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Welcome to Crafty Frugal Mom

Welcome to Crafty Frugal Mom, where I share anything related to parenting, as well as a number of other topics you may enjoy. While the main topic is parenting, you’ll find a little of everything from health and safety to fitness and nutrition, education, do it yourself, and a variety of other topics.

I hope that you find my posts enjoyable and informative. Feel free to use my contact page to send me suggestions of topics you would like to see addressed here and I hope you enjoy the site.

To connect with me on social networks, follow me on Twitter @craftyfrugalmom, like my Facebook fanpage, friend me on Facebook, or follow me on StumbleUpon.

Guest Post: Several Wallet-Friendly Garden Remodeling Ideas

This is a guest post by Lillian Connors. We hope that you find the content useful and informative.

Having a garden and not engaging time and effort in it is as worthless as not having it at all – if you expect it to create you a nice comforting atmosphere overnight, it is surely not going to happen. If you, however, put some energy into it, you can make your garden a peaceful space that will be your getaway from all the stress and noise in your life. In order to create such an ambient, here are a couple of tips on how you can remodel your garden and not spend too much money while doing it.

Value Your Privacy
Being on good terms with your neighbors is one thing, but allowing them to peek into your garden while you are drinking coffee, taking a swim or just lying around is something else. And something that should definitely not be allowed. In order to prevent being spied on day and night, you can build a wall that will separate your garden from the neighboring ones.
Among many designs you can choose from, you should stick with the ones that go with the theme of your garden – it is not the same if you have a patio and pool area, or a small orchard – and being in tone with it is essential for a wall. You can choose materials (concrete, bricks, wood, etc.), as well as designs and even combine them, creating a unique structure that is a real addition to your garden’s looks.

waterdrops-275722_640

More Privacy, but with a Twist
If you want to protect your privacy, but not with a structure such as a wall, there are ways to do so and not coming across as a strange person who does not want anyone to see what is going on in their garden. The best way to keep your garden neighbors-free and your good reputation intact at the same time are hedges.
There are so many different kinds and sorts of hedges you can incorporate into your garden and their prices are affordable as well. Among the most popular ways of planting hedges are around edges of the garden or in the garden space itself – this way, you can separate it into several areas and get a good visual organization. Depending on the way you want to go, you can also choose the height of the hedge and its thickness, or even plant a native hedge for wildlife.

A Stroll through the Garden
When talking about paving your garden, you are always in danger of overdoing it – yes, you definitely need some space for walking, but do not add too much of it, especially if you decide to build a brick or concrete backyard wall. To avoid your garden looking too much like a parking lot, try some different ideas.

garden-207164_640

Regarding materials, it is much wiser to choose concrete pavers instead of plain concrete if you want to keep that natural and outdoorsy look as much as possible and not break the bank, say my local suppliers of concrete pavers. Furthermore, limit your pathways to just two or three – connect the patio to the garage/shed and the back of the garden to the street, and that is it. You do not need anything else than natural grass to walk on since it is, if you think about it, quite ideal for walking, especially in warm summer mornings.

More Ideas on a Budget
Among other things you can introduce to your garden are small trees that will make it look less like a field of grass and more like a real garden, some garden furniture and even shade (pergola, umbrella, shade sail, etc.), so you can have more enjoyable time in it and welcome some guests too.

Perhaps you have some ideas of your own. Feel free to share them with us in the comments below.

Guest Post: Why Do Babies Have Dry Skin?

This is a guest post from Dr, Cheryl Lee Eberting. We hope that you find it useful and informative.

Why Does My Baby Have Dry Skin? License: Image author owned 

Many babies who are born after 40 weeks will experience dry, flaking skin. It is completely normal and should subside. However, sometimes baby dry skin conditions can linger and they could be more than the typical cradle cap. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities below. 

Over Bathing 

Only Bathe Your Baby Twice a Week License: Image author owned
You should only bathe your baby twice a week with mild cleansers. Too much bathing and use of harsh cleansers can cause your baby’s skin to become dry and irritated. Use mild cleansers that are free of harmful toxins and allergens. Avoid products that contain: sulfates, fragrances, dyes, parabens, beeswax, lanolin and oatmeal based products due to their gluten component.  

Remember that soap removes the natural oils from your skin, which makes it harder for your baby’s skin to keep moisture in. Keep bath times between 5-10 minutes and bathe your baby in lukewarm water. Avoid bubble baths, as they are surfactants which can dry out the skin. Believe it or not, babies don’t really need to be bathed with soap. Maybe use it to wash only soiled areas.   

Using the Wrong Products 

There are several products available for new parents to use. However, many of them contain harmful chemicals and skin irritants. In addition to the allergens listed above, avoid products that are formulated with: formaldehyde releasing preservatives, PEGs, acrylates, silicone, dimethicone, potassium sorbate,
BPA & phthalates, phenoxyethanol, gluten, soy and peanut. Peanut allergies can be extremely severe and even fatal.  

If you notice your baby begins to develop rash like symptoms, it is likely due to using a product that contains a known allergen or skin irritant. Read labels on soaps, laundry detergents, diaper creams, baby wipes, diapers and moisturizing products carefully. 

Dress Code 

Dressing your baby in the wrong fabrics can irritate the skin. Avoid irritating fibers such as wool or synthetic. Instead, dress your baby in soothing fabrics including cotton, linen and silk. Avoid restrictive clothing. Loose clothing allows for the skin to breathe. Use a free and clear detergent to launder your infants clothing.  

Weather 

Weather can cause a baby to have dry skin. Especially hot, desert climates or extreme cold climates. Invest in a humidifier to keep your home’s air ideal for your new bundle of joy. Keep the humidity between 40-50% with an indoor temperature of between 68 and 75 degrees, for optimal air quality. 

Childhood Eczema 

If you have taken these precautions and still can’t clear up your baby’s dry skin, it could be baby eczema. In fact, most people who have been diagnosed with eczema developed it within their first five years of life. It is very common in the first year.  

The best way to treat baby eczema is by adhering to the guidelines outlined above and by implementing a proper moisturizing routine.  As with all products, the best skin care products for babies will be free of the allergens listed above. In addition, skin barrier optimization should be your main focus. Choose skin care that contains ceramides, particularly ceramide 3 for optimizing results. Utilize heavy creams and ointments rather than lotion, for desired moisture lock.  

If you suspect your baby may be experiencing symptoms of eczema, speak with a dermatologist about the best treatment options for your specific case.  

Dr, Cheryl Lee Eberting blogs regularly about skin problems, treatment and after care.

Making Good Blog Train: Repairing an Old Dresser

Throughout the month of May, Agy from Green Issues by Agy has put together a blog train in which I have chosen to participate. Every day this month, a different blogger in the group writes a post about repairing something. You can find links to all of the posts on Agy’s site.

My son's dresser
Repairing items instead of throwing them out and buying new ones can save you a lot of time and money, and can keep sentimental items in working order for years to come, as is the case with mine. My son’s old dresser, which was only a few years old, was utterly falling apart. One dresser was already totally unusable and the others were coming apart and not easily repairable.

However, after my grandmother died, We had to sort through the items in her home, and she had an old dresser that was still in reasonable condition and easily fixable. It was much more sturdy than my son’s old dresser, despite the fact that it was actually considerably older.

We did end up getting rid of the one that was falling apart, but this one was in better condition. The bottoms of some of the drawers were slightly cracked, but my mom was able to fix those. We also needed to sand it a bit, and tighten up the knobs on the drawers. One drawer was missing a knob, which we still need to replace, but is still usable. My grandmother also lived in an area where there were a lot of rodents, and thus some rat poo was found in some of the drawers, along with a few other things, but a thorough cleaning with a wet cloth and a handheld vacuum quickly solved these issues as well.

Repairing an old dresser instead of buying a new one has saved us money, allowed us to keep a very sturdy piece of furniture that my son can use for years to come, and kept a sentimental piece in our family after the loss of my grandmother. I would highly recommend trying to fix old things if possible.

1920s End Table
On a side note, I also have two end tables that came from my other grandmother’s house, which did not require repair, but are almost 100 years old and stil quite sturdy. It’s good to have them around in my home still as well. It seems to me that in some cases, things built a century ago were sturdier and more reliable than modern furniture. I think they do that on purpose now so you have to replace it frequently, but if you repair it instead, you can keep from tossing more of your hard earned money into the hands of others. Before you toss things out, evaluate whether they can be repaired and reused.

Have you ever repaired your old items instead of spending more money on new ones? If so, what types of items have you repaired? Feel free to share your experiences with all of us.

Please check out yesterday’s post from Julia of Some of Their Stories on repairing coats. Also, keep an eye out for Diane of Vintage Zest’s upcoming post tomorrow.

To see a complete list of the Making Good Blog Train posts, click here.

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It’s Okay to Have High Dating Standards

Wolchulsan mountain peak
Are your standards as high as a mountain? Far too often, people that have high standards or expectations of what they want in a partner are considered conceited or shallow. However, I don’t believe this is the case, provided they hold themselves to the same high standards that they expect from someone else.

I am personally one of those people with pretty high dating standards, difficult for the average person to attain, but when I find the right one, he’ll attain them without even trying, because he’ll hold himself to the same standards. Here are some of my standards for dating to give you an idea what I expect, along with commentary on how they relate to me.

Age Between 25 and 35

I’m 30, and I prefer not to have a partner that is more than 5 years apart from me. I would probably bend this rule if someone was really special, but by absolutely no more than 8 years, and the person would have to be pretty special.

Must be Good with and Like Kids

Children Playing Tag
This one kind of goes without saying, considering that I have a child. I will not date anyone who isn’t a kid person or who doesn’t do well around them. I’m a mother, and my kid is not something I would give up for anything, so if the guy isn’t good with kids, he’s automatically out of the running.

Must Click Both with Me and My Son

A lot of parents forget to take their kids into consideration when dating, and end up with someone who they like, but the kid doesn’t necessarily. If I am to find a man, he’ll have to click with both of us. If he doesn’t click with my son, he’s out. There’s an extra layer of compatibility there.

Must be Willing to Take it Slow

Round white clock
I’ve had some rotten relationships in the past, and my ability to trust a person is severely diminished. I can eventually, but it certainly won’t happen overnight, and no guy should expect that. I wouldn’t expect it out of them either. In addition, knowing I have a son, they’ll have to understand my time is limited and my son is always my priority, so if I turn them down, it doesn’t mean I’m uninterested, just that I have priorities. They should also be willing to wait and date for a few months before being introduced to my son, on neutral grounds, and not expect to rush in and be dad. If that kind of relationship eventually develops naturally, then so be it, but that should not be the initial goal.

Must Live Near Enough to Physically See

I have a lot of experience with long distance relationships, and I refuse to ever do them again. I want to be able to physically date someone, and not be too far to travel to do so. I’m moving across the country in a little over a year though, so I probably won’t date until then, as I don’t expect anyone locally to move with me. Better to find someone in the area once I get there.

No Smoking, Drinking, or Drugs of Any Kind

On rare, special occasions, I might make an exception for the odd one or two drinks, but nothing like getting wasted or over drinking, and absolutely never ever ever around my son. I will never allow alcohol to be kept in my home. As for smoking, I don’t care what you put into your body, but if it starts to affect me or my son, I do care, which is why I won’t date a smoker because I don’t want that around me either, especially after having a relative die from smoking. Drugs are completely out of the question too. They better be clean or they’re not for me!

Must Not Live With Parents

As I said before, I am 30, and the minimum age I would date is 25. Even if I dropped that a little for a very special person, someone that age should absolutely not still be living with Mommy and Daddy. I moved out at 18 and, while I know some people need longer, five or more years is too much. The only exception is if it’s a temporary thing after something like a divorce, such as in my case, where I lived with my mom for less than a year before moving back out again once I got back on my feet. That is understandable, but the person even in this case should not be a leech, and should be legitimately trying to get out.

Must be Productive

I won’t date a bum. He must either be working, preferably a job with room for advancement instead of a dead end one, in college with direction in his life, not still trying to figure out what to do, or have a degree and be actively seeking employment, searching, interviewing, submitting applications, etc.

Must be Independent

I already have a dependent, my son. I do not need another one. The man for me needs to be able to cook, clean, and anything else necessary for independent life. He doesn’t have to be a gourmet chef or anything, but he needs to have more skills than a microwave, such as conventional oven, slow cooker, toaster oven, and other cooking appliances. I refuse to do all of the housework. I will do some of it, but the right man for me will help out, rather than having the chauvinistic attitude that it’s a woman’s job. In fact, I won’t tolerate chauvinism of any kind!

Must Not Have a Criminal Record

Jail cell
I am not opposed to doing a background check on someone if I intend to start a relationship with them, especially with a kid in the picture. I won’t date someone who has a record of any kind. I know they can say they’ve changed, but I’d rather not push it. I intend to keep any form of criminal far away from me and my son.

One Cheat and It’s Over

I would absolutely never cheat on anyone, or even make it look like I’m cheating, and I expect the same. There is no three strikes you’re out. Once is enough for me to end things immediately. Even the suspicion of cheating can be dangerous for relationships, because trust is an essential part of any healthy relationship, and without trust, what have you got?

Can’t Choose My Friends

I have both male and female friends, some of the guy friends even being exes that I am still friends with. There is no form of romantic relationship there anymore and I would never do anything to lead someone to believe otherwise. If anyone, whether I’m dating them, they’re just a friend, family, or anyone else ever tries to make me choose them or someone else, I’ll choose the someone else every time. I won’t tolerate someone choosing my friends.

Must be Good with Money

Front side of US $20 bill
I’m pretty good at managing money, and I refuse to date someone whose financial skills make me have to work even harder at it. Even if I am the superior one when it comes to managing the finances, he can’t be the type of guy to just go out and blow all the money on gadgets or something like that. There are other priorities, and it’s possible money could be saved for that, but I won’t tolerate someone who doesn’t consider these things.

Similar Intelligence to Mine

I think this is important. I do not want someone considerably more intelligent than me, who talks circles around me and with whom it is difficult to maintain a conversation, but likewise I don’t want to be the one talking circles around them. I’ve been told that I have slightly above average intelligence, certainly not genius level but higher than normal. There are many more types of intelligence than that measured on an IQ test, but for example sake, I’ll use an IQ score. I’ve tried various tests, just the silly free ones so I don’t take much stock in them, but the numbers usually ranged from 125 to 135, so I’ll use that as my example. With those numbers, I would probably want someone with an IQ between 110 and 150. That basically gives me about 20 points in either direction. I think a greater difference than that would make it difficult for us to relate to one another. I can have friends with more diverse IQs than that, but I would find a relationship outside that range to be difficult. Again those are just sample numbers from the silly free internet tests, but the general gist is the same. I don’t judge intelligence by a number though. I would judge it on our ability to relate to one another, and how well we interact during conversation.

Must be Willing to Sign a Prenuptual Agreement

Yep, I said it, a prenup. I never used to believe in prenups before, but after my past relationships, I have changed my mind. I got very lucky when my ex husband and I got our divorce because we settled things amicably, but it doesn’t always work that way. You hope a divorce won’t happen, but in the event it does, both sides can be angry, hurt, and a whole host of other emotions that can cause them to be irrational, argumentative, and unwilling to compromise. However, with a prenup, you can decide ahead of time what would happen in the event of divorce while you’re able to think rationally and get along, otherwise risk the judge handling it and possibly making decisions that neither side is satisfied with. I hope when I find the person I want to marry, this time I never do divorce, but as much as it stinks, it has to be considered.

I’m starting to get a little long winded, so while there are a few more things, they are minor and I can go ahead and leave them out at this point. These are standards though that I believe all seven billion plus people in the world should have for themselves, and since most don’t, that is why they seem high.

I don’t judge a person by appearance, provided they are well groomed and clean, and I don’t judge by weight. They should have a desire to get fit, but I’m not going to judge someone for being under or overweight. In fact, every single guy I have dated has been one or the other, and never in between. Basically none of my standards are simply skin deep, but are more based on principles, personality, and intelligence.

So you see, it’s perfectly okay for a person to have high standards. They should simply carry themselves based on the same standards. To do otherwise would be foolish and hypocritical.

What are your dating standards like? Are you pretty particular, with higher than usual standards, willing to settle with somewhat low standards, or something in between? Do you think my standards are too high? I’d love to see your opinions, though they won’t change my expectations, but I am curious. Please feel free to share your thoughts in a comment.

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Guest Post: Top Tips For Teaching Children Proper Pet Care

This is another great guest post by Heather Roberts that we hope you find useful and interesting.

Mom and daughter with cleaning supplies
Almost every kid nags about a pet. Some of them will even promise to do anything in order to get one. But at the end, it’s mom who is cleaning and taking care of the animal. This should not be the case. Pet care can provide a lot of benefits for children like teaching them responsibility and respect for other living things. Not all kids display the same interest in this activity. However, with a little encouragement you can help your children deal with the daily pet chores.

1. Assign Responsibilities

Family with gloves cleaning window
Create a schedule with all the duties related to your pet. Ad activities like walking, cleaning and grooming. Be sure that the chores are appropriate for your kid’s age. Start by giving them easy tasks. In this way the kids will not feel overwhelmed and lose their initial excitement. Serve as a role model to your children. Kids, especially at early age, learn by observing the behaviour of their parents.

2. Teach Your Kids Pet Care

Before assigning any responsibilities to your children, you need to explain how to tackle their tasks. Show them what they need to do and how to stay safe, while dealing with their daily chores. Discuss why these pet care activities are important.

3. Encourage Them

Dog with flowers in teeth
Try to give credit to your kids every time they perform a pet care task without you reminding them. You can even provide them with a little reward, like extra play time with their pet. When their efforts are recognized, the kids will feel more inspired to tackle their daily tasks. By reinforcing certain behaviour through rewards and recognition, you create positive associations with these activities. In result your kid will get used to and even enjoy the pet care routine. If your kid missed some of their duties, don’t be too harsh. Criticism may cause a feel of failure, frustration and anger towards their innocent furry friend.

4. Make It A Game

The secret to involving children in any type of activity is by making it fun. By introducing new games and trainings, you motivate your kid to keep interacting with their furry friend.

Age – appropriate Chores

• 2 – 5 Years
Cleaning the kitty litter or the dog poo off the grass is a basic pet care activity. If your kid can pick up a toy and put it in a basket, then they are also able to do this task.
Collect and put away pet’s toys and dishes.
Assist with the feeding. When it comes to putting food and water, you can incorporate your kid, but you should be the one primarily responsible for that task. Your child may forget or get injured.
• 6 – 10 Years
Cleaning and maintenance of pet areas.
Put out water and food.
Walking and training the pet (depends on the animal’s size)
Bathing, brushing and grooming. Washing the dog or the cat is a classic family activity.
• Older than 10
At this age, kids can actively take participation in all aspects of pet owning. For more cleaning ideas: visit Upholstery and Rug Cleaning in Balham.

If you have pets, what pet related chores do you expect of your kids? Do they do them willingly or reluctantly? Feel free to share your thoughts, as well as any additional chore ideas you may have, in the comments below.

Bigotry Does Not Make the World Go Round

Riot in Vancouver
It’s sad, but this world seems to have a lot of hatred and bigotry buzzing around it. That’s probably a large part of why people are fighting all the time and why we can’t just live in peace. At any given time, wars, riots, violent protests, hate speech, and a wide variety of other hateful and extremely bigoted things are taking place. Why can’t we all just live and let live?

I experienced a recent example of this bigotry just a few days ago. I am agnostic, so I was browsing around on Facebook for groups of agnostics, just to try and connect with other like minded people, just as anyone would search for an interest group. I joined a group, simply called Agnostic, but was quickly appalled by the behavior of the members and left as fast as my fingers could hit the leave group link and check the box not to allow anyone to re-add me.

These people were not just maturely discussing their beliefs or getting to know each other through pleasant conversation. Instead, it was a forum in which people were downright bashing religion, and hard! One thread said describe religion in 5 words. I know my thoughts about religion, and why I choose not to follow one, and someone who chose to might not like it, but my thoughts are tame compared to these people.

I can’t remember the exact wording of the phrases used, but I do recall that they were extremely hateful. Personally, I have no need or desire for religion, but I have lots of friends who are religious and as long as they respect that I am not, I’m perfectly fine with it. I’d be a hypocrite and a fool if I were to be so hateful.

Portrait of Muslim Man
Another example, which has been particularly prevalent in the past fourteen years, since the September 11 attack of 2001, is the prejudgment of Muslims, simply on the grounds that the terrorists involved were Muslim, and it doesn’t help that other Muslim terrorists have been caught in the United States as well. However, these are extremists and radicals who apparently have nothing better to do with their lives than throw them away in an attempt to bring down as many people with them as possible. We shouldn’t hold all Muslims accountable for their actions though. They’re not all out to get you, and in fact most aren’t.

I’ve even relatively recently, within the past five years or so, still heard people talking down toward Germans due to the actions of the Nazis in the 1940’s, and we’re talking seventy years ago here! There are two problems with that. For one thing, 99% of the people who participated in the attrocious acts of the Holocaust are dead now, and their descendants should not be held responsible for the acts of their predecessors. For another thing, even during the Holocaust, it was only the Nazis who were in power at the time that were responsible for the attrocities. Most German citizens did not participate. Many of them were opposed, and some even risked their own lives to speak out against the concentration camps and other horrible things that the Nazis did, but many stayed home and cowered in fear of speaking their minds. We hear everything of the victims that were rescued from the horrible conditions they were forced to endure by the Nazis, but we don’t hear a thing about the victims that felt like prisoners in their own home, living in fear that their opposition to those attrocities would be exposed and they too would be sent away to die.

I fully intend to teach my son to treat every individual on a case by case basis, regardless of their heritage. I want him to keep an open mind, and to respect the beliefs of others, even if he doesn’t share them. I certainly don’t want him to develop an attitude of hatred and bigotry toward those who are different from him.

If we all do our part, and work hard to remove bigotry and prejudice from our own families, the world will be a much better place. There are over seven billion people in the world, and we have to learn how to coexist peacefully, or we really will end up destroying each other in World War III.

Always remember that bigotry does not make the world go round, and it certainly won’t make or keep you any friends, so try your best to be accepting and tolerant of the differences of others, no matter what they are, and if you must dislike someone, dislike them for their own personal qualities, not the stereotypical ones ascribed to their cultural or other group label.

What experiences have you had with hate and bigotry in your life? What can you do to help eliminate prejudice and make the world a better and safer place to live? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Guest Post: What you need to know about trampolines

This is a guest post by Gabriella Diesendorf. We hope that you find it interesting and informative.

Fun for the whole family, a great exercise and a terrific recreational activity, trampolines have been around for centuries. The oldest type of trampoline was used by the Eskimo tribes of Inuit, but there are also some records of European version of this device, and the first traces of public appearance were in the Circus Royal, back in the 19th century. It is a common belief that the name heritage is linked to the circus artist that allegedly invented this popular gadget as a form of a safety net, and his name was du Trampolin. However, this is just a legend, no actual evidence was ever found. In 1942, a duo that was combined from one gymnast and one acrobat, gentlemen named George Nissen and Larry Gisword, created their own company and started selling trampolines for the first time in the history, in the city of Iowa called Cedar Rapids. This was the first known opportunity available for the everyday consumer to purchase a trampoline device. A fun fact is that the fabric of the trampoline is not too elastic, and is not bouncy by itself, and in fact the elasticity comes from the springs that are attached to the frame. This is something we call potential energy.

Sky High Trampoline
photo source

There are many sizes and preferences that you can choose from if you are considering buying one for yourself. From big trampolines with safety nets and enclosed spaces for your youngest ones, to mini trampoline for your everyday workout which you can literally just slide under your bed once you are done, the sky is the limit! Prices vary depending on their size and quality, but a trampoline is usually not so expensive, just look it up – they are pretty cheap and affordable for such a fun and enjoyable entertainment.
Kid's trampoline
Photo source
Of course, if you are purchasing it for your kids, be aware that your children may not understand the possible risk of falling down and hurting themselves. Some kids try to perform stunts, some just get too excited because this is a very exciting game, and accidents can happen. They rarely do, but even a slight possibility is still a reason enough to have a talk down with your child and make sure that he/she is prepared properly before they start to bounce on it. If you are looking for a place where you, or your kids, could try one on and have a fun time, visit a trampoline park and enjoy in one of the many activities they offer, such as trampoline basketball. No matter the age, this park will find an activity that you will love to be a part of and entertain you. There is no better pastime and it is really a great workout.


Photo source

Competitive trampolining is an Olympic sport since the year 2000. A skilled athlete can reach more than 10 meters in the air, and performing twists and somersaults before he/she touches the surface again. Did you know that astronauts use trampolines in their training before they head out to space? NASA discovered that jumping up and down for 10 minutes is equal to a 30 minute run, and it gives the pilot a solid idea of how his body will act in open space with no gravity. After all, we would all love to fly and if you are not an astronaut, and apparently even if you are one, this is the closest thing to it.

Have you used trampolines? What is your favorite thing to use them for? Exercise, fun, a little of everything? Would you let your kids play on one? Feel free to share your experiences.

Benefits of B Vitamins + Giveaway

B vitamins have a variety of benefits to the human body, including promoting growth and development, helping boost energy levels naturally, supporting the functions of several bodily organs, controlling symptoms of PMS, reducing aging signs, and strengthening skin, hair, and nails.

Although B vitamins can be found in a wide variety of foods, many people do not get enough of them, which can cause health problems such as anemia. According to Medline Plus, B vitamins can be found in foods such as seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy, and leafy green vegetables, peas, and beans, as well as some breads and cereals. Nonetheless, as diverse as this selection is, it is sometimes not enough, especially with the high rate of fast food consumption nowadays.

Natural Goal Ultimate Vitamin B Complex
Fortunately, if you are not getting enough B vitamins through your diet alone, supplements like this one from Natural Goal can help. One capsule a day will give you all the B vitamins you need and then some, and since B vitamins are water soluble, your body won’t overload on them.

In case you’re wondering what it means for vitamins to be water soluble, it essentially means that your body can process the vitamins without concerns of overdoing it. Another example of a water soluble vitamin is Vitamin C, for example. Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E are examples of vitamins that you need to closely monitor your intake of, for risk of complications if you consume too much, but water soluble vitamins are safer in large doses.

Of course despite all of this, it is definitely best to consult a medical professional before beginning any supplement, but if you wish to try one, Natural Goal’s B Vitamin supplement is a great choice to try.

I recently tried their vitamin supplement myself and noticed a bit of an energy boost. It wasn’t huge, but with a four year old running around, every bit I can get helps. I wish I had the energy of my little man, but since I don’t, I’ll take whatever help I can get. Natural Goal sent me a bottle of their supplement to try, and I definitely intend to continue taking it.

In fact, they have also been gracious enough to offer my readers a great deal. Get a bottle of 100 capsules, a three month supply, for just $1, but hurry fast because there are a limited number of bottles available with this promotion and they will go fast. Follow the instructions below to get you’re $1 bottle to try.

    Ultimate Vitamin B Complex – Boosts Metabolism, Mood and Energy –
    Better Liver, Hair, Skin, and Nails. $1 (Regular $18.95) + Free
    Shipping With Amazon Prime

   1. Click here, enter your email
– the code will show on the screen
   2. Click here, add to cart. <
   3. Use the coupon code you got at checkout and it will make it $1. (if when you enter the code it says invalid, that means the deal is over)
4. Free Shipping with Amazon Prime. If you don't have Amazon prime
      shipping will be around $5
   5. Choose slower shipping at checkout with Amazon prime and you will get a $1 Video credit as well.

I'd love it if you would come back after trying this supplement and let me know what you thought. Results will vary from person to person, but you may start noticing an affect in as little as a few days or up to a few weeks. I hope that this supplement works well for you, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Have you ever tried a Vitamin B supplement before? Do you believe you get enough B vitamins from your food? I'd love to hear your experience with these versatile vitamins. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Summer Splash at Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

Schliterbahn New Braunfels Water Park Logo
When I was a kid, I used to visit the New Braunfels Schlitterbahn water park every year. Unfortunately, I haven’t been in many years, and never yet with my son, but that’s all about to change.

In about a month, my mom and I are going to take my son to Schlitterbahn for the first time, and have an absolute blast! Since I haven’t been in years, there are undoubtedly new things to do there, and the great thing about Schlitterbahn is that there’s something for the whole family.

Also, the thing that makes water parks better than regular amusement parks is that, even if the lines are long, they move a lot faster. There’s also a lot more that a small child can do at a water park, so I am sure he will have a blast.

He can’t swim yet, and will definitely be wearing a life jacket, but there’s so much that even non-swimmers can do, and he’s expressed interest in learning how to swim so I’ll be working on that over the next month too.

There’s so much I remember from when I was there, the almost vertical water slides, very long lazy river, awesome wave pool, long and winding tube water slides, awesome river rafting rides that soak you head to toe, and who knows what else awaits me that’s brand new, or heck, even somewhat new is still new to me.

I regret having not visited Schlitterbahn in so many years, but it’s time for another trip there. I can’t wait to share my splashing adventures with you all, and whether you live in Texas or just come for a visit, Schlitterbahn is a great place to visit. Watch out for my new post coming up after I have been there.

By the way, did you know that the New Braunfels park is Schlitterbahn’s flagship, boasting the world’s longest tube ride? I’ll definitely have to pay that a visit while I’m there.

Have you ever been to a Schlitterbahn water park? Do you have any plans to visit one? I look forward to my trip and I’d love to hear your experiences.

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Top 5 Reasons Not To Pierce Baby’s Ears

Baby with multiple ear piercings
Infant ear piercing is a common practice throughout the world. However, is it a wise idea? I say no, and this mom would tend to agree. She is one who actually did pierce her daughter’s ears and had a frightening and very unpleasant experience with it. Why is infant ear piercing such a questionable thing to do, at the very least? Here are my thoughts on the issue.

1. The child has no choice.

Some parents would argue that it is their perrogative as the parent to choose what they do to their child, but I completely disagree with this assessment. Your child is an individual just as you are, and if you don’t want someone deciding for you, your child shouldn’t either.

It’s one thing when it’s a matter of safety, for example you choose not to let your child touch a flame she is reaching for, but when it’s a matter of parents thinking it makes their baby look prettier or distinguishes their gender, I feel it is out of line for parents to assume it is something the child wants. Even when they get older, many parents convince them to get their ears pierced through brainwashing, as do peers sometimes, but parents can be just as bad. Let your child grow up on their own and if they choose to do it later, then it can be considered.

2. It is a choking hazard.

Starter Studs in Packaging
Earrings consist of very small and extremely sharp parts. Babies, who almost always put everything in their mouths, could seriously hurt themselves, even put their lives at risk, if they get ahold of an earring. If they swallow it, it could simply pass through their system, but it is also possible that it could go down dangerously and cut open the stomach or other parts of the digestive system. I would advise against even taking the risk. We all think it’ll never happen to us, we’ll just keep it out of reach, watch them at all times, etc., but the reality is even if it is rare, it can happen to you, so minimize the risk.

3. Infliction of unnecessary pain.

When a child gets their ears pierced, there is a short time in which they experience pain. If it is the child’s choice to pierce, they should be made aware of the pain factor and then choose whether to accept it. Babies do not have this choice, and do not understand when Mommy takes them to a place where they are exposed to pain. In addition, babies grab everything, so once the earrings are in place, they may grab them just out of curiosity and exploration, and end up hurting themselves, possibly even pulling the earrings right out.

Again one might argue they’d just watch closely, but you can’t be there every waking minute. Many people feel it is not right to deliberately inflict any type of pain on your child, particularly when they don’t understand why.

I won’t get into the vaccination debate here, but I will say that when a child is exposed to pain from those, it is at least for a health reason. Earrings serve no purpose except asthetics, and thus are not justified.

4. Increased risk of infection.

When ears are pierced, it is important to thoroughly clean them and leave them in so that the holes don’t close up. You can’t teach a baby to clean their ears themselves, the parent must do it in order to keep it clean. Also, if the baby does pull at it and injure themselves, that would also increase the infection risk. An older child at least understands that risk and knows better than to tamper with it. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will do what they should do, but they know better.

5. Child’s lack of responsibility.

Ear with Earring
Speaking of knowing better, an older child is capable of being responsible for their earrings. They choose to get them, choose to endure the pain, clean them frequently and properly as required, and continue to take care of them long after it has been done. This is not a reasonable expectation of a baby.

In general, infant ear piercing is a bad idea and parents should stay far away from the whole concept. They should teach their children to pursue their own interests and if that one day leads to pierced ears, then so be it, but in the meantime, let the child be a child, not the child that you want them to be.

Do you have pierced ears? At what age did you pierce them? What about your children? Did you pierce your ears because you wanted to or someone else? What about your child? Share your thoughts below.

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Guest Post: Several Clever House Cleaning Hacks

This is a guest post by Lillian Connors that we hope will be helpful and informative.

Cleaning Supplies
When it comes to cleaning houses, your regular every day process may not always be enough. Sometimes, you have to dig deep into the job in order to clean everything thoroughly. However, while this sounds exhausting and impossible, there are a couple of sound tactics that you can use and useful hacks that will assist you in your house-cleaning mission. View More

Guest Post: Gardening With Children

This is a guest post by Heather Roberts that I hope you find interesting and informative.

Gardening With Children
You should certainly feel lucky if you have a garden in your own home. The place offers many opportunities all of which are wonderful and promising. From transforming it into a flower paradise to growing your own delicious produce, or simply building a place to chill out and relax at – the garden could be your home’s greatest asset.

Gardens are not only good because they offer extra space and possibilities to expand your home, but also because of the various gardening activities, which you can consider, especially if you have children. The garden is the perfect place for you to spend time at with your children and there is a lot for them to learn and discover. And let’s not forget about the main benefit – they are going to have a blast and loads of fun there!

Let’s see some of the benefits that gardening offers your children:

– Learning about the wildlife – while children spend time in the garden, they can learn a great deal of important lessons about wildlife and plants. Not only is this educational, as it teaches them where their food comes from, but it also makes them more independent and responsible. They may not become gardening experts, but the experience will be truly valuable for them.

Blue Morpho Butterfly
– Caring for animals – children usually have very keen interest in animals – caring for them, understanding them, communicating with them. And what better opportunity for them to explore the animal world and learn more about animals than gardening? You can encourage interaction with animals for example by building a bird house or a squirrel feeder, perhaps a small pond to attract some frogs, or maybe fill your garden with colorful fragrant flowers to attract butterflies. The possibilities are endless, and your children will be more than happy to tend to their animal friends.

– Growing plants – usually the first thing that comes in mind when the word ‘gardening’ is mentioned is growing plants. This is a great choice, especially if you include your children in the activity. There is so much for them to do and learn, from knowing when seeds have to be planted, to watering and providing care for them as they grow. They will certainly enjoy every moment of it, all of cares they have to do that will keep their interest for hours every day. Encourage them and try to explain as much as you can so that they can learn important lessons.

– Physical activity – children are so full of energy and there is hardly any better place than the garden for them to use it all. There is so much you can do there with your children – planting and lawn care, garden clearance and landscaping and so many other activities, which can be extremely fun for your children. Consider their safety and always supervise them, especially if they are young, and you will not have to worry about them running and jumping inside the home – the garden will be their perfect playground.

– Quality time together – the garden is among the best places for you to spend quality time together with your children. You can talk about and do so much there together, which will be truly beneficial for you all.
Do not forget that whatever you do, it should all come down to this – having some quality family fun.

You will do good to make your garden your children’s favourite place. There are many things they can learn and a lot of fun they can have there. It is up to you to make sure they do not miss it!

Do you have a garden? Have you had your kids help out in caring for it? Share your experiences with the rest of us in the comments below.

Guest Post: Cool science for kids: make glowing water

This is a guest post by Edna Thompson. I hope that you find it interesting.

Entertaining your kids can be a hard task sometimes. Fortunately, there are many ways you can attract their attention and even help them learn something new. You can start by trying some cool science experiments which your children will definitely like. There is no need to try something complicated. Making water glow, for example, is easy and very interesting. This simple experiment will attract the attention not only of your little ones, but of the other members of your family as well.

For the realisation of this interesting project you won’t have to purchase anything special. The good news is that there is more than one way you can make the water glow and you can find them all in this article. By doing this cool science experiment you will not only entertain your children, but you will also help them learn some new interesting facts about the water and some other products. There is no need to have any special skills to do those experiments too. So, don’t waste any more time and present them to your kids now.

  • Glowing tonic water – This is one of the most popular methods you can use to make water glow. For the purpose you will need a black light, tonic water and a large container. It is not hard to find a black light because all hardware stores offer it. The first step is to pour the tonic water in the container. You can add a little clean water from the tap if you want, but keep in mind that the tonic water won’t glow so brightly after that. Then dim the lights and illuminate the water with the black light. The reason the water glows is in the phosphor it contains.

  • Highlighters – Another way you can experiment with the clean water is by using highlighters. You just have to remember that you have to purchase highlighters which are known to glow in the dark. Not all highlighters will make the water glow, so just ask in the store about the special ones. If you want to be sure, you can test them when you get home. Just write something on a piece of paper and then use a black light to see if it glows. Then you can pour clean water in a container, take the ink tube out of the highlighter and put it in the water. When the ink and the water mix you can use a black light to illuminate them. Be sure not to create a mess using these, they are very hard to clean, but if you accidentally do, just hire professionals like ShinyCarpet Chelsea

     

  • Fluorescent paint – You can substitute the highlighters with fluorescent paint, in order to make the clean water in the container glow. You can purchase the paint from pretty much every craft store. Just make sure that you get a kind which will mix with the clean water well. You will be able to achieve most impressive results with yellow or orange paint. Once you pour the paint in the container with the clean water, you can use a stick to mix everything better. Don’t wait too long or the paint will start to separate from the water. If you want to slow down this effect, you can use hot or warm clean water for the experiment. The last step is to run over a black light to see if the mix glows.

You will definitely impress your kids with those simple but very interesting experiments. You can teach them to do them alone too because, as you can see, the procedures are pretty simple and they are not dangerous. The only danger might come from drinking the water after the end of the experiments, but you can warn your kids that this is a bad idea. To avoid the complications, it is best to throw out the water when you are done.

Have you ever tried this experiment? Do you think your kids would enjoy it? What other kinds of experiments do your children enjoy?

How Service Animals Differ From Pets

Over the past several decades, the use of service animals to meet the needs of individuals with a wide array of disabilities has increased significantly. They are being seen more in public, but are still highly misunderstood. This post is intended to help clarify some of that misunderstanding.

How do service animals differ from pets?

Perfect side view of black labrador
Service animals, most often dogs but not always, are specially trained to perform various tasks for individuals with disabilities. Guide dogs act as a blind person’s eyes, able to help them navigate terrains that may be difficult with a cane or around obstacles that are too high for a cane to identify. There are dogs and other animals for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to alert them to certain noises like the doorbell or telephone. There are even service animals trained to sense cardiac episodes, assist those in wheelchairs, and a wide variety of other possibilities.

Think of them as similar to drug sniffing dogs or those who seek out buried bodies from disasters. They are trained for specific tasks, more than what you would expect of a pet. Service animals have a specific function, and when they are working, they are generally focused on that task and that task only. While they act like a typical house pet when not working, except that they are better trained than most pets, once they know they’re working, their demeanor drastically changes.

I once new a lady who had a German shepherd guide dog. When she wasn’t working, she was hyperactive and extremely playful. However, as soon as she started working, she became very focused and was clearly concentrating on her work. It was almost like she was two different dogs.

How do I identify a service animal?

Service_Dog_at_the_bank
Service animals usually have clear identification that they are a service animal, usually in the form of a harness but always placed somewhere visible so that there is no mistake of it. It is a serious crime for anyone to use service animal harnesses or any other paraphenalia on their pet to disguise it as a service animal.

If you ever know for a fact someone is doing this, report it immediately. The behavior of people who abuse service animal laws by trying to sneak their pets around them will detract from the lawful rights afforded to legitimate service animal users. I urge you not to report it unless you are reasonably sure, but individuals who do use service animals will thank you for helping keep the fakers off the street.

Speaking of the law, much of that differs for service animals versus house pets as well. There are stores, for example pet and home improvement stores, which will permit you to bring a pet into the store. However, each store’s pet policy may differ greatly and stores which sell food are not technically supposed to allow pets for health reasons, although they still do it and get away with it more often than not.

Service animals, however, are permitted anywhere and a person cannot be thrown out for bringing their service animal, even into a grocery store or restaurant. Most of them are well behaved enough, in a restaurant for example, to curl up under the table and not cause any issues. The law allows for all genuine service animals to be permitted into any public establishment.

Service animal etiquette is fairly easy, and yet many people still do not understand them, so here is the simplified version. Service animals are working animals, and thus should not be distracted from their work. This means that petting them, calling to them, and other such things you might do with a pet are unacceptable. Most service animals are trained to disregard this kind of stimuli, but they are still animals and it can still be distracting.

Many service animal users will not even say the name of their animal unless it is for giving a command, as this can be distracting to them, so do not be alarmed if you ask the animal’s name and the user refuses to answer.

If you have children, always teach them never to approach a working animal, and absolutely never to touch them. Even if the animal is not working, you should never touch them without asking the owner first, and if they decline, respectfully abide by their wishes and move along.

If the animal is doing its job, do not, intentionally or unintentionally, detract them from their duty. For example, if a guide dog is assisting a blind person across a street, do not attempt to guide them in its stead. The dog is specially trained for this type of work, so let it do its job. You could verbally ask if the individual needs assistance, but if they decline, let them on their way.

In addition, guide dogs are also trained for something called intelligent disobedience. If a blind guide dog user instructs the dog to go forward at a busy street where there is traffic and it is unsafe, for example, the dog is trained to disregard the command until such time that it is safe. This is a normal function, and most often the individual will not require outside assistance.

If all else fails, ask. Whether it’s petting them, guiding the person, simply asking a curiosity question, or just about anything else, best practice is to ask. Most people will openly answer questions, allowing you to expand your understanding. A few are very stand-offish and do not answer questions, but the majority of service animal owners are open to fielding questions from people who wish to learn more. Always treat everyone on a case by case basis. If one refuses your questions, do not be afraid to ask someone else.

Speaking of asking, are there any other questions you have regarding service animals? Feel free to place them in the comments. If I’m not certain of the answers, I know many service animal users and can most likely find out. I hope that you have found this helpful and informative.

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Guest Post: Outdoor sleeping areas for kids

This is a guest post by Gabriella Diesendorf. I hope that you find it enjoyable and informative.

While I was pregnant, I used to read a lot about babies, their eating and sleeping habits, their development, and all the things I as a mother could do to help her grow up being a strong and healthy girl. One of the things I came across was the information that babies tend to sleep better at night if they spend some time outside, in fresh air. Since she was having trouble sleeping in those first weeks and months, I decided to try to spend some time with her in our garden.

Surprise!

To my surprise, it worked out miraculously! We played on the grass, I walked her, and we giggled, and at one point she got so tired that she fell asleep in my arms. I gently put her down in the shade and let her sleep it off, and when she woke up we went inside and spend the rest of the day as usual. That night, she slept peacefully and I was so happy I almost cried. I continued to take her out every time the weather was nice and it became our little ritual.


photo source

The science of light and fresh air

When you’re a mom, it makes no difference whether it’s day or night, you are so tired that you could fall asleep anytime and anywhere. However, babies are still learning and adjusting their internal clocks according to light and dark. When your baby is exposed to natural light and fresh air, it helps her develop natural biorhythm. I keep the curtains open all day long so my girl adjusted to our daily rhythm, but as she grew older, she napped best in a quiet, dark room. Her room was always like that and I only used soft light when I changed her diapers at night.

My girl and her sleeping outside

Since she became so comfortable outside, I started wrapping her tight in her swaddle bag and I would leave her in her stroller in the shade of the tree. The habit lasts to this day, and she has a small tent filled with soft pillows, cushions, and blankets where she loves to nap during the day. I take that time to have my coffee in peace and read a few pages of my book, or, if that day was particularly exhausting, I take a nap too. I can’t help but notice how happy and cheerful she is after these naps.

tent
photo source

When you don’t have a garden

Of course it’s a lot easier to practice sleeping outside when you have a garden, but you can manage without it just as well. Use your balcony instead; just make sure you create some shade if you don’t have it, and simply put a sleeping bag or a small tent outside. No matter what you choose, exposure to sunlight and fresh air is crucial for your child’s development.


photo source

I am a parent, and naturally I question all my decisions and spend half my time worrying whether I made the right decision and the right choice concerning my girl. However, as long as I see that she is healthy and happy I think my decisions were good for both of us.

Do you ever let your kids sleep outdoors? What do you use when you do? Tents, hammocks, sleeping bags, air mattresses, swings? There are lots of options, and we’d love to know what you and your children like, or what your experiences are after trying some of these ideas.

Guest Post: Simple Decoration Tips for Kids’ Rooms

This is a guest post by Heather Roberts. I hope that you find it interesting and useful.

Bunk Bed in Kid's Room
Children’s rooms are a real challenge to decorate. Not to mention the organizing and cleaning part. One of the reasons is that as your kids grow, their tastes also change. Decorating every year or two is tiring, wasteful and financially insensible. That is why you need to nail it from the first time.

The decor should not only be pretty, but it should also reflect the interest and needs of your little one. Plus, you want to make it easy on yourself, by making cleaning and de – cluttering child’s play. So to sum it up: you need a room with enduring design, efficiency and some tinge of imagination. This doesn’t sound easy at all, but we can break it up for you with a couple of decorating tips and tricks.

Reality Check

You may think you know well your child, but that doesn’t mean you should exclude them from the process. After all, you are designing the room for them. Don’t project your fantasy into theirs. Think of it is an opportunity to get to know your kids better.

Tasteful and Timeless

It may seem like a great idea to incorporate an interesting theme in the kid’s room, but at some point it will turn into an issue. The jungle inspired design may not appeal to your already grown explorer. Keep it simple and neutral, or at least think about flexible solutions that can be easily adapted to the preference of your child at any age. Choose wall colours that you can live with for a long time. Neutrals and upbeat pastels are becoming a popular choice for children’s rooms.

Fewer Accessories, Less Cleaning

Kids at activity table
Kids’ places don’t really need a lot of accessories. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to follow particular trends. The bottom line is to create a multifunctional space that will work both for you and your little one. Your children have enough colourful and interesting items that can be displayed. Make the most of what you already have and don’t clutter the space further.

Encourage Creativity

Children at young age have many different talents. Drawing is a favourite activity of most kids. Ensure enough room for their art pieces. Want to avoid the devastating effect of crayons on your walls? Get a chalkboard. They can use it to embrace their creativity, while you can write schedules and messages there. The uses of chalkboards are infinite.

Smart Storage

Miscellaneous children's bedroom furniture and storage
Cleaning and organizing are a big part of any parent lifestyle. Why do everything yourself? Let your children tackle some of the cleaning chores. Create an easy organizing system, so your kids can learn to use it. This will put an end to the floor covered with toys. Children need a lot of open shelving to have quick access to their belongings. Semi – closed storage, bins, toy boxes and under the bed baskets are essential. You need to have enough space to fit all the action heroes, stuffed animals, legos, dolls and other miscellaneous items. If you have a lot of storage solutions, consider labelling them. If you need more house cleaning ideas you can contact: Professional One Off Cleaning Company in Wimbledon.

What other tips can you add to help keep a child’s room organized? What are your most and least favorite tools for organization? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

10 Healthy Alternative Discipline Methods to Spanking

A while back ago, I wrote a post analyzing whether spanking is discipline or abuse, in which I expressed my own thoughts opposed to spanking, but also provided research and viewpoints from both sides. Now that we know that I am opposed to spanking, and that most people would agree it should be an absolute resort if it is used, here are some alternative discipline methods that you can try that will not harm your children. The effectiveness of these will vary from one child to the next, and even based on age, but they should all be tried to figure out what works best for your child.

Redirection

Ball
This is one of the simplest, and quite likely the best first response to try. If your child is throwing hard toys, for example, take the hard toys away and in their place, give the child a toy that is meant to be thrown, or at least one that is soft and won’t hurt anything, like a ball or a stuffed animal. If they are expressing anger, for example hitting or kicking, place them in a safe area and teach them an alternate means of expressing their anger. You might give them an object that it is okay for them to hit and let them get it out of their system. This will help teach them self control. All humans have violent tendencies, but most adults have learned to manage those feelings. Children, on the other hand, are uninhibited and thus lack the control to avoid these feelings sometimes, so an alternative method of expression should be offered. Regardless of the situation, redirection can be a powerful tool for parents to teach their children what is and is not acceptable.

Removal of Toys

For some children, having a favorite toy or a number of toys taken away is a great motivator. When children value things, it increases the meaning when those things are removed. For example, I used to tell my son that if he left any toys out of his closet when I told him to put them away and I found them out on the floor, I would take them away. Now when I tell him it’s time to put his toys away, he almost always gets every last one of them picked up and into the closet. The possibility of losing them, in this case, has proven to be an effective deterrent to leaving them lying around.

Standing in the corner

Growing up, standing in the corner proved an effective discipline method for me, although not so much for my stepbrother. I hated standing in the corner, so if I got into trouble to where I had to do so, I would keep my nose in the corner as was expected of me. However, my stepbrother kept taking his nose away from the corner. This caused me to get out of the corner on time, but my stepbrother to end up adding time to how long he would stay there. I would get to go off and play while he was still stuck there. Kids don’t like to be bored so this can be effective.

Grounding

When I was a kid, grounding didn’t prove as effective as it does for some children. However, I believe that if done right, it would have. My mother had a tendency to ground me for a week, then let me off after three days if I behaved the entire time. This is okay to do once in a while, but not every time because the child grows to expect it and it’s easy enough to be good long enough to get off grounding. If a child is to receive a punishment, they should be expected to endure that punishment for as long as is deemed necessary. I see it as teaching them the same way our criminal justice system works. If a criminal is only on their first offense, and it is relatively minor, they may get out on good behavior. However, if it is more severe or a second offense or more, the person is less likely to be released early. I am a strong proponent of teaching a child much the same way that the adult world works.

In addition, if a child is to be grounded, they should not be confined to a room with a television and video games and all sorts of other fun things. That is not a punishment at all, and entirely defeats the purpose. Parents should ground their children from things that they know are of high value to them in order to get the desired effect.

Early bedtime

If I even warn my son he is going to go to bed early, he gets fussy. If he continues and actually earns an early bedtime, he really gets upset. However, I always talk with him and make sure he knows what he did in order to cause himself to go to bed early. He usually understands with little or no explanation from me, but I do tend to reinforce it to him. I think it is highly important for a child to understand what they are being punished for, regardless of the circumstances.

Refusal to do fun activities

On a few occasions, I have used this technique with my son. I have refused to take him to the park to play when he gets fussy and moody. He doesn’t like it, but he has to understand that he will only do fun things in public when he is behaving himself. The more this is reinforced, the more the child will realize what they have done wrong and that they need to correct it.

extra chores

This is probably more effective for children that are a bit older and understand the concept, although I have used this with my own 4-year-old before. He used to get into his chest of drawers and pull out every article of clothing in it, unfold them and drag them everywhere. One day, I put everything from that chest of drawers into the washer and dryer and then told him to fold them all, every single one. He usually likes to help and doesn’t mind small loads, but he got distracted and frustrated with the large load, and I explained to him why he was having to fold them all. Ever since then, he has never taken the clothes from his chest of drawers without permission.

Paying for things

Five Dollar Bill
If your child damages or breaks something, don’t just let them get away with it, and don’t just eat the cost yourself. In serious enough cases, you may need to initially pay for the damage in order to settle disputes with third parties, but regardless of whether it is something of yours that is broken or damaged or something belonging to someone else, always have the child pay for the damage, one way or another. If they are old enough to work and make money, even if they aren’t legal working age but can make a few bucks mowing lawns or something, expect them to do that at least until the debt is paid. It doesn’t hurt for them to be responsible and continue doing these types of things even afterward though.

Visiting Your Local Jail

Jail Cell
This one is only recommended for serious infractions, in which you can see the beginnings of your child heading down the wrong path, but for some children, seeing people who are actually suffering the consequences to similar actions to their own may be enough of a deterrent to redirect them. Sometimes, even witnessing consequences before being physically faced with them is enough of a wake up call to jolt a child back off that road. People, like animals, do not enjoy captivity as a general rule, and will do whatever is necessary to avoid it.

Enroll Your Child in Sports or Martial Arts

If your child’s problems center around excessive energy, unhealthy release of agressive tendencies, or a variety of other factors, sports or martial arts may be an effective way for them to release pent up energy and agression in a constructive manner that is not harmful to others. It may also teach teamwork and cooperation, important skills throughout one’s lifetime.

It is important to teach children appropriate versus inappropriate behavior from an early age, and to reinforce those lessons as much as possible. However, I believe that spanking is counterproductive to this goal, and can even increase aggression and decrease control. The above suggestions are just a few ideas to teach children acceptable behavior without harming them or causing them further issues.

What other discipline methods have you tried using with your child? How effective were they? What other methods have you used or seen used that seem ineffective? Feel free to share.

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Guest Post: All you need to know about swaddling

This is a guest post by Melissa Stevens. We hope that you find it interesting and informative.

Being a new parent can be really frustrating. There are numerous things you need to learn in order to make your baby healthy and satisfied. One of the most common mysteries for every parent is swaddling. We hear about it in the hospital or on the internet all the time, but most people aren’t sure what it actually represents. Well, swaddling is one of the simplest methods used for centuries, which makes a baby calm and safe. If you don’t know how to swaddle your newborn properly or you’re afraid to do that, don’t despair. All you need is just a little practice. Here are some basic tips on how to do that!

Why should I swaddle my baby?

Swaddling is of vital importance for several reasons. Firstly, you need to be aware that your baby spent nine months in a really tight space, feeling safe and sound. Swaddle blankets simulate a womb and give your baby a sense of coziness during sleep. Secondly, by swaddling babies, we will make them warm and comfortable all the time. Coming to this noisy and colorful world, babies react to everything that happens around them. Since it resembles mothers tummy, apart from providing safe environment, swaddling also soothes your baby, helps them sleep faster and protects them from getting overly stimulated. If you have noticed that your baby has started jerking during sleep, it’s completely normal. Their reflexes are being developed and a proper blanket will prevent your baby from scratching their face and allow them to move arms and legs freely.

Swaddling your baby
Image source Raoul Snyman

When should I swaddle my baby?

You shouldn’t keep your baby tightly swaddled all the time. During the day, you should let your baby sleep without a swaddling blanket or with a really loose one. Being swaddled all day long, a baby will feel really comfortable and settle back to sleep over and over again. On the contrary, you should swaddle your baby up tight at night in order to make them sleep longer.

What kind of blanket should I use?

One of the most important steps while swaddling is choosing a perfect blanket. Swaddles are made out of various fabrics, but not all of them are comfortable and healthy enough for your baby. For example, you should avoid elastine and stick to muslin or 100% cotton baby swaddles that allow your baby to move their arms and legs freely and to sleep in their natural position. Most importantly, simulating the uterus, quality baby swaddles provide your baby with the sense of safety and help them to settle back to sleep faster.

How should I swaddle my baby?

Swaddling takes a little practice, but once you figure it out, you will be surprised how easy it actually is. Firstly, you should lay a swaddle in a diamond shape, fold the top corner down and place a baby on the top. Make sure that your baby is in the right position- head needs to be just above the fold, shoulders below it, while arms should be down to side. The next step is bringing left side of the swaddle across baby’s chest and tucking it under the opposite arm. Now, you should fold the bottom of the blanket over your baby’s feet and pull its right side of the swaddle across your baby’s chest. Finally, you just need to wrap the rest of the blanket under your baby and make sure that it’s properly secured. As simple as that!

All in all, swaddling is one of the most common techniques that will make your baby safe, comfortable and calm all the time. It will also contribute to your baby’s self-soothing and longer sleep. Most importantly, it’s really simple. So, choose a perfect swaddle blanket for your baby and get started!

Have you tried swaddling a baby? Have you considered doing it? What have your experiences been? Feel free to share any questions or comments below.

How to Break Your Food Addiction for Fast Weight Loss?

This is a guest post by Ella James. I hope that you find it useful and informative.

How to Break Your Food Addiction for Fast Weight Loss
It is possible to have an addiction to food in the same way people would to alcohol or drugs. People who are addicted to food find themselves constantly thinking about food, and this will inevitably lead to overeating. Even if you know that you need to lose weight, being able to do something about it when you are addicted to food is very difficult. There are steps that can be taken to help you deal with this addiction and to be able to start to eat healthier, but you first need to understand why you may have this addiction.

Food Addiction is a Behavior Issue

Food addiction does not necessarily mean that that you are addicted to one particular food. If you find yourself constantly wanting to eat even when you are not hungry then this may be a behavioural issue as you are likely to be eating in order to distract yourself when you are bored or to help you deal with a stressful situation. As time goes on you will find that you need more food in order to relieve your boredom or to feel less stressed. The more calories that you consume, the more weight you will put on which can lead to a number of health risks.

What are the Signs of Food Addiction?

There are a number of signs that you may have an addiction to food. If you are already thinking about what you will be eating later even if you are eating at the moment, then this could be a sign of addiction. Other signs include eating the food that you are craving as soon as possible, for example eating the food that you have just purchased as soon as you leave the store or being unable to resist the item you have bought for dessert and eating it before you have even eaten your main meal. You may also find that you are unable to leave food that is leftover in the kitchen and will just keep eating it until it has all gone.

What are the Dangers of Food Addiction?

The biggest danger of food addiction is that you will gain a lot of weight in a short space of time. You will also continue to gain weight as the amount you eat is likely to increase over time. Being overweight can lead to a number of serious health conditions including respiratory problems, heart disease and even certain types of cancer. Having a food addiction can also affect your mental health. Thinking about food all the time can make it hard to concentrate on anything else, and you may also experience feelings of guilt whenever you have eaten something that you know you shouldn’t have. All of these feelings may start to get on top of you after a while. It can also cause you financial problems if you are always spending money on food that you do not really need, and this may impact further on your mental health.

How Can You Break the Cycle?

The longer that you have had this addiction, the more difficult it is likely to be to learn to break from the pattern of behavior that leads you to overeat. However, there are techniques that you can learn to help you deal with certain situations and over time you will find it easier to handle these situations by using these techniques. Keeping a food journal can help you assess what you are eating and when which can be useful in recognizing which foods you ate even though you weren’t hungry. By knowing that you will have to write it down, it may help you to question whether you need to eat at that time or whether you are just doing it out of habit.

Conclusion

Having a food addiction makes it very likely that you will be overeating on a daily basis that will inevitably lead to weight gain. The addiction can have long-term effects on both your mental and physical health, and if you suspect you may be suffering from a food addiction then you should seek help as soon as possible. There are steps that you can take to help you overcome this addiction but it is something that you are likely to find difficult, and it will require a lot of hard work on your part.

References:

https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/weight-loss/

https://www.glozine.com/lifestyle/health

Author Bio:

Ella James is an aspiring author who is pursuing Health Services Administration degree from St. Petersburg College. She is an active contributor to Consumer Health Digest, which is a leading Health News Website. Her interests include reading and writing about Pregnancy, Parenting, Health, Fitness, and Beauty. Get connected with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Guest Post: How to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy

This is a guest post by Zyana Morris and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Crafty Frugal Mom. I hope that you find it useful and informative.

The hardest part about raising children is getting them to eat healthy food – after potty training of course. Whether it’s deep fried chicken nuggets or fries, truckloads of sugar coated candy or literally peculiar looking things off the floor, kids love eating junk. Show them anything green and healthy, and they’ll flee like bees.

While the junk that they eat off the floor puts them at the risk of contracting dangerous contagious infections, eating unhealthy food can contribute to the early onset of several health related problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiac diseases and weak bones as they grow.

Watch over what your kids are eating… or plate them up some healthy options that they’d enjoy over the regular.

A healthy breakfast

A Healthy Breakfast

Milk is smell, it tastes weird, and it’s also every child’s early morning nightmare. Trying to get your kids to drink milk in the morning is like testing your own physical fitness. But the truth is that milk is a lot more than just important for growing children. It’s the best source of dietary Calcium and Vitamin D, both of which are essential for the healthy growth and development of bones and muscles. Not getting enough of these minerals weakens the bones and causes fractures in children.

The good part is that a bit of flavor almost always does the trick. It changes the taste and the aroma into something a lot more pleasant that children enjoy drinking. Some syrup or powder, or even the ones that come in tetra packs are a fun substitute for the regular flavor. You can even whip them up a milkshake with a bit of cream to make drinking milk a lot more enjoyable.

Or try alternating milkshakes with oats and milk in a cereal bowl. The oats are a healthy source of fiver that will make them feel full and prevent them from overeating during the day.

Yummy lunch

Yummy Lunch

Lunch… or even supper for that matter, is that one big fat healthy meal that is ideally supposed to account for most of our protein intake apart from other nutrients. All proteins are essential, but there are some that the body cannot make on its own – essential amino acids. And this is exactly why your kids do need to have healthy portions of meat in their diets.

What a lot of parents end up doing is mock up a plate of greasy nuggets and burgers for their kids. It’s yummy and the kids love it but it’s definitely not the healthiest of options. The deep fried food that you serve as a quick fix is high on saturated fats and cholesterol that are a hurdle on the road to building a healthy heart for the future. Not to mention, this junk food is also responsible for a lot of kids being obese from a young age.

Instead of taking the easy route by fixing up a plate of unhealthy, put in a bit of effort and go for something a bit more savory like a bowl of pasta tossed with meatballs. In fact, boneless chicken would be an even better idea since chicken is lower on harmful fats. The pasta is boiled and just requires a slight drizzle of olive oil. The chicken too can be cooked in a vinaigrette instead of being fried in too much oil. And as the perfect accomplice, give them a glass of fortified orange juice instead of a fizzy.

Snack Attack

Snake Attack

Even French kids don’t love French fries as much as the Americans do. But the problem is that it’s a snack that is soaking with oil and is nowhere near healthy.

Potatoes are an excellent source of fiber which is good for proper bowel movements. And considering that children are experts at eating the wrong things at the wrong times, it’s very important they take in a healthy quantity of fiber so that at least the passage of food through their alimentary canal remains smooth. So yea, sliced potatoes make an excellent snack, but they’d be a lot better baked than fried. Cut them up, into wedges, drizzle some olive oil and some salt and throw them in the oven for a couple of minutes. You could even try these grilled potato packets – anything would work, as long as it’s not deep fried.

Satisfying the sweet tooth

Satisfying The Sweet Tooth

Children have a strong affinity for confectionary. Letting them dig into a chocolatey delight or a sugar-coated donut once in a while isn’t bad, but you’re better off trying to put them on healthier options for their sweet cravings.

A scoop of ice-cream or a cup of flavored sweet yogurt with some sliced fruits tossed in it is a great idea for a kid’s dessert – though most would pick the one with ice-cream instead of yogurt. While the ice-cream adds that ‘thing’ that kids enjoy, the fruits contribute for a healthy nutritional intake of vitamins, carbs and antioxidants that the body can use for multiple reasons.

Working on a healthy diet plan for your kids is of course a tedious task. But in the longer run, it is better for their growth and development into healthy individuals. So whatever you do, make sure that what you’re giving your kids is healthy – even if you have to force it down their throats.

What other things do you do to help promote healthy eating in your children?