When You’re Feeling Stretched Thin it is Time to Take a Moment for Yourself

Appointments, practice, carpooling, shopping, reminding, cooking, cleaning, consoling – a mother’s work is never done. Sure, it’s rewarding to finally hear a “Thanks, Mom!” or see your little ones grow into full-fledged individuals ready to slowly take responsibility for their daily lives.

Take a Moment for Yourself

A REAL Break 

But in the meantime, start thinking about your birthday, or Mother’s Day. Just a few times a year when you can guiltlessly ask for a little time off from the family grind. Such occasions are the perfect time to treat yourself to a short vacation.

But we’re not talking about an evening off to see a movie with your friends. Rather, this would be the perfect time to catch up with old college friends, or other moms who could really use some respite, and whisk yourselves away to a new destination where you can unwind.

Here are four U.S. cities you should consider, and why they’re great mom getaways. 

  1. Portland

Nature, art, wine, hotels – Portland is a real up-and-comer in terms of where to go next. If cityscapes aren’t your bag, you and your friends can take a daylong wine tour through the Willamette Valley. You’ll be picked up in the city and given a scenic sipping tour with exceptional views of the Cascade mountains.

There are also a number of boutique hotels who are known for rare pleasures like tea services, as well as rooftop bars, theaters, and more. 

  1. Dallas

Got a little money to burn? Here’s a secret: Dallas, Texas is a shopaholics’ mecca. Book your suite at a Marriott and Uber down to the flagship Neiman Marcus on main Street. The historic building offers personal stylists, trunk shows, an espresso bar, and salon services.

From there, you can visit Highland Park Village, Dallas’ premier shopping plaza with stores like Chanel, Etro, Diane von Furstenberg, Hermes, and Dior. 

  1. New Orleans

If you and your girls really want to cut loose, you might be considering NYC. However, it can be a little tough to nail down what you’re going to get into without serious planning or prior experience. Instead, book a trip to New Orleans and get settled on Bourbon Street. Live music, dancing, drinks, tons of great food – you’ll be talking about it for years to come. 

  1. Charleston

The best word to describe Charleston, South Carolina would be “charming”. You and your best friends can stay at Zero George, a historic, luxurious boutique hotel notorious for its exceptional cuisine – there’s even a cooking school!

Stunning outdoor piazzas, a lush courtyard, beautiful suites, and unparalleled concierge service that will ensure your entire trip is a hit with the whole crew.

Sounds so good that you won’t want to leave, right? Well, one of the most unexpected benefits of taking this time for yourself is that when you return, you’ll feel like a whole new person. Distressed, recollected, and renewed, you’ll get back to life the way it once was – except better!

Tech Hobbies To Encourage In Your Kids

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Technology gets a lot of stick when it comes to its relationship with your kids. OK, so sure, there are some bad points to consider, but if you are a Luddite in these modern times, I’m afraid to say there’s no doubt your children are missing out. Technology gives them a whole bunch of fantastic opportunities, which you or I may not have had when we were kids. Let’s take a closer look at the sort of thing you can encourage – all thanks to the wonders of modern tech.

Coding

First and foremost, if your kids get enthused by coding, who knows where it might take them? The world is literally their oyster if you can get them excited to learn the fundamentals of coding and create incredible apps, systems, games or websites, and the earlier they start, the better. There’s a massive push toward getting kids into technology, and in particular, lots of options that will show them the ropes. Pick up a Raspberry Pi, and get them into services like Tynker or Kodable.

Music

It wasn’t too long ago that kids had a choice between a traditional instrument or nothing when it came to learning music. But these days, it’s another story entirely. Every iPad comes equipped with the brilliant Garage Band, where your kids can create tunes of any kind. There are smartphone apps, too, like Crayola DJ and Sesame Street Make Music. And once they have made their first album, you can even use a professional audio CD service, order in bulk, and send everyone in the family a copy – or two. There’s never been a better time for kids to get involved in music, and who knows – perhaps your little one will end up being the next Mozart?

Gaming

Too much gaming can be damaging for little ones, of course. But there are benefits to gaming, as well. Not only will children start developing skills like coordination and reflexes, but gaming is problem-solving in its most basic form. And if they are good at what they do, they could even compete – some of the pro-gamers around these days earn an astonishing amount of money.

TV

OK, so no more than two hours of TV on any given day – that’s a given. But when your kids are sat in front of the box, what are they actually watching? Shows like Bill Nye, the Science Guy are well worth watching, and you have the likes of Horrible Histories for those that prefer culture over physics. Common Sense Media have a formidable list of TV shows that will ensure your child is actually learning something, rather than just be a passive participant of the technology they use.

Art

Finally, let’s move back to your smartphone or tablet. If your child has a passion for drawing or painting – and which children don’t! – there are plenty of options when it comes to tech. Color & Draw For Kids, Morton Subotnick’s Pitch Painter, and Doodlecast for Kids are all excellent outlets for budding Monets.

Any more tech hobby ideas for kids? Let everyone know about them in the comments!

 

The Importance Of Protecting Your Home From The Elements

The Importance Of Protecting Your Home From The Elements

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What is the reason you own a home for? Is it to provide loving experiences, shared by all your family members? Is it so you have a place to house all of your belongings? Is it so you have a place to lay your head at night, so you can comfortably sleep and begin the next day refreshed? Or, is it to protect yourself as a shelter from the elements outside?

Of course, it is likely all of these reasons in one, but there’s no denying that last part is the one with the most immediate priority. Our homes are often so beautiful and refined compared to the shelters crafted by humans in the far past that we forget their primary and sole purpose – to keep us safe from an unpredictable outside world. Not only do the walls help keep us in, but they help keep everything else outside.

For that reason, protecting your home from the elements should be carefully considered, and not taken for granted. Of course, no amount of preparation can prepare your home for the unfortunate issues which took place in Florida and the Caribbean in recent weeks, but a little foresight can surely help some of the most commonly insidious and preventable issues from arising.

Here are some tips for the budding homeowner:

Water

Water can enter your property in many different ways. From leaky taps to flooding, to appliances going haywire, sometimes we are dumped with a little more moisture than we’d like. Solving this can be an issue, especially when you don’t have the tools to best remove the issue. For this reason, it’s best to use a sump pump such as those found here https://www.crawlspacecharlotte.com/sump-pump/, which installed under the foundations, can give you a perfect draining solution to solve the problems in a matter of minutes.

However, water damage doesn’t always enter the bottom or basement floors of your property. A leaky roof or a poorly insulated window can both contribute to letting the rain in, especially when it’s falling with some intensity. It’s important to be wise about the solution you use here. Applying better and more insulated roofing felt in the property, as well as using silicon applications to overcome any insulation issues is sometimes the best place to start. 

Damp

Damp can arise similarly. Cold air outside can lead to excess moisture inside, and if this doesn’t have any way to escape the heat simply piles upon your walls, window fixtures and potentially electrical implements as moist mould. This can grow over time and lead to spores which can, in their worst estimation, make you very sick. Damp prevention is usually easy, but it will require a stern eye, good ventilation, and a solid understanding of the fault points that are most likely to carry its symptoms around your home. This is more a reaction to an outside element than one inside, but the validity of preparing for it is no less important.

With these simple tips, you are sure to have a leg up in repairing the potential damage of your home, and preserving its value and safety.

 

 

3 Bulk Purchases Necessary For Any Family Holiday

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When you travel as a family, there’s always a lot of luggage involved. There are so many supplies for you and the kids, it can feel like you have to start your packing at least a month before your departure date. As a result, the idea of bulk numbers of items probably isn’t welcome.

Nevertheless, there are a few items it’s worth having a plentiful supply of. Make room for multiples of these three key holiday items in your suitcase, and your next family holiday will be the better for it.

  1. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must for any holiday; in fact, it’s pretty much a must all year round. While you can buy sunscreen abroad, it might not be of the quality that you would usually expect.

It therefore makes sense, if you find a brand that you’re happy with, to stock up on it before you go. One bottle per person per week of the holiday should be sufficient, but it makes sense to add a couple of spares in just in case. It’s also best to buy sunscreen that has to be applied by hand rather than sprayed; studies are showing that spray sunscreen might not provide a thick enough layer to actually provide any protection.

  1. Swimming Caps

When you’re on holiday, regular dips in and out of the pool are essential — for the whole family. The pool is a source of fun for kids, as well as being the perfect way to cool down for everyone.

However, constantly being exposed to endless amounts of chlorine can be cause difficulties, especially for the sensitive skin on children’s scalps. A swimming cap is therefore a necessity, but there’s a problem: kids can lose things. Most parents will be familiar with their children using an item once, putting it down, and then forgetting where they put it.

A good stock of swimming caps brought prior to your flight is therefore essential. Though you can buy while you’re away, the quality might be questionable. This is definitely not something you want to risk, so to guarantee you’re buying good products, buy before you leave. If you struggle to find suppliers with enough stock for the whole family, there’s plenty of tips on that right here, so you can be sure there’s always enough to go around. It pays to be prepared!

  1. Band-Aids

A lot of the activities that kids tend to want to do on holiday require a high amount of physical activity. Whether it’s bouncing on the trampolines in your resort or going banana-boating out at sea, the potential for nicks and scrapes is obvious. So you can patch them up in double-quick time, take along a wide selection of Band-Aids and sticking plasters. With any wounds immediately taken care of, they can get back to doing what they should be doing — having fun!

Bulk buying for a holiday may sound like an odd concept, but as the above show, sometimes there really is strength in numbers.

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3 Tricks For Weaning Off The Pacifier

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One of the best comforts for a tiny, crying baby is a pacifier. Baby needs comfort, Mom needs sleep; it’s a no brainer that a pacifier is probably one of the best tools in the parental box of tricks. It’s your child’s first love and as with anything, breaking up is hard to do! The pacifier has provided you with hours of quiet while the baby soothes themselves into naptime oblivion, but the time is coming to start weaning off that comfort. Some like to wait until a child is starting to talk before weaning, which is a good idea!

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Teething is a huge reason a lot of parents turn to a pacifier. Not only does baby have something to hold onto and chew, they have a soother with them to rely on when the pain gets a little too much. There’s no true ‘right time’ to start weaning off the pacifier, as the time is going to be individual to each child. However, you can have a chat with your kids dentist and talk about when a pacifier starts to impact their dental care and growth and make a decision based on that. If you want to get your child off the pacifier earlier, then we’ve got some tricks that will help you to make the transition a little easier for you and for baby!

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Timing It Right. Did you know that a pacifier can help to prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)? At night, babies often forget to stop breathing and the presence of a pacifier in their mouth can remind their brain to breathe as the tongue relaxes and triggers a suckling reflex. Try not to wean off the pacifier too early, and avoid trying to wean during big life changes.

Cold Turkey? Perhaps Not. Every parent knows their child individually, so you will know when your child is ready to let go. Sometimes, you can tell they are ready before they can tell you, so even though it may make for a rough couple of days, you can take the pacifier away and endure the crying. The best idea is from around 12months, start refusing the pacifier in the day time unless for a nap. Distraction techniques with toys work wonders here! Once they’re used to only using it for nap time, start to wean off the night usage by using….

The Dummy Fairy! Children respond well to fairy tales, especially ones that involve a gift. It may be bribery for some, but who can say they’ve avoided parenthood without bribery?? About a month before the pacifier is permanently in the trash, start talking about a fairy who brings a present and takes the pacifiers to the new baby. The night before, leave the pacifier in an envelope and swap it for a small gift for being such a big girl or boy.

Getting your child on board to give up a pacifier doesn’t have to be a difficult feat. It means you have to be strong and stay calm and they will emulate that behaviour. Good luck!

 

 

FOMO – Preventing the Fear Of Missing Out : The Family Edition

Do you ever get that feeling that you know you could be doing fun, exciting, or educational activities with the family, but you just not? Well, that’s FOMO or the fear of missing out. In this post, we will discuss the reasons you may not be doing all you can, as well as addressing this issue of a balanced family life. As it’s impossible to be on the go all the time, as you would all just end up exhausted!

Are you missing out because of tiredness?

Firstly, let’s look at one of the key barriers that many people with young families come across that can cause them to miss out on opportunities that come their way – exhaustion. As you will know if you have a family of your own the process of being pregnant, giving birth, nursing a baby and looking after a child as they grow up can be pretty intense. It involves a lot of emotional changes, physical changes, sleepless nights and worries. This quite understandably can make you a pretty tired person. A person that may be less likely try new and challenging things, especially when they have the kids in tow.

Now, what it is vital to grasp is that this is totally understandable and you don’t need to punish yourself for reducing the demands on your and your family when they are young. In fact, it’s great to be balanced, to know your own and the kid’s limits, as this can help you enjoy the things you do even more.

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However, to be truly balanced you need to have some time where you seize the day and go on trips, see shows, or visit new places as a family. Yes, it can be tough having to pack up everything you need along with the buggy for a day out, but it is truly worth it. Just make sure you are doing because you want to and it’s what the kids want, not just because you feel like you should go. As nobody gets to dictate your schedule but you, and if things are causing you or the kids to be too tired, it may not be worth the trade off.

Are you missing out because of money?

It’s a very different situation though when the thing that is preventing you doing what you want with the family is a lack of money, and it can be truly frustrating. After all, there is nothing worse than being desperate to see a particular show or visit a certain attraction when they have a special event running and just not being able to scrape the pennies together to do so.

So what can you do in this sort of situation? Well first of all, if it’s a once in a lifetime experience like Disneyland Paris at Halloween or the kid’s favourite cartoon characters in live performance, then it may be worth looking finding the funds elsewhere such as increasing your overdraft with the bank or getting a personal loan. Luckily, you can easily get personal loans even with poor credit now. Allowing you to pay back the cost of the activity bit by bit over a longer period. Making it a much more manageable option for a tight budget.

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The second solution may is to scour the Internet for similar events,  and activities that are on offer. Remember there are plenty of discount voucher sites that provide some great family fun experiences for a hugely reduced cost. Meaning it’s easy to find something that is more likely to fit in with your budgetary restraints and still provide a fantastic day out for you and the kids. So keeping that FOMO at bay.

Are you missing out because of transport?

Lastly, another factor that could be driving your FOMO is that you don’t have access to transport to get you to all the places that you want to go. This can be a really tough one because there are so many places in the UK that are super hard to get to if you don’t drive or currently don’t have a car like theme parks, beaches, and country parks.

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Although, to get around this some families book places on a day trips by coach, or even used the rail system to get there. Although this can be both pricey and hassle filled. Especially if you have little ones to entertain during the journey. Meaning to prevent FOMO becoming a fixture in your life it’s probably time to bite the bullet and get a family car.

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Should You Let Your Kids Choose Their Own Clothes?

Every parent has had an argument with their kids about their clothes. There are always going to be clashes because young children don’t always have practicality in mind. They’ll also want you to buy them expensive designer clothes but when they come home covered in mud after a week, it’s not sustainable. While you shouldn’t be letting them do whatever they like, giving them a bit more freedom can stop a lot of the tension and help you to maintain a better relationship with them. Having said that, you need to go about it the right way.

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Teach Them The Value Of Money

When you buy your kids an expensive item of clothing, they don’t always understand the reality of that. They aren’t going to be thinking about how much of the weekly budget you’ve spent on it, so when they go outside and get it dirty, they don’t realize the impact. If you teach them the value of money and help them to understand that those designer clothes cost a lot of money. That means when you buy them nice clothes from places like miki miette, they’ll understand the consequences if they mess them up. Buying them a few expensive pieces for them is fine, but they need alternatives as well.

Give Them Options

Young children love to feel like they’re in control and choosing their own clothes is one of the most common ways that they express this. If you force an outfit on them, they’ll feel like they don’t have any say over it and you could end up with a tantrum on your hands. A clever way of getting around this is to pick out a few different outfits that you think are ok and then let them choose which one they want to wear. They’ll think that they are making all of the decisions but really, you’ll still be picking out their clothes.

Let Them Develop Taste

Another way to give your child more control over the situation without letting them run wild is to ask them what they do and don’t like. Take notice of which clothes they are picking more often and which ones they don’t like to wear. Catering to their likes and dislikes shows them that you value their opinion and makes them feel more grown up, which will make them happier.

Buy Cheap Stuff

Kids grow quickly and they get messy a lot so their clothes aren’t going to last that long. If you’re buying expensive stuff every time, your spending will soon get out of control. You should buy your kids a few pricier items but all of their day to day clothes that they wear when they’re out playing should be cheaper stuff. That way it doesn’t matter too much when it gets ruined. Make sure you aren’t buying too much either.

These simple tricks should help you to take all of the stress out of the morning routine and keep your kids happy. It’ll also help you to save some serious money when you’re out shopping.

Time To Take Control: What Can Be Forgotten Now You Are A Parent

Getting that positive pregnancy test, welcoming a newborn into your life, and becoming a parent for the first, second, third or whatever time is always a remarkable and amazing experience. You become entered into a bubble, a special club, that only you and other parents understand. The sleep deprivation, the overwhelming feeling of love, and the fact you no longer mind the look and smell of dirty nappies. However, because we can become embroiled in the world of parenthood, there can be a few things we simply forget to do or even think about. Even though they may impact our family in the future. I thought I would share with you what some of them are.

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Taking out life insurance

While it may feel inappropriate to think about a time when you might be here if we are truthful with ourselves not one of us really knows what the future holds. The last thing any of us wants to do is to leave our partner or our children struggling to pick up the pieces. This is when it might be worth considering a life insurance policy. A life insurance will pay out a lump sum if you are no longer around, some people tend to take it out to cover a mortgage and any debts you may have. Even covering a loss of income, etc. Some people may assume that life insurance doesn’t cover you long term, but this is when companies like Whole Life Insurance comes in. You may be wondering what is whole life insurance, so head to the website to find out more about eligibility criteria. You may be surprised to realize that even with the biggest of issues in your life, you can still secure your family’s future.

Saving for your children’s future

It is hard to think about years ahead when right now you can’t see past tomorrow due to lack of sleep. However, these children grow up so fast and before you can even blink college and university will be here. This is why it is so important for parents to start saving for this as early as possible. It isn’t just about education either. You may want to have money set aside for their first car, even to help them get on the property ladder. We all know how hard that is for young adults these days. It could be a small amount each week, saving any birthday or Christmas money they receive in a bank account, but over the weeks, months, and years those small amounts can really add up.

Securing your own future

Finally, we can often forget about ourselves and our futures, so it’s just as important to have general savings to cover family expenses, trips, and even to help with your future finances when retirement comes along. You also might want to think about getting a will in place now that you are a parent. Every one of us has assets, be that of monetary or sentimental value, and it’s important that should anything happen, that your children and family know what your wishes and intentions are.

I hope this helps you take back some control of the future.