The Back-to-School Emotions

back to school emotions

Whether you have a little one starting kindergarten, going into 3rdgrade, or starting a whole new school, the beginning of the school year can be stressful and full of emotions. Your kids are excited and nervous – and so are you! We’re going to highlight tips to help you with both excitement and stress this school year.

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Family Fun for Labor Day

family fun labor day

To many working Americans and families, Labor Day is just another 3-day weekend. But it’s not! It’s a day to recognize the hard work you put in each and every day. So this year, we want to help celebrate YOU! If you’re at a loss for what to do this Labor Day weekend, we have a variety of ideas to get you started.

Pay tribute to history. If you’ve never visited your local museums (or even if you have!) plan a day trip. Explore, learn something new, and teach your kids about the importance of American history.

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Easy DIY Nursery Decorations

DIY Nursery

When you’re expecting, one of the most exciting things to do is decorate for your baby! Whether it’s an entire nursery or the wall of a room being shared with an older sibling, we have plenty of DIY nursery decoration ideas to help you stay on a budget and even maximize your space. Each one can be customized for a boy or girl and can go along with any “theme” you choose.

Alphabet Wall Hangings: One popular nursery decoration is to use the letter(s) of your child’s name. First, you’ll want to find a large piece of cardboard. Then use a sharpie to trace the outline of a letter. If you need font or style inspiration, search online. Once you’ve got it all traced, cut out your letter of choice. Now you can wrap the cardboard letter in thick yarn like this or pin flowers and foliage all over it.

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Importance of Reading as a Family

Reading as a family

Reading is arguably one of the most important skills to have, and one that impacts every aspect of your life. It is never too soon to begin reading to your children and doing so has many developmental benefits – especially in the earliest years of life. Sharing a love of books with your newborn, toddler and school-aged children will help them build a foundation for future success and instill a lifelong love of reading.

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Ten Day Wellness Challenge

wellness challenge

At the beginning of each year, we make resolutions and promises to do better for ourselves. We commit to exercising, eating healthy, saving money, etc. Well now 2018 is halfway over (can you believe it?!) and we bet that most of those well-intentioned resolutions have fallen by the wayside.

That’s why it’s the perfect time for a ten-day wellness challenge. You’ll add in one new healthy habit each day and slowly build on them. By making one small change at a time, you won’t feel overwhelmed by taking on too much at once.

Day One: Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important pieces of your health. When you’re well rested you have a more positive attitude, your body functions better and your mind is sharper. Aim to get 7-8 hours each night. Decide what time you need to be up in the morning to get ready for your day and then figure out what time you need to go to sleep to get enough rest. After just one night you’ll be able to tell a big difference in how you feel!

Day Two: Hydration
Do you drink enough water? Chances are, no. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should be drinking even more water than usual. On day two, continue to get your 7-8 hours of sleep and add in drinking more water. Staying hydrated can help you curb hunger and have more energy.

Day Three: Goal Setting
Now that you’re well rested and hydrated, it’s time to get in the habit of setting goals. You can decide what this looks like for you. Set a big goal to strive for over the rest of the year, or a smaller one to accomplish this week. And don’t just think about it; write it down! When you physically write down your goal, you’re more likely to achieve it.

Day Four: Exercise
And now it’s time to add in some activity. Decide what your goal is based on how active you are now. It may be to go for a one-mile walk each day or to join a gym. Whatever you decide, choose something you can stick with! Be flexible and strive for 30 minutes of activity per day. Playing outside with your kids or walking the dog counts! If your mornings and evenings are packed, take two 15-minute walks during your workday.

Day Five: Healthy Choices
With your new activity goal, you’ll need to eat the right food to fuel your body. We know it can be difficult to eat clean 100% of the time, but we have some tips to help you get started. Begin by purchasing healthier foods and throwing out the junk. If chips and candy aren’t around to eat, you’ll be less likely to snack on the bad things.

Find it too difficult to tell yourself “no” to so many foods you love? Instead, tell yourself “yes” by setting a goal to eat a certain amount of fruits and veggies each day. Then, instead of saying no to the bad stuff, you’re saying yes to the good stuff. You won’t feel cheated because if you still want a treat later, you can have it! The idea is simply to add in healthier choices and make less room in your diet for the junk.

Day Six: “You” Time
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Make time to invest in your wellbeing and have some quiet time to yourself. Wake up earlier than everyone else in the house or set the kids up with some toys and books while you go into another room. If you have a favourite pastime, like a craft, do it! Joy is so important in life, so carve out time to do something that brings you joy.

Day Seven: Tackle a Bad Habit
You’ve spent six days building good habits, and now it’s time to kick a bad one to the curb. Maybe you stop by Starbucks every morning on the way to work or maybe you bite your nails. Decide where you can make a healthy change in your life for the better. With all these new goals and good choices, you have less room for the bad stuff.

Day Eight: Read
We mentioned earlier that mental health is important. Reading can be a big part of maintaining your mental health! Learning is good for your brain and your outlook on life. If you have kids, include them and read bedtime stories; but remember to make time for your own interests, too. Read a motivational book, a history book, or even a magazine.

Day Nine: Organize
Of course, you saw this and immediately began a mental list of ALL the things that need organizing at your house. It can be a lot! Today, we just want you to organize one thing. Maybe it’s your junk drawer, a closet or the DVD rack. Just do it. You may not be able to commit to organizing something every single day moving forward, but even if you do something once per week, you’ve added in a healthy habit to your schedule!

Day Ten: Budget
When was the last time you really took a look at your budget and finances? Look at how much money you’re bringing in, how much your bills are, and where you can make adjustments to save more. If you set a goal to take a family vacation or pay down debt, decide how you can make that happen!

Hopefully, you’ll be able to continue these healthy habits and build on them in the future. It can take 30 days to build the repetition for something to be a habit that you stick to. Commit to one month of focusing on the ten items above. Future “you” will be appreciative! Just imagine what you’ll be able to accomplish.

Postpartum Depression – Understanding Postpartum Mental Health

postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is a term you have probably heard, but may not fully understand. For a long time, there was an unspoken rule that postpartum depression was an off-limits topic. Thankfully, times are changing!

The expectation is that when you have a baby, you are full of blissful happiness and overwhelming love. While that is the ideal scenario, each woman experiences different postpartum emotions following their baby’s birth. Most women experience a mix of positive and negative feelings about the life-altering change of having a new baby.

However, overwhelmingly negative thoughts can be a warning sign of postpartum depression. Whether it’s feeling stressed, anxious, lonely or sad — hormonal changes paired with such a huge life transition can take time to adjust to.

Did you know that according to the American Psychological Association up to 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression? We wanted to dedicate some space on our blog to addressing postpartum depression and removing some of the taboo surrounding the topic.

What is postpartum depression? First, let’s address the fact that “postpartum depression” encompasses much more than just feeling depressed. This phrase really captures so much more than depression – anxiety, sadness, fear, and inability to sleep or function on a daily basis.

When do the changes begin? Many people see postpartum depression and think that “post” means after, so the depression must begin following the baby’s birth. Disorders like depression don’t just occur postpartum. Women can begin to feel mood changes throughout pregnancy as hormones begin changing and the body prepares for delivery.

The reason it’s called postpartum depression is because of the significantly increased risk of the disorder in the period following a baby’s delivery. While you’re pregnant, it’s easier to cope with your symptoms because your overall routine isn’t changed. But once the baby arrives you have the added strain of adjusting to life as a parent and the changes in your relationship with your significant other.

Who does it affect? Unfortunately, depression does not discriminate. Anyone can suffer from this emotional disorder. However, personal and family history can be an indication of what you’ll experience. If a woman suffers from anxiety, depression or another mood disorder, she is much more likely to experience an increase in those feelings during and after pregnancy. You can think about the micro-changes that occur in your mood during your monthly period as these can be amplified during and after pregnancy.

How can I tell if I may have this disorder? A great “test” is to have someone you trust watch your baby. Are you able to lie down and take a nap, knowing that your little one is well cared for? If not, there is a good chance you are suffering in some way. If you think you may be suffering – even a little bit – don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your doctor, your partner or someone else you trust.

Many women who have suffered with infertility or struggled to conceive feel like they don’t have permission to be sad. Life is such a gift, but having a baby is a huge task and can be very overwhelming. It’s OK not to be happy all of the time. Allowing yourself to feel these negative feelings can help you move past them.

What can I do to help my friend or loved one who may be suffering? First of all, understand that there is an underlying factor that contributes to postpartum depression. During pregnancy, all of the focus is on mom. Once the baby has arrived, all of that attention shifts to the baby and many people “forget” about mom.

If you know your friend is struggling, reach out frequently. Let her know you’re there for her. Before stopping by for a visit, give mom a call and make sure it’s a good time. When you arrive, come with food! Chances are she may forget to eat because she’s so tired and busy. Offer to hold the baby while mom takes a nap or does something for herself. Ask how she is doing and be sure to let HER talk. Sometimes, just venting and talking to a close friend can do wonders for our wellbeing.

Postpartum depression deserves meaningful attention. If you or someone you love may be suffering, reach out to someone for help and don’t be ashamed!

Why Fathers Are Important

why fathers are important

Fathers Day was earlier this month and we want to take some time to appreciate all the dads out there. This year more than $23 billion was spent on Mother’s Day, compared to only $15 billion on Father’s Day. Dad, we want you to know that you’re important, too. Little ones need their fathers just as much as they need their mothers, and here’s why:

Dads are the yin to mom’s yang. There is a reason that there are two parents. Moms and dads naturally balance one another out. We’re not just talking about traditional gender roles since both parents can essentially “do” all of the same things. We tend to be attracted to a mate who provides balance to our own lives, and this extends to our children as well. One parent may be more organized and the other may be more free-spirited. Parenting takes teamwork. By maximizing one another’s strengths, you can both parent more effectively.

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Postpartum Apps You Will Love

postpartum apps you will love

When you are postpartum staying organized with a new baby is a top priority, but you may feel overwhelmed trying to accomplish everything. Your baby has his days and nights mixed up and you’re running on fewer hours of sleep than you thought was possible. The pediatrician probably expects you to track your little one’s feedings and wet/dirty diapers.

You’re also trying to eat healthily and stay active. And don’t even mention managing activities with your older kids, grocery shopping, paying bills along with all of the other responsibilities you have in addition to a new baby. You probably feel overwhelmed just thinking about it all! Thank goodness for technology to keep you on track and help you save money. These five apps are some of our favorites for new moms and will help you stay organized, maintain your health and even save money.

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Co-Sleeping the Safe Way

safe co-sleeping

After spending nine months inside your belly, your little one will need lots of your love and attention once she’s born. After all, you’re all she’s ever known! The sound of your voice and familiar feeling you provide will be all your little one wants. It may seem like she never wants to be put down and may even fuss when anyone else holds her.

Since she wants to be held 24/7 (and rightfully so!) she may not even want to be put down when you’re ready to go to sleep at night. Since it isn’t safe to fall asleep holding your baby, we have some great ways to safely co-sleep. These tips and products will ensure you both get a restful night’s sleep.

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Mother’s Day Musts

mother's day musts

As a mom (or mom-to-be), you deserve the best! After all, you are constantly busy taking care of everyone and everything in your homestead. Now, it’s time to take care of you! Here are some awesome Mother’s Day ideas (or hints to drop) that include some major pampering and lots of luxury for the expecting mother in your life.

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