Thursday, November 28, 2019

Remodeling Your Kitchen on a Budget: Top Tips

Along with the living room, hallway, and bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most used parts of your home. In fact, some may say it is the very heart of the house. It is where family meals are cooked, where homework is done, where heart to heart chats happen, and comforting drinks are poured. But what happens when this vital part of your home becomes less chic and more shabby? It is time to think about giving it a remodel - and that can cost a lot of money.

Fear not, however, as here we look at a few ways of remodeling the heart of your home on a tight budget. Read on to find out more:

Keep your existing appliances

It can be tempting to buy all new appliances when doing a full kitchen remodel, but if there is nothing wrong with your existing appliances, keep them. New ones can take a massive chunk out of your budget, which can go towards nicer flooring or ceiling tiles, for example. It is really easy to sort out problems with appliances now as well - Whirlpool parts are readily available online for you to repair jobs yourself and save yourself a whole load of cash.

Refresh rather than replace

In the same vein as above, refresh your existing cupboards and cabinets instead of replacing them. Sand them down and paint them in a new color - make sure it is suitable for a kitchen environment and your kitchen will look completely different.

Jazz things up with new paint and curtains

Changing the color of your kitchen will always feel like a huge change, and best of all, it is a change that can be done in a day for just a few dollars if you decide to do it yourself. New curtains or blinds also make a difference. They should be replaced periodically as they will absorb all of the cooking odors and grease, but upgrading them and matching them to your newly painted walls and uncycled cabinets and cupboards will give the room a whole new lease of life. You could also hang a couple of cute pictures or quirky signs and dot some potted plants about.

Add a fancy backsplash

Adding a tile backsplash is one of the most cost-effective ways to change the whole style of your kitchen. Not only will the change be dramatic, but it is relatively easy to swap out old tile for new – or add a backsplash where there was not one before. As long as the material you’re considering is dirt and water-resistant, don’t be afraid to use it.

Wishing for a new kitchen is one thing, but actually paying for one is an entirely different kettle of fish. While it might be worth the splurge to get your dream kitchen, there are plenty of simple upgrades you can make in place of a full-fledged remodeling job if you are working from a limited budget

5 Steps to More Effective Parenting

Johnson Farms in Belton, MO right before Halloween

Raising a child is one of the most rewarding jobs you can do in the world. While there are many highs, there are lows that you will encounter too. As parents, we only want what’s best for our kids, so being prepared for any eventuality and keeping your kids out of harm’s way will help you feel more accomplished as a parent. To help get you started, here are 5 steps to more effective parenting.

Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem

Kids begin developing their sense of self from the moment they’re born. Your body language, tone of voice, and every expression you make are all absorbed by your children. The actions and words you use as a parent will have a huge impact on your child’s self-esteem. As a parent, it’s important that you offer praise and encouragement, no matter how big or small, as this will make them feel proud of their accomplishments. If you belittle your children, this can make them feel worthless and unappreciated.

Set Limits

No matter how well-behaved your little ones are, discipline is a key component for any family. The main goal of discipline is to help your children understand that there are barriers that are not to be crossed. While they may test the limits you set out for them, they need to have those limits in place in order to grow into respectable and responsible adults. Establishing ground rules can help your children understand your expectations, so you need to remember that you’re doing the right thing in the long run.

Make Time for Your Kids

With many of us working longer hours than ever, finding windows of opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids can be challenging. There are little changes that you can make that can free up some time, such as getting up 10 minutes earlier to eat breakfast with your kids or playing some family games to aid development and bring you closer together. Kids need attention, so you may want to create a special night of bonding each week.

Practice What You Preach

Young children learn a lot about how to act when watching their parents. As you are in charge, it’s up to you to set a good example and show your kids right from wrong. The younger your kids are, the more likely they are to follow your lead. Make sure that you model the traits you wish to see in your children. Teaching them about the importance of respect, being kind to others, and being honest can all be hugely beneficial.

Improve Communication

It’s important that you make your expectations clear to your kids from the get-go so they understand your rules and adhere to them. Being able to communicate effectively is crucial in all aspects of life, whether it’s in the workplace or at home. Making communication a priority will mean that your kids feel comfortable to speak to you about their worries and concerns.

As parents, we try our best to ensure our kids are happy, safe, and comfortable throughout their childhood. What may work for one family may not work for yours, so it’s important that you do all that you can to ensure your little ones are well supported.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Dementia & You - How To Handle The Diagnosis Of A Loved One

There are about 850,000 people with dementia in the UK at the moment and it can be devastating when it hits you and your family. Life as you know it will change, whether you or a loved one have the sad diagnosis. As well as watching them accept the fact that it will eventually change their lives and they will lose a lot of their memories at some point, knowing how to approach this. Regardless of where they are when it comes to their diagnosis, challenges will arise as their behaviour will not only change, but they will also change. But that doesn't mean you can't help. It doesn't mean that everything is going to be bad from here on out. You can help someone with dementia in many different ways, even if you think you don't know how to. Unfortunately, dementia does not go away and in many cases, a patient with dementia won’t remember very much if anything at the end of their lives, but here’s how you can help them.

Get the right care

If you're not well versed in dementia or have other commitments in your life that means you can't take care of your loved one full time, then it's important to explore what kind of treatment they're going to need. There are specialist nursing homes that accept patients with dementia, with fully trained staff who recognise a dementia patient's needs and demands. You should look at a hospital beds rentals so you have the peace of mind knowing your loved one is getting the treatment they need.

Plan activities

Just because somebody is losing their memory and undergoing changes in behaviour, it doesn't mean that their lives have to come to a halt. Planning a lot of activities they have done before, as well as discovering new ones together, is a great way to spend quality time together and also strengthen their outlook on their own life. There are many organisations out there that can help perform various tasks, particularly if your loved one has lost mobility.

Emotional support for all parties

It's no easy feat caring for someone with dementia. Watching your loved one slipping away is painful, and sometimes coping with their new behaviours and feelings can be very difficult. However, through this difficult process, there are plenty of charitable organisations that can support you and your loved one. Not only that, they will help you fine-tune your dementia awareness and use it with your loved one in person. Remember that not only will your loved one need emotional support, but it's all right to need it on your own. There is help out there, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

Finally, it’s important to remember the good times with your loved one, whether it’s memories of the past or new ones you’re creating every day. Your loved one is still there, this is just a new version of themselves.

Monday, November 25, 2019

3 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today

Image Credit: Pexels CC0 Licence 

It is never too late to make a change. This is important to remember. While the end of the year might feel like a good time to look back and the beginning of next year might feel like a good time to do something new, the reality is that tomorrow is as good a time to start as any. 

Making changes can feel hard. We are all creatures of habit and bad habits are often difficult to shake. However, you might find that your bad habits are easier to replace than to stop altogether. So, instead of trying to stop something, why not simply reframe the issue as starting something new?

Learn to Care For Yourself

For some of us, taking care of ourselves seems to be harder than anything else. If you are the kind of person who never feels quite in control or always seems to manage to do the wrong thing, you might consider that it isn’t a personality trait set in stone, but simply an opportunity to learn to take better care of yourself. 

You might like to start by addressing any current issues you have. For example, you might like to check out sober living homes near me if you have a problem with alcohol. Equally, you may find that a therapist could help you to identify where the problems are and begin to unravel your difficulties. 

Learning to care for yourself is like an oxygen mask - you have to do this before you can help anyone else and sometimes you need help yourself.

Start Working Out For Fun

There are lots of reasons to work out: your health will improve, your stamina will increase and you will probably get the release of endorphins you have been seeking elsewhere. But if you are struggling to get motivated to go to the gym, you definitely need to stop thinking about your fitness and start thinking about your fun. 

There are all kinds of ways to workout and have fun at the same time. When exercise is fun it is usually social, competitive or ridiculous. Sports like curling embody all 3! The key is to figure out what you are looking for. If you have long enjoyed the party scene, going to an early morning dance session in a club might not be too far from your radar, though going sober might make you wonder where the appeal was! 

Make New Friends

One of the best things you can do throughout life is making new friends. As we get older, it feels a lot like opportunities for hanging out and being social dry up. And yet, there are so many different ways to make friends and meet new people. 

If going to a bar isn’t your thing, you might like to try going to a cultural activity group or signing up for a class to learn new skills. Equally, asking your friends to introduce you to new people is a good way to broaden your social circle. When you view making friends as a daily activity, it’s suddenly not as hard as it looks. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Worlds of Fun Winterfest 2019

Last year I posted about how Winterfest is the ultimate family experience! Also please check out my post from 2017 when we got to first experience the wonder of Worlds of Fun Winterfest! Worlds of Fun transforms into a winter wonderland, with over 500 million lights and miles of festive décor and family activities!

Once again, Worlds of Fun was so gracious and sent my family free of charge to experience their amusement park entirely transformed for the holiday season. What a great way to get in the Christmas mood! I also want to add that we received a couple of tasting cards so we got to try some yummy things: truffle bomb hot chocolate, those amazing loaded yams, shepherd's pie, winter egg roll, and holiday donut nachos. We even got a cool ornament, some saltwater taffy, and a scarf, which came in handy as it got more chilly that night.

We were super sad that my husband could not come this year, as he was working in Kuwait :-( We really enjoyed some of the seven live shows … super fun characters walking through the park as well. Definitely something you want to attend more than once this season! Don't forget about the ice skating, carriage rides, and cookie decorating! There is just so much to do = season pass would be a great Christmas gift for someone on your list!

Speaking of shopping, Artisan Alley features more than 20 KC vendors and artisans with tons of unique gift ideas. My girlfriend got herself a fuzzy Snoopy coin purse and a vinyl Snoopy purse. Did I mention she loves Snoopy? You'll see below!

We had our friend take this at the end. Perfect photo opp!

This is how the night began: with my son all decked out for the 50-degree weather in his Worlds of Fun Santa hat!

This year since we couldn't take Daddy, we took a bunch of friends and met others (my girlfriend with 8 kids and 2 grandkids) there! Lots of the kids have a Season Pass, which I highly recommend.

The little girls loved the standing snow angel cube.

Me and one of my besties, Katie!

Yams, Shep Pie, and Winter Egg Roll. Festive sauces!

Michael and Callie. Joel went off with friends.

So many great photo opps here!

Planet Snoopy is always a hit. The place cleared out by 9 and we got to just keep riding the rides; it was a blast!

My friend flipped out when Snoopy came around. Can you say FAN GIRL?!

Had a hard time getting Sam out of Planet Snoopy! So much to do!

The promise of the Holiday Donut Nachos did the trick!

Callie and longtime bestie, Ciara.

My own basketball team, the McKids, growing fast and having a blast.

You can get a tasting card for $25 and choose which 6 items you would like to try. Then if you love it you can purchase a larger size.

Thanks a bunch, Worlds of Fun, for a most amazing family night out on a lovely winter evening! See you again this year... or next year!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Fall Starbucks Dates with My Kids

Yes, these are fall dates even though the weather is cold and it has already snowed here. Ah, but then the next day it might be 60 degrees and you are breaking out the shorts. Welcome to the Midwest!

I'll post these as we go on the dates; we're trying to do one per day for five days. We chose Starbucks since they all love coffee and want to try new flavors. It's a great place to go and chill in the middle of the day, listen to some good music, and chat. Also you can play Pokémon Go every 5 minutes there to get your digital goodies (I do it for Sam!).

Here is a post from 2015 about when we used to do dates.

Up first: the middle child on a Thursday afternoon. She got the toasted white chocolate mocha and I got the egg nog latte. We sat in comfy chairs by the front window and she answered some of my date questions. Then I asked her the Love Languages questions for teens so we could determine her love languages: first was Quality Time and second was Acts of Service. Later that day she did one of her favorite things: went to the eye doctor. She loves picking out new glasses frames each year!

Friday I picked up Sam from a sleepover and we headed out for some lovely coffee and Pokémon Go. He wanted the egg nog latte like I got, but he didn't like it. The barista then made him a Pokémon Go Frappuccino for free because they want to make sure everyone likes their drink. WOW! So I took home the extra latte for the other kids to devour.


Sorry about the wonky formatting. You would really think Blogger would get their crap together after 12+ years of me blogging here, but nope. They are pretty much the same as the day I started my blog, unfortunately. If I had the time to learn WordPress, that's where I'd be.

So here is Michael's Saturday date below! We headed out and figured the place would be packed but we found a table no problem. He took the Love Language test but got 8 on THREE different things! He's not into words and he's not into touch, but he likes time, gifts and acts of service. We talked about his work and some other things. It was great to spend time with him (and play Pokémon Go). He got a mocha frap and I got a straight mocha. It was a chocolate kind of day.

Normally we don't do things on Sunday that involve paying money (kind of a fast from spending and a focus on God), but today I made an exception so we could get all the dates done before Daddy got home from Kuwait. Eva and I headed out after church for a nice chat and coffees.

The final date was with Joel, my oldest. We went out on Monday and spent some time together figuring out his personality type as well.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Preparing The House For A New Baby

Welcoming a new baby is an exciting time in life. You’ve come together with the person you love most in the world and created a new life, and now you’re starting a new chapter of your lives together. You’re about to have a little person who’s a little bit of the both of you to take home and care for, and you’re ready to make sure your world revolves around them! 

But of course, this doesn’t just happen overnight. If there’s going to be a new baby in the house soon, you’ve got a lot of work to do! Of course, if you’re pregnant yourself, make sure you take it easy during this period, but take advantage of all the free time you have right now too! 

And if you’re not too sure where to start with your baby proofing efforts, we’ve got a quick and nifty list for you to look through. Why not check all of the points off as you go through them?

Get Down to Baby Height

Your baby is going to be at a different height to you, obviously, for quite a while. They’re going to be a lot smaller, and it’s going to take quite a few years for them to see eye to eye with you. And that’s why it’s important to get down to their eye level, for the time being, and take a look around your house. Get down on your hands on knees and crawl around like a baby would - what do you see? 

Do you see a bunch of wires on the floor? Do you see a whole load of uncovered plug sockets, the perfect size for little fingers to poke their way in? Do you see sharp table corners, or splinters coming out of the chair legs? Because if you do, now’s your chance to put some safety measures in place! 

Babies explore their environments; they’re naturally curious, and like to get to know the world around them. Of course they’re going to be touching things they shouldn’t, and they’ll go through a phase where they want to put everything they can pick up into their mouths! 

So get some corner covers, to protect their eyes and soft heads from bumping into sharp and hard surfaces. Get plug protectors to stop any potential electrical accidents or fire hazards from occurring. Get a cable tidy box to store all those wires in, and try to store the box itself somewhere higher than the floor. All it takes is a bit of preparation now, from your baby’s point of view, to make sure your home is as safe and sound as it should be. 

Research the Best Baby Products (and then stock up!)

Before the baby is born, you’re going to need to have a whole stockroom’s worth of diapers and infant milk, as well as plenty of cute little clothes and accessories to keep your baby warm and insulated. After all, the better stocked you are, the less your chances of needing to find a 24 hour supermarket at 3 in the morning when your child has woken up for a nightly feed. 

It might take some time, seeing as there are a lot of them on the market, but not every single product is going to be made to the same standard or quality you want them to be. You might want to start with a list like this, just to kick things off, and see what’s been popular so far this year. It could act as a great hint for what will work well, and be good value for money, in the new year coming. 

And when your baby is actually born, you’ll find that your little one is going to have a preference for certain baby products other overs! So don’t worry too much now about buying just the right products, but be sure to do your research ahead of time, and find out which ones have the best reviews and most goodwill behind them. 

Get the Nursery All Dolled Up!

And of course, now’s the best time to get the nursery out of the way. Being able to decorate an entire room for your new little one is a creative and exciting venture all on its own, and you deserve to revel in that for the time being! After all, a baby will appreciate whatever interior design you come up with for them, and they’re going to develop through the next few months learning just how hard their mommy or daddy worked for them. 

You could go neutral here with your design choices; a lot of parents these days like to leave color schemes out of it, and go with more neutral toned or fun design schemes for their little one to lay their eyes on every day. Something like zoo or farmyard animals painted on the wall, or forest scenes with fairies and goblins to add a touch of magic to the space! 

But you could always subscribe to more traditional design schemes for your little girl or boy. Indeed, the internet is filled with baby girl nursery ideas, with hints of pink and white on the walls, and a lot of fluffy blankets and cuddly toys in the cot for the baby to get used to. Or if you’re having a boy, streaks of reds and blues on the walls might prove popular to you? It’s up to you! 

Ready to Bring a Baby into the House? 

Often enough, new parents never feel quite as thought they’re ready to do that. You can feel like there’s always something more to do, or there’s a hazard somewhere that you’ve forgotten about. 

But this post is here to tell you to relax! You’ve done a lot of leg work, and the nursery is all finished, and now’s the time to live in the moment with your little miracle in your arms. And you’re a new parent, you’re allowed to make mistakes. 


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