Category Archives: Family

Monday Update: Sweet Surprises Edition

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Monday Update: Sweet Surprises Edition

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I hope that all of you had a fabulous weekend and are beginning your week feeling refreshed and ready to go. So, as most of you have gathered by now, I am far from a religious person. This is ironic, considering I spent my years up until high school attending school and church in a Roman Catholic setting. But from as young as five years old, I knew that religion just wasn’t something that I was interested in.

Despite these feelings (which is not what this post is about), I do have a deep appreciation of the beauty of churches as well as religious imagery. Specifically, rosaries. I can remember being really young and loving to wear rosaries and to this day have a special drawing towards them. This has led me to beginning my collection of rosary style jewelry, a la Bono, my U2 front man celebrity crush.

In my collection, I actually have a beautiful black rosary that was blessed by Pope Francis, which was gifted to me by my brother. But the other two in my arsenal are from my beloved mama, who knows my style all too well thanks to hundreds of shopping trips throughout the ages.

My mom knows exactly how to make someone feel special. Whether it be through her kind words, lending an ear to listen to your problems, or picking out a treat just for you when she’s out shopping – my mom does it all. I can’t tell you the amount of times that she’s come home from trips to Target or the grocery store with a box of hair dye for me or a new shade of nail polish for my sister and, of course, a new makeup or polish shade to treat herself with, too.

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Ever since I was little, I can remember mom coming home with her shopping to tell me or one of my siblings that she has a “surprise” in the bag for one of us. As a child, I lived for that. And as a twenty-three year old adult, I still do. Knowing that someone picked something out special for you is a delight that I treasure so deeply. Finding out that someone saw a piece of jewelry or a color that reminded them of you so much as to purchase it for them is a marvel that never gets old to me. Kindness is something that I value beyond all other qualities and, to me, this exudes such divine kindness and generosity.

This past weekend was really rough for yours truly. My mom knew this and saved an afternoon of us running errands last Sunday to tell me that she has a “surprise” for me, which she had been carrying around in her purse. She waited until we were done with our shopping and in the car to leave for home to gift me with the most gorgeous necklace that I’ve ever seen:

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I literally gasped out loud when I opened the small black box that my mom presented me with and saw this amazing rosary necklace sitting inside of it. This Louisa L brand necklace was made in Italy and on the back of the charm with the Blessed Mother features the Italian “Ruega Por Nosotros” or “Pray for us”.

My new rosary necklace has everything that I love – the color, the style, and the thought behind it, which made this the most wonderful gift to receive. My mom had gotten this present days before my unfortunate weekend, but waited until a “rainy day” to give it to me. I am so happy that she did, because it left me feeling infinitely better and so loved. Thank you, mom!! I LOVE YOU! ❤

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Sweet Surprises Edition! What is something that makes you feel better when you’re feeling down? What is the best “just because” present that you have ever received? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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What Are Your Choices For Taking Care Of Your Most Senior Relatives?

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What Are Your Choices For Taking Care Of Your Most Senior Relatives?

All of us are getting older and none of us can escape it. But for those in our family who are much more experienced and wise than us, life can become a little harder. The body can wear out and the mind can let us down. Aging goes far beyond the odd wrinkle and gray hair. Do you have any senior members of your family that are starting to struggle? It might be worth considering what your options could be in the not-so-distant future:

Independent Living For Longer: We all want to be independent for as long as possible. To achieve that we must be fit and healthy. That’s where things can get challenging. If you haven’t worked hard to take care of your body over the years, then it can be more difficult starting later on. Still, it is possible to improve your balance, strength, stamina, and coordination. Like everything else in life, it just takes a little bit of work, patience, and practice!

There are far more senior fitness and activity groups around today than ever before. Why not encourage your relatives to participate? While many groups might attract older people, there is usually nothing stopping you from joining in, too. You could have a lot of fun and enjoy spending more quality time with your relatives.

There are also things you can do around the home to help your grandparents live there for longer. Single story living is ideal as we get older because balance can be more tricky on steps. Climbing stairs and descending them can be challenging as knees and hip joints start to age. Safety switch devices for hobs, ovens, and faucets can also be quite handy if you’re willing to invest in them.

You can also arrange for personal or emergency alarms to be installed should your older relative be vulnerable. Home visits can also make an enormous difference for someone who has to live alone. This can be performed by a qualified nurse or by a volunteer from the community trained in keeping seniors company.

Career Change For You? Of course, there is nothing stopping you from taking on a completely different role in this. If you’re looking for something new to do in your career, why not consider caring? If you already have experience in taking care of your relatives, then this might be a natural progression. There will always be jobs in this line of work and there will always be a need for people with your skills.

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If you’re willing to put in the extra study, you might be able to pursue a career in healthcare. There are many benefits to this aside from being able to better oversee the care of your relatives. Good pensions and pay are on offer for some of these roles. There are also good prospects for promotion. Perhaps most importantly, you can find this kind of work in every state.

There will, of course, be ethical considerations should you choose to undertake any part of your family member’s care. The more personal the needs are, the more difficult this decision can be. Ultimately, your relative will want to retain her dignity. Both of you will want to trust the people that are caring for her. And you will undoubtedly want to know exactly what is happening with her care plan. Professional knowledge, even if not directly applied, can give you and your Nanna peace of mind.

Nursing Home: Has your grandparent become particularly unwell? Perhaps they are suffering from a degenerative condition like dementia? You might have to consider the option of a nursing home. Maybe you’re worried about the cost of this? Government backed initiatives exist to help those who are most financially vulnerable.

It’s important when you start your search for a placement that you find nursing homes you can trust. Use a reputable search facility online that will also give you plenty of information about what you should be looking for. Sometimes seniors are not best placed to make the final decision about their choice of home. As the closest relative, that can put a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.

So what should you look for in a nursing home? First, consider the facilities that your Nanna will need. Her long term health plan will be the biggest factor here. If your relative needs the medical attention a nursing home can provide, ensure that you will be kept up to date with their ongoing health plan.

Other considerations will include the type of accommodations on offer. Is the room shared or private? Are child visitors welcome or are pets able to visit? Are there mentally stimulating activities? What about physical and fitness-based activities on offer? You might prefer to have your grandparents in a nursing home that is close to your address. However, sometimes it’s worth the long journey to a home that is just right.

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Ballin

Dementia and other long-term illnesses can bring about behavioral changes. These can be deemed challenging or even violent. Make sure that you are up to speed with the home’s code and policies for managing these more volatile situations, as some nursing homes are not well equipped to deal with this

Always visit the nursing home that you are interested in a few times at different times of the day. Bring your senior relative to at least a couple of these visits. This can be a little upsetting, but it can also be quite assuring if your Nanna seems engaged and comfortable in these surroundings. It can be hard to leave your beloved relative in a nursing home, but if a care plan is necessary, it can be the safest option.

Bringing Your Relative To You: Another option is to adapt your home to have your senior relative live with you. There will undoubtedly be a need for care in the community appointments, so you need to make yourself available for that. You may find that you and your relative lose certain rights to state benefits with this living arrangement, so consider it carefully.

There are, of course, many benefits to having Nanna live with you. You can keep a close eye on her care and you can take over many of the more challenging day-to-day tasks like cooking for her. You know she will be as safe as possible under your roof, too. Best of all, she will have all of the company she needs to stay mentally stimulated and socialized.

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Aw :*)

Sharing The Caring: Of course, if there is extended family out there, then you are certainly within your rights to expect them to share the caring. Your relative is the matriarch or patriarch of the family so the rest of the family must contribute. Obviously sharing the accommodation responsibilities can involve a lot of upheavals. That isn’t always practical. But you should expect other family members to come by and spend time there.

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CAT!

Financially, there is likely to be more expenses for you than any siblings might have. Your senior relative may well be contributing from their pension. As for other expenses, ask everyone to chip in a fair percentage. You probably don’t expect to be paid for your hospitality or care, but medical bills on top of that shouldn’t all be on you.

By sharing the caring, all of the extended family can get involved to make sure your most senior relative is comfortable in their twilight years. Time is precious, so the others should be doing all they can to make every moment count.

Every person is different and every care plan will differ, too. In fact, they can change from one month to the next if ill health is involved. Consider all of your options before committing to something long term. What suits today may not be right for you tomorrow.

Featured Image By: Pexels

The Best Sports For The Whole Family

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The Best Sports For The Whole Family

Getting your kids to exercise often means fighting an uphill battle. Most of the time they’d rather be inside on the computer than outside moving about. The best way of getting them to be active is to find an activity that they’ll enjoy doing. Don’t forget about yourself, either, it’s just as important for you to get a good amount of exercise, especially as you get older.

Exercise is the best way to combat any of the health complaints that come with age, so it’s vital that the whole family gets outside and does some exercise on a regular basis. As well as getting exercise, sports teach your kids a lot of good values. They will learn the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship, which will stand them in good stead later on in life. You can have great quality time together by playing some sports. Here are some of the best sports for you to do as a family:

Baseball: Baseball is a good one to play when you first start exercising because you’ll get a lot of rests between bursts of energy. You can play at the local park with fairly limited equipment. As long as you have a bat and a ball, you can use pretty much anything to mark out the bases. Alternatively, if you don’t have a local park nearby and there isn’t space in the garden for a full game, you can just practice your throwing and catching skills. Baseball is a great sport for the family, which helps you get some good cardiovascular exercise as well as improving your hand eye coordination skills.

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Golf: People don’t always consider golf when they’re thinking of sports that are good for exercise, but you’d be surprised by how many calories you could burn on the course. You won’t be running up and down all day but you’ll be doing a fair bit of walking so it’s still going to get your heart going. If you’re going to play a family game of golf, you need to get all of the right equipment. A good set of clubs is vital, otherwise you’ll find yourself stuck in a bunker all day. Look for the most forgiving golf clubs, they’re perfect for beginners and they’ll help you to avoid missing all of your shots. If you get a bad set of clubs and it’s difficult for the kids to make any good shots, they’ll soon get frustrated and give up (Me.).

Before you go, check the rules at your local course because a lot of them have specific dress codes and they won’t let you play if you don’t have the right attire. Golf is a good choice when the weather is particularly hot and you still want to get some exercise without doing anything too intense. Like baseball, it’s a good way to teach your kids good coordination skills and it’s also a good opportunity to help them see the countryside a little more.

Swimming: On those boiling hot summer days, the whole family can cool off in the swimming pool. It’s a brilliant way to beat the heat and it’s one of the best ways to exercise there is. When you swim, you exercise every single muscle in your body and get your heart pumping at the same time. It’s great for heart health, lung capacity, and general muscle strength. The cool water also means that you can sustain that exercise for much longer than you’d normally be able to. As well as being good exercise, swimming is an important skill for children to learn for safety so it should definitely be a part of your summer exercise routine.

sportss1Those shades!

Volleyball: When summer comes, there’s no better way to spend time with the family than down at the beach. You could spend all day sunbathing but that won’t keep you and the family healthy. A great sport that you can play at the beach is volleyball. It’s a very active sport that’s great for cardio in short bursts. Short bursts of energy, with small breaks in between, is one of the most effective ways to exercise and helps you to keep a healthy heart. You can get yourself a net if you’re serious about your game but a line in the sand will do just as well.

Quidditch: Quidditch started as a fictional game in the Harry Potter series but since then, fans have developed it into a real game. It’s not quite the same as in the books and movies, of course, but the basic rules and play are the same. It’s a great way of getting some exercise and the kids are sure to love it. To play a proper game, you’ll need quite a few people and lots of different balls so this is one that you could perhaps play with a few other families in the park. There are plenty of different positions to be played so by switching everybody around, you can keep everybody interested in playing for a long time. If you get really into your game, there are teams and leagues that you could consider joining.

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Insect Soccer: Although the name might suggest it, insect soccer isn’t a game of soccer played by ants. It’s a variation on a normal game of soccer that’ll make it much more fun for the kids. Group everybody into twos and threes depending on how many players you’ve got, and get each group to link arms, these are the insects. Each team plays against each other until one scores a goal, and they have to stay linked at all times otherwise they lose the round. This is the perfect game to play with the kids because it has all of the exercise benefits of a normal soccer game but it also teaches valuable teamwork and cooperation skills.

Basketball: When the good weather goes away, it can be easy to fall into bad habits and your exercise regime can fall by the wayside. One of the best indoor sports to play in winter is basketball. There should be a local indoor court that you can use but you’ll probably need to hire it out so check beforehand. Basketball is a good team sport for kids to play and it’ll massively improve their ball skills. If they enjoy it, you can carry on into the summer on a free outdoor court.

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Summer time is all about going out and getting active – and what better way to do that than as a family?!

New Earrings Surprise

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New Earrings Surprise

Hi everyone and happy Hump Day! I hope that all of you are having a fabulous week so far. So this past weekend my mom surprised me and my sister with new matching earrings and they are SO pretty. She got my new little beauties from Target and I was pleasantly surprised because they are pretty hit or miss with their jewelry selection, in my most humble opinion. My mom hit the nail on the head with these dangling darlings so take a look and let’s discuss:

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^^^ Love.

It’s nice to know that my mom didn’t break the bank with these eight buck beauties for me and my sister. But, it’s even nicer to know that she saw these and thought of us enough to actually buy them. Little gifts and surprises like my new earrings make me so happy because everyone likes to be thought of every once in a while. To come home to my mom saying that she bought something special just for me automatically gave me the warm fuzzies. And I’m even warmer AND fuzzier considering that I’m beyond obsessed with my terrestrial themed earrings! :*)

I LOVE YOU, MOM!!!!!!!! ❤

So there you have it, my New Earrings Surprise compliments of my darling mama! What is your favorite gift that someone has given you? How do you like to surprise your loved ones? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Cool Ways To Bring Your Neighborhood Together

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Cool Ways To Bring Your Neighborhood Together

We all want to live in a better neighborhood; it is one of those inherent wants we are all born with. Of course, what makes a better neighborhood is entirely subjective. Some may want a neighborhood that feels safe like they used to feel, where kids can play outside until the sun goes down. Others may say that they want somewhere that does its part for the earth. Everyone is different. Whatever the case, though, creating a better neighborhood is all about coming together as a team to strengthen your community. Awwww. How lovely would that be? :*)

To help you achieve your ambitions of living in a little slice of utopia, we have come up with a list of ways in which you can make your neighborhood a better place to live:

Sharing Is Caring: Sometimes it’s the old cliches that ring truest, and that is certainly the case when it comes to sharing is caring. Why not set up a community that is more geared towards helping one another out. Start up a tool library and a toy library, and, yeah, a book library too. Start a neighborhood vegetable patch where you all chip in and reap the rewards. Not only will these ideas bring you closer with your neighbors, but they’re all fun and helpful!

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So. Many. Tools!!!

Eco-Awesomeness: We all wish that we could be a little greener in our community, but buying solar panels isn’t exactly cheap, although they are getting cheaper. Anyways, to avoid the big overheads, why not pool together and buy solar panels collectively to enjoy a big bulk buy discount. As you can see at oregonlive.com this is a trend that was started by communities in Portland with amazing results.

Emergency Excellence: If you can be prepared for an emergency as a community, you are going to thrive as a community. It could be that you all chip in to buy a couple of automated external defibrillators from foremostequipment.com, or it could go even further and have a full blown emergency network in place. What better way is there to strengthen your community than to have members take on various roles, have certain supplies ready, and be prepared for the worst as a neighborhood.

Nice Nights: Building your community starts with doing things together. It could be getting together for a block party, holding storytelling evenings, serving different street foods, getting together for fireworks displays, having the children put on a theater event, and whatever else takes your fancy as a community. Whatever your summer bucket list is made up of, do it as a neighborhood. Have a calendar event that you all do once a month, where everyone knows that the second Saturday is neighborhood night.

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Partayyy

Front Yards: You are never going to bump into your neighbors if you only ever use your backyard. So, instead of this, why not move your normal backyard activities to the front and make yourself more visible and friendly to your neighbors. Sit out on the porch and say hi to everyone that goes past. Make a big jug of lemonade and invite them in. It’s only a slight tweak to your life but it can make a huge difference when it comes to getting to know your neighbors and building a better community.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Great Ways To Get Your Kids Outdoors This Summer

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Great Ways To Get Your Kids Outdoors This Summer

Summer is upon us, and with it comes great opportunities to spend time outdoors with the family. However, try as you might, you may find it difficult to pries the smartphones from your children’s hands as you try and get them to do something different. When you mention the idea of getting some fresh air, their solution of opening another window is not going to help your cause. But don’t despair! There are some great activities for families to enjoy, and none of them require an internet connection. So while your kids may kick up a fuss initially, it is possible to get them out of the house and into the fresh air. Bribery is entirely optional! 😉

Go For a Family Bike Ride: For some reason, children hate walking almost as much as eating their green vegetables. But suggest a bike ride, and you may see their faces light up. Go somewhere as a family, such as a nearby place of beauty and spend the day on two wheels. While out, there may be the perfect opportunity to point out things of interest, such as different aspects of nature. Don’t make it too educational, but turn it into a fun activity, such as a scavenger hunt. I love those. :*)
Do Something Exciting: The one thing children seem to say more than anything else is “this is boring”. As a parent, you probably want to scream every time you hear them utter those immortal words, but let’s be honest, maybe the activities you have planned for your kids really aren’t that interesting. You might think going for a walk is a good idea but your children certainly won’t.

Look online and find activities near you that are going to give your children new and exciting experiences. Many leisure centers and parks have great summer activities. Giant hamster balls, also known as zorb balls and inflatable zorbing balls are now all the rage. They can be used on land and on the water, but make sure your kids don’t have their lunch before getting in one. There may also be rock climbing activities nearby or water based sports such as canoeing if you live near water. Do your research and plan your day so that boring isn’t an option.

Turn Your Garden Into a Play Area:
You don’t need to venture far from home if you have an adequate garden space for your kids to play in. From water games including slip ‘n’ slide mats to giant games of Jenga, there are many things that you can purchase to make your garden a fun place to be. Your children may benefit from one other thing while outdoors. No, we aren’t talking about ice cream, though you really should stock your freezer. You are the important factor in your child’s fun. If you have the capability and the energy, get outside with your kids and have some fun playing with them. Build a den, play tag, or throw a Frisbee around. These are precious moments so make the most of them.

Summer is a time for new adventures and experiences. Brain storm for an evening and help give your kids the best summer ever!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Happy Mother’s Day!!

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Happy Mother’s Day!!

Hello everyone and a Happy Happy Mother’s Day to all of the lovely people celebrating today. I’ll keep this post short and sweet so that you can get on with your brunches, walks in the park, and other Mother’s Day activities. But I just wanted to give a big lifewithlilred thank you to all of the mamas out there. Whether you’re a mom to children, your pets, a foster parent, or are in the process of trying to conceive or adopt – this day is all for you! Thank you for all that you do and for giving the world a dose of the love and care that only a mother can provide! Much love. -Sarah