Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Mar 31, 2017

The Fresh Market celebrates 35 delicious years with anniversary sampling events this April

Specialty grocer is ripe with delicious, fresh flavors for guests to taste and explore.


WHO: Founded in 1982, The Fresh Market is a specialty grocery retailer focused on providing fresh, delicious food with friendly service in a warm and inviting atmosphere. From seasonally fresh produce to exceptional quality meat and seafood, signature baked goods and thousands of organic options, The Fresh Market is dedicated to offering guests the most delicious ingredients and inspiring meal solutions.

WHAT/WHEN: 35th anniversary sampling events and specials at The Fresh Market:

In honor of providing an abundance of deliciously fresh food and inspiring ideas for 35 years, The Fresh Market will host scrumptious sampling events this April at its 178 store locations. The specialty grocer will also thank guests for their continued support with irresistible anniversary specials, including in-store chuck ground daily and hand-trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breast for $2.99 per pound every day throughout April. Additionally, The Fresh Market will offer its premium roses at a special price of $7.99 per dozen, each carrying a freshness guarantee of at least five days.


On Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9, The Fresh Market will commemorate this milestone anniversary with a sampling event featuring its signature items. From 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., guests can experience a taste of The Fresh Market’s heritage with samples of Premium Choice New York Strip Steaks with signature spice rubs, roasted chicken salad on French rounds, blackberry cupcakes and more!

Among The Fresh Market’s assortment of hand-picked specialty items is a diverse selection of oils from around the world. On Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, The Fresh Market will feature samples of select oils and share tasting notes, pairing recommendations and more expert tips with guests. From 1-5 p.m. each day, guests can also taste from a flight of premium olive oils with store-baked bread and sample specialty nut oils tossed with salad greens.

As if the month couldn’t get any sweeter, The Fresh Market will highlight its selection of fresh berries picked at the peak of ripeness during The Fresh Pick event from April 5 – May 9. Throughout the month, guests will have the opportunity to taste premium-picked strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, as well as sample berry-inspired treats, such as berry cheesecake and blueberry pound cake. The Fresh Pick event is a celebration of what’s in season now and guests will discover the specialty grocer’s favorite ways to serve berries, from farm fresh produce tables to bakery and grocery aisles.

WHERE: The Fresh Market’s 178 store locations nationwide


For local store information, please visit: thefreshmarket.com/your-market-store-locator.
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Mar 30, 2017

Keeping Your Family Ties Strong

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In the past, I’ve described a family like a business, but it’s more like a team. If you think about it, unofficially or officially, everyone has their own little role to play in the family. One of your children might be the wisecracking comedian who always cheers the rest of you up during hard times. Another might be the entertainer, eager to share her voice on cold winter nights. Parents have roles too. You might be the strict one that keeps the kids in line, and your partner could be a complete pushover who is great for tucking them in at night. Like any team, it’s important to keep ties tight and ensure that you are there for one another. More than that you need to know when there’s an issue that you might need to work through as one. Before I mention a few of the ways that you can keep your family close, let’s look at some of the reasons it’s important.

Kids Need To Feel They Can Come Forward

Your kids should be able to feel close enough to you that they can tell you anything. Otherwise a problem could be bubbling underneath the surface that you’re just not aware of. For instance, they might be getting bullied at school. Over 40 percent of children get bullied at some point during their school life, and the effects can be quite serious. But if you don’t know it’s happening you won’t be able to help.

Support On The Bluest Days

All families go through hardships at one point or another. They’re hard to talk about, difficult to admit but they are there. It could be anything from grief to redundancy to a medical condition. But with a strong family for support, you will all get through these situations and come out the other side. There are 7 steps to help a loved one get into rehab, and one of them is an intervention. This means that the family comes together and recognizes there’s a problem. But they can only do this if the trust and support are already there.

Learning By Doing

As well as this, by keeping your family close and family ties strong, your kids are going to recognize the importance of this. One day, when they have families of their own, they’ll make sure they use the same tactics to keep their own little team connected. So, what do you need to do to make sure you can support one another as a family?

Weekly Meetings

A weekly family meeting gives you the chance for your kids or your partner to come forward and discuss a problem or issue. You might think that this will just happen naturally. However, with busy work and school schedules, it can get lost in the shuffle.

Family Night

It’s not all about talking and dissecting problems. Making time to enjoy each other’s company as a family is important too. As children get older, you’re going to find this is more difficult because they’ll have their own commitments. Try to squeeze it in for as long as possible and throw in the occasional weekend trip as well. Having fun together is the best way to stay connected.

No Blame, No Shame

Children should feel like they’re not going to be punished for telling the truth. A simple example of this could be a child breaking a vase by accidentally knocking it over. If they come forward to tell you this, you shouldn’t punish them. Instead, you should reward their honesty and accept it was an accident. By doing this, it’s more likely that they’ll come to you again, even in more serious circumstances.

Trust Is Key

Make sure you show your children that they are trusted. So, trust them to tidy their own room, and since you are trusting them, they will trust you not to rummage through their belongings. It’s a two-way street, and if you already have an open relationship, you shouldn’t need to worry about them hiding something. You will have made them feel as though they can come to you with any issue.

Don’t Cancel Plans

Finally, if you make plans with your family do everything in your power not to cancel them. Obviously, issues will crop up such as work deadlines or important meetings. But, you have to realize that by canceling time with the family you are sending the message that they can’t depend on you. If you always stand by your word, children will know you will be there in times of need.

I hope this helps you understand the importance of keeping family ties strong. If you do, together you’ll weather any storm that comes your way.

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Mar 29, 2017

6 Ways for Busy Moms to Get in Better Shape Than Their Kids

Every busy mom knows how hard it can be to fit exercise into their daily routine. We spend so much time cleaning up spills and settling sibling disputes that finding time to exercise can seem impossible. We all know what a physically demanding job it is to chase after kids all day, but sadly, that’s not all the exercise we need in a day.

We worry about our kids eating the right foods and getting the perfect amount of exercise, but sometimes we forget to take some time out strictly for ourselves and our own health. Read on to find some quick and easy suggestions for exercises that will fit perfectly into any busy mom’s daily routine.

As a busy mom, quick bursts of exercise throughout the day are your best friend. These little sessions might not seem like much at the time, but they add up fast. Take a lesson from your toddler: Your house is a gym waiting to be discovered.

1. While cooking breakfast in the morning, use the time in between preparing food for the little ones and washing dishes to get in some reps. Do some standing push-ups on the countertop. This is a great way to work out your shoulders and arms. Start with 10, then add 5 more push-ups every couple days. Your arms will be toned in no time!


2. Invest in some cheap dumbbells. Most big box stores carry reasonably priced weights, which are great for fitting in a quick workout while your kids are watching TV or playing. It’s easy to keep an eye on them while fitting in a few sets of reps after breakfast.

3. Turn your exercise routine into fun for the whole family. The kids will never complain about getting outside and stretching their legs, so work an afternoon walk to the park into your day whenever it’s nice out.

4. Jumping jacks are a great way to get a full body workout anytime, anywhere. Your kids will love doing them too! It’s a great way for you to get in shape, and for them to let out some of that pent up energy.

5. Wear clothing that can easily transition from your daily look into workout clothes. That way if the opportunity presents itself, you’re workout ready and can easily jump into a routine without having to find the motivation to pick out athletic attire. If you’re looking for some affordable, cute athletic wear that seamlessly blends fashion with functionality, check out the athleisure brand Fabletics. They offer fashionable athleisure that looks just as good when you’re wearing them to the grocery store as they function during your workouts.

6. Become a sports coach for your new favorite team: Your family! Depending on their age, the kids will love playing soccer or basketball in the yard to end a perfect day of exercise. It’s a great way for you to burn off calories after dinner, and most importantly, it’ll keep them busy.

As you can see, there are countless ways for busy moms to get in shape throughout the day. We just need to be creative and see the world as our playground, just like our kids do
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Hearty Foods To Keep Your Insides Warm

Whether you’re in the northern or southern hemisphere, there’s room for a hearty meal right about now. If you’re in the north, then it’s time for one last hurrah of warm foods that keep the chill away before we enter the season of light nibbles and BBQ meats. In Australia, they’re just about to head into the cooler time of the year. Of course, that isn’t quite as dramatic as the cold weather found elsewhere in the world, but hey - any excuse to cozy up with good food!
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Chili For Days

Chili is just about the best thing to make when the weather is a bit grey and cold outside. For starters, this dish will keep you warm, there’s no doubt about it - and especially so if you’re brave enough to bring the heat to the chili. They’re also highly versatile, so you can make it any way you like. Vegetarian or with meat, you’ll end up with a big dish full of flavor that will feed you for days (if it lasts that long!) For the most tasty chili possible, keep it cooking in a slow cooker and let all the flavors reveal themselves. 

Dutch Oven Goodness

If you haven’t yet got a dutch oven, take a look at www.stonefryingpans.com/best-cast-iron-dutch-oven/ and add one to your kitchen, because these things are the best winter appliance you’ll ever own. For one thing, these things allow you to cook everything from fresh bread to homemade sauces and even applesauce! Essentially, they’re the winter version of the BBQ, allowing you to spend all day getting that one meal just right. The one thing we really recommended using your dutch oven to make is bread: It’s easy to make and tastes divine. And it’ll also go pretty well with the soup you’ll be making. Talking of which….
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Soup for the Soul

You’ve got a cough, there’s damp in the air and your bones are feeling a little chilly. What’s the best, most warming, and flavorsome way to get warm quickly? Why, it’s the good old favorite - soup, of course. Take a look at http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/blenders/article/choosing-the-best-soup-maker and you’ll soon be on your way to making your very own soup. Sure, you can get soup from a can, but where’s the fun in that? Learn to make your own and you’ll have a skill that’ll give and give again, because ultimately there’s no end to the types of soup you can make. 

And the Extras

We spend a large part of the cold months snuggled up inside, so to really invoke the cozy Danish concept of hygge, you need to have all types of good snack recipes on hand to make the indoor time all the more enjoyable. If you haven’t quite found the chocolate cookie recipe that’s the one, the one you’ll hand down to your children, read http://www.delish.com/cooking/g1956/best-cookies/ and get started as you work through recipe after recipe. It’s a hard life, isn’t it? 
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Mar 28, 2017

Choose the Best Rice Cooker in the Modern Technology Era

Thanks to modern technology, cooking has become easier and easier, even for people who don’t actually love to cook, but want to eat healthy. One great appliance for cooking nutritious meals is the rice cooker, appreciated by many for the fact that it’s easy to use. There are a couple of requirements every buyer wants to have in its cooking appliance: simplicity, efficiency, quality materials, safety and keeping the nutritional value of their food. You can always find useful recipes on several websites, such as http://ottawamommyclub.ca/, for example. However, is rice in a Rice Cooker is the best for you?

Zojirushi NS-LAC05XT Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer

Among the advantages you can find on this Zojirushi appliance you can count the reasonable price, the trendy and stylish design, the multiple functions and the sturdy construction. All together make up an excellent appliance which is particularly useful if you want to cook in a modern and healthy way. You can cook enough rice for one meal, which is 3 cups full of rice.

The machine only weighs 7 pounds, so it’s quite lightweight, but it compensates through a sturdy stainless steel body. Besides the preset menu programs, you can also customize your own program depending on what you want. For example, you can use the quick cooking option if you need to cook something urgently, such as brown rice, porridge, white sushi etc.

All in all, it’s a great rice cooker, durable and portable, suitable for all kinds of needs.

Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer

This model is more suitable for whoever has a large family and needs to cook a lot of rice at once. In this case, a 3-cup rice cooker would prove insufficient, so you should step up the game and head over to a 5 and a half cup one. This is the case with the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 model. Even though it looks round and quite delicate, it is in fact a very powerful machine that works as a computerized device.

There are multiple menu settings available, for example quick cooking, porridge, mixed or white sushi or browning. Moreover, you enjoy an easy to use interface that comes together with an LCD display, digital controls and a panel you can program. There is even a delay timer setting, all for your convenience. The pot holds 1 liter of water, and it measures 14x8x10 inches in size. It weighs 8.5 pounds, so it’s quite manageable.

Aroma Housewares ARC-914SBD Cooked 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker

Perhaps the most attractive thing about this Aroma appliance is the fact that it has a competitive price. It’s a lot cheaper than many other rivals on the market, plus it offers an amazing, versatile and durable experience. Many people are also delighted by the fact that it has a one-year warranty. It is quite a massive monster, holding 8 cups of cooked rice at once. The dimensions are 8.5x9.3x8.7 inches.

It weighs 4.2 pounds, so you can say it’s portable and easily manageable. You can cook for the entire family, or approximately 4 persons in one go, so it’s a time saver. Naturally, you have digital control and you can program it for browning, steaming or other basic options for white rice. It has an automatic keep-warm function and a delay timer that works for maximum 15 hours. This is helpful if you want to cook the rice in the morning, but serve it in the evening.

Aroma Housewares Stainless Steel 6-Cup Cooked Rice Cooker

We have to admit that Aroma is one of the best competitors on the market, and it’s hard to beat with the price and capacity it offers. The best thing about the Aroma Housewares Stainless Steel 6-Cup Cooked Rice Cooker is the fact that it has a surgical-grade cooking pot. It’s not just an ordinary pot, but it’s made of surgical-grade stainless steel 304.
It’s kind of lightweight, with only 4 pounds, which is awesome for its capacity. Though it has a traditional design, it compensates for the one-touch features that simplifies everything. It also brings the automatic keep-warm function that preserves the nutritional value of rice for hours in a row. All in all, this is a must have in every kitchen!

Zojirushi NS-TSC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer

The NS-TSC10 model includes Fuzzy Logic technology. It is quite versatile, having a LCD display and digital controls. The best part about it is that it’s customizable, so you can program it as you wish. Of course, it has a stainless steel exterior and a 2 delay time settings, together with the automatic keep warm feature.

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Mar 27, 2017

Could Tech Help You Lose Weight And Tone Up?

There’s no doubt that technology has moved on by leaps and bounds over the last decade. And yet we moms are still waiting for that magic bullet -  a pill that we can take once per day that will make us healthy and melt the fat away.

Although medical science might not be at that stage yet (although with gene editing, we’re getting pretty close), there are all sorts of technologies out there that promise to revolutionize our health. Here are some examples.

Wearables

Wearables have been marketed as a sort of fitness companion - little devices that slip on your wrist or your shoulder and track how much activity you do. There haven’t been any systematic studies of wearables so far, but there are some studies which suggest that they do have an impact. One study, reported by MSN.com, says that people who have a wearable fitness tracker lose more weight than those that don’t. The only problem with the study was that most of the participants had college degrees, which makes it harder to generalize the results to the wider population.

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Another study looked at the effect of having devices that had accelerometers in them to see whether people used them more often. Again, this study indicated that people who owned wearables did more physical activity than those who didn’t. However, many of the participants were also in contact with primary care nurses, which could have been the real reason why they were exercising more.

With that said, a study published in the major medical journal JAMA sound that people who wore wearable tech lost an impressive 7.7 pounds when they tried to lose weight.

Muscle Stimulators

Muscle stimulators are another way that technologies have tried to make losing weight and toning up easier. The most popular brand, Slendertone, works by sending a small electric pulse through a belt that is in contact with the skin. When the electrical pulse reaches the muscle, it forces it to involuntarily contract.

The popularity of these devices is clear. Sites like DontPayFull.com regularly offer money off to people looking for these devices. But do they help you lose weight? The evidence suggests that they are a good way to burn calories passively without having to exert any conscious effort. Sitting burns an average of 80 calories an hour, but with a muscle stimulator, that can be bumped up to nearly 130.

Fitness Apps

Alongside all the gadgets, like muscle stimulators and wearables are also a host of apps. Fitness Builder is an app that is available on the Play Store. It’s an app that keeps track of your workouts and has a comprehensive fitness database, allowing you to input practically any exercise and record your progress.

Another popular fitness app is Endomondo. This app is for people who want to have the convenience of a personal trainer at their fingertips. The first versions of Endomondo were pretty basic. The app simply tracked the route you took for your exercise as well as the time you did it in. But in recent years, the abilities of the app have been significantly expanded. One addition has been the ability to measure your heart rate and calories burned. There’s also now an audio coach who will provide you with motivation if you need it. What’s more, the coaching you get depends on the goals that you input into the app. If you’ve got a goal to run a six-minute mile, the coach will adapt to help you reach that goal.

It’s probably safe to say that technology that helps us lose weight and get fit is here to stay and that it will continue to get stronger in the future. It’s clear that right now, we’re only just scratching the surface of what is actually possible. As obesity becomes a major economic issue, the economic incentives to do something about the problem with multiply exponentially. People who deal with their weight and stay slim will get insurance benefits, have more energy, will live longer and will be more productive in their jobs, potentially earning more money.

The other way that technology could help in the future and is helping right now is to help moms become healthier in their habits. Already we’re seeing a bunch of apps that can help you rustle up a healthy meal, depending on the ingredients you have in your fridge. In the future, our kitchens will become interactive, and they’ll actively suggest recipes and ingredients we should use in real time. They’ll also probably have a thing or two to say if we haven’t been out for our daily exercise.
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Mar 26, 2017

Alligator Adventure Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Review

A week ago, we took our son to Alligator Adventure in Myrtle Beach, SC, to celebrate his 9th birthday. He had been wanting to go for a while, so we figured it would be the great place for some birthday fun. William is a big animal lover and enjoys learning as much as he can about them. Alligators and crocodiles are in his top 5 favorites, so we knew Alligator Adventure would be the perfect choice. It was actually quite chilly when we went, but that didn't stop us!


They have a massive parking area, but since we were there in more of the off-season,  we were able to park in front of the main entrance. You are greeting by a pond full of turtles basking in the sun. We paid for entrance at the ticket booth and were pleased to find out that at the end of our visit, we could get our receipt endorsed to return within 7 days. So basically it's like a buy-one-get-one free deal. This explained why I wasn't able to find any discounts or coupons anywhere. It's actually a really good deal. Admission was around $66 for two adults and one child.


The minute we entered the park, I could hear William squeal and almost yell out, "Alligators!" Of course, we had a quick talk about rules beforehand to remind him not to be loud so he would not scare any of the animals. Trust me though, the parents had to hold back their excitement, too. πŸ˜ƒ


The first exhibit was the Juvenile American Alligators habitat. It's actually very overwhelming to see so many alligators piled up all over each other. Although I grew up in Florida, I can truly say that I have never seen this many alligators at once. It's absolutely amazing to see! William was in absolute gator heaven.


The whole park is filled with so many amazing creatures and they have show times where you can gets hands-on with a few of them. It was really cool to learn some animal facts as well as get to actually touch them. Again, William was in heaven! At the end of each animal handling session, the zoo keeper would ask if anyone had any questions. Leave it to my kid to be the only one with his hand raised high!



A post shared by Shelly πŸ‡¬πŸ‡ΎπŸ‘‘ (@momfiles) on
I don't want to bombard you with 100 photos, but I do have to mention that the reptile house/Serpentarium was so impressive and had so many snakes species in beautiful habitats. Some of the snakes were enormous! It was really a lot to take in.


The crocodile area was one of my personal favorite places and had a great variety of species from all over the world. William fell in love with one particular croc that you would not have expected. It wasn't the largest croc on earth weighing 2,000 pounds or the rare albino ones, it was a lonely one named Bob who was born without a tail. She would not have been able to survive in the wild without it and Alligator Adventure took her in and gave her a wonderful home. William talked about Bob for days after we got home.


Alligator Adventure is an absolutely beautiful place to visit if you are an animal or nature lover. We really enjoyed the Nature Walk and feeding the ducks along the way. It was really great that William was able to stop at each exhibit and read all about the animals and the habitats.



We utilized our free second visit the following day (which we highly recommend) and discovered spots we missed during the first visit. This was one of our most favorite trips and if you have ever considered visiting Alligator Adventure, I don't think you would be disappointed. I actually read a lot of reviews before we made the trip and they were mixed. We give it two thumbs up! I am going to make William a photobook with all of the animal pictures to remember how much fun we all had.

You can get more information about Alligator Adventure here. This was not a hosted event. We had such a great time that we wanted to share our thoughts with you guys. Thanks for stopping by today. πŸ˜€
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Mar 24, 2017

My Water Bill Was Sky High And Here Is Why

Last year we noticed a HUGE spike in our water and sewer bills. Unfortunately, we get billed separately for each service since they are from two different companies. Let's back up to 5 years ago. Our bills ran us about $60-$70. Last year it starting going into the $100-$150 range which seemed like a lot. Then suddenly it went all the way to a whopping $250 for the water and $300 for sewer. That was for ONE month per service. We knew something was wrong for sure. We had a licensed plumber come in and determine that we had a water pressure problem from the meter. Basically, way too much water was surging into our home and that wore out our plumbing fixtures. So not matter how often we changed out the toilet tank parts or washers in the faucets, they would blow out from the high water pressure.


This lead to the rubber parts causing leaks, which added to the high water bills. We ended up having a water pressure regulator installed a couple feet away from the city water meter and it took the pressure down from over 100 psi to below 70 where it should be. The plumber pointed out the fact that they meter was "spinning" 24/7 which meant water was being used non-stop, even if were weren't actually using it. πŸ˜‘ Even after getting the regulator installed, we still had to get all new toilet parts replaced to make the meter stop spinning. Needless to say, it was a costly visit that took 5 hours to complete.

Thankfully our city water and sewer companies worked with us to adjust our bills since we proved we had the leaks fixed. Although it wasn't a super big amount they took off, we were still grateful to get some sort of discount. We saw a big price difference already on the first bill after the repairs were made, at around $100. I got the latest bill yesterday and we are now back in the $55 range. This makes me so happy! I think about how much we overpaid in the last year and it makes my head hurt. Oh well, glad we have it fixed and can have a little peace of mind now.

One thing about home ownership is that you will forever have work and projects going on. It is so important to stay on top of things when you see your bills go up unusually high. Have you had any homeowner debacles or projects lately?
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Mar 23, 2017

Don't Let Someone Else Drag Your Health Down!

Everyone wants to take care of themselves right? Surely it only makes sense that, since we only get one body, that every single person would want to take as much care of their health as possible. Sadly this isn't the case. As strange as it might sound, but there are a lot of people out there who simply aren't that interested in keeping themselves healthy. It's probably not something that they're doing intentionally, a lot of the time people's unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors come from a lack of awareness of the impact it's having on their body. It's a shame that it's happening but if that's what they want to do then you can't really stop them, the major problem is when other people's poor decision making starts to have a negative impact on your life. With that in mind, here are some situations where other people's behavior could damage your health, and how to stop that from happening.

Accidents on the road
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You might be the safest driver in the world, but there's still a chance that something could happen. This is because, for every careful, considerate driver on the road, there's another one who has no interest in their own safety or the safety of anyone else. The best way to deal with these kinds of drivers is something called "defensive driving." Defensive driving is essentially a method of driving where you're constantly aware of and predicting potential hazards. That way you're in a much better position to avoid them. Of course, you won't be able to avoid everything, especially if someone is determined to drive like a maniac. If you are in an accident, then you should hire a personal injury lawyer so that you can make sure that the other person's lack of responsibility doesn't need to have more of a negative impact on your life than it already has. 

Your partner's diet
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It's hard enough taking care of your own diet, let alone having to think about someone else's. It's surprisingly common that one person in a relationship will be much more conscious of their health than the other. It can be surprisingly difficult to eat healthily and stay active when your partner is constantly buying greasy, unhealthy food. For one thing, having to work around two diets can be pretty expensive, not only that but it's often very tempting to go for a quick, unhealthy fix instead of something healthier after a long day at work. Make sure that you talk to your partner and try to get them to support your attempts to become healthier, for your benefit and theirs.

Your friend's lifestyle
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Everyone likes to have a good time now, and then. There's nothing wrong with that! But we all have that one friend who just seems determined to take it too far. They seem to want to go out every single night, and when they do, they behave as if they've never heard the word moderation in their life! Even if you choose not to drink as much as they do, the late nights and lack of sleep that come with this kind of lifestyle are going to catch up with you eventually. Talk to your friend, and if they're not willing to try to quieter nights in every so often, it might be a good idea to spend some time apart so that you can take care of your health.

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Age Old Solutions

Caring for an elderly relative can sometimes be a bit tricky. Not only is it difficult to see an elderly loved one’s health decline, but it can put you in an awkward position. Where you have the added responsibility of caring for someone that used to be perfectly capable of caring for themselves. But to help you out, check out the guide below provides solutions to the most common issues you may face when caring for an older relative.

Ensuring they eat well

One of the biggest issues that you may come across when caring for an elderly relative that their eating can become erratic. This can be due to things such as catching a virus like the flu. As older folks' immune systems are weaker than ours.

Or it could be due to other issues that affect the appetite, such as diabetes that isn't being managed properly. Or it may even, be symptomatic of depression caused by chronic pain, losing a long term partner, or living alone.

But what can you do for them if you have noticed that they are eating less and less? Well, firstly it's important that you get them checked over by the doctors to see whether there is an underlying medical condition that needs to be treated.

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It's can also help to go round to their house, or invite them over to yours and make a hearty home cooked meal to tempt them into eating something. It's likely that the company will help them with this as well. 

Ensuring their medical needs are met 

Of course, a very important aspect of caring for an elderly relative is ensuring that their medical needs are met. 
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This might be something as simple as helping them to sort their pills into the right compartments for the rights days each week. 

Or it could be more involved, doing things likes organizing a palliative nurse for end of life care. Or being an advocate for them with the medical profession. 

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But whatever you have to do, be sure that you listen to their wishes as much as possible and engage them in the process. As no one likes to feel as if they are out of control of their life, no matter what their age. 

Getting them out and about 

Something else that you need to consider when caring for older relatives is giving them a chance to get out of the house occasionally. It can be pretty grim to be stuck indoors all of the time, and it isn't likely to help them feel their best. 
Obviously, mobility is an issue for many older folks so you will need to consider this before you plan out any trips. 

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Consider your destination carefully and make sure that it does not include too much walking or difficult terrain. 

Also, you can use disabled parking stickers so you can park closer to the store, or attraction that you take them to. Or consider using a wheelchair, or motorized scooter for those whose mobility is severely inhibited. 
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Mar 21, 2017

How to decorate a Southwest Styled House - Guest Post

What does a Southwest Style House look like?
A Southwest-styled house is specially made to give an inviting and gorgeous look to guests and visitors. You can recognize a Southwest-styled house with some prominent features such as flat roofs, its covered porches, stoned pillars and walls, smaller windows, large wooden doors and lower roof when viewed from inside. It has patterned tile work creating a cool environment. Another feature which is noticeable is the use of stucco walls.

Stucco walls are made by applying thick layer which hardens when dried. These houses are usually found in single story homes. Such houses are commonly found in Southwestern areas of America (like Phoenix, Las Vegas, California, etc.). These houses have also embraced current trends in decoration along with old traditional wooden style.


History
Southwest Style house plans have a historical background after which it was known all over the world. In earlier times, Southwest style houses were also known as Pueblo Revival Style. This design was taken up from Spanish mission in New Mexico. Its popularity increased during the 1920s and 1930s. The main features of such houses at that time included the use of bricks and concrete on walls and flat roofs. This style was very famous in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado in earlier times.

Tips to decorate your Southwest Style house

  • As you will start decorating your house, you will also color its walls. Southwestern styled houses are painted with bright and vibrant colors (including yellows and oranges). On the other hand, those colors should not be extra bright that it irritates your eye. The color chosen should be warm. Shades of yellow, orange, golden and blue are in tradition with this style. Paints denote natural colors of the sky.
  • Use of wood should be easily seen. Using different kinds of wood such as pine, oak, maple, birch, etc. can indicate Southwestern style. Bold wooden furniture is also encouraged. New Mexico was famous for more use of wood.
  • If you do not feel like using more wood in your house, you can go for metalwork. Furniture made from metal is also found in Southwestern styled house. You can set up wrought iron tables and chairs or railings.
  • Add creativity to your walls by either making it with stones or stucco. Textured walls are more liked in such houses. You can enhance the interior by putting spiritual content on the walls.
  • Every house has pillars inside it. Making it out of stonework will look more inspiring. It will then look more like a Southwestern styled house.
  • Simple wooden flooring will not sound like a house of such category. Therefore, adding art will help you. You can either use stones or rough planks and brick. To add beauty, you can also place rugs all over the floor with different designs. Southwest house designs have variety, so you could also add mosaic tiles on the floor.
  • Include more of Spanish decoration. Guests should find more Spanish details. Pottery of different shapes and sizes are promoted.

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Mar 20, 2017

The School Of Success!

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Parenting involves countless difficult decisions. One of the first, and most fundamental, is which school to send your kiddo to. Finding the right school is important for many reasons. What your child learns in their early years could impact every decision they make from then on. Plus, you need to know they’re happy. The best school could have an atmosphere that your child just doesn’t get along with. So, no pressure! The good news is, taking your time to choose will ensure you can find the right school. And, remember, you can change later down the line if you need to! Here are a few of the considerations you’ll need to make.

YOUR CHILD COMES FIRST

Your child is the most important factor in this decision. As such, you should consider their needs throughout your decision process. Asking them which school they want to go to may not work. But, there’s nothing wrong with taking them to see a few and asking which they preferred. Make sure to talk through their decision, though. Children can have strange reasoning. If their choice is based on a display, or a coat they saw someone wearing, you may have to explain things a little more. It’s also important to take into account what you know of your child’s personality. Some children are better suited to homeschool, while others thrive in a school environment.

THE EXTRA MILE

With a bit of luck, you’ll have a good selection of schools in your catchment area. If not, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. You could even get the movers in if you aren’t happy with your choices. But, bear in mind that primary schools don’t vary all that much. Make sure you’re certain before you do anything drastic. A good way to judge is to pay visits to the schools in question. If a local school has a bad reputation, a visit could show you that it’s unfounded. Plus, you don’t want to move closer to another school, only to find out that’s not right either.

TEST SCORES AREN’T EVERYTHING

The task of choosing can be overwhelming. Many parents turn to test results to help with their decision. In truth, though, test scores aren’t a sign of much. They certainly shouldn’t be what you base your decision on. Often, tests results aren’t an accurate reflection of the teaching itself. Tests only cover around a third of the curriculum. Schools that score well are often guilty of focusing on this third. Sometimes, that means neglecting everything else. Look for a friendly environment over a high score.
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TEACHERS ARE EVERYTHING!

But, teachers most definitely are everything. The best teacher can help your child flourish. For proof, look back at your school years. Wasn’t it those teachers you had a connection with that got the best results? The same will be true for your child. During your visits to each school, pay particular attention to each teacher. Pay attention, too, to how your child acts around them.
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Why Sleep is Your Way to a Healthier Life

Who doesn’t love waking up in the morning feeling refreshed, alert and ready to face the day? Or am I dreaming to think that you can always get the sleep that you need?! The truth is that in today’s increasingly busy world, many people push sleep to the back of the queue - an added extra that’s nice if you can get it.

Scientists are always conducting new studies about just how important a good night’s sleep is, both for our physical and mental wellbeing. Just in case you needed any extra reasons to get your forty winks, here are just some of the health benefits that a good night’s sleep can bring.
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Improve Memory

Though it may seem like you are not doing all that much while you sleep, your mind is actually busy processing all the events of the day. In a process called ‘consolidation’, the memories or practice skills that you learnt during the day are reinforced in your mind. That means that if you are trying to learn something new, sleep can help cement the information that you need in your mind. There’s a reason people say it’s not a good idea to stay up all night before an exam cramming in all the information instead of getting valuable shut-eye! If you’ve got a big day ahead of you, the best way you can tackle it is with sleep.

Exercise Better

Many top performing athletes get upwards of 10 hours sleep a night in the build up to a big game. Though you’re probably not quite at this level, a good night’s sleep can still probably improve your performance! Studies have shown that a decent amount of sleep can improve stamina and reduce daytime fatigue. How many times have you decided not to get your exercise because you were too tired? And the truth is that it can become a vicious cycle. People who get a decent amount of exercise generally find it easier to drift off at night. If you are trying to hit a certain goal or personal best, it seems that sleep is your fast track to doing this.

Increase Attention Span

If you are trying to help your kids improve their grades at school, making sure they get an early night should be your first priority. Whereas adults tend to feel sluggish and lethargic when we don’t get the sleep we need, it generally has the opposite effect on kids. They tend to get overly hyperactive and find it very difficult to concentrate on any tasks. And also remember that kids tend to need more sleep than adults, so the definition of a good night’s sleep tends to vary between you and your children. When it comes to your own attention span, you certainly need that extra hour or two in bed to improve your alertness and therefore lengthen your own attention span.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Many of us find that it is an ongoing battle to keep at a healthy weight. And it turns out that a huge amount of the battle is fought from the comfort of your own bed! A study was conducted at the University of Chicago which found that dieters who were more well rested lost a significantly bigger fat percentage than those who were sleep deprived. It was also found that those who weren’t getting enough sleep were losing muscle mass (so if you’re trying to tone up, getting your sleep is also hugely important!). During this study, dieters reported feeling hungrier when they weren’t getting as much sleep. It can be a very difficult balancing act to make sure you are getting enough sleep while also finding enough hours in the day to work out as well!

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Lower Stress

Reducing the amount of stress in our lives is something that many of us are looking to achieve. Both stress and sleep are intrinsically linked as they both impact our cardiovascular health. Sleep equips us with the mental tools that we need to keep our stress levels down. It has also been linked to blood pressure and cholesterol levels.   

However, if we feel extremely stressed, it can be difficult to make sure our bodies switch off to get the rest that we need. Try getting into a bedtime routine that prepares you for sleep. Spend some time destressing yourself in whatever way works best for you; whether this is a bubble bath, yoga or listening to music. Consider cutting back on your screen time when you are approaching bedtime. Watching TV or playing on a laptop has been found to disrupt melatonin production which is an important sleep hormone. This can be a particular problem for kids as they tend to want to stay connected to all their different devices as long as possible. It may be that you need to put some pretty strict rules in place in order to get them out of these bad habits. 

Getting your bedroom just right is important so find out how to choose the right down pillow for a restful sleep. Also think about how comfortable your mattress is and whether you have enough blankets to keep you warm during the night. Try to keep your bedtime routine the same every night so that your body naturally begins to prepare itself for sleep.

Avoid Accidents 

The link between tiredness and road accidents is clear which is why there are so many campaigns trying to stop people from driving when they feel tired. A lack of sleep tends reduce reaction time as well as impacting decision making. This means that numerous everyday tasks are affected by not getting enough sleep. If you work in a job that requires a high degree of concentration, getting a good night’s sleep should be your first priority.

Reduce Risk of Depression

Like stress, depression is another area of our mental wellbeing that is significantly affected by lack of sleep. People who are well rested tend to be more emotionally stable and feel more balanced. The chance of mood swings is significantly increased if you don’t get the sleep you need. We’ve all experienced a sudden rush of anger or sadness simply from not getting our eight hours at night. Anxiety can also be increased, making us feel uneasy about all sorts of aspects of our lives. 

Curb Inflammation

Linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and arthritis, inflammation can be extremely damaging to our health. Getting enough sleep has been found to curb this. On the other side of the coin, people who get fewer than six hours of sleep a night tend to have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins.

Live Longer

Though there is still a lot of research that goes into this area, studies have started making the link between people who sleep more and people who live longer. Older people often tend to have different sleeping patterns that involve not getting as much during the night but needing to take naps during the day. Quality of life is also generally reduced by not getting enough sleep.

So, it’s pretty clear to see that getting enough sleep is hugely important. If you’ve considered pushing sleep to the back of your list of priorities, it may well be time to rethink! All the tasks that you have the next day are much more likely to be tacked well if you get the sleep that you need.    

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Posture Problems Sorted

Do you remember you mom telling you to sit up straight when you were a kid? Maybe you say it to your little ones now? But sitting or standing up straight is about more than just looking smart and attentive. In fact, having a good posture is intrinsically linked to your health. Read on to find out more.

Hunch Back

Now while you might start getting images of a certain cartoon character that lived in Notre Dame, most folks with hunched back are not quite such serious cases. Instead, the top portion of their back is rounded instead of straight which is mainly due to the way that they sit and stand.
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Ladies with a heavier chest can be at particular risk of this, because gravity cause a natural hunch in balancing out the weight that is there. But what can you do about this?

Well, for one it's a good idea to check the way you are sitting at your desk for work. Your spine should be straight, which often means there is a dip in the lower back and your chest is pointing forward. You can get special seat supports to help you train you back into this position.

It can also help you have some additional support in the chest region. So consider getting properly fitted for your bras. Or even using a posture correcting bra, that provides extra support.

Spine Curvature

Of course, not all curved spines are caused by sitting or standing in a slouched position. In fact, some spinal and postural issues have a more serious underlying cause.

One of these is osteoporosis which is when the bones in your body lose their density, so they are no longer able to support your body properly.

In fact, one of the most prominent symptoms of this disease is a curvature of the spine. That is why it is so vital to be aware of your risk of osteoporosis and start to address this early on in life. So when you get the age where this is an issue you have already being doing things to relieve or prevent it.

One of the best things that you can do it to ensure that you consume enough calcium. Which the body need for fortifying your bones. This can be found in dairy products, as well as oily fish like sardines, and a green vegetable like Kale.

You can also take supplements made from algae that combine calcium with magnesium for maximum effect. If you would like to know more about this, you can read the AlgaeCal reviews on Amazon, and see what real people think of them.

Forward facing head 

Another common posture issue that many people can suffer from is a forward facing head. This is when the neck is not in line with the spine. But tilts forward causing the head to be in extended position.

This can be rectified in a similar way to a humped back, by retraining the correct posture through physical therapy and yoga.
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However, this is something that can often be confused with one of the signs of Cushing's Disease. Which is a fatty hump on the back of the neck.

So if you do have any concerns about this, it is best to get it checked out with a medical professional before you take any action.

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