Great Activities For Mother And Son

We hear, all the time, about “Mother’s Day Out” and “Mother/Daughter Day” but what about “Mother/Son Day?” That’s right, when to mums get to spend time just with their sons? Well, maybe the reason is that most mums and daughters like to shop, while most guys don’t. Often, the sons are more action oriented. So, what are some great activities for mother and son who just want to spend some time together?

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Try Surfing

Cornwall has some of the best beaches and surfing in the UK. Surf schools abound along the coast, and you can take surfing lessons that include all of the gear. You don’t have to “hang ten” to enjoy a day on the water – just paddling out to the waves and gripping the board with ten fingers can give you a sense of elation, and make for a quality day with your son.

Paddle Boarding

21059307186_0165aec31d_bAlong a similar vein is paddle boarding in Cornwall. All you have to do here is stand on a paddleboard, and you can explore inlets and caves all day long. Your instructor will provide you with a super wide surfboard, and you can rent any other gear you need. If you have any level of fitness at all, you can do this. In fact, you may just find that this is your newest favorite sport and/or exercise! Your son will love it, too. Get away from crowds on a paddleboard, and take in the beautiful views along the beaches.

Movie Marathon

For a more sedentary activity, consider a movie marathon day. This is especially fun for those mothers and sons who share the same interests. For example, my son and I recently had an “X Files” marathon in preparation for the new season coming up in a few months. Go buy movie theatre popcorn, turn down the air conditioning (it’s always cold in movie theatres), and enjoy the show with your favorite beau!

Go Fly a Kite

You can get a couple of cheap fighting kites and have some of the best fun, ever. Fighting kites have two strings so that you can steer them. You and your son can have great fun with a simple idea and a park.

Arts and Crafts

There are a number of ways to get out of the house with your son and have a craft day. Business have sprung up that allow you to come into the store and paint ceramics or paint a picture based on a pattern. This can be a great way to spend time and have something to show for it. Perhaps you and your son can decorate coffee mugs for each other. I glazed a mug for my son that he would recognize as his own, and it virtually eliminated the plethora of drinking glasses on the counter – he knew which one was his, and that took care of it!

These ideas range from athletic to fairly sedentary, but every one of them will give you special time with your son.

Making Time In Your Mum Schedule To Decorate

Mums are constantly on the run, balancing childcare, laundry, housecleaning, taxi driving, and many other time-consuming tasks. In addition, the energy drain from being a mum can sap all enthusiasm for grown-up activities right out of the spirit. If you are a mum who likes to decorate, how can you fit it in? It’s hard enough to be creative, and even harder to unpack and repack decorations with every change of seasons, much less special occasions. Here are some ideas that can streamline the process of decorating, so that even the busiest of mothers can create a fresh look in her home.

Scale It Down

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When I was a newlywed, I decorated the entire house for Christmas. Even the master bath had guest towels with appropriate Christmas-y decoration. Snowman candles raced the end tables, strings of Christmas lights draped every window – well you get the idea. Granted, Christmas was the most over the top outburst of decorating, but I pretty much brought the entire house into seasonal compliance every 3 to 4 months.

Once I had babies, something had to change. I learned to scale down my decoration mania. Going cold-turkey, as they say, left my husband and I feeling let down. So, I purged. I kept special ornaments and decorations, and donated all of the “filler” stuff I had bought just because is was on sale after the holidays. By eliminating a lot of the meaningless clutter, I found that I was more likely to get in the Christmas spirit and make the family room more festive, rather than dreading dragging out all of the decorations.

Use Centerpieces

Also in the interest of scaling it down, think about focusing on centerpieces, or centers of focus for your décor. The buffet in the dining room may be a great place to display your collectibles without having to scatter them throughout the house. In fact, grouping items that are similar creates a greater impact and reduces the sense of clutter.

Planters are a great way to focus your energies. By selecting pretty planters and changing out the arrangements in them you can have seasonal bursts of color without bringing even more knick-knacks into the house.

Organize

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The last thing you have time for as a mum is getting organized. But, if you will dedicate a few minutes each time you decorate, you’ll find that by the end of a year, you are totally organized.

First of all, limit yourself to containers that only you can lift when they are full. By doing this, you will be able to decorate when you are ready, rather than having to wait for someone to help you haul oversized boxes around.

In addition, resolve to limit yourself to only X number of containers. This will make it easier to plan storage for your decorations.

Finally, use dry erase tape and markers to label your containers. When you unpack the decorations, pack the old decorations in the containers you just emptied. Then, change the label.

Taking Your Child On An Adventure

The term “staycation” has been in the vernacular of UK citizens for about a decade, now. With the world-wide economic problems, family holidays have suffered as one of the first budget cutbacks for most. While you may find great deals online for hotel, airline flights, and amusement park tickets, it still requires a large investment to secure your spot. There are, however, other ways you can enjoy time with your children, without having to cash in your retirement savings. Here are some great ways to take your child on an adventure without going broke in the process.

Skip the Hotel

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One great, affordable way to turn a typical weekend holiday into something special is to skip the hotel. Rather than a hotel, try a bed and breakfast. The UK is rich in culture and history, and many property owners have converted their buildings into comfortable and unique lodging. Most B&Bs these days have modern whirlpool tubs and private bathrooms, with luxurious bedding and beautiful surroundings. Your room often will have a private garden.

A B&B is a great way to stay right in the middle of downtown areas, where private homes have been surrounded by city growth. You will also find B&Bs in rural areas allowing you to watch deer and other wildlife from your front porch. A delicious breakfast is part of your fee, and you can often have the owners prepare a sack or picnic lunch. Many proprietors even offer use of bicycles or rides on their horses or ATVs. What kid wouldn’t like that!

Enjoy the Garden

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Face it – most children love tents. Whether they hang a blanket from the top bunk and pretend the bottom bunk is a cave, or make a fort out of sofa cushions, child architects love to build and play. Join in the fun, and take their enthusiasm into the garden. Pop-up tents are easy to use, and can be easily staked to the ground. Go to the bargain stores and get some inexpensive solar lamps, and let the children set them wherever they want in the garden. Place inexpensive plastic toys under shrubbery and structures. My children especially liked the dinosaur hunt. After dark, give each child a flashlight and a list of creatures they may find in the garden, and let them create their own safari. If you have a grill, start it, and let them make s’mores after they finish bagging their limit of dinosaurs, zoo animals, horses, or Barbie dolls.

Indoor Fun

At one time, we were so broke we couldn’t go to the movies. Our solution was to rent a movie. But, to make it special, we splurged and bought a large bucket of buttered popcorn at the movie theatre. Then, at home, we spread a blanket out on the floor, turned the air conditioner down low (another splurge), turned all the lights out, and watched the movie at home. It was a great experience for a fraction of the cost of going to the movies.

Great Clothes For Expecting Mothers

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Just A few decades ago, expectant mothers had few choices in clothing. Tent dresses were the norm, which of course, did little to make the woman feel pretty or feminine. Thank goodness times have changed. Fashion for expecting mothers now uses all kinds of fabrics in modern styles and also comes from ethical fashion companies. In fact, any fashion worn when a woman is not pregnant is now translated into fashions for pregnant women. Here are some ideas and styles that will make pregnant women feel as beautiful as they are.

Trousers

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Straight legged pants have been the style for several years, now. But, when a woman is expecting, the theory of keeping the width of the trouser legs as wide as the waist is a horrifying thought. However, there is no need to wear boxy clothes. Companies such as Sahara clothing provide slim leg trousers that are designed to fit during various stages of pregnancy, yet still provide a stylish and professional profile. Linen and silk in the Sahara clothing line maintain a classy look throughout the months.

For casual wear, maternity cropped trousers can be comfortable and attractive. Don’t be afraid to wear shorter pants – they’re adorable and stylish. Show off those legs and stay cool in the summer.

Harem trousers are still popular. These slouchy, drape-y pants are cute and give a touch of whimsy to your wardrobe.

         

Tops

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One of the hottest styles today is the asymmetric shirt. These tops often look like wrap-around. The asymmetrical lines can provide a beautiful silhouette with the pregnancy – a soft, feminine look. These tops come with different lengths of sleeves, from sleeveless to cap sleeves, and ¾ sleeves to ultra-long.

Silk is always a great way to go, whether a person is pregnant or not. Tie-dyed silk is a clever combination of fun and fancy, and can add whimsy to the wardrobe. When this material is used in a tunic top, you have an adorable, comfortable top.

Box tops are cut straight across the bottom. These, also, come with different lengths of sleeves, and the cut is spacious and comfortable. When the material is gauze, the feel is even better, making you feel even more feminine.

Swing tops are another great addition to the maternity wardrobe. These long, feminine shirts, when accented with pintuck details, combine beautifully with slim-leg trousers for a comfortable look that can go from the office to evening with the addition of a few accessories.

Button-up shirts are also great for expecting mothers. While some women try to avoid buttons during this time from the fear of gaps, a properly designed shirt will not have that problem. The vertical row of buttons is actually slimming, if you feel like you need it, because it directs the eye upwards.

Print Materials

Some people say that you should avoid large prints when you are expecting, Others say you need large prints to balance out your size. Neither of these are set in stone. The print that makes you feel look great is what you should wear.

The Best Way To Wash And Dry Baby Clothes

As you prepare for your new baby, you have probably read just about everything you can about taking care of that little sweetie, and washing and drying baby clothes. You’ve made sure that all of your baby furniture is safe to use, up to BIS requirements. The Department for Business Innovation & Skills has established standards for UK furniture, especially dealing with flammability of materials used in producing furniture and bedding sold in the UK. The European Child Safety Alliance also has stringent regulations regarding materials and standards of construction.

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You probably also know to avoid purchasing older baby furniture at yard sales and antique stores, because they may not be up to standards. Baby seats that have been in a car accident, for example, may not be safe for future use.

But care for the new infant goes beyond furniture. That new baby will have all kinds of needs, such as proper feeding and clothing. An infant’s skin is very delicate, and many of them will develop rashes and even sores from chafing from clothes and bedding. Here are some pointers on how to wash and dry baby clothes, and keep that tiny human baby in comfort.
Detergent

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Believe it or not, you may actually be able to use regular detergent on your baby’s clothes. Special baby detergent can be expensive and strain an already close budget. If your baby is not allergic to your detergent and fabric softener, by all means, use the same detergent you would for the rest of the family.

In fact, some baby clothes detergents are not strong enough to clean the – unique – stains that can ruin the clothing.

If your baby is allergic to the family detergent, you can still wash the clothes in that detergent. Just put the clothing through a second wash in the non-allergenic baby detergent, once the clothing is clean.

One change you might make, though, is to switch to liquid detergent. This will often get clothes cleaner and rinse out better in the washer. People with hard water find that liquid detergent will rinse out, rather than leaving flakes of soap on the clothing.
Of course, hand washing baby clothes will help to keep them in good shape, too.

Drying Baby Clothes

Many people put their baby clothes in the dryer. However, there are several drawbacks to this. For one, the clothes will usually shrink. They are not treated with the same fabric treatments used on clothing for children and grownups, so the clothes will shrink and wrinkle when put in the dryer.

In addition, clothes wear out in the dryer. All of the lint you find in the dryer comes off of the clothes, leaving them threadbare.
One of the best solutions to this is to use clothes airer. They are far more energy efficient. And dangerous, those cute little sweaters can be stretched out to dry wrinkle free. The clothes stay in new condition, and are more useful for heirloom purposes.

Detoxing And The Secrets To Weight Loss

As a mother, you may have put on a few pounds since having your child. If you’re like me then you’ve tried a lot of different methods to try and drop those pounds. A weight loss detox may be just the thing for your health and for your diet. Detoxifying your body will make you feel better, and you will be amazed at how much easier it is to lose weight.

Toxins

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Toxins are in your body from many different sources. The foods we eat are full of additives, and even when we are careful to select organic foods, we can still ingest toxins. Any time you dine out, you will probably get a big dose of MSG. MSG is used in enhance the flavor of foods, but it can be very toxic to our bodies. In fact, if you have ever been extremely thirsty after dining out, it is more than likely that it is because of the MSG present in the food, rather than an excess of salt. It can also make your lips and tongue burn.

Even the air we breathe can introduce toxins to our bodies, which are absorbed and must be broken down by our liver. Lotions, soaps, perfumes, detergents, and any other substances that come into contact with our skin are also absorbed. While most of these may be good for our skin, once they are absorbed by the blood stream, they may not be flushed from the system as quickly as they should.

Medications also present a source of toxins to our body health. Most people are aware of the imbalance caused by taking simple antibiotics. Our intestines have both good and bad bacteria in them. Antibiotics kill both. This creates a negative situation in the digestive system in which the intestines do not have enough bacteria to digest food properly. This causes the food to build up in the intestines, causing blockages and infections.

        

The Liver

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The liver is responsible for filtering out toxins in the body. However, the liver can be so compromised by these same toxins that it cannot do its job properly. It will not develop the necessary chemicals to break down toxins, leaving them to create problems with the circulatory and digestive system.

Weight Loss Detox

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This is why a weight loss detox may be just the thing you need for weight loss. Toxins not only keep your intestines from processing food properly, they will keep you from absorbing the necessary nutrients from your food. Most dietitians and nutritionists will tell you that this contributes to overeating, as our bodies tell us that we have not received the nutrients we need. It also creates cravings.

With a detox regimen, you will cleanse your body of all undigested foods. The toxins that caused the foods to mulch into your digestive tract will begin to be broken down. A liver detox will help your liver to recover so that it can “get caught up” with processing toxins. Inflammation in your gut, circulatory system, and organs will be reduced.

With the toxins out of your body, it will begin to digest the foods you have eaten, providing the nutrition you need. You will find yourself losing weight, because you do not overeat.

Why Solid Oak And Not IKEA?

IKEA, and other stores similar to it, make designer-like furniture available at bargain prices. In fact, most bachelors, college students, and newlyweds would not have furniture in their homes if not for IKEA and its sister stores. However, when you start shopping for grown-up furniture that you may be able to pas along to your own children some day, nothing compares to solid oak.

Particle Board vs. Solid Wood

Most furniture you get from IKEA is made from MDF, or medium density fiberboard. This material is chips of wood, sawdust, and other leavings from the processing of wood. It is dumped into a slurry of glue and pressed and heated until it forms a board. Then, the MDF board is coated with a veneer, such as melamine. In some cases, the boards are covered with something like wall paper that is printed with a wood grain in certain colors. You may even find some MDF that is covered with genuine wood veneer. Particle board is used in a great deal of consumer products, from doors to furniture to bookshelves.

The main problem with MDF is that it is not as strong as solid wood. Since it is made of bits and pieces, even the strongest glues cannot make it solid. Any exposure to moisture will cause it to delaminate. In addition, the veneers used are so thin that they often will not be able to stand up to everyday use.

When you set a drink down on solid oak furniture, for example, it will leave a white ring in the finish. You buff out the ring with toothpaste, and the surface is as good as new. However, with particle board, if that veneer is compromised, the MDF beneath will bubble up. You have probably seen this on your own furniture, and wondered what to do about it. The only thing you can do is sand that area down and try to paint it to match the rest of the surface. However, the structure of the board is compromised.

Refinishing

Veneers and MDF cannot usually be refinished. That is another reason for selecting solid oak rather than IKEA. If the surface of your coffee table is marred, you can usually buff it out with solid oak. But, with MDF, your only choice is to paint over it. Then, you may run into trouble because the paper used to cover the MDF will absorb water from the paint and buckle.

Durability

With MDF, you will see shelves eventually start to sag. It is almost inevitable. Even the weight of the shelf itself will be too much for the board. However, with solid oak, the wood is able to withstand its own weight, and any weight you may place on it. Keep in mind that most furniture makers who are using solid oak to build an item will use proper techniques to ensure the longevity of the piece. So, you gain a piece of furniture that is not only beautiful, but will last through several families.

Getting A Child Used To Doing Chores

Getting a child to do chores, and how much to pay for the work, is a frequent topic of conversation among parents. Some people want their children to learn the value of earning their money, and so pay their children for doing assigned jobs. Other parents want their children to learn that chores are just part of life, and must be done without expectation of reward. Whichever school of thought you belong to, the fact remains that getting a child used to doing chores can be a daunting task. Here are some pointers on how to get your child to do chores.

Make Chores Age Appropriate

Before assigning chores to a child, make sure they have the maturity to handle the physical execution of the chore. For example, a toddler may be able to effectively set the table with plastic plates, but handing the little one the steak knives to place on the table could be dangerous, since he is, after all, a toddler.

Consider the child’s physical height, fine motor skills, and gross motor coordination before assigning chores. A toddler can be taught to brush his own teeth, and this can be his chore before bed. But, the parent should retain the responsibility to make sure it is done right.

A child who has to reach arms’ length over his head to reach the handle of the lawnmower should not mow the lawn – he will not have control of a potentially dangerous machine. However, once he or she is tall enough to hold the handle at chest height, it can be very appropriate to assign lawn mowing as a chore, you never know, he could even start his own lawn maintenance business!.

Don’t Overdo It

In general, children should be assigned about as many chores as they are years old. So, a two year old toddler can usually handle two simple tasks, such as picking up and brushing teeth.

Charts Help

Do you ever make a “To Do” list? A chore chart is the same thing, for children. Keep it simple, with an illustration for those too young to read. For example, draw a picture of a hairbrush, or cut a picture out of a magazine, to represent that the child is supposed to brush his hair when he gets up in the morning.

Psychology

If your child seems to be really adverse to doing chores, use the example of brushing hair as a guide. The children do things every day that they never even think about. By working those into their chore chart, they can get an idea of how much they do every day, and become aware of the responsibilities they have.

Enforcement

The ultimate goal of chores is to teach children to take responsibility. This can be really tough when you have to make the kids do their chores, or constantly remind them. It often creates a situation in which you have to invoke punitive measures to make them sorry for not taking the initiative.

Whether you use rewards like a nice countryside trip, threaten punishment, or just give up, the parent/child dynamic of getting chores done is never simple.

 

Finding The Appropriate Dancewear

Finding the appropriate dance-wear is not always as simple as it sounds. Sure, dancewear is available at any number of stores dedicated to shopping, both online and in brick and mortar shops, but what, exactly, is “appropriate”? Are you looking for dancewear that is appropriate for working out? Maybe you are looking for dancewear that is appropriate for the genre of dance in which you are participating. One thing you can be sure of is that whatever your dancewear needs, you can find the appropriate togs.

Appropriate Dancewear for Working Out

More and more people are learning to dance as a method of working out. They make no apologies for this, and often tackle strenuous dance genres in order to get the maximum workout. In these cases, typical workout clothes are in order. Most dance studios are accustomed to skimpy outfits, so the tight and clinging workout clothes you would wear in other forms of exercise are no shock.

Genres of Dance

However, for those who are dancing for the joy of dancing, or who enjoy the combination of physical activity and artistry, appropriate dancewear takes on a different meaning. Luckily, each genre of dance has its own wardrobe, and having the right clothing may affect your dancing.

Take, for instance, hip-hop. The baggy pants worn by hip-hop artists determine the size of many of the steps taken, so the baggy harem pants, with a low-slung crotch, are almost a necessity. Learning the steps in anything else can be misleading, and you could end up hurting yourself! Booty shorts are another staple of hip-hop dancing. How can you twerk if your booty is all camouflaged?

Lyrical dance has different wardrobe. The support is still there, but there are more flowing lines to the clothing, especially for women.

Don’t Forget the Shoes

Dance Shoes are always important for your workout, and they are just as important, and possibly more specialized, for dance. Men and women alike often wear split shoes that offer full support at the same time as providing maximum flexibility. Some women even prefer half-shoes, if they are doing a lot of turning or pirouettes.

Besides specialized shoes, there are often braces and reinforcements for your feet to reduce impact from more strenuous steps. Half-wraps and cross-wraps help support arches and reinforce the foot for just about every genre of dance. And of course, for the performance, simply wearing dress shoes won’t work. The specialized construction and materials of dance shoes means you can find a perfect fit that will provide the right amount of traction on the dance floor, regardless of the type of dance you are performing.

What is Your Style?

Whatever your style is, there is a style of dance and dancewear at Weston Dancewear that gives you the opportunity to express yourself. Whether you want the shimmy-shake of flapper dresses and the frenetic motions that accompany them, or the smooth, classic lines of ballroom dancing, you can get plenty of exercise for your body and for your fashion sense with appropriate dancewear.

Using Plants To Create A Safe Environment For Your Child

Parents today are among the most well-educated, well-informed of all the generations. We research every week of pregnancy to make sure we are eating the right foods, sleeping on the correct side so as to not cut off circulation to the baby, and we make our own baby food once the little bundle arrives. We measure slats on baby beds, check consumer reports on car seats, and make sure there is no lead in their toys. But, do we plan on – plants?

Tight Houses

Houses today are built to be super tight. Double paned windows help to keep energy costs lower, and insulation keeps heat in during cold months. Careful caulking around siding and openings keep bugs out of the walls and dirt off of the furniture. But, sometimes our houses are too tight.

The reality is that the air in your house needs to be changed out every few hours. Air conditioning units can help with this, but often, the air intake is also from a closed source. This creates an atmosphere in which germs can thrive. Air is exhaled and simply recycled, getting dryer in the process and getting more stale. You’ve heard the term “get some fresh air”? Well, there is a reason behind that. We need fresh air to thrive.

Plants Freshen Air

The truth is, plants freshen air. They “breathe” just like people and animals do, and clean the air as they do so. In fact, NASA has published a Clean Air Study that proves that plants will not only absorb carbon dioxide in the air, they will scrub it clean of certain chemicals. Benzene, trichloroethane, and formaldehyde are used in the manufacture of many household items, such as carpet, wallpaper, drywall, and even paint. Some plants absorb those chemicals, releasing clean oxygen in place of the chemicals.

Good House Plants

If you want to create a healthy environment for your child, there are some plants that will help. The chrysanthemum and the peace lily, or spathiphyllum, for example, will scrub the 5 most common toxins from your air: benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, ammonia, and formaldehyde.

English ivy, dracaena, and the variegated snake plant (mother-in-law’s tongue) remove all but the ammonia from the air in your home.

Just about any wide-leafed plant will remove formaldehyde from your home. There are some good places online you can purchase these plants, the first place I’d try is www.urbanplanters.co.uk. It may also be possible to find some of these varieties in brick and mortar shops.

Bad House Plants

There are some bad plants, or plants that are not as safe to have around children or pets. Cacti, for one, are not such a good idea, for obvious reasons. But there are other plants as well with more subtle dangers.

Some downright poisonous plants, thankfully, are not usually used as house plants, but you should be aware that foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, and tansy are all poisonous.

The house plants that have given people the most problem are dumb cane and caladium. Dumb cane cleans the air quite well, but numbs the tongue if it is eaten – hence the name.

With good house plants in your home, it will not only be more beautiful, it will be healthier, too.