Discount


With basic food ingredients, cleaning products and other necessities, there is a lot of power in the group discount. The prices for bulk purchasing - and the storage they require - can be difficult for one household to withstand. That's a shame, given that you should be able to source 20% savings on the essentials with relative ease.

If you club together with neighbors to purchase, you share the cost and get all of the convenience. You don't even need to visit one another after the initial purchase if you don't want to. Divide the order into a who-paid-for-what split, and you'll still have taken advantage of this idea.

You Can... Have People To Rely On


When there is severe weather, local news and radio will tell you to check on elderly neighbors to ensure they are safe. How many of us have done it? Not many. One day - whether through disaster or illness - you might need to rely on those close at hand for support. It's worth building those community links. Hopefully you will never need them, but if you do, you'll be glad that they're there.

Don't Lose Money When Moving to a New Home - Read This!


Moving to a new home can be an expensive process. But most people could actually have saved a lot of money had they made sure they’d done a few things before the moving date. Want to know what those things are? Lucky you - they’re listed for you below.

Downsize before you move

Don’t be tempted to put the process off until the last minute. Yes, I know it seems easier to just throw everything into containers and deal with it at your new location. But not only does this usually induce more stress, but it also induces more cost. Let’s face it - you probably don’t need to move everything, do you? You should find time to downsize before the moving day. This will, of course, greatly reduce the amount that you need to move - and the more you have to move, the more you’ll have to pay! It will also make your home more manageable in the meantime.


Be smart about packing

Do you really need to send so much money on all those ultra-strong plastic boxes? Seriously, cardboard boxes are a lot stronger than you may think. Still, you may even fall into the trap of paying more for cardboard boxes than you need to! There are actually loads of places where you can grab yourself some free cardboard boxes. Still, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t invest in some stronger material if you’re dealing with something very heavy or oddly-shaped. If a cardboard box does break and your item is damaged, then the money you saved getting cardboard instead may not seem worth it!

Think about insurance

Insurance is a word that sends alarm bells ringing in the mind of many a penny-saver. It often signifies something that you don’t really need, much in the same way “warranty” often does. But this isn’t really an accurate way of looking at things. Insurance is often very useful when it comes to personal items - and this is especially true when you’re moving. Moving insurance isn’t really as expensive as you may think. Take a look at your options and see if it would be beneficial to you. Because if something does go wrong, you may end up having to pay for replacements!

Work with reputable help

You should alway research every moving company you consider carefully. There are, of course, many movers out there who have great reputations and can be trusted. But there are also people out there with vans who are happy to pose as movers in order to steal your stuff! And if theft isn’t on the cards, then simple ineptitude very well could be. Making sure your items are actually in safe hands is vital if you don’t want expensive mistakes occurring.


Get an accurate estimate

You should know as precisely as you can just how much you’re going to end up paying for the help of the movers. However, you should also understand that most estimates will be non-binding, since there are so many things that could change between the quote and the completion of the move itself. However, as long as you’re as accurate as possible with your information, then the final price shouldn’t stray too far away from the estimate that you’ve been given. Using a budget planner at the beginning of your move may help you keep things on track.


Book things way ahead of time

Yes, we’re still talking about movers. But the actual move itself is where so much of the cost comes in, so it makes sense! You need to understand that most moving companies are extraordinarily busy. While it is possible to book something a few days in advance, you’re probably going to end up paying quite a bit extra for booking something so late. Once you know what day you’re going to move out, get on the phone with a moving company. The earlier you book, the less you’re going to have to pay to book that specific time you need.


Make sure people know you’re moving!

So who exactly needs to know that you’re moving? Your immediate family and friends should probably know, of course. But unless any of them owe you cash, I doubt that not letting them know is going to do you any financial damage. You need to let your bank know that you’re moving. You should also alert the government, especially if you’re moving to a new state. Your bank, insurance companies, credit card companies, and anyone you have a credit agreement with will also need to be informed. Otherwise, you could be hit with fines eventually. And that will certainly do some damage to your finances!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fair Feathered Friends: Why A Bird Might Be The Perfect Pet For You

Most families - wherever they are from - have at least one pet at home. In the main, we're talking ones that bark and miaow. (The pets, that is, not the families. Although you'd be surprised how many people end up "talking" to their pets.) You'll get the occasional group who stray from the beaten track with snakes and lizards, of course. But in the main, we're talking four legs and fur.

Cats and dogs are fantastic, of course. Especially if you have one of each and enjoy watching the dog - a supposed predator to the cat - finding itself on the wrong end of feline mischief. But you could instead - or also - look to feathered friends to brighten up your home. If you're looking for a pet that brings entertainment, beauty, and character, then you can't go far wrong with a bird.

The question then is, of course, what kind? Birds are relatively low-maintenance, as long as you clean out their cage regularly. So it depends on what you really want from a pet.



If You're Not 100% Confident In Your Skills...

People who like birds but aren't completely sure they have the animal handling abilities to keep them may be best served with a budgie or canary. They're inexpensive. They don't require a large amount of equipment.


Despite that, they are a lot of fun to keep. They have plenty of personality and are active birds. A pro tip when picking one out in the store is to choose the one who shows interest in you. These will be the ones who socialize well in your home.

If You Want Something Just Plain Magnificent...

One thing that sets birds apart from our furry friends - apart from the obvious leg discrepancy - is their coloring. Unless you have an unfortunate incident with a child, a paint set, and a dog, fur is almost never blue or green. Pick a parrot, though, and you're in business.


Eclectus parrots have some of the most beguiling coloring of any pet out there. Striking reds and purples are standard in these creatures, and you can find eclectus parrots for sale easily. They enjoy fruit as a meal and are highly sociable. So if you're getting one, why not get two?

If You Want A Talkative Pal…


One area where pet birds ultimately outstrip the furrier kind is in their ability to mimic. (Unless you have a talking cat, in which case guard it with your life!). It makes them highly entertaining companions, and the best for this purpose are Mynah birds. Be warned, it's best to avoid rude words in front of them.



As for the rest of the aspects of owning a pet bird, it's not much more challenging than having a regular pet. Local vets should be familiar with any issues that need addressing. The right foods are available in pet stores and supermarkets. And if you have kids, they will love them - just make sure that they can't easily open the cage!

Monday, December 19, 2016

How To Make Your Home A Lot More Manageable


In today’s modern world, we do it all. Not only are we raising children and working, but we’re also trying to run a home and keep it all together. It can be a lot to manage in one go. But, it’s not impossible. Whether you lead a busy life, or you’re trying to get back on your feet after an illness, it’s always a good idea to seek to make life easier. And who wouldn’t like to make their jobs around the home easier to manage? If you’d like to hurry things along, these hints and tips might just help you out.

Have A System

One of the best ways to make your home life manageable is to have a system in place to get it done. Sometimes, it’s not that easy to stick to a schedule, but by having one in place, you’re more likely to accomplish things than not. So, why not start by working out the different chores that you have. This can include anything around the house, like laundry and preparing meals, to the errands that you have to run on a weekly or monthly basis. Then, you can work them into a system, giving each job it’s own time or day.


Automate Everything

Another idea is to work with an automated system. Smart homes are such an easy and convenient way to get a few things done around the house. It might not seem like much, but between controlling temperatures, switching on lights, opening your garage and operating your entertainment systems, it can all take a lot of processing time to action. Instead, using a home automation system (find out more on YourAutomationHub.com) you can make it all the easier.

Delegate

Next, you might want to think about ways to delegate some of your workloads. It can also be a good idea to team this one up with teaching your family how to care for a house and look after themselves. There are probably some jobs that you can get some of your older children to do. Whether it’s loading the washer dryer, folding laundry or hoovering, there are many things children can learn to do. Alternatively, you could also ask your husband to split some of the chores with you if it makes it easier. There’s no reason why you should be doing everything alone.


Hire Help

You might even find that you want a little more help around the home. If that’s the case, then why not hire some help. You could find a cleaner to come in one a week or whatever your schedule requires. It might just save you a lot of work, especially when your time can be better spent elsewhere.

Cut Down

And finally, although we think that many of the jobs we do are crazy important, they might not be. It is nice to have a system that works and to feel like you’re on top of everything, but sometimes, it’s all just too much. Take a look at the jobs you’re doing and see where you can cut back. It might just save your sanity and give you a lot more time back!

Friday, December 16, 2016

How To Get Back On Your Feet After An Illness


If you’ve suffered from an acute illness, you’ll know just how hard it is to get back into the swing of things. Being unwell can be really draining, so it’s important that you take care of yourself and ease back into everyday life.

Take it easy
It takes time to get back to your previous self, and it isn’t going to happen overnight. You’ll have days that you feel fine, and days where you feel like getting out of bed is akin to climbing Everest. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get back to everything straight away, you don’t want to set your recovery back by overexerting yourself. Take each day as it comes, and don’t expect too much for yourself.

Set goals
If you try to get back to normal in one day, you’ll end up setting your recovery back. Set goals throughout the next weeks or months for where you would like to be, including when you would like to return to work, start up your hobbies, and restart your exercise regime. This gives you something to work towards but you need to make sure the goals you set are realistic. Just remember, if you miss a goal, don’t take it to heart - sometimes your recovery won’t be as slick as you hoped, just move the goal back a short amount of time and keep going.

Consider your treatment plan
Make sure your treatment is working for you. Have regular meetings with health professionals, and make sure you seek a second opinion if you’ve got queries - you know how your body feels better than anyone else. If you have any concerns about the way you’ve been treated, it’s important that you speak to medical malpractice lawyers as soon as you can.

Eat well and exercise lightly
During recovery, it’s important to ensure you’re taking in enough vitamins and minerals, so your body is in as good a condition as possible. Your immune system needs these nutrients to be strong enough to fight bugs, especially as your illness may have compromised this. Make sure you stay hydrated too - you’ll be losing water more quickly if you’re in a warm room a lot.

Get outside
Without pushing yourself too hard, it’s important that you find the time and energy to get outside, even just for a few minutes. The fresh air will help you clear your head, and the light exercise will make you feel more positive and able to take on the challenges you face. Even if it’s just a short walk around the block, it’s better to let your heart rate go up and feel the sun on your skin, than just stay cooped up inside. Only try to do as much as you feel able, though. Don’t push yourself too far. If it’s easier, set up a chair on the porch and rest outside for short periods, taking care to ensure you’re not over exerting yourself.

Just remember, take it easy, don’t rush yourself, but try to keep your body healthy with good food and light exercise, and you’ll make it eventually.