Category: family life

The Easy Way to Create a Family Schedule

family scheduleDo you feel like there’s not enough time to breathe with all of the different obligations your family has scheduled?

You’re not alone. It seems like managing a family these days should be a full-time job, especially since kids are in so many extracurriculars at an early age.

One solution to end the madness is creating a family schedule. After you’ve taken the time to plan it out, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one.

Everyone’s needs are different, but there are some foolproof tips you can use no matter what your calendar looks like. Check out our easy way to create a family schedule!

1. Find What Works For You

If you have kids that are older, you might want to go digital so that you can have a shared calendar across all of your devices. That way, even a family member on the go can see where each sibling, parent, or child is no matter what.

Google Calendar is a great tool for this since it syncs no matter what you’re using.

If you’re more of a paper person, daily planners like a Kitlife are a must-have for any busy momma. Choose whatever you know works best for you!

2. Plan Out A Normal Day First

If your family has a schedule that’s constantly changing, planning out a master schedule can seem impossible. Start small so that you don’t get too overwhelmed.

When you first start making a family schedule, map out what a normal day looks like first. When do the kids have to get to school? When do you get off work? What do you have to get done each day no matter what?

That will help you get a sense of your basic structure. Then, you can go back and fill in all the random meetings, practices, or performances that might pop up on certain days.

3. Have Everyone Contribute To The Family Schedule

Some moms like to be the keeper of the schedule and are the only person in the house who updates it. If that works best, go for it!

If you’re still having trouble getting people to stick to your new schedule, try having everyone contribute instead. If your kids and spouse help to create the schedule, they’re more likely to follow it—and make your life easier in the process.

Whether you’re using paper or digital, having a master schedule somewhere everyone can see and edit it is a great way to do this. You can even get creative and color code by family member!

4. Stick To A Routine

Once you’ve created a schedule, stick to it. Younger kiddos especially benefit from a stable structure, so staying within a routine can actually help their behavior.

It might be tempting to linger an extra fifteen minutes in bed before hitting snooze or to answer emails while you’re at home, but that can throw off your entire schedule. Create a routine and you’re way more likely to consistently follow your schedule.

Want more tips on how to create a great family life? Check out our blog!

The Incredible Effects of Prenatal Massage

prenatal massageIf you’re not familiar with prenatal massage, it’s a type of massage that’s similar to regular massage. However, it’s customized to a pregnant woman’s needs.

A pregnant woman’s body is constantly changing. Prenatal massage helps ease sore areas, improves overall circulation and mobility and relaxes tense or sore muscles.

It also helps pregnant women “just feel good”.

A trained prenatal massage therapist adjusts their massage techniques to the needs of a pregnant woman, focusing on the neck, back, abdomen and shoulders.

They understand that a pregnant woman has very specific sore and swollen areas, and can help provide deep relief.

They’ll also know what areas to avoid.

Let’s take a further look into the benefits of prenatal massage, and find out if it’s right for you.

The Many Benefits of Prenatal Massage

There’s not a ton of high-scale research that’s been done on the overall therapeutic benefits of this type of massage. However, smaller studies tell us that prenatal massage can:

  • Lower stress and improve mood
  • Reduce swelling in legs
  • Help diminish anxiety and prenatal depression
  • Lower the risk of premature birth or low birth weight in babies of women suffering from prenatal depression

Prenatal massage also helps put pregnant women in a better overall mindset. It can help them cope with all the huge changes that are about to transpire in the coming months.

Remember to tell the massage therapist about any and all areas of the body that need attention. If anything is causing discomfort during the massage, don’t hesitate to let them know.

Find the Best Therapist Possible

Start out by getting recommendations. These can come from your hospital, healthcare provider, or friends and family

If you’ve used another massage therapist in the past and enjoy their work, find out if they have prenatal massage training or can direct you to a colleague who does.

Also consider visiting the American Massage Therapy Association. They have an online referral system that will show you recommended therapists throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Canada and the Virgin Islands.

If you’re in the Colorado Springs, CO area, Turning Point Medical Group is a great choice.

Some therapists will request clearance from your midwife or doctor prior to providing treatment. Make sure to ask about this as soon as you can.

Also, make sure to remind your therapist when you arrive that you’re pregnant.

How Much is it Going to Cost?

In general, a one-hour massage session will run anywhere between $60 – $150 (sometimes more depending on your location).

Keep in mind that some health insurance plans cover parts of the cost, even if you’re self-employed.

This is only true, however, if you get a prescription from a midwife or doctor that indicates massage therapy is needed for medical reasons (like severe back pain).

If you have a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, you can pay for the massage therapy out of either and save money on taxes. All you’ll need is paperwork from the provider that shows the massage as a medically necessary procedure.

Have You Tried It Yet?

We’d love to hear your thoughts about this type of therapy and if it’s been beneficial for you and your baby.

Have you had a good experience with a prenatal massage? Let us know in the comments!

How to Maintain a Happy and Healthy Family

healthy familyEnsuring the health and happiness of your family starts by example.

Are you making the effort to take care of yourself between getting the kids ready for school and running around doing errands? A few simple switches in your routine can make a world of a difference in maintaining a healthy family.

How do you know where to start?

We have the simple tricks you need to get everyone back on track to a better life.

Ready to learn more? Read on!

1. Prepare Healthier Meals

Do you find yourself popping more meals in the microwave than in the oven?

If so, your family’s health may be suffering. A little planning ahead can make a big impact on everyone’s eating habits.

Go grocery shopping with a plan in mind for the week and keep to it.

Will you have time to make dinner every night or should you plan to make extra for leftovers? Meal prepping makes the cooking process much easier throughout the week while ensuring everyone is eating better.

If all the members of your family are on-the-go, try adding some healthy snacks to the mix. Choose trail mix with bits of chocolate instead of candy bars. Or, grab baked or tortilla chips for the potato-chip-lovers in the house.

2. Set a Sleeping Schedule

If your kids are a little older, they probably might not have a regular bedtime anymore.

Between early mornings to work and taking care of things around the house, you and your partner may not get enough shut-eye either.

However, better sleep can improve everyone’s overall quality of life. The many benefits of sleep include an improved memory, sharper attention span, and even a longer life.

Maintaining a good sleeping schedule is almost like having the best life insurance policy. You’re investing in your health now to make sure your family stays in tip-top shape as you all grow.

Plus, sleep improves your mood. When everyone in the house is sleeping better, you may find yourselves all getting along more, too.

3. Play More

The more everyone’s mood improves, the more you can encourage play in the house, too.

You may think your kids get enough play time on the soccer field at school. However, when is the last time everyone got together for some fun?

Playing is essential to a healthy family no matter how old you all are. It creates a better family dynamic by relieving stress and creating special, happy memories.

If your family struggles to make playtime because of busy schedules, try to encourage coming together at least once a week.

Pick a day to have a game night (at a decent time) or plan a weekend trip in the nearby area. For even greater health benefits, try exercising together.

You’d be amazed what some quality time can do to increase the level of happiness and unity in your family.

A Healthy Family Means a Better Life

Creating healthy habits for you and your family may seem overwhelming, but it can be as easy as the steps listed above.

The more effort you make to play, sleep, and eat smarter, the better everyone’s health and mood will be.

While you’re at it, it never hurts to score great deals and learn frugal tips to keep a financially-healthy household as well!

Have you tried any of tips mentioned? Tell us your favorite tricks to maintain a healthy family in the comments below!

5 Sentimental and Unique Gifts for Grandma

gifts for grandmaPicking the right gifts for grandma can be a challenge! How do you find the perfect gift that’s sentimental, but also unique to her?

It helps to have a few gift ideas on hand when it’s time to pick the perfect present. Whether you’re shopping for a birthday, Christmas, or another special occasion, you can choose an amazing gift that will be cherished for years to come.

Try one of these 5 interesting gift ideas to help you get started – or to inspire you to come up with a new gift idea of your own!

5 Unexpected Gifts for Grandma

1. A Living Gift

If your grandma has a green thumb, try giving her the gift of a plant that will beautify her home or garden.

If you’re a gardener as well, you might give a plant that you raised yourself for an extra personal touch. But even if you can hardly keep a cactus alive, you can still give a beautiful store bought plant!

Just make sure to choose one that fits grandma’s unique personality. You might try a plant that blooms in her favorite color or an herb that she’ll love to cook with.

2. A Photo She’ll Love

You might have gifted grandma with a photo in a pretty frame when you were younger. Now, though, there are many other creative ways to use photos in gifts.

Try giving a digital photo frame that will cycle through a number of beloved family pictures from years past. Or, give a custom gift like a photo blanket from The Memories Place – these make fun and cozy additions to grandma’s home.

3. A Crafty Accessory

Jewelry makes a wonderful gift for a stylish grandmother. However, you don’t want to give just any jewelry – try something handmade for that special touch.

If you make a necklace or pair of earrings, she’s sure to love it. But if grandma has a creative streak, you might try giving an easy jewelry kit that she can use to design her own looks. You could also try an interesting handmade piece from a local designer that fits her style well.

4. A Home Upgrade

As people get older, it can get harder to do all the things they want to around the home. Why not give grandma an opportunity to do that home update or refresh she’s always wanted?

You might try a gift certificate for an interior decorator, or to a furniture store for that cute new lamp or living room set she’s had her eyes on. Or, keep it simple and gift a subscription to a cleaning service. Everyone can use a little help keeping their home spotless sometimes!

5. A Gift You Do Together

What grandma probably wants more than anything is a little more time with her grandkids. A gift that gives you two a fun day together will really be special.

If she loves baking, then gift a local baking class that you two can take together. There are all kinds of other classes you can take, too – try terrarium building, or even a low-impact dance class. And, of course, tickets to a concert or play she’ll love are always a good choice.

Pick the Perfect Gift Now

When it comes to gifts for grandma, a little extra thoughtfulness goes a long way.

More than anything, you should try to give a present that fits her personality and interests. Show how much you care about her by remembering her favorite activities, style, or colors, and proving that in the gift you choose.

Are you shopping on a budget? Check out our frugal living tips here, so you’ll have more to spare for the perfect gift!

5 Smart Travel Tips for Your Next Family Roadtrip

smart travelDoes the idea of a road trip sound great in theory, but make you groan when you consider all the details? You’re not alone.

Family road trips often sound like an amazing opportunity for quality time and bonding. But the tenth cry of “she hit me” and repetition of the Wiggles soundtrack can quickly drive you crazy.

Luckily, we’ve got all the info you need to make your family road trip a success. Read on for some smart travel tips that’ll help you actually enjoy your next adventure.

Making the Most of Family Roadtrips

A road trip is a great way to travel as a family. You have the freedom to go wherever you want and can easily pull the car over for food and bathroom breaks. You’ll also get to explore parts of the country that you would miss if you were flying to your destination.

But it’s not all fun and games, and a road trip can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t prepare correctly. Here are some smart travel tips to get you started:

1. Do Your Research

The best thing you can do to make your trip go smoothly? Research. Get online and find where other parents drove, where they stayed, and the activities they recommend.

Speak to other parents and get suggestions for experiences or itineraries. Keep in mind the ages of your kids (and theirs) so you can ensure you’re getting the best advice for your situation.

2. Travel With Other Parents

What’s better than a road trip? A road trip with other parents and kids. The more people you travel with, the less likely you’ll hear “I’m bored” from your kids.

You’ll also be making decisions as a team, and can enjoy a well-earned glass of wine at the end of the day.

3. Drive Safe

Before you leave, it’s a good idea to get the car checked out. Whether you have a teeny Toyota or a handicap van, take it in for a service and check that everything is working as it should.

Before you leave, check the tires. You may also want to check the back seat to ensure all windows and doors have the child safety locks activated and there are no choking hazards back there.

4. Take Entertainment

There are now more ways to entertain your kids than ever before. But even the most prepared parent can still hear whining on a long drive.

The answer? Pack more options than you think you’ll need.

However you feel about screen time, most parents allow at least an hour or two on road trips. Here are some other great options:

  • Reading
  • Family podcasts
  • Games like “I Spy”
  • Audiobooks
  • Talking
  • Looking up information about the area
  • Listening to songs
  • Writing in journals

5. Take Frequent Breaks

If you’re close to your destination, it can be tempting to keep driving, even when the whole family is tired. Instead, avoid setting a strict schedule and play it by ear.

That means regularly taking breaks for snacks and the bathroom. Encourage the kids to run around (set up a quick game of tag or race around the car), and try to stretch your legs yourself.

Smart Travel is Sane Travel

A family road trip doesn’t need to be stressful. By following the above smart travel tips, you can enjoy spending time together as a family and see the sights without losing your sanity.

What are your top road trip tips? Leave a comment below and let us know! Then, check us out for more tips on thrifty living and more!

Adventure Camp: 5 Reasons It’s Money Well Spent

camping under the starsSometimes an adventure camp offers an opportunity to break away from the daily grind. It also provides all sorts of opportunities and possibilities that families can enjoy together.

So, if you’re planning for some family adventure, don’t believe for a second that you’re throwing money down the drain. Outdoor activities offer a way to share a new story, connect, and experience the wonder of nature.

Here are five reasons why your money is well-spent when you go for an adventure.

Read on to learn more.

1. Gain New Skills

As a parent, taking your kids to an adventure camp offers them an opportunity to acquire and develop new skills. Activities, such as boating trips, rock climbing, canoeing, caving, and backpacking offer your children something new to learn and also help them build confidence.

Since they engage in these outdoor activities almost every day of the camp, they’re able to build confidence and experience a personal transformation that generally improves their life. The more kids get out there, the more they learn.

2. Connect

With today’s hard-pressed lifestyle, finding time for your kids and family can be difficult.

Thanks to adventures, you’re able to engage in real interactions with kids and enjoy some quality time together. A camp offers the time to make up for any unavailability.

You’ll be surprised to see how your kids open up and talk about their lives when they have your total concentration.

3. Give Yourself Time

The truth is, some life experiences tend to push you into a corner. When that is coupled with your daily job stress it can wreck your life.

An adventure gives you time to reflect on your life. You’re able to engage in something that you love and take your mind off life issues. Plus, it gives you a fresh and positive mindset to handle challenges in the right way.

This is the time to develop an optimistic attitude, plan your life, and re-evaluate choices.

4. Improve Social Skills

As you already know, work and school take lots of time. People hardly find time to interact with new people in an entirely different occasion or situation anymore.

An adventure camp gives you and your kids time and opportunity to interact with new people. A simple thing like asking another camper for help setting up the tent can spark constructive and productive conversations.

The social benefits are broad and far-reaching, especially for kids. A camps sleepaway sets a new course in their development that hopefully helps them communicate effectively and exercise teamwork.

5. Self-Dependence

With today’s environment, parents tend to be overprotective of their kids. One disadvantage of overprotection is that it denies teens an opportunity to make their own decisions and be responsible.

Allowing your teens to attend a summer adventure camp helps them to be independent. They’re able to explore and exploit their personal strengths to grow into responsible adults. Being alone can empower them in ways you can’t imagine.

Enjoy Your Adventure Camp!

An adventure usually offers a challenging and exciting experience. The benefits you and your family will enjoy after the camp will make each dime spent well worth it.

It will help to forge new relationships and support social development of kids. They will also experience extraordinary changes and learn lifelong lessons.

Do you have any thoughts on the adventure of camping? Share with us in the comments!

5 Unseen Benefits of Kids Sports

kids sportsOver 36 million kids play organized sports. Participating in sports can be a great way for kids to compete and stay active. But there’s more to it than wins and losses.

Kids sports are good for young people for a variety of reasons. Here are five you may not have thought about.

Exposure to a Diversity of Other Kids

School tends to group children by geography and age. Sports can expand the social circle significantly. Most youth sports put a range of ages on the same teams, and the kids can be from anywhere.

Knowing other kids from a variety of social, economic, racial, and religious backgrounds make a big difference in how your children grow up. Compassion and understanding for others develop naturally when you work and play together.

Playing Various Roles

Your child may not normally have a chance to be a leader, but in sports they can become the captain. Even a kid who is shy can come out of their shell in a team environment.

A naturally aggressive kid may find themselves on the bench at times. Children who play multiple sports are especially likely to have a variety of experiences – they may excel in baseball but struggle in soccer. The different environments are a good experience.

A Boost in Self Esteem

Someone who struggles academically may find his or her niche in sports. It can help those who don’t fit in traditionally to discover a way to express themselves and excel in a new area.

The praise and encouragement that kids get from coaches and teammates can bring out the best in a child. You may find that your kid blooms and becomes a whole new individual because of participation in kids sports.

Understanding the Value of Money

Kids sports are expensive, but a lot of young people don’t realize it right away. However, being involved in sports can help your child understand more about the value of money.

If he or she wants the best basketball shoes, something else may have to go. Helping children understand tradeoffs using sports is a great way to expand the benefits beyond the playing field.

If your kid is involved in multiple sports, help them understand the tradeoffs. If they want to travel for volleyball, you can let them know that they have to stay local for gymnastics, for instance.

The Development of Healthy Habits

Being successful in sports requires exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and more. These healthy habits don’t just happen during childhood. They can go with kids for the rest of their lives.

Habits are things that you get used to, that are so normal to you that they are second nature. When the choices that seem normal to your child are exercise, solid rest, discipline, and right eating, he or she is set up for a successful adulthood.

Are You Ready for Kids Sports?

Getting children to be involved in sports can be challenging for parents, especially if there’s a lot of travel. Be sure to talk to your kids about the choices they need to make regarding time and finances. Having them understand the trade-offs makes decisions easier.

Some parents decide to have kids only participate in two out-of-school activities a year. Others are committed to providing as much diversity as possible.

There’s no right answer – it’s a choice as individual as your family. How do you balance sports for your children? Let us know in the comments!