MommyMandy l Texas Mom Blog

Give A Gift That Keeps On Giving This Christmas

When it comes to buying presents every year, it can be hard to find inspiration for thoughtful gifts that are going to continuously bring joy to your loved ones throughout the following year – not just for a couple of minutes after ripping off the festive paper. It can be easy to par off soaps and spice racks on your surrounding family, but when it’s the thought that counts, you can be left feeling like your gift giving adrenaline is not quite hitting the maximum line.

Here are some ideas for gifts that will keep on giving through the whole new year, and into the future so that you can get the most out of your season of goodwill and cheer.


Animal Sponsorship

If you have an animal lover in your life, it may be an idea to take out a year’s charity sponsorship for them on their favourite animal. Charities like WWF have lots of options to choose from and specialize in repopulating endangered species. Your loved one will get constant updates on the animal that they are supporting, and how the money from the gift has been used to help the animal live a better life. There’s also sometimes the opportunity to go and meet the animal that has been sponsored, so you and your loved one get to see first hand how the sponsorship is benefitting the animal and their species. It’s usually an inexpensive monthly direct debit that, in total, will probably equal the price of a typical Christmas present. However, instead of collecting dust, it will be helping to increase the life quality of a specially chosen animal.  


Festive Memories

They say a picture holds a thousand words, but it can also hold a thousand memories and happy family moments. Collecting yours and a loved one’s favourite photos together and tastefully displaying them in a beautifully designed photo album is a great way of giving a personal and carefully thought about gift. There are also companies like Krystil McDowall Photography that will capture family photos in natural ways that portray the love and bond between your chosen loved ones. You could hire a photographer for your Boxing Day festivities or New Year’s Eve celebrations to capture the laughs and special moments of the day. These photos can then be used to create a photo wall for your loved one’s family room that will be a constant reminder of happy times or can be framed for display in any room of the house.


Beauty Subscription Box  

For the fellow yummy mummy, super woman and hard-working sister or friend in your life, it may be time to remind them to take some time for themselves once in awhile. A beauty subscription box is usually inexpensive and turns up monthly in your mailbox. The quality of the items and the price they add up to always exceeds the amount of the monthly payment by far, and it gives your loved one an excuse to take a few hours to pamper themselves.


Hopefully, this gave you some inspiration for your gift giving this year. Have a lovely holiday season!

How to create the perfect home office

Ah, working from home. For many, that’s the dream. Or it would just be a lot easier on your home life without having to commute and arrange childcare! But creating a working environment in your home environment can be quite difficult…for many working parents, it’s difficult to separate the two, especially if you have young children at home.

So, it’s important to recognise that a specific space dedicated to your work is probably the best way to go. Here you’ll find a few ideas to help get you started and your productivity through the roof!

Choose your place

Whether you have a shed or a spare room, a cupboard or a corner it’s important to choose somewhere in your home and stick to it. Once you’ve found the ideal place, then make sure that everyone knows it. The last thing you need is your child leaving their toys all over your desk or your partner leaving their pyjamas on the back of your office chair…Office door signs by Smartsign is a suitable place to find some inspiration!

Invest in a good chair

I know what you’re thinking! I’ll be too busy working to even worry about what kind of chair I’m sitting on. But that’s exactly the point. If you’re going to sat in the same position for hours on end, then it really is worth investing in good seating support.

If you want to avoid back pain in your current and your later life, then it is medically, recommended that you find a suitable chair to work in.

Invest in good lighting

We often neglect the lighting. Is your desk lamp too bright or too dim to work under, effectively? Are you getting sufficient natural light, the best kind, from the Sun? To have that, make sure your designated workspace has enough windows or openings to let the sunlight in.

Research has shown that people feel lethargic during winter months due to the lack of exposure to sunlight. The exposure can boost your mood and improve your sleep patterns. In times of unfavourable weather or long working nights, it is essential to get some artificial lighting in your workspace.

Try to get multiple light fixtures, and at least a desk lamp with direct exposure over your desk, which will facilitate the reading, writing or sketching of documents. If you’re working mostly at your computer – ensure that the brightness level of the screen is ideal for you.

Keep your tech up to date and reliable

Remember, working from home no longer means you have an IT team at your disposal like your friends do in their office! So, it’s vital that all your equipment has taken on all the latest updates and has the newest security and anti-virus software installed.

Remember, it pays to be organised and keep things simple and efficient. The more things you have the harder it is to keep control of all of them. So, make sure everything is clean and minimal

Three mistakes parents can make when it comes to early childhood education

Children are not born with a set of instructions tattooed on their derriere. As parents, we are bound to make mistakes and not use the best parenting strategies all the time. This is especially the case during the terrible twos and terrible threes. As our toddlers are discovering the frustrations of living in society, realizing that the world does not revolve around their little person; we, as parents, are exhausted and sleep deprived, which often leads us toward ineffective parenting techniques. Here are three famous strategies that we should simply avoid as they are utterly pointless.


1 – talking too much. Whether we do it when we try to explain to our tantrum-throwing toddler why he must sit on a time out or when we give multiple warnings before intervening, our mouth gets us in trouble. Perceived as nagging, incessant talking diminishes the importance of the message we wish to transmit to our child. When in doubt, the golden rule is to limit verbal input. Clearly state the expectation, in a few simple words, and walk away. It is not easy to do, but it will pay off. In the long run, this will help your child pay attention to what adults say, the first time around.


2 – letting the child decide. There are so many decisions to make in a day that sometimes it is tempting to let the child decide. Although this is fine in some occasions like what book to read at bedtime or what puzzle to complete, a child should not get to choose what is for dinner, when is bedtime or when he is ready to come out of a time out. As a parent, it is our job to set limits and deciding for our child is part of the deal. A child who has too many options will become anxious at too many possibilities or will believe that the world will always comply with his needs and desires. Either way, too much freedom will not be good for your child.


3 – worrying too much about school readiness. Your child will be in school for fifteen years, let him or her enjoy the few years of unstructured play he has left. Outdoor time, splashing in puddles or making mud cakes are valuable learning activities that will not come back. Don’t try to make your child grow up too fast because once childhood is over, it is over. Your child will have plenty of time to learn how to hold a pencil or to colour within the lines. For the time being, let him play.


Finally, when you think you need a break from your little treasure, consider taking a day off and sending him to child care campsite. Your child will benefit from interacting with other children in a semi-structured environment, learning amazing concepts like sharing and waiting your turn. In the meantime, you get to pamper yourself for a change. Why not go to the book store and browse some adult literature for a change?

How to Move Your Business to the USA

Moving your business operations to the United States comes with several benefits. The new tax regulations on both federal and state levels are more appealing to businesses and startups. There are also a lot of incentives, particularly in states such as Florida and Delaware.

The actual process of moving your business to the USA is also a lot easier than you think. There are a number of steps to complete in order to move your business operations to the US and we are going to review those steps in this article.

Visa and Immigration Rules

The most rewarding immigration rule for business owners is known as the EB5 immigration. The rule states that those with at least $500,000 to $1,000,000 for business purposes can acquire an EB5 Green Card through a relatively easy process. You can also rely on a law firm in the US – one specializing in EB5 petitions – to ensure all documents are filed correctly, such as Hirson Immigration attorneys.

You can also apply for an E-2 Visa if you have $50,000 to $250,000 for business purposes. The immigration law requires you to have a clear business plan that will bring benefits to US citizens and the USA as a country.

If you want to become a permanent US citizen once the business is operational, the process is even simpler. There are certain requirements to meet, but they are very manageable and you’ll be able to get your US citizenship in no time. It is also worth noting that you can own a US-based company as a foreigner without a problem, although you still have to file for the correct visa to enter the country as an investor.

Get to Know the Environment

Starting a business in the US is very similar to starting a business in other countries. You still have to determine the right location for your business, do research on market conditions and local challenges, and do proper budgeting before actually starting the business. The internet is once again your friend when it comes to getting these resources.

Some areas are filled with businesses in the same industry. San Francisco is home to many tech companies. The Research Triangle in North Carolina is where research and pharmaceutical companies are mostly based. New York – the Manhattan area in particular – is the perfect home for finance-based businesses.

Common Challenges and Overcoming Them

Getting the business relocated to the United States is just the first step. Once the business is operational, you still have to deal with the day-to-day operational challenges, challenges in marketing and sales, and of course the task of building a strong team to support the growth of the business.

Being based in the US gives you plenty of leverage. There are more skilled workers on the market than ever before. The economy is also growing at a steady pace and presents plenty of opportunities for new businesses to grab.

All of these facts make relocating your business to the United States a good decision in today’s economy. Now that you know what it takes to achieve a successful relocation, it is time to make the decision to move to the US and take that first step.

What Attracts Flies to Your Home

Having an uncontrolled fly population in the house can be a maddening problem. Dealing with house flies is common enough and not too surprising that you get one or two inside with you at any given time. When there are too many of them, it’s time to get serious about fly control and prevention can be the first step.


Exposed Garbage

Here is the biggest fly attractant in most homes: garbage. As a prime food source, unsealed containers of kitchen garbage will certainly draw flies. A loose lid or a folded over top of a bag isn’t good enough. If you have garbage in the house, and most people do, you need to have a trash container with a snug and fitted lid. Getting it out of the house into a larger bin in the garage or yard should be done frequently as well.


Exposed Food

This is just an extension of the last point, but is often overlooked because we associate flies with garbage rather than fresh food. Leftovers waiting on the counter, open boxes of cereal, or even a decorative bowl of fruit are all little buffets for passing flies.


Store all your food in closed containers, and ditch the display fruit until the problem has been resolved. Plastic fruit may be a better choice.


Dead Animals

While it’s fairly unlikely that you have a dead animal in the middle of your living room, there is a chance that there is a dead mouse or vole somewhere in the basement or inside the walls. When you’ve already ruled out problems with food and garbage, this is something that may bear a little more investigation. You won’t be able to do much about a dead mouse in the wall, but at least you’ll know what’s drawing the flies. Eventually, the body with dry out and the problem will flies will cease.


Heat and Light

This is a little less tangible, but can be the source of your fly issues if you tend to have them buzzing around in the windows. When the weather is cold outside but the bright sunlight heats up a window (often in the early spring), the unexpected source of heat draws in the flies.


Open Entry Points

This may not directly attract the flies to your home, but this is the main way they are getting in. Windows should have well-fitting screens, vents should be covered with screen as well, and all seals on windows and doors should be tight. Try not to leave doors wide open for too long as you are coming and going from the house.


Get Rid of Them

Even if you tackle all the things that attracted them into your house in the first place, you still need to deal with the ones now living with you. Without a food source, they can eventually die off. If you would rather not wait, you can get an indoor “bug zapper” unit, call an exterminator or try those sticky strips that go in the windows to trap them. This last option works especially well if you are dealing with warmth-seeking flies clustering in the windows.


Tips to Help a Mother Win Custody of a Child


Many women assume that they will get custodian rights over minor children after their divorce. It is not always the case though. The courts today avoid gender discrimination when it comes to child custody, and many fathers now also vigorously fight to win custodial rights over kids. If you are a female parent and child custody has become a battle, it is important to keep a few important things in mind to help turn the verdict in your favor.


Understand the Law

Before going any further, it is important to familiarize yourself with the law prevailing in your state. Get more information about what different criteria the judge will be looking at to make a decision. They will consider many factors to decide if you or your ex-husband would make the better parent.


In some states, courts have default custody arrangements that they use in all the cases, unless the family’s situation demands different arrangements. See what will or will not work in your favor. Be ready to convince the judge if your atypical situation needs a rather customized plan. Try to connect your arguments to your child’s best interests to help convince the court to give the verdict in your favor.


Arrange the Proof

Keep in mind that it is usually not enough to have winning arguments because the court will never make a decision without proof. You can collect records to show that your kids are finding it difficult to adjust with their father or finding the new environment less comfortable. Records that would highlight odd behavior by your spouse would also help. Consider maintaining a journal of all these incidents, so you could remember everything at your next court hearing. Similarly, you should be ready to go the extra mile to find evidence like photographs, third-party testimony, or documents to prove that your spouse’s apartment is not safe for your kids.


Present Yourself in a Positive Light

Keep in mind that you will not be able to win the custody of your child if you cannot provide a living environment that is safe and in best interests of your child. Similarly, if you are dating someone while fighting for the custody of your child, this will have a negative effect on your case because it shows that you are spending time with someone else instead of spending it with your child.


Do Not Denigrate Your Ex-Husband

You should be very careful about how you talk about your ex-husband in front of your child. This gives the impression that you are not willing to work with your ex-husband. The court does not like when you try to degrade your child’s father. Be sure to keep your child out of adult affairs. Forcing your child to take sides is not a great idea because this may alienate them from one parent but may also make them resentful toward the other. So, avoid it completely!


Keep these important tips in mind to get good results, but here are some other quick tips to help make it easier to win custody of a child:


  • Do not waste any time to seek legal assistance and work with an attorney early in the case.
  • Practice special care regarding documented communication with your ex-husband because he can use emails and messages to influence the case.
  • Work with an attorney to understand your options and do not let the father bully you into doing something you do not believe is right.
  • Seek legal assistance immediately when the father wants you to move out. You have your options even if you live in his house.
  • Consider seeking temporary support if the father has moved out and you are financially unable to pay your mortgage, etc. Spousal support and child support will help but be sure to know your rights here.


Understand that you can win the custody of your child only when you can make the court believe that you are emotionally and mentally strong enough to handle the situation and can provide a safe and comfortable environment for your child to live.

Special Thanks to Kathy for providing valuable inputs on Family Law & especially Child Custody & Support. Feel free to direct your queries regarding Child Custody to Kathy who’s one of the Famous Family Lawyer In Central Coast Area.

Last Minute Cranberry Sauce

Looking for a really tasty and easy Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving? We have one that is fool proof! The Sunkist cransations Cranberries are great to have on hand, they come in snack packs that you can create whatever you want with them. Snack on them or make a dish.

Here is my super easy Cranberry sauce.



mix all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low until cranberries start to soften.

*A product was provided.

DIY Tips For How To Install Home Security Lights

Crime rates are on the increase and even if you live in a safe neighborhood it can be a good idea to take a few precautions. One of the easiest things you can do is install home security lights.

This will provide you with the light to see what is happening if there are issues outside your home. More importantly it will be a valid deterrent to anything thinking of approaching your home with negative intentions.

If you are installing the home security lights from scratch you may not have an open circuit that you can connect into. If you need to connect to the fuse box it is advisable to contact a local electrician who will be able to assist you with the most dangerous part of the installation.

If you already have outside lights fitted then the procedure is actually very simple:

  • Turn the power off to your outside lighting circuit. If you are in any doubt shut all the power off.
  • Check the outside light, it shouldn’t come on.
  • You can then remove the bulb and unscrew the fastenings holding the light to the wall.
  • Pull the light fitting gently forward. You should see either two wires connected to the light fitting or four.
  • Test the wires to ensure they are not live before loosening the screws and removing the wires.
  • The old light fitting can now be discarded.
  • Offer the new light, with inbuilt sensor to the mounting spot and connect the wires. Keep them connected in exactly the same way as you removed them.
  • Once they are securely connected push the cable gently back into the wall and screw the light in place.
  • Set the sensor switch to on and the timer function, if fitted.
  • Add a fresh bulb
  • Turn the power back on
  • Test the light. To do this you will need to wave your hand in front of the sensor and see how long the light stays on for. You can adjust the sensors to make sure it covers the area you need it to.

Congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Extend the Circuit

It is possible to extend this circuit and have extra security lights in your yard. For this you will need to connect a secondary cable to the back of the security light. Make sure you match the colors up.

The cable will need to be run inside conduit round to the next light fitting. You can continue on from here to another light if required but you must verify the number of lights on your circuit. There is a limit!


Adding the New Circuit

As mentioned if the circuit is new then you will need to run a cable from the first light through to your fuse box. This can be difficult inside your home as you will want to keep it hidden. You may need to chase it into the walls or you may prefer to pay the local electrician to do this as they will have to make the connection to your fuse box for you.






4 Ways To Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

photo credit: Kaleen F.

photo credit: Kaleen F.


Everyone knows about outdoor air pollution, smog, ozone, or haze in the air, especially during warm weather. But what about indoor air pollution? Believe it or not, the indoor air in our homes holds more pollutants and toxins than the outdoors. Here are several easy and inexpensive tips to clean the air at home.

Buy Some Plants

Many common indoor plants remove toxins from the air. For the most benefit, place at least one plant per 100 square feet of space. The best plants for air cleaning include the bamboo palm, Boston fern, and the Spider plant. English ivy and Peace lilies also clear out toxins, but be careful. Those plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. And if you own outdoor pets, bathe them often.

Take Off Your Shoes

Many pollutants enter your home on the bottom of shoes. Dirt, dust, pollen, and chemicals attach to the soles of your shoe. When you enter your home, you track those things in with you.  Invest in a good quality welcome mat for any doors leading outside so people wipe their feet. If you have a front or back porch, leave your shoes outside. If not, place shoes right inside the door. It’s a good idea to keep extra slippers or socks by the door to encourage shoe removal.

Be Aware of Fragrance

Those pleasant smelling air fresheners, laundry supplies, hairspray, and other scented items are very dangerous. They contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) not shown on the labels. Any product using the word fragrance has unlisted chemicals. Under the law, the composition of a fragrance is a trade secret, and therefore, companies do not divulge the ingredients. Some plug-in air fresheners use 20 different VOCs, including several regulated as toxic under FDA laws.

Find More Solutions

Opening the windows helps keep air circulating in your home and helps rid the air of toxins.  Vacuum, dust, and mop several times each week. Use microfiber cloths and mops because they capture more dust and do not need cleaning products. Just use a little water, or for heavy cleaning, use water with vinegar, lemon, or baking powder.

Also, plan on having your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned once or twice a year. Dust and bacteria spores love hiding in carpet and furniture made with fabric. Get in the habit of changing your bedding weekly. No matter how meticulously you clean your home, dust mites and other allergens make their way into every home. Wash all your linens in hot water and dry on the highest heat setting.

If you or your family suffer from asthma or severe allergies, think about buying an air purifier. The small desktop purifiers are only effective in very small areas. Instead, purchase a portable air purifier, or if you can afford it, a whole house system. And always use a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Even the best air purifier does not remove gases. If you feel your home has radon, call a professional to check it out.

Help you and your family to breathe easier. Incorporate these tips into your everyday routine, and cut down on pollutants in your home.

Does Your Family Need a Dehumidifier?

Humidity can be our friend for a ton of reasons. Without it things would be far too dry. Our skin would start to crack, our eyes would get so dry it would be difficult to see, and our sinuses would be in a world of hurt. Yet, you don’t want too much humidity because that comes with its own set of problems.


When the humidity is excessive little pests like bacteria, dust mite, mold, and fungus thrive. Their growth rate increases fast and they love to make homes in your antiques, wooden furniture, carpets, and mattresses. Left unchecked, these visitors can wreak havoc on your home, which can lead to health problems.


There isn’t much we can do do stop the humidity outside but we can regulate the levels in our homes. If you live in an area of the world where the humidity is high then you might want to consider investing in a dehumidifier. With a wide variety of products on the market we are sure you can find what size you need, No matter how large or small your home is, there is a dehumidifier for you.

No More Mold And Mildew

When your home is damper than normal mold and mildew grow like crazy. If the growth gets out of control you are risking the health or you and your family. Your kids could start having breathing problems that include allergies and asthma. Other disorders than can be linked to prolonged exposure to mildew and mold including nervous system disorders and depression.


A good dehumidifier could get rid of mold and mildew quickly.

Get Rid of Condensation

Excessive humidity can cause condensation in your home and it increases every time you cook, heat up water for tea, start showers, and take baths. These are all activities that can all add to the humidity to your home. When the condensation hits your windows it might not seem like a big deal but when it starts to get into your wooden shelves or making your wallpaper peel then it becomes a serious problem.


While we believe in saving money on energy, adding an efficient dehumidifier can save you money in so many other ways.

Create Comfort

Let’s face it, a humid room is stuffy and difficult to relax in. You want your home to be comfortable for you and your family. When the rooms are damp then they are anything but enjoyable. Also, because the dampness hangs in the air it can affect everything in your home from you leather sofas to your rocking chair. Plus anything of value you have could be ruined like books or antiques.

Get Rid of the Odor

The must you smell in your house is due to the humidity. Once again this goes right back to the growth of mold and mildew. They are part of the fungi family, which are known to release gases that have a bad smell. Once the gases are in the air any fabric they come in contact with can start to smell musty. This includes your clothes and your furniture.


When you put a dehumidifier in your home the musty smell will magically disappear.

Diminish Dust Mites

I’ve talked a lot about mold and mildew, but one invader we haven’t covered yet is the dust mite. These gross little guys love to create a home in your carpets, mattresses, comforters, and other things that are made of fabric in your home. You can’t see them but they love to stick to your clothes as well. I’m gonna make your skin crawl a little bit more by telling your that their only source of food is human skin that flakes off of us.


Dust mites also amplify reproduction when homes are damp and humid, which is just one more reason a dehumidifier might be for a good decision for your family.

Protect Your Belongings

As I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, too much moisture in the air can be harmful to your home. Not only can your wallpaper peel, your books can be damaged, your wooden furniture can shrink, and your fabrics can turn musty and damp. While a dehumidifier might seem like an extra expense, in the long run, you will save yourself a myriad of repair and replacement costs.

Protect Your Family

The most important reason to consider adding a dehumidifier to your possessions is to keep your family healthy. While a dry room can hurt your sinuses, an overly humid atmosphere can breed bacteria and a myriad of other allergens that will keep your family wheezing.


As you’ve seen, since you’ve read this far, that a dehumidifier can add a great deal of benefits for you and your family. Your home is susceptible to all types of invaders like mold, mildew, dust mites, and bacteria. Do yourself and your family a favor and get the humidity out of your home and make those pests disappear.


Create a Family Room that Both Parents and Kids Can Enjoy

It’s happened. Your once sophisticated and chic living room area has somehow become a clutter-filled mess. You love your kids dearly, but it seems as if they’ve mistaken the room as a playground of sorts. Legos, dolls, toys, and food wrappers can be found everywhere, and you find yourself getting a bit stressed about it. Though your kids may have turned your home into Chuck e’ Cheese, there are some ways you can switch up the décor and space to make it conducive for everyone.

Kid-Friendly Walls

If you were to look at your living space right now, chances are you’d find evidence of your children’s activities on the walls. Handprints, writings, paint, dirt, food, just about everything finds its way on the walls. All the scrubbing in the world won’t get it all off if you don’t have the right paint. Washable paint is a better solution. It comes in varying colors to match your décor but is a lot easier to keep clean than traditional paint.

Another cool paint for walls is chalkboard paint. Giving the kids a small section in the room in which they can draw can often deter them from doing it on other walls in the home.

Kid-Friendly Furniture

The furniture takes a beating when you have kids. They use the couches and chairs as sort of a jungle gym or fort and before you know it the couch is all out of shape, stained, and ruined. Rather than going for expensive, chic furniture that is harder to maintain with kids, try looking for furniture that is durable and has materials that are easy to clean. Furniture stores like Boyles Furniture have an array of high-quality living room furniture that is designed to withstand the beating from children. Some of the best materials would include microfiber, vinyl, wool, and leather. They are durable and easy to clean.

Kid-Friendly Floors

Kids spend a lot of time on the floor playing with toys and having a good time. Everything from food and juice stains to dirt from their shoes and scratches or scrapes can be found on the floors causing them to look dingy or outdated. Like the furniture and the walls, you want to find flooring that can withstand the damage the kids might bring to it. The best option would be to choose something like wood, tile, or laminate flooring because it can easily be swept and mopped. However, for parents who want carpet, you might consider an area rug which can be picked up and cleaned, tile carpeting so that individual tiles can be removed and treated as needed or natural fiber carpets like those made with seagrass or jute like indoor/outdoor carpets.

Kid-Friendly Storage

Though it would be nice if the kids kept all their toys in their room, the truth is, they drag their toys all over the house. To try to keep some order in the family room, it’s a good idea to invest in storage that can be used by the kids. A small wooden toy box that doubles as an ottoman, bookshelves or cabinet units can be used for storing children’s books, games, and other toys. Bookshelves are ideal because you can place your stylish knickknacks on the top shelves away from the children while allowing them to have storage on the bottom.

Family-Friendly Accessories

Accessorizing is how you finish off the look of your new family room. Since you want to incorporate your personal style along with the kids’ style, it is ideal to mix and match the accessories in the room. Throw pillows, for instance, can be great accents on a couch but could also be great for piling up and watching a movie with the family. You can create artwork with the kids and frame it on the walls instead of getting expensive chic paintings for the space.

Another cool paint for walls is chalkboard paint. Giving the kids a small section in the room in which they can draw can often deter them from doing it on other walls in the home. Make sure to use quality chalkboard markers such as Markers by VersaChalk.

Hopefully these tips will help you to design the perfect room for you and your family to spend time together. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean that your house has to be converted into a giant playhouse for your kids. It also doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your own style and personal touch. All you have to do is think of creative ways to design practical, stylish, and functional spaces for your family to enjoy.


How can you help kids with dyslexia

Dyslexia is a disorder that makes it difficult for people to read. To be specific, it’s a special learning and reading disability in kids, which can make the learning of sight words extra difficult. A major reason why kids have difficulty decoding is that they often struggle with a more basic skill known as phonemic awareness-this is the ability to recognize individual sounds in words.

If you’re concerned that your child has dyslexia, here are some basic steps that you can take to make learning easier for them.


  1. Go into detail


Yes, Dyslexia and Mental Health in Children impacts learning, but it’s not a problem with intelligence; kids with dyslexia are equally smart as their peers. The only problem they have is mastering phonological awareness and phonemic awareness skills, which can be sharpened by a good teaching program that entails the use of audio, visual and visual/motor techniques of learning.


  1. Develop memory aids


A common disorder associated with dyslexia is the loss of memory of certain words. Several aids, strategies, and devices can be incorporated into a teaching program to help in remembering certain words.Mnemonics, in particular, are handy in remembering words. For instance, the instructor can create an easily remembered acronym for remembering a list.


  1. Incorporate visual elements


Using pictures to explain the information to the kids is a great teaching strategy. Dyslexic kids, will not be required to do any reading, which they have difficulty with, other than just looking pictures. By internalizing the picture, it makes it easy for the kid to remember a sight word if they connect it to a picture.


  1. Use different senses


Research indicates that kids perform optimally when they can engage all their sense. For instance, if you’re teaching them about material .i.e. sandpapers, you can cut out letters out of sandpaper and have them connect the word with a scratchy surface-this is activating the sense of touch to help the kid remember sight words associated with the texture or material.


  1. Provide writing and reading opportunities


In as much as they dyslexic kids are not good at writing and reading, you can guide your student’s drawing and read on paper, or even on the blackboard. When drawing or writing, place your hand on top of their hand. With time, gradually fade the level of assistance.


  1. Explore linguistic history


It’s a fact that some of the English words do not follow the rules of spelling. For instance, the word heir is spelled as air. By affording your students a chance to learn some of the unique words and how they are spelled, it increases word knowledge and can help students recognize sight words easily.


  1. Give “THINK TIME”


When answering a question, always provide ample time to the kids to allow internalization of the question. For instance, you can present the question and then pause or come back to the kid after a short while and repeat the question.


Alternatively, you can request answers from different kids to get a variation of the answer.


  1. Word games


Kids love playing and toying around with stuff. Why not leverage on this by providing them with “intelligence” games such as simple crosswords, logic puzzles, word puzzles and scrabble. These games are a sure way of improving their word retrieval for naming.


You’re your kid’s number one support. You are with them most of the time. Go beyond your comfort zone, show lots of love to your dyslexic kid and ensure they are fully supported. There is a long list of people who have struggled with dyslexia and gone on to have successful careers, and that includes actors, entrepreneurs and elected officials. However, they attribute their success to the practical and emotional support they had from their parent.

3 Super Tips to Save Energy in Your Home

Why throw away money on wasted energy when you could be spending that money on many other items? Keep the following three helpful tips in mind to help you save energy in your home.

Cut Wasteful Water Consumption

You can take multiple steps to save water, which add up in energy savings. Install a low-flow showerhead that uses a rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute to save water. If you reduce your daily shower time by four minutes, you can save more than 3,500 gallons of water a year.


Be sure not to leave the water running while you brush your teeth, as this bad habit can waste more than a gallon of water every time you brush.

Conserve Electricity for Lighting and Water Heating

Replace your light bulbs with CFL bulbs to save up to 75 percent of the energy older, inefficient bulbs use. Unplug your phone and other devices when they are finished charging. Even after their batteries reach 100 percent charge, these devices can continue to draw power.


Additionally, you can use a power strip for your electronics. Power strips allow you to easily turn off many appliances you aren’t using at once and can help you stop unused devices from drawing power. One of the devices that uses the most energy in your home is your computer, which can cost you about 21 cents to run all day. Shutting down your computer when you aren’t using it could save you about $75 a year.


Enlist your children in energy saving efforts around the home by reminding them to turn off lights when they leave rooms. This action can help them feel like they are helping the environment by reducing wasted energy.


One of the easiest ways to save money is to simply turn down your water heater to 120 degrees. Making this adjustment will save about $12 to $30 for every 10 degrees by which you lower the temperature. If you wrap your pipes in insulation, they won’t lose heat and can raise your water temperature by 2 to 4 degrees, a simple move that can allow you to turn down your water heater temperature.

Keep Your HVAC System Working Properly

In the winter, you can turn down the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees and wear layers of clothing indoors. Additionally, make sure your HVAC system has well-sealed ducts so that you can prevent up to 20 percent of warm or cool air from escaping your home to the outside. You also need to regularly inspect your furnace filter and make sure it is clean. A dirty filter can cause your HVAC system to work harder.


Another option you can consider for saving on your heating costs is buying a programmable thermostat. One of these devices could help you save up to $150 a year on your home heating and cooling costs.


By following the above tips to reduce your energy usage and making small changes in your lifestyle habits, you can reduce your energy bills by hundreds of dollars each year and help minimize your impact on the environment.

Creative Ways to Save on Your Water Bill

Time to get serious about reducing your water usage. The same tips are recommended time and time again, and you’ve already done all the usual things like turning off the water when you brush your teeth or switching to a low-flow shower head. So what other unusual or creative ways can you save money on your water bill? Do you need a water bubbler in your home, or maybe try saving more water to reduce waste?


Collect Shower Water

A lot of water goes down the drain with every shower, no matter how quickly you get the job done. Why not save some for other uses? Keeping a jug or pan in the shower with you, and let it fill up as you shower. Now you have water that can be used to water the plants or just about anything else. If you use a clean container and take care not to get shampoo or soap in it, you could even use it for cooking.


Rainwater Inside

Most people are familiar with using a few rain barrels in the yard to harvest rainwater for gardening, but you know you can use that water for a few indoor uses as well to cut your consumption. Unless you want to get very diligent about straining, filtering and boiling, rainwater isn’t recommended for drinking though. It does work excellently for flushing the toilet though.


With a little plumbing know-how, you can also rig up your washing machine to draw water from a rain barrel instead of the indoor water supply. As long as it’s been filtered for debris, it is a great choice for clean clothes.


Salvage Grey Water

Water that drains out of your dishwasher and washing machine at the end of it’s cycle is referred to as “grey water”, as it is not clean but not as dirty as waste water that comes from a toilet flush. If you are using natural soaps or detergents in your machines, then the water can be used to water plants (particularly outdoor plants that also still get regular rain water), or to flush the toilets.


To reclaim your grey water, you will need to do a little plumbing work to adjust how the drains on your machines empty out. Either save to a cistern, or just drain into the yard. You may never have to water your lawn again.


You may have noticed that most of these tips lead to the toilet. The main reason for that is salvaged water isn’t usually clean enough for drinking, and this is the best way to use it. And since an average toilet flush uses between 3 and 5 gallons with every use, that will add up to a lot of savings if you can avoid using fresh water for that.


To use jugs of salvaged water for the toilet, you don’t need to do any plumbing changes or anything. Instead of flushing after use, you just pour your jug of water directly into the bowl. Gravity will do the rest.



4 Tips to Making Nutrisystem Work for You

When looking for diet plans, there are a lot of things to consider. There are many websites and companies that are promoting and selling diet plans. Some of them eventually turn out to be scams run by people as a method of making money. There are also some reliable sources of weight loss products and diet plans. One of these is Nutrisystem. Nutrisystem is a weight loss industry that has assisted people to reach their goals for a period of more than 40 years. There are a few things to consider when trying Nutrisystem and making it work for you.

  1. Pick a Plan

Nutrisystem has a wide range of plans that one can choose from so as to achieve their desired weight. The basic plan is the lowest priced a diet plan that includes a four-week meal plan and pre-packages popular foods for the client. The amazing thing about Nutrisystem is that the shipping of all its products is absolutely free. Nutrisystem core plan is the most popular diet plan since one can choose their own meals and one has access to expert counselors and dietitians.

The vegetarian plan is a diet plan specifically engineered for vegetarians who are also aspiring to lose weight. Nutrisystem has also created diet plans for people who have diabetes. The basic diabetes plan is a 4-week diet plan that is cheap, allows one to control their blood glucose and also lose weight while reducing the total cholesterol and A1C levels. The core diabetes package is most preferred since it gives one access to certified diabetes educators and expert counselors.  By reviewing the various diet plans they offer, one can decide on what plan and program they want to use.

  1. Cost

If you are working on a strict budget, it is good to consider the price of the plan and if you can afford it. Although it is not advisable to purchase the diet plan in smaller amounts, you can purchase for a couple of days that you can manage to pay without straining your finances. By doing this, you will save money and achieve your weight loss goal, while working on a strict budget.

  1. Health

Your personal health is important to consider while choosing a plan that will work for you. Consult a doctor on your health, if you have any allergies and conditions that you should keep in mind before using Nutrisystem diet plans. By doing so you will know the plan is perfect for you hence making Nutrisystem work effectively for you. It can also be a point of reference when advising others to use Nutrisystem and its products.

  1. Timeline

Under this, you need to consider the amount of time you are going to use the diet plan you have purchased. This will be in reference to how much weight you want to lose and how long you are willing to carry out the diet program that you have purchased.