Have you ever wondered how green and eco-friendly your home actually was? I, if I’m honest, am always worried that I am perhaps not doing all I should be doing to ensure that my lifestyle and household are as environmentally friendly as possible. I was pleased then to find that Australian Solar Quotes were running a quiz that aimed to tell you just that, how green or not your home was. Click here to take it, or I have embedded it below for you.
Many of the questions are what you would expect to be featured in this kind of quiz, but there are some surprising questions along the way that made me think about my own practices to keep my home green. For instance, the first question asks about the type of lightbulbs you have in your home – well, that didn’t make me feel too bad as I swapped to LEDs a long time ago.
The next question though in the quiz threw me a little because it was all about the paint used to decorate. It was only in the last year or so that I redecorated a large percentage of my house and up until that point I was not aware of all the different types of paints available. This is why this question threw me with choices of paint with lead-free components, VOC paint and high lead paint components. I actually had to find an old tin of paint to check.
Like I said, there are some questions that you could guess were included in the quiz. Obvious ones such as “what kind of energy does your home run on” “What is in your fridge?”(In reference to whether or not you have processed foods, organic and fresh or a mixture), “what kind of cleaning products do you use?” and “how eco-friendly is your garden?”
However, the ones I found really interesting were the ones that asked things such as “let’s be honest, how sustainable is your dishwashing practices?” I felt quite bad, as my answer was not the best and greenest one from the multiple choice list. The same could be said for the “where does your main source of water come from?” I had never actually considered that before, neither had I considered what materials I used to cover my floors.
After I had answered the questions I submitted them and was taken to a page with the percentage (according to their quiz) of how green my house was. In some ways I was happy that I scored 50%, but it shows that even if I feel I do a lot more to be eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious that a lot of my friends, relatives and neighbours; that there is still so much more I can do. The results were given with some choice words of advice, which just served as a reminder that when you are trying to make your home greener, it is the little things that count the most – the little things you change. Whether this is the way you wash dishes or take care of your garden, the results will be that your conscience will be clearer and your home will be greener.
If you got a mortgage a few years ago to purchase the perfect family home, you probably felt really happy to have your own place with enough space for everyone. However, since then, you might well have had more children, and so now things are becoming a little more cramped. Whilst you could opt to sell up and find somewhere larger, this is a big task and could mean you have to move out of your desired area. So, I think it would be much more suitable for you to build and extension and increase the size of the property you currently own. With that in mind, give me your attention for the next few minutes, and I’ll do my best to present you with some reasons why this is a wise move.
1. Your home will be more valuable
First and foremost we need to talk about money. Extensions are usually very expensive to build, but you should look at this as an investment. While you might have to spend a few thousand to achieve your goal, the final product should add almost double this amount to the value of your property.
2. Your family will have more personal space
Building an extension on the front or back of your home will usually mean you add an extra bedroom and more space downstairs. This means you shouldn’t get under each other’s feet quite as much, and so fewer arguments and bad moods should present themselves.
3. You can have a games room
Some people choose to simply extend their kitchen or lounge, but those with a little more creativity see more potential than this. For that reason, you could have a dedicated games room downstairs with enough space for a pool table and such. Just make sure you try to save as much money as possible along the way by using reputable builders and a reasonably priced timber supplier, as pool tables don’t come cheap!
4. Your neighbours will be jealous
This probably won’t apply to everyone, but if you have the kind of neighbours who’re constantly boasting about their home, you will shut them up effectively when they see you’ve improved yours beyond all recognition, and now it’s become more valuable than theirs. Of course, they’ll probably get so envious they end up doing the same thing, but at least you’ll have got there first.
5. Your family can stay whenever they like
Having more space means you can have more people sleeping in your home at the same time. So, if you’re sick and tired of traveling halfway around the country at Christmas time to see the clan, building an extension will mean they can come to you for a change. Now that’s got to make it all worthwhile even if none of the other reasons have resonated with you.
So guys, you should now know exactly why building an extension could be the best thing you ever do, I hope you’ll start making plans sometime this summer.
Best of luck!
Prom season is almost here, and young girls all over the world are celebrating the end of their high school years with a big, formal party better than any they’ve been to before. One of the most exciting things about prom, for girls anyway, is the fact that they get to dress up in beautiful dresses, wear gorgeous makeup, and have their hair done by a professional. The whole affair is getting more and more elaborate as the years go on. For the day, they get to feel like a star! However, it’s you that has to foot the bill for your daughter’s big day, and while it’s important, it isn’t her wedding. While you want her to have the best time, you need to plan it so you can fit it in with your finances. Let’s take a look at how you can help your daughter plan her prom:
Photo taken from Flickr
The first thing you’ll need to do is go out and find a beautiful dress for your daughter. Everything else is based around the dress: the jewellery, the hairstyle, everything. If you feel you won’t be able to go the whole hog in every aspect of prom, you may want to discuss with your daughter what the most important thing is to her; having an extravagant, expensive dress, or having her hair/makeup done by professionals. If she wants a luxury dress, then many bridal stores sell them and will allow her to try them on. Make sure she doesn’t try too many on, as they are all gorgeous and she’ll literally be spoilt for choice!
If she doesn’t mind too much about the dress and would rather make an impression with her hair and makeup, you can find amazing dresses for a fraction of the price of real prom dresses online. Try checking stores like Lipsy, Asos, and even eBay for a bargain.
Jewellery and Accessories
Usually, the dress will do all of the talking. However, a few accessories can still set the whole thing off and give the look that ‘woah!’ factor. Decide on one or two main accessories; perhaps a tiara and bracelet. If she doesn’t want a tiara, she can afford to wear more sparkly jewellery.
Transport to prom is usually in a luxury vehicle like a limo. Ask your daughter what her friends are doing, and you may be able to split the cost with their parents to make it easier for you all. Bergen Limo have affordable prom limos in NJ, so check them out!
Hair and Makeup and Other Beauty Treatments
Depending on your budget, you can book your daughter in with a professional hair and makeup artist, or encourage her to experiment herself. She may want to do her makeup herself, and have somebody do her hair, or vice versa. Make sure you look at the portfolio of any professional you speak to, to make sure they can offer the style your daughter would like. You may also want to book your daughter in for a spray tan, manicure, eyelash extensions/tinting, and waxing. Make sure you do this in good time and with somebody with a great reputation! You could even encourage your daughter to watch Youtube tutorials together and attempt some things yourselves. Practice makes perfect!
Don’t feel pressured to spend thousands on your daughter’s prom if it’s out of your budget. Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll both be ecstatic with the outcome!
Parents are facing many dilemmas in modern times in their efforts to do right by their children. It was a routine practice forty years ago that if a child received a couple of bouts of tonsillitis, the offending glands were removed. On one hand people are told that dirt and bacteria are good for children as it helps to boost their immune systems, but others recommend surgical cleanliness in order to promote good health. The chemicals used to kill bacteria are strong poisons and more people than ever are asking what effect their long term use can have on children. After all, children spend a lot of time with their fingers in their mouths and the fumes given off by strong chemicals could easily affect young lungs.
If you are looking for some more natural ways to keep your home hygienic and healthy without causing harm, there is some valuable advice for you here. Read on and see the obvious benefits of cleaning the natural way.
The Power Of The Lemon
Citrus juices are naturally acidic and are great for cutting through grime around the home, It is so powerful that you are advised to mix it with equal parts water before use. It is suitable for use on all surfaces except wood and it will kill bacteria and leave a surface hygienically clean. Use it wherever there is a grime build up on kitchen tiles, work surfaces, on the sink and taps; it is a very versatile cleaning fluid. Put the solution into a spray gun for convenient use and carrying through the home.
All Hail The Vinegar
Do you spend lots of money on descaling chemicals for use in the bathroom and kitchen? Well, you need look no further than your food cupboard for a more environmentally friendly solution.
Spray taps, tiles, or any other problem areas with vinegar and leave it for five minutes to do its work before rinsing the limescale away.
Boil white vinegar in your kettle to bring it back to its former glory.
If the plug holes in your home are constantly giving off a bad smell, use one third of a bottle of vinegar down each one to kill the bacteria there.
A cup of vinegar boiled in the microwave will give off an acidic steam that cuts through the grease that has built up in there, making it simple to wipe out afterwards.
Of course, bad smells are also a sign of blocked drains so don’t wait to call for a professional survey if you suspect a problem with them. I recommend the use of drain CCTV in London. Headaches would be diminished if you leave it down to someone else!
Those are the main two chemicals needed around the home to complete most cleaning tasks, but there are other products, such as baking soda, that can also be put to use. Baking soda is great for removing smells. Place a cup of soda in cupboards, in the fridge, or even sprinkle it over fabric furniture for a few minutes before vacuuming it off to leave a fresh smelling sofa.
That is all the advice I have for you today. Remember, things you do now may give your kids a healthier life when they are older, so be sensible about chemicals of your choosing. Safe cleaning!
Nothing is as rewarding as being a parent, but boy, it sure does hurt. No one quite prepares you for how tired and how sore you will feel when you are embarking on a journey into motherhood. Many busy mums will attest to how sore and aching they feel after a day of carrying around their precious cargo. Your children grow big and strong on a daily basis, and you are left feeling like you have done a lap of the gym at the end of every day!
Instead of turning to a large glass of vino at the end of the day to relax (although it is the perfect solution to all of life’s problems,!) there are ways that you can revive tired muscles, without having to resort to such drastic measures.
Thank you to Charlie Brewer for the brilliant image
In my voyage into parenthood, I experienced aches and pains like I never thought possible, as I’m sure many new mothers will testify. One of the most useful devices that I was brought by another mummy was a muscle roller. At first, I thought these were solely used by athletes and sports people (although running around after a baby can make you feel that you are training for a sporting event) but after some research I found that they were perfect for alleviating the aches and pains that come with being a parent.
First of all, muscle rollers are perfect for those wanting a natural solution to aches and pains, and are fantastic for those that do not wish to medicate problems. After all, medicating doesn’t make the pain go away for the long term. The muscle roller is used by performing a number of exercises on the device that relieve muscle tension. Various exercises are performed in 10 minute bursts, which are perfect for busy mums. It is best that the device is used daily to ensure maximum results.
For each exercise, focussing on all body parts, such as arms, legs and hips, slowly roll back and forth for 20 to 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise and problem area. The key to successfully using the muscle roller is to ensure that you take deep breaths, thus allowing your muscles to relax. One key factor to remember is to avoid roller on your joints, only allow the muscle roller to focus on your muscles at all times. Once you have hit a tender spot, or trigger point, stop rolling on the muscle roller and apply direct pressure for a minimum of 15 seconds. Once the pain disappears, you have targeted the problem area and resolved any muscle issues that you may have.
This is the perfect contraption for those who want to alleviate the daily aches and pains of being a busy mum. Similarly, if you enjoy yoga and Pilates, this device will help resolve the associated pains of this workout. The muscle roller has saved my life! It has helped me to de-stress and relax after a long day of playing mum. After all, a happy, relaxed parent results in happier children.
Often, we get stuck in a present-giving rut. When our friends and loved ones are welcomed into the delight (and horror) of parenthood, we want to commemorate their new journey with a token of our love. The thing is, the gifts that are available for new babies can be a little, well, dull. If you want a thoughtful gift for the new parents that is a little different from the usual plethora of photo frames and stuffed toys, then look no further:
Baby gift hampers are always a welcome help for new parents, particularly those that are brand new parents for the first time. Think about all the things that new parents need, and are likely to run out off. You can tailor the hamper to suit the sex of the baby, or the interests of the new parents for a truly unique twist on a new baby gift. So many parents have experienced the stress of running out of wet wipes at three in the morning or using the last of the nappy rash cream on a Bank Holiday when the shops are shut for two days. Think about all the things that you run out of regularly as a parent and buy accordingly. Not only is it thoughtful, but the parents will love you as they can avoid maximum stress with their new baby ‘survival kit’.
While the baby cannot indulge in the bubbles, the new parents can. So many people get wrapped in buying the new baby gifts that we often overlook the parents in all of this. After all, new mummy has done all the hard work for the last nine months and she is not even reaping the rewards! Reward both mum and dad for their hard work and allow them to celebrate their new bundle of joy with a good, quality bottle of champers. Who wouldn’t like to receive a gift of bubbles, regardless of the occasion? Just ensure that the whole bottle is consumed in one sitting, or there may be fights over who is doing the night feed with a hangover!
Vintage Baby Gifts
If you are struggling what to buy the baby, then take a look at the plethora of vintage websites, and handmade websites that are plastered all over the internet. With a vast array of vintage gifts to give to the new baby you will be spoilt for choice. Take a look at silver dummies, old style lace shawls and personalised wooden toys. There truly is something for everyone, regardless of their love of all things twee.
Personalised gifts are the perfect way to show the new family that you care. Personalised gifts are an excellent way of showing how much thought you have put into their gifts. You will win serious brownie points with the parents with a gift like this. Think personalised children’s story books, personalised door signs as well as comforters, dummies, wooden keepsakes, dressing gowns and so much more. It truly is the gift with a definite personal touch.
It’s a sad statistic that, in the United States alone, nearly 50% of all married couples will end up getting a divorce at some stage of their marriage. There are all sorts of reasons why couples decide that a divorce is the right decision, ranging from infidelity, lifestyle changes and even for publicity reasons (celebrities getting divorced after just a months or even weeks of marriage is becoming commonplace).
Are you married? Is your love on the rocks? If so, you might be thinking that divorce is the only way out of an unhappy marriage. But have you thought about working at your marriage rather than just giving up? You might surprise yourself to learn that there are actually some practical steps both of you can take to improve things. Here are a few reasons why divorce can often be a bad idea for unhappy couples.
Photo via Flickr (image credit: saintpo798)
It will affect you more than you realize
The thing about divorces is that many couples often end up thinking that they hate each other, but as time goes on after their divorce, they realize just how much they are in love with one another.
This is because the time apart has made them think about the reasons why they got together in the first place, and the subsequent reasons for their relationship malfunction. Many divorcees often end up resolving their differences and getting back together again, and whilst this is a good thing, it’s bad that they had to get divorced first before they found out what caused their marriage breakdown in the first place, costing them both a lot of time, heartache money in the process!
It will devastate your kids
I know that some people stay together “for the sake of the kids”, but ultimately you cannot sacrifice your happiness for your offspring. If one or both of you truly feel unhappy with your marriage, it would be more beneficial to see marriage counselling and to work on why things are going bad rather than admitting defeat and having to deal with the onset of a messy divorce.
Writing this blog post has actually made me recall my younger days, and how my parents had decided to get a divorce when I was around 10 years old.
My dad wasn’t really around much if I’m honest, and my mom seemed somewhat angry towards me as time went on – simply because I was the product of their union, and I was a “reminder” of her ex-husband, as she explained to me when I was old enough to “understand”.
Quite often when I was growing up, I used to envy my friends simply because they had two parents that were willing to share in their child’s life together.
Sadly, a lot of kids end up on the receiving end of divorces like that, when really their parents could have at least attempted to make an effort to work together in an effort to determine what the causes of their relationship breakdown were.
Divorces are expensive
Regardless of whether you get a divorce in Florida or in Ohio, one thing you will soon realize (perhaps to your horror), is that divorces are usually expensive!
In my experience, the only times a divorce is ever “cheap” is when both parties mutually agree to divorce, there are no children involved, and each party does not wish to stake a claim for the other person’s assets.
I’m sure that when most people think back, they can remember a childhood pet. Whether it was a dog, cat, rabbit, or stick insect, that little critter had a place in our hearts. Children seem to have a natural empathy with their pets, and, especially in the case of dogs, the pets reciprocate.
Nowadays, owning a pet is more complicated than it was years ago. Dogs back then were allowed to roam the streets, so the hardest thing some owners ever did was to open the front door. Also, if someone was scratched by a cat or nipped by a dog, they never considered running to lawyers in an attempt to prosecute, and gain as much compensation as they could get away with (I am, of course, only referring to very minor injuries). There is also the cost of modern treatments to consider. In the age of the internet, we have access to online pet prescriptions which have helped keep the cost down. But the pet’s healthcare can be expensive nonetheless.
Owning a pet does have benefits to a family with children, here are a few reasons why.
Children learn by having some responsibility for the pet. Yes, it comes naturally for the first couple of weeks before the novelty wears off. The cuter the pet, the more eager the kids are to please, and play with it. A little puppy, for example, is far better than a little brother or sister in a child’s eyes. They will take good care of the pet for the first two or three weeks until they become familiar with it, then little jobs will slip. It’s not good to be hard on the kids, their behavior is quite normal. Before you buy the pet you should be aware that the ultimate responsibility for its welfare is yours. Just a little reminder every now and then that the hamster needs feeding or the dog needs brushing is all they need.
A puppy, if that is your choice, will provide companionship for a child, even when they are tired and are a bit fed up it tugging at their socks. Think back to your favourite pet; it was a good feeling. If a pet is introduced to the family when the child is at a young age, it we be as much a member of the family, in that child’s eyes, as anyone else is.
If the family pet is a dog, everyone can benefit from the daily walks. Yes, soon enough you will be arguing over who took it out last, and whose turn it is now, but everyone will get a little more exercise in the long run.
The biggest drawback with owning a pet, is their lifespan. Most are considerably shorter than ours, therefore, at some point, heartbreak is virtually assured. The time will come when a grave will need to be dug in the garden for the little hamster, or maybe the goldfish will be flushed to a watery grave. Even this experience has benefits. The child will learn that nothing lives forever. It also gives them a chance to get a new pet. Yes, the grieving will be over quite quickly and a visit to the pet shop will ensue.
There are few drawbacks to a child owning a pet of their own. Vicious dogs are obviously a bad choice for a family pet, but a little hamster, a mongrel puppy, or a fluffy kitten can only be good for a child’s happiness. Get a pet today, you are just as excited as the little ones really.
If you’re thinking of putting together your very own family tree, you need to be prepared to put in a lot of work. You’ll need to dig through a plethora of records, scan cemeteries, and comb through other resources to go back generations and generations. You’ll then no doubt have bits of paper all over the place, and feel as if you can’t make sense of the chaos. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the research part – that’s up to you! However, I can help you get organised so you can build your family tree right down to your very own children. Let’s get started:
Image Credit: Flickr
Family tree software is used by many professionals and can help to organise everything you’ve discovered so far. You can easily attach information this way, as well as many other things that would be difficult to do manually. Some are free, and some you’ll need to pay for to get the features you want. Just a few I like best are Ancestry.com and RootsMagic.
Get Your Child Excited
All kids love a good story and they’ll be fascinated with a story that ends in them being born. You can tell them all kinds of stories, from how their ancestors came to live in the country, to where you and their dad had your first date. Make sure you include as much information as possible – for example, if Nan hadn’t have got the job at that doughnut factory, she never would have met your Grandad.
You don’t need to go back umpteen generations to make it exciting for your child. Start with any information you do have, and don’t panic about not knowing who your child’s great aunt twice removed married. You could possibly create a family tree in one afternoon, depending on how detailed you are about the whole thing! You can use supplies like index cards, poster boards, pens, pencils, and markers. You could try making an index card for each person you plan on including in your family tree. Write down their name, date of birth, and date of death if you know it. You can then include any other information you know about that person. Make a card for the important event that links two people too!
If you decide to go into a lot of detail with the family tree, then it’s obviously going to take you a lot longer than one afternoon. One big advantage of this is that you might actually find out about family you never knew you had! For example, you might find a long lost cousin from Canada that you’d love to get in touch with. You can then make cheaper calls to Canada by visiting planet-numbers.co.uk. You’re sure to have loads of fun and learn some things about yourself along the way!
Put it Together
To easily put the tree together, start with your child at the bottom and then work your way up. Work backwards like that until your tree is complete! Make sure you get your child involved in the process so they learn about their heritage.
You can then display your tree proudly in your home!
Some children refuse to eat meat from a very young age, and this generally has nothing to do with vegetarianism. You see; while you can’t force someone with a moral stand against meat to eat it, your children need to consume flesh and muscle for some very good reasons. This is explained in almost every guide to bringing up kids ever written, so even if you are a non-meat eater yourself, passing the view onto your children isn’t going to help them out. You need to wait until they’re old enough to look at the situation rationally and make up their own mind. Don’t worry about them making the wrong decision, as they’ll spend a lot of time learning about the food industry at school, so they should have a pretty accurate understanding of the situation by their early teens.
Considering all this, today I’m going to highlight a number of reasons why beef wellington, chicken casserole, and just about every other kind of meat dish is incredibly important for the little ones in your household. You have to remember that humans have been consuming animal products for thousands of years, so our bodies have evolved to require this sustenance. While they can live a long and happy life without meat products, it’s best to play it safe and encourage them, at least until their teenage years. I used to be a bit of a vegetarian myself, but then I started drinking at the age of eighteen, and I found it almost impossible to resist greasy bacon sandwiches on Saturday mornings. Still, you know what that’s like, right?
Meat Is Incredibly Nutritious
Vegetables may well contain a lot of nutrients kids need, but so does meat, beef in particular. When you’re young, your body needs all this extra nutrition to ensure your bones grow properly, and there have been a number of cases throughout the years where children who don’t eat meat have suffered from diseases and terrible health problems that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. You want your children to be as healthy as possible, as problems like this can seriously hinder their progression through life. If they spend a lot of time in hospital or at the doctors, they won’t get to socialise so much, and this is a key element to their growth into adulthood. So, ensuring they eat meat at least once or twice each week can have a huge impact on their whole existence.
Meat Doesn’t Increase The Chances Of Heart Disease Or Diabetes
There are a lot of lies and misconceptions surrounding meat products, but contrary to popular belief, medical professionals have proven time and time again that meat doesn’t negatively affect either the heart, or your blood-sugar rate when consumed in moderation. This is the same for children, so don’t listen to the scaremongering and cook them something substantial for dinner this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the arguments vegetarians have, and I also feel a little queasy when thinking about how the meat ended up on my plate, but sometimes you just have to overlook certain things to ensure your children stay fit and healthy. While there are a number of studies that show eating vegetables all the time can improve your health, there isn’t a single shred of evidence to suggest meat can cause any of the conditions people claim.
Meat Contains High Levels Of Protein
Children need lots of protein to ensure they grow up to be healthy young adults, and meat is one of the best sources for this in the world. The proteins in meat are naturally occurring, and so they’re much better for the human body than artificial alternatives. Also, meat contains essential amino acids that aren’t found in too many other foodstuffs. Protein provides a source of energy, but it’s also important for strong bones. The last thing anyone wants is for their children to suffer from is weak or brittle bones. Although there are a number of different medications that can deal with the issue a little, having a condition like this will seriously affect them for their entire life, and could result in constant injuries or even an untimely death.
There Are No Proven Health Benefits To Avoiding Meat
Again, try not to listen too much to the campaigners, as your doctor will happily tell you the truth about meat. After years of testing and numerous studies, there has not been one single recorded health benefit of avoiding flesh and muscle. None of us like the way in which these animals are kept, but that doesn’t mean we should throw lies around to scare people. Everyone needs to look at the facts, not the hearsay. As I said a moment ago, there is some evidence that suggests vegetarians tend to live longer, but not if they avoid meat from an early age. If your children really feel passionately about this subject, just try to explain that to them. They might not like it, but chicken, beef and pork are essential for their wellbeing. This is partly why many muslim families suffer from similar issues. However, they don’t eat pork for religious reasons, and so you should never try to alter their view.
Well ladies, now you know why your kids need to eat meat as they grow, I hope you’ll be more inclined to pick up a few steaks next time you’re at the supermarket. Opting to become vegetarian is certainly a noble move, but it’s not something children should be involved with until they’re at least make it into high school. Just take some time to educate them about the true facts concerning meat, and they should come round to your way of thinking. At the end of the day, most children are pretty rational thinkers from around the age of ten, which is why you should always try to be open and honest with them.
Thanks for reading guys, and I’ll catch you back here for more interesting and informative articles very soon!