Monday 30 November 2020

These 7 Tips Will Help Making Your Own Baby Food a Breeze


Having a baby is exciting until you realize you have another hungry mouth to feed. As you begin to wean your little one and transition to solid foods, you’ll likely begin making your own baby food. While you could go the store-bought route, pureeing their food yourself is much more affordable, albeit a bit more work.

Here’s how to simplify the prep, storage and even feeding process. With these tips, making your own baby food will be a breeze.

1. Get the Necessary Equipment

Food accounts for more than half of all choking episodes, with infants being among those most at risk. Because babies’ airways are so small, you must thoroughly puree or mash up any food you prepare for them. Stocking up on a few pieces of kitchen equipment can make this process easier and ensure no small seeds or bits of food end up in their mouths.

Make sure you have a blender or food processor on hand as well as a hand masher and vegetable peeler for foods with a more fibrous outer layer. After boiling, steaming or microwaving the food, mash or blend with water or breast milk until the consistency is a bit runny. Strain foods with seeds through a sieve to further minimize choking hazards.

2. Start With One Ingredient

Making baby food isn’t quite like making a breakfast smoothie. Instead of blending five or six different ingredients, you’ll want to begin with just one. Choose mild foods like sweet potatoes or avocados and blend them individually. Then, once they reach the desired consistency, you can feed them to your little one.

This one-ingredient strategy is important as your baby transitions to solid foods. Introduce each food one at a time with two to four days between each to help detect any allergies. Once they’ve tried a few different foods and seem to tolerate them — or even enjoy them — you can begin mixing them to create new flavor combinations.

3. Stir In Herbs

You might also try adding herbs to your baby food purees to nurture their growing palate. Introducing different flavors in this way will also teach your little one to expect change with food. Regardless of how much they love sweet potatoes, they can’t eat them their entire lives.

Stir in mild herbs and spices like chives, sage and cinnamon and base them on combinations you like. Hard-boiled egg yolk with chive, sage and butternut squash and cinnamon with sweet potatoes are just a few tasty options.

4. Use Frozen Produce

Depending on your budget, fresh fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare and nutritious. Plus, you can rest easy knowing they don’t contain any added salt or sugars. However, you can use frozen foods, too as long as they don’t contain any additional ingredients or preservatives.

Likewise, you’ll also want to cook all frozen food first and mash or puree it just as you would with fresh ingredients. Doing so makes the food easier for your baby to digest and obviously easier to puree.

5. Bulk Prep

One of the easiest ways to save time when making food is to bulk prep meals. Otherwise, you’ll be in the kitchen chopping, boiling and blending before every meal. Make your life easier by preparing a few days worth of baby food at a time. Then, store it in mason jars in the fridge, labeling each jar with the type of food and the date.

You may also choose to freeze the food to store for up to one month. Simply pour the pureed food into ice cube trays and freeze. Then, just pop them out and store in an airtight container or ziploc bag until you’re ready to thaw them and feed them to your baby. Just don’t refreeze foods that contain breast milk as it may spoil or lose vital nutrients in the process.

6. Use a Squeeze Station

If ice cubes seem like too much work, consider using a squeeze station. This handy device has three syringe-like tubes that you can squeeze directly into plastic pouches. When you’re done, all you have to do is take the contraption apart and stick it in the dishwasher.

Like the cubed baby food, you can store these pouches in the freezer for up to a month. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money purchasing and making your own pouches instead of buying individual packs from the supermarket.

7. Get a Refillable Feeding Spoon

You could also skip the pouches altogether and use a refillable feeding spoon. This option is especially wise if your budget is tight or you’re more eco-conscious. The ergonomic spoon and squeezable bottle make feeding a breeze. Plus, a removable cap allows for easy refills and cleaning. 

A refillable feeding spoon will also help your child transition from sucking on a pouch to using utensils. Since your baby won’t be pouch feeding for very long, it’s smart to have this helpful spoon on hand to help them develop more sophisticated movements of the lips, tongue and palate.

Saving Time and Money

When it comes to feeding your baby, their nutrition isn’t the only thing to consider. While feeding them the proper nutrients is essential, being able to do so affordably and effectively is also important. As you transition your little one from a liquid to a solid diet, keep looking for creative ways to cut costs and save time. Hopefully, the tips above will help you to do just that.

Things to Consider Before Choosing an Air Conditioning Service Provider

Living a single day in the summer season without the AC working properly is perhaps the worst torture one can endure. The cool air from the appliance makes it possible for us to handle the scorching heat of the season without having to face health issues like heat strokes, dehydration, and weakness.

This is why you must know the ways in which you can hire the best air conditioning service provider in your locality. You will find several HVAC servicing and repair companies in the market, but choosing a particular name from the list isn’t an easy task.

For this reason, we are here with the best ideas from experts, which will guide you to select the best air conditioner servicing company in your city without fail.

Consider the Experience of the Servicing Company

First, you need to consider the experience gained by the air conditioning service company in your city. Now, by experience, we do not mean the total number of years the company has been in the market. Instead we are focusing on the hands-on experience of the company in the air condition services. A firm might be ten years old, but it may have only four years of experience of working in the real-life field. Similarly, a five year old company might have a five year of hands-on experience. So, between these two firms, the second one will be more feasible.

For instance, if you are looking for the best AC service provider, specifically in Pace, Fl, you can easily find some good options to get your work done. However, you may click here for more info on the same.

Choose the Company Based on Your AC’s Needs

While choosing a particular company for air conditioning service, you need to keep your AC’s needs on mind. For example, if your AC needs a motor replacement but the company you have chosen offers only maintenance services, then the company won’t be able to help you in solving the issue. So, do a homework on your AC and then choose the servicing company based on the features of your appliance.

Check the License and Insurance Before Hiring a Servicing Company

Every air conditioning service company has to be licensed under the government authority. Such companies are always trustworthy, since you can raise a lawsuit against them if anything goes wrong. But the same can’t be done against a company which hasn’t been registered with the government’s directory. Also, do not forget to check the insurance plans of the company. Every worker and technician should be well-insured by liability coverage plans, so that you won’t have to pay for any mishaps done from their part or for their injuries received at your place.

Ask for a Quote Prior to the Services

Choosing an air conditioning service provider is not cheap, and that’s why it’s better to prepare a budget beforehand. Since different HAC services require different charges, you will have to ask for a quote from your chosen company. At the time of requesting a quote, you will have to provide information on the type of AC you have, the service you are looking for, the number of ACs to be serviced, and so on. Based on this information, the company will generate a quote with an estimated price.

Pay Attention to Referrals and Feedbacks

Before you hire a HVAC company for servicing your AC, you will have to pay close attention to the feedbacks earned by the firm from its previous clients. Learning about these feedbacks will help you to understand whether the chosen company is at all trustworthy or not. If the feedbacks aren’t helping a lot, you can ask for referrals from your friends or family about the best air conditioning service company they are touch with.

So, if you are looking for an expert who can handle your air conditioning service, then read this guide properly and follow the given tips to make an informed selection. At the end, we hope that you will have clarity about the choosing process as per your requirements and preferences.

Thursday 26 November 2020

Great Ways To Save On Laundry Expenses

 I absolutely cannot stand doing the laundry. If I could wear one outfit for the rest of my life and get my family on board I would be thrilled! Sadly this is not the way things work, so off to do the laundry I go. I do however have a few simple tips that can help you save some money on your laundry chores and make the job more manageable. 

Buy quality detergent in pods. Believe it or not, there is a big difference between the types of soap you buy. When you buy the powder or liquid you could be using harsh chemicals, weak soaps, and way too much of the product than you do when you buy the prefilled pods. 

Maintain and clean your machine regularly. Many problems washers and dryers have can be avoided with proper care and maintenance. Washers can begin to wear out and run roughly when not properly cleaned, if your washing machine has a cleaning setting try to get it done at least once a month for optimal performance. Only load it with the number of clothes it can handle as well because this is bad for your machine. You will require washer repair constantly if you are always overloading your machine.

Cut back on the amount of clothing you and your family members have. You probably have way too many clothes in your closet than you actually need. There are a large number of places you can donate your extra clothes to cut back on the amount of laundry you need to wash and fold on a continuous basis. My kids are horrible, right after I fold and hang all their clothes they decide to change at least two or three times a day just for the heck of it. If they have less clothing this makes less of a mess, making me happier! 

Hang dry when possible. Running your dryer to dry your clothes can be expensive. If you live in a warm place or have a large space you can dry clothes outdoors and in saving you money for things you really want. Hang drying can be a great way to cut back on your laundry expenses and it is great for the environment, one less machine running always counts for something.

What other ways can you save on your laundry expenses and how creative can you get to save another buck?

Appliances That Are Worth The Fortune They Cost

 We all see those beautiful kitchens in the cooking shows on TV and dream of one day owning those exact appliances that get the job done right every time! Each one of those gorgeous appliances costs a small fortune but they are definitely worth it if you want top-notch in your kitchen!

Fridges of this generation are absolutely the bee's knees. They come with temperature settings for crispers, digital displays on the doors, cold water, and ice hookups in the door of the fridge, huge compartments with easy glide drawers for easy storage, easy to clean materials, and just look fantastic in your home. The latest and greatest in the fridge department are some high tech gadgets that could be worth it if you require a lot from your fridge. 

Dishwashers have come a long way from the noisy clunky machines they once were. Dishwashers of today have so many different settings for a large number of tasks, everything from sanitizing items to deep cleaning pots and pans that have been put through the ringer. Dishwashers now take tiny little pods of soap ensuring you don't use too much and cause bubble floods in your kitchen, think of all the money you will save using less soap. Newer machines are simple to clean and care for requiring fewer calls to the dishwasher repair people.

Stoves and ovens of this century are energy efficient, evenly cooking, and stylish machines that can add serious style to your kitchen. The new ovens can cook literally anything and have some of the largest cooking spaces ever made. You can now buy ovens that have two separate cooking spaces for cooking multiple dishes at different temperatures. These high-quality machines are self-cleaning as well making it much less work for those home cooks always baking and cooking u a storm. 

Sinks and faucets have begun to get just as technological and fancy. You can get faucets that have touch technology for when you have contaminated hands and need a quick wash. Now if someone can make a kitchen that makes the food and cleans the mess we are all set. 

Appliances are only going to get cooler and more intuitive as time goes on, keep your eyes peeled for the next great gadget and you can start hosting family dinners in style when this pandemic is finally over!

Simple Tips To Keep You From Locking Yourself Out

 We have all been there, you go to open the door to your vehicle to load your groceries into the trunk and, uh oh, where are the keys? You take a peek in the window and see them dangling from the ignition. You are locked out and have to call locksmith services to get you into your car. Don't feel bad this happens to everyone, sadly it costs a bit of money and would probably be better if it didn't happen. Here are a few simple tips to keep yourself from getting locked out.

Wear a lanyard around your neck with your vehicle keys on it. It is so easy to simply reach for something in your pocket and accidentally drop your keys without noticing. With a lanyard around your neck, your keys are not going anywhere. Worried about looking stylish? There are millions of styles to choose from and nobody is going to be judging you based on where your keys are hanging. 

Give a spare set to a reliable person you can trust. Always keep your spare set of car keys with someone who can bring them to you when you need them. This can also be a good way to keep a spare set of house keys just in case you lose those as well. Plus you never know when you may need someone to check in on your house when your not home. 

There are a vast number of different magnetic key storage kits you can get to keep your spare key on your vehicle in case of emergencies. Try to choose one that's not obvious because criminals know about these things as well. Never tell anyone you have one unless you completely trust them. 

Become a member of an auto club if you travel often or seem to lock yourself out on a regular basis. Auto clubs offer discounts and deals on locksmith services that can save you a bundle if you find yourself in a pinch. Not to mention there are many other perks added to the service. 

Remember we are only human and can't remember everything all the time, mistakes are made by the best of us, hopefully these tips help you avoid the trouble.

New Tech Locks And Systems That Can Amplify Your Security

 We are living in a very technological world surrounded by phones, computers, and a whole new level of criminals. These days criminals are not deterred by a simple locked door, they will get in and it seems to be getting easier and easier to get past old school locks and bolts. Home invasions are getting quite common these days and usually, the burglars walk right in without a care in the world, there are ways to amp up your security and keep your castle safe and secure. 

Getting locks put in place that requires a key code and uses a deadbolt is a great way to step up security in your home. You may want to get into the habit of locking the door behind you when you are home just to ensure nobody else enters without permission. If you live in an area that has a high crime rate you never know what to expect from the criminal mind, simply being home isn't enough of a deterrent anymore. There are locks that are programmable via Bluetooth and can be controlled by your cell phone. Worried about kids losing keys or having them lost and cut by criminals? These are the perfect door locks for you, a visit from your local locksmith will ensure everything is setup right and ready to go.  

Security cameras are always a great investment for homeowners. They may not always deter the criminals from coming around and trying to steal things but at least you have footage of the thieves to try and catch them. Cameras are also great to have to provide proof of certain incidents when required in an insurance situation. There are cameras that range from ultra high quality for premium pricing and simple doorbell cameras that only cost a few dollars a month. All of these can be installed for you to save you a headache.

If you have a large property it may be a good idea to ensure your fences are secure as well, the higher they are the harder they are to get into. Barbed wire at the top is another great deterrent. If you have a gate at the front of your property a locksmith can advise you on the safest lock for your needs.  

Signs Your Fridge May Need Repairing Or Replacement

 Have you ever opened your fridge, poured yourself a glass of milk only to find it warm? Yuck! That is definitely a sure sign your fridge is having some issues. Believe it or not, it may not need to be replaced completely, there are tons of issues that can be repaired saving you a ton of cash. There are a few different things to watch for if you have a strange feeling your fridge is on its last legs.

Funny sounds. Fridges that are nearing their death or need repair start to make some really strange sounds, some make clicking, whirring, whining, and knocking sounds when they are having issues. This can be a number of different issues and if you notice your fridge making these sounds that they have never made before it may be time to call in the fridge repair people. 

Water Pooling. If you find water pooling in the bottom of your fridge it could be something as simple as a blockage in the drain pan. This is fixable by finding the drain pan in your fridge and checking the route of the water and condensation flow. If you can't seem to find the issue yourself it may be time to call in for some help. 

Warm temps. Your fridge has probably been set at the same temperature for years. If you suddenly notice the fridge is warm try turning the dial slightly to make it a little cooler. Sometimes a family member could be messing with your settings without even noticing it, especially if you have kids. If your temperature is still warm inside you should probably call the pros to take a look to ensure you don't get sick from improper food storage. 

Obviously, if your fridge stops working completely and it is very old it may be time to replace it altogether. These helpful clues may keep you from making an impulsive purchase keep the cash in your hand when you need it most.

Tips To Help You Save Money On Kitchen Appliances When They Die

 With the pandemic creating nothing but problems around the globe it is always nice to read something positive that can help bring a bit of happiness to your home. Kitchen costs can be exhausting depending on what's breaking, how old it is, and how you need to fix it. There are a number of different issues that arise where you can save money rather than hire a contractor and buy brand new, take a minute to think before getting online appliance shopping as the quick and cheap fix may be listed below.

Appliance repair is almost always cheaper than buying a brand new product. So don't automatically assume you need a new fridge or stove, you may need a simple part that fixes the issue without costing a small fortune. There are a vast number of trustworthy and quality repair companies that come to your home quickly, safely, and don't overcharge. Ask around and you will find the repair service for you.

Buying used appliances is not always a bad idea either. Sometimes you have no choice but to replace the unit but don't have the funds for brand new. Try to be careful who you are buying from and always check to ensure the unit is in good working order and is well taken care of before dishing out the cash. There are lots of scammers out there so ensure you don't give deposits on items over the internet either as it is very easy to be ripped off. 

Depending on which appliance is beginning to go decide whether or not you can live without it for a little while giving yourself time to save for a new unit. Obviously, if your stove and oven are both going and you cook from home a lot you may need to get a cheap little toaster oven to hold you off for a while. If your microwave is dying you may need to use the stove more, if your fridge is kicking it you may want to get a mini-fridge for a few weeks. There is always an option if you have no funds for a new appliance.

Taking proper care of your appliances can ensure they last for years, always try to do your best and care for your items properly so they don't end up in the garbage before their time. Proper cleaning, changing of filters, proper electrical connections, and basic maintenance will ensure your products a long life span. 

Hopefully, these simple tips help you during the struggle when one of your large appliances decides to die.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

25 Days of Self-Care To Treat Yourself During The Holidays

Self-care is often overlooked. Especially this year, as stress and uncertainty has taken over a majority of our lives. Nonetheless, the concept of self-care is extremely important, as it helps encourage maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and others. 

With the holidays coming up, stress seems to consume us even more due to the pressures that accompany the holiday season — travel plans, hosting relatives and finding the perfect gifts for all your friends and family. So this year, gift yourself by filling your December calendar with some holiday self-care!

Below is a list of self-care ideas to get you started so you can nourish yourself for the holidays.

Write Yourself a Love Letter

An important aspect of self-care is being kind to yourself and practicing self-love, so start by writing yourself a thoughtful love letter. Write down things you love and admire about yourself, no matter how big or small they might be. If you are in need of a place to begin, check out this printable self-love letter to get you started.

Take a Walk

Lace up your walking shoes and get outside for some fresh air. Even if you can only get out for a small increment of time, taking a walk in nature provides both physical and mental health benefits. Research suggests that spending time outside reduces stress levels, lowers heart rate and stimulates the immune system. Exercise also helps release endorphins which helps boost your mood so kill two birds with one stone by making it a hike or jog.

Self Reflection Journaling

One fantastic way to calm the mind and unwind after a long stressful day is to journal. Practicing self-reflection journaling can help you set goals for yourself, become more mindful or have a safe place to vent your feelings. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out this free journal entry printable complete with mindful prompts.


Research has proven that regular meditation undoes the damaging effects of stress on our cells, so try and make meditation a part of your daily routine. Even just a few minutes of quiet and mindful meditation can do wonders for your mental state. During this time, focus on your breath and clearing your head of any negative thoughts or feelings.

Do Something Nice For Someone Else

Since the holiday season is a time for giving, try doing something nice for someone else, whether it's volunteering at a local organization, donating to charity or buying a meal for the person behind you in line at the drive thru. Another fun and cute way to brighten someone’s day is by surprising them with one of these punny and positive holiday cards! You can put these in a neighbor’s mailbox, on the windshield of someone’s car or mail them to a friend to let them know you are thinking about them.

Self-care is all about pampering yourself and making yourself feel good, so do whatever makes you happy and feel nourished! For more ideas, download this 25 days of self-care calendar, complete with 25 treat yourself ideas courtesy of FragranceX to wrap up the year and start the new year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated!

Tuesday 24 November 2020

These Tips Will Teach You How to Save on Moving Expenses

Moving is a lot of things -- expensive being one of them! If you're preparing to move and you want to save a little bit of cash as you settle in your new space, here are some tips to help you out.

Pack Everything Yourself

If you, like almost 28% homeowners, get the urge to move every five years or so, you're probably all too familiar with the unappealing prospect of packing up your whole house. But it doesn't have to be all bad! And when your moving goal is to save as much money as possible, packing your own boxes seems like a small price to pay. You don't have to complete this task all on your own, either! If you have a few close friends who are willing to help, make an event out of it! Order in and stage an all-day packing party together. This is also an excellent opportunity to get your family involved in the move. Task your kids with packing up their rooms to give them license over how their belongings are put away and to take a little bit of the burden off of yourself.

Downsize Before Your Move

Practically speaking, your move will likely be less expensive if you have fewer items that need to be moved. The weeks and months before the big day are a golden opportunity to downsize your possessions. It's possible you can make a little bit of money while you're doing this, too! If you're not sure where to start when it comes to downsizing your belongings, here are a few tips to help you decide what to do with what needs to go:

New Items - If you have items that have never been opened or used before, it's not a bad idea to consider selling them. If you have the time, it might be worth staging a yard sale for some of these items. You could also gift them to family or friends before you move or consider donating them.

Lightly Used Items - If you're unsure about a lightly used piece of furniture during your move, it's not a bad idea to list it on an online marketplace to see if you can get some money for it. This is a great way to put some cash away for furnishing your new home, too. Lightly used clothing and electronics can be donated.

Heavily Used Items - Heavily used items, unless they're in superb condition, should be tossed or recycled. Heavily used clothing, in particular, is likely better off with a recycling program than it is at a secondhand store or donation center.

It might be tough to part with some of your belongings, but this is a great way to put a little bit of extra money in your pocket and save yourself some trouble during your move. And considering that the average home spends between 65 and 93 days on the market, you have plenty of time to get this sorted out!

Rent a Moving Truck

This might sound like a little bit of an investment, but the truth is that renting a moving truck will save you money in the long run. When you invest in a moving truck for your big day, you're eliminating a few things. First, you're eliminating the need for a moving service to come and load up your belongings to deliver them to your new house. Second, you're cutting down on back-and-forth trips between your old house and your new one. The less time you spend on the commute, the better. In addition, you can rest easy knowing that your truck is secure and in excellent shape. Your sedan or family SUV might not be able to handle the same load that a moving truck can!

Saving money on moving expenses means you can splurge on other items once you're settled into your new home. For instance, if you want to invest in a video surveillance system, which is the most effective burglary deterrent, it pays to save some cash while you're moving.

Monday 23 November 2020

Smart Home-School Tips To Keep Your Kiddos Engaged

Since the pandemic began way back in March, millions of parents have been homeschooling their kids and helping them learn virtually. Many didn’t think they’d still be teaching their kiddos nearly eight months later. Yet, here you are.

At this point, you may be struggling to keep your little ones engaged. Everyone’s patience is wearing thin and attention spans are short. Luckily, a few effective strategies can help your children stay productive and focused, regardless of how long they have to learn at home.

1. Establish a Learning Space

At school, students have their own desk and know where the art corner, music room and library are. These spaces signal learning and demand their attention. However, at home, you may not have the space to establish a classroom-sized learning space.

Regardless, you should still dedicate a specific area of your home to school. This way, when your kiddos show up at the kitchen table or desk in the spare bedroom, they know it’s time to learn. Plus, there will be fewer toys and other distractions present, allowing them to focus.

2. Stick To a Routine

Establishing a routine and sticking to a schedule can help keep your kiddos engaged and focused on the task at hand. At school, your little ones rely on bells to signal the beginning and end of class and when to go to lunch or recess.

You can create a similar experience at home using a timer and an hourly planner. Section off your child’s classes or workload into hour-long time blocks. Remember to schedule in time for lunch, play and rest to break up their day and give their growing minds time to recover before starting another lesson.

3. Use a Captivating Hook

Once you lose your kiddo’s attention, regaining it can be difficult — if not impossible. Therefore, it’s important to grab their attention and maintain it from the very beginning. You can accomplish this by using a captivating hook as you begin each lesson.

Begin with a warm up to spark deep thinking and active learning or share an interesting fact that will naturally lead to an educational discussion. Starting your classes with a teacher-student appropriate conversation, — or a parent-student conversation — encourages proper communication. Ultimately, this two-way channel between you and your kiddo will make it easier for them to ask for help and voice their opinions.

4. Incorporate Spirit Days

National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day may seem like a strange holiday to celebrate on its own. However, embracing weird holidays like this and turning them into spirit days can be a gateway to learning about plastic production, conservation and other important topics.

Take cues from the list of national calendar days or create your own holidays to match the lesson plan each day. For instance, if you’re teaching your kids about sentence structures, you might declare a Punctuation Day and make a show of using exclamatory sentences all day or drawing quotation marks around your mouth. Even the most mundane-sounding holidays can become exciting and help your little ones see the world from a new perspective.

5. Integrate Movement

Elementary and middle-school students are used to taking a midday break for recess. Whether they’re climbing on the jungle gym outside or playing games inside, kids need a movement around lunchtime. Even just a few minutes of play can effectively boost focus, cognitive functioning and memory retention. Plus, moving around will allow them to release their wiggles and reduce disruptive outbursts.

Besides recess, you should also integrate movement into daily lessons to promote mental clarity and keep them engaged. Assign a movement-oriented task that corresponds with whatever topic you’re covering. Make up a dance to help them remember equations or lists. Encourage stomping, clapping, jumping and other movements to make lessons fun and engaging.

6. Get Artsy

Many parents worry that schools don’t focus enough on liberal arts like music and painting. Well, now’s the perfect time to incorporate these subjects into your lesson plans. Let your child get artsy and use their imagination and creativity in new ways. Use YouTube tutorials to teach your kids to draw, pull out the legos or learn a few notes on the recorder together.

Incorporate both process-focused and product-focused art experiences into the day to help your little ones develop different skill sets. For instance, process-focused projects that are open-ended and don’t include instructions can help them express their feelings and problem solve. On the other hand, product-focused art may help them explore new ways to create and follow instructions.

7. Make the Outdoors a Science Lab

Depending on where you live, the weather may be nice enough to take your lessons outside. If this is the case for you, consider exploring your local parks or scouring your backyard for bugs, plants and other interesting things. Turn the world into a science lab and learn all about the living creatures around you.

During the winter months, you can still draw inspiration from the outdoors and keep your students engaged with nature-centered projects and experiments. Grow your own herbs indoors, study the science of snowflakes, go ice fishing or set up a bird feeder and observe your feathered friends. Even when it’s cold outside, you’ll find there’s no shortage of outdoorsy experiments to try and topics to explore. 

Catering To Their Interests

When it comes to keeping your kiddos engaged during the long winter months — or however long this pandemic drags on — catering to their interests is key. Figure out what kinds of topics they’re interested in and incorporate them into your lesson plans. Whether they love baking, building snowmen or tending to the garden, finding ways to encourage their passions and pique their interest is sure to keep them engaged and learning until summer arrives.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Create an Unforgettable Family Movie Night at Home

Kids love going to the movies and seeing stories come to life. However, going to the theater isn’t always convenient and today it’s not even possible for most of us due to the pandemic. Luckily, you can put together an awesome at home family movie night.

By offering classic snacks, such as popcorn, adding decor, such as string lights, and creating custom movie tickets, you can cultivate an unforgettable movie night. 

Check out the visual below from Apartment Guide below for more ideas and be sure to create your own movie tickets to share with your family!

Movie Night Ideas

10 shopping tips for the holiday season

Shoppers may go into the season with best intentions, but many break their budget during the holidays. There are ways to tighten the straps on the pocketbook and still afford the perfect gifts for loved ones. shares the strategies here: 10 Smart Holiday Shopping Tips for This Season

  • Make a list, check it twice. Be sure not to forget anyone; having this worked out ahead of time can help keep the shopper laser focused. 
  • Online shopping for cash back. Cash back sites are plentiful, so it would be silly not to take advantage of them when shopping online. 
  • Timing is key. Set an alarm if need be. Many retailers program registers for a sale the night before the “actual” sale.
  • Use those apps. There are apps that allow the consumer to maintain shopping lists, track shipments and view sales. 
  • Comparison shop. This is always essential, but even more important during the holiday shopping season. 
  • Gift cards are always an option. Gift cards may be one of the best inventions. Sometimes, when ideas run dry, it’s an easy option. 
  • Save on Cyber Monday. It’s become as popular as Black Friday and online shopping shows no sign of dying down during the pandemic. 
  • Consider the currency. While cash is king, some experts advise shoppers use credit cards for cash back, or to rack up points and miles. 
  • Take advantage of free shipping. Costs can add up. If an online retailer offers free shipping on certain days, try to take advantage.
  • Quick tip: be aware of exchange and return policies. Policies vary greatly, and many retailers have special policies geared toward the holiday season. 

Happy shopping! 

Simon Zhen, senior research analyst and spokesperson for MyBankTracker, is available to comment on money saving tips for the holiday season. Would you like to connect with Zhen?

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The Best Ways for You to Make the Most of Thanksgiving This Year

Turkey day is almost here — what are your plans besides cooking the bird? If you want to throw an event that your guests will adore, you need to go beyond stuffing and cranberry sauce.

If you want to dazzle your attendees, throw a celebration that they won’t forget. Here are eight suggestions for making the most of Thanksgiving despite the madness of 2020.

1. Try Something New

Do you serve the same old, same old, year after year? While there’s much to say for tradition — and your partner’s joking threats to divorce you if you don’t make his favorite sweet potato pie — there’s also a case for originality.

For example, if you always start with a salad, why not go for a simple and elegant spicy Moroccan carrot version for a twist on classic baby greens? This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, making it ideal for guests with dietary restrictions.

2. Cook With Leftovers in Mind

Most chefs cook with the hopes that guests will devour everything on their plates. However, when it comes to Thanksgiving, it helps to keep leftovers in mind when you prepare. Besides, if you cook for a large clan, they may all want a taste to take home.

For example, sliced turkey breast tucked inside lettuce leaves makes an easy lunch or snack. If your guests plan on remaining for the big game, make sure you have some scallions, pecans or walnuts and a sauce like soy sauce on hand. You can set out a tray so that attendees can assemble snacks between plays.

3. Dazzle Guests With Desserts

You can go with store-bought pumpkin pie, but where’s the originality there? Instead of a one-size-fits-all dessert, make a tray that lets guests select from the following:

      Gluten-free pumpkin-ginger cupcakes: This dessert delights guests with dietary restrictions, and the ginger helps soothe sore, overexerted tummies.

      Lemon-cranberry pie bars: They’re tart, they’re tangy and they’re sweet — all the goodness of dessert rolled up in one.

      Pumpkin cheesecake bars with caramel swirl: What’s fall without at least a little pumpkin spice? These combine the flavor you love with salty caramel for a delicious treat.

4. Provide Various Beverage Choices 

Not everyone drinks alcohol and some folks who normally imbibe sign up for designated driver shifts. Being responsible doesn’t equate to wanting to sip on a kids’ juice box with Thanksgiving dinner. Most varieties don’t pair well with turkey.

Make them feel every bit as elegant as your tipsier guests with this non-alcoholic spicy pear punch. Even your little ones will feel like grownups with their “cocktail” in hand.

5. Make Your Space Welcoming

If you want guests to kick off their shoes and stay a spell, you need to make them feel cozy and welcome. Lots of folks like to take a quick snooze after their meal — break out your extra throws and pillows.

Set the mood with elegant electric candles — you won’t have to worry about fire risk. Plus, paraffin wax candles emit toxins like toluene. Besides, you won’t be able to detect scented versions over the flavorful aromas from your kitchen. If you must have fragrance, use an aromatherapy mister and a few drops of essential oils — it won’t irritate allergies like chemical sprays.

6. Provide Gaming Fun for All

It’s 2020, the year of isolation, and your guests probably delight in company of any kind, no matter how small your gathering. However, it’s still wise to have plenty of games ready for post-meal fun.

If the weather proves agreeable, head outside. Create a pigskin challenge by hanging a hula hoop from a tree or wash line. The goal is to throw the football through the ring as contestants move progressively further away from the target.

Indoors, get out a few decks of cards. Adults can start up a game of Texas hold ‘em while the little ones play rummy or go fish.

7. Take the Big Game Outdoors

Has 2020 been a crazy year for sports, or what? If you are a season-ticket holder, you probably lament not being able to enjoy the game from the stands.

Why not do the next best thing by taking the Thanksgiving day games outdoors? You can rent a projector — you might even find one for free at your local library. Provide plenty of warm clothes and blankets and light the fire pit and patio heaters. You’ll feel warmer than you would in the stands.

Do you have young kids who want to get in on the fun? Give your guests some Monopoly money they can use to buy overpriced peanuts and other snacks from the “stadium vendors.”

8. Play Gratitude Charades

One tradition you don’t want to skip this year is going around the table and expressing gratitude. However, doing so the old-fashioned way makes those who go last feel terribly unoriginal when they reply with “my family” like the four people who gave thanks before them.

Instead, why not make it a game by playing charades and acting out what fills you with gratitude. Since you should keep your gatherings small, divide players into two teams. The losing one has to do the dishes.

Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving This Year With These Tips

2020 has been a year to remember, but Thanksgiving reminds us to find gratitude amid the chaos. Make your feast extra-memorable this year with the eight tips above. 

Monday 16 November 2020

12 Ways to Improve Your Family's Health and Wealth

Sometimes, having your family be healthy feels unattainable because of the high cost of many health crazes and trends. However, there are easy ways to make small changes that will help your family's health and not hurt your wallet at the same time. Below are 12 ways to make your family healthier without breaking the bank.

1. Meal Plan

When you plan your meals for the week, you can make a very specific grocery list. That means when you're grocery shopping, you'll only be buying what you need, and not anything extra that will end up being wasted. The food you throw away is money you're throwing away, but by buying exactly what you need you'll be good to go.

While you're meal planning, check out your grocery store's weekly ad to see if there are any deals that you can take advantage of, and build your meal around that. Also, try looking on Pinterest for meal ideas that you can save for later.

2. Take Walks Together

It's been proven that just 10 minutes of physical activity a day can help you live longer and be more mobile. Try to get out for a walk that's at least ten to twenty minutes every day for a free way to help your family be healthy and bond.

Try making your walk time as set as your meal times or bedtimes -- choose a certain time of day that is designated at "walk time" so everyone in your family knows when it is and will be able to participate.

3. Drink Purified Water

Drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated is extremely important. Being hydrated helps our bodies function the way they're supposed to, and it keeps your skin clear and hydrated. When you're dehydrated, you can experience many negative consequences, so make sure you and your family drink enough water every day to fuel your bodies.

Filtered water is good for you because it has less of the chemicals that tap water put out. Commercial brands will use intense forms of filtering, like electrodeionization, which began in the 1950s. That method of filtering is extremely involved, though, so a filtered water pitcher or filter attachment for your sink will probably be enough for your family.

4. Use Lead-Free Paint

If your home has lead paint on the walls, you should cover all of it up as soon as possible. Lead paint can lead to costly health problems down the line, and if your kids chip it, it can be very dangerous. If you live in an older home, there is an increased chance that you will have lead paint. For example, homes built in 1940 or before have an 87% chance of containing lead paint, so if you live in an old home that hasn't ever been repainted, you should definitely do so.

5. Get Flu Shots

Flu shots are often little or no cost if you have insurance, and even without it there are often clinics that offer them for free. The flu means days out of work and school and can end up costing you time and money. Getting a flu shot prevents your family from getting the most prevalent strains of the flu that year.

6. Buy In-Season Produce

In season produce will be cheaper because there is more of it, and therefore the prices drop so that farmers and distributors can get it off their hands. As an added bonus, when produce is in season, it tastes the best that it does all year because it travels less. Try going to your local farmers market for fresh, in-season produce that you may even be able to barter to get the best possible price.

7. Eat Lean Met

Not only is lean meat healthier for you, but it's also actually cheaper than fatty cuts. Make sure that you're asking for the leanest meat available when you go to the meat counter for your next steak or pork roast.

8. Buy Frozen Fruits + Veggies

Sometimes fresh fruits and vegetables can be very expensive, especially if they're not in season. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables is a much cheaper option if you're using the fruits for things like an oatmeal topping or a smoothie, and many frozen vegetables have cooking instructions right on the bag.

9. Buy in Bulk

If your family eats or drinks a lot of a certain item, it's a good idea to go ahead and buy it in bulk. You can check out stores that specifically sell things in bulk, like BJs or Costco, to find what store has the best deals on your favorite bulk foods.

10. Try Vegetarian or Vegan Meals

Try out a recipe that uses beans or tofu as the main source of protein instead of meat. For example, for your next taco night, make up a batch of well-seasoned black beans instead of ground beef.

11. Grow Your Own Herbs

Herbs are very important in taking many recipes to the next level, and our plates would be much blander without them. However, they can get pretty pricey. Instead of buying fresh herbs during every trip to the grocery store, start growing your own. You can start them from seeds, buying small plants from your local nursery, or if the herbs you get from the grocery store still have roots attached, just put the roots into a cup with water and watch them grow.

12. Meal Prep

If you prep your meals right after grocery shopping, you can have your weeknights be a breeze. Instead of ordering take out because you can't garner the energy to chop and assemble your meal, just heat it up since you've already done all the hard parts. You can even get your kids involved by having them stir, chop (if they're old enough), or otherwise contribute to making the recipe.

Although it seems daunting, with some planning and forward thought you can get your family healthier while staying on budget. Try out these tips and watch how you get more energy, your skin clears up, and your overall moods improve.

What are your favorite budget tips for staying healthy? Did you try any of these tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Sunday 15 November 2020

Home Emergencies You Should be Ready For

Unexpected emergencies are one of the most stressful situations that happen to all of us. Emergencies tend to disrupt the main course of events, and they happen so fast that we often don't know what to do or how to react. But, being aware of the dangers and inconveniences and teaching yourself how to respond to them is crucial.

Your ability to appropriately respond to whatever is happening around you will make you prepared for emergencies that may occur in your home.  Once that happens, the best thing you can do is try to determine whether your life is in danger and if not, the next option is to try to calm down and find the best solution to the problem in front of you.

Natural disasters

If your country is a target of regular natural disasters, you never know what's going to wake you up in the middle of the night and urge you to evacuate your family or stay in the shelter for a while. It's vital to think smart and realize that compromising the safety of your family is never a good choice. Invest in suitable equipment and build a shelter in your house if you live in an earthquake-prone country. Provide enough supplies and keep food, flashlights and water bottles in the shelter.

Medical emergencies

Medical emergencies can make us worried and scared for the life of a loved one. When it strikes, you have to act fast, but if you're not familiar with the procedure, terrible things may happen. Luckily, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for these unfortunate situations.

Start by purchasing a first aid kit and make sure you know how to approach the person without causing more harm. Learn what's inside and how to use a pocket mask in CPR and other medical supplies. Teach yourself how to stop bleeding and what you need to do to ensure that the other person is safe while you're waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Unexpected fires

Fire is a fast predator, and it can destroy your property in less than 30 minutes, or even harm your physical and mental health. Fire survivors have to deal with unavoidable trauma, and in most cases, they need to start therapy. If you want to avoid the potential tragedies, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Replace old appliances with newer models and clean water spillages around plugged-in devices.

Prevention is the safest way to deal with fire emergencies. However, if someone accidentally starts a fire in your home, determine whether you do something about it. If you don't think you can put out the fire by yourself, turn around and run outside as fast as you can.

Locking yourself out of your property

Losing or damaging the only pair of our house keys is one of the most common situations we're all familiar with, and although it makes us feel angry and frustrated, there's a simple solution to that. If you lose or damage your set of keys, search for 24/7 locksmith service in your area. No matter what time of the day it is, they will be able to help you enter your property without damaging anything. Once they create a new set of keys, make sure to ask for an extra copy. Keep in in your car or hide it on the front porch, and you will successfully avoid these situations in the future.

Construction damage

Construction damages are rare, but they can create a lot of problems. You may not be able to avoid them if you have to face natural disasters often, but there are ways to prevent them. Inspect your home a few times a year and invest in repairs and maintenance. As soon as you notice cracks or humidity damages, make sure to contact professionals and seal the cracks and leaks as soon as possible. Don't forget to inspect your roof, and if you want to invest in new renovation projects, keep your children away from the machinery and equipment.


Home emergencies can make us feel stressed, but if we learn how to handle them, everything will return to normal faster than we think. It's advisable to do your best to prevent unfortunate events. However, accidents happen, and we need to determine whether we need to ask for professional help or deal with the issues alone.