Basement Home Office Every Working Mom Deserves

The basement is usually the space most people don’t use on a daily basis, except for storing their junk. But, if you want to make this space functional and give it a purpose, you can convert it into a home office. This is something all working moms need, especially when they’re chasing deadlines. Most of us prefer working from home and feeling comfortable while trying to solve complex work-related issues. But, working from home also means you’ll have to deal with so many distractions – from your kids to the TV, and everything in between. This is one of the biggest advantages of the basement because it’s secluded and your family won’t be able to interrupt you while you’re working. So, how can you turn your basement into every mom’s perfect home office?

Inspect the space

Many homeowners have serious problems in their basements so it’s important to deal with potential repairs in the beginning. Check the insulation and waterproofing because these two issues can cause serious damage, especially if you redo the space before moving into it. In addition to that, flooring and ceiling are also a major risk if you haven’t been taking care of your basement properly. 

Mold spreads quite easily in the basement, so keep that in mind as well. Since you’ll be spending lots of time here, you need to think about your health and take care of any potential leaks that can cause mold. Even if you get everything fixed, invest in an air purifier just to make sure the air quality is at the highest level.

Insist on comfort and practicality

No matter how big your home office is, you need to remember that comfort is the key to productivity. That means you won’t be able to work unless you invest in some comfortable and ergonomic furniture. Think of it as a necessity for your health because all working moms are exhausted all the time, so sitting for hours in improper furniture might not be good for them.

For starters, think about adding a spacious desk that’s practical and functional. In addition to that, you’ll want to pair it with a suitable chair which will turn into the center of your workspace. If you want, you can even add another cozy chair where you can take a break, read something, or meet your business associates.

Basement entrance

If you don’t have doors on your basement, you need to think about investing in one. There are two possible problems if you opt for an open concept. First, your family will always be interrupting you, thinking you’re free to hang out and spend time with them. Secondly, you’ll be surrounded by so much noise that you won’t be able to focus on your work.

By adding doors, though, you’ll create a designated space which you’ll use only for your work and nothing else. You can always use practical barn doors that will add a stylish note but also serve as a practical room divider. If you have a big basement, it will also allow your family members to use the space without getting in your way.

Think about the lighting

 

The main problem when it comes to the basement is the lighting, especially if you want to give this space a new purpose. You can try sectioning the space and adding different types of lighting which will allow you to have plenty of light wherever you need it. Create one big source of lighting on the ceiling and use that as a primary source that will cover the entire space. 

In addition to that, think about all the parts of the basement where you’ll need light – your desk, the storage area, the reading space, etc. – so don’t be afraid to maximize the lighting when you need it. in the end, be sure to create multiple lighting sources, just to ensure your office is properly illuminated.

Projects like this one will help you utilize the free space you have in your home and make it functional. Having a home office in your basement will give you all the privacy you need in order to get all of your jobs done without interruptions, so it’s definitely an idea worth looking into.

House and Garden Maintenance This Fall!

We all love spicing up our living space and introducing new design features into our kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms, but what about the exterior space? If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with a garden instead of an apartment with no outdoor area, you have to maintain it as well. This sounds like a lot of work, but it actually isn’t. It’s all about finding the right projects that will mean the most to your family in the future, and that’s it. So, if you too are looking for ways to show your exterior space some love this fall, here are a few ideas you should take into consideration.

Fix the curb appeal

Even if you’re not the biggest fan of exterior renovations and updates, you just have to show your curb appeal some love and care. After all, this is what people notice first when coming to your place, and that’s something that could help you make a better first impression. A well-maintained front yard goes a long way, and achieving this goal really isn’t as hard as you may think.

What’s even better is that you have so many options to choose from when spicing up your curb appeal. From planting new flowers and plants to designing a new driveway, you can do basically whatever you want, and it will probably work like a charm. Once you’re done with the front yard, you can focus on your home, and boost its appeal a bit too. Repaint the front doors, replace the windows, add a new mailbox, and install some new lights. These projects don’t require too much time or energy but are quite efficient and practical.

Declutter the backyard

After you’re done with the front of your home, you need to do the same with the backyard as well. Decluttering it and removing all the things that aren’t exactly necessary is the first thing you have to do. But, since this is the space where your entire family hangs out, including your kids, making them a part of this project isn’t such a bad idea.

What you need to do is give them specific tasks and show them how to do them. First, remove all the bigger things you don’t need here – old appliances, outdated furniture, trash cans, etc. – and then move onto the smaller stuff. Things like your gardening tools and sports equipment don’t belong in the backyard, so either throw it away or store it in your garage. Finally, ask your kids to take care of their toys and other possessions. This way, they’ll appreciate this space even more than before and really consider it their own.

Fix the façade

Now that your outdoor space is spotless, you should shift your attention to the exterior of your home. Fixing the façade is the first thing to do, especially if your home is old or a bit shabby. Fortunately, this isn’t a hard project, and you could probably do it on your own. Even if you have no contracting skills, all you need is some paint and a few friends who could help you out.

Repainting the façade is almost the same as painting the interior walls in your home, so even a layperson will be able to get that done. Still, you might want to look into some reliable scaffolding rental options and thus access all the corners of your façade more easily. These things are quite helpful and could make your job much simpler, so get prepared first and be sure to find amazing scaffolding.

7 Lovely & Affordable Home Renovation Projects

Are you looking to give your home a fresh look? A home renovation project can be just the thing: with the right project, you can make your home look amazing without spending a ton of money.

Besides, the right home renovation project can be fun. Here are 6 that fit the bill.

1). Paint Makes Everything Fresh

If you’re looking for a relatively simple, beautiful, and affordable home renovation project, one of the best places to start is a fresh coat of paint. This is because the magic of paint is to make everything new: with a fresh coat of paint, old and shabby becomes new-looking, crisp, and clean.

The beautiful thing about this approach, too, is that it can be applied to both your interiors and your exteriors. Whether you’re looking to make your bathroom, living room, dining room, or exterior look fresh and new, paint is the way to go.

As Colorado-based painters Teaberry explain, “a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the look of your home.”

It’s easy to see why they’re right: so many of our design problems with older houses have to do with the décor, i.e. awful wallpaper, questionable choice in paint, etc.

You can even hire painters to help you at very affordable rates—this may be important if you’re worried about stains, or if there’s a challenge reaching the area you’re looking to paint.

2). Brand-New Bathroom

There are some surprisingly interesting ways to make your bathroom over, and you can find budget-friendly ways to do practically all of them. We’ve already talked about paint; how about tile?

With tile, if you’re trying to save money the most obvious way to do it is to limit the areas you plan to tile. Instead, focus on specific areas that are especially obvious to the eye and important, i.e. the floor.

What’s more, do you really need tile all the way up and down your wall? Why not one horizontal strip, followed by paint? For that matter, if you must tile an entire wall and you like a more-expensive tile, why not do one strip of the more-expensive tile and use it as an accent against a much cheaper tile?

Another good way to go with a bathroom is updating the fixtures. We’ve talked before about renovating your bathroom for safety, and that can be an important part of this. Instead of a granite countertop, invest in updated light fixtures, sink faucets, racks for the towels, and drawer pulls, as well as rounded edges, skid-proof mats, and other things.

3). Classy Crown Molding

Have you ever noticed how much some rooms look like the inside of a box? If that describes a room in your house, the answer may be crown molding.

Crown molding is simply trimming for the edges of your walls and ceilings. It’s visually more interesting than looking at the inside of a box, as it were.

Crown molding is very cheap, and all you really have to do is very carefully measure how much you need, cut it, and install it. This is a weekend project at most—it’s likely that you will only need a few hours to complete it.

4). Get Creative With Your Closets

Do you have a closet that’s always full to bursting with clothing and other stuff? Try organizing it. Closets are remarkably easy to optimize.

Getting creative with closets can start with something as simple as a proper set of drawers, one that’s large enough to accommodate everything you need it to. You don’t have to stop there, though: try some elegant, attractive baskets, and maybe some nice hooks to hang things on.

You can also paint the interior walls of your closets to make them look more interesting. Get creative, and see what your closet looks like as a result.

5). Book Tree Shelves Are Amazing

Want to know what’s better than a bookshelf? Try a book tree shelf, an object designed with shelves positioned like the branches of a tree.

Not only is it functional, it provides a visually-interesting way in which to store your children’s books and/or toys. They’re available online at quite reasonable prices, but you can also make your own.

6). Trade Blinds for Blackout Curtains
Blinds have become common in many homes, but if you’re in the mood for adventure, try blackout curtains. They add an air of mystery, they won’t break the bank, and they’re also great for helping you sleep.

7). Create A Remodel Plan

Once you establish a list of your remodeling needs, it is important to then create a plan complete with estimates. You should make note of every detail down to the fixtures, furniture, paint, and hardware needed for each room. It’s also important to include appliances in your remodeling plan. New appliances come with the cost of the initial purchase as well as delivery and installation fees, so it’s crucial to note how that could potentially affect your budget. By making a list of everything you want or need for each project, it allows you to calculate the cost and see how it aligns with your budget. If you prefer using technology, mobile apps like HomeZada make it easy to manage your home improvement project details and budget. They also store financial records, which you can use if you decide to sell your home down the line.

Make sure to speak with contractors about your remodel to receive professional advice. Connecting with top-rated electricians or plumbers in your area is smart if you want to accurately assess the cost and needs of your project. By bringing in two or three professionals, you will have a thorough idea of the project and how it will be completed, with the security of knowing the job will be done right.

Honorable mention

When designing a kitchen remodel, there are the obvious things to think about – countertops, backsplash tile, cabinet hardware, etc. And while those are all very important aspects of the design, the real pièce de résistance is the cabinetry. It’s not only essential for storage and functionality, but it’s usually the largest factor (and expense!) in any kitchen and can make or break the overall design. – Tip by Mackenzie Wood for Bandd Design

Conclusion

Home renovation projects can be amazing opportunities to improve your living space. The right project can be remarkably doable, not to mention affordable and a great deal of fun. Try any of these 6 projects, and see the results for yourself.

Latest Celebrity Workout Trends

The good news is that the world as a whole is becoming increasingly aware of how healthy our lifestyles have become. This means that we are taking our health into our own hands and trying to do something about it, starting with a much cleaner diet and exercise regime. And different celebrities are paving the way for us by sharing on social media all different kinds of exercise regimes that have been gaining in popularity for the past few years. So, if you want to train like a celebrity, here’s how to do it.

Step up to the barre

One specific kind of exercise has been sweeping the fitness world for the past year, and that is ballet exercise. It actually has nothing to do with dancing, but a lot to do with the shape of the body. Dancers’ bodies are not only very strong and flexible, but they are also shaped beautifully, and that comes from a lot of small, repetitive movements that they do in every warmup and every class. If you think you will do a few plies and call it a day, you have another thing coming, so make sure you bring a towel to wipe the sweat off your face after the first few minutes. You might notice that you are activating some groups of muscles that have never been used before, like in your feet and ankles, which is perfect for models who have to keep their balance in very high heels.

Private and tailored

It’s no secret that all of our bodies are different. And not only in shape and looks, but the way they react to different forms of exercise as well. Add on top of that the fact we’re all living different lives and have different needs and you’ve got a clear solution. Nearly every celebrity has a private trainer (or team of trainers) who creates a custom workout plan for them to suit their needs and their bodies. But you don’t have to be a celebrity to do that – just ask around in your local gym and see if there are any coaches that would like to take on a new client. These routines are usually a mix of strength and cardio, but it can also be dance classes, boxing or anything else. On the other hand, if you don’t have time for this kind of training, you should try waist trimmers.

Have a machine do it for you

Technology has been a part of our exercise routines for a long time now, but the newest innovations are machines who either help increase the work you’re doing or even do it completely for you. Take for example this amazing whole-body vibration machine which helps warm up all of your muscles and joints and simulates a stronger gravity field below you, making all of your usual exercises that much more effective. For most people, it’s something that you’d use in your gym if your gym had one, but you can also buy it for your home if you are serious about your exercise.

Get the stress out

Many celebrities, like Gigi and Bella Hadid, have said that their favorite way to blow off steam and to get their exercise in is boxing. It’s a great mix of cardio and strength, as you need to be very quick on your feet and keep moving around, as well as hit hard. Just make sure that you are working with a coach, especially when you’re starting out, to make sure you are doing everything correctly because you might literally break your hand if you do not know how to position it properly.

Yoga

Of course, save the best for last. There is rarely a celebrity who doesn’t indulge in some yoga, either every morning or a few times per week. From Ashley Graham to Felicity Jones, these celebs say that yoga is a way to build up strength, without building too much muscle mass. It’s similar to what we said about ballet, how it shapes the body in a much different way than lifting weights would. And you don’t need to have access to a personal trainer and in-house studio. There are free yoga classes all around you, you just need to find them.

This is how the celebs like to stay fit, but once again, you’re much more likely to have great results if you find what works best for you and makes you feel good, rather than copying someone else.

Healthy Habits – 5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Overall Health

It’s very simple. The way you treat your body will determine how well it will function as you grow older. Most of us are aware of this and also of what exactly we should do to keep our body and mind healthy well into our golden years. So, why aren’t we all doing what we should? Mostly because it’s much easier to reach for fast food than to cook a proper meal, it’s faster to get somewhere by car than on foot, and sitting in front of the TV with a huge bag of chips is often more convenient than going jogging. Plus, when you think of all the things you should change about your lifestyle, you can get overwhelmed. The key is to do it gradually, one small but firm step at a time. Here are five steps towards better overall health and improved quality of life.

Keep your drinks sugar-free

When it comes to hydration, it’s very important for your wellbeing. However, not everything you drink is good for you. The best choice is, obviously, plain water, and about eight glasses of it per day. If the taste of water bores you and you want something different, you can always infuse it with some fresh fruit. Squeeze a lemon or a grapefruit, or even some pomegranate for that refreshing flavor. Another option is to boil some tea, especially green tea. Whatever you choose, just don’t let it be sugary drinks, such as soda or fruit juice. Those are loaded with sugar which can lead to obesity and some even more serious health issues, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Even those drinks which are advertised as healthy and with antioxidant properties usually contain too much sugar to actually benefit you in any way, so try staying away from them.

Commit yourself to a physical activity

Regular physical activity keeps you fitter and improves your immune function, and that can lower your chances of getting hypertension, stroke or heart disease down the road. Also, it enhances your strength, flexibility, and stamina, allowing you to perform your everyday tasks with more ease. Exercise is also beneficial to your mental health, as it boosts your mood and your self-esteem. Therefore, if you’ve been living a sedentary life and haven’t been active for a long time, start with short walks and then keep adding distance and speed to them as you gain back your strength. Also, there are many types of workout which you could find joyful. If gym exercises aren’t your cup of tea, try yoga, dancing, or get a bike and ride it instead of driving your car whenever possible. Once you get a hang of it, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start.

Reconsider your choice of protein sources

When you mention protein, most people’s minds instantly wander towards meat. However, there are some great options which don’t originate from animals. In fact, there are multiple vegan protein sources you can rely on for proper nutrient intake, and it’s a common misconception that vegans don’t get enough protein. For instance, soy products, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and beans are loaded with protein. If those don’t interest you, how about potatoes, spinach or broccoli? So, instead of gorging yourself on steaks and deep-fried chicken, try switching to these plant-based foods, which will most likely make you feel light and energetic.

Get enough rest

Sleeping enough is another requirement for good long-term health, but one that we often don’t pay enough attention to. This is something you should work on. Getting your eight hours of sleep is crucial for your body, and especially your brain to work normally. When you’re sleep deprived, you could easily become nervous, irritated and have trouble concentrating on anything, which then decreases your productivity. This can even lead to stress and anxiety. It’s up to you to create a routine which will have you in bed and out of it at the same time every day, including weekends, and one which won’t include you staring at your computer, phone or TV until the moment you close your eyes. The lights from those screens send your brain the signal that it’s not time to sleep yet, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, have a cup of chamomile tea and get some uninterrupted and restful sleep every night.

Choose fresh over-processed foods

Processed foods can be very tasty. Actually, that’s how they’re made. The companies who sell them want you to buy their products, so they make them so desirable to your taste buds, that you simply can’t resist them. However, these foods are usually full of sugar, or even worse, high fructose corn syrup, salt, bad fats, and various artificial ingredients. More often than not, they contain a high count of empty calories, meaning that they don’t contain the nutrients you need to stay healthy. They are the primary cause of obesity and they can damage your metabolism greatly. This is why it’s always a good idea to choose real food over the processed, especially fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, avoid eating junk food during the day and visiting restaurants that serve it. Rather make your own meals at home, from scratch. Nowadays, there are so many quick and simple recipes for healthy meals online, that you really don’t have an excuse to keep eating something which could harm you and eventually make you sick.

Nothing’s as precious as health, so invest your time and effort in yourself by following these five steps. You’ll be glad you did once you’re older.

Fun game challenge for parties

The usual fun and games are not enough to save the party. It should have a nice party game challenge to play which will keep it alive.

If you are one of those party lovers that want to have a nice time playing games and taking challenges as you take your favorite drink, then you should be looking for these fun challenges for parties. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a food challenge or a whole new game to keep your party rolling, the 4 hour challenge will walk the talk.

What is a party game?

Game party refers to games that are played at social gatherings. They are meant to facilitate interactions and at the same time provide a fun way of celebrating. Party games increase satisfaction and entertainment and at the same time keep the party alive.

It doesn’t matter the kind of a party you are choosing whether indoor, picnic or in large group games. You can choose a partnered game or even parlor races.

Why is a party game necessary?

Fun party games generate some kind of joy and they also create an adorable atmosphere. This means that the party game is intended to generate an adorable atmosphere that will keep people active and participating which are the core aims of every party.

The party games aim at involving as many players as possible. They also need experienced game players and beginners which make people feel happy to try it. The games are aimed at being played socially which ensures that every person in the party is involved. Party games should as well be very easy to practice for the new players to play with ease. As a matter of fact, most participants at the party are just beginners and hence they need a simpler game to keep them happy.

What are the characteristics of a good fun game challenge for parties?

A fun and an involving game challenge for the party should possess any of the below characteristics.

A nice and fun party game should be able to support a relatively large or unidentified number of players. This ensures that the game is involving and will keep the participants very active. Compared to traditional games such as card games and board games, commercial games require a lot of players for the game to be fun.

They encourage team-based play-This is another character of party games. They usually divide the players into two, three or even more parties who later play as a group.

They encourage cooperation and interaction between the involved parties. This is a characteristic that keeps it very entertaining and fun.

The game has some entertaining value for spectators. Most of these games attract a huge crowd of people who regard it as fun and entertaining.

A fun game challenge for parties shouldn’t involve the spending of real money. As a matter of fact, it just involves the use of virtual money. If the game you want to use in a party involves the purchase of some items or to pay something to play, then it’s not a fun party game.

How To Monitor Your Kids Without Spying on Them 

Sometimes, the world seems scary. Things such as global warming, crime, famine, war, disease make us want to keep our kids indoors and never let them go. According to the latest statistics, more than 2ooo children are reported missing every day.

Despite these horrible facts, it’s nearly impossible to forbid your kids to play outside on the plastic playground, spend a night over a friend’s house, follow Kim Kardashian on Instagram or dye their hair. They might do all this without you knowing it. Well, eventually, you will see their rainbow hairstyle.

According to PDPlay, playing outside contributes to cognitive and emotional development, improve sensory skills, and increase attention spans in children.

Kids want to explore, become part of the community, and express their individuality. They are going to do something not very thoughtful anyway ( just like you when you were a kid). Making mistakes is part of the learning process. As a parent, you should figure out whether you want to be with them when they are in danger, or you want to be the last to know about their ‘adventure’.

Indeed, monitoring your kids is like walking on thin ice. On the one hand, it would be great to know every little thing about your children in order to help them avoid getting into trouble. On the other hand, they will never agree to you reading their diary just the way you read your Sunday paper. 

Get to know their friends

Being aware of what your kids are doing and who they are hanging out with is the first step. Most kids want to be social because that’s the way they learn and explore the world. You will not always like their friends, but it doesn’t give you the right to speak badly about them and forbid your child from playing with them.

Make sure to invite their friends to your house from time to time. Also, don’t hesitate to get to know their parents. First of all, you might be able to find friends for yourself. Secondly, being on good terms with other parents makes the monitoring process easier.

If you see that your child’s friend behaves inappropriately (swearing, stealing, lying, etc.), talk to your kid about it. It shouldn’t be a negative conversation. All you need to do is to describe the situation and ask your kid about their honest opinion. That’s how you can help your children understand where the line good and bad is and develop their critical thinking.

Have an honest discussion

If you really want to protect your children, warn them about the potential danger. For instance, small kids should be aware that their body parts are private, and no one except a doctor can touch them.

Also, tell them what to do if a stranger starts speaking to them on the street and offering something. Before you start this kind of conversation with your child, tell them that you love them, and want to protect them. It is a much better tactic than using a commanding tone. 

Be their friend

The best way of keeping track of what’s happening in your child’s life is to build trust and become their friend.

Make sure to have one-on-one time with them every day, accept them for who they are, and involve yourself in their interests. It’s important to listen to what they are saying even though you are not the biggest fan of Justin Bieber, Monster High, or League of Legends.

Also, if you want to know your child’s secrets, consider telling them yours as well.

Talk about the media

Some kids have their Instagram profiles before they learn how to walk and speak. Your child is going to have an online presence one day. Maybe they already have, and you just don’t know about it. So, before they create their first Facebook or Instagram account, let them know what they should be aware of. If your child is not even twelve, you might want to ask them for their passwords. Once again, don’t be bossy and respect their decision (in case they refuse to give you their social media account passwords).

Explain to them how they should behave on the Internet. Let them know that they should keep their personal information private, avoid sending their photos to strangers and repost when someone else misbehaves. Encourage them to think twice before they text, post, and share content. The ugly truth is that everything people do on the Internet might stay there forever and even go public.

Consider monitoring programs

If your kids go to school alone, consider installing monitoring programs. Before you do that, let them know about it. If they don’t agree to this, suggest to ‘spy’ on you as well (so that your kids are going to see where you are). 

The bottom line

If you want to protect your kids without spying on them, make sure to establish a trustworthy relationship and become their best friends. Consider inviting their friends to your house so that you can get to know them better.

It’s essential to warn your kids about potential danger and explain to them why you forbid certain things. Before they create their social media account, teach them how to behave online. Also, consider installing monitoring programs so that you know where your kids are playing.

Parenting is a real challenge, but you should know that you are doing a great job so far!

3 Survival Tips for Moving Your Elderly Loved One

Making the decision to move your elderly loved one is never easy. They’re going to be attached to the home where they’ve spent most of their adult lives.

Whether you’re moving your elderly relative to another family members home or to a senior housing community these survival tips are sure to make moving day run smoothly.

See Also: How to Choose the Perfect Senior Housing Option

Plan the Move

As with any other move you want to make sure you have the entire move planned.

I’m talking about from the organizing, packing, repairing, cleaning, and unpacking.

The moment the moving becomes something that’s happening, you should get quotes from a few moving companies, such as Hudson Movers, so you can budget.

It can help to write everything down in a notebook and important dates on a calendar to make sure everyone involved knows what needs to be done and what the current status is.

Ask Other Relatives for Help

Don’t think you can handle the entire moving alone? Maybe you overestimated the amount of time you could dedicate?

Whatever the reason, go ask your relatives for help.

In the case of parents, siblings and cousins are great options. Alternatively, see if your spouse and the kids wouldn’t mind donating a few hours to help you.

They could have a clear schedule to help and in return, it would help take some of the pressure off you.

Decide What to Do with Their Home

Deciding on what to do with your elderly relatives home is something that needs to be determined the moment it is time for them to move.

Maybe you want to renovate it and rent it out. Maybe some other relatives want to move in. Perhaps it’s time to sell it to be able to afford their expenses.

Whichever options you may be considering make sure to discuss them with your elderly relative, if possible, and other authoritative family members.

Keep in mind, you just don’t want to have the house sitting empty or it could lead to squatters setting in or even vandalism.

Make Sure They Have Keepsakes

It’s not easy on your elderly loved one to move. Their new location will probably be a downgrade, which means they’ll have to leave a lot of their belongings behind.

Therefore, if possible, allow them to pack a personal bag that contains some of their memories throughout the years. If they can’t pack their own bag, take a few minutes to put together some keepsakes for them that you’re sure they wouldn’t want to be without.

Conclusion: You Can Survive Moving Your Elderly Loved One

Moving at any point is going to be stressful and not something that you’re looking forward to. With these tips, moving your elderly loved one should go smoothly and it won’t feel like such a burden for you.

Have you ever had to move an elderly loved one? If so, what made the moving process go the easiest?

5 Ways to Plan and Prepare for the Toddler Years

It just seems like yesterday you became a parent to a newborn, now you are transitioning into the toddler years.

The next phase in your little one’s development is probably going to be the most challenging. By now your toddler can walk, run, jump, climb, and is eager to explore their environment. Though, still little, they already have strong opinions on everything.

Be prepared for the inevitable tantrums. They will cry, sulk, demand, and yell. You will wonder why there is so much advice for new parents when this phase is so challenging and there seems to be no comprehensive manual.

Well, here are 5 ways to plan and prepare for those toddler years.

Toddler Safety

Injuries are common for children under the age of four. Some of these injuries may be preventable. As your precious little one grows into a toddler it’s vital that you take precaution to ensure your home is safe as your toddler explores their environment.

Start by putting measures in place to prevent falls for your toddlers. For example, install safety guards on balconies and railings on stairs. Ensure, however, they are at least two meters in height and that the gaps between the rails are no wider than 12.5cm.

Toddlers are often very good at climbing and squeezing through small spaces. Remove as many of these possibilities as possible.

Also, if you often travel in the car with your child, you may want to start transitioning from the rear-facing baby car seat to a booster seat for your toddler as their height and weight allows you to lawfully do so.

The move from a baby seat to a booster seat ensures your bundle of joy is properly secured with the appropriate age seat harness.

Toddler Play

Understand that your toddler is keen to explore their environment and often they do this through play.

By playing and interacting with others your child learns valuable life lessons that stay with them. For example, your child might sometimes want to draw which is an excellent way to explore their creativity.

Create a space for your toddler to be able to do this so you do not end up with scribbles on your lounge, walls, and doors. Yes, it happens!

Your duty as a parent is to create a conducive and safe environment for them to play. You can also learn about age-specific games to suggest during their playtime.

Take advantage of every playtime to encourage them to learn and practice new skills. For example, while doing your laundry, you can get them to sort your socks and theirs.

Playgroups are a great means of allowing them space to play. This was the only times my kids got to paint. I was not game enough to deal with the mess paint creates at home.

Toddler Education

Stimulate your toddler’s interest in learning by reading, talking, and singing to them. As you sing, talk, share stories every day with your child you are helping them become familiar with sounds, words, and language which will help their literary abilities.

You can start by familiarising them with the letters of their name. Then, associating each letter with a different word.

Use rhymes and songs to get words to stick and while reading to them be sure to point under each word as you read them out.

Also, ensure storytelling is done regularly, is relaxed and fun that way your child will look forward to it. Take your cue from your little one, there are days they may not want to spend time reading, that’s OK too.

Toddler Behaviour

You will find at this age your toddler has a handful of ways to show their displeasure at something. It is not uncommon for the child to throw tantrums, yell, refuse things, throw away their toys, and even bang their head on the ground in order to have their way, get your attention, or show they are unhappy.

You should first seek to understand why your child is behaving in a certain way. Have they had enough sleep recently? Is the child healthy?

Lack of adequate rest could influence how your toddler reacts to situations. Plus, these challenging behaviors could be an early sign they are not healthy – you might want to take them to your physician for a checkup.

Toddler Sleep

Understanding your child’s changing sleep pattern will help you train them to master a healthy sleeping routine.

One positive at this stage of your child’s development is that they are likely to sleep through most nights without waking, unlike the early days.

However, the real work is in actually getting them to bed in the first place. So, you may want to maintain a firm and consistent sleep routine.

It is worth noting that it’s normal for most toddlers to sleep an average of 10-12 hours a day. 10 hours of sleep in the night and 1-2 hours of nap during the day.

A New Mom’s Guide to Using Breast Pumps

Being a new mom can be both exciting and scary. There are many things that you must learn as you navigate through all the do’s and don’ts of parenthood. One of the first things that every mom takes on is breastfeeding. After all, breast milk is dubbed as the “superfood” for a reason.

However, every once in a while, you will be unable to breastfeed your baby. You might think that you will always be around 24/7, but eventually, reasons will appear. You may have to go back to work or perhaps your little one is unable to latch on properly. The good news is, you can use a breast pump to collect milk and store it for future meals. Because you can create a stash of milk, your baby will not have to skip this nutrient-filled food. 

There are 2 types of breast pumps, electric and manual. Manual pumps are less expensive than their electric counterparts and are travel-friendly because they don’t need an outlet to work. Electric breast pumps, on the other hand, take no effort to use and are more efficient in expressing milk. But if you’re worried about portability, according to CuteLittleDarling.com, you can now find an electric breast pump that is rechargeable. What this means is you can also take your unit with you wherever without worrying for a power source. 

When Can You Start Pumping?

Some moms immediately start pumping right after their baby is born. The reason for this is because pumping can help encourage their milk supply. If the child is born premature, his/her mom can start early on pumping as well.

However, do note that it is crucial that you have established breastfeeding first before bottle feeding. This usually happens around your baby’s 4 to 6 months of life, and after this, you can pump in between your feeding sessions. The back and forth expressing of milk in breastfeeding and pumping allows you to drain your breasts more efficiently and prevent engorgement.

If you have to leave for a long duration, you can start pumping 2 to 3 weeks beforehand to get more comfortable. Pumping this early also lets you collect enough milk for your baby.

When is the Best Time to Pump?

The short answer is during the day, or better yet, in the morning. Your breasts are going to be naturally fuller during this time, which can help you pump more efficiently. If you are interchangeably breastfeeding and pumping, you can do your session an hour after you breastfeed your baby in the morning. However, you can also pump during the evening if this is more convenient for you.

Some moms even use a manual pump type called a milk catcher. Pumping using a milk catcher is also called passive pumping because it only catches the milk from your breast as you breastfeed with the other. Passive pumping is an efficient way to avoid wasted milk and expand your stash.

Speaking of expanding your milk stockpile, pumping every 2 hours in-between breastfeeding can also help in increasing your milk supply. Milk production works in a supply and demand scheme, which means, to maintain your production level, you have to keep your demand.

If you’re not with your baby, you can pump at the same time with his/her breastfeeding session. This way, you can keep your milk supply level high. If you are replacing missed breastfeeding sessions, it is best that you pump every 3 or 4 hours similar to a baby’s milk demand.

How Long Should It Take Using the Pump?

The duration of each mom using a pump will vary individually. Some women only need 15 minutes to express the right amount of breast milk, while some take twice the time. Once you notice that your breasts feel drained and the milk flow is slowing down, you can stop your session. 

As we have said earlier, you can pump every 3 or 4 hours. This takes a total of 8 to 10 times a day and usually gives you more than a thousand milliliters of milk. Pumping for this duration can boost your milk production and allows you to drain your breasts with milk efficiently. 

How to Prepare for a Pumping Session

It is essential that you feel relaxed and comfortable before pumping. Some people even suggest thinking of your baby as it contributes to stimulating your body to produce milk.

You can also massage your breasts before (and during) pumping or put a warm compress on them to stimulate milk let-down. Besides these methods, check if you have the perfect flange size will make pumping more effective and comfortable. 

How to Use a Breast Pump

Each model may have a specific direction unique to it, which is why it is best to read its manual first. However, some general things that you must know in using a breast pump involve the following:

  • Check if you have the right flange size. You can also moisten the flange itself with water to create a good seal. 
  • Your nipple must be in the center of the flange before you start pumping.
  • Start with a low suction level. Most pumps on the market mimic a baby’s suction rhythm, which involves 2 phases; stimulation and expression.
  • After each use, make sure that you clean your pump. Closed system pumps are easier to clean because it has a barrier between the pump mechanism and the collected milk.
  • Pay attention to the pump parts that are in contact with the milk and your breast. Clean and scrub them with hot water and liquid soap and then air dry. You should also check if the unit you have is dishwasher safe to save time.

How to Store Breast Milk 

First, fill your milk bottles only three-quarters full. The reason for this allowance is because frozen milk can expand. You should also never freeze milk in large quantities as they will be difficult to thaw.

You can store freshly expressed milk for as long as 4 hours in room temperature. Keep in mind that they must be away from any sources of heat. If you put your milk in the fridge, its lifespan can last up to 4 days. But if you want a longer preservation period, you can opt to put your stash in the freezer for as long as 6 months. Pro tip: Label each milk bottle to keep track on which you should use first.