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My Favorite Healthy Snack Guide for your Kids

600_ss1_apple_grape_carsAre your kids snacking more than ever? Wondering what to do as a parent? It’s time to make those snacks really helpful. Snacks offer extra calories and yes, the reality is that most snacks are often too sugary. Regardless of this, snacks can still be perfectly good for your kids—of course within limits.

Kids, particularly the young ones have really erratic eating habits and it’s the healthy snacks that will fill those nutrition needs. One other benefit of snacks is that they can keep your kids’ energy up, making up for skipped or skimpy breakfasts and offer fuel before and after school sports or similar activities. I prepare snacks for my kids and they really enjoy them. Want to prepare some for your kids too? Here’s how:

Easy biscuits

Not only is baking  an ideal way to cook, but it also helps you teach your kid some essential kitchen skills. Home baking is gradually growing in popularity. It’s also an easy and cheap way of creating very delicious biscuits, benefits, and snack bars. It also means you have complete control over what goes into your kids’ snacks. Easy biscuits can be easily flavored however you like. Your kids will definitely enjoy them. The dough might stick to the table so dust with flour to avoid this. By allrecipes.co.uk

Sultan Bran Kid snack bars

This type of snacks makes a great lunchbox or after-school snack for your kid.  Sultan branPEY1009_TSN_AllSnacks_P_new snack bars are incredibly easy and quick to prepare. They are very delicious ad great for grown-ups too. They are most ideal for stopping your hunger as well as satisfying your sweet tooth with their mouthwatering fruity taste.By Kidspot.com.au

Granola Bars

Sometimes kids get very skeptical of new meals, particularly if they look healthy.  It’s advisable to delight them at snack time with some of these appealing and delicious recipes that you can easily prepare ahead of time or even on the fly for quick after-school snacking. This kid snack recipe is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. The beauty about this is that you can prepare them together!

Always think of the snacks as mini meals.  Snacks are a great way to provide your kid with protein, carbohydrates, fiber as well as other healthy fat. Ideally speaking, foods that are rich in fiber and protein provide your kids with the energy they require to stay fuller for longer. They also offer nutrients to help your kids thrive. by Foodnetwork.com

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Cool Outdoor Games for your Kids – That Cost Nothing

outdoor-activityThere are several ways to have fun with your kids whether you’re on a budget or not. I created this post to offer suggestions for some of the things to do that won’t cost a bean or which cost very little. These are some of the activities I do with my kids and are ideal for making the money I have to go that bit further during weekends or holidays. You may consider scouring your local listing for some of the activities or places to go that don’t charge a dime!

Nature trailing at the park

If your kids are bored of their local playground, then it’s time you widened up your horizons to outdoor spaces like parks in your area. I’m pretty sure there is a beauty spot that you haven’t explored nearby or s stately home in your area with grounds your kids can wander with you free of charge.

Wooden parks are particularly a great hotbed of nature. Take out your kids to discover these and go on a nature trail. Get the kids to look at their surroundings in more detail. What else can they see when they look into the pond—dragonflies, fish or frogs? Find some paper and do bark rubbings, collect cones from pines to use in decorating back home. Point out the various types of trees and ask them to find out as many different leaf varieties as they can…

What about time at the garden center?

I like garden centres because I find most of them surprisingly child-friendly. Most of the rocket-top-trampoline-cover-from-Searsbigger ones have aviaries, aquaria as well as nice cafes to easily while away your morning wandering around and looking at the animals. Also, strolling through the flower and plant displays is rather nice and most centres have play areas for kids.

Simply top off your morning with cakes and a cup of tea all round at the café, particularly if you’ve been thrifty all week. Be sure to add your local garden centre to your list of outdoor activities.

A culture trail

Museums, particularly the big old ones, are full of excitement for children across all ages. Talk of the more sedate art galleries for older children. Also, most museums are free of charge. Therefore, if you find the experience is lost on your kids, you won’t have wasted any money. Most kids are incredibly fascinated by the different kinds of collections like the Egyptian relics, dinosaurs, Roman coins as well as stuffed animals. Additionally, there are chances that your local museum runs specific activity days and culture trails for kids to help bring the exhibits come to life.

A day at the beach

Who said beaches should be reserved for the summer? Out of season means miles of sand to yourself and the kids which means greater fun and place to burn off energy with bracing walks along the shores, or a game of rounders or cricket. Most beaches have interesting natural sceneries too so scour the surf for pebbles and shells, or just get your wellies on and start exploring some rock pools.

Visit to the movies

This last one isn’t free, but you can sometimes get free tickets or low-cost offers. My kids did perfectly well from the age of 3 as regards taking them to the cinema. The only trick here is to figure out which movies to pick is to determine what they like at home. My children all have different tastes in movies, so I have to take them one at a time. They will occasionally get bored during exposition which calls for a quiet reminder from me.

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Budgeting Tips for Parents – Making your Money Stretch

reaPersonally, budgeting is one of my most boring and dullest activities on earth. However, to avoid debts then it suddenly becomes one of the most important things. Sigh! Luckily, with a few tips regarding proper budgeting for parents then this activity can become a little less tiresome. Below are some of the practical budgeting tips for parents to help you steer clear of money-management gloom.

Understand your budget

My goal is to always try and generate a good overview of my family’s expenses and incomes across a period of time. For instance, a 1-month snapshot is important, though there will always be some blips that will throw your careful planning efforts off-track in a heartbeat. Make sure to reflect some of these in your overview.

Month by month, over a 3 month period, list all the known fixed expenses separately from the variable ones. I have more control over those that change and it’s within this amount that I get the flexibility to save or find extra cash to cater for those blips.

Be realistic

Once you determine the total spending, it becomes even easier to develop a good basic monthly budget that speaks your current spending patterns more clearly. I then head over to weed out the desirables from the essentials. This enables me to clear off the non-criticals from the list. In this case, it’s important to understand that some other issues might crop up, for example prioritizing expenditure on clothing for school and work and whether extracurricular activities can be added to the list for the sake of your kids. This helps you prepare a budget that you can stretch and tweak when it’s necessary.

Prepare a spending plan

I stick to my family’s spending pattern assessment and our reality. Therefore, you want to

Happy family using a laptop with thumbs up on a couch
Happy family using a laptop with thumbs up on a couch

make sure you are in tandem with a budget that’s both feasible and best meets the needs of the entire family. I make sure there isn’t any slack in the budget so that I don’t have any problems down the road when planning to save, including holiday savings, retirement planning, or even cash for big home improvement projects.

If you feel as though some of these things won’t be covered by your income alone, then it’s time you started thinking along the lines of second jobs, overtime, etc.

Shop Responsibly

There are few obvious and simple, but oh-so-easy to ignore tips that can help any unstable budget. In my case, I focus on fine tuning into our internal financial planner whenever I am considering any kind of expenditure, I first ask myself—how can I save money here? In order to shop smart, simply begin by preparing a weekly menu to help you avoid any unnecessary surpluses adding up.

Consider passing clothes down from one kid to the next. Go for less expensive brands, research for the best deals, avoid buying things you don’t really need, buy second hand and try to exploit online vouchers when a chance comes up.

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Steam Mops – Are they Worth the Cost?

1212671_3_originalA colleague recently purchased a new home and where she used to live was mostly carpet. Now where she lives is mostly hardwood and tile so every day is a lot of work cleaning new floors with the traditional handheld mop. She had to purchase a steam mop and says that move made her life easier. She says steam mops are the way to go but for whatever reasons, I deemed it wise to start performing some research on whether steam mops are really worth your money and here’s what I found out.

Price

Most steam mops range in price from about $50-$100. This is over 2X the cost of purchasing a traditional handheld mop.

Electricity costs

In addition to the price of steam mops, these gadgets are electrically powered which means additional costs.

Cleaning Power

A steam mop is effective at sanitizing and cleaning floors, especially in high traffic areas of your house with grime and seep set dirt.

Weight

Since steam mops have electrical components and a water reservoir, they get particularly heavy than their traditional counterparts and, therefore, more difficult to use.

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A steam mop doesn’t require you to find a mop bucket or even large amounts of water on your floors. This makes them less messy when compared to traditional mops.

Environmental Impact

In terms of environmental impact, steam mops are better than the traditional handheld mops since they don’t require chemical cleaners. This makes them a better choice over the traditional models.

Steam mops Vs Traditional Mops

My findings were particularly interesting. In each of the tests I performed such as removing strawberry jam, muddy footprints, and pasta sauce—there were steam mops that did a great job than the traditional regular mops. But there were several steam mops that didn’t do the job well across the 3 assortments. Therefore, while there were good steam mops in our tests, there is potential to trump the traditional mop one day, steam mops didn’t take the top spot for overall rating.
I came up with a variety of reports after completing my research. Some of my conclusions were that some steam mops are so useless because they didn’t get hot enough to disinfect and deep clean. Other types of steam mops were overwhelmingly heavy when using them. You know what this means? You’ll need to lug around your traditional handheld mop. Also, there were types that only allowed me to clean for just about 7 minutes and then I would stop to refill. Some people have issues with the length of steam mop cords for the rooms they’re trying to clean.

Steam mop reliability

There is also another very important factor—reliability. Most customer reviews across the internet bring up this factor and complain of reliability problems with their steam mops. Off the back of this, I included a durability test to have a complete and standard analysis. Personally, I haven’t experienced any reliability issues before with regard to my steam mop other than an issue with molting when the mop gets old, breaking the thin plastic wringers. In spite of this, I solved both problems with a relatively cheap trip to the shops.

So, are steam mops worth it?

I’ll answer the question this way—steam mops universally thrive over regular or traditional mops on floors that are usually left much dryer after a cleaning task. This means less tip-toeing around the room from patch to patch as you wait for the floors to dry. A steam cleaner lets you clean your floors without the need to use chemicals and this is very appealing to many. Incidentally, there are steam mops that have detergent dispensers to handle stubborn stains. In my opinion, a steam mop is worth your money because it’s easier to use than a traditional handheld mop, saving you from having to dunk mops repeatedly in a bucket and slide along the floors as you clean.

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Shower Cabins to Transform Family Bath Time

thumbsI am a big fan of shower cabins because they bring flexibility to any home. Rather than going to a steam room down at the local gym alone and ultimately sharing the space, I decided to simply crash at home—after a long day for just a few minutes and become relaxed with a steam shower cabin. 10-15 minutes is enough to get past your afternoon wall that most of us face and that takes up just 1 gallon of water!

Shower cabins offer several features than ordinary shower enclosures.  In fact, most shower cabins are all-in-one units, consisting of the enclosure, tray, body and shower jets, not to mention the several extra options that most shower cabins now offer, including music, fragrance, steam, and seating as well as LED mood lighting—some double up as sunbeds.

A shower cabin which is packed with features such as color-changing mood lights and music will keep your kids happy at bath time. Also, take note of the humidity and heat of such steam shower cabin—very helpful in opening up the pores of your skin to that you can get a deeper and even more beneficial clean. There is usually a lot of congestion is the pores that just won’t come out no matter how you wash under normal circumstances—even if you’re an expert at exfoliating or scrubbing. The bacteria, dead skin, and trapped 4594751216dirt come out to the top layers of your skin, providing an even clearer complexion when used regularly.

A shower cabin, especially the steam types also provide an excellent treatment for a couple of respiratory problems, particularly for childhood ailments such as croup. Therefore, steam baths are very important for your kids and will help in opening up breathing channels, easing problematic symptoms. Steam showers are not meant for kids only, however, since some of the best steam showers also work with other issues such as laryngitis, sinus issues as well as cases of asthma.

One of the major reasons why I also like using shower cabins, particularly the steam ones, is that they help reduce physical stress and other emotional symptoms. A hot steam works to boost circulation throughout the body and this is particularly helpful in expanding the muscle tissues that release tightened knots you can feel. A steam shower aids in the release of endorphilis which causes proper mental relaxation thus saving you an expensive trip to a spa.

Steam shower cabins come with different features and styles, but definitely your first choice is going to be along the lines of a fiberglass or acrylic shower. I personally prefer acrylic ones to fiberglass showers because they are easier to maintain and clean but the porous material of fiberglass shower cabins can give added strength. When buying a shower cabin, I recommend looking for those with an aluminum alloy frame for additional strength.