Posted in For Family

7 Effective Ways to Make the Most of Your Lockdown

With many countries in the world currently facing lockdown restrictions, we find ourselves stuck at home. You may have more time now – although if you’re like me and have a couple of kids to homeschool you may have less – but how do you make effective use of your time without “doom-surfing” every couple of minutes or binge-watching a second-rate series?

1. Routine

Waking up whenever you feel like it may be okay now and then, but for the most part setting a regular time to wake up and turn in for the night is best. It helps to make life go on normally as far as is in your control. If you have kids, routine is super crucial to assist them with knowing what to expect and how they are expected to spend their time. A balanced routine includes a set time for work early in the day, indoor exercise, cleaning, playing or listening to music, screen time, outside time (if possible), reading and so on. Write out a routine and place it somewhere in your home for everyone to see.

2. Start a Side Hustle or Innovate Your Existing Business

The world’s economy has taken an incredible blow. I think it best to try diversify your income as far as is feasible. The times ahead will be different in the working world, although if you’re in the toilet paper business you’re set. For the rest of us, we may need to look into providing goods and services that are a bit more inelastic in their demand. For instance, if you’re in a luxury goods or services business, you may need to innovate to provide a more necessary good or service. A perfect example is NetFlorist – a flower and gifting delivery service that innovated to also deliver fresh produce. Definitely a smart extension of their business in hard times.

3. Don’t Check the News a Hundred Times a Day

Looking at your phone or watching tv for COVID 19 news multiple times a day is not doing anything for your sanity or spirit. It can drown out any positivity left in your mind. As a result, the lockdown becomes more difficult for yourself and your family when anyone is grouchy. It is important to keep current and in the loop, but check the news only once or twice a day. That is usually enough.

4. Keep In Meaningful Touch with Loved Ones

You’ve received a dozen viral videos of all the COVID 19 jokes out there. It’s great to laugh at the funny side of a pandemic. But what’s also good is to forward more faith-promoting and uplifting stuff that takes our minds off the hot topic at the moment. What’s even better than that is to video call your friends and family members and check up on them. When we think of others and talk to them about their concerns and how they are doing, it uplifts everyone. It also helps us to “virtually” get out the house and visit other people in their homes.

5. Teamwork in Your Home

#Wereallinthistogether… this also applies to the mountain of dishes and laundry in your home. There has to be a system or schedule or expectations in place in your home when it comes to home cleanliness and chores. Whatever works for you and your family, it needs to happen. One of my big favorite tools in getting my kids to clear up their toys is setting the microwave timer for 5 or 10 minutes. During this time they need to tidy up everything lying around or whatever is left gets swallowed up into the big black bag. This is actually just a big plastic refuse bag that can temporarily store huge amounts of toys and clothes…until the kids earn them bag, or selected items get stored, sold or given away. Works every time.

6. Do Something You Love

I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning these days and come to the realization that the world is currently facing this pandemic. Your stomach sinks. You feel overwhelmed and depressed. What you need is something to keep you excited and to keep you going. We’ve all suddenly had to become paranoid and anxious about disinfecting everything even if we don’t suffer from OCD or the like. It’s a crazy time. But if you are going to be strong as a parent or spouse, you need to find something to do each day that brings meaning and joy and excitement in your life. Is it doing family history? Catching up on baby albums you never had time to do? Learning a new skill or hobby? Whatever it is, it needs to bring you joy and light during this dark time.

7. What Matters Most

Indeed, this time in the world is historical. It has humbled many and people’s lives may never be the same again. It’s pretty sobering. After all you thought was so important and attractive in the world, you have had to take a step back and wonder how you will live differently when things go back to normal, whenever that will be. How will you live more meaningfully? What matters most?

No one needs to tell you what this is for you; you’ll know.

Thanks for reading! Share in the comments below the ways you have coped with lockdown and what has helped you live better during this time. Stay safe at home!

 

Posted in For Family

The Super Easy Way to Clean Potty-Training Accidents

Potty-training is a bitter-sweet process of life. It increases moms’ stress-levels and bribery skills (Boo!) although it is also a celebration of the money saved from buying less diapers. It also means the first step towards your little one achieving independence and control over their bodily functions.  Hooray! 

Every learning process has its failures, and that’s actually the only way little children learn. They need to know what it feels like to be unpleasantly soggy and squishy in their undies if they are going to learn to appreciate what it feels like to be pleasantly comfortable and dry.

Although the process of potty-training is fraught with these occasional to frequent accidents, I just really try not to have any accident land up happening either on the carpet or couch.

Unfortunately, they do somehow land up on carpets and couches. It just happens.

I am going to share with you a fantastically easy and effective cleaning method to soak up all the bad stuff and neutralize the odour. And the key ingredients are most probably in your kitchen cupboard!

I have used this method on expensive carpets, couches, car seats – you name it!

The Super Easy Way to Clean Potty-Training Accidents:

  1. Soak up as much of the accident as possible with an old towel by applying a lot of your weight onto the towel. If it is soiled, carefully pick up as much as you can with a wet wipe and dispose of it.
  2.  Wipe the general area with a wet-wipe to capture any remnants. Dependent upon the severity of the accident and how long it was left on the area, I would also suggest scrubbing with some water and washing machine soap and then soaking it up with a towel until the mark is gone. (If it’s a minor accident, I skip this step!)
  3. Now, generously sprinkle bicarbonate of soda and table salt over the area and leave it to draw all the moisture and odours out of the fabric.
  4. If possible, get some exposure to sunlight. If it’s a couch, move outside in the hot sun or close to a window in the sun rays for a couple of hours or even the whole day. If the accident is bad, it may need some extra sun power. (If it’s a minor accident, I skip this step!)
  5. Leave the salt and bicarb on the area for 24 hours.
  6. Once 24 hours are up, vacuum up the salt and bicarb and also do a smell-test.
  7. If there is still any dampness or odour, repeat steps 3 to 6.

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On one occasion, there was a pretty heavy accident made on a brand new mattress. It even got through the mattress protector. I was so distraught and thought the mattress would never be the same again. Thankfully, I discovered bicarb and salt and it made it smell brand new!

I have used this method on expensive carpets, couches, car seats – you name it. I actually just had a potty-training accident this past week and it’s worked so brilliantly I just had to share it. Hope this method may help you too!


My thoughts are with all you mommies out there potty-training at this time…

Remember that you mean the world to your child. Remember to be patient. Remember that this too shall pass. And remember, because you just keep trying, you are a wonderful mother.

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Posted in For Family, For You

Is a Drug-Free Natural Delivery Worth It?

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I was pretty naive. When it’s your first time giving birth, I guess most of us are. After all my research with child-birth, I was determined to have a drug-free natural delivery because of all its amazing natural benefits.

But – it didn’t turn out exactly how I planned. I know that things don’t always go as you plan but this is especially true when it comes to giving birth.

Fortunately, everything went well and my doctor was happy for me to have a natural delivery. When I went into labour, I started off strong and I bore each contraction as well as I could. As the labour progressed, I just wasn’t quite prepared for how intense the pain became!

I was still absolutely determined to get through the labour au naturel, but when I couldn’t take the excruciating pain anymore, I gave in and asked for an epidural. Having a little help isn’t a bad thing – that’s why the option is there. I was still having a natural delivery anyway.

Bring on Them Drugs!

The epidural felt wonderful, and I had some calming relief from the pain – at first.  For some reason, it soon became evident that the epidural wasn’t working properly. With each contraction I could still feel most of the pain all around my tummy and back. And it just got worse as the labour progressed. Except for my legs – I couldn’t feel my legs – that was the only part of my body where the epidural was actually working properly. The anaesthetist tried to up the dosage, but there wasn’t anything more he could do to help ease my pain from contractions.

So there I was, legs numb but I was writhing in pain with every contraction on the delivery bed. Pretty ironic, right? There was nothing I could do! I couldn’t walk around to help me get dilated faster or have a warm bath to help me relax or anything. My sweet husband was doing what he could to massage me, stroke my head and cheer me on. I was listening to calming Mormon Tabernacle Choir music, although for some strange reason I still had the music from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replaying in my head a million times.

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Yep, the situation was terribly agonizing (as much as I love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Plus, it was the most painful experience I ever knew.

I am embarrassed when I think back that I did start screaming in pain, and I am sure the rest of the maternity ward probably got quite annoyed. But at least I did finally dilate and the doctor delivered our healthy baby boy. I did need some help from the forceps, because I was so completely exhausted from 24 hours of labour.

I am grateful that I was able to dilate and things didn’t go wrong to warrant an emergency cesarean. Although the pain from the contractions was brutal (it surely made a saint out of me!) it was still a wonderful delivery experience as we welcomed our first child into the world.

After this first experience of labour with failed pain management, I knew that my game plan had to change for the subsequent deliveries I would have. Though I do know that I could try have an epidural again and it might work, I didn’t want to risk having my first experience again!

Forget Them Drugs!

Knowing that there was a chance that an epidural was probably going to do nothing for me, I decided to find other ways to cope with labour with my next two babies. I didn’t want to have another birth experience that would drive me mad with the pain.

Pregnancy – I have learned – is the time to prepare yourself for D-Day (Delivery Day). If you find ways to prepare yourself more and make your choices now, you will be better for it and very grateful when that happy day comes.

I prepared myself in a variety of ways that would help me go drug-free:

  • Getting fit during pregnancy so that I would be strong enough to cope with natural labour and have good muscles to push the baby out
  • Daily perineal massage with evening primrose oil during pregnancy from 30 weeks (it helps prevent tearing or needing an episiotomy)
  • Using HypnoBirthing techniques to help me have a positive and calm state of mind during pregnancy and during labour
  • During labour, I was active by walking, bouncing on the yoga ball, squatting, and climbing stairs
  • Getting my husband and my mother/doula to massage my back and tummy like crazy during contractions (this was probably my favourite)
  • Having a nice relaxing, warm bath during labour
  • Listening to relaxing or fun music during labour

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As I used a combination of these ways to cope, I was able to go drug-free for my next two births. They were shorter labours, too, and I was able to handle them much better than my first.

I do admit that the pain during these drug-free labours became so crazy intense for me towards the end, it totally pushed my pain threshold to the max. It was incredibly difficult, but thankfully when it was over, I was very grateful that I did it!

By no means am I saying it is a lesser experience to have drugs in your delivery or to have a caesarean. What I would like to convey from my story is that for those of you pregnant ladies who can have a natural delivery, that you consider these amazing benefits…

Let me tell you there are a whole bunch of advantages of having a drug-free natural birth:

  1. You Can Move Around Freely to Help Labour Progress

    It was so awesome to be able to move around as I pleased during labour. Besides the few minutes that I had to be on the delivery bed to be monitored and to have internals done, I was free to move around as I felt comfortable. I would go for walks, have a bath, and be in whatever position I felt was most bearable for me during contractions. As opposed to being bed-ridden and just waiting to become fully dilated (and lying down doesn’t really help dilation either) I thought it was so great to be active during labour.

  2. You Can Have a Water Birth

    It is SO NICE to have a water birth! I am so in love with the fact that I can jump into this huge warm bath to deliver my baby. Plus, the baby and I come out fairly clean and all that blood gets washed away. With my third child, I was so ready for pushing the baby out straight after the midwife did her final internal, I literally hopped off the bed, ran and jumped into the bath and with two pushes she was out! I am sorry to say it was so quick, my husband didn’t see her head being born!

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  3. Recovery Time is Quick

     

    With my first child, I obviously couldn’t walk for a couple of hours after the epidural and it was a bit frustrating. With my third child, I went drug-free and I shared a hospital room with another lady who had a cesarean. Cesareans are wonderful and very necessary in cases, but the difference in recovery between her and I was like day and night. She had to have lots of medication afterwards and had to make sure her wound and stitches were kept clean and so on. I was just so incredibly grateful that I could be up and about so soon after labour with hardly any post-delivery complaints. I didn’t even need pain medication, luckily. I did need pain meds after my first delivery, because I had an episiotomy. (Now that was so super sore and it took weeks to heal).

  4. It Keeps Things Interesting

    As I mentioned, being able to actively labour is way more interesting than sitting in a boring hospital bed. Just saying. My husband, mother, doula and I made memories with the long walks around the hospital, bouncing on the yoga ball and doing weird and wonderful things to help the labour progress. All in all, it was more fun and memorable for us.

  5. The Less Drugs, The Better

    It goes without saying, the more you are able to go without taking chemicals and foreign substances into your body, the better. You also don’t have to deal with potential side-effects. I have heard that epidurals may have long-term repercussions.

  6. Very Fulfilling Achievement

    Okay, so this reason isn’t really all that important, and shouldn’t be the only reason you choose to go drug-free, but it is a cool by-product. How amazingly awesome would it be to know you gave birth au naturel? To be able to tell people that you didn’t need the pain-meds? It’s something Wonder Woman would be do if she gave birth.

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I am aware that not every pregnant woman has the choice to have a natural birth, let alone a drug-free one! Every birth has a different story (I guess that’s why everyone loves to share theirs). By no means am I saying it is a lesser experience to have drugs in your delivery or to have a caesarean. I have heard many experiences from women that epidurals are the best thing ever. (I wish it worked for me!)

What I would like to convey from my story is that for those of you pregnant ladies who can have a natural delivery, that you consider these amazing benefits of going drug-free.

Pregnancy – I have learned – is the time to prepare yourself for D-Day (Delivery Day). If you find ways to prepare yourself more and make your choices now, you will be better for it and very grateful when that happy day comes. I hope that my story has helped you in your decision.

I wish the very best to all you lovely soon-to-be mommies!

Posted in For Family

Why I Let My Kids Watch Star Wars

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As Star Wars fans, my husband and I have started showing some of the age-appropriate Star Wars films to our two boys. They have so enjoyed them, I daresay we have created mini Star Wars fans. Now, when they play with their Star Wars Lego, they actually know which scene it’s from and love to re-enact all the action.

Having said that, I still prefer not to let my kids at their ages right now to watch the Star Wars movies with the uglier aliens and scarier parts (like Episode 6). If you feel your kids are too young for Star Wars, there are also the Star Wars animated series like Star Wars Rebels and Clone Wars. They follow on with the official Star Wars stories that are great alternatives to the live-action movies.

But anyway, I have thought of why I personally love Star Wars and why I will allow my kids to watch the movies. I honestly feel the lessons we can learn from the movies have undertones of eternal truths. I also absolutely adore the music and as a musician I thoroughly enjoy listening to and playing a couple of my favourite scores.

Note: If you have not watched the Star Wars movies, there are a few spoilers contained in this article.

Star Wars Teaches Good Lessons

We all know the iconic struggle between the Light Side and the Dark Side. This obviously teaches children good and bad through the story of the Jedi versus the Sith. Take Anakin Skywalker, for example. Because he gave in to his fear, he succumbed to the Dark Side. And became a half-robotic Sith Lord we all know as Darth Vader.

The lesson: Choose the right, even if you are afraid.

Also, Star Wars teaches friendship. Han and Chewbacca, Luke and Han, Finn and Rey; these friendships all stood the test of the hardships they faced. Star Wars teaches loyalty and bravery to help your friends when in need. Like on the ice Planet Hoth, Han risked his life to go out into the freezing blizzard to find and rescue Luke. If it weren’t for brave Han, Luke would have become part of the frozen foods section for roaming carnivorous Hoth critters. He also wouldn’t have been around to help defeat the wicked Emperor.

The lesson: Help your friends, even if it’s inconvenient.

The Rebels for the Resistance were miniscule in comparison to the scary Empire or First Order. There seem to only have been a handful of rebels in comparison to the thousands of Storm Troopers and the Clone Army. Not to mention the gigantic size and amount of their space crafts. Nevertheless, the Rebels always clung onto the tiny glimmer of hope and never stopped fighting, each one becoming a hero as they gave their all for the cause.

The lesson: We must never stop fighting evil.

And lastly, what about how Vader became good Anakin again? We learn that bad people can become good. And then when you are finally good, will you always be good? Well, remember how Luke (between Episodes 6 and 7) turned bad because he lost hope in the role of the Jedi? However, he did turn good again in Episode 8 and he helped save the Resistance.

The lesson: Bad people can become good people. Good people can become bad people. We must never stop trying to be good people. 

These are awesome stories that teach our kids valuable lessons, right?

There are a bunch of other lessons that can be learned from the Star Wars movies, considering there are currently 8 movies! Soon to be 9 movies by the end of 2019.

Star Wars Movie Music Is Beautifully Emotive

Ah, John Williams, what a singular, talented composer he is! For those of you who do not know John Williams the composer, he has composed much of the beautiful movie music of our day: Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, E.T. and Hook – just to name a few. He is a great example of taking classical composition concepts and modernizing them.

The music in Star Wars is so emotive because of how beautifully the music has been written. It conveys the mood of each scene so well. His style is really fantastic and may I even go so far as to say that Star Wars would not be the great movie it is today without John Williams. I honestly still tear up when I listen to Luke and Leia’s theme.

My son can recognize the main themes of Star Wars, like Yoda’s theme and Darth Vader’s and so it has developed his ear for different melodies. At the bottom of this post, you can listen to Rey’s Theme from Episode VII – The Force Awakens. I love the sweet simplicity of the melody and the choice of instruments, it’s really a lovely theme.

Star Wars Is About Exciting Stuff Kids Love

Space ships, light sabers, aliens, robots, princesses, galaxies far away . . . it’s the making of a great story that kids (of all ages) will enjoy. It’s fun, yet mysterious and captivating.  It is the answer to the yearning of a child’s imagination. Although, with that being said, there are actually a couple of boring conversations about politics and battle strategies that children may not appreciate at all. But it never lasts too long until the next scene comes on with some kind of light-saber duel.


With all the lessons to be learned and beautiful music to be appreciated in Star Wars movies, there’s a lot of value for kids. Whichever movies you as a parent decide to show your kids — May the Force be with you!

 

Posted in For Family

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

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While I was waiting for my son during his swimming class, I overheard a little boy sitting behind me speak unkindly to his friend. His mother wasn’t around, but she was tending to her other children at the time. The little boy’s friend was much younger than he was and so his young friend couldn’t stand up for himself. I matter-of-factly told the little boy that what he said was not kind. The little boy didn’t reply, but he did speak nicely to his young friend afterwards.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that I have grown up hearing now and then, but only when I became a mother did it take on real meaning for me.

The essence of the meaning is that it takes a community (or “village”) to help raise moral, healthy and happy children. It doesn’t mean it is up to the community completely to raise children, but rather the community assists parents in their parental roles.

Children need a lot of nurturing and positive guidance and this cannot come only from their parents.

As a parent, I am all for others whom I trust in my “village” to help guide my children. Because whether I like it or not, I am not always able to be around my kids the older they get. The same goes for other parents.

As a mother in our “village”, I strongly believe in helping guide my extended family’s children, my friends’ children and even the young music students I teach. Children need a lot of nurturing and positive guidance and this cannot come only from their parents. Unless they live on a remote island somewhere, like the Swiss Family Robinson. Good luck to them.

We should welcome trustworthy partnerships and supports for helping raise children. They are becoming even more necessary in this crazy, big, wide world. More especially for the single-parent scenarios, which are becoming increasingly common.

So Then, Who is Your Village?

  • Our family, extended and immediate
  • Friends (such as school parents)
  • Teachers
  • Medical professionals (occupational therapists, nurses, etc.)
  • Religious instructors

These are the people who will most likely have regular opportunities to teach and guide your children. Please also note, because you are the parent, you need to follow your gut instinct about those in your village that you should trust your child with. Exercise caution and don’t ignore your feelings. 

On the other hand, you don’t really have to trust the parent too much who is preventing your child from throwing ice cream in another kid’s face.

Please do not be offended if these trusted people try to assist and correct your child, because they are almost always only trying to help. We should not be parents who think our children are perfect little angels and absolutely infallible. Be straight up with yourself and see your child for who they really are. Only then will you be able to parent them in the best way. In a loving way, of course.

If those in your village ever correct your child inappropriately, ask your child about how they felt and then speak in private to the adult if necessary. You are your child’s foremost protector.

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Why should we help others raise their children?

A Parent Cannot Be with Their Child Everywhere, All the Time

As a parent, I know I cannot be with my kids 24/7, it’s a fact the older they (and I) get. I also know they are still learning and developing in many areas and so I would hope that the responsible supervising adults will remind them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, or to be reminded to be kind and say sorry. Every situation is a teaching opportunity for a child.

I also tell my family members and trusted friends who babysit for me that if one of my kids behave badly, they need to be corrected. And the best way to correct a child is in a loving, matter-of-fact way.

When I see children who do not have their parents close by who are doing something wrong, I take the initiative to help them and kindly correct them. I am no longer afraid of saying something because I know how important it is. And as a parent, I would be grateful to whoever it was who appropriately corrected my child for misbehavior if I wasn’t around. However, we also need to be careful about overstepping boundaries. We should never undermine the parents’ primary role in raising their child.

Like when I taught in the children’s Sunday School. Boy, there’s a lot of proxy-parenting that happens during that time! From asking the little boy in the back row to stop poking the girl in front of him, or taking another child who was jumping up and down on the chairs and letting them sit on your lap instead – there were many opportunities to show kind guidance to the children at church.

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It Helps Children Feel Valued

Being helped or corrected by another adult in the “village”also helps children to know that what they do is noticed, and that people around them care enough about them. Children will always feel that most of the time someone is watching over them. They may be less inclined to do naughty things.

Like when you see a child fall and hurt themselves, you run over to help them, don’t you? A feeling of community will be instilled in the child as you come to their aid and carry them back to their parents.

We Are Agents of Socialization

When my husband took a course in basic Sociology, he shared with me some interesting concepts of socialization. Members of the community are known as agents of socialization.

What is socialization anyway? Well, it’s basically the process whereby children learn the norms of society. It teaches children the community’s values, beliefs and behaviors in order for them to become healthy members of the community. We can be agents of socialization! *Insert cheesy smile*

If we have been placed in a situation to help or correct a child, may we take the opportunity to do so in a loving way.

Children Take Non-Parent Adults a Bit More Seriously

I know this may seem strange, but honestly, kids get a bigger shock when someone other than their parent blows the whistle on them. Like when I tell my nieces or nephews to not behave in a certain way – they are more embarrassed and remorseful than when their parent has caught them out. Children get used to their parents nagging them frequently, so when they hear it from someone else – they get the picture much clearer!

When I see a child picking their nose and eating it, I kindly correct and tell them that they just ate tons of “Jerry-Germs”. Or I ask them if they are digging for gold. They get the point, feel embarrassed and (hopefully) one day they will ditch their green-finger habit. That’s how they learn that nose-picking is both unacceptable and unhygienic in society.

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As positive members of our communities, we should be caring about what other people’s children are doing. If we don’t care, we risk the rising generation becoming degenerate and entitled human beings! We can make a difference in the lives of others in our community as we take the initiative to teach children in our “village” how to act respectfully and with integrity.

If we have been placed in a situation to help or correct a child, may we take the opportunity to do so in a loving way. Children take those experiences and lessons they learned into adulthood. They will never forget it!

Do you have any experiences about how your “village” raises children? Comment below!

Posted in For Family

How to Plan the Best Christmas Ever

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I. Love. Christmas.

Family, good food, vacation time, Christmas traditions, good food, Christmas music, good food – it’s the makings of the most wonderful time of year!

Although sometimes it feels like Christmas is a blur, probably because I don’t plan out Christmas as well as I should. There’s always that activity or service idea that I say I want to do, but they actually don’t always happen. Christmas in the past has been stressful and even unpleasant with all the busy-ness at times.

Nevertheless, I am super excited for Christmas this year! Our family has grown and we have all come to really appreciate Christmas more. It’s also the one time of year our family is all together. I am absolutely determined to improve upon my planning skills and make this Christmas the best one yet!

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Christmas should be focused on our families and the One whose birth we celebrate. This should include spending quality time with family, serving others and making it magical for our children with special traditions. We also look back at the year and determine how we can better ourselves for next year and follow the perfect example of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Here are some things you (and I) should do to make it the most stress-free, meaningful and wonderful Christmas yet!

Plan Ahead

Why plan for Christmas? Well, if you plan your gifts, parties, functions and activities better, you save time and money. Yes, it’s much better buying gifts on sale than paying full price. Or grabbing a last-minute gift that isn’t really useful or thoughtful. Sure, things don’t always go according to plans, but at the end of the day, things will have turned out better than with no plan at all.

The things that need to be planned are:

  1. Your Christmas Budget (if you have hardly any budget, that budget can stretch too, if you plan well)
  2. Gifts (for your kids, extended family, neighbors and teachers)
  3. Service Projects (these can be simple, small acts of kindness or bigger undertakings)
  4. Family Activities and Traditions
  5. Christmas Dinner
  6. Your December calendar

Now, please do not feel overwhelmed. A fantastic Christmas does not mean going huge and expensive and stressful. Planning a fantastic Christmas should include a good balance of the things that you and your family would enjoy. Don’t cram a hundred different things into your Christmas season that it actually becomes frantic, unpleasant and expensive. Also, remember to be flexible with your plans and not to become a pedantic Christmas elf.

To make things even easier, I have an absolutely free 2017 Christmas 2017 Planner printable. This is something that can help absolutely everyone to have the best Christmas ever. It includes a gift planning template, a service project planning template, a Christmas dinner meal planner, a shopping list, a December 2017 calendar and Christmas party planning template. You will need this – I know I will!

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Christmas Starts in Your Home

Make a wonderful Christmas atmosphere by doing any of the following:

  • Decorating inside and outside your home on the 1st of December (or whenever suits you)
  • Playing Christmas music in the background while you work around your home
  • Singing carols and playing Christmas songs on instruments as a family
  • Doing Christmas crafts with your children or grandchildren (we love making our own Christmas crackers)
  • Baking Christmas treats for all to enjoy or as a service activity to take to your neighbours or someone lonely
  • Go see the Christmas lights up in your city
  • Sending Christmas cards (via email or mail) to relatives and friends
  • Having a Family Christmas photo-shoot
  • Reading the Christmas story – you can read the Kings James version King James version here while acting out the nativity using basic props or puppets
  • Changing your phone and tablet background to a Christmas theme (you can download a couple off the internet for free)

With regards to decorating: Make sure that you only decorate as much as is enjoyable – you don’t want to dread having to put up and then take down everything and it becomes a horrible job in the end. What’s the use of that? I think the key to making the decorating process enjoyable is to involve everyone in the family, play Christmas music in the background and to have Christmas treats to enjoy. All of Christmas-ness will permeate the walls of your home and the hearts of your family members!

Also, use the free Christmas 2017 Planner activity planning sheet to make a list of a few Christmas activities you want to do and plan when and how you will do it. Don’t be overly ambitious and have a hundred things on your list, because life happens.

Pinterest your Christmas!

There are so many fun Christmas ideas on Pinterest like cute crafts, delicious recipes and effective and inexpensive DIY decorations. So many ideas yet so little time. Go onto Pinterest for a few of minutes to help you find a couple of ideas that will help you make Christmas easier and better. Below are just a few I like!

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Carry Christmas in Your Heart

There’s a lovely Christmas advent calendar called Light the World that you can download for free. How you use it is by taking the short scripture phrase allocated for each day in December and deciding what you will do to help you bring the spirit of Christmas into your life and those around you. What you decide to do could include your family, friends, neighbours, strangers or just yourself. I love it because it is so simple and you can choose what you are able to do, making it a personal and tailor-made Christmas advent calendar. If you are a busy person, just small activities will work for you. If you have a little more time on your hands you can do a full-scale service project. It’s really up to you. Use the service planning sheet in the Christmas 2017 Planner to plan your big or small service project for this Christmas.

May you and your family be blessed with the most happy and memorable Christmas ever! I hope we will focus on what matters: our family and the One whose birth we celebrate. May we also look back at this year and determine how we can better ourselves for next year as we follow the perfect example of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!

Feel free to subscribe to my blog and comment below with your cool ideas that has helped you to enjoy the Christmas season even more! 

Posted in For Family, For You

Using Hydrogen Peroxide in your Ears : Good or Bad Idea?

To all you Pinterest life-hackers out there, I am sure you have come across this hack for beating colds and ear infections: administering a few drops of a 3% solution of Hydrogen Peroxide in your ears. The result is most satisfying and dramatic – a bubbling chemical reaction that creates a froth in your ear as a result of the bacteria actually being killed by this powerful solution.

It’s fantastic actually, and it can help stop a cold in its tracks when you try it. You feel so much better afterwards and it has also helped our kids when their ears have bothered them too.

However, it does not cure middle ear infections, obviously, because it cannot get into the middle ear. But it certainly helps to relieve the infection. This handy solution has been our favorite go-to medication and I swear by it, as well as many others on Pinterest.

Like I mentioned, using hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal will not cure a middle ear infection. Which was why I eventually did take my toddler to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. I decided to cautiously ask the ENT about using hydrogen peroxide in ears for ear infections and colds.

With a lot of adamance, he replied, “Never again!”.

Oops! I thought, thinking back on all those times I so casually used the stuff. So I asked, “Why not?”

He explained that we do not know at all if there is a perforation or a hole leading into the middle ear that would allow fluids to enter the middle ear. Sometimes a person may be completely oblivious to the fact. Because hydrogen peroxide is corrosive, it could potentially destroy the nerve-endings present in the middle ear and lead to some degree of deafness. He concluded that hydrogen peroxide should pretty much be left to sterilizing wounds.

Okay, you gotta listen to the doc, don’t you?

I had previously thought I would be cured of colds for the rest of my life, using this awesome hydrogen peroxide hack. Although, I do value my hearing too much to risk it all for a little cold-cure, but I still feel disappointed that I have not cracked the code of curing colds!

If Not Hydrogen Peroxide, What Else?

If not hydrogen peroxide, what else helps to fight infection happening in our sinuses and ears? Here’s a list of what you can do to relieve the aches and pains:

*Disclaimer: The following ideas are only motherly advice – I am not a doctor!*

  1. Try making and using a Magic Salt Sock – this is something invented by a chiropractor and somehow it works. She also suggests making an appointment with a chiropractor in order to help re-align the upper neck bones. Misalignments in the upper neck area have been related to ear infections in children.
  2. I found a pretty cool hands-on technique that The Motivational Doc shows in a video that you can do to help drain your Eustachian tube, thus helping to relieve the middle-ear a little. The Eustachian tube is pretty much responsible for draining all the gunk from our ears into the nasopharynx (where we can swallow it, great!). The technique looks pretty ridiculous and I was laughing while I tried it, but it helped me to clear the gunk when I tried it! Have a look at the video here.
  3. Home-made herbal ear oil with mullein & garlic ear-drops. Herbal ear drops may be mild enough to administer in the ear. But first get a green-light from your doctor or homeopath.
  4. An obvious alternative is plain-old pain medication and the prescribed medicated ear drops from your doctor. Some pain medication may lower fever which may or may not be a good idea. A fever is the body’s way of fighting the infection, however, if the fever is too high, it may need to be brought down. Again, ask your doctor!
  5. Antibiotics may be necessary if the situation has gotten really bad. Antibiotics are not ideal, and should be a last resort, but they have their time and place in our health.
  6. If pain and infection persists, you need to go see an ENT. If left too long untreated, it may result in long-term middle-ear damage, plus hampering speech development in young children.

Lessons Learned

Why are there so many people then, who, like I used to, swear by using hydrogen peroxide in your ears when it is potentially quite harmful?

It boils down to the principle that advice-givers and advice-takers should verify facts from expert sources before giving or taking advice. Hey, you should even verify what I am telling you in this article! What we can learn is that we all have a responsibility to exercise caution with the self-treatment ideas we get on the Internet. Scrutinize the logic, learn the facts and science behind things, and ask the experts.

What if I had a perforation in my middle ear unbeknown to me? Which, by the way, is a possibility and it is not always painful. I could have suffered with damage to my hearing for the rest of my life! No way!

Perhaps you should also ask your doctor or ENT for their thoughts on using hydrogen peroxide. Or, if you have any wonderful ways to banish ear-aches and infections, feel free to comment below!

You may also want to check out my other post, What To Do When You Are Sick (But Still Trying to Function), it has some great tips for trying to recover while keeping your life going, plus a free cute Whatsapp profile picture you can use to let people know when you are unwell.

For all of you who are struggling with ear infections – you or your little ones – Good Luck!