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Archive for July, 2009

Cleaning Quick Tips

July 31, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Need some help when it comes to cleaning? Well, we may not be able to hire you a cleaning service, but we can give you some motivation with these tips:

- Go through everything in the house! If you haven’t used an item in 6 months, donate it or throw it away. As you go through your items, keep two boxes or trash bags handy. Use one to keep track of the items you plan to donate, and one for the items you will throw away.

- Create designated areas in your home to hold your mail, store the kids’ backpacks, the family’s shoes, etc.

- Invest in some dual purpose furniture that functions as a storage space, for example an end table that has a removable lid or a good looking bookcase.

- Get rid of clutter in the kitchen by getting unused items off the counter. If your counter is filled with appliances you barely use (such as blenders, food processors, mixers, etc) store them in a cupboard. A visually appealing space will help you feel calm and centered.

All this may sound overwhelming but you’ll soon find that once you get the clutter cleared and the disorganization destroyed you will have more time in your day and more time to enjoy your family. Pick up your copy of Organizing Your Life and Finding More Time  for more tips and tricks on how to make the most of reorganizing your home, so you can have more time.

Top 10 Ways to Reconnect with Family

July 29, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Parenting No Comments →

You hear the complaints everyday from different people about how busy their lives are with work and after school activities. They never have any family time together because everybody is just so B-U-S-Y.

Rather than falling into the category of the “busy family who does not talk to each other,” simply take 30 minutes a day to reconnect with your family members. Here are some simple ideas you can use to form a family bond (and there are more in my instantly downloadable guide, Finding More Family Time):

1. Turn off the television. Focus your full attention on your spouse or child. Having someone’s undivided attention will boost your self-esteem no matter what your age.

2. Take a walk down memory lane. Laughing at the old-style fashions in the photo albums is a fabulous way to relive funny moments or to honor a beloved relative who has passed away.

3. Worship together. Daily prayer brings joy to the soul, helps us become more compassionate toward others and helps us to understand that life is precious.

4. Prepare meals together. Teach your kids that “the kitchen is the heart of the home.” Let your older children plan the dinner menu once a week and assign each family member a job so everyone has a chance to help.

5. Eat dinner together. Sit together at the table with no other distractions and learn about everyone’s day. Approach these discussions with openness and you will likely learn about the important events in your child’s life.

6. Plan an adventure. Head off for parts unknown with a map, a picnic lunch and a full tank of gas. Laugh when you make a wrong turn and hand off the map to see if another sibling can find their way home.

7. Go on dates. Parents should plan regular “dates” with each child individually. Sharing one-on-one time with each child makes him or her feel like they don’t have to compete with a sibling in order to be heard.

8. Enjoy the great outdoors. Taking the dog for a walk or riding your bikes around the park will give your family extra time to talk as well as keep the family healthy. To keep the activities new and fresh, let each family member choose an activity.

9. Exercise together. Working toward a common health goal as a team is easier than tackling a large goal all by yourself. Many gyms offer family memberships and you can share your experiences and your successes along your way to good health.

10. Plan a family fun night at home. Entertainment and quality family fun does not have to cost anything. Pull out some dusty board games, teach the kids a new card game or have dinner and a movie.

As the old saying goes, take some time to smell the roses and put your family first. No activity should be placed above spending time with the family. What a shame it would be to raise a child to adulthood and yet not truly know that person.

Need More Help?

Find even more family ideas in the Real Life Guidance to Finding More Family Time Guide. This practical guide will show you how to set reasonable expectations for all family members, balance work and life, get organized and more. Click here for more info.

History of Accupuncture

July 27, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Acupuncture is a form of medicine that happens to involve the insertions of little needles. You will find that the history of acupuncture began in China and can be traced back through history over eight thousands years. It can be found in areas of Asia, Japan, and Korea. Recently it can be recognized as legitimate forms of medication in the western world and especially in the United States. You will find that more and more doctors are recommending acupuncture to help with certain pains and issues, but it is mixed with modern medicine. It is very important to understand the tradition.

 

Traditionally, the Chinese saw the body as a whole with several different working energy systems, run by the organs of our bodies. At one time, disease was seen as a disruption in the body system due to a particular part of the system. The vital energy that runs through our bodies is known in acupuncture as “qi” and is what acupuncturists seek to heal through their work. Qi (the energy flow) is blocked by pain, and acupuncture was said to once again unblock it. From the history of things, acupuncturists claim, “no pain, no blockage; no blockage no pain. This means that your pain and blockage go hand and hand and if you can end the pain, the blockage will go away, and if you end the blockage your pain will go away.

Major success of reception into society was first found with acupuncture during the Huang Di (The Yellow Emperor) Dynasty. It was at this time that the ruler discussed medical traditions with his doctor. These dialogues became part of what we now know as The Nei Jing, and it is the earliest medical text found in Asia. It includes two sections—the first on anatomy, disease, diagnosis, and the cosmos and the second on the aspects of acupuncture. Great development in the acupuncture field was also seen in the 7th century AD, with the Sui and Tang Dynasties. It was at this time that acupuncture charts and texts were introduced to the teachings of schools as a form of medicine. The techniques were slowly refined, and during the Ming Dynasty, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, doctors again made leaps and bounds in the field. Later it became less important with western medicine in the early twentieth century.

When it comes to the tradition and history of acupuncture it prevailed in the 1950’s and become a part of western medicine. The doctors used it along with modern medicine. Between the 1950s and 1960s the practice was begin highly researched throughout the world. With the new millennium, acupuncture has become something of accepting by western medicine and is offered as a treatment. It has been concluded that acupuncture can be used to help others in a respect of modern medicine. Some people are wary of ideas that involves needles to prick away illness or disease, but it may be something that you maybe able to have in conjunction of modern medicine.

Outdoor Activities for Kids

July 25, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Many parents look for fun outdoor activities for kids to keep them moving, learning and having a good time. Fun outdoor activities that will motivate your kids

These days it’s not uncommon for children to spend more time in front of the TV and computer than they do playing outside. When the weather is nice, this leaves many parents a bit perplexed.

Keeping kids physically active is an important part of a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle. So how do you get your kids excited about going outside? Here are some ideas sure to get you and your kids fired up about outdoor fun.

1. The many benefits of a garden
Involving kids in planting and nurturing a garden is a good way to get them outside and teach them responsibility at the same time. Start by researching appropriate planting times and plants that will grow in the hardiness zone where you live. If it’s too late in the season for planting in your area, consider taking the kids to a local farm that allows you to pick your own fruits, berries or vegetables.

After you’re done, take the fun one step further by picking a healthy recipe you can all make together. Fruits are great for all-natural frozen popsicles, salads and bakery items like muffins. Veggies can be easily used in pasta recipes or as side items.

2. A simple walk has never been more fun A family walk is not only quality time spent together, but it gets muscles moving. Enjoy your community and take a walk to your favorite park, playground or beach. If you have little ones, use a wagon like the Radio Flyer Pack ‘N Go Canopy Wagon. It’s a great alternative to strollers with a 360 degree view and tots enjoy the fun ride. Plus this wagon features a canopy to protect riders from the sun’s harmful rays and a storage bag that can keep water and other supplies cool.

Make an afternoon of it and pack a picnic lunch. Don’t forget to keep it healthy — make sandwiches ahead of time, pack fruits, snacks and other favorites along with water and juice boxes so everyone stays hydrated as they play.

3. Plan a nature treasure hunt It’s no secret that kids love games. A game of tag or soccer is always fun, but how about planning a unique activity to get them excited about being outdoors? Consider planning a scavenger hunt that incorporates items from nature.

Plan ahead and create a list of things that you could find in your area. Include some easy-to-find items and others that are more difficult to locate. To make it more educational, add photos to items on the list they might not recognize so they can learn as they hunt. For example, add a photo of different kinds of leaves, flowers, rocks or feathers and have the kids seek them out.

4. Organize a group scoot A great alternative to bikes is the scooter, and kids are taking notice. First, make sure your child has a safe scooter to ride on. The Radio Flyer EZ-Rider is the first and only scooter made specifically for intermediate-level riders, designed to help children master balance while allowing them to keep a steady pace. The extra-wide wheels, low deck and rear foot brake ensure safety. Always remember a helmet is a smart idea no matter what type of scooter your child rides.

Once your young rider is ready, get a group of their friends together and go on a group scooter adventure. Choose a specific name for your group and ride through the neighborhood or park. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a weekly activity.

Today’s kids might need a little encouragement, but once you get them involved in some exciting and new outdoor activities, they’ll be asking to play outside more often rather than sitting in front of the computer or television. To learn more about fun outdoor activities, visit www.radioflyer.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Relaxation Tips for Busy Moms

July 23, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Stress Management No Comments →

It seems like there is no rest of the weary.  And, the weary person is usually mom.  Moms take care of hearth and home, but who takes care of her?  If you are a busy mom, learn to value yourself as a person and schedule personal time.

A car is filled with gas to make it run.  Eventually the gas runs out and your car won’t move unless the car is replenished with fuel.  The same goes for you.  Emotional issues can develop when you don’t take the time to take care of your emotional well-being, not to mention the physical results of emotional neglect.

Mom time refuels the tank so that you can give to your family as well as yourself in equal measure.  Don’t be ashamed to sit for fifteen minutes doing nothing.  In the springtime, relaxing in a hammock under a tree is the perfect getaway from the pressures of the day.  Reading a book for 30 minutes can also seem like heaven to many moms.

Here are a few relaxation tips to help you fit in much needed “mom” time:

1. Get up early if you have to.  When you have kids, the day begins at a hurried pace.  Once you hit the ground running, there is no stopping you.  Waking 30 minutes to an hour ahead of time means quiet solitude to drink your coffee, read a book, meditate or listen to music. 

2. Turn ordinary experiences into major events.  When you take a bath, add candles, bubble bath, quiet music and/or an inflatable bath pillow.  Your regular bath has now become a spa level experience.  If you watch a movie, turn out the lights, pop a bag of microwave popcorn and curl up on the couch.

3. Ask your significant other for help.  Kids love their mothers but time spent with dad is important too.  Let them bond with dad while you go shopping for a new outfit or root around in the garden.  Since the time is yours, do whatever you like. 

4. Use the Boy Scout motto.  Always be prepared and you can spend more time in a relaxed mode.  Fix lunches the night before.  Iron clothes for the next day and place backpacks by the front door so kids can grab them on their way out.  The fewer things you have to do throughout the day, the calmer you will be with your family and not experience burnout.

5. Take exercise breaks.  When you get a few minutes the last thing you want to do is exercise but getting a little physical activity in your day has far-reaching implications.  Exercise helps you to think clearly and stretches the muscles.  Also, stress will drain away as powerful endorphins are released into your system.  Do jumping jacks during a television commercial or jog to the bus stop to pick up the kids.

6. Laugh at regular intervals.  Keep a funny calendar cube on your desk or subscribe to a daily joke site.  Laughing releases stress and can lift your spirits significantly.  It also keeps the abs tight.

Moms, take care of you.  By following some of these relaxation tips Your family would miss you if you were not around to love and care for them.  You owe it to yourself and you deserve a break from the daily hustle and bustle.

Stress Management Tips for Moms

July 21, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Let’s face it, every mom has had one of “those days”. The baby is feed and dry but very fussy, your child forgot to tell you about a science project that is due tomorrow and hands you a list of 10 things that you must get from the store, you forgot the roast in the oven and now it is dry and your husband just called to say that he is stuck at the office… again!

After a day like this, it can be very hard to keep your stress level low. With each passing minute you may feel your stress and irritability rising, your patience getting shorter and your fuse about to blow! Calgon Take Me Away!!

When you feel the need to escape and take a few minutes to yourself to de-stress, follow some (if not all) of the tips below.

Put yourself in time out: Allow some alone time for yourself. Use this time to focus on you. Find a place in your home that you can go to and find privacy. You can ask your partner or a friend to take the family out for a few hours while you enjoy your alone time. Do nothing, sleep, read, watch a movie, and just enjoy your solitude.

Call a Friend: Rather than yelling at your husband or your children, try picking up the phone and vent to a friend. Be sure not to vent AT her, but rather tell her about your day and get it all out. If she offers you some advice, listen and soak it in. This mini-time out session will leave you feeling heard, de-stressed and you will find that by the end of your call some of you anger will have dissipated.

Play: As adults, we sometimes forget the beneficial value of play. Play stimulates our imagination, encourages our creativity, boosts our energy, and best of all, it is fun. Try a game of tennis, a game of cards online or perhaps invite some friends over for an evening of adult board games.

Meditate: Meditation has been proven to reduce your blood pressure, and helps to dramatically reduce your stress level. Meditation and/or prayer will help you to keep in touch with your spiritual side. Meditation is a very effective method of relaxation. To meditate, quiet your mind and allow yourself to focus on one thing, such as your breath. Find a relaxed comfortable position where Try visualizing good health and peace as you inhale. While you are breathing out breathe out all of your stress. Set aside approximately 20 minutes for this exercise. Upon completion, you will see just how much more relaxed your mind and body is.

Take a nap: Find a quiet, comfortable spot and take a nap. Even a short power nap can leave you feeling refreshed, renewed, and more focused. Studies have shown that people who spent 30 minutes each day napping had one third less heart disease than those who didn’t nap.

Eat: Not just anything but certain things. Studies show that certain foods can help reduce stress. Carbohydrates will actually soothe you. Good sources of carbohydrates include rice, pasta, potatoes, breads, air-popped popcorn and low-calorie cookies. Experts suggest that the carbohydrates present in just one baked potato or a cup of spaghetti or white rice, is enough to relieve the anxiety of a stressful day.

Movie Time: If you don’t have anyone to watch the children for you while you de-stress. Put in one of their favorite movies, supply your children with a few healthy snacks, and have them occupy themselves for a little while so that you can take a breather.

Don’t feel guilty for taking time out to rejuvenate your mind and body. Being a mom is not an easy task and it is a full time job. Take a break when you need it and be sure to ask for help to keep the stress at bay.

Need More Help?

Sometimes removing stress and the overwhelm is easier said than done. Pick up your copy of Real Life Guidance to Getting out of the SuperMom Trap. It includes practical ideas to help you get rid of the guilt, the stress and enjoy your life. Click here to learn more and instantly download your copy.

10 Reasons to Have Family Meals More Often

July 15, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

When was the last time your family had a meal together? I don’t mean sitting in the car munching on burgers from the drive-through. I mean sitting down at the table and sharing a home-cooked meal.

If you can’t remember when you last enjoyed a family dinner, make plans to have them more often. Experts have found – and continue to discover – plenty of benefits for both children and adults when families have dinner together at least three times a week.

I know…I know, it’s not always easy, so click here if you need help with meal planning and grocery shopping.

Here are 10 reasons why you should have family meals more often:

Good For The Body
1. When families eat together, everyone tends to eat healthier. People who have frequent family meals consume more calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamins B6, B12, C and E. It could be because home-cooked meals are healthier than fast food and restaurant meals. (Source: Archives of Family Medicine)

2. Children tend to eat more fruits and vegetables when they frequently have dinner with their families. They also tend to eat fewer snack foods. (Source: American Dietetic Association)

3. Children in families who eat dinner together are less likely to be overweight (Source: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine). This makes sense, given the findings in #1 and #2 above.

Good For The Brain
4. Children from families who eat meals together get better grades than their peers who don’t have lots of family meal times (Source: Lou Harris-Reader’s Digest National Poll).

So family dinners are not only good for the body; they’re also good for the brain.

5. When families eat together frequently, children have better language skills compared to kids from families who don’t have family mealtimes often. (Source: Harvard University)

Good For Emotional Health
6. Children of families who eat together report feeling happier and are more optimistic about the future, than their peers who have infrequent family meals. (Source: Lou Harris-
Reader’s Digest National Poll)

7. Teenagers are less likely to use drugs, smoke, and drink alcoholic drinks, when their families eat together regularly. (Source: Columbia University)

8. It may come as a surprise, but among Moms who work outside the home, those who have family mealtimes reported feeling less stress than those who had family dinners less often. (Source: Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal)

9. The more often teen girls had meals with their families, the less likely they were to have symptoms of depression and suicidal behaviors. (Source: University of Minnesota)

Good For Family Bonding
10. Eating together gives family members the chance to communicate and build relationships, something that both adults and children appreciate very much. (Source: Nutrition Education Network of Washington & Oprah Winfrey’s “Family Dinner Experiment”)

I hope these reasons motivate you and your family to try and eat together more often. We’re all busy – even children have plenty of after-school activities. But as the list above shows, family meals are worth every effort we put into them. It helps to plan ahead so that we’re not scrambling to get dinner ready or panicking because we don’t have all the ingredients we need.

To make it easier to get the family around the table with a home-cooked meal, check out Dine Without Whine’s menu planning service. It costs just a penny to try it out!

Children and Chores – Do You Delegate?

July 13, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

A few generations ago, children were commonly expected to help around the house. When society was mainly based on agricultural endeavors, children were expected to help around the farm as well. Our society has changed and so has our expectation of our children. Learning to delegate household chores to children can benefit both the children and the parents.

Let’s admit it, mom and dad work hard all day. Facing household chores in the evening can take away time that should be spent with kids, stress you out or just add another burden to your otherwise overloaded to do list – something I talk about extensively in Getting out of the SuperMom Trap. Delegating household chores between all the occupants of the house seems only fair. There are jobs around the house even the smallest child can do.

Chores are great for the kids as well. Though they may complain, forget or otherwise try to find ways out of chores they do benefit from them. They are taught responsibility, essential life skills and even some reasoning skills. Learning to do dishes or laundry is essential to any child. They need to be able to do these on their own some day so they may as well start doing these at home. It also gives them a feeling of accomplishment.

What chores kids can do, really depends on the age and the ability of that child. You may want to do the chore with them to begin with. Show them the correct way, then let them try it with your supervision. If they do ok, assign them this chore. Always follow up and make sure their chores are done and done correctly. Remember they are kids and are just learning.

Preschoolers can perform the basic chores. They can learn to pick up after themselves. Take care of their toys, make their beds and this kind of chore is ideal.

Older from 6 to 9 children can do all this plus learn to take care of the pets, fold and take care of laundry and even learn to vacuum and sweep floors.

Children for 10 to 13 can take on even more responsibility. They can do dishes, clean the bathrooms and even learn to cook simple meals with supervision.

Once they have reached the age of 14 consider more responsibility. Laundry can be done by older children as well as car care, preparing meals or any other chore that parents feel they are capable of doing.

Some children are more adapt at helping around the household than others. Children who want to learn to cook and clean should be encouraged. Supervising young children around the stove and other hot appliances is essential, but they should be allowed to try these things when they feel they are ready.

With the question of chores comes the question of allowance. This is a very popular subject in many a child’s mind. There are different theories as to who should get allowance, how much and what for.

Sit down and discuss with your child their responsibilities around the house. Talk to them about how much they think these chores are worth. Teach them that their time and effort is worth something, but they have to be realistic. Let them be part of the decision of allowances and what chores are parts of that.

Parents are responsible for teaching their children important life skills. Teaching them how to keep up a house and themselves should be included. Show them it is a team effort to keep the house running smoothly. Everyone pitching in to keep a comfortable, clean house will show them it is worth the effort.

Need More Help?

If you’re looking to raise more independent and self-sufficient children – plus…get yourself out of the this important guide.

Summer Heat Safety Tips

July 09, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Healthy Living No Comments →

Summer is a time for pool parties, beach parties, and sun bathing.  However, with the suns rays growing ever stronger, you should take precautions to prevent overheating and dehydration.  Here are some summer safety tips as you spend your days in the sun and heat:

* When sunbathing, always wear sunscreen, preferably SPF 15.  Reapply it every two hours.
* Try to stay in the shade during the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the sun is at its strongest.
* Wear sunglasses and a hat when sunbathing at the beach.  If possible, bring or rent an umbrella.  (This is especially important if you are bringing the kids along.)
* Drink plenty of water on a hot day, either in your backyard pool, or at the beach.  You want to avoid any form of dehydration.  You can also buy some Gatorade or Propel.
* When exposing babies to the sun, ensure they are wearing lightweight clothing, including hats with brims.  It’s also safe to apply suntan lotion to their face, and the back of their hands, as well.
* For younger and older children, apply sunscreen thirty minutes before going out to the pool, beach, or engaging in any activities.  Ensure you have plenty of fluids for them to drink, as well.
* If you go to the supermarket, or engage in any outdoor activity on a very hot day, dress in light-colored cotton clothing, wear sunscreen, and sunglasses, and be sure to bring plenty of water with you.  Unfortunately, the older we get, the more likely we may suffer from dehydration.
* If you and your family are participating in any physical activity, make sure you are all well hydrated.  Drink liquids every 20 minutes.
* If it’s very, very hot, reduce your activity to fifteen minutes.  The moment you become dizzy or flushed – stop.  Go to a shaded area, and drink water until your body has a chance to cool down.
* Take care of your pets.  Ensure they have plenty of water to drink, and are kept in a shaded area in your backyard.  Otherwise, keep them indoors, and limit their activity as well.
* Carry wet washcloths in a plastic bag, if you are spending the day out.  This is great to have if you are feeling faint, or are walking for a long period.
* When driving, especially in high temperatures, bring bottles of water and wet wash clothes, as well.

We have all felt the affects of the weather over the past couple of years.  With temperatures in the 100’s, or above in most states, it’s important to follow these tips, as well as listening to the radio or news channels.  Remember: Safety first, summer fun later!

Family Time

July 08, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Family Time — The Glue That Holds Families Together

With our busy life styles, finding family time can be hard. Most homes these days are two income homes. Kids are booked with activities from school to church to sports. The older the children are, the harder it seems to schedule family time with everyone in one place.

Family time is an important bonding time. It helps parents stay in touch with what is going on in their kid’s lives. It helps the children bond with each other and their parents. It is a significant element in families that is often pushed off to another time.

What qualifies as family time is up to your family (and I have plenty of tips for you in my Finding More Family Time guide). Not every family can enjoy a trip to Disney or fancy resort. While these are great getaways for the family, they are not the only way to enjoy time with your family. Look for opportunities for everyday family times.

Something as simple as a family dinner is great family time. Though it is often hard to schedule, do this as often as possible. If only a few times a week, it is a great time to gather your children around the table and talk about their day, what is on their minds or things that are happening in their lives or yours.

Even if only one parent can be present, show the children that you care enough to share a meal with them. A bucket of chicken with the fixings, shared together at the picnic table in the backyard, is a great family time.

Find a hobby that parents and children all enjoy. It can be stamp collect or roller hockey, just something that you all enjoy doing. You can find a new activity or enjoy an older love that you haven’t found the time to enjoy lately. The point is to share that time with family. It can be a hobby that is done at home or one that gets you all out of the house together.

Start walking or working out together with your kids. Most parents have goals of getting fitter. This may include walking, running or working out at the gym. Make this a family activity. Walking and hiking are great activities for the family to enjoy together. It is a great time to talk to your children while you are hiking along. It has the side benefit of sharing and teaching the kids about living healthy as well.

Institute a family fun night. A night at home watching movies, solving puzzles or playing board games is a great time for all family members. Let the kids take turns picking out the games or movies each week. Kids really enjoy these activities and doing them with Mom and Dad is even more fun.

You can turn any activity into family time, if it involves family members. Make a shopping trip a fun family time adventure. Get the kids involved. These can be bonding experiences for everyone. Show kids that you are interested in them and who they are becoming.

Need More Help?

Find even more family ideas in the Real Life Guidance to Finding More Family Time Guide. This practical guide will show you how to set reasonable expectations for all family members, balance work and life, get organized and more. Click here for more info.