MommyMandy l Texas Mom Blog

3 Easy Ways To Get Your Toddler To Eat Their Vegetables

Dinnertime with a toddler isn’t easy. You know how quickly it can turn into a clash of wills. Suddenly, you’re no longer in the dining room but in the ring. In one corner, there’s mommy who’s trying to serve up well-rounded meals that meet her child’s nutritional needs. In the other, there’s the kid who insists on eating only PB&J sandwiches with a side of Oreos.

If you’re tired of being on the losing side of this argument meal after meal, it’s time you mix up your tactics. Your toddler may be pint-sized, but their strong will is a match for any stubborn adult. You won’t win by sheer force alone; sometimes you have to be a little sneaky. Try hiding veggies into your dishes, so your child won’t know they’re eating their greens until it’s too late. Scroll down to test out five recipes guaranteed to change your toddler’s mind about vegetables.

  1. Cauliflower Pizza — a gluten-free, healthy crust alternative

Chances are, your little one loves pizza. (And really, who doesn’t?) It’s a great treat for the family, but if your child only likes plain cheese or pepperoni, it’s not something you want them eating all the time. Luckily, you can add it to your regular recipe rotation by making one simple modification. When you switch out typical flour-based dough for one made with cauliflower, you can hide a veggie surprise without sacrificing on taste. Check out this recipe to learn how to make your kid’s favorite dish a little healthier.

  1. Veggie Meatballs — a meatless alternative to spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs, all covered in cheese, is not just a song that your family likes to sing together. It’s also a classic meal that’s loved by all. While the tomatoes in the sauce pack a powerful punch of veggies, you can amp up this particular meal’s nutritional power by substituting veggie “meat” balls for the typical beef or pork ones. Follow a recipe that calls to blend its veggie balls into a paste, so there aren’t any incriminating pieces of veggies that might turn your little one off the dish.

  1. Deluxe Veggie Burgers — a new take on a grilled classic

When your child turns their nose up at tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, and onions, then a burger is more of a meat sandwich than a well-rounded meal. You can try mixing things up by replacing the meat with legumes and vegetables. The chickpeas and pecans keep the protein high in this recipe, but it’s the addition of bell peppers, spinach, and herbs that make this patty even healthier. Topped with their favorite condiments (a.k.a. ketchup and more ketchup), this burger tastes so good they won’t realize they’re eating a single veggie.

Try out one of these recipes tonight and see how easy it can be to sneak in veggies at dinnertime. Then slowly make your way through the rest of the list to see which one is your little one’s favorite. Before you know it, you’ll have three solid ways to meet your kid’s 5–10 a day.

Though healthy, fresh vegetables can be expensive. Your child’s newfound love for veggie-packed meals can put a strain on your budget. At first, your higher grocery bill can make it a challenge to pay other bills on time. An online cash loan offers quick financial help for you and your family when you’ve accidentally spent too much at the supermarket. You can head online as soon as you realize your groceries caused a minor cash shortage and, in some cases, get the cash you need in as little one business day. Fast acting and convenient, it makes it possible to pay for fresh vegetables without risking other parts of your finances, so you don’t have to choose between the household’s needs and your child’s health.

Forget about bringing home the bacon — try bringing home broccoli! Keep an eye on the season and download a rebate app. These simple tricks can keep your costs low, so you can continue to put the veggies on the table. There are a lot of ways to convince your child to eat healthfully, but sometimes you just have to rely on covert tactics. Don’t feel guilty about smuggling them into a dish. Until they grow out of their picky-eater phase, these sneaky recipes provide an argument-free way to get your kid eating well.

Green Plumbing Tips

When it comes to thinking green in the world of plumbing, most ideas revolve around reducing usage and waste. Making choices that save on water is the best way to be eco-conscious with plumbing, but not necessarily the only way.


More and more professionals are becoming more familiar with green choices for their clients. The Plumbing Detectives, a popular Sydney plumber, have seen several eco trends lately that can help you save money as well as help the environment.


Low-Flow Shower Heads

Let’s start off with a pretty simple plumbing project: changing the shower fixtures to a low-flow variety. You can save up to 2 gallons per minute during your showers without sacrificing flow or pressure. A good quality low-flow fixture is designed to still give you a strong shower, just using a little less water. This is the kind of thing you can do without a professional with just some standard hand tools.


Dual Flush Toilets

A bigger project might be the toilet, which is still a reasonable change to make without breaking the bank. Switching a conventional toilet for one that allows you to make either short or standard flushes can save a lot of water. Just choose the button or lever for small flush if you only have a little liquid to deal with, and give it the full flush for larger waste situations. By using less water when you don’t really need it, you save several gallons every day.


You can also get low-flow toilets that don’t offer the dual flush choice which will also save on water usage but aren’t always the best option for those times you need serious flushing power.


On-Demand Hot Water

Maintaining a large tank of hot water so it’s ready for use isn’t the most energy-efficient approach, even with insulation. A system that uses rapid heating to give you hot water in moments means you can ditch the tank and only use the energy when you actually need it.


Grey Water System

If you are really serious about green plumbing, you can add in a grey water system to reuse the rinse water that drains from your washing machine or dishwasher too. This might be a bigger project than the average homeowner wants to get into, but it is a huge improvement in water efficiency if you give it a go. Water that is drained off from the washing machine, for example, is relatively clean and can be rerouted for toilet-flushing use or perhaps for outside gardening (providing you use a natural detergent). Water from the bathtub drain can be used for this as well.


Drain Cleaning

This is a little different from the water-saving tips given so far. A clogged drain sends most people reaching for the nearest jug of caustic chemicals to get it cleared, which is far from a green decision. Instead of trying to unclog a sink with toxins, try a more natural option next time. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar is surprising very effective at loosening a clog as it fizzes. It also creates gas pressure if you plug the drain after you apply.


You can also try the mechanical route with an extendable drain “snake” that will directly break up the clog without any chemicals at all.




5 Tips to Spending Less on Pet Supplies

Pets hold a special place in any household. After all, they are a constant source of companionship, amusement, and even offer various health benefits. The only problem is that owning a pet can be very expensive. There are lots of ways for your furry friend to leave a huge dent in your wallet! After the fees spent in buying or adopting them, you also have to train and neuter them, buy a collar and leash, and implant a tracking microchip in them.

And that’s just for starters. The costs can quickly add up to become an unmanageable burden. The trick here is to spend your money wisely and find ways to save on unnecessary costs. But how do you make this very important distinction? After all, even the most frugal pet owner will have to save money at some point. So here are 5 tips that will help you spend less on pet supplies:

  1. Buy in Bulk and Use Coupons

A great way to save is to buy in bulk. Not only will you pay less for pet supplies, but this will also ensure that you are fully stocked up for a longer period of time. You can do this at your favorite pet store or set up a recurring order for products that you use regularly.

The best thing about buying in bulk is that it may mean a significant product discount for you. At the very least, it will help you save time and the cost of gasoline.

Couponing is another habit that you should develop. That’s because they can net you savings, especially on your bulk buying sprees. The Petsmart Grooming Coupon is a great example of how this can be done.

  1. Feed Them Homemade Treats

All pets need a balanced diet that provides them with a healthy ratio of carbs, proteins, fibers, and fats. You can certainly buy cheap and in bulk online stores or your local manufacturer. However, more often than not, you will find that the quality of this feed will be questionable.

What you need is a cheap option that won’t break the bank or compromise your pet’s health. The best option here is homemade food and treats. But this doesn’t mean feeding them table scraps or reheated leftovers! Take the time to research the best diet for your pet and prepare it at home.

  1. Create Your Own Toys

Nothing makes people happier than seeing their pet’s reaction to their favorite toy. That might explain why so pet owners spend exorbitant amounts of money to get the latest toys on the market. But – realistically speaking – that new squeaky toy won’t be so squeaky once your furry friend has been at it for a while. So it makes more sense to spend wisely when it comes to your pet’s toys.

A great way to do this is by making the toys yourself instead of buying. You can even use fabric and other supplies that you already have at home. And with so many guides and tutorials available online, it won’t be long before you’re a DIY guru.

  1. Get Regular Checkups

For most pet owners, the biggest drain on their wallets is emergency veterinary care. That’s because it usually costs much more than a regular office visit. So it’s important to ensure that you keep your pet’s vet visits and vaccines current. Some vets even offer annual package deals that could help you budget for routine care and vaccines.

  1. Buy Online

Online pet stores regularly have great deals that include sales and free shipping. The best even offer free shipping for the big stuff or bulk items like sacks of kibble or boxes of kitty litter. Shopping online could be the key to spending less on pet supplies in the long run.

5 Ways to Discuss Sensitive Topics with Your Kids

From the moment dad cuts the umbilical cord, you dread the “birds and the bees” talk. You never know when it’s the right time or what to say. Then, as your kids get older, you realize that there are even more talks like this one. These sensitive topics will help your kids cope with things as they grow in maturity.

In truth, there’s not a set age to have any talk. You can start talking about sensitive topics at any time, as long as you keep the conversations age appropriate.

Here are some tips to help the conversation flow well:

  1. Choose a good time

As parents, we know that it’s dangerous to put things off until a better time. Still, you’ll want to make sure you have your children’s attention and they’re in relatively good spirits before sitting down to discuss something sensitive. If your child is overtired, “hangry” or stressed, the conversation won’t go as well. Let your children know you want to have a talk and give them time to wrap up what they’re doing. This way, you’ll have their undivided attention (in theory).

  1. Share facts

Whether you’re discussing death, sex or drugs in school, try to find some information that your kids won’t have. Lead with your most surprising statistic to help grab their attention. Example:

“Did you know that 40 percent of the cigarettes smoked in this country are smoked by people with confirmed psychiatric disorders? Regardless of what your friends think, smoking isn’t something that people do because it’s ‘cool.’ Many people are self-medicating with tobacco and other drugs.”

  1. Make it a conversation

When you’re the only one talking, you’re giving a lecture instead of having a conversation. By asking questions, you’ll keep the kids interested and you may even find out things you didn’t know. Try to ask a question every time you introduce new information. Questions like, “have you ever heard of that?”, “how do you feel about this?” or “do you know anyone who does that?” are good ways to get kids to interact with the topic. When your kids are talking and sharing with you, be sure to give them your full attention. Listen intently and respond to what they’re saying. It’s important that your kids feel like you value their thoughts and opinions.

  1. Avoid getting angry or impatient

None of us are perfect and we all have moments when we lose our tempers. However, this should never happen during a sensitive conversation. If your kids are acting out, let them know you’ll have the conversation when they’re ready. Just be sure to bring it up again. If your children are being silly or goofy, this could mean that they’re uncomfortable with the topic. That’s completely normal. Explain that this is a serious talk and try to keep your cool. If you handle these conversations well, your children may become more comfortable talking about sensitive topics, which is a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.

  1. Avoid judgment

Let’s say you’re talking to your kids about drugs and they tell you that a friend is smoking pot. Be careful about your reaction here. You’ll want to be clear that it’s a poor choice without attacking anyone’s character. You can also explain that if he or she knew certain facts, they likely wouldn’t have made the decision to smoke pot in the first place.

In these conversations, you have two main objectives. First, you want to arm your child with the facts about these sensitive topics. It’s better that they hear the truth from you than myths from their peers. The truths you share should help your child manage feelings and make sound decisions. Second, you’ll want to let your child know that you’re always there to talk and listen. Keep an open dialogue and the next time you talk about something sensitive, it’ll feel more natural.

Make More Quality Time With Your Family With Backyard Dinners

Making quality time with your family can feel like an uphill battle on those busy weekdays. There’s always sports or music lessons after school and on the weekends and you’re lucky enough if you can make sure your kids do their homework before running out the door, forget actually spending time with them.

Dinner is the traditional time when families can sit down and catch up with each other. The family meal is an essential part of family life and it’s important to make the most of this brief time. But it’s getting harder and harder for families to enjoy mealtimes together. It’s hectic enough getting dinner together on a typical weekday and the kids are half-way out their chairs the minute they sit down.

That’s why simple, easy backyard dinners this summer are a must. Start planning now – the warm weather will be over before you know it. If you have a gazebo or a covered back deck, you’re already half-way to making weekday dinners al fresco a reality. If not, now is a great time to look into a gazebo or patio furniture that can make outdoor dinners (away from the T.V.) enjoyable.

Here are a few easy ideas you can use to make outdoor family dinners as relaxing as they sound.

#1 Don’t be afraid of ready-made dishes. Whether you make them yourself ahead of time or buy them at the store, side dishes like coleslaw, potato salad, or pasta salad will spare you a lot of stress when it’s time to get dinner made. Anything that keeps well can be made in advance.

#2 Keep the clean up simple. Use something disposable like brown craft paper to keep the table clean. It adds a casual finish that you can even use when you have company.

#3 Find shade and shelter in case it starts raining. Umbrellas or a gazebo mean you won’t be scrambling to get the hamburgers back inside if it starts to rain or catch a late-afternoon sunburn while you’re trying to eat.

#4 If you’re worried about bugs getting at your food, keep it safe with a wire mesh colander placed upside down over the plate. It’s an easy hack to keep flies and wasps out of your hair while you’re eating

#5 Citronella candles will help keep the mosquitos from biting if you’re eating around evening. Set them up around the perimeter and eat in peace.

#6 Make the most of your barbecue. No one wants to turn on the oven on those hot summer days. You don’t always have to make burgers and steaks when it’s barbecue season. There are plenty of recipes for vegetable-heavy kebabs that are healthy and grilled.

#7 Start early with heaters or a firepit. If you’ve ever wanted to host Easter dinner in your backyard but you were too worried about the cold, you can find tasteful heaters that will keep everyone warm and cozy while you eat outside.

Eating outdoors is a treat for everyone and it can help slow things down. Spend more quality time with your family by turning your backyard into your new dining room.

Decorating with Less Stress

Decorating your home can end up being a stressful time, whether you’re going for a large remodel or a simple paint job. To decorate with a bit less stress, you can follow our tips to make it all go a bit smoother.

Tackle one Room at a time

Trying to do too much at once can end up making it all a lot trickier, as you feel like none of the rooms are complete. For this reason, it can be a lot better to tackle one room at one time, only moving onto the next when that room has been completed. This is allows you to feel like your project is progressing and you have finished rooms to relax in when you need a break from decorating.

This is a best possible scenario that might not always be the case, if you’re doing plumbing or electrical work it can be more cost effective to do this all at once. In this case, many people find it easier to stay with a relative while the biggest jobs are ongoing.

Reduce Mess

Using dust sheets and foot protectors reduces the mess during the process massively. Companies like TRIMACO® have a huge catalogue of different items at a range of prices that you can use to prevent paint splashes, dust and plaster from ruining your furnishings, even on a small budget. Cleaning up the mess of decorating can feel like a bigger job than the decorating itself!

Some tradesmen that come to your home to help out might not be prepared, so it helps to have these to hand. Then you won’t need to spend hours scrubbing your carpet thereafter! But we also have some great DIY carpet shampoo ideas that would be helpful.

Plan in Advance

Having a plan in place to get your redecorating done is the best practice. This will push you to keep on going, even when you feel like the end of the decorating will never come! You can schedule in your tasks on a calendar and this will motivate you to keep the decorating going, even when you’re feeling run down.

Of course, plans don’t always work out quite that way, but having some sense of how long each task will take and when you’ll fit it in will give you an idea of where you’re going. There are even apps that you can use to share your schedule with anyone else that’s helping you on the project.

Know your Limits

While you might want to take a DIY approach to every element of your redecoration, you should also know when it’s time to hand over to a professional. Electrical, gas and water works should be handled only by someone that knows what they’re doing. This can affect your home if something goes wrong and you might even endanger someone else if you try to cut corners.

If you need to hand over to a professional, just do your research and make sure they know what they’re doing.

If you bear these tips in mind, you can make sure your redecoration goes to plan – which in ruen will make things much less stressful for you.


More 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.

Don’t Put Your Dreams On Hold!

Just because you’re a parent, doesn’t mean that you need to give up on all your future dreams. Sure, you have a full-time job now in more ways than one, but if you work hard and don’t give up – you can achieve whatever you want. It can be a lot harder, but your life has changed now, and you need to accept that.

One of the biggest things that hold us back, is our minds. Sometimes we lose ourselves, and we start to get fearful, and we become full of self-doubt, even when we know we’re capable of doing it. But it’s down to us to break down that barrier. It’s normal to feel insecure, especially after a new arrival to the family. Some people even start thinking that they don’t deserve to have a career because they have chosen family life instead, but you don’t have to choose! You can have both!

Here’s how.

Get your grades online

In the beginning, if your child is still very young, then it’s totally understandable why you’d want to stay at home with them, and luckily for you, you can do this while learning. You don’t have to go off to a School now to get the grades that you need. Thanks to today’s technology, you are able to find all the courses that you need, along with the training that will ensure you get that dream job. Take financing for example; if you have a love of numbers and want to pursue that career path, you can look at finance online mba programs to follow that will give you all the tools you need to get those qualifications.


Create a family planner

Using a calendar separate from your daily one that is full of appointments, is a great way of planning out family time. If you’re starting to work, or are essentially working towards that, it’s normal that you’re going to be going out to do things. One worry for parents is that they will end up getting so consumed with their job that they are no longer making time with the family. So one good trick to ensure this doesn’t happen, is making notes of any free time that you do have, to turn that into a fun-filled day with the family, or make sure that you take a day off from what you’re doing so that you can have quality time.

Stay connected during the day

Remember that no matter what you’re busy doing – you always have your technology. We live in the modern day world where pretty much everyone has an iPhone or an android, so it has never been easier to call home whether that be a voice or video call. You can send each other snapchats throughout the day, or messages just to let them know that you love them. It really doesn’t take much, but it will not only mean something to them, but it will surely make yourself feel better too.

Making Laundry Easy with LG Twin Wash

One of the biggest things moms of lots of kids have to face is lots and lots of laundry. I mean I have to do at least two loads a day and it is not my favorite thing in the world to do.

So a few months ago my washing machine sprang a leak, it is 12 years old but man for a mom of four kids this is not the best time to have to start washing machine shopping.  So I have been looking into a good system that will save me time on washing and actually do a good job washing clothes. (fast drying would be awesome too)

So one system I find awesome is the LG’s TwinWash system. I especially love that LG has the  SideKick pedestal washer that will wash an additional small load ─ perfect for washing my daughter;s dance clothes!

Not only do these washers have mega capacity to tackle any size load, they are energy efficient while giving you the best cleaning performance. No wonder more households have chosen LG laundry over any other brand!

From 1/11-4/25 receive up to $500 off a LG laundry solution for your home.

Head on over to to check out the LG Twin Wash Systems.

*The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

5 Tips to finding the best dry erase board wall paint for your home


Using dry erase board wall paint is one of the best ways to increase efficiency when working on projects that require you to take down notes. That’s because it allows you to convert any surface in your home into a whiteboard. However, not all dry erase board wall paints are the same. That’s why you need to do some due diligence before buying. To make the process easier for you, here are 5 tips to finding the best dry erase board wall paint for your home.


  1. Consider the cost

Before you purchase erase wall paint, compare different prices in the market. Don’t go for overly expensive ones, yet they offer no additional advantages over whatever else is in the market. Go for a quality but affordable dry erase board wall paint. This way, you achieve your objective of working with any surface in your home without having to break the bank. After all, the whole point of using erase point is to avoid buying costly whiteboards.


  1. Make sure it’s odorless

There is nothing as stressful as having to work with an erase board wall paint that has a sharp unpleasant smell. Chances are that you won’t even concentrate, if you use such paint. That’s why when shopping for paint, make sure to smell it, before you commit your money. Besides, some paints in the market are counterfeits and odor might be a sign of harmful chemicals in their composition. Therefore, confirming the smell could actually save your life from life threatening chemicals.


  1. Consider the dry time

Before you commit your money to purchase dry erase paint, confirm that it has a quick dry time. Paint that takes long to dry would be of no use, when you need to work. The average dry time for most products in the market is between 2 days and a week. For great results, it is best to buy one that dries within 48 hours. Paint that dries fast is a pointer to the innovativeness that goes into its manufacture, which means you would be buying something of good quality.


  1. Check the warranty period

The warranty period is one of the most important factors to consider when buying dry erase paint. That’s because it signifies the confidence that the seller has in the product. The higher the warranty period, the higher the chances that the product is actually of good quality, and can be relied on to deliver. Some of the best dry erase paints in the market come with a warranty of up to 10 years. That’s a 10 year guarantee that the paint will not crack, stain among other issues.


  1. Checkout for ease of application

Applying erase board paint is not easy, especially for novices who have never done it before. That’s why when shopping for paint, make sure you go for one that comes with an application guide. Failure to get the process right can result in wastage. That would mean that the board’s you paint wouldn’t be usable, beating the whole essence of spending money on such paint in the first place.

Plan Ahead – What You Need to Know Before Building

As the price of property continues to rise in most parts of the country the idea of purchasing some land and building your own home can be increasingly appealing.

Of course, this is not the only reason building a property is appealing. When you build your own home you can choose the exact layout, the home really will be custom built!

But, before you do it’s important to consider a few facts, specifically what you need to do before you start building.

The Land

Before you even start looking at plans you need to make sure you purchase land that can be built on. Just because someone says it can does not always mean this is true. It is best to check with your local council yourself.

You should also verify the size of property you’re allowed to build. If it doesn’t match the space you want or need then it could be a problem!

The Survey

It is advisable to have a topographic land survey completed. This will ensure that you are aware of what utilities run under your land and if your neighbor has any access to them. You’ll also be able to pinpoint your boundaries and discover a variety of other pieces of information which will be useful to your builders.


It’s possible that the planning permission will specify the material you need to use when building your home. However, there is no harm in asking for your own preference; especially if you have environmental concerns.

It is advisable to look at what materials other properties in the area have used before making your final decision.

If you have chosen an unusual substance it is worth considering an alternative if it is not approved.


It is always advisable to use the services of a professional architect to draw and design the house for you; obviously to your specs. This will help to ensure you comply with all the codes, your builders know exactly what they are dong and it will look more professional hen applying for planning permission.

The Contractor

Finding a good builder is not always easy. You will need to ask family and friends if they know anyone who is good and reliable. You can also verify how good someone is by looking on social media sites.

This will be a time consuming part of the process but it is important to get it right, you’ll be giving them thousands of dollars; they need to know what they are doing.

You should always choose someone that you are comfortable talking to; you will have many conversations in the future.

Consider Resell

It is highly unlikely that you are intending on reselling your dream home. However, it is possible that you will need to or want to in the future. For this reason it is best to consider what works well for most people and not just plan a home for yourself.

This means considering the area and the access to the home as well as how many people would really want to pay for a tennis court.

Once you’ve completed all your homework you can simply supervise the build!



Four Great Activities For All The Family

Spending quality time as a family can seem like an uphill battle at times. It can even seem impossible while trying to work to make ends meet and stay on top of bills as well as other adult responsibilities. The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is that if you keep working at it, you’ll be able to fit that well-needed family time into your schedule. If you’re wondering what family activities you can get enjoy once you create the time, the answer is that there are plenty of family-friendly things that you can try. The real challenge may be agreeing when it comes to the activities! You should try to choose something everyone will enjoy.  Here are a few potential activities that you could consider as a family.

Family vacation

If you can afford it, a family vacation is a great way to get in quality time. Not only is it your chance to visit a different city, but you can share this amazing experience collectively. It may be tricky trying to pick a location that has something for both parents and kids alike to enjoy. However, when choosing the perfect family vacation destination, you could think of places with several activities such as Yosemite National Park, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, or the exciting Disney World.


If it happens that you would much rather do something fun locally, why not consider a concert? It is your chance to sing out loud and embarrass your kids with your ancient dance moves.  Depending on how old your kids are, you might want to choose a concert that will appeal to most generations. You can visit dedicated ticket websites for more information regarding potential concerts you could go to as a family. There will be a variety of concerts taking place in your city or town which you could attend. Remember to avoid weekend tickets if possible, as they usually tend to cost more than weekday ones.

Board Games

Invest in a wide range of board games at home that you can use for a family night in of games. Not only is this your chance to bring out your competitive side, but it can also encourage nights full of laughter. Some popular games that you could consider playing are Monopoly, Uno, and Twister. These are games which are very inclusive, so everybody has a chance to play.

Sports Day

It is probably common news by now that exercise has a long list of benefits for you physically, mentally and emotionally. Exercise can boost your immune system, get rid of anxiety, strengthen your brain and give you better quality sleep. Irrespective of these benefits, we still sometimes find it difficult to find the time to do it. A family sports day, however, is a great way to keep everyone active and get in quality time as well. You could organize your own sports day at your local park or join an existing one. It’s a positive activity that you may all find rewarding, and it should be a lot of fun as well.

Family time is something that is sacred to many as it can create positive feelings and strong bonds which money cannot buy. It is, therefore, important that you try your best to make time to spend with the people you love. There are several enjoyable activities that you can consider that will cater to everybody’s needs. Just try and make it your prerogative to put your family at the top of your priority list.

Looking After Your Feet If You’re Always On Them

Our poor feet. They are the punching bag of the body, taking all of our weight, the brunt of impacts, and a lot of punishment. If you’re feeling regular pain from your toes to your heel and you live an active lifestyle, especially if you’re a runner, you are going to want to start taking better care of your feet. Here are a few ways to start doing that.

Establish your support system

First of all, whether your job, your home life, or you exercise has you on your feet regularly, you need to make sure you’re choosing shoes for practicality sake. It’s not just about looking good, after all. Make sure that you wear the right shoes when you’re up on your feet, including specific shoes for running like those shown at The most important factor in good shoes is that they offer full arch and heel support, as well as allowing for some breathing room where the toes are. If you’re wearing shoes purely for the look and they’re not all that supportive, then think about getting some in-soles instead. If you’re out on a night about town, heels can be very tempting for the appeal they offer, but try and reduce how often you wear them.

It’s not vain to care about your veins

If you’re regularly up on your feet, then poor circulation can become an issue, too. This can lead to swelling, to numbness and pain, and to those dreaded varicose veins. Beyond being an eyesore, varicose veins can be a risk factor for blood clots. So, beneath those appropriate shoes, wear the appropriate socks, like Compression socks can reduce swelling, improve circulation, and also result in a lot less chafing if you regularly walk or run for exercise. After exercise, make sure you treat your legs with heat so that circulation picks back up again, too. Remember, it’s not just so you don’t have unsightly veins or cankles, it will greatly reduce the pain you feel.

Try a little tenderness

After a hard day on your feet, make sure you’re being a little softer on them too as suggested at Take time getting rid of blisters on your feet and toes by constantly cleaning your feet, using aloe vera gel, and soaking your feet in a nice, warm foot bath after a walk or a run. If you’re just after some tough exercise, then sit down and give them a thorough rub, too. Not only does it feel delightful, but it’s going to help out all the little muscles that can feel really sore as a result of the tearing and repairing process that occurs during exercise. Your feet need a little care, so don’t skip it.

Not taking care of your feet isn’t only painful, it can be dangerous. The more you stress them, the more chances of developing ulcers that can lead to infections, not to mention the more serious injuries like plantar fasciitis that can develop as a result of strenuous walking or running.

A Six-Step Guide To A Single’s Valentine’s Day

Had your hot new co-worker picked up on your sultry looks over the file cabinet, maybe you’d have a date for the 14th. Alas, they misinterpreted your stare, and you narrowly avoided a sexual harassment complaint. Now that they think you’re the office weirdo, your chances at a Valentine’s Day date this year is off the table, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the love holiday on your lonesome.

In the immortal words of RuPaul, “if you don’t love yourself, how  you gonna love somebody else”? Not sure how to do that? We’ve got you covered. Follow this guide and take yourself out on a sweet single date.

Step One: Getting Ready

Start the evening off right by pampering yourself in the shower or bath. If you were picking someone up for dinner, you’d make sure you were smelling good, so don’t skimp out on the good stuff. Try L’Occitane’s luxurious Olive Organic Cream to cure your mid-winter dry skin, or test out the Body Shop’s Peach Shower Gel to smell good enough to eat. It may seem like a lot of work for nothing but smelling good goes a long way to lifting your spirits. And if you’re still a little reticent, remember: since it’s just going to be you, you can skip over your usual shave and slip straight into a pair of soft jammies.

Step Two: Order Takeout

Confident or not, sitting down to eat a meal while your fellow diners are on a romantic date is a challenge. You don’t want to be the only obviously single person enjoying their wine and steak dinner. While you’re perfectly happy on your own, you don’t want to have to deal with their looks of pity when their beau goes for a bathroom break.

Avoid the whole mess by ordering your favorite takeout. Try out the GrubHub or JustEat app to put in your order without talking to a single person. Chinese, Thai, Pizza, or all three. It doesn’t matter. With a few clicks, you can get the dishes you want. Bask in the knowledge you won’t have to share a single bite.

Step Three: Synch up Netflix

Tonight, you’re going to take Netflix and chill literally, and there’s no one around to distract you or force you into watching a boring documentary. While waiting for your takeout to arrive, scroll through your My List to see if you have anything queued to watch, like season two of the Crown. If not, there’s no one to judge you when you re-watch season six of Friends for the thousandth time.

Step Four: Uncork the Bottle

Valentine’s Day and champagne go together like George and Amal. Don’t skip on a bottle of the bubbly just because you’re by yourself. Snag one on your way home from work, so you can sip on a glass while you watch Chandler shop for engagement rings. If you’d rather drink motor oil than a single mouthful of the stuff, don’t worry; this is your night. Pick something that you like. It doesn’t matter if it’s red wine, whiskey, or a bottle of 7Up.

Step Five: Spoil Yourself

Now, this next step is a tricky one to follow. It can easily fall into the category of pity-shopping through the holiday. To keep your budget intact after the 14th, you need to be strategic about your choices. You don’t want to wake up in the morning and experience retail regret, so keep it small. Avoid websites like Tiffany’s. While a brand-new diamond necklace would be nice, a gift of that size is not always in the budget.

Stick to items that come in under the $50 mark, like a cool iPhone decal. If you recently upgraded to the iPhone X, you can get your iPhone X to look unique with a fun, affordable, and practical iPhone decal. Affordable though they may be, you still have a lot of looks to choose from when you shop with a skin designer like dbrand. You can easily spend a lot of time creating a customized decal since they have a huge selection that includes trendy marble, dragon skin, and carbon fiber iPhone skins.

If you’re more of an analogue girl, head to Barnes and Noble and search through their Bestsellers list. Or head to Claire’s to find a faux-diamond choker. And if you’re still not sure what to do, check out a list like this for inspiration.

Step Six: Get Some Rest

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, you’re always on the go — even late at night. It’s all too easy to find yourself staying up well-past midnight despite your seven-a.m. wake-up call. Do your body a favor and give it what it craves: a full night’s sleep! Put that iPhone away, and turn off Netflix an hour before you want to go to bed. Screens that emit blue light disrupt your body’s production of melatonin and can make it difficult to catch some Zs.

Fill that time away from your screen doing calming activities that help you unwind. Try a low-key yoga routine that’s designed to encourage sleep. Surround yourself with scents that can help you unwind, like lavender. Drink a mug of herbal tea while you catch up on a few chapters of your latest book. Do whatever it takes to relax naturally before your head hits the pillow.

After a full night’s sleep, you’ll wake up in a better mood than ever before — not despite your dateless Valentine’s Day but because of it. Don’t feel sorry for yourself that you don’t have a date on the big day. Use your empty social calendar as an opportunity to pamper yourself this February. You’ll be surprised at how rejuvenating your night in can be!

5 Unusual Places to Find Inspiration for Baby Names

You want your baby’s name to be unique and special. But after scouring through baby books, you’re still struggling to find a name that you really love.

Don’t sweat it. While baby books are a great source for finding names, they’re not the only place you should be looking. To find a name you love, you need to get a little creative and think outside the baby book.


Keep reading to learn about 5 unusual places to find inspiration for baby names.


1.  Hobby Hunt

Hobbies can be one of our biggest sources of joy in life. And, they can also be a great resource for finding inspiration for a baby name.


Think about the hobbies that you engage in frequently and love the most. For example, if you love gardening, maybe a name like Lily or Rose would be a good choice for your baby. Or, let’s say you enjoy birdwatching. Then maybe a name like Robin or Wren would be up your alley.


Heck, there was even a couple who named their baby after Olive Garden because they loved the restaurant so much!


2.  Explore the Globe

One of the best sources for name inspiration that is often overlooked is researching popular names in other countries.


This can be a particularly good idea if you want your baby to have a unique name, (Or at least unique for where you live!)


There are so many beautiful names from other cultures that you likely have never even heard of. And all it takes is a quick Google search. For example, you could search “Most popular girl names in India,” and voila! You have a whole new list to browse through.


3. Social Security Website

The Social Security website may seem like an odd place to search for baby names, but hear us out first.


On the Social Security website, you can find the most popular names of today. And, if you’re into the idea of old-timey names, you can also jump back 100 years to discover popular names of the past.


For example, in 1925, the most popular boy names were Robert, John, and William, and the most popular girl names were Mary, Dorothy, and Betty.


4. The Silver Screen

Next time you decide to catch a flick, be ready to get inspired for baby name ideas.


Oftentimes, movie characters have very interesting names that you may be drawn. And, make sure to stick around for the credits this time!


Credits include so many names, that undoubtedly you’ll find inspiration somewhere along the way. Also, don’t forget to look at the last names as well. Oftentimes these provide unique ideas too.


And of course, don’t forget to think of the real names of the actors and actresses in the film. Getting inspiration from celebrities is quite popular, as evidenced in this blog here.

5. Map It Out

Whether you’re a globetrotter or not, taking out an old map to get inspiration for names can be a great idea.


First, think of names of cities that you love. Paris, London, and Florence all make beautiful names. But if you want a little less mainstream, dig deeper into your maps and check out names of smaller cities and towns- both here and overseas.

And if you really want to dig deep, don’t be afraid to check out street names as well. This is something you can even do next time you’re strolling to the park!

Unusual Baby Name Inspiration: Final Thoughts

Now that you have these ideas, it’s time to toss that baby book aside and start researching!

Got a place to find inspiration for baby names that wasn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below!