Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Single Parenting (page 1 of 3)

Tips for Helping Your Children Deal with Divorce and Breakups

This article was contributed, but man, it is good. It hits home, and I especially like the paragraph that I highlighted with my Practical Moms Unite logo. Since my daughter did have to live through a divorce and my ex-husband and I share custody, I know how important and difficult the points in this post are! I hope it helps someone else, too. 

Sometimes relationships don’t work, and that’s part of life. However, when there are children involved, things can become messy and out of control faster than you’d like to think. It’s important to be able to create a relationship with your former spouse or partner, so that you can co-parent your children like you have been doing, but just not living together. Unfortunately, too many people don’t protect their children from the problems they are having within their relationships, and this can have a very negative effect on them. Co-parenting can be difficult, but children shouldn’t have to suffer through endless arguments between their parents. When all is said and done,  the only important thing is that they are healthy, happy, and thriving children. Here’s how you can get through the struggles of co-parenting, so your children can thrive.

If you were married to the co-parent, then things can become a little more difficult than if you weren’t because of divorce proceedings and dividing what you’ve built together in a fair way, so that there are no arguments. You will also have to check what rules there are with the best divorce lawyer so that both of you are clear on what should be done.

It’s also likely that when the time comes to tell your children that you are no longer going to be together, they will be upset. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way out of this, but there are ways in which you can break the news to them more gently and avoid them feeling like their whole world is falling apart. Here are some things that you can consider doing:

  • Rather than simply moving out or having your partner move out, prepare your children for the move first, so it’s not such a shock to wake up one morning and have one of their parents no longer living with them. It might be difficult for the two of you to be around each other, and that’s understandable, but it’s the kindest thing to do for the sake of your children.
  • Speaking to your children in an age-appropriate way about what’s happening before making any decisions or changes in their lives will make the whole process much more smooth for them as they will understand the changes they are experiencing.
  • It’s always best to explain that even though their parents aren’t together anymore, the love that you have for them won’t change and that they are the most important thing in both of your lives. This always seems like an obvious thing to say, but if left unsaid, it can leave your children feeling or wondering like any of this is their fault. Make sure they know that they haven’t done anything.

Obviously each family has their own problems, and dealing with something like a break up isn’t going to be the same for everyone.

The next thing that you will need to think about is the time they will spend with you vs the time they will spend with the co-parent. Come to an agreement that allows your children to know exactly when they are going to be with you, and when they are going to be with their other parent.

Letting your children have some decision making is always a good idea, so they don’t feel like they are losing all control. For example, when the transition of moving out is happening, allow your children to choose things to take to their other home You need to try and remember that it’s not just you and your ex dealing with the break up, it’s the children too, so if they need some comfort by taking a toy or comforter between each home then that shouldn’t be stopped.

Having to let your children go to their other parents’ home for a few days will be difficult! Since they were born, you may not have known a day without them. It will be heartbreaking to watch them as they go off happily, or if they don’t go off happily, that will hurt too. A great way to help diffuse the situation for both you and your children is to set up times where they can call you to tell you about their day or even something simple like saying good night.

Once you and your co-parent are no longer living together, decision making can become a tricky situation, especially if you are both disagreeing on something. Try to set up some sort of arrangement, where if there are decisions that involve your children to be made, you either meet or have a conversation on the phone. Many co-parents make the mistake of just making a decision without the other’s input, which then leads to arguments that could affect your children. On the other hand, there will be times where you disagree and you argue, but this should always be done in private, so your children don’t have to see their parents screaming and shouting at each other.

Relationship breakdowns are hard and are an emotional time for everyone that’s involved. Try to keep your composure, so you can make the transition as easy as possible for your children because at the end of it all they are the only ones that matter in all of this mess. Co-parenting is hard work; but if you both work with each other rather than against each other, you can make the process a little bit easier on everyone involved.

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Spending Quality Time With Your Little Ones

(contributed article)

Whether you’re a single parent or not, life with kids is busy and hectic, but also full of fun and adventure, too. It’s crucial that you’re in a great routine with your little ones, so that they feel happy and secure, and they know what to expect. However, sometimes the routine can overtake the fun stuff; and spontaneity can get pushed aside, replaced with homework, dinner time, and bedtime. Therefore, when it comes to the weekends or school holidays, it’s time to step away from the rut and make an effort to enjoy more quality time with your children as they grow up, which will happen way too fast. There is definitely no harm in mixing things up a little and making some great memories together.

During the free time with your little one, it’s your chance to teach and educate them about all the stuff they don’t learn at school. Perhaps it’s about getting outside and appreciating the environment more or a trip to where you grew up, so they can learn more about their family history. Whatever you choose to do, it will be time well spent. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about how best to spend your free time, writing a list of places you’d like to visit and things you want to do and going over in your mind the values you want to instill in your kids. Sometimes, getting it all down on paper and writing a to-do list can help you implement activities and make them happen. The following are some tips for busy parents who want to focus more on spending quality free time with their kids.

Time Management

As previously mentioned, it’s tough to juggle life and all the things that kids bring with them; but with a little planning, your time can be divided up successfully. If you co-parent with an ex-partner and had the best law firm for divorce, you’ll already have figured out the exact times and dates you’ll have with your kids, well in advance. This is great for your plan; you can utilize a large monthly calendar and start popping down the things you’re going to do, how much it may (or may not) cost, and any details needed to make each fun activity work out. Whatever your parenting situation may be, you can still utilize a plan like this,  which while having fun, will also help you think about those needs kids have, such as napping and healthy choices for meals. 

Appreciate The Little Things

Kids might not remember the exact zoo, park, or fun fair you took them to, but they’ll remember how they felt at the time and specific things you’ve done or said to them. Therefore, make sure that you’re praising them for great behavior, noticing the little things they do and say, and take loads of photos! Even on an average morning, when everyone’s trying to eat breakfast and get ready for school, make it a moment to remember and take a picture. Your kids know how much you love them, so give them plenty more memories to take into their future and show their kids.

How do you like to spend time with your kids or grandkids? Do you have a list of stuff you want to do this spring and summer?

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So You Are Single On Valentine’s Day? Show Yourself Some Love!

Don’t miss this amazing article by Julie Morris who has guest blogged on here before! If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, then here are some awesome ways to celebrate you! This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on being single on Valentine’s Day! Enjoy! 

Show Yourself Some Love

by Julie Morris

Nearly half of the country’s population doesn’t plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. And, while some of those reticent romantics have significant others, many Valentine’s Day holdouts will be spending the holiday solo. For those folks, February 14 might mark an opportunity to offer themselves some tender loving care to boost their mood and bolster their mental and emotional health year-round.

Be Your Own Date

Here are some suggested solo activities that don’t involve romantic dinners or red roses:

  • Spend the evening browsing the racks at off-price stores like Marshalls or T.J. Maxx, which will be less crowded since they aren’t exactly prime spots for the average Valentine’s Day outing. Plus, at least one retailer’s research found snagging a bargain can actually raise shoppers’ heart rates. So you don’t even need a hot date to get your pulse pounding.
  • Settle in for an extended reading session. Rather than reading magazines or blogs, bury yourself in a book for a while. Reading books, in particular, boosts brain power and can protect people from cognitive decay later in life. Reading also has mental and emotional benefits. According to research cited by Reader’s Digest, reading books, especially fiction, increases empathy and emotional intelligence. And honing these social skills can lead to more frequent and more positive interactions with others, which can lower stress levels.
  • Sign up for an exercise class that’s usually packed. If that barre or kickboxing class always fills up faster than you can save a spot, Valentine’s Day might mean a few regulars will skip the sweat session in favor of an indulgent dinner date. Working out will elevate your heart rate and lift your spirits by increasing your output of endorphins and other natural mood-boosting brain chemicals.
  • Volunteer your time. Studies show donating your time can decrease your stress levels and risk of depression while boosting your sense of purpose, fulfillment, and self-confidence. It will also help put your own problems into perspective and connect with your community.

 

Treat Yourself

U.S. consumers are expected to shell out an average $143.56 this Valentine’s Day on jewelry, an evening out, flowers, candy, and clothes. So, if you won’t be spending any cash on a significant other, maybe you can splurge on something for yourself. Here are a few ideas:

  • As a single person, you might not be giving or receiving roses this Valentine’s Day. So why not use the sweet savings to give yourself some indoor plants that will help add some greenery to your environment until winter winds down completely? Plants can help purify the air in your home and also add to oxygen levels. Studies have also shown plants propagate productivity and boost concentration and mood while lowering our stress levels. Check out these tips from Redfin on how to optimize your home for stress-free living.
  • Invest in a yoga mat or other tools to encourage mindfulness practices. For example, you could download a meditation app or enroll in a set of online classes to help you develop a daily meditation habit. Or order a set of pocket guides with titles including “How to Sit,” “How to Eat,” and “How to Love” by Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.
  • Purchase a gratitude journal. Try recording three things you are grateful for and three things you were able to accomplish each day. If you have a hard time sticking to the happiness-boosting habit, consider downloading a free app that offers inspiration and advice for maintaining a journal.

So celebrate yourself on Valentine’s Day with some activities and small splurges that will warm your heart.

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. To contact Julie and find out more, please visit her website at http://juliemorris.org/.

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Where Should You Go On Your Honeymoon? 3 Ways to Pick a Place

This week, it worked out on my blog to have some contributed posts and to host an author’s post (her first marriage was at 62!) that all have to do with weddings. I like this article below because instead of suggesting specific places to take a honeymoon or special romantic trip, it gives you three general categories to think about when deciding where to go…

Picking your honeymoon spot is important and special. It celebrates the two of you starting your life together, and it will be one of the special memories of your marriage. Weddings are wonderful, but sometimes the alone time you spend exploring a location with your new partner, or your partner with which you have reaffirmed your vows, is very important.

Where should you go on your honeymoon? If you’re struggling for ideas, the massive realm of possibility can overwhelm you. It’s not like with marriage on the horizon you have little to plan for anyway. For this reason, thinking about your honeymoon in the following places might be the wisest areas to begin.

Somewhere Emotionally Wholesome

Your relationship with someone is often part of a wider narrative, and it all spawned from the day you met. If you met somewhere interesting, why not schedule your honeymoon there? For example, if you met on vacation in Thailand, or you were both working conservation in the Australian outback, why not find the original place of your meeting and schedule your honeymoon around there? You might be able to recreate and chart the path of your initial falling in love, which could be a lovely time if you last visited these areas years ago. It will show how much interpersonal progress you have made since then, and give you a beautiful way to cap off your story of coming together before you begin a new story with your marriage.

Somewhere With a Spectacle

Marriage is something to be celebrated. For that reason, why not go big during your honeymoon experience? Heading somewhere with a spectacle, such as staying at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg and getting tickets to famous musicals in the city, or what about heading to the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and geeking out with childish charm. Spectacle means different things to different people, and the draw of a place might depend on your tastes and what works for you.

If you both find a common interest, such as light gambling for example, heading to Las Vegas for a weekend full of hilarity, silliness and late night bar hopping could work for you. Plus, there are many spectacles to take in on The Vegas Strip. Every couple is different, but the idea of an adventure is often something that sounds wonderful for most people, and can push you outside of your comfort zone a little when deciding on a vacation to take.

Somewhere With Good Luck

If you’re the superstitious kind, it might be worthwhile heading somewhere bound to give you a blessing. It could be retracing your steps regarding the moment you asked him or her to marry you and basing the vacation around this, heading to your local religious area of significance, or maybe even heading on a goodwill tour through volunteering for the global good and spending your time together for a cause you both find worthwhile and absolutely engaging to be a part of.

We’re sure that with the right perspective, and with this guide to help you make that decision, your perfect vacation destination is right around the corner.

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The Biggest Decisions to Make For Your Wedding Day

(contributed article)

If you are a single parent, then one day, you may have a wedding. Some people like to go BIG to celebrate a new start, and some like to reign it in with a few close loved ones. Your wedding is arguably one of the most important days of your life, but many of the decisions you make will simply stay as part of that amazing day. The music you hear, the food you eat, even the flowers you choose- while these are all extremely important, they won’t last forever. However there are elements of your wedding that will; and so you should take extra care when choosing these things. For this reason, here are some of the biggest decisions to make about your wedding day!

Picking The Photographer

Your photos will hang in your home as well as in the homes of your nearest and dearest; your wedding album will be one of your most cherished possessions. These pictures will be seen on social media and just about everywhere else you choose to share them. So finding the right person to capture your big day is a huge decision. Make sure to look through lots of portfolios and have a chat with the photographer you choose before the big day, so they know the kinds of shots that you want.

Choosing the Rings

One of the first things to consider when you’re choosing a wedding ring is the metal you want. Of course, you will want to choose something that matches your engagement ring, but it doesn’t have to be the exact same metal. If you have a white gold engagement ring, for example, you could go with platinum, which has a beautiful silvery white color. This will never fade, tarnish or change color; and while it’s a more expensive option, it’s incredibly good-looking and long-lasting. If your budget is smaller, palladium is a fabulous alternative, as it has a similar silvery white finish. It’s hypoallergenic and is still a high-quality metal, but doesn’t have the high price tag of some of the other materials available. It can be harder to find, but Tacori wedding rings do a selection of options.

Sterling silver is another choice; despite it being one of the most common metals in jewelery, it’s often overlooked for wedding rings. This really shouldn’t be the case. Silver is a beautiful choice, and it’s especially ideal for those on a budget. If you’ve splurged on the engagement ring and the rest of the wedding is increasing in price by the day, sterling silver rings could be a good place to save. They still look beautiful. last forever, and will work well with any silver colored metal engagement ring.

Finding Your Dream Dress

You will remember the way you felt on your wedding day forever, and so finding the perfect dress that you truly feel like a princess in is so important. Many people save their wedding dress, so it can be worn by their daughter later on when they grow up and get married, which is a lovely, sentimental idea. Wedding dress styles change, and so a few adjustments will probably be needed; but a good quality dress could be worn by you now and then passed down later on. Just be sure to have it properly preserved, so it’s free of pests, dust and marks wherever you store it.

 

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Gambling On Granola: An Inspiring Memoir About Being a Single Mom and Starting a Business

I am happy to tell you about a great book that WOW! Women On Writing is currently hosting as a blog tour. I am a stop on the blog tour, and so below you will find out some information about the memoir, Gambling on Granola. But before you read this info below, I want to highlight a couple points that will be important to many of my practical parent and single parent readers out there.

Everyone of us who is a parent has this desire to make our children’s lives better than our own. We want to give them opportunities and experiences that we didn’t have. We want to love them fiercely and teach them to be great people. This desire led Fiona to create a company called Fiona’s Natural Foods, and her story shows us that determination, perseverance, love, and a fighting spirit can make anything possible.

Her website states that “Fiona took her mother’s recipe from the 1960’s, updated it, and created new flavors and ingredient combinations.  She hoped her new concoctions would be just the solution she had been seeking. “

​”The eponymous Fiona’s Natural Foods became a burgeoning regional natural foods brand, selling granola, quinoa cereal and energy bars to dozens of natural grocers — including Whole Foods and Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage — throughout Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah.” –Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado

I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of Gambling On Granola. For those of you who have read some of my personal posts over the last two years, you know that I am also a single mom with a full-time job, a desire to be a successful writer with a part-time freelance editing business. I understand Fiona’s drive and fight, and I hope if you check out her book, you will be inspired by her also.

  About the Book:

In Gambling on Granola: Unexpected Gifts on the Path of Entrepreneurship by Fiona Simon, Simon shares a tale that is uplifting and inspiring but also raw and honest. This is a business memoir but also a love story―the love for her daughter, of a journey in uncharted waters, of the products and company she created, and of the continued challenge to follow her dream.

We see her growth and healing over fifteen years, as mistakes, weaknesses, and naiveté, evolve into resilience, resolve, and inspiration. For Fiona, it started out as all new businesses do―with an idea. But her world quickly became more complex as she established her company, developed new product lines, forged personal relationships in a competitive environment, grew her business, and held onto her deepest values―all while raising her daughter, Natalie, as a single mom.

Praise:

“Fiona’s story is both personal and transformative. She lays bare the hopes and anxieties, challenges, betrayals and lessons learned in creating her own business. From the mountaintops of a solar observatory where she was raised, to the struggles and triumphs, her story is like a path of granola crumbs leading the reader to understand how to succeed at any enterprise.”
– Jeff Kline, M.A. Ed., Chairman, Hispanic Communications Network, Washington, DC.

“Fiona Simon is an engaging storyteller and her narrative moves right along. It should inspire and motivate anyone who needs to remember the importance of persistence, belief in oneself, and vision in pursuing a goal. Her granola is good and so is her book.”
– Bob McCormick, Publisher, Editor, Author

Paperback: 200 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (January 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1938288920
ISBN-13: 978-1938288920

About the Author:

Fiona Maria Simon is a former journalist, travel writer, editor, and communications director of the Boulder, Colorado, Chamber of Commerce. She is passionate about developing healthy food products, writing, traveling the world, and inspiring and empowering others with her story. Lured by the adventures of entrepreneurship, she launched her own organic granola company and led it to success despite having no business background and simultaneously juggling the demands of being a single mom. Her book is a story of challenges, hardships, and triumphs, both personal and professional.

Find Fiona Online:

Website: http://www.fionamariasimon.com 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gambling-Granola-Unexpected-Gifts-Entrepreneurship/dp/1938288920/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494595882&sr=1-1&keywords=books+about+entrepreneurship

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34552773-gamblingon-granola?from_search=true 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fionamariasimon/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FionaMSimon

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Overcoming Your Financial Slump: A Single Parent’s Guide

(contributed article)

Even though this article was written for a single parent in mind, I don’t think it’s bad advice for anyone to follow…

The wonderful thing about being a single parent is that you don’t have a partner to argue with over your family finances and spending; you are in full control of all of your own money. This can be a bit of a hindrance sometimes, though, especially as you may have to make your money stretch even further. There’s always an extra cost popping up, and this can often set you back a few steps. Over time you may find you have taken so many steps back that you’re on the edge and close to falling flat. Your little girl wants ballet lessons and your boy is pleading to let him go to karate. It can be an uphill struggle for single parents, as we want to give our children everything we can, but we have to remain realistic.

Whether you have overspent at Christmas ,are racking up credit card debts, or need to find a better paying job, you can get yourself out of your financial slump. There are a few nifty ways you can boost your money, without making too many changes to your family life. Stay positive and try not to  let the little things get you down. Be grateful for your health and beautiful family, and let’s look at how to get out of your uphill financial struggle.

The Daily Squeeze

You might believe you’re living a frugal life and cutting costs where necessary, but are you doing the best you can? Are you still swinging by the local coffee shop for your morning caramel latte? Your caffeine addiction could be setting you back over a hundred dollars a month, so try and be mindful when buying food and drink when you’re out and about. Most of the time, you will save money if you cook and eat at home instead of in a restaurant.

Consider cooking bulk meals to save money on food, too. You can cut down on food waste by preparing meals that freeze well, and you might find that your groceries go much further. Try not to buy unnecessary items when you’re out shopping, too, especially if you find yourself buying sugary snacks or the food item that you just sampled in the grocery aisle. Kids grow out of clothes far too quickly, so chat with local moms and head to a nearby secondhand store to pick up any essentials you might need. Be completely aware of every penny you’re spending, and you will soon be able to start saving a small stash and pay off those bills.

Help Is At Hand

If you’ve found yourself in a tricky situation when it comes to credit cards and debts, you might feel daunted at the thought of paying it all off. Look into some reputable debt consolidation companies, who can help you to organize and eliminate your debt. These companies will give you a helping hand in managing all of your debt. If you have multiple credit cards and bills, to pay off they will be able to merge it into one larger loan. By amalgamating everything together, you will be able to come up with an action plan to pay it back each month.

You can get yourself out of the slump you’re experiencing–just find the correct help and alter your lifestyle for a short time. There will always be someone who can advise you, so try to remain positive and don’t ignore the problem. Prevention is better than cure, so get one step ahead with your financial planning this year and you will finally find your feet again.

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It’s Time to Put You First

contributed article

Do you ever catch yourself thinking that life would be better if you could take time for yourself a little more? But it’s hard, and caregivers have the hardest time with this. Most people, both parents and adults without children just yet, need to feel needed.  It’s part of life to want to feel useful and vital to someone other than yourself. The ability to help and be compassionate to those who come into your life is one that most people treasure. The trouble with being needed all the time is that it can be extremely difficult to find time for yourself. By the time you’ve tended the needs of family, friends, children, work, and your home, there is very little time in the day that is left to have a moment to remember that you are important, too.

The idea that you must sometimes put yourself first is a difficult one to wrap your head around, especially if you are not used to finding time for your own needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, though, how can you expect to be there for anyone else? People need strong, happy individuals supporting them, and those who don’t take the time to look after their own needs often succumb to stress, depression, and sometimes, addiction.

If you find yourself being trapped in that cycle, where you feel like there is a lack of control over your life, then you need to start putting yourself before others. Stress and depression can lead to other physical manifestations of illness, and taking the time to rectify this is important. Checking into places like Compass Recovery for those who find themselves in the midst of an addiction as a way out of their stress is an important first step. It is not selfish to look after yourself or put yourself before other people, especially in the cases where you have spent so long looking after other people you’ve forgotten how to be you again.

Finally realizing that you matter enough to be important in your own life can set you on a path to freedom. Often, being relied on by so many other people can leave you feeling trapped. Their need of you can be suffocating and debilitating, and the feelings of guilt that you end up left with if you don’t help out on demand are consuming. The freedom you can feel by simply saying no and allowing yourself to be the priority in your own life is immense. The weight on your shoulders of unwavering obligation can lift, and you can start to see life a little clearer and a little lighter. You can still be there for people and put yourself first.

Start small, with evenings to yourself. A cup of tea in peace and quiet and enjoying the time you spend with your own company can be a refreshing change from being wanted and tugged at all the time. Finding a balance is never easy, but it’s one you have to seek if you feel pulled in different directions. Finding you is good for your health, and your health matters.

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Don’t Let Physical Distance Drive a Wedge Between Loved Ones

contributed article

People living in modern society often have to move around the country at some point during their lives. That could happen because they meet someone special, but it might also occur when the individual seeks a better job. Thanks to modern technology, there is no reason that physical distance should cause families to lose touch with each other these days. Any readers with family members who live more than a hundred miles away should benefit from the advice on this page. It’s vital that everyone works hard to keep in touch because family, friends and loved ones are important.

Send written letters with photographs

Lots of folks send emails or texts these days when they want to communicate. While they are cheap and efficient methods, there can be something sterile about receiving a typed message. With that in mind, family members should try their best to send handwritten letters to their loved ones whenever possible. The recipient will appreciate the effort, and it’s likely to mean more to them. That is especially the case if people remember to include photographs of their children. Experts from Silver Bee Photography say that even professional images are not going to break the bank, and they will let the loved one know someone cares.

Communicate via Skype and other video calling tools

Almost everyone has a laptop at home with a webcam, and so you can use these tools to keep in touch. There are many video calling software tools available on the market today that anyone can try. Best of all? Services like Skype don’t require any investment, and the calls go through the WiFi connection. That means there is no need to stress about inflated telephone bills. Also, the family members will get to see each other on the screen, which is fantastic for grandparents, aunties, and uncles with growing nieces and nephews. Some alternatives to Skype include:

 

Arrange family get-togethers at least once each year

Regardless of the distance, all family members should manage to attend a gathering once each year. Some folks might like to call it a reunion. Try to choose a location that’s in the middle of everyone, so that some people don’t have to travel much farther than others. It’s possible to save a fortune on hotel rooms if the entire group books together, and there are lots of other ways in which the family can save money, such as cooking some meals, sharing transportation costs or finding discounted tickets to activities online. At those gatherings and reunions, be sure to take as many photographs as possible and encourage all the kids to play together to create lifetime connections.

With the tips from this post, all families can manage to keep in touch and see each other regularly, even when they live hundreds of miles apart. People can come and go during most people’s lifetimes. However, family members will be there until the bitter end, and so it’s always worth making an effort. Sometimes our links to the past are an important part of creating a future that makes us feel happy and content. How have you kept in touch with family far away? 

Source for video chatting photo above

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Do You Have a Fussy Eater On Your Hands? These Tips Might Help

contributed article

Children are notoriously fussy in this day and age. So many mothers feel like they share something in common if their child is fussy with their food. Some children are worse than others; and while many parents try to figure out what they may have done wrong,  there really is no rhyme or reason as to why children develop such funny aversions to certain foods. That being said, there are some ways you can combat the fussiness and try and improve things for the better. I thought I would share with you some of the tips that may help.

Plant some fruit trees and vegetables

Many children like to get involved in everything, and many of them love spending time in the great outdoors. So take advantage of this exploring nature and do a little gardening with them. Plant some fruit trees or vegetable plants, and watch them grow together. This could help you to encourage children to try new things that they grew themselves, but what if you end up with a bumper harvest? Things like a pressure canner can help you preserve excessive fruit and vegetables, which means things like wastage become a thing of the past, and it may even save you some money in the process.  

Make the food more fun and appealing

One thing many parents struggle with is making the food look appealing. However, if it visually looks good, it may encourage children to try more foods. If the plate is uninviting, then children are less likely to want to eat it. Parents have great success with making smiley faces or little scenes on the plate. It might be worth a try. Thankfully, you can find a little inspiration online on websites like Pinterest.

Encourage them to cook with you

I think a great idea is to try and get your children to cook along with you. After all, they may love the idea of doing something with you (same idea as the gardening) and getting involved in the kitchen. It might be as simple as letting them put things in bowls or measuring out ingredients. Depending on their age, you can start to teach them new cooking skills. If they make it, they may be more enticed to eat it.

Relax during meal times

Many parents need to relax during meal time because children can sense tension and the anticipation that goes along with trying new foods. You may find that feeling frustrated with mealtimes, or even being over the top with emotions, can perhaps hinder your chances of success. Relax and go with the flow. 

A rewards chart

A reward chart may not work for everyone,but there have been many success stories of trying charts, specifically for new foods. Perhaps a sticker for every time they try a new food or finish their meal.

Positive encouragement

Finally, It is always good to remain positive and give positive encouragement when it is due. Sometimes, we can focus too much on the negative side of things, and this can have the opposite effect of what we are trying to achieve–getting children to be less fussy at mealtime. 

Perhaps you have more ideas to share. I would love to hear them.

 

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