The Best Birthday Gifts For a 1-Year-Old

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Struggling to find the right gift for a first birthday? Whether it’s your own child, a niece/nephew or a child of friend, why not consider some of these ideas?

Baby clothes

A first birthday could be a great opportunity to splash out on some adorable new baby clothes. Technically this is more of a gift for the parents than the baby, but that shouldn’t matter – it’s as much of an opportunity for the parents to celebrate as it is the child. Besides, one-year-olds may starting to develop an interest in the clothes they wear.

Push-along toys

It’s around the one year mark that many kids are building the strength to walk. Push along toys can be great for building the confidence to walk by oneself. Think toy lawnmowers or toy prams – these will continue to get use long after mastering walking.

Rocking toys

A lot of kids around this age also love rocking toys. There are all kinds of versions of this toy from traditional rocking horses to other bouncing animals that may produce sounds or glow up. One year olds may need help getting on these toys at first but may soon be able to easily climb on themselves.

Bath toys

Bath toys can help infants to start associating bath time as something fun. There are all kinds of different bath toys out there from rubber ducks to toy boats to squirting toys. You may even be able to find more elaborate toys that glow up or produce bubbles.

Musical instruments

A lot of one years olds will interested in the sounds that objects create. This is a great time to introduce simple instruments aimed at kids like xylophones, bongos, tambourines and even simple keyboards. Musical toys could encourage kids to stop banging and clanging on other household items. There are also plenty of other toys that can produce musical sounds.

Stacking/puzzle toys

There are plenty of toys that can encourage infants to fit things together such as stacking cubes in a certain way or fitting certain shapes in certain holes. These are great for developing problem-solving skills at this age. Consider gifts like Duplo sets and books with jigsaw pieces in.  

Art supplies

Around the one year mark, kids may also start to want to scribble or finger-paint. Consider sets of crayons and paper or paints that allow a child to experiment with colours and get messy. There may also be mess free toys to consider such as etch-a-sketches – parents may appreciate this more if you’re buying for a one-year-old that isn’t your own!

 


Taking The Hassle Out Of Healthy Living: Easy Ways To Feel Better

There’s so much information about healthy living and what we should and shouldn’t do that it can be incredibly difficult to figure out what actually works. With new fad diets emerging every week, and exercise trends changing by the day, it’s easy to get bogged down in information. The truth is that living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are some very simple, stress-free ways you can improve your health. 

Simple steps to improve your diet

There are hundreds of articles about healthy eating out there, and it seems like we’re advised to eat different foods every month. The reality is that adopting a healthy diet doesn’t have to involve a dramatic overhaul. To improve your diet, incorporate foods that have nutritional value, and try and cut down on those that don’t benefit you. Steer clear of processed foods and items that are high in trans and saturated fats, and focus on lean sources of protein, mineral and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Simple steps like swapping white bread for wholemeal and adding more greens and oily fish to your diet will make a massive difference. If you’re not a seasoned pro in the kitchen, look for easy, quick, healthy recipes online. 

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Taking care of your dental health

Did you know that poor oral health can increase your risk of developing heart disease and dementia? Research suggests that dental health is linked to general health. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while, or you’ve been hoping that your toothache goes away of its own accord, now is the time to book an appointment. Attending regular checks, getting swollen and bleeding gums checked out and investigating options like partials for missing teeth will improve your dental health dramatically. Ideally, you should go to the dentist every 6-12 months. To reduce the risk of dental problems, it’s also advisable to brush twice a day with an electric toothbrush and avoid snacking and eating a lot of sugary and acidic foods. 

Moving more

Inactivity is a major threat to our health and wellbeing. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. If you’re not a gym bunny, there’s no need to panic. You can make up the minutes doing all kinds of activities. From dancing, walking the dog, cycling, and climbing to ice skating, yoga, playing tennis, and jogging, there are multiple ways you can increase your activity levels. It’s also a great idea to make small changes like walking or cycling short distances instead of driving and using stairs instead of elevators and escalators. 

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Rest and recovery

Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty? Do most days feel hectic or rushed? Do you feel tired all the time? If you’re not getting enough sleep, this will have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Set yourself up with a bedtime routine, which enables you to get enough hours of sleep every night, relax before you go to bed, and keep your phone away from your bedroom. 

It’s very easy to lose sight of what works and what doesn’t when you read magazines or watch TV documentaries. There seems to be new information about healthy living all the time, and often, articles and features contradict each other. The truth is that making very simple changes can have a drastic impact on your health. 






Fun Activities for Kids this Summer

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The long summer months are here and it’s time to relax and kick back with the family. But with so many weeks to fill, it’s easy for parents to run out of ideas to keep their kids entertained - especially if you will be working through most of the vacation.

No matter what your budget is or how old your kids are, here’s a list of suggestions you might like. 

Summer Camps

There are all kinds of different camps available from more educational programs like a stem summer camp to more activity-based camps that give your kids a chance to try different outdoor pursuits. Choosing the right camp is all about figuring out what will be the most fun, and how far away and how long your child wants to stay. For their first camp, it’s a good idea to try a day camp or a short camp first.

A summer camp is a great chance for kids to meet new people and become a little more independent from home. Camp offers them a chance to develop their social skills and have a lot of fun too. Camps can be a great solution for parents who can’t stay home with their kids for the whole summer break too. 

Fun in the Garden

While the weather is so fine, having fun in the garden is almost an obligation. Family BBQs, water fights and picnics are a brilliant way to enjoy the sunshine and make the most of your space. Getting the kids involved in the kitchen making picnic recipes is also a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Plus, kids are much more likely to try food they have helped to prepare so this could be your chance to persuade a fussy eater to try new things. 

The garden is also a good space for learning. Give your kids time to explore and play, making mud pies and planting quick-grow seeds together. A sunflower competition is always a fun activity for early summer months. Making a grasshead is also a fun way to grow seeds for the first time and, once the grass has started growing, you can trim it to create different ‘haircuts’.  

Learning New Skills

The summer is the perfect time to teach your kids new skills such as how to swim and how to ride a bike. As the school term and curriculum can be quite restrictive, the summer is the perfect opportunity to broaden your kids’ horizons with cultural pursuits such as trips to art galleries and museums and family days out.  

Of course, growing up is all about developing social skills too. Now is the perfect time of year to host sleepovers (and send your kids on them too!) as you can put up a tent in the garden and give the kids a bit more space to play together. While it might not be as structured as other activities, just giving kids a chance to entertain themselves is really important and the summer is the perfect opportunity. 


Re-entering Into The Workforce Market Isn't So Tough

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Parents who have stayed at home for a long time raising their children, might get an itch they need to scratch after a while. Once the children are old enough to go to school or perhaps to daycare, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands. However, even if your children are still toddlers and need full time parental care, you might also want to re-enter into the workforce market. It's natural to feel this way because work gives you routine and direction and that is always healthy. And yet, you also have children to look after which makes certain kinds of work out of the question. If you have previous career skills you might need to use what you can and find what you can. For example, if you were a professional marketer, you might not be able to do the 9 to 5 schedule anymore, but you can use your skills as a self-employed professional. Working from home has never been easier than before, so take the opportunity to do so if you can.

Being an online consultant

Small business owners do not have a large fund which they can use to hire the best people. However they do have amazing ambition and willingness to learn. Entrepreneurs are trying to find experts and knowledgeable people in their industry, who can impart their wisdom unto them. They need guidance and mentoring, advice on strategy and tips on small things like analyzing people’s behavior during the hiring process. Becoming a freelance home-based consultant is easy. You already have the past experience and knowledge of working in your particular industry, now all you need is a platform from which to share this.

You can set up a blog from which you can attract traffic. Using blogs and modern SEO techniques is very effective, as is video content sharing tips and tricks of the trade. However, you might also want to join a consulting agency, which has been designed specifically for one to one client relationships. The agencies will find you the clients but also take a fee for their efforts. It's recommended you do both as you cast the net wide in hopes of finding regular clientele.

Begin to home network

Every business in the world uses some kind of modern conferencing software. For full time parents who want to know how they can start working as a stay-at-home mom, take a look at how you can start to hold home conference calls. Maybe you would like to carry on your role in the same capacity from home now that you’re ready to work again. Keep in touch with your previous colleagues and make sure you’re always reading up on the latest news in the industry. This not only keeps your mind fresh and in the know, but your knowledge is brought up to speed with modern day standards. You’re also able to have voice communication with multiple people at the same time. Therefore being engaged in meetings with clients, customers or your fellow colleagues is almost as effective as being there in person.

Go to industry events

Going to industry events isn’t just for the professionals in the industries themselves, they’re open to everyone. It's prudent to sign up early to any industry event that is relevant to your ambitions. This way you have the opportunity to snap up any exclusive passes which have perks. Going to industry events is a great way to network, but also refresh your mind as to what you loved doing before having children. You can then slowly get up to speed with the current climate of technology, practices, standards and build relationships. 

Make it a priority to network with small businesses as they are always looking to expand their workforce. Because you have been out of work for a few years, large firms may not want to hire you in favor for a younger candidate. You should still try, but your best bet is to look for an exciting new company, with a new idea and offer your skills to various business owners who fit the criteria. It’s in person so you may need to work on your conversational skills and become comfortable again speaking the language of the industry; i.e. using familiar jargon.

After being a full time parent, it's often time to rejoin the workforce. However times change quickly and your skills may have a little rust on them. Begin by trying your hand at being a self-employed expert and offer consulting to entrepreneurs. If you would like to take it one step further and look for a company to work for, go to industry events and network with small businesses. 














Children’s Bike Buying Guide

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A bike is something which most children have when they are growing up. When buying one for your child there are a lot of different things that you need to consider in order to make sure that you purchase one which is just right for them. After all, there are so many different bikes available in stores around the country and off of the internet at the moment. Thus, if you fail to give careful contemplation when shopping then you could risk your child’s safety.

The first thing you need to think about when buying the bike is the size of it. This is the main thing that attributes to your child having a safe and comfortable ride. A lot of parents assume that it is best to buy a slightly bigger bike in order to accommodate for when their little one grows. However, this is certainly not recommended. Your child will find the bike difficult to ride and thus the experience will not be an enjoyable one, furthermore because they find it tough it can also be dangerous. You need to make sure that the bike you buy is a perfect size for your child now.

In addition to size, you should consider other features that the bike includes, especially safety features. Sadly, some kids have been injured because of bike manufacturing issues. However, they have been able to claim with a personal injury attorney. This means considering aspects such as the number of gears. It is generally the rule that the older your child is or the more competent they are on a bike, the higher the number of gears that you should go for. This is something you should think about because gears help bikes to adapt to different terrains easily and make the ride smoother – therefore you also need to think about where your child will be riding their bike as well.

Aside from size and features, you also need to give contemplation to the style and the design of the bike you are going to buy. This is important because the look of the bike is the first thing that your child will notice. Therefore if you want them to become instantly interested in the bike that you choose, you need to pick something which is eye-catching. There are some fantastic designs out there at the moment. But if you are at a loss regarding what colour to go for then silver is always a good option. This is because it is versatile and thus is suited to boys and girls and all tastes. Nevertheless, it is still an exciting and stylish colour.

A final aspect that you need to take into consideration is obviously price. After all, this is an important factor when buying any product. Because there is a vast range of bikes available nowadays, this means that there is a vast difference in the price range available as well. Therefore it is recommended that you set a budget before you begin to search. But keep in mind that quality is crucial and thus make sure that you consider all things – not just solely price.  

All in all, if you consider the four main points revealed in this article then you should have no problem buying the perfect bike for your child.


Keeping Your Family Healthy... No Matter What Your Budget

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Mom life changes you. You become the ultimate instinctive protector. Suddenly nothing matters more to you than keeping your family happy and healthy. But it can sometimes feel as though good health and happiness are the preserve of the wealthy. When you have money, getting access to the best food, the best healthcare and the exercise we need to keep our bodies active in the deskbound age is easy. But when money’s tight, it can seem like all we have are less healthy options. Of course, good household finances start with a good household budget, but even the most careful budgeters can find themselves low on funds from time to time. Sometimes an unforeseen expense makes payday seem like a lifetime away.
Here are some affordable ways to keep your family happy and healthy no matter what your bank balance…

When it comes to food, keep it real!

Keeping your family fed on a budget is relatively easy… So long as you don’t care what you feed your family. Heavily processed convenience foods are more affordable than ever. Yet, these are hardly the foods that will keep your family healthy (even if they have been engineered to taste nice). It’s a common fallacy that healthy eating has to be expensive but nothing could be further from the truth.

Load up on fresh veggies and fruits in your supermarket’s produce section. Look out for the reduced stuff and reverse engineer your meal plans from what you can find. Looked for cheaper canned veggies like beans, carrots or peas where you can’t find the good stuff fresh. You can throw together a veggie curry or 5 bean chilli that will feed your family for days without spending a fortune. 

If you eat meat and fish, use these sparingly and freeze them when you don’t need them. You can supplement your protein intake from more affordable (and equally nutritious) plant based sources.

Buy fresh, real food to protect your family’s health and you’ll find that you never overspend. 

Use free healthcare services available in your area

Do you worry that your children might not be getting the best healthcare on your limited budget? If your kids fall ill, you may be reticent to take them to the doctor for fear of receiving a huge bill or expenses which are not covered by your insurance. Even if you have Medicaid, finding a doctor can be difficult in some areas.

Fortunately, there are free resources out there. It’s just a case of knowing where to look for them. Check out this mobile pediatric clinic, for example. Organizations like this provide free pediatric care in the communities that need them the most.

You don’t need to spend a penny to stay active together

Keeping fit and active isn’t a problem that we should need to throw money at. You don’t need to sign up to a fancy gym or pay for subscriptions to your kids’ sports teams to lead a healthy and active life. Just because money’s an issue right now doesn’t mean that your only option is spending your free time on the couch.

Go out for a bike ride together, or at the very least a brisk walk. Set up your own backyard olympics on a sunny Saturday. Climb trees, scrape knees. Do the kind of stuff that fun, active families did before expensive gyms and sports teams were a thing.

You don’t have to break the bank to keep your family well fed, happy and healthy!


Three Things Your Kids Need

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When you’re a mama, it’s safe to say that you’re always going to worry about your kids. Are they happy? Are they healthy? Do they feel loved? We’re all so scared of saving or doing the wrong thing and it going on to affect our kids as they grow up. But in reality, you have to really do your best at giving your kids what they need. So, ask yourself – do you know what that is? No, it’s not the latest game or toy? Because material things don’t matter. So, let’s take a look.

One: Space

First of all, you have to recognize that your kids need space. You cannot smother them into adulthood. They need room to grow and become themselves. And, as a step on from that, they need physical space too. Room to play and explore, and a space of their own too. Independence is so important, so if you want them to be happy, prioritize space. 

Two: Laughter

Next up, there’s laughter. It’s never enough to just assume your kids will entertain themselves – or even to rely too much on devices. Instead, you really do need to think about how you can all have fun and raise your children in a happy, light-hearted environment, This is the purest way to raise happy kids.

Three: Nourishment

Finally, they need nurture. Mental and physical nourishment is so important. As you can see from the infographic below, obesity is prominent. So, anything you can do to work on their nutrition and ensure they are healthy, really can make a difference – for their minds too.


Infographic Design By University of Nevada - Reno

4 Best Cities for Babies to Live

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WalletHub.com recently ranked the best and worst states to have a baby, with Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and North Dakota among the top five – but, if you want more specifics, including the best cities to raise your baby, we’ve got you covered.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale is often named on lists of the best places to raise a family, making it a top pick for babies to live. It’s a safe city, a place where they can be happily pushed around in a stroller even after dark with a crime rate that’s 15 percent lower than the national average. It enjoys frequent sunny skies, lots of parks, including many with baby swings and fountains to splash around in, along with a wealth of recreational activities. There are plenty of pediatricians, and nearby Phoenix hosts a number of outstanding healthcare facilities like Mayo Clinic Phoenix and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Parents.com ranked Milwaukee as one of the country’s top 20 cities for a baby to live, but as impressive as that is, we think it should be ranked even higher. The state itself is often noted as one of the most family-friendly, as WalletHub noted in its ranking, while the cost of living in in this city is 10 percent lower than the U.S. average – you’ll definitely notice those lower price tags when browsing Milwaukee houses for sale - helping to mitigate the expense of raising a child. There are great schools, and when baby graduates from high school, he or she will have around two dozen universities and colleges to choose from in the Greater Milwaukee area. Plus, there are all sorts of fun things to do, from the popular children’s museum to a wide range of festivals with activities for all ages.

Newton, Massachusetts

Newton is a Boston suburb that offers the amenities of the big city with a small-town feel, made up of several small villages. It has a crime rate that’s 75 percent lower than the national average, excellent schools (over 96 percent of residents are high school graduates and more than three-quarters hold a bachelor’s degree), and it’s close to some of the top hospitals and health care providers in the country. While it doesn’t come cheap, the job market is very strong and incomes are high, with the median household income over $125,000. There are also plenty of kid-friendly activities in town and in nearby Boston, including lots of great museums and the New England Aquarium, which babies are sure to love. 

Minnetonka, Minnesota

Minnetonka is consistently rated among the top places to live in the country, especially for families, with excellent schools, high graduation rates, and a crime rate that’s 36 percent lower than the national average. It also offers plenty of outdoor activities and as it’s close to Minneapolis, it’s easy to enjoy big city delights too. While the cost of living is a bit higher than other Minnesota cities, it’s still a lot more affordable than places like Chicago, Boston, San Francisco or Miami.