MommyMandy l California Mom Blog

Fun For The Family: Summertime Boredom Busting Ideas

Nothing is worse than being bored with your kids during the summer holidays. However, they’re fast approaching, and so you don’t have much time to make arrangements. Considering that, I wanted to offer a helping hand today with some suggestions. When all’s said and done, you are the best person to decide what’s right for your children. Still, I hope these ideas will point you in the right direction. You just need to make sure you enjoy yourselves and stay entertained. Use the tips on this page to ensure you leave no stone unturned this summer.

Try to spend a lot of time outside

Lots of children waste their time playing video games these days. That is something that annoys many parents because it’s bad for their health. For that reason, you should try to get your kids to spend as much time outside as possible. Maybe you could show them how to build a treehouse or something similar? Perhaps you could purchase some fun apparatus to make your garden more attractive? Just read online reviews like http://parentingpod.com/springfree-springless-trampoline-review/. With a bit of luck, you’ll discover the perfect products for your outdoor space. As a bonus, some of those items might even help to keep your kids in shape.

Encourage your kids to play with friends

All children need to socialize as much as possible. As a parent,  we can help guide them to making friends and learn how to get on with other people. Some ideas that would come in hand is to call other parents and arrange some playdates. While the kids enjoy themselves in the garden, you can possibly get some actual adult conversation. It’s a fantastic idea because it means your little ones will have lots of fun. However, it also means you won’t find yourself left on the sidelines. If the weather is good, you might consider organizing a barbecue or something similar. Tips at http://www.countryliving.com/entertaining/g801/summer-party-ideas-0609/ could come in handy. That idea would mean you could invite lots of their friends at the same time.

 

Arrange some day trips

Getting away from your house is always a wise move during the summer holidays. There’s a massive world out there with lots to keep you entertained. So, now is the time to search online for day trip or vacation ideas. Maybe your children love spending an afternoon at a theme park? Perhaps they have an interest in history, and so you look for interesting sites? Whatever your kids enjoy, you’re guaranteed to identify something suitable. If you want the best results, involve your little ones in the process. Give them a choice of different ideas, and then let them decide how you’re going to spend your day together.
If you use some of the advice from this page, your family should avoid a boring summer. Pretty soon, your kids will grow up and fly the nest. For that reason, it’s vital that you make the most of your time together while they are young. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep a camera handy. These moments are when you will create memories that last a lifetime. So, ensure you document them as much as possible.

Family Adventure Vacation Ideas for Summer 2017

With summer approaching at a rapid rate, your mind may be drifting off towards family holidays that you can take together. There is a whole variety of options out there, and you can plan a fantastic adventure even if you have only a limited budget. Whatever you do decide on, there is nothing like an adventure for bringing the whole family together. Simply the joy of seeing new places and having different experiences can provide you with memories that will last a lifetime. So, let’s take a look at some wonderful family adventures that you can go on together.

 

Go on a Road Trip

 

There is nothing like the open road for conjuring up images of excitement and adventure as you whizz across the country. Take a look at the No Birds Bash website for an example of an epic road trip. Of course, if you have a young family, things probably won’t be quite so idyllic! You need to make sure that you have plenty of entertainment planned to keep your kids engaged while you are out on long stretches of road. You also need to ensure that you have your route carefully planned out in advance so you can choose interesting stopping points along the way. Make sure that you have a satnav to prevent any unnecessary arguments about heading off in the wrong direction!

 

Take a Camping Holiday

 

Going on a camping holiday is a nice affordable activity that you can do with the whole family. With so many different possible destinations out there, you will need to do some research so you choose the one that is right for you. Buy all your equipment in advance and make sure that you are confident that you can put your tent up when you get there so you are not left struggling! The nice thing about a camping holiday is that it moves you away from screens and other technology, so try to come up with some other forms of entertainment that you can all take part in as a family.

 

Go on and Adventure Trip

 

There are all kinds of adventure centres all over the country, usually in the heart of some wilderness or countryside that offer you the chance to take part in a whole range of activities. These activities may include hiking, mountain biking, watersports, canoeing and a whole range of other possibilities depending on where you go. The good thing about adventure holiday destinations is that they are usually very social places with lots of other families so it is very easy to meet like-minded people.

 

Plan a Walking Trip
If you prefer to get around just using your own two legs, a walking holiday may be the choice for you. It gives you the freedom of being able to decide where you would like to go yourself, and the chance to get out in the open air with the whole family. You can either decide to camp or book accommodation along the way depending on your personal preferences.       

Top 6 Occasions and the Appropriate Gift Ideas

Gifting is always a special thing for the buyers and the receivers both. There are numerous occasions to get a gift for your loved ones. Rather than breaking your head in confusion, you can have a look at the gift ideas discussed below and gain from it.

Birthday: Among all gifting occasions, a birthday is the most special one. This is a day that is filled with cakes and gifts by the loved ones, friends, and relatives. Now, to wish someone dearly on the occasion of birthday, always make sure that you study the other person well. Once you know the choice and taste of that person, you can easily get the online gift delivery in Canada. Surprise party can be a good idea for birthdays. You can also think of an experience gift on this occasion like scuba diving or bungee jumping or river rafting.

Anniversary: Maybe marriages are made in heaven but in our real planet, it takes the hard work of two people who accept each other whole-heartedly. Each and every single day of marriage is a learning experience for the couple. As a gift for this lovely union you can get a personalized photo frame, or you can take your spouse to a spa treat. Both these gifts would be treasured by your better half.

House-warming: Housewarming observance is a very special day for every family because it symbolizes the time they move into their own little world. Earning with a lot of dedication and hard work gives us money and when this money helps us to get a new home, it is a moment of pride and honor for the family. So to congratulate any dear friend when he/she has acquired a new space, you can take some Feng Shui items that would take care of the happiness and prosperity of their home. Laughing Buddha, Lucky Bamboo plant, turtle, etc. are some of them.

Retirement: A person retires from his/her work with a heavy but happy heart. The heart is heavy because, in some corner of the mind there is that “I am getting old” factor and also the fact that there won’t be the same morning alarm clock waking you up for the piles of work. The heart is happy because, the person who would retire has an experience of lifetime – he has crossed millions of challenges and stood firm. You can get some lovely books and a personalized coffee mug as a gift for this occasion.

 

Congratulations: Now, this is a large area as you can congratulate someone for buying a new car or getting a promotion in office. If your sweet little brother or sister have graduated recently, you must congratulate on this occasion. A wrist watch, pen, nice clock, or a brand new glares, jeans, and shirt collection can be gifted to the boys. And for the darling ladies, you can take up a smartphone, tablet, or handbags along with a congratulatory greeting card and send gifts online to Canada.

 

 

Stains on Kid Clothes? Want to Remove them? Use BIZ!

As you can imagine being a mother of four means we have a ton of laundry to wash every day! yes DAILY! But with four kids ages 2 to 14 that means that there are a lot of stains.

For me I don’t have a lot of time to waste on pre-treating laundry, or washing items over and over so I turn to BIZ stain fighter to help get the clothes looking their best.  Plus I love BIZ because it doesn’t cost a fortune!

What is BIZ? Well it is a laundry booster, adding in BIZ helps get your clothes even cleaner than detergent alone! A few reasons we love using BIZ is one that most moms who are trying to make the earth more “green” is it is made with biodegradable surfactants.

  • Cleans up to 80% BETTER than detergent alone
  • MORE STAIN FIGHTERS than other brands
  • Fights tough stains BETTER THAN OXI CLEAN guaranteed!

So here are some pretty hard stains that my two younger ones have on their clothes, and this is the washing with only detergent once.

Pre-treat stains directly with BIZ® liquid by wetting the area with warm water and applying Biz. Rub gently and wait 5-10 minutes then wash as usual. Or, add Biz to every load to boost the power of your detergent.

And after!

As you can see that BIZ Liquid did a pretty good job helping lift some of the stains! I love adding BIZ to the kid’s laundry because it truly does help get some of those nasty spots out of their clothes.

 

 


Disclosure: I am a Biz Ambassador. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Amazon Original Special An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life to Premiere on Prime Video Friday, June 9

On Friday, June 9, Amazon Original Special An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life is set to launch on Prime Video in the US, UK, Germany and Austria.

In the new special, friends Z (Zoe Manarel, The Nightingale) and Paz (Alison Fernandez, Logan) arrive at S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) camp excited for tech heaven. When the administrator surprises everyone by restricting their devices, they think their summer’s doomed. Things take a mysterious turn when they meet Jordan (Monique Green, Marriage of Lies), an enchanting “counselor” who sends them on an adventure, opening them up to a world of possibilities – like befriending Drew (Lauren Donzis, Liv and Maddie). The special, directed by Alison McDonald (An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win), also stars Camryn Manheim (Extant).

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Summer Camp, Friends for Life combines the relatable themes of friendship and collaboration in a fun and engaging S.T.E.A.M. camp environment,” said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios. “Our customers will be inspired by Z, Paz and Drew as they work together toward solving the mystery presented to them.”

How to Protect Your Child from the Emotional Negatives of Divorce

With 40-50% of all U.S. marriages ending in divorce, you can guarantee that at some point a child is going to be involved.

Whilst younger children usually bounce back and quickly get used to mommy and daddy having separate houses, older kids tend to be more aware. However, no matter where they currently are in terms of developmental stage, you won’t be able to hide your divorce from your children forever.

So, the priority here is making sure that your child’s emotional health remains intact – after all, they are the innocent party in this. We’ve listed the five top ways to protect your child from the negative effects of divorce.

1. Encourage Communication

You might not want to talk about your divorce right now, but some day the nitty-gritty details are going to come out and staying silent will set the wrong example to your little one; teaching them to keep their feelings bottled up can have awful long-lasting effects.

If you hire a good divorce lawyer, they may be able to help you explain the process to your child objectively. This can be a good way to start the flow of communication between you two.

2. Compartmentalize

Dividing the various parts of their life and boxing them off in mental ‘compartments’ comes easily to some people; for others, it can seem impossible. But, when your child is around, it’s so important to file thoughts about the divorce away in your mind for another time.

Remember that your spouse is also your child’s parent; your little one doesn’t want to hear bad things about mom or dad. Unless it’s an extreme situation such as abuse where your child can’t see their parent again, don’t be that parent who shares the details. Doing so can lead to a strained relationship between your child and ex-spouse for years to come. And, it will affect your own parent-child bond.

3. Stay Positive

It can be hard to think positive thoughts when the marriage you’ve worked so hard to build is being demolished in front of your eyes. But, striving to see the bright side will encourage a culture of underlying happiness and contentment in your home, no matter what.

From a child’s perspective, there’s some pretty good perks of having divorced parents; two birthday parties, two bedrooms, and in some cases, new brothers and sisters to play with. Remind them that it’s not all bad.

4. Get Support

Finally, in some cases, you will need to get extra support for your child. Some children are particularly hard-hit by a divorce; perhaps they share a close bond with your ex-spouse and not having them around is breaking their heart.

Therapy with a good pediatric psychologist can help your child to deal with the changes in their life. Additionally, encourage your child to remain friends with your ex; let them visit as often as they need and encourage them to stay in touch by calling or texting.

Did divorce affect you as a child? Did you hire a great divorce lawyer? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Snapology LEGO® Themed & Robotics Classes, Camps & Birthday Parties near Montgomery, AL *Giveaway closed*

LEGO® Themed & Robotics Classes, Camps & Birthday Parties!

Snapology offers parties, classes & camps in The River Region, including Montgomery, Prattville, Wetumpka, Millbrook and surrounding areas. In addition, we are now mobile! Snapology is proud to offer school field trips, workshops, scouting events, anti-bullying programs, and customized events all at your convenience and location.

Robotics For All Ages!

Snapology provides interactive Robotics programs for children ages 3-14 using LEGO® bricks. Students in the robotics programs learn pseudo-coding, coding, robotics and engineering principles. Using fun topics and themes, such as animals, games, space and battle machines, we embrace children’s interest and curiosity to guide them through robotics and engineering principles. Our programs provide the best mix of fun and education for your child. In fact, most kids have so much fun in our programs, they don’t even realize how much they are learning.

LEGO®- Themed Classes, Camps & Workshops

Snapology’s themed programs are designed to promote creative play, teamwork and social skills. Through the use of popular topics like Minecraft, Star Wars & Superheroes, students are engaged a variety of theme-focused activities while learning engineering and math principles. Snapology’s goal is to put purpose to their building through blueprinting and idea sharing.Our themed programs use LEGO® bricks, K’Nex  and other interactive building toys to engage children and spark their creativity.

If you are looking for  Montgomery kids activities near you check out Snapology!

Parents! Right now Snapology is currently enrolling for their summer camps! You can find a local camp near you here.

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ONE winner will receive a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology Mascot Sebastian Gator

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Snapology LEGO® Themed & Robotics Classes, Camps & Birthday Parties near Montgomery, AL *Giveaway ends May 20th*

Note: This giveaway is open to US shipping addresses only.

This giveaway will end on May 20

*A product was provided.

Great Second Careers for Over 40’s

More people than ever before are choosing to take a career break or make a change in their 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s. One of the reasons for this is that the growth of online study means it’s much easier to learn new skills and gain qualifications while working. Courses such as an online doctor EDD program have grown in popularity in recent years, which means those who are perhaps bored of their careers or want to take on new challenges are no longer stuck. They have options. Here are just a few.

Consultancy

If you have been working in one industry for the last 20 years there is a good chance you know what you are doing. Becoming a consultant in that field would allow you to use your skills and knowledge to help others just starting out. Spend time assessing their business, spotting problems and coming up with solutions. Then move on to the next firm. Consultancy is a great way to use your skills to help others while meeting a range of different people.

Starting a Business

As well as opening the door to further education, the internet gives people the opportunity to start their own business. You could set up many different services including those in hair and beauty, painting and decorating, catering, or removal services, and use the internet to promote and advertise to a wider audience. Starting your own business is both challenging and rewarding. Use your experience of working for other people. Take their strengths and learn from their mistakes.

Freelancing

Freelancing can be a great way to turn a hobby into a career. If you enjoy writing, photography or web design, advertise your skills on a site such as Upwork to get your first clients. You could then set up your own website or blog to sell your skills, show off your portfolio, and build your own client base. With work like this, experience and passion are much more important than qualifications.

Teaching

Teaching makes a fantastic second career. Your skills and experience are invaluable, it’s a growing industry always in need of new staff and there is plenty of room for progression. Once you are a qualified teacher studying for an online doctor of education, this could see you go on to become a dean, head of department, chief academic officer, or an education administrator.

Nursing

Nursing is another career path where your life experience and skills could be exceptionally useful. Many people choose a job in healthcare as their secondary career as it allows them to help others and give something back to the community. Like teaching, nursing is a growing industry with room to grow and develop.

Remember, it’s never too late to learn or to make a change. Don’t feel trapped in an unhappy career. If there is a new path you are interested in, whether it’s on this list or something different, look at what skills you need and try to find courses and experiences that would fill any gaps in your knowledge and qualifications before applying. Good luck.

Craft Ideas for Mother’s and Father’s Day

Do you dread shopping for Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts? The search for items that demonstrate your love feels like the quest for the fountain of youth: hopeless.

This leads many to procrastinate shopping at all. Then at the last minute, people spend more money than they intended on a gift they aren’t that happy about.

In 2016, Americans spent over $35 billion on Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. That’s a lot of ties and flowers!

On average, people last year spent $125.92 on Father’s Day gifts and $172.22 on Mother’s Day presents.

But here’s the thing: you don’t need to spend a lot of money to show your parents you love them. And maybe by spending less money, you’ll make Mom and Dad feel even more special.

Sounds like magic, right? It is, but you don’t need to be a magician to achieve it. Check out these 10 DIY crafts ideas that could make this Mother’s and Father’s Day season extra special.

1. DIY Photo Transfer to Wood

Parents love family photos. Rather than putting pictures into store-bought frames, try transferring your photos onto wood for a unique, rustic look.

With the magic of Mod Podge, you can imprint the color from a laser-printed picture onto a block of wood. You won’t need a lot of expensive supplies to make this craft, but you will need some patience and care.

Once you’re done transferring the image, get as creative as you want by adding embellishments like letters and words to the finished product.

2. Classy Silhouette Brunch Cookies

Food brings families together, and these silhouette cookies will add a special twist to your Mother’s Day brunch.

Put a spin on the classic silhouette by using your kid’s profiles on the cookies rather than a random artistic portrait. Don’t have kids? Mom will love your silhouette too!

While these cookies take some extra effort to make, you’ll create personalized works of art that make Mom feel special.

3. Tee-Time Cupcakes

Not to be outdone by Mom’s brunch cookies, check out these fun golf-themed cupcakes for Dad.

Maybe your father needs a new set of clubs or golf shoes, but there’s so much to consider when making purchases like those. It’s too easy to buy the wrong things.

So make these adorable golf cupcakes instead. And while you’re getting crafty, make a card online too!

4. Painted Cork Coasters

Dads will appreciate these colorful, fun cork coasters. And you’ll appreciate how fast and easy they are to make, with minimal materials.

Use tape to create triangular patterns on the cork for painting. But get as creative as you want with the designs.

You could paint other shapes like polka dots, hearts, and stars, or even a special message for Dad.

These coasters will score some points with Mom too. Help protect her beloved coffee table from those dreaded water stains.

5. Homemade Facial Scrubs

Your mom deserves some pampering. Spa visits are a nice luxury, but why not give Mom her own spa at home?

Here are 16 luscious homemade scrubs you can make for your mom using sugar, salt, oatmeal, and other ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

You really only need some mason jars and food ingredients for this craft. Then get as creative as you’d like in making labels for the scrubs.

6. Aromatherapy Neck Pillow

Speaking of pampering, here’s a gift that both Mom and Dad will enjoy.

After a stressful day, aromatherapy neck pillows will help your parents relax and ease into the evening.

If you’ve got a pair of long socks, rice, lavender oil, and a needle and thread, that’s all you need to make this simple craft. It doesn’t get easier than this.

7. Paper Flower Corsage

Flowers are so lovely but they fade fast. And corsages made with real flowers, precious as they are, can only be used once.

So why not make a corsage or boutonnière out of paper? Mom will treasure and wear this beautiful gift for years to come.

This tutorial will guide you through each step with highly detailed and colorful pictures.

8. Retro Personalized Food Labels

Jazz up your dad’s favorite foods—like nuts, barbecue sauce, or pickled vegetables—with this personalized retro clip art labels.

This tutorial has downloadable designs you can print. Other than paper for the labels, all you’ll need are jars or bags for the food, plus some double-sided tape.

Cover up that boring pickle jar label with “Daddy-o-Brand” and put a smile on Dad’s face.

9. Baby footprint art

Who doesn’t adore newborn baby feet? People without souls—that’s who.

But Mom or Dad will treasure this precious snapshot in time. Check out these 10 DIY baby footprint crafts that your parents will love.

Be sure to use non-toxic paint or clay when making any baby footprint projects.

10. Vintage Teacup Candles

Does your mom love antique teacups? And what about candles?

Combine both elements in one with this classy DIY teacup candle project.

You could also use these candles on your Mother’s Day brunch table! And similar to the silhouette cookies, this is a delicate project that takes some effort.

But vintage teacup candles make a charming addition to any home’s decor.

Summing It Up

With so many crafty DIY projects on the web, there’s no need for anxiety this Mother’s and Father’s Day season. Choose the craft that most inspires you, roll up your sleeves, and get started.

And if you’ve got kids, be sure to include them in the crafting process too. You may even start a DIY family revolution that goes beyond these holidays to birthdays and other special occasions.

While store-bought items are nice, homemade gifts convey a thoughtfulness that transcends picking something off a shelf or browsing Amazon.

Taking time to make something with your own hands is a physical demonstration of love. And it’s a gesture Mom or Dad won’t soon forget.

As a bonus, you’ll spend less money on making a homemade gift than you’ll spend on buying one.

Affordable and thoughtful? Sounds like a win to us.

11 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Drink More Water

With a huge assortment of fruit juices, fizzy drinks and more tasty beverages for children available from your local grocery store today, getting little ones to drink more water can be difficult. But, staying hydrated is especially important for children; even more so if they are regularly active since our bodies quickly lose water through sweating, digestion, and even breathing.

Thankfully, there are many things that parents can do to make drinking enough water fun and easy for children. We’ve put together some top tips to help you encourage your child to stay hydrated, energized and healthy.

Tip #1. Water Filtration

If you tend to drink water from the faucet, your child might be turning their nose up at the taste. Using a good water filter will purify your home’s water supply, making it perfect for drinking without the metallic taste that unfiltered water tends to have.

Having a water filter at home will encourage your whole family to drink more water. See www.waterfilteranswers.com for more information.

Tip #2. Fruit Infusion

If your child prefers the fruity taste of juice, you can get a special fruit infusion water bottle to add some flavor to their drink. These bottles can be obtained quite cheaply online or from a homeware store, and have a small compartment inside where you can place any fruit of your choice.

Alternatively, you can leave a jug of water with fruit pieces in it in your refrigerator overnight to infuse. Or, instead of ice cubes, freeze berries or fruit pieces in an ice cube tray then add these to the water to keep it extra cold. If your child is a fan of soda, opting for sparkling water infused with fruit is a far healthier alternative. And, it’s much more appealing to little ones.

Tip #3. Mini Water Bottles

If your child finds it difficult to drink a lot of water in one go, then it’s a good idea to invest in small water bottles that are easy for a child to hold and use.

Tiny water bottles of 4 or 8 ounces can be purchased in multi-packs from most good grocery stores; some will even be specifically aimed at kids, with fun cartoons on the packaging to encourage them to drink more.

Tip #4. Set a Good Example

When a child sees mom or dad doing something, chances are they will want to do it too. By demonstrating healthy habits to your child, they are more likely to follow in your footsteps.

So, make sure that you are also drinking enough water in the day. Ideally, you should be aiming to drink around eight to ten glasses per day. Not only will this set a good example to your little one, you’ll also improve your own health and energy.

Tip #5. Use a Reward System

Providing incentives for your child can make drinking more water a fun and exciting experience for them. For example, you could start a chart, where your child is given a star each time they drink the recommended amount of water in a day.

Simple rewards, such as allowing your child to have an extra half an hour before bed on the weekends or taking them for a trip to the park can be effective.

Tip #6. Carry Water

When you are out and about with your child, carry a bottle of water with you in your bag. When they are thirsty, this will mean that you’re less tempted to give in and buy them juice or a fizzy drink.

Keep water bottles in places that your child can access easily when they aren’t at home. For example, make sure to always have one ready in your car, and have one ready for your child’s school bag every morning.

Tip #7. Healthy Eating

Although drinking pure water is the best way for your child to stay hydrated, they can also get some water from the foods that they eat.

Ensuring that your child gets their recommended five portions of fruit or vegetables per day will help to increase their water intake, since these foods have a higher water content than others.

Tip #8. Choose Water When Eating Out

If you eat out as a family regularly, getting into the habit of ordering water will encourage your child to also do the same.

In addition, drinking water with your meal at a restaurant is usually far cheaper, so you can save money on family entertainment and activities.

Tip #9. Freeze Water

Cold water is always nicer to drink than water at room temperature. So, keeping the water in your home ice-cold may encourage your child to choose water over other beverages when they are thirsty.

It’s a good idea to invest in some freezer-safe water bottles that you can leave in your freezer for cold, refreshing water available all day long. Alternatively, you might want to consider investing in a refrigerator with a dispenser that keeps water nice and cold.

Tip #10. Drinking Accessories

Today, you can purchase a huge range of accessories that make drinking water more fun for kids. For example, you might want to get some curly straws, decorative cups, or ice cube trays in the shape of their favorite cartoon character.

Let your child pick out a special cup that they are only allowed to use when they are drinking water. Then, make sure that it’s readily available for them whenever they are thirsty.

Tip #11. Allow Some Treats

Of course, drinking juice or soda in moderation is fine, if your child makes up for it by drinking plenty of water in between.

You might want to consider using a cup of juice or soda as a reward for your child drinking enough water. For example, if your child drinks water during the week, you can treat them to some of their favorite fruit juice at the weekend.

How do you encourage your child to drink more water? We’d love to hear from you; share your top tips in the comments.

Title: Pest Control and Children

When you begin to notice evidence of a cockroach, rodent or ant infestation in your home, your first thought may be to grab a trap or the largest can of bug spray you have in your home. These infestations can occur during any time of the year, but most people report home infestations in the spring and summer. However, before you begin spraying your home, take a breath and rethink your options. Although these store-bought pesticides will more than likely kill the uninvited guests who have invaded your home, these products may also cause harm to your family as well.

Your children are more susceptible to harm from these types of pesticides than the safer pest control services offered by companies like Go-Forth Pest Control. Children have a higher chance of becoming sick by exposure to these products because their immune system is still developing. Younger children are at greater risk because they crawl around on the floor while playing and they place objects from the floor directly into their mouths.

On the other hand, left to roam in your home, these pests could pose a danger to your entire family. Mice and rats leave droppings behind that can trigger asthma and allergies, and cockroaches also produce unhealthy allergens that can cause respiratory problems. And, in recent headlines, we have seen that mosquitos living in the southern states are carrying a host of diseases including the Zika and West Nile viruses.

The good news is that you can control pests and protect your family at the same time. You can consider implementing IPM (integrated pest management) to prevent pest infestations. Contacting pest control companies that offer eco-friendly solutions is also an option.

What are Pesticides?

When you take a quick glance around your home, at first you may not see anything that stands out as a pesticide. However, upon closer inspection, there is a chance you may actually have a few of these chemicals in your home and around your children.

According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), pesticides can also be referred to herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides. They can be found in products like:

  • Flea shampoo for pets
  • Rat poison
  • Weed killers
  • Bug sprays
  • Insect repellent

All of these products are designed to do only one thing: kill pests.

Which Group is at the Highest Risk?

As previously discussed, these products are very strong and the chemicals in them can be also be harmful to people, especially young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. If you or someone you know falls into one of these categories and you have a pest problem in your home, do not attempt to use these products to eliminate the pests. Contact a professional pest control service that can offer you several alternatives that will not place you and your family in danger.

How are You Exposed to Pesticides?

Exposure to these chemicals generally occurs in one of three ways. The three ways are inhalation, skin contact and ingestion. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has stated that pesticide use is such a big problem in the United States that over a billion pounds of the chemical is used every year. This extreme use poses a problem for children who have less natural defenses against chemical exposure than adults.

Theories are still out on whether some of these store-bought pesticides are linked to certain childhood cancers, asthma and even learning disabilities. Because the lasting effects of these products are not known, pest control experts advise that parents limit their children’s exposure to them.

Labeling

Some parents feel as though they are caught in a catch-22. There are pests in the home they need to get rid of, but the products they need to use can harm their children. Fortunately, parents do have options. One option is if they are going to bring these types of pesticides in the home, the products should be labeled properly and stored out of the reach of their children. These products should be placed in the garage, basement or a locked cabinet.

They should also be stored in their original containers. Sadly, too many parents have had to face the consequences of placing pesticides in soda or juice bottles. Children are naturally curious, and they will sip something out of these bottles because they associate these bottles with a beverage. One small sip of a toxic substance can lead to serious, if not deadly, consequences.

The other option is to hire a professional pest control company to safely eliminate the pests from your home, and also perform regular maintenance services to prevent another infestation of your home.

Prevention

Prevention is always the best way to avoid a pest infestation in the first place. The number one way to do this is to make your home so unattractive to them, they decide not to stay. Just like humans, pests only need a few things to survive, and those things are shelter, water and food. If they are not able to find all three of these things in your home, they are likely to exit the same way they entered.

So, let us look at what steps you can take to discourage pests from invading your home. The first thing you want to do is immediately clean up all food and drink spills. Food crumbs and drops of water are very appealing to a cockroach or ant, and once there is one in your home, others will soon follow.

The next thing you want to do is keep your kitchen and dining areas clean. After you finish eating or cooking, clean the dishes, counters, sink, tables and floors. Always wash and dry your dishes after every meal and snack.

Never leave open food on the stove or counter. If you have leftovers, place the food in an airtight container and place the container in the refrigerator. Where you have food in an open cardboard box, like cereal, be sure to completely seal the box if you are leaving it in the pantry. Cockroaches eat cardboard, and will eat through the box to get to the food.

Take your trash out every night. Do not allow piles of trash to accumulate anywhere in your home. The trash can serve as food and makes a good nesting area for some pests.

Finally, make sure that you repair all water leaks, and make sure all excess moisture is wiped away. Not only do cockroaches love water, they are excellent swimmers.

How to Choose a Pesticide

If you have tried everything and there is still evidence of pests in your home, you may still be inclined to use a store-bought pesticide before calling a professional pest control company. If so, you will need to know what type of pest is in your home so you can choose the best product that will cause the least amount of harm to your family. For example, if you are not sure whether there are termites or carpenter ants in your home, you should contact a reputable exterminator for further assistance.

The next thing to do is choose a pesticide that will do what it was developed to do without hurting you and your children. One option is a bait trap. These are generally plastic cups that are filled with insecticide and food and placed in areas where the pests have been seen to lure them into the trap. These types of traps will confine the pesticide to one area of the home instead of spreading it throughout the entire home. Choose bait traps that are tamper proof as this will help to reduce your child’s accidental exposure to the pesticide.

Try to choose a product that is already premixed. You want to avoid buying a product that you must mix with another chemical because you want to limit your exposure to the product.

When applying the pesticide to the area, make sure you are properly covered to minimize skin contact. You should wear a pair of gloves, long sleeves and pants, a pair of safety goggles, and a nose mask. After you are finished, wash the clothes you were wearing and shower.

Never pour unused pesticide down the drain, in the toilet or in the trash. Read the instructions on the label so you will know how to properly dispose of the product.

Before applying any pesticide, make sure that your children, food, toys and pets are removed from the area. The label on the packaging should tell you how long it will take before the area is safe for humans and pets to re-enter.

No matter what type of pesticide you choose to use, you may not successfully eradicate the critters from your home. Even the strongest product on the market will not deter them forever if they still have access to water and food. However, by practicing prevention tips and having your home regularly maintained by a professional pest control company, you should start to see results.

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Food Expiration Dates

There’s been a lot of debates regarding food expiration dates, with some people strictly abiding by the date printed on the packaging while others insisting that this date is flexible. Often, consumers incorrectly assume that the date on food labels indicate food safety, and that ingesting something that has “expired” can lead to food poisoning and other illnesses.

 

Here’s what you might not have known about food expiration dates:

 

  1. Understand labels.

The “Sell Before” date is intended for the retailer to know until when the product should be on display. In other words, the product should ideally be sold before the date printed.

The “Use Before” date is decided by the manufacturer and indicates the peak quality of the product.

The “Best Before” date is not the date at which the food product should be thrown out, rather, it is a recommendation for the product’s best quality or taste.

The “Expiration” Date, on the other hand, is a clear indication of the last date that a food product should be consumed.

 

  1. There are still some foods to watch out for.

Most meats, shellfish, and fresh fish have shorter “shelf” life than other food items, so it’s best to avoid eating these items after their “Best Before” date has passed. Dairy, too, has a short shelf life, and should be taken off of grocery shelves on the date of expiry printed on the packaging. On the other hand, food products that don’t require being kept in refrigerators might not necessarily cause illnesses if consumed after their “Use Before” printed dates.

 

  1. The “Best Before” date is only applicable to unopened packages.

Regardless if the “Best Before” date on the food package shows a date that’s over a month away, if you open the food package today, that date is no longer valid. This is because food has a higher chance of contamination once the packaging is opened, hence, the “Best Before” date is only really used to gauge product freshness while the food item is still at the grocery store.

 

  1. You can still consume food past the best before date.

As mentioned earlier, the “Best Before” date is only a recommendation for the food product’s best quality, so you still can consume them even past the “Best Before” date, just that the quality might not be the best by then. Yogurt and milk, for example, can be consumed safely for up to a week after the listed “Best Before” date. The key here is to use your common sense to avoid food items that have doubtful quality.

  1. Expiry dates are only required on infant formula and baby foods.

The federal government really only necessitates expiration dates on infant formula and baby food. For these items, you really have to use them up before the expiry date printed on them.

Incorrectly understanding food dates on labels contributes wasted food every year – in the range of millions of kilograms, at that. Educating ourselves about these expiry dates and similar other labels can help greatly in minimizing the amount of supposedly usable food items that we throw out.

 

Hobbies From Home: Fun, Productive Ideas for Busy Moms

In life, it’s important to have hobbies. Not just for the enjoyment factor- hobbies can help you to relax, boost your confidence and can help you to maintain your identity. They help you maintain a good work/ life balance, and can give you a much-needed break from the stress that life can sometimes throw your way. But fitting in hobbies can be a struggle, when you’re a busy mom, you don’t have all the time or money in the world to indulge in frivolous things. However, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t still have fun and do something productive. There are loads of things you can do right from your own home, maybe it’s an hour in the afternoon when your little one is having a nap or later in the evening when they’re in bed. Hobbies can help you maintain your identity after having kids, and is something just for you. And let’s face it, a bit of time just for yourself is as precious as gold when you’re a busy parent! Here are some hobbies to consider.

 

Blogging, Writing or Journaling

Blogging is completely free to start, simply open an account with Blogger or WordPress. No special equipment is needed, just a laptop or computer which chances are you already own! Blogging allows you to improve your writing skills and vocabulary, as well as introduces you to things like graphic design, coding and photography. Plus you also learn about social media networking and promotion, which is a useful skill to have. If you set up your own business at any point later down the line, these skills are all transferable. Many people have been able to make blogging their full time job, due to things like sponsored posts, advertising and affiliate marketing. So later down the line, you might even make a little cash with your hobby. If you like the idea of writing but don’t want it to be a public thing, how about journaling or creative writing? You could write stories for your kids or just for yourself to hone your skills.

Music

There are many reasons why you should learn to play an instrument- even if you’re new to it all as an adult. It teaches you discipline and patience and boosts your brain. Research suggests that adults who can play an instrument have better cognitive, motor and physical abilities than adults who don’t. Basic instruments aren’t too expensive to buy, or you could hire one and try different ones to work out which is the best for you. Youtube is full of tutorials and there’s sheet music online so this side of things would cost you nothing. If you were a complete beginner, you could hire a tutor to come to your home and show you the basics. At least from there you have some techniques you can build from.

 

Arts and Crafts

There are so many ideas on sites like Pinterest to inspire you when it comes to crafts. You could make your own candles or jewelry. You could draw, paint or sew. You could get into card making, you could use an online card maker or create something using paper and decorations. You could knit or create decorative homeware items. If you sew things like cushions curtains even clothes, you could save yourself quite a bit of money as well as have fun in the process. Another fun crafty thing to try is upcycling furniture. You can give a new lease of life to an old piece with some paint and new hardware- perfect for saving money on new furnishings in the home. The world really is your oyster!

 

Baking

Baking is a fun hobby and something that will surely go down well with family and friends! With a few simple store cupboard ingredients, you can make all kinds of cakes, cookies, pastries and savories. There are loads of recipes online which you could follow along to until you’re confident enough to create your own. If you’re conscious of fat and sugar, there are healthier alternatives you could make too. Wholegrain spinach and cheese muffins, for example, make a healthy grab and go breakfast or snack. You could make vegan or gluten free goodies if you or any of your family member has special dietary requirements. It would certainly be cheaper than buying from a store, and you know exactly what’s gone into it too. If you want to bake but also want the convenience factor, a bread machine is a good investment. You get to flavor it however you like, but the kneading, proving and baking is all done in one machine. As long as you have a good dough recipe, it will work every time.

Gardening

Watching something grow from seemingly nothing into something amazing is incredibly rewarding. You could plant a variety of bulbs and seeds and watch your flowerbeds and pots flourish all throughout the year. You could create a little herb garden, or even section out an area of the yard to grow vegetables. If you wanted to take the hobby a step further, a greenhouse would allow you to extend the growing season. It will keep you fit and save you money on your grocery bill too. If you’re new to gardening, look online to find out what’s easy to grow in the place where you live. As you get more knowledge, you can attempt to grow different things. A few hand tools, a bag of compost and some seeds or bulbs wouldn’t cost much and is a great way to get you started.

 

Having a hobby that’s inexpensive and accessible, that you can dip into for an hour or two at a time is useful when you’re a busy parent. If you’re hoping to make the most of the little free time you have, give one of these a try!
Do you have any hobbies that you really enjoy? What hobbies from home would you recommend to busy parents?

New Baby Checklist: Here’s Exactly What You Need to Buy

Congratulations, you’ve just had a baby!

While this is an exciting new chapter in your life, you’re probably also overwhelmed.

Baby advice is coming at you a mile a minute, and you’re still trying to figure out how to fit all your baby’s items in your house.

But wait, you have to buy those items first.

With so much information being thrown at new parents, it’s often times too much to handle.

Starting with baby necessities is a daunting task when the store shelves are loaded with ten different types of bottles, wipes, and diapers.

Where do you start?

Here we’ll give you an easy checklist to help you purchase all the important items you’ll need for your new baby.

Clothing

Unlike the days of the cavemen, your baby can not rock a leaf diaper in the first couple years of its life.

So, you’ll need to make sure he or she is clothed and comfortable.

All of the cute baby clothes in baby boutique can make any new parent want to buy every single item.

But you should make sure you start with the basics:

  • Onesies. A huge wardrobe statement for newborns is the ever loved onesie. Make sure you choose enough long sleeve and short sleeve options, depending on the season. These easy go-to’s are perfect for keeping baby comfy – and they’re super convenient for new parents.
  • One-piece sleepers. Zip-up sleepers are ideal for changing baby’s diaper in the middle of the night. On and off in one zip, and they’re warm for a good night’s rest.
  • Socks & Mittens. Make sure your little one’s toes and fingers are warm by investing in plenty of baby socks and mittens. Mittens also prevent baby from scratching his or herself while they sleep.
  • Stretchy pants. Boy or girl, your baby will look adorable in the ever popular stretchy pants. These can be fit over onesies, and they’re easy for diaper changing. They come in a variety of colors and prints and will ensure your baby is comfortable and stylish.
  • Jackets/Coats. Depending on when your baby is born, you’ll definitely need a jacket and/or coat to keep them warm in the cooler months. Don’t forget to add a hat to keep their head warm.

Once you’ve gotten the basics in your baby’s closet, you’re all set to get them the cute clothes in the boutiques that always melt a new parent’s heart.

Feeding Essentials

Whether you’re nursing or bottle-feeding, you have to make sure your baby is equipped with the feeding essentials.

  • Bibs
  • Burp cloths
  • Nursing pillow
  • Bottles
  • Bottle cleaning essentials (cleaning tools like a bottle brush, thermal bottle bag)

Other essentials

Aside from feeding and clothing your baby, you’ll need to make sure you have the following essentials:

  • Diapers. Whether they’re disposable or cloth, these will be a necessity.
  • Bathing items. A baby tub, baby shampoo and soap, and tons of washcloths and towels to make bath time easy.
  • Crib or bassinet. Depending on how you plan to have baby sleep, their own place to rest their head is ideal.
  • Stroller/car seat. Keep your baby safe while on the go.

Bringing home a new baby is an exciting, and sometimes challenging, journey.

Make sure you’re ready with all of the essential items.

Are there any other items you think are necessities?

So Close Yet So Far: How To Maintain Long Distance Friendships

When you’re young, it’s easy to maintain friendships. You don’t have any of the responsibilities of adulthood, and you can just dedicate all of your time to spending it with the people you care about. Sadly, as you get older, it’s just not as easy to do that. Work, family, and all the other things that come along with adult life make it increasingly difficult to take the time to spend with friends. This is only made more difficult when you end up living far away from someone important to you. There are some friends who move far away, and you simply accept that you’re not going to be a big part of each other’s lives anymore. But then there are the people who are so important to you that you don’t want to lose them no matter what. Well, the good news is that it’s absolutely possible to keep that relationship going, but it does require some extra effort from both of you. Here are a few simple ways that you can maintain a long distance friendship.

 

Schedule time for each other

 

A lot of the time, when you’re near to someone, you can just make plans on a whim whenever you feel like it. Sadly that’s not really possible over long distances, especially if you’re living in different time zones. The best way around this problem is to schedule time for each other on a regular basis. Pick a time when you’re both going to be available once a week to talk through something like Skype and stick to it no matter what. It might seem a little rigid, but it’s just part of the extra effort that you have to put in if you really want to keep a friendship alive over long distances.

 

Remember the important days

 

Don’t let things like birthdays and Christmas fall by the wayside. It might not seem like much of a big deal, but there’s something wonderful about letting someone know that you care on those important days, no matter how far away they are. There are plenty of places that can help you save money if you want to send gifts internationally since postage can often be something of an issue. Don’t worry if it’s not something grand or expensive, it might be a cliche but remember, it really is the thought that counts.

 

Call spontaneously

 

Thanks to smartphones and instant messaging, there’s one thing people very rarely do anymore: actually, call each other. Why not just take the time to call your friend, apropos of nothing, just to talk. Not only will it be a nice surprise for them, but it’ll give you a chance just to sit down and talk to each other without any distraction. Texting and messaging are great because they allow you to keep in constant contact but, at the same, it means that you’ve often got lots of other things going on at once. By actually sitting and talking to each other you can give your friend your full attention, even for just a little while.