Category Archives: Family

Social Distanced Halloween Fun

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Social Distanced Halloween Fun

Hi! One of my favorite times of the year is Halloween. I love the spooky atmosphere, the weather, and all of the promises of scary fun activities. The best part of Halloween for me, though? Haunted houses, of course! I told Johnny I wanted to go to a new one every year and he was game, however, with COVID it will be impossible to attend one this year.

After making the disheartening discovery of no haunted houses, I just had to start brainstorming for new ways to enjoy the Halloween season safely. I came up with the following:

Pumpkin Patches:

Going to a pumpkin patch and picking out the perfect pumpkins to decorate, carve, or paint is something that can easily be done social distanced style. Many pumpkin patches often have other attractions like hay rides, corn mazes, petting zoos, and specialty shops to participate in too.

Making an afternoon at the pumpkin patch and then going home to get your jack-o-lantern on sounds like a great way to spend a weekend day. Get creative and competitive and see who in your friend group can carve the best pumpkin!

Apple Orchards:

I freaking LOVE going apple picking, as does my entire family, so I am sure we will end up at an apple orchard this fall. My favorite one in Ohio also doubles as an ice cream parlor as well as a novelty shop with all apple everything. There is nothing better than filling up a bagful of crisp apples and grabbing a dish of ice cream as a treat. And, can you say social distanced?!

At Home Trick Or Treat:

Trick or treating is probably the last thing on everyone’s mind right now but the little ones love it. Dress up as a family and hide candies all around your house and yard. Dim the lights for some added spookiness and give hints and clues as necessary. Wrap up the activity with a fun Halloween movie like Casper or Hocus Pocus and have a piece of candy… or ten. πŸ˜‰

Scary Movie Marathon:

Johnny and I have already decided that a scary movie marathon is how we are going to celebrate Halloween. We will be watching everything from the classics and foreign films to our present day favorites. I plan on having caramel apples (My favorite!), candy, and popcorn handy. I also would like to make some spiked apple cider with salted caramel vodka for a delicious hot or cold drink to sip on. Yum!

Halloween is definitely not going to be the same this year but it can still be fun! Use the ideas above to help get you started. πŸ™‚

What is your favorite Halloween activity? How do you plan on safely celebrating? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Staying In Your Own Home As You Age

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Staying In Your Own Home As You Age

If you’re planning to stay in place and remain at home as you age, then the key is to plan ahead. Many things change as we get older and new challenges that we need to overcome start to present themselves. Here are some things that you may want to consider if you want to age in your own home rather than entering a care facility:

Make your wishes known:

If you have decided that you want to age in place, then the first thing that you should do is to make your wishes known to your friends and family. By letting those close to you know your intentions, they can start to think of ways in which they can best support you. If you fail to let your relatives know your wishes, then you risk them fighting you when it comes down to making the decision.

Start looking at the support you have available:

It is never too early to start familiarizing yourself with the home health care services and aged support available to you in your area. How about getting started by checking out www.careforfamily.com.au/ ? You can get virtually any kind of help you need at home, though you should be aware that most of these come at a cost. If you know the cost of aging in-state early, then you can begin saving for these expenses to help you afford them. Don’t forget to research the benefit schemes that may also be available to you and to look into other funding sources such as equity release.

Identify areas in which you may need help:

If you already have an existing medical condition, then plan ahead to try and identify areas that could potentially prevent you from aging at home. Are you worried about your mobility? Do you struggle to keep up with the housework? Do you forget things? By identifying these potential issues early, you can put safeguarding measures in place that will allow you to stay safe in your own home.

Start socializing with other local seniors:

One of the biggest issues with choosing to age at home is the isolation that it can cause. People who choose to move into a care facility often have access to group activities, other residents, and the company of staff, but if you choose to age at home, then these may not be available to you. To prevent loneliness and boredom, try to get involved with social clubs and to make friends in your local area that are around the same age as you.

Boost your security:

Last but not least, although no one wants to think about people preying on the elderly, you need to ensure that your home security is robust enough to keep you safe. You may want to consider installing CCTV, a monitored alarm, or additional outside lighting to deter intruders and to notify the authorities if someone tries to break into your property.

Most people would like to stay in their own homes for as long as possible while they age but are let down by a lack of funding and pre-planning. By thinking ahead and budgeting for the cost, you can ensure that your wishes become a reality!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Fun Family Fiesta

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Fun Family Fiesta

Hello! Sometimes my schedule can change at the drop of a hat. Clients might cancel and I am left with a huge chunk of free time. For example, a few Wednesdays ago I only had to work with my morning client and not my afternoon one so I decided to go to my mom and dad’s place afterwards. Johnny would be at work and then band practice and I didn’t particularly want to spend all evening playing Animal Crossing… Again!

After I was done at work, I headed to chez parents. During the drive over, I gave my sister a call and she happened to be free too, which meant her and her daughter could join all of us for some family fun and a Taco Bell dinner party, as per my request. We spent time outside in my dad’s gardens but, mostly, we all just hung around and enjoyed each other’s company.

It is always such a treat when several members of my family can get together at one time and I know everyone had just as great of a time as I did. Since COVID, I still see my friends through Skype and social distance hang outs but that doesn’t happen often. However, I see my family numerous times throughout the week and that definitely helps. Even the shortest visits lift my spirits and, afterwards, I never fail to have an extra pep in my step.

A family Taco Bell night seems like such a simple pleasure but I am still looking back at it fondly a few weeks later. It was just so fun and the impromptu Hump Day dinner party kept me in a happy place as I finished up my work week. While going out frequently is not an option for me with such high risk clients, I have learned how to still have a good time with nights in. And you know what? Those nights in are awesome!

If these crazy times have you in a slump, you might need some quality family time to get yourself back in gear. Schedule a take out dinner “party” of your own and enjoy!

What is your favorite restaurant? How often do you get take out? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

A Flower For Me

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A Flower For Me

Hello! On Father’s Day, my sister and her daughter arrived at our parents’ house at the exact same time that I did. We didn’t plan it at all and it was perfect because we all had the maximum time together before we split back up for the day. Beautiful presents and lots of love were gifted to our dear old dad but I think I got the most special treat of all that day. Check it out:

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After presents, we all took a pause and went to the backyard so my niece, Valerie, could move and groove before my sister took off. My dad loves to show Val his flower and vegetable garden and she loves it too. More often than not, you can see my dad smelling the flowers with her and then he will help her pick a bloom for her mom.

On Father’s Day, Val wanted a flower for each hand once she picked her favorite. Then, she toddled up to her auntie and handed me a flower with a big smile on her face. And, right at that moment, our Golden Retriever gobbled up the flower in the hand she wasn’t paying attention to. *Face palm*

Once Val realized her other flower was missing, I offered her mine to make up for it. But, she just kept handing it back to me. I have to say, I was really happy she did because there is literally nothing better than getting a pretty little flower from your fifteen month old niece. I brought it home with me and put it in my dried flower collection and it’s never not going to make me smile whenever I see it. ❀

How did you celebrate Father’s Day? How is your garden doing this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Caring For Your Senior Loved Ones During Lock Down

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Caring For Your Senior Loved Ones During Lock Down

Lock down has been tough for many of us. As the days and weeks roll on, life has become rather mundane, and in some ways, quite stressful too. Not only do we need to find new things to do with our time (after binge-watching the entirety of Netflix), but we have had to cope with the mental effects of lock down too.

Times are hard indeed, but if they are hard for us, they will be especially difficult for our senior loved ones. If they are living independently, they might well be suffering from the effects of loneliness and stress themselves. So, consider what you might do to care for your aging parents or your grandparents. Here are a few suggestions:

Ensure they have health support:

If they need support with any health-related issues, now is the time to make sure your senior loved ones have everything they need. It might be that you need to collect any prescriptions for them or you might need to contact their doctor to refill them. Specialist home care services, such as those provided by Serenity Home Health, can offer support to the elderly, so get in touch if your loved one hasn’t yet accessed such support. And speak to your loved one’s neighbors, and ask those that can be trusted to keep a socially distanced eye on your family member.

Stay in touch:

If your senior loved one is living alone, you should make an extra effort to get in touch with them. A daily phone call might make their day, although you could also use Skype, Zoom, or social media to stay in touch with them too. And when you talk to them, be reassuring. The last thing they might need is your stressed-out tones if you’re worrying about lock down, as they might have similar worries themselves. Instead, be encouraging and reassuring, and do nothing to exacerbate their fears. Let them talk to your kids, share stories that will make them smile, and answer any questions they might have if they do share any concerns with you.

Offer practical support:

We have already suggested picking up their medications, but there are other ways to offer practical support too. You might arrange food deliveries for them, for example, or you could take food parcels to them. Maybe you can help them stay on top of their garden and you could drop off books, DVDs, knitting supplies, and anything else that will give them something to do while they’re restricted at home.

Share ideas with them:

If your senior loved ones are unable to exercise outside, share these 10-minute chair exercise ideas with them. If they are experiencing anxiety, research breathing exercises, and go through them with your loved ones on the phone. And if they have any other needs that could be met through your research, do what you can, and provide them with the solutions to the problems they are facing.

Your extra care to your elder family members is just what they need right now. Use our suggestions and research other ideas online to meet their particular needs during this crazy time.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Activities For Children In Self-Isolation

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Activities For Children In Self-Isolation

Hello! Many of my friends are now home schooling their children and, for the most part, it’s going great. Some are even thinking of making the plunge to home schooling all of the time. But what do you do when your kiddos have a ton of extra energy and assignments due? How about some entertainment? Help eliminate the wiggles and get some extra focus back with the following activities:

Scheduled Recess:

To many students, playing with their friends at recess is the high point of their day. Schedule some play time outside or board games inside if the weather is inclement after lunch. It will bring some familiarity to their schedule and, after a half hour of free play outside, the next math assignment should come a bit easier afterwards!

Pillow Fort Party:

Are your kids hung up on English homework? Build a pillow fort special for them to do their reading in. Permit playing in the fort once the chapters are read and the homework is complete for a special reward. How about a movie night from the comfort of the pillows and blankets once the day is complete? Don’t forget the popcorn. πŸ˜€

Kitchen Helpers:

Kids can learn a lot about math and science through helping in the kitchen. Have your little ones help you out the next time you make lunch or bake cookies. Teach them about different measurements and kitchen safety. If it goes over well, decorating the treats once the “lesson” is done makes for a fine reward.

Talk To Them:

If you’re having a hard time keeping your kids focused on the task at hand, just ask them what you can do to help. Maybe that means playing music as they work. Or what about a dance break to a few songs every hour? They might have their own tried and true methods, themselves, so try sticking to them if they work.

Encourage Their Friendships:

I’m sure it’s so hard for all of the kiddos to be away from their friends right now, especially if they have no one around their age at home. Encourage their friendships even in self-isolation. Allow them to FaceTime or chat with a friend on the phone during a break. Even teachers give their students chit chat time so do the same while you’re homeschooling. Just a small break to talk to someone in their peer group could be a welcome change of pace for your child throughout the day.

I tip my cap to all of the parents at home right now with their children because I genuinely don’t know how they’re doing it! Hopefully, these tips will make their current job a little bit easier. πŸ™‚

How is homeschooling your children going? How do you keep them focused during the school day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Celebrating Special Occasions In Self-Isolation

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Celebrating Special Occasions In Self-Isolation

Hello! Ohio has a stay at home order in place until the beginning of May – as for right now. Unfortunately, special occasions don’t just stop because we are practicing self isolation. So, if a loved one has a birthday coming up, it can certainly feel like a bit of a bust. Thankfully, there are still ways to keep communication alive from the comfort of your own home. Use some of the following tips if anyone you know is celebrating their big day:

Order Them Takeout:

If a friend or family member is celebrating a birthday, you could do the social distancing equivalent of a birthday dinner by sending them over some takeout. Pick out a delicious meal from their favorite restaurant and Door Dash it on over for a birthday surprise. And, how surprised and thankful your giftee will be when he or she finds out that they don’t have to cook dinner!

Special Delivery:

Online deliveries are, for the most part, still a thing. How about sending your giftee a quarantine kit to help keep them entertained? Assemble a care package filled with adult coloring books, board games, books, or movies with the promise of a game night/late celebration once the stay at home order has been lifted.

Have A Virtual Drink:

Virtual drinks and happy hours over video chat has become a new trend as of late and my boyfriend and I are so there for it. We have participated in a few rounds of virtual drinks with our friends and it is always a blast. Call up your friend or family member on FaceTime or Skype who is celebrating a big day and toast to them. And, of course, real life drinks at a later time goes without saying!

Plan Ahead:

If all of the virtual mumbo jumbo isn’t your style, send your loved one an email or some snail mail inviting them to a celebration hang out at a later time. Your giftee will be 1) tickled that you remembered and 2) excited to have a fun event to look forward to. Plan an itinerary for an afternoon or evening on the town with the person celebrating and don’t forget to mark it in the calendar!

Don’t let your loved one’s special day go uncelebrated with the tips above and happy happy days to those celebrating during a stay at home order! ❀

How have you celebrated a special occasion during self-isolation? Will your birthday take place during the stay at home order? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Birthday, Kristen!!

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Happy Birthday, Kristen!!

Hello! We are ringing in another Mushenheim family birthday because today is my big sister, Kristen’s, big day. My sister is my best friend in the whole world and it is my life’s greatest achievement to be the designated fourth wheel to Kristen, her boyfriend, and their little girl named Valerie. Kristen is celebrating her “one year and one day” of motherhood and she is amazing at it. But today, it is all about her!

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I know I just used the word “amazing” to describe Kristen but I’m going to use it again. She is AMAZING! She is the most loving mother and it is the best feeling in the world to watch her playing and cuddling with her sweet daughter. Kristen is my BFF but Valerie is definitely a close runner up! Her compassion knows no bounds and when she’s not caring for the dogs and cats at the animal shelter she works at or tending to her daughter and two dogs and two cats, she is never too busy to participate in family time or help a friend (Or sister!) in need.

When I was younger, I used to get somewhat annoyed when people told me Kristen and I looked alike but now I consider it the highest compliment. My sister is the epitome of beautiful inside and out and it makes me so proud to be her little sis. I wish we weren’t under lock down so we could properly celebrate Kristen’s day but I can’t wait to spoil her with a candle lit Taco Bell dinner once this all blows over. πŸ˜‰

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KRISTEN!

I LOVE YOU! ❀

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

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Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Hello! March through May is a stretch of the year where birthdays are plentiful in my family. It starts with my niece’s birthday at the beginning of March then goes to my mom, dad, sister, and brother ending in mid May. Today, we are on birthday number three in my family, which belongs to my dear old dad. Despite him despising birthdays, I can’t not give him a shout out on lifewithlilred so here it goes:

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Ever since I was little, I can remember my dad’s lament that birthdays are “another year closer to the grave” and he still feels that way today. Lol so, needless to say, his birthday is filled with begrudgingly opening presents and accepting birthday wishes. The best part, though? I think we can all tell that he secretly enjoys himself and that makes the obnoxiously huge birthday hugs I give him even more fun. πŸ˜€

Although we all love pushing my dad’s birthday buttons, it really is a special day. My dad is one of my favorite people on the planet. He is so funny – like so unbelievably funny. The humor is then amplified by his infamous and infectious “laugh attacks” which is the cherry on top of whatever my family was joking about.

What I love the most about my dad, though? He is such a thoughtful man and it always makes me so happy when my boyfriend gifts me with flowers or cooks dinner for me because my dad is constantly doing stuff like that for my mom. He provided me with the best guidelines of how I should be treated in a relationship and I am so thankful for that.

When I had a really early class in college and had to drive an hour to get there, my dad would always get up and make coffee for me so I could have it during my commute. That’s the kind of guy my dad is. Sweet gestures and kind words from my father will forever be treasured by me and he is a man who deserves to be celebrated… Even though he hates his birthday. πŸ˜‰

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!

I LOVE YOU! ❀

They Raised You, Now You Raise Them: Looking After Aging Parents

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They Raised You, Now You Raise Them: Looking After Aging Parents

It’s one of those things in life that we all need to do at some point. As we get older we become more aware of our mortality and it’s when we end up looking after our parents that we can truly realize just how precious life is. But when we are looking after our parents it can take its toll on us. Whether you decide to put them into a nursing home or you try your best to push through without any professional help you need to understand what it takes to cope with looking after them. What are the best things to consider?

The Right Professional Help:

You may feel that to truly make the most of the situation so you don’t feel bound by various pressures that you put them in a care home. And many can do it thinking that it will be a better outcome for everyone concerned. However, this is not always the case. It all depends on the home. But you also need to be aware that if there is something untoward going on.

There can be elderly abuse, something no one really likes to think about, but it’s definitely worth considering. There are websites like Chony.org that can help if you’ve got to the point where you put your parents in a home and there is something untoward going on. Professional help will always be beneficial because you are are able to make the most of a difficult situation. But you still have to do your homework.

The Sibling Situation:

It can be incredibly stressful coping with looking after your parents so you may feel that if you’ve got siblings that they can help, but this can cause a lot of issues. It could be to do with the inheritance or it could just dig up old sibling rivalries. On Psychologytoday.com there are some pieces of information to consider when dealing with siblings. It’s never an easy thing to navigate when you are are looking out for the welfare of your parents especially if you’ve got a sibling that is just waiting for their slice of the inheritance. Do what you can for the benefit of the parent, not anybody else.

Looking After Yourself:

Having some “me” time is easier said than done in these situations but it’s crucial for your own sense of sanity. Whether you are looking after them yourself or you are feeling the stress because you put them in a home, you have to remember that life goes on for you, especially if you’ve got people dependent on you. You have got to make sure that you are looking after yourself properly. This means that it’s not just about the financial aspects but it’s about giving yourself that breathing space when you feel that it’s all too much. Take that opportunity to step back when necessary and assess the situation. It’s a very stressful situation for anybody. And feeling that you have to push through won’t do you any favors a few months down the line.

Coping with aging parents regardless of the situation is never easy but it’s something that we all will have to figure out at some point. Make sure that you are coping with the situation, not just for your benefit but for the benefit of those that really matter.

Featured Image By:Β Pixabay