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Build a Minimialist Feng Shui Nursery with These Tips

woman in nursery holding her baby, sitting on her ottoman with a white crib near by with carpet

I hate clutter.

I am also a minimalist.

My motto is to keep everything in its place.

I’ve followed some Feng Shui techniques in the past, but to keep it simple, I used to just try my hardest to keep the children’s toys in their rooms or their basement playroom.

I keep all books, papers and office materials in my home office; all clothes in closets, hampers or laundry room etc.  And if an item finds its way out of place, I put it back where it belongs, promptly. I am a firm believer that clutter creates disorder and chaos and an settled mind.

Ohdeedoh did a great post years about Feng shuing your baby’s nursery that seemed helpful to me. Essentially, it took all the most sensible, practical advice

and enumerated into a simple checklist I loved!

Check out these awesome tips which I know to non-believers in the ancient Chinese principles and techniques may seem a bit odd or different, but those who have some some basic rudimentary studying of it will get it.

WATER PURIFIER COLLEGE DORM ESSENTIALS PACKING LIST

I recommend starting with Feng Shui: Reference to Go: 50 Ways to Create a Healthy and Harmonious Home and go from there.

Common-sense things you’re probably already doing:

:: Use natural materials whenever possible for bedding, curtains, flooring, rugs, furniture, and toys.

:: Keep drawers and closets organized and pruned of too-small and out-of-season clothing.

:: Have different sources of light in the nursery, some for daytime and others for evening and nighttime.

:: Limit the electrical appliances near the crib. This includes various monitors, air filters, vaporizers, fans, etc.

:: Open windows daily for good ventilation.

:: Influse scents from essential oils like chamomile, rose, vanilla or lavender.

Some more interesting tips you might also want to try:

:: Invest in a mattress made of natural organic materials.

Photo of a natural crib in a room with natural light

:: Choose a soft shade of green, blue, pink, orange or beige for the walls.

:: No reds, yellows, grays, or blacks.

:: Bed sheets should be soothing colors.

:: Bright red is a no-no.

:: Soft blue is recommended.

Hope these tips are helpful.

16 LAST MINUTE AT HOME FAMILY VALENTINE’S DAY ACTIVITIES

the word love in a shadow box



Today is Valentine’s Day and if you are scrambling for ideas to celebrated with your offspring(s) as well, here are 20  last-minute ideas of things you guys can do at home!

There are some great at-home activities in here you can do nonetheless, with a few resources scrubbed off the internet!  

1. Have an Indoor Picnic in the Living Room

2. Have a Movie Night. Stream movies both like, pop some popcorn and snuggle under the covers.

3. Make Pizza. Be your own Italian Chef.

4. Go for a Drive to the Country a little way from home and back. Use the time to talk and catch up.

5. Go out for Dinner. Get dressed up and have a fancy dinner delivered. Eat by candlelight

6. Go Roller Skating. Have some physical fitness and fun while skating to the hits and oldies outdoors if the weather is fitting, of course.

7. Make Soup for the Week. If you live in a climate experiencing winter, whip up several batches of different soups to eat and save for later. You can pick different recipes from online resources or your crock pot cook book

8. Make Desserts. Cakes, Brownies, Cookies and Decorating fun designs is guaranteed fun.

9. Paint. Roll up the Sleeves, Get out some paper or a canvase and some paint and get creative. Frame your masterpieces and hang them up in your home.

10. Craft. There are loads of crafting projects online. Taking the time to create some crafts is fun and functional if you make some thing that you can use later like an oven mit or a frame.

11. Write Short Stories. Get your creative juices flowing. Get out some paper and pen and write up some fun stories to share or use to enter into writing contests.

12. Have a Game Night. Haul out the Connect Four, Checkers and Monopoly board games and have fun.

13. Have a Dance Party. Put on the Music Video Channel or Crank up the Stereo and Dance in the Basement or in the living room.

14. Have a Karaoke Night. Find Videos with Lyrics on YouTube and set it up so you can have a performance.

15. Do Puzzles. Get out different puzzles, get on the floor and put together some pieces.

16. Tell Scary Stories. If you’re caught in the storm and without power still, it sucks but you can use that time under the dim lights to tell spooky ghost stories to pass time until the light comes back.  

Good Luck and have fun!

Activities to do with the family for Valentine's day that's at home

At Home Super Bowl Watch Party Dishes To Make For the Family

Are you and the family watching the Super Bowl this Sunday?

Most likely, finger food will be on the menu. Go-Tos for the occasion are pizza, sliders, nachos and other types of snacks.

These dishes are super easy to make and you can get your kids involved.

We curated three of the best recipes around for these three top most-served dishes:

New York-Style Pizza

(adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 lb pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)

1 can tomato sauce

1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp dried oregano

Preheat oven to 475°F. Flatten dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 12-inch circle and place on baking sheet. Spread tomato sauce evenly over dough. Sprinkle with cheese, basil and oregano. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until bottom of crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Let cool. Slice and eat!

Custom Tips

  • Spicy-food fans, drizzle sriracha hot sauce over the toppings for an extra kick.
  • Breakfast lovers, crack a whole egg on top before baking for a gooey golden treat.
  • For a perfectly crispy crust, cook your pie on a preheated pizza stone.

Sliders

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package slider buns
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 tbsp. sliced chives
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice slider buns in half lengthwise.
  2. On the bottom layer of the slider buns, sprinkle 2 cups of the cheddar cheese.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter. Cook eggs to desired consistency.
  5. Top bottom layer of sliders with eggs and crumbled bacon. Top with remaining cheese. Place the slider tops on top.
  6. In a small bowl mix the butter with the maple syrup. Brush on top of sliders. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slider tops are golden. Serve.

NACHOS

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 small onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 9 ounces corn tortilla chips
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 ounces pre-shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices
  • 1 medium-size ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup jarred salsa
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

DIRECTIONS

Step 1

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place ground chuck and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until meat crumbles and is no longer pink and onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Step 2

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread chips across pan in a single layer with as little overlap as possible. Top chips evenly with meat mixture, beans, and cheese.

Step 3

Bake in preheated oven until cheese melts and just begins to brown in places, about 8 minutes. Remove chips from oven, and top with onion, jalapeño, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. Serve with salsa and lime wedges.

Have fun!

graphic for super bowl party featuring three dishes: nachos, pizza and sliders

MLK Day of Service Activities for Kids

Tomorrow is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, MLK Day of Service.

Normally, all around the nation, schools, philanthropic organizations and civic groups have planned service events in honor of the memory of the civil rights icon who gave his life for others.

This pandemic year is a little different. However, there are still last minute and virtual options available.

it’s actually NOT too late to find a service activities organized around the nation to participate in tomorrow or in an ongoing basis, and there is still time for you and the children to do something kind on their own for their neighbors or fellow man.

Here are a 6 other  suggestions besides watching a speech and reflecting on its meaning:

  1. Take garbage bags down to the town creek or some other littered area near your home and clean it up.
  2. Make sandwiches and pack fruit and a snack into about a few dozen brown bags and pass them to homeless people in the closest town or city to you.
  3. Gather old toys and bag them up to donate to Goodwill or a local family shelter.
  4. Call a local home for the elderly and ask if you can there are any virtual outreach opportunities.
  5. Make Homemade colorful Get Well Greetings cards to send to a local children’s hospital/
  6. Make Festive Thank You Cards to send to the local USO to ship off to military serving abroad.

Good luck and Happy MLK Day of Service!

EXPECTANT & NEW MOM GUIDE TO FILING TAXES THIS YEAR

mom in chair

It’s tax filing season and if you are expecting or just had a new baby, there are some expenses related to your journey to parenthood that you may or may not know about.

The fact of the matter is that babies do in fact change your tax situation and here are a few tax tax deductions and credits available to families this year.

Before Baby

Pregnancy Test Kits. Birth Control Pills. Fertility Enhancement. These count as medical expense deductions. For medical expenses to be deductible, you’ll have to itemize your tax deductions, and your medical expenses must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Expecting Baby

Nursing moms can include the cost of breast pumps and supplies in their medical expense deductions. Lactation expenses are also deductible as are laboratory fees that may be a part of your medical care.

The New Arrival

The tax deduction that comes with your new arrival can’t match the joy, but this still should make you happy.

Under the new tax law, the child tax credit has doubled to $2,000 per qualifying child. And, unlike a tax deduction, which reduces the amount of your income subject to tax, a tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar.

Planning for Baby’s Future

The new tax law lets parents save tax-free for their child’s education. Under the law you can use up to $10,000 per child from a 529 plan to pay qualified expenses for elementary and secondary school and home school.

The 529 plans can also be used to pay for college.

Speaking of college, if you want to think that far ahead, two tax credits are available to help with qualified educational expenses. Those credits are the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a credit of up to $2,500 for qualified tuition and expenses for the first four years of college, and the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides up to $2,000 per return.

I apologize if I’ve gotten too far ahead of you by talking about schooling and college and all those things. I’ll bring it back to the here and now by reminding you that whether your bundle of joy is born on January 1 or December 31 of the year, you can take a full $2,000 child tax credit.

tax saving

And remember, as your child grows, the tax code is bound to change. You’ll want to make sure you get all the tax deductions to which your family is entitled. The best way to do that is to talk with a tax professional. It’s their job to keep up with the tax code. And, because they do their job, you can do yours, enjoying life with your new addition

$25 eGift Cards For Teachers {Gift Guide}

teacher gift graphic

Parents may want to use this opportunity of the impending Christmas and Winter Holiday break to give their child’s teacher a nice gift as a thank you for the school year so far, especially this very different and challenging pandemic school year.

In a lot of school systems, it may be not permissible to spend too much money on a gift and the government may have imposed a monetary limit, in some cases.

Because many schools systems are distance learning full time, there also may not be an adequate opportunity to personally hand a teacher a box of chocoloates, a nice mug or another nice gift of gratitude this year.

Fortunately, we live in the era when e-gift cards and virtual gifting is now a very regular thing!

I’ve curated a list of nine stores that offer amazing virtual gifts you can simply email your child’s teacher:

starbucks gift card

Starbucks e-Gift Card

With the digital Starbucks card, your child’s teacher will get a code that she or he can add to her/his mobile device and order enough hot cocoa to sip and chill all Winter break long, depending on how much of a cocoa fan s/he is.


sugarwish gift card

Sugarwish

Send your fave teacher the gift of a sugar rush this Holiday season with the popular Sugarwish treats delivery service. Send him or her an invite to choose their favorite flavors of candy, cookies or popcorn and it will get delivered to them. Prices start at $19.98.


sephonra gift card

Sephora

Who doesn’t love the gift of self care and pampering? With an e-Gift card from the beauty store, Sephora, you can send a present in any denomination.


audible gift card

Audible

When keeping up with lessons plan doesn’t allow time to dig into that new book she or he wants to read, Audible books are the next best thing. A month free listens provides access to thousands of books, podcasts and Audible original content. Prices start at $15.00 for one month.


uncommon goods egift

Uncommon Goods eGift

An uncommonly good gift for any occasion, a gift certificate lets them pick from hundreds of unique gifts.


netflix gift car

Netflix

Since we all will be home anyway this Winter, your child’s teacher can catch up and binge watch all those TV shows trachers missed during the semester! A Netflix membership for a month or two will do it!


amazon gift card

Amazon

They have it all so you cannot go wrong with an Amazon.com e gift card.


Ban.do

Ban.do is that place where you can find the quirkiest of gifts and its $20 Gift Shop is filled with a fun ecclectic mix of little gifts that will put a smile on your teacher’s face!


etsy gift card

Etsy

Etsy is a marketplace for personalized gifts, and everything in between and is a beloved place your teacher can get lost at while looking for something for her or himself! There’s so much fun on Etsy!


gift card graphic

Matching Family PJs To Get Today

Family pjs celeb

The family pajamas thing is more than a trend.

In fact, each year, we see more and more families, large and small, outfitting themselves in matching pajamas and taking a photo to share in their social media fees and in their annual Christmas card or just for “The Gram”.

Celebrities Love This Trend

Celebrity families like The Currys, The Harts and more have been posting up on social in their chic coordinated sleepwear. Snapping a photo with the entire family has almost become the cliche yet obligatory new Holiday season trend.

And…you and your family can get in on the fun too. It’s not even a costly option anymore because Amazon, for example, sells sets that start at $13. What a bargain!

family in matching pjs

If you have a Macy‘s department store near you, hop in the car and head over to pic up its  Family Matching Merry Pajamas ($10-$49).

Walmart also has the red plaid family PJs starting at $10. The options and variety of styles are limitless

Here are a few faves:

family in matching pjs

Hanna Andersson

Matching Family Tannenbaum PJs are organic knit and cotton

matching pj

Hannukah PJs

Hanna Andersson also has matching families for Jewish families that do not celebrate Hannukah /

matcching ps

Gender Neutral

If you’re lucky to get these when they come back in stock in a variety of sized, you can get Old Navy’s gender neutral family set for under $30

matching pj

Family Pet Inclusive

We cannot let Fido out of the family photos and that’s why a lot of newer family sets include pieces for the family dog. Kohl’s had some starting at $19.99

luxe matching

Family Luxury Set

If you prefer premium quality PJs, then there are a few luxe brands also offering matching family sets like

10 Ways the Kids Can Help Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving place setting

Thanksgiving is all about family and spending time together.

Generations often share the kitchen while creating some of the best tasting dishes.  Bring the kids into the kitchen this year and help them learn about some of your family’s traditional Thanksgiving recipes.  From toddlers to teens, there’s something everyone can do to help out.

  1. Lay out the bread to dry. Many stuffing recipes require stale bread.  Have your child set the bread out on the counter. Once it’s stale, allow him to break up the bread and dump in premeasured spices.
  2. Wash the vegetables for the crudité platter.  Serve a platter of crudité with some dip for guests to snack on.  Kids can wash the veggies and drain some pickles and olives before putting them onto a platter.
  3. Peel the potatoes. Around ages 8 to 10, most kids can use a potato peeler with supervision.  Teach her how to use the peeler than observe her in action before leaving her to the task.
  4. Add the marshmallows to the top of the sweet potatoes. Kids may enjoy the simple task of adding marshmallows to the top of the sweet potatoes, while sneaking a few as a snack, of course.  When kids help prepare a dish they feel connected to it and may be more likely to try it.
  5. Make some whipped honey butter. Allow a stick of butter to sit out until it reaches room temperature.  Have her add the butter, along with some honey, to a mixing bowl.  A couple of tablespoons worth are enough.  Add a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar and turn on the mixer.  Once blended, scoop the finished product into a pretty bowl and it’s ready to serve.
  6. Toss the salad. There are several ways kids can help create the dinner salad.  Let him tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, rinse it off and toss it into the salad spinner. Once he spins the lettuce dry he can add in the rest of the ingredients, including the dressing. Have him toss the salad and set it on the table.
  7. Set the table. Depending on their age kids can set the entire table Thanksgiving table independently or set out items as you direct. Draw a table setting on a piece of paper. Your child can use the paper as a place setting guide.
  8. Plan the meal. Letting young ones help plan the menu for the big day will not only allow them to feel part of the celebration, but it may get them to try more types of food. Ask your children what vegetables they’d like to see on the menu and work together to find something appropriate to include.
  9. Snap green beans. Green bean casserole is a traditional dish served at many Thanksgiving feasts. Have the kids snap the ends of the beans that you’ll use in the casserole. Parents and kids can race to see who can finish snapping the ends off of their pile of beans that fastest.
  10. Mashing potatoes. Another traditional dish at the Thanksgiving table is mashed potatoes.  After the potatoes are boiled, kids can use a hand masher to help mash the potatoes up.

Consider what meal preparation tasks are age-appropriate for each child in your family. Assign each child at least one responsibility. The more involved kids feel, the more excited they’ll be about sharing Thanksgiving dinner together.

How To Get An Elusive PS5: Log In Stock/ReStock Links

If a Sony Playstation 5 is on your child’s Christmas wish list and you haven’t pre-ordered or purchased a console by now, it’s going to be really hard to get your hands on one.

Sony released its biggest launch everthis past November 12 in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and South Korea and the rest of the world on Nov 19th. Before then, some retailers offered pre-orders causing there to be a extreme backlog.

However, the good news is that Sony has indicated, and the main Big Box retailers have confirmed plans to put new game systems back in stock starting today thru Black Friday this upcoming Friday.

How Much Does a PS5 Cost?

PS5 costs $499.99, while the digital-only edition will cost $399.99. The console is backwards compatible with PS2 games.

Can you Still Get One This Year?

Here are the following links that will take you to the landing pages that will take you directly to their respective paes for taking PS5 orders.

Have these pages open and continue to refresh until you see some come in stock then Go!

PS5 at Amazon  – $499.99

PS5 Digital Edition at Amazon  – $399.99

PS5 at Best Buy  – $499.99

PS5 Digital Edition at Best Buy  – $399.99

PS5 at GameStop  – $499.99

PS5 Digital at GameStop  – $399.99

PS5 at Walmart  – $499.99

PS5 Digital Edition at Walmart  – $399.99

PS5 at Target  – $499.99

PS5 Digital Edition at Target  – $399.99

PS5 at Sam’s Club  – $499.99

Tips for Getting Your Device

Be already logged in

If you need to create an account, do so now, and be logged in. By the time you take to set up an account after putting a console in your cart, it may disappear as the system may take your in unreserved cart away. You never know because bugs happen especially during a time when everyone is online trying to get one.

Have your Credit Card Ready

Have the credit card account you plan to use ready in hand if you haven’t already logged it in the account. Many people have their card of choice already registered with the above websites to make ordering seamless. If you’re comfortable with having an online retailer store your account (which is not necessarily common these days with all the security breaches), then do that NOW.

Use my links above and enter the billing address etc.

Disable PopUps and Other Draining Software

A lot of websites auto refresh in the background. Some apps that you have downloaded on your browser or your computer hard drive also take up resources. Go to the Running Aps Task Window and turn off all those that you are not using but are running in the background. You need an uniterrupted exprience and no slow downs.

Good luck and tag me at @Bellyitch everywhere in social media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and let me know if these tips help you get one. I’m on the hunt as well and am literally juicing up my competition with this blog post so I do hope you appreciate it! And at least share it with your friends and family also on the hunt!

5 Fun Non Political Ways to Teach Your Child About Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving as we know it was celebrated in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was a celebration that was born from the pilgrims desire to give prayers of thanksgiving to God for giving them a good harvest.  Thanksgiving was tied to religious celebrations for hundreds of years, but today there are many secular celebrations as well.  Many times, Thanksgiving is over shadowed by Halloween and Christmas because it’s not as flashy or filled with gifts and treats.

Here are some ways to teach your kids to be thankful and to enjoy Thanksgiving.

  1. Create a thankful jar.  

    For this, you will need a jar of some sort.  This is a great time to recycle a jar that you have recently emptied.  Wash and dry the jar thoroughly and remove any labels that might be on it.  Cut a strip of printer paper that is the right size to wrap around the jar.  Encourage the kids to decorate the strip with a Thanksgiving theme, making sure to write “Thank you” or “Thanks” some place on the strip with crayons or markers.  When the kids are finished, glue the strip of paper around the jar. If you like you can tie a pretty ribbon around the mouth of the jar.  Have the kids cut up slips of paper that can be used for everyone to write what they are thankful for during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  During dinner everyone should pass around the jar and take a slip of paper out and read it.

  2. Read a book.  

    There are many books in the library or at the bookstore that explain the story of the first Thanksgiving.  Pick out a book that is age appropriate for the children you are reading to so that they can better understand the story.  Use the story to teach the kids how you feel about Thanksgiving and why you think it’s important.

    pulse ox

  3. Play a game.  

    Create your own Thanksgiving trivia game.  Go online and find a bunch of facts about Thanksgiving and put them on cards.  Each question should be on its own card. The person who gets the question right can keep the card, that way you can see who wins the most cards at the end.  The beauty of this game is that you can gear the questions to the age of the players.  You may need to have true and false questions or multiple choice questions for little ones.  This game can even be played at the table during Thanksgiving.  You can reserve a special set of adult questions to be added to the game.  You might want to print out the adult questions on a different color paper or using a different color of ink so that you will know which questions are meant for adults.  The game can be fun and challenging, and it will also teach your children a lot about Thanksgiving.

  4. Cook an authentic dish.  

    There are some misconceptions about what kind of food was served at the first Thanksgiving dinner.  Research with your child what foods would have been there and then prepare some of those dishes on the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  A few suggestions would be: succotash, corn soup, squash, beans, maple sugar candy and berries (even cranberries).  While you are cooking you can talk about how you think the pilgrims and Native Americans would have cooked their food since they didn’t have electricity.  You never know, you might find some new family favorites.

  5. Watch a Food-Centered Family Movie 

Enjoy a movie that centers around people gathering and eating food that is age appropriate. There are plenty on family-focused channels.

Spend some time with the kids talking about Thanksgiving and why it’s important to you and your family.  Many people find that adopting an attitude of thankfulness all year long helps them enjoy life more.  Give it a try and see what you think.