Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sam McLoughlin Guest Post and Update: Guns and Kids

Hey there, peeps! This is Sammy Mac writing from the OP in the JC (Overland Park in Johnson County for the geographically challenged).

So like what do you think about guns and kids? I LOVE me some guns. They are my brothers', but I steal 'em and use 'em and stuff. I have to wear my wolf hat while I shoot at imaginary stuff. It helps if I also have on the other right gear, like my dolphin shirt and my Halloween pants in January. Oh, and two socks and one shoe that is too big for me. Peace out.

Check out this other picture of me, the one my brother Michael calls "Family Man Sam" ... yes, I am holding yet another Nerf gun and I wonder what you think about toy guns since my dad wasn't allowed to play with them growing up then he went into the Army to be a sniper. Interesting times, folks.

This was originally posted on February 5, 2012, but updated 11/30/17 to say that I now have a HUGE Nerf gun arsenal now that I am 8. We have moved to Peculiar, MO (aka The Country) where we can shoot real guns on our own property into a hill with a pond. I am going to learn how to use guns responsibly when I'm bigger. I might graduate to Airsoft guns first and I can go to Airsoft wars at the Christy house when I am 10. So excited.

Here's a gem I found. Guess my parents (and one of my godmother's, Ellen, were pro-toy gun from the start).

The Health Benefits of Knitting

As if producing lovely scarves, sweaters and blankets isn't reason enough to spend time knitting, there are actually a number of scientifically proven health benefits that come from knitting.

For those not already knitting, you can get yarn and needles at your local craft shop (click this link for a good knitting supply shop), and learn the basic stitches from any number of good Youtube videos. Once you start, here are some of the ways you'll be helping your mind and body:

Concentration and Focus
Concentration, memory, and focus are all places that can see improvement once you start knitting regularly. Having to constantly keep track of your finger positions, the tension of the yarn, counting the stitches and remembering the pattern all keep your mind sharp.

Keeps Your Hands Busy
This one is a bit of an odd-ball benefit, but having your hands busy with knitting can keep you from doing other things you would rather not be doing. People who are trying to quit smoking often say they are uncomfortable when they have nothing to do with their hands. If you tend to snack when you shouldn't or even bite your nails, you can keep yourself too occupied to do these things if you are knitting. For people who are constantly checking on their phones, this is a way to break that habit too.

Pride and Accomplishment
It just makes you feel good to produce something tangible with your own two hands, even if it is just a knitted dishcloth. Mastering a complicated pattern, finally getting the hang of an advanced stitch or even just sticking with a big project to completion (like knitting a blanket for a queen-size bed). Feeling proud is a great mental boost and shouldn't be discounted as a real health benefit.

A Kind of Meditation
Knitting has all the same relaxation benefits that you get from meditation. Even though it can be a "busy looking" hobby with fingers flying and needles clicking, it's very easy for a practiced knitter to let their thoughts go, much like a more typical meditation techniques. This can be very helpful for any problems with stress, anxiety and even depression. It brings a lot of mental peace, even though some tough patterns or difficult mistakes might seem more stressful than meditative.

Arm Strength and Joint Movement
This is a combined physical benefit that comes from the movements involved in your arms, wrists and fingers when you knit. It's a low-impact and low-strain exercise that still works the muscles and keeps your joints fluid, providing you are knitting on a somewhat regular basis. Knitting also improves your finger dexterity and fine motor control too.

On the other hand, if you are already suffering from stiff or painful joints (perhaps due to arthritis), it can be difficult to do a lot of knitting. Consider this to be more of a prevention for joint troubles rather than a treatment for an existing condition. 

Now that you know how helpful knitting can be, you can enjoy your hobby even more.

7 Ideas for Lifting Your Spirits

Dessert, hot chocolate and some good books lift our spirits on a dreary day

In order to live a long and happy life, it is important that you make the most of every day. You need to make sure that you are enjoying every moment and that you always have a smile on your face. Otherwise, you will end up looking back in regret. If you are wondering how you can embrace a more positive frame of mind, continue reading. Below are seven ideas for lifting your spirits.

Put a smile on your face
Smiling is a fantastic way for you to improve your mood instantly. Even if you are feeling down, a smile can trick you into thinking that everything is better than it seems. If you are really struggling to crack a smile, why not visit treat yourself to a joke of the day? This is a great way for you to ensure that you always find something to smile about. It will also help you to have positive interactions throughout your day, as you can share your joke with close friends, family members, or work colleagues.

Take up exercise
Another option is to take up exercise. This will help you to feel more body-confident and to take better care of your health. Not only this, but exercise results in the release of endorphins. This chemical will instantly lift your spirits and provide you with the energy that you need to get through your day. If you are struggling to find an exercise regime that appeals to you, make sure that you think outside the box. Ideally, you want to take up a physical activity that is plenty of fun. It should also be something that your loved ones can get involved in. This will make it a positive experience from start to finish and will prevent you from giving up. You could attend a spin class, enjoy aqua aerobics at your local pool, or sign up for a kickboxing session. The most important thing is that you are having a go. Don’t focus on losing weight or looking good. Instead, you should be concentrating on the way that exercise makes you feel.

Invest in your social circle
You should also make sure to do plenty of socializing. If you are struggling through a difficult time, you will need to have someone to lean on. Or, if you are accomplishing wonderful things in your life, you will need to have someone to share this with. If you already have plenty of friends, make sure that you invest in these relationships. Set aside some time each week to get together with your loved ones. You could invite them round to your house, put together a night out, or plan an exciting activity for you all to enjoy. Alternatively, if you don’t have a lot of reliable contacts, why not try to make new ones? You could download an app, attend a class, or take up a new hobby. Just make sure that your life is filled to the brim with people that want to see you happy and always make you smile.

Give yourself a makeover
If you are going to enjoy high-spirits, self-love is important. You need to take care of yourself and to remind yourself that you are worthy of love and appreciation. One of the best ways for you to do this is by indulging in a makeover. You could try out a new hairstyle, update your wardrobe, or treat yourself to a day at the spa. The most important thing is that you are happy with the end result. Your makeover should leave you with a new lease of life and a new sense of confidence. Once you have completed your transformation, why not finish with a celebratory photoshoot? Don’t worry, you don’t have to take it too seriously. Instead, you can invite your loved ones round and have a little fun. Then, you can frame your favourite images from the day.

Enjoy comfort food
Even if you are devoted to healthy eating, you are still allowed to break the rules from time to time. Every now and then, you should indulge in some comfort food. This is the perfect way for you to relax at the end of a long day. It is also a great way for you to treat yourself and to have fun with the food that you are eating. Make sure that you experiment with a number of different recipes, until you find one that leaves you truly satisfied. It should smell delicious, look divine, and taste amazing. If you want to be really indulgent, you could even purchase a pre-prepared meal. This will remove all of the stress from the process and will save you from the washing up.

Surround yourself with positive vibes
Make sure that you spend your days surrounded by positive vibes. Everywhere you look, there should be another reminder of the things that you are grateful for. Perhaps you could frame your favorite holiday memories. Or, maybe you could pin up motivational quotes. Whatever you decide, just make sure that you are never short of a reason to smile. This will be especially useful when you are struggling through a difficult day. It will also come in handy when you lack self-confidence or are wrestling with a difficult decision.

Visualize a positive future

If you spend a lot of your time worrying about the future, this could seriously affect your levels of happiness. That is why you need to plan ahead. This will stop you from stressing, and will help you to look forward to the days you have in front of you. Why not create a mood board to help you with this process? You could even create several: one for your career goals, one for your relationship goals, and one for your overall life goals. During this exercise, you will need to make sure that you are using plenty of bright colors, powerful words and phrases, and striking images. You will also need to display your mood board somewhere where you will see it every day.

Get $3 When you Sign up for Swagbucks in December (US)

If you haven't tried Swagbucks before, you can get a bonus $3 for signing up as my referral during December. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash. 

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $3 bonus! Here's how: 

1. Sign up using this link 

2. Earn 300 SB total before 1/1/18. You'll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it! 

3. If you want even more bonuses, you'll get a $10 (1000 SB rebate) bonus for making your first shop purchase! That's in addition to the SB you earn for every dollar you spend.  

That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned 105,517 Swagbucks since joining, which is $1,055, and I transfer it to PayPal normally and use it to buy birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and other things we need around the house like printer ink and Teaching Textbooks math off of eBay :-) 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Juggling Fitness And Family: Here's How It's Done

As we all know, fitness is super important to help you lead a happy and healthy life. However, it can be difficult to squeeze it into your daily routine. Especially if you have a family to look after. Are you finding it hard finding time to hit the gym or enjoy sport? Well, don’t panic! Here are my top tips that can help you efficiently juggle your fitness and family.

Cook Healthy Meals

One of the first steps you need to take to get fit is to start following a healthy diet. The best way you can ensure all your meals are fresh and nutritious is to cook them from scratch. So start preparing delicious home cooked meals for you and your kids. If you are trying to eat super healthily, there is no harm in getting the whole family on board. It will do you all the world of good! Be sure to use lots of fresh, local produce. This will help you to support local businesses as well. Completely new to cooking? No worries! Learning the basics isn’t too hard. Once you can successfully make one delicious meal, move on to teach yourself another one. Try and learn one every fortnight. That way, you will have a good cannon of meals that you can cook for your family within no time at all!

Take The Kids For A Stroll

This is a great way to spend time with your kids, and you can do it with them at any age. Even if they are just babies, you can take them for a short stroll in their stroller. In fact, taking them for a walk can help them drop off to sleep! It is also a good idea to walk the kids to school if it is close enough. You won’t be burning any calories by taking them in the car. You will find that walking them to school easily fits into your daily schedule, and it is a great time to chat with the kids before you leave them at school. It is also far less stressful than driving through all the school run traffic! Not only that, though, but this is a great way to get your kids into walking and keeping fit.

Enter A Family Race

Do you love running marathons? Well, you don’t have to give up just because of the kids. In fact, many running events now host family fun runs alongside the main event. They aren’t too far, so even young kids can join in on the fun. Normally, the children’s race is just three miles. And it is perfectly fine for young children to walk it! So you can sign your whole family up to take part in the fun run while you are trying to beat your personal best in the big race! There are lots of family fun runs held in many towns and cities. Find your nearest one to you and get out there training with the kids!

Get Support From Friends And Relatives

If you and your partner work different shifts, you might find it difficult to find any time to go to the gym when he is at work. There is one easy solution, though. See if one of your friends or relatives can look after the kids while you are at the gym. Try and keep your workout sessions to just an hour so that the kids don’t have to stay too long with their childminder. If no one is around to look after the kids, then try and find some time to hit the gym when they are at kindergarten or school. Head to the gym just after you drop them off at school. That way, you won’t have to rush your workout by going on the way to pick them up!

Become A Part-Time Coach

Love sports? Then why not sign up to become a part-time coach? There are many local youth teams that are always on the lookout for new volunteers. You could even take your kids along to get them interested in a new sport. And at least, if they are playing on the team, you won’t have to find anyone to look after them for you! Volunteering as a sports coach is a great way to give something back to your local community as well. And it has the added bonus of making sure you keep fit throughout the week!

Take A Look At Your Schedule

When was the last time you reorganized your weekly schedule? Okay, so you may not be able to change the kids’ hobbies and clubs, but you might be able to shake up your own schedule of chores. And by doing so, you could find that you free up some extra time when you can squeeze could work out in your home gym. Even if you just spend a few minutes on your machines, there are still many rowing machine benefits you will get. You might also find that if you give up an hour of TV in the evening, you could have an extra hour of working out! Next time you have a short break, take a quick look in your weekly planner. You might find that organizing your time better means more time for the gym! If you're like me and don't want to leave the house, check out the best home gym equipment!

Head To The Park

I bet your kids love visiting the park. There is so much for them to do, from feeding the ducks to playing on the swings. And you can take advantage of being outside! The park is a great place for you to workout in. While the kids are busy in the play area, why not do a couple of quick laps? If you invite a friend who has similar aged kids, you can each take it in turns to watch the kids while the other one does a quick workout. Even if you play with your kids, you will be burning calories. One cool idea is to do a few reps on the monkey bars!

So, as you can see, being busy is no longer an excuse for passing on a workout! There are plenty of ways you can free your time for the gym!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tips for Grabbing Bargains on Your Christmas Gifts

McLoughlin Christmas 2016

Christmas is approaching fast. This is a merry season full of love, joy, appreciation and, most of all, giving. Gifting or giving is the whole reason for the season. However, with the many friends and family members you have, it may be difficult to know for sure what to buy and what not to. However, there are some things you that you should know to be able to buy a gift that a recipient will enjoy and appreciate. You do not want to be those people who buy gifts people will not appreciate.

Save Money Beforehand
Although retail outlets offer amazing discounts during this season, you will still not be able to buy all those gifts if you are not going to save. Saving before you go to buy a gift such as the iPhone will help you have enough money for it. There are many high-value items that are on sale during Christmas. The best way to get the best deals is to ensure that you know which products you want to buy. Most high-value items are only available for a limited period. Therefore, do your research and ensure you find out which brands and items you want to buy. This way, you will know about the stores that offer the best prices and when to buy products that are on offer.

Set a Budget
Even though it is a time to give, it does not mean that you will have to spend all the money you have on gifts. You should remember that once the season is over, you will go back to your life with bills to pay and mouths to feed. It is paramount, therefore, to be wise in your expenditure. A budget will tell you how much you will spend on all the items you need to buy. It will also give you a rough idea of how much you are willing to spend. A great way to ensure that you will stick to your budget is to make a list a stick to it no matter what. It is easy to get carried away while shopping. You will constantly get tempted by the numerous offers and beautiful products being sold. However, you need to stick as much as you can to the shopping list. It can be a headache shopping during the festive season. The risk of overspending is imminent.

Use Voucher Sites
While there are retailers that will allow you to buy items at a wholesale price, there are others who have amazing vouchers you can take advantage of. You need to make sure that you have researched enough so that you can compare the prices offered by brick and mortar and online outlets. This way, you will get the best prices for these items.

Use Apps
Today, technology has made it easier for you to find items and their prices. This is done by simply downloading apps on your iPhone. The apps are great because they will keep telling you when companies have new items coming in, coupon offers and when there are great cuts in prices. Throughout the month, you can find great offers for the gifts you need to buy.

Compare Prices
One critical part of being a great shopper is doing your research well. Do not just go to an outlet just because you have bought their items for years. You need to find a merchant that will give you great services, excellent quality and impeccable prices. The only way to find such a store is to move out of your comfort zone and find alternatives that have been appropriately reviewed. You need to look for a store that is loved by the customers who have bought from it. When choosing to buy from an online store, ensure that adding the shipping expenses will not result in a cost that is similar to buying from a merchant near you.

Always shop around if you wish to find the best deals. It is easy to assume that a good deal is a great one because you have not seen such prices. After a while, you might find that the deal is not a great as you thought. Before buying Christmas gifts, always ensure there are no other better deals anywhere.

Four Top Reasons to Consider Working in Healthcare

If you are looking for a change of career or making a big decision about your future career for the first time as a young adult, then there are many serious factors that you should take into consideration when choosing what to do. Not only should you be thinking about the type of things that you are interested in and passionate about, it’s also worth looking into the practical side of things to come up with a career idea that will ensure you can pay the bills and enjoy good job security throughout your life. If you want to follow a career path that allows you to care for others and earn a good salary, healthcare could be the best choice for you. We’ve listed some top reasons to consider a career in healthcare.

#1. Good Salaries:

Healthcare professionals are always in high demand and there is usually a good salary available for those working in this industry. Although entry-level salaries may not be enough for you to upgrade your home or buy that flashy car, there are many opportunities for progression available to those who work hard and are dedicated to their career, so the chance to improve your salary over time is a big reason to go for this career path. Check out some of the average earnings at

#2. Job Security:

When deciding on your future career choices, one of the biggest factors that you’ll need to think about is whether or not it will allow you to enjoy a good level of job security. Although no job is guaranteed forever, it’s always nice to know that you’re needed in your role and the chance of it no longer being available for you is slim. Thankfully, for those who choose to work in healthcare, the job security is very high since healthcare professionals are in demand all over the world. As a result, you can find ideal job roles for you almost anywhere!

#3. Job Progression:

Whilst some people know exactly what they’d like to do in life and are happy working at the same level for a long time, others want to move up the ranks and progress as much as possible in their career. If this sounds like you, you’ll be glad to hear that with a healthcare career, you’ll be able to do just that. Healthcare careers are some of the best for progression opportunities, and along with that, you’ll also have the option to branch out and take on extra education to specialize in certain areas of healthcare, leading to even more opportunities for career building.

#4. Job Satisfaction:

According to surveys, healthcare professionals are among some of the most satisfied out there when it comes to the work that they do. Even if you’re on a basic entry-level salary working in healthcare, it’s not difficult to enjoy your work when you are tasked with helping others every day and come home feeling good about what you’ve been able to do.

Are you considering working in healthcare? Let us know in the comments.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Huge Cash Back Deals During the Swagbucks Cyber Monday Sale!

You can earn money while saving it on all your big Cyber Monday purchasesThe Cashback Shopping site Swagbucks is offering big cash back - 3x or more - at over 120 different stores today only. They're also offering big payouts on a varieties of different deals and offers from companies that would make great gift ideas. Get great deals without waiting in lines or even leaving your home!

If you're not familiar with Swagbucks, they offer cash back in the form of points when you shop. Then you can turn those points into gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, or PayPal cash. You can also earn points for discovering deals, watching videos, answering surveys and more!  

Click here to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! 

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

With 5 kids to shop for AND one of them has a December birthday (plus other family members I buy gifts for), I'm taking advantage of this today!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Get Big Cash Back During the Swagbucks Black Friday Sale!

The Cashback Shopping site Swagbucks is offering big cash back at over 120 different stores all throughout Black Friday weekend. They're also offering big payouts on a varieties of different deals and offers from companies that would make great gift ideas. Get great deals without waiting in lines or even leaving your home! 

If you're not familiar with Swagbucks from me posting about them all the time because I love them so much, they offer cash back in the form of points when you shop. Then you can turn those points into gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, or PayPal cash. You can also earn points for discovering deals, watching videos, answering surveys and more!  

Click here to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! 

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Dealing With Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy

Right, Joel at his 16th birthday party in 2017, giving his brother Michael a big hug. When I was pregnant with him I had gestational diabetes. I did not have it again with any of my following four pregnancies. I was scheduled to be induced with Joel but went into labor naturally the night before.

Gestational diabetes is incredibly common in the United States, affecting around 16% of all pregnant mothers. Contrary to popular belief, this condition isn’t necessarily born out of poor diet or being overweight. Statistics show that only around half of affected women carry excess pounds, with many being predisposed to diabetes because of genetics, age or other factors.

Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be upsetting, but it’s important to remember that while it should be taken seriously, this condition is entirely treatable. Here are four tips to help you get through your diagnosis and ensure a healthy, happy pregnancy.

Get Organized

The first thing you should do after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) is arrange an appointment with a diabetes specialist. While your physician can give you general advice about dealing with GD, you will need to consult an expert on how to manage your blood sugar levels. You will be given a special kit to help you test your own blood sugar, and you’ll be asked to monitor your food intake. Make sure you have a pouch or purse to carry your medical supplies around in, and ask your doctor for a sharps disposal bin so you can get rid of used needles. You should also dig out your kitchen scales – you’re going to need them to track your meals.

Expect More Medical Check-Ups

Now that you have GD, you will probably need to see your healthcare provider every two weeks for a blood test or urine sample, so set aside time in your schedule and alert your boss to your change in circumstances. Around 85% of women diagnosed with GD can manage their condition through diet and exercise, but insulin is prescribed in some cases, and it may need to be administered during the birth.

In your final trimester (between weeks 28-40) you may have regular ultrasounds to check your baby’s movements and heartbeat and make sure he or she isn’t getting too big.

Adjust Your Birth Plan

Although GD is entirely treatable, it does need to be taken seriously – even if you’re feeling well. One of the worries associated with this condition is that the baby absorbs too much sugar, causing him or her to grow at a higher rate or be born prematurely. Your healthcare provider will keep tabs on your baby’s growth rate throughout your pregnancy, but be advised that your birth plan may change. If your baby grows too large, you may be scheduled for an induction after 37 weeks or booked in for a caesarian section.

Do Something Positive

Dealing with a restricted diet and regular blood tests on top of all the usual pregnancy worries can be stressful, so try to turn your experience into something positive. You could start a blog about your journey with GD, or arrange a monthly meet-up with other affected moms. You may even decide to turn your experience into a business helping other mothers take care of their health. If so, you can create free websites, social media banners and even a flyer design with Adobe’s free Spark software. Not only will having a project on the go encourage you to stay positive, but it will also keep you busy if you get laid up on bed rest.

Gestational diabetes may call for some lifestyle changes during pregnancy, but these adjustments to your diet and exercise routine will be better for your health overall. If you follow your doctor’s advice, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a healthy, happy pregnancy free from risk.  

Check out this great information on Why Exercise Is Non-Negotiable For People With Diabetes

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What are pros and cons of a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses have brought about a positive change in our sleeping patterns. These mattresses have gained popularity, and an increasing number of people are considering using them, especially when troubled with the complaints arising out of an improper body posture. But, before you decide to get one for yourself, I would like to ask whether you are fully aware of the pros and cons of memory foam mattresses? If not, read on to know the benefits as well as some disadvantages.

What are the pros of a memory foam mattress?

Back Support

A memory foam mattress allows the body weight to be evenly spread across its surface. This can help to support the natural alignment of your body without distorting the position of the legs, shoulders, and hips, relative to the spine.

Relief of Pressure Points

The best advantage of using a memory foam over the mattresses made of other materials like poly foam, fiber filling, and springs is based on how it responds to pressure. The memory foam is specifically designed for absorbing pressure by molding itself to the shape your body takes during different sleeping positions.

It can distribute the weight across its surface, accommodate curves, and create a sensation of weightlessness. Hence, it is perfect for the people who suffer from pains and aches in different joints. This pressure distributing technology can help to balance the extra body pressure and ease your pains by preventing a wrong posture.

Better Viscoelasticity

Viscoelasticity is one of the great features of memory foam mattresses. The viscoelastic nature allows it to conform to any shape and weight. It can allow you to enjoy your sleep in every possible position without causing any discomfort.

Limits Motion Transfer

Memory foam mattress has the ability to isolate motion. This benefit can be significant for those who share the bed with a partner or a pet. It will prevent your sleep from getting disturbed when the other person rolls over or gets out of bed.

The material in this mattress can absorb pressure without conducting motion, a benefit that is virtually absent in the regular mattress.  So, any moderation such as turning and even heavy tossing around any side of your bed will not have an effect on the other side.


Most memory foam mattresses outlast the regular innerspring beds. They are less likely to sag during the initial years. They do not have to be rotated or flipped as often as the spring beds.

Easy Maintenance

If you are annoyed with the dirt and debris trapped in your mattress that is hard to get rid of; a memory foam mattress could be the alternative you are looking for. A major component of this mattress, Polyurethane, protects it from debris and dirt and keeps your bed clean. What’s more? Polyurethane is also anti-allergenic, which means the patients who suffer from allergies can also feel free to use it without worrying about catching any allergen and spending their nights sneezing hard. More detailed list of advantages as well as comparison list of best mattresses on the market you can find on sleepissimple.comAlso, they have a comparison of popular UK mattress brands by the link.

What could be the cons of using memory foam mattresses?

May get a Little Smelly

A peculiar odor is a short-term drawback associated with any new mattress and memory foam is not an exception to this. However, this complaint is not as common with the memory foam mattresses as it is with the regular ones. The strong chemical odor of a new memory foam usually dissipates in a few days or a couple of weeks.

You May Sleep Hot

The memory foam mattress users often complain of feeling as if they are sleeping hotter. This effect can be attributed to the characteristic of the foam to trap heat with its temperature-sensitive formula to use the body heat to contour, the non-breathable mattress covers, and the closed-cell foams. This may cause some amount of discomfort and interference with your sleep.

Might Feel Cumbersome

Another potential disadvantage of using a memory foam is some people find it a bit cumbersome. Since memory foam is not made of a bouncy material, it may take more efforts to get off from or move around on the bed.


Being aware of the pros and cons of memory foam mattresses will allow you to take an informed decision to enhance the quality of your sleep. The information provided above is also meant to help you find the best mattress that suits your requirement. It will help you overcome the problems with poor body posture and allow you to enjoy a sound and refreshing sleep. 

How Martial Arts Combats Bullying

This is an example of a regional parenting magazine article I wrote and sent out one year.

How Martial Arts Combats Bullying
By Kerrie McLoughlin
736 words

According to bullying statistics found at, a study found that approximately 49% of kids in 4th through 12th grade said they had been bullied at least one time in the previous month. Bullying can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, poor performance in school and, in some extreme cases, even suicide.

Where is bullying happening? It’s happening most often at school, including at recess and on the school bus, but school isn’t the only place. It also occurs where kids are gathering in large groups, like at amusement parks, block parties, campgrounds and swimming pools. And of course we can’t forget about cyberbullying, which includes using cell phones and computers as ways to bully with words and spread untrue words and embarrassing photos. There are many kinds of bullying, and some schools are promoting silicone wristbands to create and promote awareness.

So what can we, as parents, do about this widespread problem? Well, it turns out martial arts is a great place to start. Of course, martial arts can’t necessarily tackle the cyberbullying issue, but it can give our kids the self-confidence they need to handle people who are not treating them well in a specific situation.

Lindsey Watts, mom of a daughter who has been in martial arts for four years, says, “Martial arts gives kids discipline and teaches them respect. They learn self-control, perseverance and integrity. They learn to help build a more peaceful world.”

One mother shared a sad situation that happened to her son, “My son was in 2nd grade when he was being bullied. We had no idea it was going on; we just knew that something wasn’t right ...” Her son ended up bullying another child and was sent to see the principal, where the story came out that a boy at recess, someone her son called a friend, had been bullying him. Later other issues came out, like that he had been pushed, tripped and poked. “We then realized our good-natured son … may be setting himself up for more bullying. Our son was very shy, but just wanted everyone to like him so he befriended everyone.”

Dave Kovar, founder of Martial Arts Against Bullying (MAAB) and life-long martial arts professional, shares on his website, “I believe that no other industry is in a better position to do something about bullying than the martial arts industry … The mere act of training in martial arts and having children develop a higher level of confidence decreases their chances of being bullied in the first place.”

The mom from the previously mentioned bullying situation shared her family’s resolution. “We decided our son needed help with handling himself and building his confidence up. [Tae Kwon Do] gave my son confidence to know that he had the strength within him to stop something first with his words, and — as a last resort — defense. Never to hit first, never to intentionally hurt the person hurting you but to just keep yourself safe. My son is now 10 years old and has his high brown belt in TKD. My son walks tall now. He's not afraid to stand up for himself or others. TKD has taught him that fighting is never the answer. It's only a last resort to protect himself from harm or to protect someone else from harm.”

Robyn Morrow, mom of a Tae Kwon Do student, “I was teased and called four eyes as a child and had a hard time feeling connected to people, but that pales in comparison to the stories I've heard happening nowadays. My oldest child is skinny and tall, but holds his head high and walks tall … I think his confidence is in large part due to his years at Taekwondo … He knows he has the power to break boards, so I would guess that gives him more confidence too. I am so glad we made the choice to enroll him in Taekwondo classes before he reached the awkward teenage age he's entering now.”

Martial arts comes with other benefits as well. Jody Jones, mom of 3, says, “I think martial arts helps form a great foundation for understanding the benefits of structure, discipline and hard work. Attaining a black belt, or any higher belt rank, is a manifestation of what you can gain through the physical and mental discipline of mental arts. It's an experience that's hard to duplicate for your children, and the concept of working extremely hard to attain your goals is one that you carry into your adult life and work.”

Kerrie McLoughlin is the homeschooling mom of 5, author of several ebooks on and blogger at

Check out this Comprehensive Cyberbullying Guide for Parents

7 Ways To Clean Your House Like A Pro

Set aside a day to clean and stick to it

Go through your daily planner and select a day that you will always set aside to get your housework done. Create an alarm in your phone. Circle it on your calendar. Block it off in your day book. Professional cleaning services don’t come to your house when they feel like it and neither should you. They come at a regularly schedule day and that’s how you’ll be able to duplicate their success. Your mind thrives on habits. Make one and stick to it.

On your cleaning day have a plan of attack
Professional house cleaners agree that the best way to tackle a house gone awry is to have a methodical approach. Cutting your cleaning time in half means being efficient with your time. Do each chore in the same order every time you clean. Don’t waste time considering where the dirtiest room is or which tasks deserve the most priority. If you’re persistent with your routine, you’ll be cutting out all that time that would’ve been wasted thinking when you could have been cleaning instead.

Make cleaning fun

Have you seen that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where Robin Williams rocks out while cleaning the house and wish that was you?! Some people go about their house cleaning hustling from each room to the next, steadily burning out and losing precious energy. Others find a way to be in the moment enjoying the essence of what they’re doing. You can have that much fun cleaning if you look at cleaning as not a chore, but as something exciting. You can let go and watch the time go by without worrying about the pace at which you’re cleaning. Professionals recommend listening to music that you enjoy or making a game out of it. Either way you go, you can’t lose and you won’t dread those days where you have to get out your vacuum.

Get the kind of cleaning products the professionals use

If you want to clean like a pro, you’ve got to use the same tools as a pro. You wouldn’t see professional painter using watercolors and you wouldn’t see a housing service using novelty gadgets to clean your home. Stay away from products that you caught on late night infomercials and buy high quality equipment and cleaning clothes that will handle heavy duty cleaning. Wear an apron to avoid mess and even consider wearing a belt that can hold your spray bottles and rags. The more you’re able to hold on the job, the less time you waste going back and forth to your cleaning closet.

Be on top of things

If you want to avoid cleaning routines that overwhelm you and take up your whole day, clean things before they become a problem. If you see clothes tossed on the floor one day, avoid creating a pile and hang it up right away. Keep on the go cleaning products like wet wipes throughout your house. When a spill happens, you’ll be ready to wipe it away and you’ll avoid having to do a deep scrub later on in the week.  You should also be preventative. Spray your shower head every time you use it. Wipe down your counter every time you eat. After you eat, put your dishes directly in the dishwasher instead of letting them pile up in the sink. No one wants to deal with a stack of plastic wear and forks that can rival Mount Everest!

Become an award-worthy speed cleaner

No, we don’t mean during your deep cleaning days. We mean on those days when you have a little bit of spare time that you haven’t set aside for rest and relaxation. For the kick of it pull out a time and clean like you’ve never cleaned before. You’d be surprised how many small tasks that you can get done in a short amount of time. A professional’s job is easier when a house is already in decent shape and organized. Your job will become easier on your heavy duty cleaning days if your home is in prime shape. Added plus, you won’t ever have to feel panicked when guests randomly drop in.

When all else fails, hire an actual pro

Cleaning really isn’t for everyone. Some people have a difficult schedule and hectic lifestyles. That’s nothing to feel bad about. If you can’t work a deep clean into your regular cleaning, you can hand that off to people who can. 


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