How to Navigate These 3 Challenges of Family Planning

The challenges faced by families in the modern era can be enormous, especially the process of planning. Balancing work life, managing interpersonal relationships of all family members and overcoming health issues related to fertility can all place burdens on parents-to-be and their children. Fortunately, with the right amount of planning and a bit of mental toughness, these challenges can be overcome. Here are a few of the most common issues facing families and some tips on how to deal with them.

Children Who Don’t Want Another Sibling

There can be several reasons why a young child may not want a little brother or sister. One of the most common of these might be the expectation of loss, which includes loss of attention, loss of access to resources, etc. Jealousy is, in fact, one of the most prevalent human emotions and is not limited to children. Research has shed some light on the psychological factors that cause jealousy in children who may be wary of another sibling joining the family. Ways to prevent this include a focus on increasing the connection between parent and child prior to and after introducing a new family member, encouraging laughter, which releases feel-good hormones in your child, and taking the time to assure your older child that he or she is needed and appreciated.


Women in the western world face fertility issues frequently. This can be due to age, health conditions, diet, stress and other factors. Many health professionals specialize in helping couples struggling to conceive. Strategies such as tracking ovulation and lifestyle modifications, as well as taking medication, can help. Sometimes, though, naturally conceiving a child is simply not possible. In these instances, couples may consider procedures such as egg donation. This refers to the process of taking an egg from a donor and implanting it into the mother’s ovaries. Although egg donation is an involved and often expensive process, it is a viable alternative to natural conception. According to Baby Steps, egg donation can be a six-month process or more, so couples should take time constraints into consideration if they are interested in this option.

Balancing Work Life

Women who have established careers often face difficult choices. Choosing between a career and a new family can be a tough decision. Increasingly, families rely on dual incomes to make ends meet, and personal accounts of work-life balance struggles are well-documented. Many people report that managing time throughout the day is a major contributor to stress and burnout, which can be even more difficult to manage with a new baby. Communication between members of the family is essential to maintaining harmony and a sense of common purpose. Proper financial planning is a major tool for preventing conflict and reducing stress in a new family. Discussing priorities in terms of family life versus career can go a long way in protecting the long-term mental health of all family members. Creating and sticking to a family schedule can also help organize time and prevent conflict.

Many resources are available online to help cope with the challenges faced by parents and their children, and counseling with a trained professional is sometimes necessary. However, these obstacles can be overcome with dedication and perseverance when everyone is on the same page.
Parenting is no easy task. If you need more advice, check out some of our other articles!

How Parenting Style Affects Your Child’s Brain

The nature versus nurture argument has been around almost as long as parenting. Does how you parent affect your child’s brain, or is your child already wired to react to life a certain way? It turns out that parenting style does affect a child’s brain in many ways, giving parents more influence than you may imagine.


Resilience is something parents want their kids to have, so they can survive in a world where they won’t always win. However, raising resilient kids means letting them try and fail, something that makes many parents nervous. Young people need to know that it’s OK to fail or lose and that everything that doesn’t go as planned won’t break them. This is how true resilience is built. Parents who encourage their kids to try and help them learn from failures help their children learn resilience and teach them to reframe failure as an opportunity to learn and try again. If you try to keep your kids from failing or taking any type of risks, there is no opportunity for them to learn how to be resilient, which will impact them throughout their lives.

Physical Safety

Kids need to be physically active, but what you may not know is that more than their bodies benefit when they exercise. Playing games, walking or other physical activity improves mental and brain health and overall attitude in kids. It’s also good for kids to play physically and create their own games using their imaginations to develop confidence and independence. It is important to give kids a certain amount of freedom when it comes to physical play, but it’s also important to make sure they are safe. Helmets and gear should be worn when appropriate, and kids shouldn’t engage in activities that put them at a high risk for brain injuries. Serious concussions may result in traumatic brain injuries, which can have severe long-term effects.

Be Authoritative

Parents should guide their children, teach them lessons and help them grow. This is considered an authoritative form of parenting, and it has many advantages. Kids who are raised by parents who are consistent and loving and seek to guide as opposed to punish have higher confidence and aren’t as likely to suffer from depression. Their brains benefit from being raised in a safe environment where discipline is valued over punishment.

Authoritarian parents, by contrast, simply want to coerce their kids to obey even if that means punishment. Kids raised by authoritarian parents are more likely to suffer from depression and not think as much of themselves. What you do as a parent affects your child’s development, and that is a good thing since you can have a positive influence over your child’s future.

Please check out my other parenting blogs here!

Need to Make Your Home More Handicap-Accessible? Start With These Changes

Your ability to age in place while enjoying full use of your home may be a challenge if you have stairs. In fact, in many homes, the only place to shower is on the second floor. If you’re in a cast, a wheelchair, or simply no longer comfortable on the stairs, you may need to move quickly to be able to reach your bathroom and bed. Consider making changes to your home now so you won’t be in a rush or have to make hard decisions.

Convert Front Steps Into a Wheelchair Ramp

Removing the front steps on your home and building a wheelchair ramp can make your home accessible no matter the injuries or health concerns you may face. When designing your wheelchair ramp be sure to work with a licensed contractor to stay within code and to make sure your ramp will stand the test of time. In addition, consider how the person most in need of the ramp leaves or enters the house. Does the move from the house to the garage to get into their vehicle in climate control, or are they picked up on the driveway? You may need to invest in a driveway update, so the wheelchair user has a friendly surface when they leave the ramp.

Install a Stair Lift or Elevator

When you or a loved one are no longer safe climbing stairs, it may be time to install a stair lift. These tools hug close to the wall and may require you to take out the handrail. The person in need of transport simply belts themselves in, rides up the stair lift and is able to swivel and stand on the second floor. Stairs are a common cause of trip and fall injuries, especially for senior adults. Because such a stumble can be catastrophic to their ability to stay in their homes, investing in a stair lift can be a great investment. Elevators are also an option, but the renovation to install an elevator is quite invasive and expensive; stair lifts are the more affordable option.

Doorways and Bathrooms

If you’re ready to install a stair lift, it’s probably time to think about widening doorways and renovating bathrooms. While both of these repairs can be costly, messy and invasive, creating beautiful and accessible bathrooms is a repair that can greatly benefit your disabled friends and family. If you’re thinking about a renovation, consider adding a no-lip shower so a shower chair can be rolled in later.

You may be thinking about downsizing into a house where everything is on one level. However, if you love your home and your neighborhood, it is possible to make changes to your existing home that will make aging in place a better option.

Parenting is no easy task, so let us help you with some things we have learned!

Why a Good Night’s Sleep Is the Most Important Thing You Can Have

The importance of a good’s night sleep cannot be overstated. Sufficient levels of quality sleep are just as important as eating right and exercise when it comes to your overall health and quality of life. Here are three functions that prove the importance of a solid night of rest each night.

The Health Benefits

The many health benefits of solid sleep are too vast to list in their entirety. Most adults need a full eight hours of sleep to function at optimal levels. While many people think that they can mask inadequate sleep with copious amounts of caffeine, this is never a good long-term solution. Taking care to receive the recommended eight hours of sleep each night can boost your immune system, improve athletic performance, reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, promote healthier blood sugar levels and decrease the amount of inflammation in your body.

Makes You Safer

A well-rested person is a more alert and aware person. Getting enough sleep improves cognitive function, reflexes, productivity and performance. This awareness keeps you safer in a variety of life situations such as driving. While drowsy driving is more common in teens, the dangers of it apply to everyone. It is important to remember that coffee isn’t a fix. The better approach is to be committed to getting enough sleep each night so that you can feel confident taking to the road knowing that you are alert and aware.

Helps to Ward Off Depression

Getting adequate sleep each night can go a long way in helping to ward off depression or other mental health issues. Anxiety and depression are strongly linked to poor sleeping habits. Many people who have been diagnosed with depression report that they have problems sleeping. Once you get in a depressive cycle, it becomes even more difficult to get to sleep. Keeping a regular bedtime routine can help you to fall asleep easier and keep a host of mental health issues at bay. 

Almost everyone wishes that they had more hours in the day. However, your sleep time is not what you want to sacrifice to get more accomplished. Getting a full night’s rest will ensure that you have the health, energy, and mental awareness to be more productive and happier in life. A good night’s sleep is simply the best investment of your time.

Want to learn more? Check out more great content from the Ceri Clark blog: 

How to Help Your Kid Be Friends With Everyone

It’s important to raise your child to be friendly, compassionate, and caring. Some children just tend to be less socially comfortable than others. As a parent, that’s when we step in to help. As role models and parents, there are steps we can take to teach our children how to be friends with everyone. This will help them succeed throughout their lives in many aspects of their lives; creating a social circle that will be a great support system.

Teach Them Not to Be Afraid

There’s really no reason to be afraid of new people. While not everyone is nice and has your best interests in mind, there is nothing wrong with introducing yourself to new people. Teach your child how to shake someone’s hand, say hello and introduce themselves. They can learn how to ask details about a person, learn about their culture, etc. Stranger danger is something we often teach, and this is a process that can often scare a child from every new person they meet. Talk about the differences between strangers and being friends with new people.

Teach Them How to Talk Properly

You’ll want to make sure you teach your child how to talk properly with other children. For example, when talking to someone with a disability, there are some things not to say that your child should know about. There are many different demographics of people that you should teach your child about. You don’t want your child to judge other people unfairly. Teach your child that there are many different people in the world. Just because someone is a different race, makes a certain amount of money or works a certain job, that doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to them. Teach your child tolerance within their social circle.

Conversation Topics

One of the hardest things to learn is how to start a conversation and how to keep one going. Teach your child how to talk about themselves, but teach your child how they can ask someone details about their own life. Once they find something that is a common favorite, they can proceed with the conversation that way.

A good way that your child can learn to be friends with everyone is by seeing how you act around people. Essentially, you need to practice what you preach. Show your child that you can be friendly, tolerant and caring. Introduce yourself to people, treat them properly and be friends with neighbours, co-workers, etc.

Here’s another article we think you’ll like:

Why Moms Should Limit Their Kids’ Caffeine Intake

How to Turn Your Trip into a Hassle-Free Experience

Taking a trip with friends or family can be an exceptional event, and planning an upcoming trip should be as stress-free as possible. You can make it happen when you plan accordingly and ahead of time. The following are some key factors to take into consideration the next time you are preparing for a great vacation.

Make Sure Your Car is in Good Shape

Check out your vehicle before you start your trip in order to clear up a potential source of stress. Whether it’s a road trip across this incredible country or a four-hour drive to the airport, your car’s condition must be taken into serious consideration. If it’s been a while since your last maintenance check, you may be vulnerable to an engine seizing, or a tire blowing out, or a radiator overheating, or any number of common maintenance issues that can be dangerous and turn your vacation into a headache.

Plan for Security Lines

Security lines are one of the stressful but necessary things in our lives. We can’t avoid having to stop at a security line, but we can make sure to make it as stress-free as possible. Those catching a plane must go through a series of security checkpoints where you will be asked to open bags and remove clothing. The best way to make this process as hassle-free as possible is to be prepared. Be ready to open up your bags, have your jackets off and folded and have electronics placed on top of your luggage as they are often the most searched. You can even run into security lines at theme parks, concerts, historical sites and other major vacation destinations. Checking the most popular times before planning your visit can help you avoid excessive delays.

Use Short-Term Vacation Rentals

Booking a hotel for five or six people for multiple nights can be a very expensive hit on your budget. Consider looking into booking a short-term vacation rentals instead to save money and enjoy a more flexible and comfortable experience. Renting a home for a week or two that can hold your entire family can cost less while offering perks like a kitchen and greater privacy.

Trips with family and friends should be as hassle-free as possible. Be proactive in your approach to the planning phase of the trip for the best results. These recommendations can help you to relax and enjoy an incredible experience.

Looking for more travel tips? Read this next: Baby Care Anywhere: 4 Tips for Parenting on the Go

Why Moms Should Limit Their Kids’ Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is something that many people use on a daily basis to keep themselves alert and awake. Many children have begun to consume caffeine by way of sodas and caffeine-packed sports drinks. While you might not think that your child is affected by the amount of caffeine they are consuming, there are some negative effects that you might want to think about before you continuously provide caffeine to youngsters. Let’s take a look at why moms should limit their kids’ caffeine intake.

It Can Cause Anxiety and Mood Swings

Caffeine can cause your body to have a large upswing in energy. When that caffeine wears off, the result is a large drop-off of energy. When a young child’s body experiences such drastic highs and lows, it can lead to them feeling very panicky or anxious. This isn’t an emotion that a child should have to experience at such a young age. It can set them up for anxious feelings for the rest of their life.

It’s Addictive

Caffeine is completely legal, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a substance you can become addicted to. You don’t want a child to begin life with such an addiction. Some industries have a very serious stimulant abuse problem that originates from caffeine. Using it in the morning to wake up and get going is enough to trigger that desire each and every morning. It’s not a healthy or good feeling to be so dependent on anything each day.

Children Are More Sensitive to Caffeine

It might take two to three cups of coffee each morning for an adult to finally feel as though they are awake and ready to go. Children are much more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. They can start to feel jittery or anxious with just a few sips of coffee or soda that has caffeine in it. It’s ok to have a little cup of soda with caffeine in it at a party once in a while if that’s all that is available. However, this shouldn’t become a daily beverage choice for a child.

If your child shows negative effects from consuming caffeine, it is probably a good idea to completely remove caffeine from their diet. You’ll want to pay close attention to what they are drinking. There are plenty of caffeine-free options that they can enjoy just as much.

For more information about changes you can make to your family’s diet, take a look at this other article on how to transition to a vegan diet!

Vegan Nutrition During Pregnancy: What Vegan Moms-to-Be Need to Know

It is incredibly important to eat healthily and take care of yourself when you are pregnant. After all, you have another human being inside of you that are counting on you for those nine months of pregnancy. People assume that being vegan will affect pregnancy in a negative way. As long as you pay close attention to your diet and the vitamins that you are supplementing with, you can very easily manage pregnancy and can still be vegan. Let’s take a closer look at pregnancy and nutrition and how it affects being a vegan who is expecting a child.

Make Sure You Hit All Your Nutrient Needs

You can still be vegan, there are a number of vitamins and nutrients that you need in order to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. For instance, folic acid is something that is incredibly important during the first trimester. It prevents conditions like spina bifida. You also want to make sure that you’re getting enough iron. Anemia can negatively affect your baby. It can also cause you to feel more run down and nauseas than you already are. Also, improper nutrition has been cited as a cause of premature birth.

Shifting Your Diet

If you’re craving foods that are outside of your typical vegan diet and you feel comfortable, feel free to indulge once in a while. If you are planning on sticking to your vegan diet strictly, you’ll want to make sure you’re working certain food groups into your diet. You’ll need plenty of protein from beans, soy, etc. Your prenatal vitamin probably has a good dose of iron and B vitamins, but you can also get these things from natural sources like green, leafy vegetables. Calcium won’t come from milk and dairy products for you but get your fill from citrus fruits.

Don’t Let People Make You Feel Guilty

People who don’t understand your vegan lifestyle may criticize you while you’re pregnant. Even if you haven’t asked for their opinion, they may express to you that they are worried you’re not giving the baby what he or she needs. You can simply let them know you are paying close attention to your diet and making sure you’re eating all the major nutrients that are needed during pregnancy.

If you have questions about how you can manage a vegan lifestyle while you are pregnant, you can speak to your OBGYN or a nutritionist. A professional will be able to help you design a meal plan that works for you during these nine months.

4 Fun Ideas for Your Next Family Vacation

The family vacation is always a highlight of the year. To ensure that everyone in your family comes away with amazing memories, be sure to choose a destination that is fun for all ages. Here are four ideas to help get you started as you begin planning your next family vacation.

Disneyland Paris

It is no wonder that Disneyland Paris is such a popular vacation destination for families in the UK. Not only is it just a train ride away, but this theme park mecca also delivers a magical time to all of its lucky visitors. Your children will delight in meeting all of their favorite Disney characters, taking in the daily parades and fireworks shows, and riding all of their favorite attractions in this fairytale setting.

Enjoy the Ocean

While most people think of Hawaii when they think of America’s best beaches, the Gulf Coast actually boasts an abundance of stunning coastline. While visiting this idyllic region, you can check out some of the ocean-themed parks the Gulf Coast has to offer. Travellers of all ages will delight in the opportunity to get up close and personal with marine life at the Ocean Adventures Theme Park in Gulfport, Mississippi and the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

New York City

This American city has no match in this world. A trip to the Big Apple should be on every family’s bucket list. Kids will marvel at the noise and energy of Times Square just as much as you will appreciate the chance to burn off energy in gorgeous Central Park. Take in a Broadway show, sample some classic New York pizza, and soar to the top of the Empire State Building all in one day. There is enough to keep you busy for weeks in this bustling city.

All-Inclusive Mexico Resort

An all-inclusive beach vacation in Mexico is a true treat for every member of the family. Children will love the chance to splash in the ocean and enjoy the kids’ activities while adults will appreciate the opportunity to truly relax and rejuvenate. You will not even need to worry about leaving the tranquil grounds of your resort when you choose the all-inclusive option.

Wherever you decide to spend your next holiday, you are sure to create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. The most important thing is that you are together, relaxed, and having fun.

If you’re going to be travelling with a baby, here are some great tips for parenting babies on the go!

Got a Hot Date? Here’s How to Pull Out All the Stops for an Up Market Night Out

Dating, especially when it’s for the first time with someone new, can be terrifying. That’s because you don’t know this person very well yet. You’re unaware of their likes and dislikes. That’s what dating is, after all, getting to know someone and finding out if they’re interested in you. In order to land a second date, you’ll need to pull out all the stops. You’ll want to be stylish and charming and show that you put some effort into the occasion. Women love to see that a man is invested. Here’s how you impress her.

The Clothes

Being nicely dressed for a date is crucial. That’s because it shows a woman you put time and thought into getting ready. You don’t have to pull out a suit and tie. According to Art of Charm, you should let her know you put some effort into your appearance because you wanted to look good for her. The clothes you choose will depend on where you intend to go, but even if you’re just grabbing drinks at a pub, you need to dress stylishly. A woman will look at every aspect of your outfit from your shoes to your sunglasses, so don’t skimp on any part of it. Either a nice pair of slacks or jeans is a suitable look for a first date. Combine that with a good shirt. If it’s chilly, a denim or leather jacket (unless she’s vegan!) is appropriate. Better yet, consider a sports coat. You should also pay attention to the little things like shoes, cologne, and accessories. Small added touches like a nice watch or a pair of sunglasses can make a big difference.

The Transportation

Women love to be treated like a princess by the man who is courting them. You can enhance a date is by paying special attention to the transportation. A limo service will help you impress the lady. According to Callahan’s, limos can be safer than other transportation options. You can show her that you truly put some planning into the evening by finding a chauffeur to safely drive you both to your destination. You also won’t have to worry about walking around at night to retrieve your car or locate a taxi. Having someone else drive also gives the two of you time alone to get to know each other. Limos are comfortable and private. They will take you directly to the front door of your destination. They’re perfect if the two of you are going to a play, an opera, or an upscale restaurant. When you’re ready to say goodnight, your limo will drop your companion off at her front door, assuring she arrives home safely and in style.

Above all else, a woman simply wants to see that a man made an effort. It shows that he cares about her and about the date. Dressing stylishly and renting a limo are two ways to let her know you’re invested in the courtship.

Another way to impress a woman is to show her how you can cook. Check out these other articles on food for inspiration!

How to Make Bugs Hate Your House

Bugs make a way into our homes using a variety of methods. Though there are pesticide companies that claim to exterminate them, many people want to use simpler, safer options to get rid of indoor pests. One of the best ways to fix a pest problem is to make your house as inhospitable to them as possible. Luckily, this doesn’t require poisons or huge amounts of cash. Following a few simple steps will help you create a home that pests don’t want to go near.

Do the Dishes

Pests love food. That’s why leaving dishes covered in crumbs or caked-on food in the kitchen for any period of time is inviting a pest problem. An easy fix is to do the dishes as soon as a meal is over. If you own a dishwasher, rinse and place dishes in the dishwasher after you eat to keep insects from being attracted to your home. Leaving dishes in the sink or on the counters overnight gives pests plenty of time to sniff out food remains and invade. Once they are in the house, it’s difficult to get rid of them. Start a dishes-after-meal routine to avoid bugs altogether.

Clean with Vinegar

Insects don’t like vinegar, and that’s enough of a reason to embrace it as a tool for cleaning the house. Ants especially don’t like it when vinegar has been sprayed in a home, so using it to wipe down counters, spray windows, and clean doorknobs will keep these creatures away. Due to a renewed interest in cleaning with natural products, it’s possible to find recipes everywhere that will tell you exactly what to mix with vinegar to make it a strong cleaner and a pest deterrent. Baking soda and lemon are good choices, and a diluted vinegar cleaner saves money on both cleaning products and exterminators.

Deep Clean Regularly

Deep cleaning may not be your favorite hobby, but if you want to see fewer pests roaming your home, it’s absolutely necessary. Regular deep cleaning of the more obscure areas in your house can discourage pest infestations. It also keeps pest invasions that have started under control before they become unmanageable. Many pests like to congregate in the areas of your home that you touch the least often. For example, German cockroaches are often found in dark, warm, humid areas close to sources of food and moisture. Many bugs will retreat to the nooks and crannies of the kitchen when an exterminator puts out traps. They aren’t gone, simply waiting to reemerge when they feel safe. Keeping these areas clean will take away the safe haven these pests depend on and make your house inhospitable for bugs.

Keeping bugs out of your house may seem challenging, but it is very possible with a little bit of effort. Small changes can make a drastic difference when trying to keep bugs at bay. They are house guests that no one wants, so make your home as uninviting to them as possible.

If you’d like to stick to environmentally friendly methods to get rid of your pests, check out these 3 tricks to make your spring cleaning better for the environment!

3 Amazing Gift Ideas for a Child Who Loves Star Wars

The Star Wars franchise has fans of all ages and interests. You can make your child smile from ear to ear by incorporating their favorite Star Wars characters into a special gift perfect for any occasion. Here are three gift ideas for the child who loves Star Wars.

Celebrate the Stars Wars Way  

What better way to celebrate a special occasion than with a Star Wars themed party? The possibilities of fun are endless with this versatile theme. Party games involving lightsabers are always a hit with the younger kids. Or create a unique balloon bouquet designed to resemble lightsabers. It is easy to plan a menu with Star Wars food and drink. For example, a little blue food coloring in almond milk helps recreate the famous milk from the movies.


Taking your child to Disneyland to visit the new Galaxy’s Edge land will be a dream come true for any Star Wars fan. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens May 31st, 2019, and is expected to have a large crowd. Be sure to get a jump start on the planning so that you can secure your reservation. For the first few months of its opening, Disneyland will require a separate entrance ticket with a window of time in which you can visit. The new addition is designed to be a truly immersive experience. This new area boasts two new attractions, interactive shopping opportunities, fun activities, and special food and drinks options. Stepping into this land will make your child feel as if they entered an entirely new galaxy of fantasy and fun.

Star Wars Room Makeover

A bedroom makeover that incorporates the Star Wars theme is an ideal present for any occasion. Part of the fun is getting your child involved in the decision-making process. Together you can scour the internet for ideas and then make your list of ways that you want to carry the theme through the room. There is an abundance of fun ways to turn any bedroom into a galaxy far far away. This is a gift that your child will truly enjoy for years to come.

This expansive theme makes it easy to celebrate in a big way. Your little Star Wars enthusiast will be delighted in any of these three ideas, designed to make them feel special by incorporating all of their favorite characters into the celebration.

Looking for the perfect book to give to your child for their birthday? Children of the Elementi is the perfect middle grade novel for sci-fi lovers!

3 Tips for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet

Transitioning to a vegan diet can have a range of different mental and health benefits, while it also helps the planet and helps save animals. However, the transition can be difficult for some. Below, you will find 3 tips on how to easily transition to a wholesome, good-for-you vegan diet.

Cookbooks Are Your New Best Friend

One of the hardest things about transitioning to a vegan diet is learning to cook meals in a whole new way. That’s why cookbooks will be your best friend. While a vegan diet may seem limiting at first, there is actually a wealth of different options and recipes out there for you to try. Before you begin transitioning, find some good cookbooks that can give ideas on the different kinds of vegan meals you can make for yourself. Urban Taste Bud has a list of a few recommended vegan cookbooks you might consider trying out. These cookbooks will also give ideas about how to use vegan ingredients in fresh and innovative ways.

It might be a good idea to choose vegan cookbooks which has foods that you already eat int hem. For example, pies, curries, macaroni cheese etc. These usually taste much better than their pre-made counterparts from the store and it helps to prevent you becoming a ‘junk food vegan’. This is a trap that I have fallen into a few times but as I know that I can make the food better myself, I always get back on the healthy vegan wagon – eventually…

Use Vitamins if Necessary

The one thing you should be aware of is that you may need to substitute your diet with vitamins after you transition to a vegan diet, often new vegans will make the mistake of not supplementing with vitamins. One of the vitamins that most vegan take is B12, as this vitamin is commonly and mostly found in animal products. A lack of B12 can cause anemia and nervous system damage. Most other vitamins can come from whole foods, including all those fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes you’re eating anyway. According to ASEA, whole-food sources are a better source of nutrition because they consist of key vitamins that synthetic sources do not, and they naturally work better with your body.

The Vegan Society have a multivitamin called Veg1 that contains all the essential vitamins that vegans can fall short of which include, D3, B2, B6, B12, Folic Acid, Selenium and Iodine. It a good insurance policy to make sure that the basics are covered. These can be bought on Amazon but it sometimes pays to shop around:

Take Your Time

Depending on your personality, transitioning into a vegan lifestyle can be difficult. For one, you are changing most, if not all, of your eating habits, and your lifestyle will experience a great shift. Often new vegans will make the mistake of transitioning too quickly. Transitioning will take time, effort, and a fair bit of education. Don’t feel bad. It takes time to completely eliminate certain things from your diet, like dairy products. Instead, be happy with the small changes and choices you make each day that gets you closer to being 100% vegan. Over time, with dedication, you will get there.

If you are feeling side effects like skin problems, don’t worry this is your body getting used to a new diet. It should pass. However, if you are feeling unwell for a longer period of time, have a chat with your doctor. It may be nothing to do with veganism but you may have an intolerance/allergy to something you didn’t realise you had before or you could just be unlucky and are unwell. Basically, it could be something or nothing and sometimes you just need to be checked out by a health professional. Doctors are paid megabucks for a reason and if nothing else they’ll be able to put your mind at rest.

By investing in vegan cookbooks, making sure you get the right vitamins for your body, and by taking your time, you can make an easy transition to the vegan lifestyle and diet.

3 Little Known Oral Health Concerns in Kids

Despite strides in overall healthcare for children, oral health continues to lag in many areas. This often-neglected health issue can lead to a host of serious problems if it’s not taken seriously. Here are three little-known oral health concerns in children and what you need to know as a parent to properly diagnose and treat them.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

The American Dental Association explains that parents of infants need to be informed about the dangers of baby bottle tooth decay. Also called early childhood caries, this condition occurs when sugars from drinks like fruit juices, milk, and formula sit on the child’s teeth for an extended amount of time. Because bacteria in the mouth feed on these sugars, tooth decay is often a result.

To prevent this condition, be sure to clean the child’s teeth after each feeding thoroughly. Do not ever dip pacifiers or bottle nipples in sugar or honey to make it more palatable for the infant. Paediatricians recommend that children transition from using a bottle to a sippy cup by their first birthday.

Oral Thrush

This condition presents with creamy white lesions on the tongue or inner cheeks. Invasive cases of thrush can spread to the back of the throat, the roof of the mouth, and gums. Breastfed babies can pass the condition back and forth to their mothers through nursing.

Oral thrush clears up in about two weeks, although it can take longer in some cases. The proliferation of Candida albicans fungi on the lining of the mouth causes this condition, so the probiotics in yoghurt can prove helpful in clearing up the issue. However keep in mind that yoghurt should not be used as a replacement for prescribed medication.

Early Tooth Loss

Although you may think that caring for baby teeth is no big deal, premature tooth loss can come with a host of issues. Children can lose their teeth early for a variety of reasons, including tooth decay, lack of jaw space, and acute injury.

Murfreesboro Family Dentistry explains that without these baby teeth acting as placeholders in their proper positions, adult teeth might come in crooked or misaligned. If your child loses a tooth earlier than expected, it is essential to go to the dentist to inquire about space maintainers.

It is critical to remember that the teeth are still there even if you cannot see them. Whether it be baby teeth or adult teeth ready to erupt, it is vital to treat the whole mouth with preventative measures to ensure the best oral health for your child.

Concerned about your child’s health? Read this one next: Why We Stopped Using Amazon Prime Video

4 Hidden Health Hazards Threatening Your Home and Family

Homes are a sanctuary from the outside world where you can always feel safe. Most of the time, this is true. However, you want to make sure you keep it that way, especially for your children. As much as you might not want to think about it, there are intruders to be aware of. Oftentimes, they are already with you but are hidden from view. These are four possible hazardous intruders in your home and what you can do to eradicate them.


Mold might be growing in areas of your home you might never discover unless you do a little bit of inspection. Furthermore, when it dries, mold tends to break apart and become airborne.

Window sills are often subjected to dampness from precipitation, and they only get good airflow during the summer if the windows are open. Make sure to wipe off any moisture as often as possible and to clean the window tracks.

Air & Allergy old, peeling wallpaper likely has mold that has started underneath where you can’t see it. If you wish to have wallpaper on your walls, first apply treatment with a mold-resistant primer, and avoid using wallpaper in basements or bathrooms, which tend to be damp.

If you have any kind of water leakages in your ceiling, mold could be developing in your attic. You want to check your attic periodically for mold, and make sure that you have proper air vents. Have any leaks repaired immediately.

Water from cement floors or wet crawl areas can quickly travel to your carpet pad and, at some point, your carpet. Make sure to vacuum your carpet at least once a week, and have it professionally cleaned periodically.

Dust Mites

Surprisingly, used mattresses and pillows are storehouses of fungi and dust mites that can create major health issues for individuals, especially children, with allergies and immunodeficiency issues.

A study from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom found that there are typically as many as 110 mites per gram of mattress dust. The use of hypoallergenic pillows and bed covers will help solve this hazard. Also, depending on air humidity, allergen and dust mite collections may vary. Make sure your room is dry, and use a dehumidifier if needed.

Airborne Chemicals

Nowadays it is common sense to install safety latches on cabinets to keep children from ingesting dangerous cleaning products. However, when these products are used, the airborne particles merge with dust particles and settle on floors and other surfaces, which is especially dangerous for babies and small children who play on the floor.

ASEA explains that toxins and the air we breathe can negatively affect our health, even on the cellular level. Many research studies have reported that a vast range of chemicals used daily makes the indoors a haven for dangerous chemicals linked to cancers and other health hazards. To solve this problem, experts advise switching out poisonous cleaning items with safer, more ecologically friendly choices.

Antibacterial Soaps

It’s easy to think that antibacterial soaps and cleansers successfully prevent the spread of germs; however, there is no scientific evidence favoring these cleansers over any others. In fact, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlawed sales of antiseptic products containing triclosan and another damaging antimicrobial, triclocarban.

Even so, the FDA’s restriction doesn’t include hand sanitizers or wipes, and triclosan is still an approved ingredient in some toothpaste. Check your personal care products for phthalates; these chemicals are frequently used in shampoos, hair sprays, aftershaves, and nail polishes. They are connected to reproductive problems.

While these hazards do exist in your home, there is no need to live in panic. If you take some precautions and opt for eco-friendly products, you and your family will live a safe and healthy life.

Here’s another article about house and home we think you’ll find interesting!

3 Tricks to Make Your Spring Cleaning Environmentally Friendly

Now that spring is in the air, people are thinking about tackling some heavy-duty cleaning projects. Unfortunately, cleaning your home can be harmful to the environment, and that is a problem if you are trying to be as eco-friendly as possible. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can use to clean your home without using toxic products and wasteful practices.

Be Mindful of Water Waste

You might be wasting thousands of gallons of water every year without even realizing it, and some of that waste could be the result of your cleaning habits. According to Home Water Works, the best way to conserve water while cleaning is to upgrade to a high-efficiency washing machine and dishwasher. Some studies have revealed that those devices can reduce your water consumption by as much as 6,000 gallons a year. You should also make sure that all of your faucets remain off until you need to use them. Even a low-flow faucet could waste well over one gallon of water per minute.

Use Essential Oils as Cleaners

There are quite a few reasons why you might want to pick up some essential oils for your spring cleaning. doTERRA points out that not only will lemon, grapefruit, and orange essential oils help get things clean, they will also boost your mood and provide you with energy throughout the day. Certain essential oils are good for keeping unwanted critters out of your home as well. When you put oils like lemongrass or thyme in a humidifier, it will deter flying insects. For other pests, you can make a homemade pest-control mixture from warm water and a few drops of peppermint oil. That homemade concoction can then be sprayed around doors, vents, windows and other openings.

Switch to Non-Toxic Cleaners

Avomeen says that many people don’t realize just how many cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals. Luckily, you can easily make your own cleaners with a few household ingredients that are completely safe. One of the best homemade cleaners is a little bit of white vinegar mixed with warm water. That cleaner can be used on streaky windows, bathroom tiles and kitchen counters. Another non-toxic cleaner that many people enjoy using is a simple blend of white vinegar and non-toxic dishwashing liquid. You can even add your favorite essential oils to those mixtures to give your home a fresh scent while you clean.

Traditional cleaning products can be expensive, damaging to the environment and harmful to your family. With a little bit of ingenuity and some elbow grease, you can clean every inch of your home in an environmentally friendly way.

Looking for more guides to simplify your life? Check out Ceri Clark’s handy selection here.

3 Fun & Unique Outdoor Party Game Ideas for Kids

Ah, childhood. Home to many different festive occasions, from Christmas, Easter, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, school concerts, to other school events. There are, of course, birthday parties too. All these are important events that create great childhood memories for your youngster. Naturally, not just any birthday party will do. In order for it to be a fun event for everyone involved, you also need to have a whole host of great games for everyone to play. Consider some of these suggestions for great games:

Find the Gummy Bears

One really unique game that your kids will have great fun playing would be to find the gummy bears. Part of the appeal of this game would be the fact that it is hilariously funny and messy, two things that all kids love. First of all, you need to gather up your materials, which will be either canned whipped cream or cool whip, gummy bears, and a plate for each of the participants.

The object of the game is to retrieve three gummy bears hidden within a mountain of whipped cream on that plate. The twist is this: the use of hands are not allowed! This is one of the reasons why your party-going kids will enjoy it so much. It’s also a great game where you won’t have to mess with too much safety equipment.

Source: Party Game Central

Archery Tag

In order to have your kids play archery tag, the first thing you need to do is acquire some foam tipped arrows that can be fired like real bows and arrows. The materials are definitely safe for indoors and outdoors, safety equipment isn’t required but can be used, and the bow and arrows can be used in a number of different games. For example, your kids can play in a dodgeball-style tournament, with a full round lasting only 8 minutes. Thus, the game can be played quickly, and cleanup is a breeze.

Source: Hop N Party

Balloon Stomp

Balloon Stomp is a fun game where your kids basically have to stomp their way to victory. You attach two balloons to each child and tie them with a string. After that, the game is similar to musical chairs as the children walk around in a circle. However, it gets really fun when the music stops. They then have to try to stomp their friends’ balloons. This is definitely a game that will get the kids moving, laughing, and generally just having a great time.

Source: Push2Play

These games all have a number of advantages that they bring to the table. Each one of them is sure to evoke fond memories for each of the young participants!

Everyone loves coloring, so why not check out our coloring books too?

5 Parenting Tips to Keep Your Kids Away from Drugs Forever

Keeping a child drug-free begins in the home, yet many parents don’t know how to keep their children away from illicit substances. Today’s parents probably grew up with the “Just Say No” campaign that was a part of the war on drugs, but that didn’t take into account how complicated drug abuse and addiction can really be.

You obviously know your children better than anybody else, but you can still keep these five tips in mind if you need some extra help.

Model Positive Behavior

You can tell your children that drugs are dangerous and why they should stay away from them, but that doesn’t do a lot of good if you have a substance abuse problem yourself. Having an addiction isn’t entirely your fault, but you should still seek treatment for yourself if you don’t want to look like a hypocrite. The same goes for any other potentially risky behaviors that you might engage in. Your children will do as you do and not as you say, so make sure that your behavior remains positive.


Open Your Home to Your Child’s Friends

Young people often begin using drugs because of their peers, but you cannot control who your child keeps as friends all the time. What you can do is open your home to them and be involved in their lives. This will not only allow you to keep track of which ones might lead your child to risky behaviors, but you might become a positive role model to someone besides your own children.


Don’t Let Kids Self-Medicate

When we tell you not to let children self-medicate, we mean more than just allow them to take medicine on their own. Self-medication can take many forms, from staring at a smartphone at all times to playing too many video games in order to escape from school stress or bullying. Anything that can be used as a coping mechanism has the potential to become an addiction. It can lead to substance abuse problems for those with an addictive personality.

Encourage Extracurriculars

Children and teens who participate in extracurricular activities such as sports are less likely to engage in substance abuse. Not only does it keep them busy enough to prevent them from seeking out drugs and alcohol, but it gives them an outlet for their energy and creativity and allows them to better socialize with their peers. Speak with your child about any sports or other activities they might find interesting. If their activity of choice isn’t offered through their school, there is bound to be an opportunity to get involved with it elsewhere in your community.


Be Open and Honest

Part of the reason why so many anti-drug programs fail is because they aren’t always honest with children and teens about what substance abuse is about. They often try too hard to scare children away from drugs simply by saying how bad they are, but they don’t always go into details about their effects. If you really want your children to stay away from drugs, let them know what happens when they are used, both the “good” and the bad. If you don’t know, then take some time to educate yourself.


Overall, the best way to keep children away from drugs is to keep on communicating with them. Some of them may make the wrong choices occasionally, but they will stand a much better chance if they are provided with knowledge from an understanding adult.

Here’s another article talking about parenting we think you’ll find interesting.

Why We Stopped Using Amazon Prime Video

Child watching television

We’ve been having a bit of a problem with the old television lately. It’s not that it’s gone kaput or anything although it does have a few gremlins, (it seems to be crashing a lot). However, this is not what this post is about. Our adorable little six year old has discovered narrated video games on Amazon Prime Video.

I have made my peace with him playing games. I see a lot of benefits from him playing these on the PlayStation. From his hand-eye coordination, his problem solving, strategic thinking and even his reading but I see no benefit from him watching other people playing games on the television. There is one caveat, I don’t mind him watching the Minecraft Videos with Stampy Cat as there is usually some science angle to them.

Now whenever he is given the tablet or PlayStation time he is constantly narrating what he is doing. His social skills have taken a dive and I’m a little worried. This has prompted us to ban Amazon Prime Video from our house. To be honest we don’t tend to watch it anyway. We buy Amazon Prime for the postage not the streaming service. The only thing I watched it for was Lucifer and that’s gone to Netflix so there is no point in keeping it.

Should he be having screen time at all?

Imaginative Play
Imaginative Play from

I’ve read some articles in the past that advocate cutting screen time altogether but I genuinely believe that everything is good in moderation with the obvious few exceptions, (poisons, playing chicken walking across the road etc). I really don’t mind him watching television as long as there is some educational aspect to it. This could be social or science or problem solving. It has to be something. The Stampy videos show how to program using Minecraft, Ninjago shows team work and social skills, his games are all about problem solving. These are things I can get behind. The whole video game narration thing? – not so much.

How is the absence of Amazon Prime Video going?

So how is it going? I’ve upped the reading time and I swear the tantrums have gone down a bit. My nerves are a lot better. Listening to the same inane description of game play for the fiftieth time really made me tense up with frustration. This was followed by Mario Cart and my stress levels went through the roof. It is all banned now and we are finding new ways to entertain ourselves which is leading to a happy mummy and better behaved little boy.

Should we cancel Amazon Prime?

We won’t do this simply because we need it for the postage. If Amazon were ever to unbundle the streaming service from the postage then we would stop it. We’ve removed the icon from the menu on our television so our little one can’t find it. We’ll obviously still have it but we will have to jump through a couple of hoops to get to it. By the time our son works out how to do this hopefully he will have grown out of the phase.

Takeaway Thoughts

While I honestly believe that our son should be able to do what he wants, it has to be within limits, I have to be the dragon on occasion and ban things which are unhealthy. We won’t be using Amazon Prime Video for the foreseeable future as it will be too much effort. We will probably start watching it if some amazing show comes on and our friends rave about it but apart from that the choice that comes with it appears dire (for us) and in my eyes, inappropriate for my child at least.

Annus horribilis – My 2018 year in review

I am not saying that 2018 was the worst year in my life but it was way up there for me. In an attempt for a bit of catharsis, I am going to write down what I achieved (or didn’t) last year. This was my annus horribilis!


It started off great. Sure, there was the old sniffle but hey, this is me, that is always going to happen. My eczema was behaving itself, my asthma was giving me the cccasional problems but all was going well.

Until, cue dramatic music, dum dum duuuuum! My adorable son caught chicken pox. He spent a few days at home, one day wrapped up in a duvet in front of the television and he was up and ready for school. Phew, one childhood disease out of the way, or so I thought.

A few days later I started to feel unwell, then the spots started to appear. I immediently rang my mum who assured me that I had chicken pox in primary school. Fine it can’t be that, except it was. Long story short, I was plastered in sores and ended up at my doctor’s who sent me to hospital. I then spent a week rested up in isolation treated for two types of nasty bacteria in my blood. Thanks chicken pox!

Ill and hiding. Public domain from

You’d think that would be that but for the next few months, I was in agony. Eczema and chicken pox do NOT mix. The damage was so bad it wasn’t until November that my skin cleared up. I feel as if all I did last year was feel sorry for myself which is not strictly true but this is what this blog post is all about. I’m going to see if I can turn a fail into a win!


Some of my books published in 2018

As you may have guessed from the rest of my site, my chosen and actual career lies in books. I used to be a librarian and now I create them. I do several types from fiction, to manuals, a few colouring books and now diaries and journals. All of which are helping me to keep afloat on the financial sea. So here are the books that I have published in 2018.

Children’s Activities

  • Jumbo Animal Letter Tracing (age 3+)
  • Multiplication Drills (age 8+)
  • Pocket Multiplication Drills (age 8+)


  • The Christmas Checklist

Budget Books

  • The 2019 Busy Lady’s Budget Journal
  • The Busy Bee Budget Planner 2019

Colouring Books

  • Bible Stories Coloring Book
  • Treasure Island Pirates Coloring Book


  • Meownificent Cat Diary
  • It’s a Dog’s Life 2018-2019 Diary
  • Daily Diary 2018-2019
  • Daily Diary 2019
  • 2018-2019 Masonic Diary
  • Masonic Diary 2018-2019
  • Gratitude Diary
  • 2018-2019 Dyddiadur Academaidd (Welsh language diary)
  • 2018-2019 Dyddiadur Addysg
    (Welsh language diary)
  • Get organized! (A paperback time calculator to find spare time)

Food Related

  • Cool Cats Recipe Journal
  • Family Recipe Journal
  • Pocket Food Allergy Diary


  • Cocky: The Cocker Spaniel Journal


  • A Simpler Guide to Gmail

Password Books (Disguised as other books)

  • Cocky: The Cocker Spaniel Rebellion
  • Hold Your Horses
  • For Those Goldfish Moments
  • History of Wales
  • Hogs and Kisses
  • Horsing Around
  • Made in Germany
  • Made in the USA
  • Monarch of the Glen
  • Permanent Rainbows
  • Shit I’m Always Flockin’ Forgetting
  • UK Made
  • Wolf

So there you have it 36 books in 2018. I honestly did not realise how many I made in 2018 until I collated this list for this blog post. Suddenly, 2018 doesn’t seem to be such an annus horribilis after all. Still, could have done without the chicken pox though!

What have I got planned this year?

What will 2019 bring? Who knows? I will definitely rewrite A Simpler Guide to Gmail, I have a couple of fiction books in the mix and I will have to update all the books like diaries for next year. My health is now good. I have done a clear out of my house, (more on that in a different blog post) and I really have no more excuses. This year will be a productive year. I can feel it in my bones. Let’s hope it’s not arthritis. Ahem.

So what do you think guys? Is 2019 going to be your year?