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Single or Divorced Moms Guide to Coping through Father’s Day

 

Father’s Day for children of an absentee dad or who are products of divorce can be hard. Whether by reason of divorce, death or abandonment, the day can be challenging also for single moms. Women who are solo parents by choice also must deal with the stresses of filling both Mom and Dad’s shoes and that includes surviving Father’s Day.

HuffPost Divorce single parent expert Kerri Zane offered some salient advice in a 2013 post.  An excerpt:

1. Realize the day may be difficult for your kids. For single moms dealing with a divorce situation, a day honoring the one you least like in your life, at the moment, can seem unfathomable. This is the time to step into your children’s shoes. As tough as that pill is to swallow, you have to embrace the fact that they love you and they love him, too. It is an important day for you to allow them to celebrate their father without feeling any remorse or fear that they might be hurting your feelings.

2. Don’t pass judgment. Keep an upbeat attitude about your former husband. Your kids still respect him and want to please him. It is in your best interest to always be level-headed around your children and keep your unfiltered ex thoughts to yourself. On Father’s Day in particular you might even want to step up and share one of the reasons you fell in love with their dad in the first place. Extra brownie points for that!

3. Relax into the day. For divorced mommies an extra Sunday all to yourself can be a blessing. Try not to dwell on what the day used to be when you were one big “happy” family. Instead shift your focus and make it a day of cherished me-time. Do something for yourself that you wouldn’t normally do. Spend the day at the spa, get a massage, take an extra long walk, go to the beach and take a cheeky novel or lounge by a pool. Hang out with your other single mom girlfriends, drink mimosas and have a TGIEF=Thank God It’s Ex-Father’s Day.

4. Honor the dad that once was. If Dad’s no longer around because he’s passed on, allow your children to choose how they want to honor him. They can spend the day creating a card, writing a poem, reminiscing with scrapbooks or doing an activity they always used to do with him. It can be particularly challenging because it opens wounds for the passing of your loved one too, so go easy on yourself. If you feel like being sad, it’s okay. It’s real and heartfelt. Share your fondest memories and tell the stories in great detail, they’ll love hearing about him from your loving perspective.

Sage advice indeed. Read more form the original post in HuffPost Divorce HERE

20 Frugal Summer activities for kids 

 

School is out! 

Week one of summer vacation has just closed. (For the lucky few of you whose kids are still in school, you’re in our prayers). 

Now as you wait for summer camp to start or the grandparents to come and get the kids for their annual family bonding time with your brood, what is there to do? 

As any frugal parent knows – LOTS! 

Canada’s Slice Magazine has come up with the twenty activities, crafted from dollar store finds, that will make your home the kiddie hang out spot for the summer.

So let the glow-in-the-dark ring toss and noodle obstacle course games begin!

Read more at Slice

– Chelsea Social

 

Hosting a Baby Shower this Spring? Check out these tips, recipes, links and more!

fun baby shower

If you plan to host a baby shower this Spring or Summer, you are fortunate to have more options and flexibility than in the Fall or Winter.  Backyards, rooftops and patios become options for a venue. You can save money too by hosting it at a park or making your own favors with outdoorsy themes versus buying them like the super cute tutu nail polishes and the “Ready to Pop” favors above.

Shower hosts can serve cool and refreshing mocktails too like the “Summer Is Coming Mocktail” created by Zico brand ambassador and celebrity nutritionist, Tanya Zuckerbrot, of the renowned F-Factor Diet.

It’s made with Zico‘s newest flavor: watermelon raspberry coconut water. I mixed up a batch using a sampling of complimentary stock Zico provided me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and because there is no alcohol in it, I shared some with the kids and they loved it too. The lime and mint garnishes give it the perfect kick at the end. Yummy. Here is the recipe for the Summer Is Coming Mocktail recipe:

 

mocktails

 

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups ZICO watermelon raspberry coconut water

1 small seedless watermelon, flesh removed and diced (about 4 cups total)

2 limes

2 cans zero-calorie lemon-lime soda

mint, for garnish

  1. In a blender, puree the coconut water, diced watermelon and juice from the limes.
  2. Pour the mixture into a pitcher over ice.
  3. Serve by pouring 2 oz. of the pureed mixture into a glass. Fill to the top with lemon-lime soda and mix lightly to combine.
  4. Garnish with mint.

And before you start planning for a Spring or Summer shower,  you must head over to Pinterest and there you will discover links to many websites and blogs choc full of fab ideas. Here is a select few to start you off:

 

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Pretty Providence

 

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Mommy Mania

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Crafty Morning

Pistachio Macaroons

Crystal and Comp

Eco-Friday: Father’s Day grilling guide for vegetarians!

Father son and grandson at the grill
Most people are looking forward to grilling for the 4th of July holidays, but how about starting a bit early and turning the tables on the grill master and grilling for dad on Father’s Day?To be greener, ditch the wood and go for propane or natural gas for the grill which are more cleaner and efficient. Pick up some hot dogs and burgers and consider organic and grass-fed beef, which is not only better for the planet, but more nutrient-rich and lower in saturated fat

Grab some multi-grain buns which are healthier and better for you and dad.

Pick up some ketchup, chips, veggies and head outdoors.

Since meat production is tough on the environment, going meatless reduces your carbon footprint and is a more healthier option.

For dads and relatives that are vegans and vegetarians, our friends at Veggie Patch want you to pick up some of these goodies:

Good Grillin’ – Veggie Patch’s Ultimate Meatless Burger is the better-for-you burger that contains 2/3 less fat than ground beef burgers.  Toss on the grill, top with Tribe’s Classic Hummus and serve on a whole wheat bun.

The Perfect Platter – Serve something simple such as fresh veggies and Tribe’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. This easy-to-prepare platter will have your guests asking for more.

Veggie Patch Veggie Dogs are a good source of protein and contain zero grams of trans fat. Serve them spicy with honey mustard, ketchup and a bit of heat from chopped jalapenos.

Kids’ Table Classics – Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese are made with real vegetables, perfect for the little ones!

Celebrate Dad this Sunday, Have Fun and Enjoy!

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‘Cause Parenting isn’t easy, These 21 Hacks for Parents Rock

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Parenting is really hard but it doesn’t always have to be. We got your back! Whenever we at Bellyitch bump into another blog or site offering handy dandy shortcuts, tips and tools to make the job easier, you know we’re gonna let you know.

For example, the Awesome Daily put together an awesome list of “21 Parenting Hacks” for the modern, busy, multitasking mom and dad. And these tips are great for baby sitters, grandma and other folks who may have to watch your kid.

These are our faves, including the strategically placed mirror that lets you spy on the rugrats causing ruckus below while you’re upstairs folding laundry. A couple others:

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For that lazy parent who doesn’t want to stand in the sun, bored and pushing a kid on a swing, this set up saves the day!

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No junior doesn’t have to jack up your walls when you have a handy dandy leftover box just for letting him let out his creative juices!

Head over to The Awesome Daily and peep the rest:

Borrow our Organization Filing System to get Your Home in Order

organize2

We are halfway into Spring. How is your seasonal organizing in preparation for Summer coming along?

I’m behind as usual. I finished cleaning out my attic in early Spring, but still have the basement to sort out.

At least I got a jump start of my family and business filing organizing. I got a kick in the butt when Staples generously sent me one of its “Get Organized for Spring” kits which included some binders, dividers, hole punch and other tools for getting my stacks of paper in check!

I started keeping track of all the household and filing to-do’s by creating a family binder and a small business binder with help of Jennifer Ford Berry‘s popular book series “Organize Now!” I was fortunate to nab one of these handy guides at my town yard sale, unused! It was what I needed to get everything to organize my family budget, my business marketing plans, my to-do lists and other aspects of my super busy life.

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Organizing your household is not just good for de-cluttering but it could also raise your energy level, help relieve anxiety and clear room in your mind to focus on other matters that will bring joy, good fortune and happiness.  I’m a big believer in Feng Shui and clarity we get from  keeping things in order.  Also blame the fact I’m a Type-A, Eldest child and a Virgo!

The Staples binders came in quite handy to separate the categories. I used the hole punch to keep large receipts in place under their respective tabs in the binder.

Feel free to borrow the categories I used to separate the dividers in my binders:

  • Warranty information
  • Life insurance information
  • Budget/spending record
  • Bills to pay
  • Utilities/services directory
  • Home decorating ideas
  • Car maintenance schedule/Receipts
  • School schedules and holiday list
  • Lunch menus
  • School information page
  • School reading lists
  • Summer Camp and programs information
  • Medical information sheet for each family member
  • Emergency directory
  • Prescription drug record
  • Health insurance information
  • Travel packing checklist
  • Before-we-leave checklist
  • Vacation idea list
  • Home renovation contractor lists
  • House-sitter information sheet
  • PTA newsletters and rosters
  • Business records
  • Tax Documents for Personal
  • Tax Documents for Business
  • Big Ticket Items receipts
  • Consultants and Independent Contractor records
  • Liability Insurance
  • Business & Office Equipment registry

Hope these are helpful to you as you get yourself and your family organized for the season! Good luck!

5 Tips to Avoid Overbooking your Child

In this era of the “helicopter parent”, we see plenty of evidence of parents overbooking their children in activities. But the effects of involving your children in too many activities could have health consequences. The stress can lead to anxiety and depression in children.
To help parents avoid this dangerous potential consequence, resident expert on character education for the Wear the Cape Foundation has come up with “5 Tips to Avoid Overbooking Your Kids and Create Life Balance”:
1.     Let your kids know that you care about them for who they are, not just what they can do. Children need to know that your love is not contingent on their achievements.
2.     Remember that children do not have the same sense of time that you do. Part of growing up is being able to put things in perspective. There will likely be another friend, another team, another trip if this one does not work out.
3.     Working hard at something you love to do is one of the best parts of life. It takes some of us a lot of experimenting to find those things we love. Kids need that free time to try new things, as well as the permission to give them up and try something else.
4.     Some kids organize their time and find their interests with just a little exposure; other kids may need a bit of a push to try things that don’t seem attractive or interesting (or may be threatening). The trick here is to be sensitive to individual needs and persistent in offering opportunities. If you need to be pushy, try to offer alternatives, so kids have a voice in what they will be doing. For example, some children thrive in competitive sports, and others may find their niche in hiking or dancing.
5.     Remember to include exposure to helping others in your family activities. One of the best ways of developing empathy in our children (and ourselves) is to feel the gratitude that is expressed when we help others. This doesn’t happen if we don’t have the opportunity of interacting with others in need or whom we help. This can happen within the context of the family itself, as well, and doesn’t necessarily require a formal charity event. Create opportunities in which children can feel that they have meaningfully helped other family members or the whole family accomplish something. The combination of caring, responsibility, feeling respected, and gratitude is a powerful stew that nourishes the soul.
“When we’re overprogrammed and feel we can’t keep up, or are constantly running on empty, stress can lead to anxiety, depression and take a toll on our minds and bodies,” commented Dr. Brown. “For children, this can surface in many ways – trouble sleeping, frequent irritability, aggressiveness with siblings, trouble in school, moodiness or frequent illness are all common signs that something is not right and needs to be explored.”
To raise children of good character, a combination of guidance, freedom, and support in the context of shared values should be provided, Brown adds. 

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Memorial Day Pool opening season safety tips

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of pool season again because most public and private pools open for the first time in the year. It’s a good time for parents to review their water and pool safety rules. 
Here is a snippet of some tips we’ve shared from the now-defunct “Parenting the First Time Through” blog:
Never leave a child unsupervised Children should never be left unsupervised in the water, especially very young children.  It only takes a few inches of water to drown, so don’t think that your toddler will be fine alone in the baby pool. Accidents happen, children can fall and hit their head, infants can lose their balance and go under, or even crawl into a slightly deeper section of a sloped wading pool while chasing a toy. ‘
In its Drowning Prevention Fact Sheet, Safekids.org states that since 1999, an average of 745 children under the age of 14 drown every year, with children under the age of 5 representing 76% of all deaths. Further, in 2009 more than 5000 children under the age of 14 suffered non-fatal near-drowning injuries. Children under 5 made up 80% of this number.
These numbers are startling and should be a call to vigilance for parents, especially those who own pools at home.  Safekids.org goes on to say 72% of deaths and 55% of injuries occur at home pools under the age of 5, while 45% of fatalities in the older age bracket (5 to 14) occur at public facilites.  Even inflatable pools are not exempt. In just those few inches of water there were 244 reported submersion cases between 2001 and 2009 in children under age 11.


Don’t count on the lifeguards to babysit – While public pools and beaches may employ lifeguards, don’t count on them as the sole supervisor of your children. They are there to help make the swimming area as safe an environment as possible for everyone. That means they are watching not just your children, but you, your friends, your friends’ children, and every other swimmer. That’s a lot of people.
In sum, be vigilante. 



10 Things To NOT Ever say to your Kids

I stumbled upon this very well written article published last Spring in Women’s Day, titled, “10 Things You should Never Say to your Kids.” Seeing as how I’m guilty of uttering more than one of these offenses, I read author Denise Shapani‘s explanations of each and they make complete sense! Very insightful stuff.  Now the challenge is to remember these lessons and resist the urge to repeat the offensive utterances. Oy!

The list of the ten are:

1. “I know you can try harder.”

2. “Are you sure you need that second cupcake?”

3. “You always…” or “You never…”

4. “Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?”

5. “I told you waiting until the last minute was a mistake!”

6. “You’re the best at soccer!”

7. “Don’t worry—the first day of school will be fine.”

8. “Because I said so!”

9. “I wish you didn’t hang out with Jack; I don’t like that kid.”

10. “That’s not how you do it! Here, let me.”

Head over to Women’s Day to read Shapani’s reasoning for each HERE!

photo: Thinkstock

30 Blogs for Frugal Moms

The recession may be over but that doesn’t mean you have to stop watching your pennies and staying on budget. For those moms (and dads) out there who like to pinch pennies and save a few dollars, here is a post from our partners at Au Pair Care, featuring 30 blogs and blog posts dedicated to helping out frugal moms:

 

Couponing
While taking the time to clip coupons and scour weekly papers, print ads and websites for the best deals may seem more time-consuming than the payoff warrants, you may be surprised at just how much money you’re able to save on food and personal care products by using coupons to your advantage. These five blogs give you some insight into how coupon-savvy moms manage to save so much money, helping you fill your pantry without emptying your bank account.
Utility Bill Savings
While it’s certainly important to help your family do their part in making a positive impact on the environment by saving energy, the savings that a few small changes can generate is another motivating incentive. These five bloggers talk about the best ways to make your home more energy-efficient, and how to make sure that your energy costs aren’t higher than is strictly necessary.
Frugal Meal Ideas
Feeding your family on a budget doesn’t have to mean that you’re resorting to cheap, pre-packaged foods that are long on the preservatives and short on quality. These five food bloggers understand the importance of striking a balance between high quality and low cost, providing great meal ideas that won’t break the bank.
Savings at the Pump
Gasoline prices might fluctuate slightly from time to time, but they’re almost always more expensive than is manageable for many families. Saving fuel is not only good for the environment, but also good for the family budget. That’s why these five bloggers are offering their sage advice on how to save at the gas pumps, so that you are able to reduce your footprint while increasing your budget.
Saving on School Supplies
Back-to-school shopping is a lucrative season for retailers, coming in second only to the winter holidays in terms of revenue. Whether you’re purchasing supplies for one child or several, it’s easy to overspend when autumn rolls around each year. These five bloggers understand the struggle of keeping your children well-stocked and set up for academic success without draining your wallet in the process.
Saving on Kids’ Clothing
Shopping for kids’ clothing can be one of the most stressful and upsetting situations for families on a tight budget, as kids are anxious to have the name-brand duds of their peers despite the fact that the family budget doesn’t quite have room for a pair of designer jeans. These five blogs tackle the sensitive and often complicated subject of shopping for kids’ clothes on a tight budget.

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