Archive |

Find New Local Family Fun Activities this Summer

2 minute read

Bored? Find New Summer Activities in your Immediate Area

This summer you may find yourself in the place you’ve lived all your life feeling like you’ve explored everything there is to explore, or maybe you’re in a brand new place with endless explorations ahead and you don’t know where to start.

Either way, we guarantee you can find plenty of ways to make your summer fun fresher than ever!

Let’s start with you hometowners. Depending on the size of your city, it might be a challenge to find some new activities or sights for the summer and that’s when creativity is key. Become a “local tourist” to see your city through a new lens.

Explore

  • a local coffee shop or a downtown boutique that you’ve walked by a thousand times but never stepped foot in. Just make sure to keep an eye on the kids around the expensive breakables and hot beverages. 🙂

Check out

  • your local library. Most have a calendar full of events each summer (especially for kids and teens), and if nothing else you can find a new book. Or if reading really isn’t your thing, consider some of the other resources a library has to offer.

“Chase for an ace”

  • You decide what it is you want to “chase”; best smoothie, juiciest burger, freshest cheese curds, and order one from every place you can. Split just one order every time so you keep the cost down and your appetite up until you’ve tried every variation. Once you decide which is an absolute “ace”, you’ve found your go-to for the rest of the summer.

Visit

  • your city hall’s bulletin board or check your community’s website. Chances are, there are concerts, sports leagues, rummage sales, and more in your area that you never knew about. This is a great way to embrace your locality and get to know more of your neighbors.

New in town? Don’t even know where the city hall is, or what it is for that matter? Fear not, this is 2018 and there’s an app for that.

Apps for finding local events!

  • Meetup is the perfect app for finding friends and getting involved in your community by allowing you to create or join groups for just about any interest. Whether you’re looking for a new hobby and trying to find people to join in on your current favorites, this app does the job.
  • Hangtime is an app targeted at college students, but really anyone can use it to coordinate schedules with friends and see what events they’re attending. You can even link it with your Facebook account and it will suggest local events based on your recent activity.
  • Songkick is for the music lovers who want a heads up on any or all concerts coming to the area! You can even import your music libraries from Spotify or Apple Music to be sure you get all the updates on your favorite artists.

 

Archive |

Summertime Schedule: How to keep your kids busy and reduce stress

2 minute read

Summer chores chart keep kids busy during their break

What are your kids up to this summer?

With endless digital entertainment options at their fingertips, it can be easy for kids to barely leave the house. But with so many adventures to be had when it’s nice outside, that would be a shame. As a parent, you have an awesome opportunity to set guidelines ensuring your kids have a great summer.

Summer Routines

Children thrive on routines. While every family’s summer routine will look different, it can be helpful to have a consistent schedule to organize around.

Here are just a few of the benefits that come from having a regular routine:

  1. Consistent Sleep – When a child’s internal clock stays “on time”, it helps them fall asleep easier and get a full night’s rest (8-10 hours)
  2. Household Harmony – Predictability reduces stress and anxiety for parents and kids alike. Make sure everyone is aware of the routine and respects it
  3. Preparing For Life – From grooming to work habits, children who practice skills–like reading for thirty minutes every afternoon or brushing their teeth before bed– are better at time management and have a greater sense of self discipline as they get older
  4. Gaining Independence – When children know expectations, they don’t have to be reminded to finish work or make their bed. They can do it on their own and feel a sense of pride and confidence.

Summer Chores

A major benefit of having the kids around all summer is the opportunity to lessen your load with household duties. If they have extra free time, spreading out chores is a great way to keep them busy, teach responsibility, and keep the house clean all summer long.

Here’s a great resource for creating a Chore Chart of age-appropriate responsibilities.

And here are four more fun and creative ways to incorporate a chore chart:

  • Chore kits: This much prep work and organization might not be for everyone, but it sure seems effective. Try putting baskets in each room that needs cleaning with a list of what to do on the outside of the basket and allthe supplies needed inside the basket
  • Chore sticks: A simple and effective way to make doing chores more fun for your kids. Have them pick one to three sticks depending on their age and let the suspense get them revved up for completing the tasks
  • Chore cookie sheet: Great for helping kids that can’t yet read because it uses pictures to represent the chores that need to be done
  • Chore door hanger: Perfect way for older kids to take ownership of their expected responsibilities

Archive |

Your Summer, Stress-Free

2 minute read

When you’re a kid the countdown to summer is exciting: three months with no school to wake up for, no tests to cram for, and no heavy textbooks to haul around. But as an adult, summers can be quite the opposite: three months of activities to organize, family picnics to host, and vacations to plan.

So how to manage the stress of a hectic summer and still make it one to remember? We’ve got a few ideas for you.

Keep a routine:

A good night of sleep does wonders for stress levels. Try to keep wake-up and bedtime schedules the same as they were when school was in session. That will make it easier for you to plan and organize, and it will encourage the kids to do something active and exciting with their summer vacation.

The Sunshine Vitamin:

Spend time outside each day to soak up the sunshine and boost your Vitamin D. It’s been shown to affect mood and has other potential benefits for the body. If the forecast is blistering, try to get outside early in the morning or late at night to avoid the worst of the heat.

Summer Sales Event:

Cash in on all your spring cleaning by having a garage sale or selling your unwanted items online for some extra cash. It’s a great way to get a jump start on your winter holiday budget.

Spend Smart:

Set a firm budget and stick to it. Using only cash to pay for meals and activities on vacations is a great way to keep your spending in check.

Flex Travel:

If your schedule allows, try to travel and explore on weekdays to avoid the higher weekend prices and crowds. It’s likely that you’ll have to deal with big crowds anytime during the summer, but if you’re using all of our other tips you’ll be so stress-free that it simply won’t matter.

Get to the Beach!:

Sunshine, sand, and waves are the perfect recipe for relaxation and refreshment. Whether it’s the ocean, lake, or floating down a river, you’ll make lasting memories around the water.

While you’re enjoying your time at the beach, do your part to keep the oceans and waterways healthy! World Oceans Day, a global celebration of our magnificent oceans, is focusing on preventing plastic pollution on June 8th, 2018. And it’s easy for you and your family to get involved!

Head over to their Facebook page or check out some of their free resources. You can join the community of people and countries who are making the preservation of oceans a priority for the good of future generations and for the well-being of our planet. Here are a few tips to consider:

Healthy Home | Family |

Summer Prep For Your Home and Your Family

2 minute read

Woohoo! It’s finally warm outside and that means we can stop complaining about the cold and snow and start complaining about being hot. (A good problem, right?) With the changing temperatures, it’s important to be aware of how your home and family are impacted. So, we’ve put together a few tips on summer prep.

Summer Prep For You And Your Family

It takes time for our bodies to adjust to the rising temperatures this time of year so here are some important ways to keep cool when planning your outdoor adventures:

Drink More Water

Increase your water intake from 8-10 glasses to 12-15 glasses of water every day. Staying hydrated is important for protecting yourself from the sun and for normal functioning.

Protect Your Skin

Use this chart from Hawaiian Tropic to determine which SPF is right for you and consider a cooling sunblock with aloe.

Camping:

  • Pitch your tent in the shade or reflect the heat away with thermal survival blankets
  • Camp near water for a quick dip or wetting your bandana
  • Get a fan tent or leave your vents open to get a maximum breeze

The Beach:

  • Rock that wide-brimmed hat for constant shade
  • Eat cold treats for a quick cool down or try spicy foods which cause your internal body temperature to rise so your body naturally works to cool down
  • Target your neck, ankles, wrists, back of your knees, and armpits with ice or water to cool down your whole body without getting completely soaked

Hiking:

  • Hike early in the day and try your best to plan a shaded hike. Even if your whole hike isn’t shaded, find shaded areas to rest
  • Pace yourself; it’s important to take frequent breaks for rest and hydration
  • Cover up in lightweight, light-colored clothing since dark colors absorb the sun’s rays and make you hotter. By slowing your loss of fluids, covering your exposed skin actually keeps you cooler than wearing less clothing

Summer Prep For Your Home

Now it’s time to get your home ready for the summer. Here are a couple tips for keeping your home cool.

Air Conditioner Checkup

In order to make sure your unit is in working order, you need to test it before the temperatures become intolerable. The air filter might need to be replaced and you will need to clear any debris from around the vents and exhausts, and make sure to remove any dirt from the unit itself. If all else fails, call a professional.

Turn the Breeze Around

Did you know that ceiling fans are made to rotate with the seasons? Clockwise in the winter to help circulate heat that’s risen, and counterclockwise in the summer to increase a cool breeze downward. So rotate those blades to get maximum cooling!

Basement Prep

If your basement is completely or partially underground, it will naturally stay cooler during the summer. And if you have a finished basement, you and the family can spend more time down there during the warm months. Just make sure the electricity and plumbing are functioning and there’s no residual mold or mildew.

Healthy Home |

Summer Home Projects In A Week Or Less

2 minute read

Planning on home renovations this summer? Don’t let them steal your sunshine! Here are some easy, yet effective, summer home projects that you can complete in less than a week—perfect if you’re tight on time and want to keep your budget in check.

Five Easy Summer Home Projects

Indoor Summer Home Projects

House Cleanup: Cleaning your house takes teamwork and planning. And you can easily tidy up your home in a week if you get the whole family involved on a room-by-room cleanup schedule. One day each week, pick a room (or have everyone clean their own bedrooms) and tackle it as a family. You can end each cleanup with fun rewards like taking everyone for ice cream or going to a movie.

Update Light Fixtures: Still have the same light fixtures as when you moved into your house? Time for an upgrade! Major changes may require the help of an electrician or create the need to replace drywall, but there are some easy fixes you can make in just a few days.

  • Paint your existing light fixtures with a modern color and finish. (Ex. Go from dated brass to a sleek matte black or white.)
  • Add new lampshades with a modern shape and color.
  • Buy a conversion kit that makes it simple to go from recessed lighting to a hanging fixture.

Create a Reading Area: Having a dedicated space in your home for reading and relaxing is one of the smartest investments you can make. To start, you’ll need to find the ideal spot, somewhere that’s somewhat secluded and quiet, one that you’re not otherwise using. Usually, corners, nooks, or alcoves work great for this. Even an unused closet would be perfect. Once you have the space picked out, it’s all about making it comfortable. Buy pillows and blankets and add in some soft lighting. You can even make the lights dimmable so the space can work as a reading room or a nap area!

Outdoor Summer Home Projects

Build a Garden Bed: All of these summer home projects are not limited to the indoors. If you have the yard space (or even a small patio), it’s time to put in that garden you’ve always talked about! Once you measure out the area you have to work with, it’s easy to find a pre-made wooden frame to build your raised garden in. (They’re available and pre-treated at most home improvement stores.) Then a couple trips to the garden section for soil, seeds, and fertilizer and you’re well on your way to homegrown produce or beautiful flowers.

Pressure Wash Exterior: This one will only take a day or two, but it makes a big difference. Many home improvement stores rent out pressure washers, which use high-powered streams of water to blast away dirt and grime. You can use it on your house siding, sidewalks, decks, and other durable surfaces that need cleaning. While it’s fun and oddly satisfying to use a pressure washer, it’s important that you take safety precautions. Use eye protection and heavy-duty gloves, and start the process by spraying a detergent, which will make cleaning easier and reduce the risk of damage to your home.

 

Family |

Crafts for Kids: DIY Flower Pot Design

3 minute read

This DIY flower pot design is an easy, fun craft you can do with the kids to celebrate the warm weather. Plus, depending on what you plant, there may be some health benefits as well. Bonus? It looks like a picket fence. Adorable!

Used outdoors or indoors, try your favorite flowers or growing herbs on your windowsill that you can pick from. You may even decide you want to use them as centerpieces while entertaining guests this summer! Because why not show off your crafty gardening skills, right?

Indoors, certain plants can be great for your family’s health. They release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, which can help freshen up the air. Try planting Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, Chrysanthemums, or Ferns.

According to Sophie Lee for NBC News, studies show that indoor plants can also improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%. They can also reduce stress levels and boost your mood.

Add the fact that you’re creating these DIY flower pots from scratch and you have another reason to put those crafting skills to use: being creative is a great way to promote mental health.

“The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same, day in and day out (Cleveland Clinic),” writes Charles Benayon, founder and CEO of Aspiria Corp. for the Huffington Post. “Immersing yourself in a creative activity produces an almost meditative state where your mind is so engrossed in what you’re doing that you temporarily forget all of your troubles and worries.”

Give these DIY flower pot designs a shot to improve Indoor Air Quality and boost mental health with your creativity. Try to expand on them by experimenting with paints or props to create miniature scenes. Most importantly, have fun!

Materials

1 Tuna Can

1 or 2 Gardening Flowers

20 Clothespins

Instructions

Step One: Gather your materials. If you plan on getting creative and painting your clothespins, paint them before the next step and allow them to dry on a paper towel.

DIY-Flower-Pot-step-one

Step Two: Empty, drain, and clean out the inside of your tuna can. Then, one by one, begin to clip each clothespin onto the side of the tuna can.

DIY-Flower-Pot-Step-Two

Step Three: Make sure the clothespins are pushed all the way down and circle all the way around the tuna can.

DIY-Flower-Pot-Step-Three

Step Four: Carefully remove your gardening flower from its plastic container. (Note: Skip this step if you plan on planting seeds and growing herbs or plants instead of flowers.)

DIY-Flower-Pot-Step-Four

Step Five: Place your gardening flower inside your newly DIY flower pot. (Note: If you plan on growing herbs or plants instead of flowers, this is where you’d fill the pot with soil and plant your seeds)

DIY-Flower-Pot-Step-Five

Step Six: Choose a location for your DIY flower pot (indoors or outdoors) where you’ll be able to enjoy it daily.

DIY-Flower-Pot-Step-Six

 

Archive |

Spreading Awareness of Food Allergies

2 minute read

Food Allergies: Fact & Fiction

“I’m allergic to brussell sprouts!” As kids, many of us probably tried using an excuse like that to get out of eating our vegetables. But today, if a kid tells you they’re allergic to something, it’s important to take them seriously. According to researchers, an estimated 5.9 million children under the age of 18 have a food allergy and 30 percent of those children have multiple food allergies.

Even if you are not a part of the food allergy community, it is important to know what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to food allergies.

Myth: All food allergies appear in childhood and last a lifetime.

Fact: Food allergies can develop at any age even if you’ve eaten the food before with no reaction.

Children are most likely to outgrow a food allergy over time. This is common with allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat. Peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish allergies are harder to outgrow.

Myth: Food allergies aren’t that serious

Fact: Food allergies have the potential to be life-threatening and should always be taken seriously. It’s so important to read menus thoroughly, ask lots of questions about what’s in a dish, and be prepared to take action if an allergic reaction occurs.

Myth: Eating a little bit of the food you’re allergic to is okay.

Fact: The smallest trace of a food allergen can cause a severe reaction. Removing all sources of the allergen from one’s diet and surroundings is the only way to ensure safety.

Myth: A mild reaction equals a mild allergy.

Fact: Although there are mild to severe allergic reactions, there is no such thing as a mild food allergy. All food allergies are serious with the potential to cause anaphylaxis. Always error on the side of caution.

So now that you know what’s fact and what’s fiction, it’s time to spread the word.

Check out the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) website. It provides lots of great ways to learn more and some ideas for spreading awareness of food alleriges:

Food for Thought video series

Be a Pal Program

FARE Training

Food Allergy Awareness Week

Support Groups

Sources:

Food Allergy Research and Education, www.foodallergy.org