It’s no surprise that starting a family has a significant impact on your diet, and it’s not usually for the better. With so many priorities, it’s very easy for parents to neglect their health, a fact reflected in a recent study that claims less than 3% of American adults live a healthy lifestyle.
Jamie Feit has been a nutritionist for over 20 years, and a mom almost as long.
If you like to snack throughout the day, don’t assume you’re a lost cause. Jamie says snacking is “important for several reasons.”
“One meal made of several components should be made for the family [for dinner]; a protein, a starch, a vegetable or salad, and a fruit.” Jamie says. “My kids love vegetables from seeing them on the table from a young age. They never liked chicken nuggets because I never made them.”
This Sunday is Father’s Day, so it’s likely you already have tentative plans to have a meal with your dad. After all, it’s been widely accepted since the middle ages that the best way to celebrate someone is to hold a feast in their honor. If you’re a little behind in your planning, don’t worry; we’ve put together these useful tips for planning the perfect meal for your dad this Sunday.
Thus, this Father’s Day we recommend taking advantage of the highly probable beautiful weather, and hosting your celebrations outside.
Fire up the grill
While it’s a stereotype that all men love eating meat, it is likely that your dad probably enjoys the occasional steak. And if you’re already spending the day outdoors, your Father’s Day feast is a terrific opportunity to fire up the grill.
Don’t fret if meat isn’t an option because you, your dad, or another family member doesn’t eat it – eggplant and mushrooms make great substitutes, and there are dozens of great recipes online for vegetarian dishes you can make on a grill. Don’t be surprised if your dad still wants to cook though; it may be his day, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to contribute. Plus, cooking on a grill is half the fun.
Beer and wine will make it fine
Whatever your dad’s beverage of choice, make sure you have plenty in supply. There is a reason alcohol is invited to almost every event for adults, but it’s not what you expect. In fact, British Anthropologist Kate Fox suggests that alcohol’s correlation with violence, promiscuity, and other anti-social behaviors has more to do with American cultural beliefs than its side effects.
The actual neurological effect of alcohol is simply a reduced ability to make associations in your mind. This may not sound great either, but it really just means that alcohol makes it easier for you to relax, because you’re less caught up in your own thoughts. So, this Sunday, be sure to pour your dad a drink, if only to help him put his mind at ease and enjoy the day.
You may wish to allot some time before or after you’ve eaten for an activity to do with your dad. If you’re not sure what he’d like to do, ask him in advance or let him choose on the day, but if you can plan the perfect activity without having to ask, it will show much you care.
It might be as simple as watching sports or playing a board game together, or giving him some time to himself to nap or read a book. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s stress-free or relaxing, and does not put pressure on your dad.
While the exact origin of birthday celebrations is unclear, historians tell us that they have been celebrated as far back as Ancient Egypt. We know it was Ancient Greece that started the practice of putting candles in the cake, and it is thought that Ancient Rome was the first civilization to celebrate birthdays throughout all classes, not just for noble or religious figures.
The food and drink you serve is very important.
Even hot dogs can be decorated to be more fun.
Of course, don’t forget that your guests are also likely to be picky eaters. Try assembling familiar foods in a creative way, rather than introducing a new cuisine to their palate. Finger food is also recommended – a birthday party is not the time to teach kids how to hold cutlery – and be sure to check with your guests’ parents if they have any allergies ahead of time, and accommodate accordingly. A child going in to anaphylactic shock is likely to bring down the mood.
Face painting is a popular form of entertainment at kids parties.
Kids playing a game of Tug-of-War.
The inside of your home can be transformed in to a greaty party venue.
A group of kids playing together outside
The birthday cake can be easily customized to fit your theme.
Just like the other food and drink you serve, the cake can be customized to embody your theme. Don’t worry if you don’t have a theme; customize the cake to the interests of the birthday boy or girl. This is their party, after all, and the cake is terrific way to remind everyone why you’re celebrating.
However you decide to handle the big five above, your biggest asset when planning a birthday party for kids is your imagination. When in doubt, choose the most creative option and hope for the best.
It is a universal truth that moms are underappreciated. Think about the financial, physical, and emotional impact every mother endures at a minimum. If you’re like me, it very quickly becomes apparent that you will never be able to repay everything the moms in your life have given you.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day – the one day of the year you are obligated to at least try and express your gratitude to all the moms you know. Of course, this is easier said than done. Another universal truth about mothers is that they are incredibly selfless, which means it can be quite tricky to figure out what they want. Luckily for you, we’ve spent hours researching and compiling this guide to planning the perfect Mother’s Day.
Whether you’re planning a celebration of your mother, your grandmother, the mother of your children, or all of them together, be careful how you handle the morning, as it will set the tone for the rest of the day. An easy rule to keep in mind is, this is her day. Cater the day to her interests, and you’re more likely to make her smile.
It’s also important not to forget that moms wake up early – even on Sundays. Even on Mother’s Day. Make sure you’re awake before she is, so she knows you’re serious about spending time with her. If you can’t be there, be sure to at least leave a card so she knows you’re thinking about her.
If the mom you’re celebrating decides to take the sleep-in they deserve on Mother’s Day, it could be a good opportunity for you to cook her breakfast. But as per the rule – this is her day – make sure it’s something she would like to eat. You can find some great Mother’s Day recipes here.
If you know they aren’t into breakfast or mornings, make plans for later in the day instead. It’s just as easy to take them out to lunch or dinner. Try not to ask, “what would you like to do?”, unless you really have no idea. If you’re intuitive about what the moms in your life would like to do, they’ll appreciate your efforts twice as much.
Finding the perfect gift can be tough, and is always going to vary depending on the personal interests of the mom you’re buying for. Keep in mind that the secret to a good present is not the size, the wrapping paper, or even the budget – it’s how much the gift symbolizes the personal relationship the two of you share.
Handmade gifts are inherently personal, while also providing you with the chance to be creative about expressing your love and gratitude. If you know they have a sweet tooth, a box of chocolates is usually appreciated. However, the greatest gift you can give a mom on Mother’s Day is time – go for a walk together, share a meal, watch a movie… Whatever your mom loves to do, she will love it even more if you do it with her. Well, most of the time – if what she really wants is just some time to be alone, respect her wishes. This is her day.
Saying that, it’s still a good idea to get her a small gift as well. Don’t forget, this woman created life inside her body. This is no time to be cheap. You can find some great Mother’s Day gift ideas here.
The Most Important Thing
However you decide to spend Mother's Day this year, the most important thing to remember is, this is her day. If you try to be as selfless as a mom is every day, then you'll certainly be off to a good start.
Need a caterer or cleaning service before the big day? Download the EZBZ app for free and we’ll connect you with reputable professionals in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation.
Spring has well and truly started, and what better way to celebrate the arrival of longer evenings and warmer temperatures than a party outside? We’ve prepared a helpful list of things to consider when planning your first outdoor party of the year.
So, you’ve decided you’d like to host an outdoor party. Logically, the first thing to consider is the space – what are you working with? Is your yard well-kept and aesthetically pleasing? Do you have a wet-weather fallback plan? How is the lighting? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you send out the invitations.
Hiring a landscaper can be a cost-effective way to ensure your yard is ready in time for the party, without having to get your hands dirty. They may even have some ideas for how you can decorate the space for the event.
Rugs, throw cushions, and outdoor furniture can make your space a more attractive party zone. You also don’t have to spend a fortune - thrift stores often have cheap, retro items that can give your party a comfortable vintage theme. When it comes to lighting, lanterns, tea lights, and even citronella candles are popular choices for outdoor parties, although they can be a fire hazard.
Do you have a patio? If not, you may consider adding one. If you’re going to be hosting a few outdoor events this season, it could be worth it. A patio will increase the value of your home and will certainly help in the event of wet weather. Speaking of rain, it’s a good idea to prepare the inside of your home in case poor weather drives your guests indoors.
Think carefully about who you’re inviting to your party, as the final list of guests will help you make other decisions such as what food and drink to provide, what the theme should be, how to decorate the space etc.
It’s also a good idea to inform your neighbors you’re hosting an event. It’s not essential to invite them, but a warning in advance goes a long way to ensuring the party doesn’t disrupt your relationship with your neighbors. They’ll still live nearby long after your guests have left.
The food you serve can make or break your party, so it’s important to think carefully about what your guests may like to eat. Nostalgic hors d’oeuvres like cheese and mini-quiches are coming back in style, and finger food in general is a very popular choice when it comes to outdoor events. Just make sure you have plenty to go around – it’s hard to have fun when you’re hungry.
Hiring a professional caterer will save you lots of time and stress through all stages of the event, but there’s no need to fear if this is not in your budget. For a simple get together, using a grill can be easy and cost-effective.
Remember to lay out napkins, wet wipes, and plenty of trash receptacles so that your guests can clean their hands after eating and dispose of their leftovers easily. Food waste that is not disposed of correctly may cause some uninvited guests to crash the party and stay long after it's over.
The Dry Run
A week or so before the event, it’s wise to test your planning with a dry run. Spend time outside to make sure the weather is comfortable, or if you will need some windbreaks or even a fire. Is the lighting you’ve prepared adequate after dark? How easy is it to find your way to the restroom? A dry run is a great way to reassure yourself you’ve done everything in your power to make the event a success. And if you haven’t, it provides an opportunity to remedy any mistakes before it’s too late.
The EZBZ app is a great tool for planning parties. Simply type in what you need – whether it’s a caterer, landscaper, or some wood for a fire – and we’ll connect you with local businesses that can help, who will reply to you directly through the app. It’s a fast, easy way to find the things you need.
We spoke with Joanna Levine, one half of the kids entertaining musical duo, Joannas ‘n Bananas, about how she got started teaching and entertaining kids with music.
After moving to New York City in 2006 to study and eventually work in fashion, Joanna Levine was struck by a sudden realization that she didn’t see a future for herself in the industry.
“I was just sort of like…who needs this cheap handbag that I’m designing?” Joanna says, looking back on her brief career.
Joanna had always liked music. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, she spent most of her teenage years singing and playing guitar. It was only when she moved to New York, however, that she began to consider it could be more than just a hobby.
Joanna playing guitar in a class for kids.
“When I moved to New York, I realized there were a lot of people doing it that were not any better than me.”
This was something she needed to give herself permission to pursue a career in music, Joanna says.
So, after leaving her job in fashion, Joanna started working semi-regularly as a musician, taking on a string of additional part-time jobs to support herself, including working as a nanny.
“That seemed to agree with me, hanging out with kids,” Joanna says.
Not long after that, Joanna completed training at Music Together, a musical education program, and became a certified music teacher for young children. Joanna worked for Music Together for the next five years, a job that she could finally embrace with passion.
“Young kids can be kind of magical,” Joanna says. “I get a total kick out of them.”
“There’s no filter, they do exactly what they’re feeling.”
Joanna's husband Rob, AKA 'Bananas', of Joannas 'n Bananas
In 2015, Joanna and her husband, Rob, a fellow musician, moved to Eastchester, New York to help care for Rob’s grandmother. After nearly ten years in the city, they were both ready for a change of pace albeit without losing proximity to their livelihood.
Moving to Westchester county also provided Joanna with an opportunity to exercise her “entrepreneurial spirit” and branch out on her own as a musical educator. And thus, Joannas ‘n Bananas was born.
Joannas ’n Bananas are Joanna and Rob’s musical alter-ego’s for when they are performing for kids at parties and events. Joanna also runs an early childhood foundational music program for babies and toddlers called Monkey Music ’N Play, a series of classes she describes as “musical learning through osmosis.”
Every class of Music ‘N Play is caregiver inclusive, which means each child come with a parent, grandparent, or nanny who also participates in the class.
“The goal is to give the kids a good foundation in musical learning,” Joanna says. “We do that by surrounding them with a musically rich environment.”
Joanna showing some of her students how to play a drum.
Joanna likes to focus on maximizing engagement so that every child benefits from and enjoys the program. Every class includes lots of musical props, a ‘Singing Storytime’ segment, a dance party, and free play.
The age of the kids in the class range from 6-months to four-years-old, and Joanna says some parents can be skeptical of what their child will get out of the class at such an early age. However, you only need to ask the parent of a child who’s completing their second Monkey Music ’N Play program to learn the profound impact that foundational music learning can have on them.
“Just by being in the room, even if a child doesn’t have the motor skills or the ability to mirror the movements that we’re doing or sing back exactly what we’re singing yet, they’re still taking in a lot of information,” Joanna says. “Eventually they process it and output it in time.”
Joanna adds that the success of her class relies a lot upon the level of participation from the parents and caregivers in the class.
A Monkey Music 'N Play class.
“[I lead] the adults and older kids in the room in a variety of songs and melodic and rhythmic activities. The younger kids will do what they can… they’re developing.”
“It’s a really beautiful bonding experience between the child and the caregiver.”
While some of what informs Joanna’s program comes from her experience at Music Together, she explains that her own education in foundational music teaching theory continues as she tries to constantly improve and enhance Monkey Music ‘N Play. However, Joanna is clear that she has no plans to expand her program into a franchise.
“I’m a small operation,” Joanna says, explaining that this is part of the appeal to many of the families she works with.
“I am a fairly warm, laid back person, and I think that appeals to the families that have tried me and stuck with me.”
Looking forward, Joanna is excited to teach more and more, and to one day (soon!) record albums of songs for kids that will go along with her classes.
“I’m also really interested in creating and publishing a couple of song storybooks,” Joanna says. “I do a short little segment every class that we call ‘Singing Storytime’… it engages the kids like nothing else I have ever seen.”The Monkey Music ‘N Play Spring program starts on April 18 2017 and runs for 11 weeks. You can register your child for the program by contacting Joanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her on 347-907-5865. Mention this article when registering to receive a 10% discount. For scheduling and registration, families can also visit joannasnbananas.com.
Looking for a kids class or entertainer in your area? Try asking on EZBZ, and we'll connect you with reputable local options. Download the app, post a request online, or simply call us for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
Sensory Stepping Stones, an occupational therapy center in Mount Kisco, New York, help individuals and families reach their full potential by offering a variety of traditional and innovative treatment programs. Click here to learn more.
In a room at the Sensory Stepping Stones center in Mount Kisco, New York, a group of students are working together to train a therapy dog. Together, the students have to figure out how to teach the dog certain tasks and in doing so, they themselves have to figure out how to work as a group, communicate with one another, plan, and develop interpersonal relationships. This is one small program among many which help special needs students learn at the Sensory Stepping Stones center, where a holistic approach to treatment is the main focus instead of medication, and the environment avoids feeling or looking like a traditional school.
The alternative programs offered by the Sensory Stepping Stones center help those with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), nonverbal learning disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brain injuries, developmental delays, executive functioning delays, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and many other similar disorders through a variety of programs specifically designed for a student’s maximum benefit.
Sensory Stepping Stones' programs are often used for children in grades preK through high school, but they can also be used with adults. According to Executive Director Melissa Bianchini, a former social worker who founded the business in 2011, the center has treated people from age three to ninety-three.
“At the end of the day, it’s about getting a person to a better place,” Bianchini says.
Testimonials on the website from previous clients attest to this success.
“The Sensory Learningsm Program has been informational. As a school psychologist by trade it has made me much more aware of the importance of the dominant ear & how important it is to know what ACTUAL information is sent to the brain. The first notable difference was my son’s ability to carry a tune. He has been much more aware of other’s feelings and spontaneously saying ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’. These things did not come easy to him,” writes the parent of an eight-year-old with sensory processing issues.
“After the Sensory Learningsm Program I have noticed that my daughter takes notice of more of her surroundings (larger field of vision). She is also much more inquisitive about people and places. She is using more sentence structure and engaging in more conversation. She is able to communicate her feelings more,” comments the parent of a six-year-old child with developmental delays.
“The Sensory Learningsm Program has changed my life for the better. I’ve been given the opportunity to be a better person and follow through on the goals I’ve set. Before this program, every and any interruption prevented me from getting through daily tasks and clouded my better judgment. This would drain me mentally and physically. It is amazing having a second chance to a better life. Sensory Stepping Stones has allowed me to have this, drug-free. I am forever grateful!” adds a thirty-eight year old with ADHD and anxiety.
Bianchini’s background in psychology, neuroscience, anatomy and physiology got her interested in neurological processing and sensory integration, which in turn found her working as the Educational Director at a sensory integration clinic in Arizona, before moving to New York to open one of just thirty such centers in New England.
“I wanted to be hands on,” she explains. Her strong background in brain processing lead her to starting post graduate work at Arizona State University in neuroscience, anatomy and physiology, but she found her calling working with people.
“The brain interested me, but helping people interested me even more,” she says. “If there’s a problem, there has to be more than one solution.”
With a staff of trained professionals including social work and occupational therapy (OT) services, graduate level assistants, and between four and five undergraduate and graduate students, the Sensory Stepping Stones center is able to address many issues traditional school programs can’t, and all of its programs are backed up with clinical studies showing their effectiveness.
“We expect everyone to just ‘get it’ and it just doesn’t work that way,” Bianchini explains.
By using a variety of components specifically aimed at a student’s needs, the student learns how to improve him or herself. There is no other program like it in the New England area. “When we work the program, we really try to push the neuroplasticity of the brain for noticeable changes,” Bianchini explains.
Those solutions can be found in the variety of holistic programs, which do not focus on medication, offered by the Sensory Stepping Stones center, including:
- Sensory LearningSM, an intensive multi-modal intervention addressing auditory, visual, and movement issues in students with conditions including dysfunctional sensory integration, sensitivities to light, sound or motion, delays in motor skills, irregular sleep/activity patterns and sensory processing issues. The program does require some inpatient training and has different plans for adolescents and adults.
- Interactive Metronome, which uses game-like programs designed to use helps students with conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, auditory processing disorders, and reading disorders increase their ability to focus and control impulsivity and aggression. Participants learn to filter out visual and auditory distractions and increase body awareness and mental focus.
- Cognitive/Memory Training, used to improve skills including attention, reasoning, memory, self-esteem, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, impulse control, and quick processing speed. This type of training is aimed at students who have cognitive impairments including, but not limited to, ADHD/ADD, brain injuries, psychological disorders, learning delays, and schizophrenia.
- Neuro/Bio/Educational Feedback, used to improve focus, attention, academic performance, social interaction, and behaviors like hyperactivity and and ADHD with both peers and family.
- Reading Development utilizing both phonics and reading comprehension presented in a hierarchal structure that addresses different issues as the student gains mastery.
- Peak Performance Training, aimed at athletes. According to the website, “When participating in the Peak Performance Training program, the individual can receive a complete and specifically designed training program encompassing visual tracking, sport specific balance/coordination, sensorimotor integration, mental and muscular endurance and neuropsychological functioning.”
Additional therapies offered include:
- Clinical Canine Intervention, described above. When the therapy dog, provided and overseen by Heidi Bonorato, founder of Giving Retriever, LLC, is trained, the dog goes to a family whose members have impairments or physical disabilities.
- Speech, language and feeding/swallowing disorders treated by Speech and language therapist Laura R. Bacon, M.S., CCC-SLP.
- Social skills and processing groups using small groups of three to eight children at a time to target behaviors including taking turns, cooperation, communicating effectively, problem solving, awareness of personal space, active listening and conversational skills, understanding other’s emotions, understanding one’s own emotions, conflict resolution, anger management, and dealing with teasing and bullying.
- Parent support groups and programs give parents the support and information they need to understand their child and his or her issues. One support group includes a therapy dog. The Sensory Stepping Stones center also offers free monthly informational meetings for parents. These meetings are run by specialists or center staff.
- Timocco, “a cutting-edge virtual motion gaming system that accelerates the development of motor and cognitive skills including bi-lateral coordination, crossing the midline, hand-eye coordination, attention, posture, visual discrimination, early learning, communication, short-term memory and teamwork skills.”
- The Listening Program, an at-home program using sound stimulation auditory training to improve active listening and auditory perception for those with auditory processing issues.
Diet is another important aspect of the programs at Sensory Stepping Stones center. Bianchini explains, “We work with nutritionists and other specialists. What we put in us affects our reactions.” She encourages parents to make healthier choices, and if they need additional help, directs them to additional resources.
The center’s Pinterest has boards for sensory room ideas, food, kid’s activities, parenting tips, books, and tools and toys for kids. Their Twitter feed provides encouraging messages and informational links.
In addition to Bianchini, Bonorato, and Bacon, the Sensory Stepping Stones staff includes Audrey Curley, a licensed and registered pediatric occupational therapist; and Irvine, a Golden Retriever therapeutic dog that knows over ninety different skills to help the disabled. Irvine had previously worked with the Wounded Warriors in the Service Dog Training Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
The most common question Bianchini gets from potential clients and parents is about the research behind the range of different programs used by Sensory Stepping Stones. When clients and parents meet with Bianchini, she provides them with packets documenting the research. “I want them to get comfortable with the research and the facility,” she explains. There are also links to the programs used on the website.
The most rewarding part of starting and running Sensory Stepping Stones is, “When a family member comes back and is now excelling in school and sports when they couldn’t before,” Bianchini says.
The center is a private, fee-for-service business, which means they are unable to work regularly with local schools. They depend on word of mouth to attract new clients, and sometimes a leap of faith from potential clients not familiar with the center’s holistic practices.
Tim Fitzgibbons, who has a son with sensory issues and step-son with special needs, said, “I would recommend it, depending on what (parents) have already tried and what they can afford and the other circumstances in their lives.”
He added, “There’s certainly many ways to reach kids who are in the areas they're interested in and (the center is) one of of them. I don’t know if that would work for everyone, but it might work for some people.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Sensory Stepping Stones, please contact them directly. You can reach them on (914)-244-4101 or by emailing email@example.com. They pride themselves on getting back to you within twenty-four hours and will do a complete assessment to find out which programs will benefit you or your family member best.
Looking for another type of business? Try posting a free request on EZBZ for what you need and where you need it, and we'll get you quotes from providers in your area. Try it out today at myezbz.com.
Westchester County in upstate New York is renowned for its aesthetically pleasing scenery, its quaint villages and towns, and the strong community of families and local businesses that call it home. Many of the businesses that reside there are family-owned companies that have operated out of Westchester for decades.
One such business is Metro Painting, founded by White Plains local Josh Glass over 25 years ago. Josh still owns and manages the company today, assisted by his wife, Kerry, and their three children.
Josh started painting homes when he was in high school, and at first it was nothing more than a fun summer job. He kept it up while in college, and the demand for his skills helped Josh pay off his tuition.“After graduating I decided it was something I was passionate about,” Josh said when reflecting on why he started Metro Painting. The rest, as they say, is history.
Owner of Metro Painting, Josh Glass, and his family.
Today, Josh is still passionate about painting and his business is flourishing. Metro Painting regularly complete both residential and commercial projects and they are a featured partner of the local community group, Westchester NY Moms. However, Josh admits they still hit the occasional bump in the road.
“Every day is a new challenge and a new client… I get to bring their vision to life.”
Josh says that the biggest challenge Metro Painting faces is meeting client demand without a sacrifice in craftmanship.
“The quality comes from the attention, and putting in the extra effort,” Josh said, on how they approach each project.
The work they put in to every job means that almost every Metro Painting customer is blown away by the results. However, this can make it harder for them to fit in more customers - they often have a tight schedule. It’s this dedication to every client, along with their passion for the work, that separates Metro Paiting from their competitors.
Josh also has some critical advice for homeowners that want professional painting help: “Sharing inspirational material with the contractor is vital to delivering the results.”
Inspirational material could be anything from a pinterest board, to images cut out from a magazine… anything that will help the contractor understand exactly what you want. Josh loves working with clients that can provide materials like this, and he says they are often more satisfied than customers who don’t.
“The results for them become so much more exciting and real as they got exactly what they want.”
Metro Painting are currently offering $250 off any job over $1500. If you’re interested in discussing a project with Metro Painting, you can contact them on (888) 276-1505 or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their EZBZ profile for more information.
But what about the unexpected? With family on their way and the turkey in the oven, you don't have time to deal with a clogged sink or busted water heater.
Here's the thing. Once you have a professional on the way to fix what broke, you can get back to your preparations. The repair person shows up, and you show them to the way to where they need to go. You can leave them to their work while you to yours. The hard part is getting in touch with that repair man or woman, especially for an emergency job.
That's where EZBZ comes in. Especially around the holidays, you are way too busy to be searching on Google and filling out web forms and making calls. Let us make it easy for you. Just put what you need in the concierge box, and let us do the rest for you.
What about those real emergencies where you absolutely must get in touch with a business? EZBZ offers a Personal Assistant service. For only $5, EZBZ guarantees 5 responses in 2 hours or your money back. When we put "Your Problem, Solved" on our web site, it's not just a tag line. It's a promise.
It’s already October, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. For homeowners with a family, this time of year can be very expensive. Click here for some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:
Every year October seems to arrive earlier than expected, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. What can also happen fast is how quickly your budget for fall and winter disappears before you’ve even made it to December. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas absorb enough money on their own, let alone the expenses that the harsh weather can incur during the colder seasons. For homeowners with a family, the most wonderful time of the year is also the most expensive.
Here are some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:
Check Discount Sites & Apps
These days there are countless websites and apps that exist purely to help you save money. There are the heavyweights like Groupon and Amazon, but don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper to find those less well-known services that could save you some real dough. For example, My City Mommy is a great coupon site for moms all over the country – they have a local coupon website for nearly 40 metro areas including Saint Louis and Dallas-Fort Worth. The EZBZ Store also often has great deals on products and services that are sometimes even cheaper than Amazon.
Don’t forget that most business owners know how expensive this time of year can be and are willing to offer some great discounts if it means you’ll choose them over a competitor. For example, some grocery stores will offer a free or discounted thanksgiving turkey if you purchase a certain amount of groceries from them. For families that already spend a lot on groceries, this is a perfect opportunity to capitalize. When visiting a local business, don’t be afraid to ask if they are offering any seasonal discounts or specials.
Create your own Decorations
With websites like YouTube and Pinterest, it is easier than ever for parents and children to get hands-on with their holiday decorations. Many sites provide affordable ways to use dollar stores and thrift stores to find supplies so that you can create your own decorations for your home. Creating your own decorations is a great activity to do as a family, giving you a sense of accomplishment and making the holiday décor much more meaningful.
Get Ahead of Next Year
Planning ahead is the first step to saving money, and this is especially relevant during the holiday season. Halloween and Christmas decorations are almost always on sale on the days following the holiday, sometimes with up to 80% off. In fact, these sales aren’t just for decorations – you can buy all kinds of unopened and unwanted gifts from secondhand stores in the days following Christmas for a discounted price. Valentine’s Day cards can also be purchased for as little as thirty cents on Feburary 15, so why not buy them in advance for next year?
EZBZ's free concierge service allows you to request anything and receive quotes back from providers in your area. It’s a great comparison tool to ensure you’re getting the best deal for every purchase or hire you make. In the fall and winter, it’s a great way to get quotes from snow removal services, HVAC contractors, and other professional services that can vary from provider to provider. Businesses can also only reply to you via EZBZ – your contact information is not shared with anyone so you can remain anonymous while comparing your options.
The best part is, if you hire a business through EZBZ, you'll get $5 cash back. So, if you’re looking to hire a contractor or professional service anyway, submitting a free request could end up saving you some time and money.
With some careful planning and a little research, these tips are sure to provide you and your family with a joyful & affordable holiday season. Good luck and happy holidays!
As summer slowly comes to a halt in September, and the leaves of fall begin to...er, fall... an alternative season starts: Pumpkin season.
While you can purchase canned pumpkin throughout the year, the orange vegetable is a winter variety of the squash plant, which means the pumpkin harvest starts every September. Nothing beats the taste of fresh pumpkin, and combined with its strong ties to both Thanksgiving and Halloween, it’s easy to see why pumpkin fever hits the country now until after Thanksgiving.
We have compiled a list of some of the things you can do this season to celebrate the second most wonderful time of the year:
Pumpkin is first and foremost a delicious vegetable, so cooking should be the top of your list. It’s one of the few foods that can be utilized across all the Thanksgiving courses – appetizer (pumpkin soup), dinner (roast pumpkin), and dessert (pumpkin pie)! Even the seeds can be harvested and used in a range of different ways.
Pumpkin can also be used to create some other, less well known dishes, that are just as delicious. Pumpkin goes great with risotto and pasta (it makes an excellent stuffing for gnocchi or shells), while pumpkin seed oil, which can be rare in the US, has an intense nutty flavor and plenty of “good” fats. It’s great for dipping fresh vegetables or salty cheese in to. The vegetable’s versatility makes it a great choice for vegetarians – it can be used to create veggie burgers, it’s a delicious (and filling) pizza topping, and it works well with plenty of Mexican dishes, including quesadillas. In fact, pumpkin has been a staple of the Mexican diet for thousands of years – pumpkin seeds have been found in ancient burial caves dating back to 7,000 B.C. With a history like that, it’s hard to doubt pumpkin’s ability to please any palate.
When thinking about Halloween, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is the jack-o-lantern – a carved out pumpkin with a candle or light inside. While the typical jack-o-lantern has a scary face carved in to its side, there are plenty of other ways to carve a pumpkin. Every year, thousands of people compete in carving contests, trying to carve the vegetable in new and creative ways. It’s a great activity to do with kids, as it’s good for the development of their fine motor skills, and provides an opportunity to teach them about knife safety. That’s not to mention the benefits of any activity that makes a vegetable more appealing to kids.
When it comes to carving pumpkins, the design doesn’t have to be related to Halloween or kids. The shell of a pumpkin can also be used practically. Check out this guide to making an awesome pumpkin bird-feeder that can hang off your porch or patio, or this guide to making an organic pot plant for your garden.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Capitalizing on the pumpkin fever, many farmers open up their pumpkin patches to the general public in September so they can offer their pumpkin straight from the source. Many pumpkin patches also provide hay rides, petting zoos, and plenty of other activities, making it a fun destination for families. Buying your pumpkin straight from a nearby patch is a great way to support local farmers and ensure the produce is fresh.Looking for a nearby pumpkin patch, cooking school, or farmer’s market? Submit a free request through myezbz.com and we’ll help you find what you’re looking for. It’s free, quick, and easy.
Chores are an unfortunate reality for everyone – especially for those of us that live in a house with kids. If you’re a parent, it’s important to remember that cleaning and maintaining your home should not be your duty alone. In fact, studies show that teaching children the importance of chores is vital to their development.
Research from the University of Minnesota found that chores help children build a lasting sense of responsibility, mastery, and self-reliance. The study also found that adults who began chores at ages 3 or 4 were more likely to be self-sufficient, have strong relationships with friends and family, and achieve early academic or career success than those who didn’t start chores until their teenage years.
Of course, knowing that kids should do chores, and actually making them follow through, are quite different things. Children are notorious for very bluntly voicing their objection to anything and everything that they don’t feel like doing. It would almost be admirable if it weren’t for all the screaming and crying.
Here are some tips for making average household chores more bearable for kids:
Make it a Competition or Sport
Kids are naturally competitive, so if you have more than one child, adding an element of competition to a chore is a sure-fire way to get them excited about completing the task. This can sometimes be harder to pull off than just asking, “who can finish first?”, though. The more enthusiasm you can contribute to the task, the more your kids will embrace it. Avoid rewards as well, at least in the form of money – some psychologists have suggested that money can minimize a child’s desire to pitch in, turning a good deed in to a transaction.
Watch Your Language
While you may think using slightly different words or phrasing couldn’t possibly have an impact, you may be surprised by the results. For example, studies have shown that thanking a child for being a “helper” rather than just “helping”, can significantly increase their motivation. Referring to the chores as “ours” rather than “yours” also reiterates that doing chores is a way of helping one another, rather than a mandatory duty.
We all know how powerful the imagination of a child is, so it’s no surprise that you can use it to your advantage when trying to complete some jobs around the house. Providing a story or make-believe scenario as the context for completing a job is a great way to engage younger children. Instead of washing up dishes, maybe you are the captain of a sinking ship, cleaning and offloading heavy cargo; or instead of cleaning a cluttered bedroom, you are removing land mines from a dangerous battlefield. Cater to the interests of your child/children, and it’s hard to go wrong.
Behavioral Control Not Emotional Control
Regardless of how fun you can make your household chores, you’re still going to hear some complaints. But that’s okay – kids are entitled to complain. Trying to coerce your child in to enjoying a chore, using guilt, or any other emotional tactic can have an extremely detrimental impact on their mental health.
Instead, as a parent it’s your job to calmly explain that if they’re living in a house, they have to contribute to the everyday maintenance requirements. This parental advice will help them for many years to come, in particular when they move out and have their own home to look after.
While a recent study showed that over 80% of adults participated in regular chores as a child, only 28% of them reported asking their own children to complete chores. This is one of the few generational differences in parenting that is predicted to have a negative impact on the development of children in the modern era.
By requiring your kids to help around the house, you can have a very positive impact on their future development. By making chores bearable, you make life easier for everyone now.
While summer is well and truly upon us, many families are yet to come up with activities that will keep everyone entertained. As anyone who is a parent knows, this can be harder than it sounds. There are always lots of summer events and activities available for young children, but what about parents, or families with teenagers? They should be able to enjoy the summer too without having to ship the younger ones off to summer camp. We’ve compiled a list of summer activities that will keep the whole family happy:
The great thing about camping is that it usually provides a plethora of different activities to keep every member of the family entertained. If you’re camping near a body of water, swimming should appeal to kids of all ages. For parents and older kids, why not hire a boat or some kayaks? Kayaking can be incredibly fun, not to mention great exercise. However, make sure when camping that you invest in a tent big enough for your whole family. You’re inevitably going to be in close quarters by sharing a tent, but anything too small will quickly feel stifling in the summer heat. Other necessities include insect repellant, sunblock and plenty of food and water.
Go to the Beach
The beach is the classic summer destination for almost everyone during summer, and it’s not hard to see why – as we mentioned, all kids love swimming, not to mention playing in the sand. Teenagers and adults can find also find some additional thrill in the ocean that they won’t find in a lake or pool. You can also just lie down on the soft sand with a good book, and soak up the sun’s rays. Of course, there are some potential downsides to a day at the beach as well: sun poisoning, sand everywhere, stings or insect bites… But it’s also entirely possible to avoid these with the proper precautions.
They say the best time to learn how to ride a bike is when you’re a child. A family bike ride is a great way to exercise together, and for younger kids, it is an introduction to a skill they will retain for the rest of their life. Showing children at a young age how fun and beneficial exercise can be is a great way to teach them how important it is to prioritize your health and wellbeing. If you have an emotional teenager or two, aeorobic exercise like bike riding can be a great way to blow off some steam, and because exercise releases endorphins in the brain, it’s also a great way to fight stress or negative thoughts.
If your kids love nature or adventures, going for a hike should be in your summer fun program. Hiking combines adventure, exercise and relaxation as it allows you trek through the forest until you find a nice picnic spot or lookout. Arm yourself with nice hiking boots, proper clothing, and of course the "spirit of adventure". Also, don’t forget some sandwiches and water as you will need them after trekking for a few hours.
These are just some of the outdoor activities your family can do this summer to have some fun and spend some quality time together. If you’re looking for something in particular, for example local boat or kayak hire, or open camping grounds, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. We will connect you with local businesses and service providers that can make your summer truly memorable.
We all love a home-cooked meal. They are often more nutritious, affordable, and fulfilling than a fast food or take-out option. However, a good home-cooked meal also takes a lot of preparation and timing… Two luxuries most working adults just don’t have. A solution that many people are turning to is hiring a personal chef.
A personal chef is a professional cook hired to come to your home and prepare meals for you. While there may have been a time when only the super-wealthy could afford to hire their own kitchen staff, personal chefs are rapidly becoming the most beneficial and affordable option for adults that are tired of eating take-out, but don’t have the time to prepare and cook their own food.
According to the American Personal and Private Chef Association, a personal chef is typically hired to prepare multiple meals for you at one time – usually enough for a week. So, if you’re thinking of hiring one, make sure you have some freezer space… but that’s where your worries should end.
A personal chef is trained to cook with fresh, healthy ingredients, and produce meals that are highly nutritious, filling, and delicious – right in your own kitchen. Just imagine enjoying the benefits of eating at a restaurant – delicious food, no cooking or cleaning – in the comfort of your own home, and it’s easy to see why so many people are hiring their own chefs. A personal chef will create and customize meals just for you, so they are also better prepared to deal with any dietary requirements (e.g. gluten free, allergies) than a chef in a restaurant would be, who has to work with a set menu and ingredients.
If you don’t have much of a kitchen in your home, there are also personal chef services that you can hire to cook for you off-site. They will then deliver your set of frozen meals straight to your door. Of course, if they are cooking in your own kitchen they are more likely to be able to guarantee freshness, but an offsite personal chef can still provide nutritious, affordable and tasty meals.
Of course, the benefits of hiring a personal chef can be obvious. The biggest question most of us have is, how much?
While the price may vary from chef to chef, it can be more affordable than you think. Liza Graves, a mom-blogger based in Nashville, hired a personal chef for her family and was surprised just how many benefits she received for the price. You can read about Liza’s experience here, but her personal chef would prepare 3-4 mouth-watering meals a week for $225 (her Chefs rate was $45 per hour). Considering that was enough to feed a family of five for four nights a week (with leftovers), that’s a pretty good deal.If you’d like to compare quotes from the personal chefs in your area, consider submitting a free request on www.myezbz.com/category/personal-chefs. EZBZ will send your request to the personal chefs close to you, who will reply with their information, availability and price rates.
There is a common misconception that yoga is only for women in their mid-late twenties. This is just as false as the stereotype of the typical yoga-lover – a hyper-spiritual hipster obsessed with coconut water.
For the majority of people that do yoga – made up of men, women, and children - it really is just exercise; a fun, calming, and effective way to keep your body fit and healthy. It can also have positive effects for your mental health – just like any exercise, yoga triggers a release of endorphins inside the brain.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to be put off by the culture commonly associated with yoga, and many don’t realize that there are classes catered specifically to them. I’ve detailed below some of the yoga options for everyone in your family.
Yoga for Kids
The benefits of yoga to children are so numerous that many schools now offer it as a form of physical education. It’s easy to see why – unlike other forms of exercise you may find in the school yard, it is non-contact, non-competitive, and a great way to relieve stress. Children often suffer from anxiety and stress at school, and this could be exacerbated by sports that are competitive or physical in nature. Yoga’s calming, meditative qualities means it can help kids relax and stay healthy, which isn’t exactly a perk you get from football.
Yoga for Men
Yoga has a long and rich history, although only recently has it been primarily associated with women. In fact, it’s more common for men to practice yoga in India, where it originated. Convincing a modern man to take up yoga really shouldn’t be that difficult; it has proven to be effective at keeping you fit, improving your sex life, and relieving stress. If there’s any man in your life not sold by those points, send him this article from Men’s Fitness that details 9 reasons why he should reconsider yoga.
Yoga for Seniors
For many people over sixty, sports and exercise become nothing more than a memory. With an increased risk of falling over and injuring themselves, seniors can be hesitant to try anything other than walking to get exercise. Yoga is a great alternative for seniors who would like to keep their bodies fit without putting themselves at too much risk. You don’t need to be able to twist yourself like a piece of rubber to do yoga, although it will improve your flexibility. By keeping fit as you age, you give your body a fighting chance at staying healthy.
There are also plenty of yoga options for women, particularly mothers, in any stage of life, such as prenatal yoga, postnatal yoga, mommy and me yoga… The list goes on! Check out www.myezbz.com/category/yoga-classes to find out about the local options for you, and your family.
Celiac disease is a serious medical condition that can have long-term medical complications if sufferers do not maintain a strict, gluten free diet. While it is often referred to as a gluten allergy or intolerance, it is actually an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. It is reported that 1 in 100 people suffer from the disease worldwide.
Gluten sensitivity is a condition with similar symptoms to celiac disease – including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea – when sufferers have gluten in their diet. Unlike celiacs, however, sufferers of gluten sensitivity do not experience the small intestine damage that celiacs face. Gluten sensitivity is a topic of controversy amongst medical professionals, with many arguing that the condition is, in fact, not real. Of course, the legitimacy of gluten sensitivity is just one symptom of the curious case of gluten disorders in the United States.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye, and as a result, is prevalent in food and drink such as bread, beer, pasta, cereal, sauces, dressings and soup. For this reason, it is easy to see why it was quite difficult to maintain a strict, gluten free diet… Until recently.
Despite the fact that celiac disease only affects up to 1% of the population, it is now estimated that nearly 30% of the U.S. population actively try to avoid gluten. There are now successful, Michelin-star restaurants with entirely gluten free menus, and many products in the grocery store aisle proudly display a “gluten free” sticker. Tolerance of gluten intolerance has become the latest trend of the food industry, and has brought with it a multi-billion dollar market.
Gluten free has become synonymous with healthy and organic, and has helped inspire other non-grain diets, such as the paleo diet. The paleo diet is based on the presumed diet of early humans, including seafood, fruit and vegetables, and avoiding meat, grains and dairy. It has become very popular with naturalistic communities, and some swear by it as the healthiest diet they’ve ever had. Other, more legitimate healthcare professionals, are skeptical of such primal-eating trends.
Ultimately, though, it seems like a good thing that gluten free products are now more readily available, if only for the benefit of legitimate sufferers of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. There are plenty of medical conditions that could benefit from the same, widespread awareness. While some of the diets and trends associated with gluten disorders border on ridiculous, they do show that society is increasingly taking an interest in health and wellbeing, and that is positive sign.
If you’re trying to locate a source of gluten free produce, inquire with free, online concierge service EZBZ today, to see what gluten free options are available locally to you.
There are still even more options for childcare to what I provided, including family support, before and after school programs provided by lcoal school districts, community clubs and groups, employer sponsored programs, etc. The important thing to consider is what amount of time and support you need and explore options from there. If you need any assistance you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com/moms
The cold air that comes along with winter is another issue that affects senior citizens. The freezing temperatures create conditions that make it difficult to take in deep breaths. They also further challenge already limited mobility. With cold air comes icy door steps, road ways and sidewalks increasing the risk of falling. When someone who is older falls they are at a greater risk for serious injury over someone much younger. Our bones become more brittle and prone to breaks and sprains as we age.
When it comes to the population of seniors amongst us, now we are aware their nature is one of a more independent nature. This can be seen with the increase in the number of seniors choosing to age in place. This is where many winter-related problems stem from when it comes to the elderly.
Despite the number of warnings shared with the aging population many still attempt to continue providing their snow removal services. They continue to shovel, salt and snow blow on their own as they have an overwhelming fear of entrapment as well as a fear that is not continuing to do these so called normal tasks makes them appear fragile and weak. Another reason may be because of issues that arise from living within a fixed budget.
If you know anyone that falls into this category that remains either too stubborn to ask for help or financially unable there are a few things that you can do to help.
Of course, if you are able bodied consider shoveling their driveway and sidewalks for them. If it is a loved one you are concerned about that lives too far for you to travel call upon their neighbors to ask for assistance. Sometimes the people around them are afraid to insult them by offering to help or are unaware a need is prevalent. Another option is to call upon a local snow removal company that services others within the community in which a loved one life and asked them what type of services they can offer within a limited budget. It will shock you how many snow removal companies will clear the sidewalks and walk ways a bit more carefully when they know the service is being provided for an elderly citizen.
In the winter months, it is so important that we take extra good care of our loved ones that are aging. Snow removal, side walk shoveling, ice removal and laying down an extra layer of salt are ways we can all chip in to help create a safer environment for senior citizens.
Babies are naturally curious and they grow fast in the first year. They learn about the world around them through tasting, touching and feeling. On average, babies start crawling at 8 months, meaning that the baby can move from here to there in a blink of an eye. Keeping your baby from accidents is no easy task. Chances are your baby will spend time around your living room, nursery, kitchen and other places that could pose a threat to your child’s safety. Baby-proofing your home inside and out is one of the most significant steps towards keeping your baby safe. It gives you peace of mind that risks are minimal even when you leave the child with grandparents or babysitters who may not be fully up-to-date or familiar with safety risks. Within this article I’ll point out a number of things to keep in mind when baby proofing your home.
The items you need to be conscious about are those that pose a potential risk to your baby. This list is long! It should include: sharp edged furniture; electrical outlets; cords; appliances; exercise equipment; doors, including locks and knobs; flat panel televisions; fireplaces, glass; baths; toilets; swimming pool; stairs; cabinets; closets; bookcases; medicine; toiletries; detergents; animals and rubbish bins among other items.
As a parent you may not be aware of all safety hazards. For this reason it is often beneficial to hire a professional to baby-proof your home. You may be shocked at how many things you didn’t think were potential threats to your child! Baby-proofing professionals are trained to spot dangers that don’t occur to most people. They also have access to safety equipment difficult to find locally in stores. Hiring a professional child proofer provides comfort and peace of mind. He/she will also offer you and your family educational safety tips.
When hiring a child proofer, ensure that the company is experienced and reputable. Though price should not be the first consideration, ensure that company will do the job at a fair price. They should also present as highly aware of the latest safety hazards and the solutions. Once you hire a baby proofer, ensure that they properly inspect all areas of your home for potential hazards. Then with your approval, they will order and install the necessary safety supplies.
Some examples of the common safety measures they will implement will include:
- Adding padding to sharp edges and corners of furniture and ledges
- Installing safety gates at the bottom and top of staircases
- Installing safety latches on cabinets, drawers, closets, and toilets.
- Putting up additional fencing, including a swimming pool safety fence
- Installing doorstops to protects a baby from getting caught
- Mounting or securing flat panel televisions to prevent tipping.
- Removing all accessible cords from the baby’s reach
- Installing safety guards on windows
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors
- Adding bins with childproof lids for storage of potentially hazardous items
- Putting covers over bath taps.
If you need help finding a childproofing specialist you can submit a request free request for assistance through EZBZ.
A game truck – also known as a video game truck or party truck – has a very simple
concept. The truck comes to you, and provides a small space for a party to play video games. The trucks are typically air-conditioned, contain several flat screen TV’s, and a large array of video games to choose from.
GameTruck®, the primary franchise of party trucks in the U.S., also offer a laser tag truck. The laser tag truck provides equipment and instructors, although still requires the host to provide a large space. Game trucks are a little more convenient, as they provide a self-contained space…Something which translates for many parents as somewhere they don’t have to clean up.
Children, obviously, love the concept. Video games are a great stimulus for a child’s imagination, and are universally adored by most kids, however they also often attract criticism for their association with anti-social behavior and unhealthy addiction. A game truck combats this stigma, as it actually encourages socialization, and its presentation – a glamorous truck that’s only temporarily available – instills the belief that video games are a treat, rather than a habit.
Parents are embracing the trend too. Game trucks take away a lot of the responsibility of hosting a party – providing space, music and entertainment, and cleaning up afterwards – and are typically affordable: a two-hour game truck party is typically priced between $300-400. You can read one mom’s promising review of a game truck party here.
If you’re not a fan of video games, a game truck is probably not for you. Plus it is possible to host a small children’s party, and keep it below $300 – although that can take time, effort, and impressive budgeting skills.
While they are increasing in popularity, game trucks are still rare – even if you have heard of them, the assumption is that they are wildly expensive. Whether you’re a fan of video games, or still unsure, it is always nice to know what your options are.
If you decide you’d like to hire a game truck, submit a request to www.myezbz.com and we can help you find a local truck, today.
Children events are usually fun affairs that require the presence of many activities of various kinds to keep the children entertained. Children's concentration spans are usually short and thus require a number of activities to keep them entertained and essentially occupied. The most successful events take this into account. Parents or the party hosts need not meet all these entertainment needs themselves, there are a diverse group of children entertainers who can be hired to entertain the children.
These entertainers are often easy and affordable to hire and make the event even more fun for the children. The hiring of entertainers has definitely saved many parents and party hosts the trouble of thinking of means and ways to keep the children entertained. There are a range of entertainers to choose from, such as themed performers and impersonators who come in costumes of the various princesses, heroes and favorite cartoon characters, puppeteers, singers, face painters, balloon animal creators, magicians, game coordinators and the list is endless. All these entertainers are at your service to make children happy.
Children's entertainesr specialize in how to making children's events lively and amazing. They have mastered the art of capturing the attention of children and ensuring that they are calm and having fun throughout the event. They also help in expounding children’s creativity. Take for instance puppeteers, they help children in their narration skills, face painters and animal balloon creators help in developing the artistic nature of children. Nonetheless, aside from being intellectually beneficial to children they most importantly ensure that the children have fun.
Hiring entertainers for children events also helps children to work on their social skills. The themed performers interact with the children at a personal level and assist in boosting their self esteem. These entertainers also add a personal touch to the events. This is in the sense that, children are able to partake in the activities with the entertainers. Children adore their favorite cartoon characters and super heroes. Hiring entertainers gives them a chance to meet with some of these heroes and characters through the entertainers who dress up in costumes of these characters. In some way this fulfills some of the children’s fantasies concerning meeting their favorite heroes just like meeting Santa Claus during Christmas.
If you need help finding a children's entertainer for your next event, you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com.
Nutritionists have a healthy regard for food and its life-sustaining properties and are able to give advice on diets for a range of concerns. They are primarily concerned with the prevention, avoidance and treatment of illnesses through proper dietary care. Nutritionists assess the diets of patients and clients suffering from medical disorders or other concerns and suggests better and useful ways of fighting various health problems by adjusting and modifying the patient's intake of certain food items.
Nutritionists work towards completely eliminating or curing health problems like overweight, diabetes, allergies, and obesity. Like all other health professionals, nutritionists are motivated by a concern to improve people's quality of life and they do so by educating people about healthy eating habits. If you are overweight or obesity is your problem then it's advised to consult a nutritionist.
A nutritionist has the knowledge and experience that go hand in hand to tackle any of your health related problems. If you have an illness that you think you are struggling with then, it's advised to seek professional help. A nutritionist must have seen people with your body type before due to the vast experience in the field and it is easier for him/her to suggest you a diet plan that can fight your illness as well as keep you fit.
People who want to cut down those extra pounds they gained should consider opting for a healthier lifestyle. They can lose those extra pounds not just be eating healthy but also by doing some exercises. A nutritionist can advise you which exercise would suit you best as per your body type, your diet plan and the illness you have.
Another benefit of consulting and hiring a nutritionist while dieting is that if a nutritionist sees symptoms of your illness getting worse due to dieting, he/she can immediately take steps or suggest you to see a doctor. A nutritionist can also suggest you an alternative diet plan or exercise if the existing plan doesn't suit you.
Weight loss can be tough and difficult to continue for a long time, but many people succeed with only determination and persistence. The worrying part that comes after losing weight is not to gain that fat again. This fear can be subsided by nutritionist's advice and food plan. You will keep all that weight off till you follow a healthy diet pattern and by exercising regularly.
There are many boot camp sessions, fitness and training centers which assist overweight people in losing their weight and hiring a nutritionist will carefully guide on which sessions will suit you most. If you want to lose weight in a way that interests you most then you can join a dancing centre, yoga classes or laughter therapy. Whichever way you choose to lose weight, in the end it is your effort that scores result and keeps you fit.
A nutritionist helps you live a good and healthy lifestyle, hence you ought to find yourself one to make sure your body is fit and strong making cut short hospitals bills by preventing diseases through nutritionist’s guidance and advice
Employing the services of a private coach to give your competitive sports playing child private lessons can improve his or her skills to a significantly extent. A private coach has enormous experience in a specific sport and therefore the ability to identify and fix tiny errors that the player could be making. As much as your child’s existing team coach may have the same level of skill, his focus is on the overall team, with all team members sharing the coach’s attention. The time and focus the team coach has may not be sufficient to correct errors or refine skills of all players. One-on-one sessions with a private coach offers helps to quickly identify bad habits and reinforce proper techniques, so your child can achieve success. Hiring a private coach could be one of the most rewarding gifts you can give your child. Here are some of the benefits of a private coach to sports players:
It may be a bit challenging for a team coach to give all the team members extra attention identify their weaknesses and advance their skills personally as compared to a private coach. A private coach becomes fully conversant with your kid’s skills and hence is better placed to critique and improve their skill at the kid’s pace. The child will get detailed instruction that is best suited for their particular skill without struggling to keep up with the teams pace.
In most experiences the coach or expert a child has a relationship with is the same one the child learns most from. The close relationship of a kid with an expert not only develops the kid’s skills but also his or her mental abilities. Athletes have been shown to respond better to coaches who care about them and can communicate with them.
You child may be trying to sharpen their skills in a team but using the wrong fundamentals without the team coach identifying the root problem. This may lead to wasted time and in some cases, reduced interest and commitment to their practice. An experienced private coach can instill correct basic fundamentals necessary for your kid to work from.
While training as a team is important, a child can accomplish a lot and see greater results in a short period of time through private training.
A kid’s life usually involves multiple activities like family events and friends all of which may overshadow the child’s practice priority. Setting aside private practice time encourages the child’s commitment; with a third party is involved the child is less likely to lose focus on their sports practice.
As kids grow older their enthusiasm for sports may vary as other things catch their attention, causing arguments with their parents, their teammates and other peers. Hiring a private coach may eliminate these arguments as children show respect and trust for an outside expert’s opinion.
A private coach is fully equipped with training tools that help your child develop fundamental skills and the right attitude to sports. Exposing the your child to positive mentors who teach the value of hard work will definitely shape their life forever. Make an informed decision to better your kid’s career by hiring a private coach.
If interested in finding a private coach for your child, you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com.
There's nothing scarier than the thought of losing a loved one to addiction. If you're planning on staging a drug addiction intervention for someone you care about, there are certain measures to help you receive the most positive outcome possible. Speaking and establishing trust with the affected person will enable you pass your point across more efficiently rather than blaming and being unprepared.
Gather Loved Ones
While these meetings are not supposed to be done with a full house, it's important that the affected individual hear the same message from more than one person. Limit your team from four to eight people: you want to avoid appearing to gang up on the person, but you also need to echo the same message many times over. When picking these friends and loved ones, make sure no one is uncomfortable telling the truth. Only involve people who can clearly communicate that there's a serious problem that needs to be solved. Anyone who may waiver should be excluded for best results. The team needs to provide a unified front.
Prepare the Space and Discussion Points
Before bringing the person in front of your team of loved ones, make sure the space where you'll hold your drug intervention is comfortable and inviting. It's also important to list the points you want to cover during the meeting. Emotions run high in these proceedings, and it can be easy to lose track of what you wanted to communicate. That being said, don't prepare an extremely long list. It's essential to arrive to the point concisely and quickly. Rambling on will only gives the addict more material to argue with.
Control Your Emotions
This sounds easier than it actually is, but you must keep in mind you're confronting the disease, not the person. Any negative comment, insult, or tantrum is the disease lashing out, not your loved one. Your meeting will be more likely to end positively if everyone can remain calm and collected.
The point of a drug intervention is to relay that the tipping point has been reached. Whether you're declaring that you'll no longer financially support them or speak to them or whether you have some other conditions in mind, it's important this person knows that a choice must be made. Offer them the chance to get help or relay to them the consequences (jail, no family contact, etc.) if they continue down this path. It's extremely important to set this boundary in stone and communicate that there will be no exceptions.
Have Help Ready
This will involve seeking assistant from a professional. If your loved one agrees to seek treatment for their addiction, it's vital that no time be wasted. More time between this decision and the first day of treatment only offers an addict more chances to back out of treatment. Even if you don't believe your loved one will agree to treatment, it's always a good idea to have a place ready to accept them before holding your drug intervention. Even when the situation seems dire, there is always hope. Being prepared, loving, and firm will help the chances of your drug intervention ending in success and a commitment to treatment.
If you need assistance finding an intervention professional or rehab center, you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com
People's reactions can be unpredictable in high conflict situations. The divorce of a couple that has been married for a number of years is one such change that would elicit varied emotions among family members. Other similar situations include the linking up of families as a result of marriage, diagnosis of a family member with terminal illness, death or the division of the estate of a loved one.
People of the same group rarely react the same to high conflict family problems. Every member brings their own experience and perspective and has a legitimate right to react differently. However, in order to resolve the situation amicably, or at least relatively so, everyone needs to have the opportunity to express their feelings and concerns. This is when a mediator can be of greatest assistance. When there is a clash of opinions and reactions, a mediator can act as a neutral party to balance the concerns of all involved, in a calm and non-emotional manner.
The task of a mediator is to assist family members to express their emotions through words in a manner that doesn't destroy relationships. A mediator brings a voice of reason to a situation filled with different emotions. The expert assists parties on different sides to communicate effectively with each other without having to fight. A mediator tries to pass across a message from one side to the other in a peaceful and friendly tone. In essence, a mediator opens up communication channels between conflicting parties while attempting to help them solve the problem at hand.
Obtaining the services of a mediator is a great step towards preserving treasured relationships during high conflict times in life. Additionally, such an expert would provide a buffer between parties that cannot meet to talk. A mediator is actually a neutral party in a family undergoing a rough patch. Having a neutral party around brings a lot of hope into desperate situations.
Whenever your family is in a situation that bears the potential of tearing you apart, consider hiring a mediator to offer some assistance. A mediator will assist your family in formulating viable solutions to all your problems. Your high conflict situation may be so easily transformed into a very minor issue by an expert mediator. Do not shy away from engaging these professionals in your conflict resolution efforts. You will be amazed at how big a burden can be lifted from your shoulders when you engage such a professional every time you experience high conflict.
If you need assistance finding a mediator in your area, submit a free request to www.myezbz.com.
You must have frequently come across various disputes related to property and assets distribution. However, if you do an estate planning before death, your loved ones may never require facing similar problems. Estate planning is a process that aims to give maximum benefits and wealth distribution to the beneficiaries and eliminate uncertainties prior to the death of the owner of these assets. Death is inevitable, thus estate planning is not just for the old, but everyone. Even if you are not as rich as Bill Gates, whatever you have owned till now is your hard earned asset and you surely don’t want it to go to the wrong hands.
A will is an instructional document that is written and signed in front of witnesses and you can amend it anytime during your lifetime. It is revocable and you can keep conditions for your estates (both real estates and personal property) according to your wish. With wills, you can also appoint a guardian for your minor heir and make provisions when he or she will be entitled to be a legal heir of your assets. A will is especially beneficial for people living and possessing assets in those states where probates are not complex.
On the other hand, living trust is a more professional lifetime and after death property management. Unlike wills, trusts have an additional benefit of avoiding the lengthy and costly legal probate during transfer of assets. If you leave your family with a will then your family may have to go under multiple probates (especially if you have assets in other states) and may also have to pay legal, executor and the court fees. Other than being exempted from these, living trusts ensures maximum privacy, brings all your assets under one plan, prevent court control in certain cases, is widely accepted and can be amended during your lifetime.
No doubt with so many additional benefits, living trusts are initially much costlier than wills. But, it’s you who have to rather choose between a hassle- free life for your loved ones when you leave or a small addition to your bank balance.
The full potential of living trust can only be exploited when you fund it regularly and constantly manage the trust after it’s created. You have to add your assets to make the trust actually valid. That’s why it’s called 'living’ and if you do not fund your trust, your beneficiaries may end up paying probates and taxes.
Challenges to Estate Planning
Many people fear that estate Planning are way too costly because of tax payments and the complexities involved in the process of estate planning. But most of the time it is seen that your family isn’t fully aware of your financial records, insurance policies and various other assets and thus faces tremendous problems after your death. Estate planning doesn’t needs to be too costly if you plan it step by step. Start with small and amend your plans as you grow. Sometimes estate planning is not just about management of assets after death but also instructions for passing your values, instructions for your care before your or yours spouse’s death, managing life and disability insurances and avoiding unnecessary legal fees. Make sure you constantly update your wills or living trusts in accordance with the state laws.
If you're interested in finding someone to assist you with estate planning, you can always submit a free search request to www.myezbz.com.
Humans have kept the other animals as companions since a long time ago. Dogs are acknowledged as one of the most delightful and loyal pets, among others. They are different from people and have their own distinctive requirements and natural way of behaving. They have a different way of communicating and its important for pet owners to understand their dogs’ behavior and train them accordingly.
Dog owners should comprehend why it is essential to train your new pets and bring them under their command. There are several reasons to train your dogs to be a good companion for you and those around you. The benefits of training your dog are:
Strong bonding with your dogs
Dog training helps you create a strong bond with your dog. Having a well trained dog makes it easy for you to enjoy their company. It makes your dog cheerful, comfortable and positively receptive towards you. It will bring you closer to your pet, help you understand a dog’s behavior and make him a happy member of your family. It helps you in creating healthy human-animal relationship.
Managing Becomes Easy
A trained dog under your command is easy to handle. It becomes easy for you to manage the behavior and instincts of your dogs. Training your dogs helps you teach them basic manners. It helps you to control them and makes them obedient. By training your dogs you can prevent them from doing uncontrollable and misbehaving behavior. It makes simple thing like greeting your dog or taking them out for a stroll, very easy and enjoyable activities.
Mingling with others is a very important part of a dog’s life. It is very vital for the mental, emotional and physical health of dogs. It contributes significantly in the nurturing and upbringing of your dogs. They need to understand how to react and behave towards other dogs and pets. It will help them understand acceptable and unacceptable behavior towards other animals and people.
Training can be fun
Dog training can be a fun time for both you and your dogs. It can be a very entertaining practice time that can end with very pleasant results. You can learn new stuffs about your dogs and teach them some fun and stimulating things. It encourages you to enjoy the ownership and company of your dog.
Dog training can be done at home, but if you’re inexperienced in the matter, dog training and obedience schools are the perfect place for you and your dog. It provides an ideal chance for you and your dog to interact with other dogs and dog owners.
The purpose of obedience training is to teach the dogs to be submissive and to do everything they are commanded to do. It offers an extensive range of tricks, exercises, skills and manners, a dog can acquire. It helps the dog owners to understand the normal dog behavior.
It is equally important to keep yourself updated about latest dog training methods and send your dogs to refresh their lessons. Obedience training school always introduces new things in their dog training course material. There are always new things for your dogs to learn and new things for you to understand about nature of your dogs.
If you're interested in finding a dog trainer, you can always submit a free search request to www.myezbz.com.
A change to routine can be anxiety inducing for kids. Parents can respond to this by understanding it will be stressful for their children and planning accordingly. There are many things that can be done prior to the school season starting to help gradually accustom your child to the idea of going back to school. Start by discussing the positive aspects of going back to school a few weeks before school begins. Remember the the good times from past school years can help frame school in a positive light for your child and can help them look forward to the experience instead of dreading it.
Parents can also helps their children prepare for school ahead of time by adjusting schedules prior to the beginning of the school year. Typically in summer, kids tend to wake up later in the day and go to bed later at night than is possible during the school year.
Again, this should be started a few weeks before school resumes. Start sending your kids to bed a few minutes earlier, and waking them up earlier each day, until they are back on their school's schedule. By doing this gradually, the shift will be less of a shock to them when they go back to school.
For younger kids, it can also be helpful to visit the classroom before school starts. This can particularly ease the experience for kids who are just starting school and may not know what to expect, but is also helpful for kids who have moved recently, and are anxious about starting a new school. This will give your kids the opportunity to adjust to their new surrounding prior to the chaos of the first day of school. Contact your school ahead of time, so you can ensure your child's teacher will be there to introduce themselves.
Another way to help your kids adjust to going back to school is to be mindful of your own stress and expectations. Parents may feel stress related to their children returning to school for a variety of reasons. It may be feelings of sadness tied to the loss of precious time with children, or anxiety when recalling a child's past struggles with classroom performance. When children sense their parents are stressed, it can increase their own anxiety. Parents can manage this by having an attitude of mindfulness regarding their concerns for the upcoming year. Be aware of your stress and acknowledge it, and it will be easier to control.
The back to school season is a time of change and transition, and with change comes anxiety. However, parents can moderate the stress of the transition by preparing their children before school starts, and by addressing their own concerns in a productive way. It also helpful to keep in mind the old adage "this too shall pass" when dealing with stress over transitions. Before long, your kids will be caught up in school and friends, and time in the classroom will be routine once more.
What Kids With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Need:
These are all important for developing a healthy body and mind which are especially important for those affected by ADHD.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables are well known sources of tons of vitamins and minerals that not only kids but adults need to have in order to maintain a healthy body. These are great to have on hand as little snacks as the human body will often crave vitamins that it need which can often just be confused for sugar cravings. These cravings can be amplified by ADHD so keeping them to a minimum is a must.
Whole grains contain tons of vitamins and minerals including fiber which are important for young growing bodies.
Protein is important for growing strong muscles and tissue. Protein is often found in red meat, poultry, and fish. But try to avoid processed food which can contain tons of other chemicals and far less protein than normal foods.
Fat is often targeted as an enemy in every single diet on the planet. Although too much fat is bad for obvious reasons, the human body actually needs certain types of fat such as: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids
Foods That You Need To Avoid:
Although not much research has been done into specific foods that can cause increases in symptoms of ADHD, there have been several studies that have pointed out general groups that should be avoided by kids with ADHD. By avoiding these foods you may notice some symptoms decrease or go away completely.
Avoid anything with caffeine in it for starters. Caffeine will only put your child's brain into overdrive and make them more hyperactive.
Avoid foods with artificial food coloring in them such as many of the products that are often marketed toward children. These have been known to cause hyperactivity and jumpiness in many children.
Saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans fats are some of the bad fats that should be avoided unlike the healthy fats talked about above. These can cause obesity and high cholesterol which will discourage movement which is important for children.
Without being able to move around, children's hyperactivity will remain in their brain and make it harder for them to focus rather than "get it out" as physical activity.
Avoid processed foods like fast food that will often contain tons of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats that will be awful for your child's diet.
How to Snack Smart:
In order to keep your child on a healthy diet, it's important to make sure that it's easy for them to access healthy foods. Keep some of the following on hand at all times and you will have a health food loving kid on your hands.
-Real fruit, pre-sliced and packaged into Ziploc bags
-Whole Grain Chips
-Pre-sliced Veggies with Ranch or Hummus
-Whole Grain Cereals
Some Other Tips:
Make sure to keep a regular schedule with meals and snacks planned out for specific times. This type of routine is really important for kids with ADHD and will help make this change easier.
Stick with it! Change will definitely be hard at first but with a little practice you will start to see results. Good Luck!
If you need help finding a nutritionist or specific food item, you can always submit a free search request to myEZBZ.com or the EZBZ App!
Remember to Keep Your Pets Cool and Hydrated Especially Throughout the Hot Weather.
Just like us humans, our pets experience and get affected by the hot weather. It is, therefore, important to remember to keep your dog, cat, or any other pet cool and well hydrated throughout. Every time you take a glass of water, you should check to see whether your pets’ bowl has water. Every time you look for a shade to cool off, remember to take your pet with you.
Here are 7 Tips to Help You Take Good Care of Your Pets During the Hot Weather
- Trim Your Long-Haired Pets But Not Entirely.
Shaving your pets helps in cooling them down, but still, the pets’ coat is essential in protecting them from sunburn and also overheating. If the hair is long, trim it, but do not shave it entirely. Instead, brush your pets more often to remove the loose fur and prevent overheating.
- Beat the Sun
This is easy. If you are used to taking your pets for a walk during the day, you can reschedule and start taking them out in early mornings before the sunrise or late in the evening after the sunset.
- Walk or Sit Under Some Shade.
At times, you are forced to go out even if the sun is too hot. However, remember to keep your pet out of direct sunlight. You might be wearing some shoes, but your pet will have none. You might also be in some sunglasses and some sun blocking creams while your pets will just be bare. Find some shade for them.
- Leave Your Pets at Home
It’s true you love your pets, and they love you back. It is also true that you enjoy each other’s company, but at times, the weather might not allow it. Driving or walking with your dog while it’s panting all through is not healthy at all.
- Keep them Hydrated
As I said before, keep checking that bowl. Make sure it has enough, fresh, cool, and clean water throughout. Your pets can’t speak, so don’t forget to check the water bowl.
- Know Your Pets Breeds and Their Conditions
If your pets are old, overweight or have some heart or lung conditions, they might not be able to pant effectively which may make them vulnerable to hot weather conditions. Also, if your pet has a flat-shaped face such as in the case of Pugs, Persian cats and Pekingese among others, you should keep them more hydrated as they too can’t pant effectively. This makes them more susceptible to heat stroke.
- Get deeper details about your pets’ body behavior under different conditions.
This is important and can save your pets live. Basically, there are two major reasons why your pets will get overheated; the pets' upper respiratory systems and hyperthermia. Hyperthermia will occur when your pets are trapped in any environment that overpowers their ability to cool themselves, for example inside a car. The second reason, upper respiratory systems, occurs to pets with a compromised upper airway. An example here is a bulldog or any acquired condition such as paralysis of the larynx. This may make the process of removing heat from the pets’ body through panting impossible, and they may end up generating more heat instead.
These seven tips will help you in keeping your pets cool and hydrated in the hot weather conditions. Enjoy!
If you need anything for your pets, whether a dog walker, pet sitter, groomer, veterinarian or pet supply you can always submit a free request to myEZBZ.com of via the EZBZ app!
It takes only a small glimps of the news and mommy blogs to realize our neighborhoods don't feel safe anymore, with all of the crimes against even the smallest of kids, its easy to feel the need to be with our children at all times to protect them. But, this gets difficult to accomplish while still getting our own work done and responsibilities taken care of. Too often, busy and tired parents respond to this conflict by plugging the child into the TV, Xbox or the computer. While these can be educational and entertaining, they lack opportunities for in-person socialization, something that has been proven as critical for development. It seems that everyone has heard of the child who wasn't socialized. You know the one -- the kid who won't share, who doesn't know how to play with other kids at all and who needs to be with mommy or daddy all the time. Childhood socialization is a way to avoid those things. This is true for only children as well as those with siblings. Children who are in daycare are more exposed to socialization lessons and opportunities than their stay-at-home peers, but it is still much like interactions with siblings. The best way, in this writer's experience, to give a child a well-rounded socialization experience is to vary the children that he or she plays with.
Why vary the playmates? We all know how comfortable we can become with our best friends and those that we interact with regularly. We do not stretch our experiences until something new is in our world. For our children, this is playmates, and the best way to approach playmates that most parents are comfortable with is the playdate, or the "mommy and me" class. The next question to come up is how to find and set up these interactions. Many of the playdates that evolve tend to be with classmates, or the children of parents' friends. These are usually things that the children are asking, or nagging, for, which makes it easy to remember, as long as the parents have contact information for one another. Mommy and me classes are not usually as easy to find, but to the parent who is looking, they are still many places. The value of a class over a playdate is that the class is organized to teach the child and the parent a skill or a topic, and there often exists a fluidity of other family involvement, meaning that it is not always the same participants. The child (and the parents) are always meeting new families to interact with.
Childhood socialization is a facet of childhood that follows every person into their adult life and helps to "color" how the adult version of the former child will interact with others. Those who were at home and with parents and siblings with very little outside interaction learned well to interact with that select group of people, but are often unable to form more substantial bonds with those that they come across in later life. We need to help our children to socialize, and it is best to start at a young age. Two of the "safest" ways to encourage this, as well as to be able to choose those that the child socializes with are through playdates and "mommy and me" classes. Try it! You will probably like it!
When baby Dan came, the relationship between my husband and I took a drastic turn. This is certainly not news; we have heard success and failure stories time and again, from both our extended families and friends. My husband Jerry and I often dismissed the gloomy cautionary tales; we often shook it off and said 'We will be different.' However, with Jerry chasing deadlines for his marketing projects and me managing my own handmade jewelry business from home, things got a bit out of hand. A couple of months ago, when Dan was six months old, Jerry and I sat down for our own 'professional review' of our performances as new parents.
It came to our attention that baby Dan was doing fine, but our relationship wasn’t. Not centered merely around the (lack of) fun time in the bedroom, Jerry and I were having increasingly frequent arguments; some ending up in crying fits on my part and others silent treatment on Jerry's part. The calm and reasonable talk we managed to have two months ago has proven extremely helpful at resolving our issues; we came up with a few pointers for ourselves. I thought it would be helpful to share our story for our fellow new parents. Remember, you are not alone!
Communication is key
This statement might be as cliché and overused as it can get, but it is a cliché because it is true. Communication takes on a whole new level of meaning when baby Dan cries his lungs out at 3 a.m. for his night feeding or changing of his diapers. On many nights, our overly exhausted bodies make following the tried and true fundamentals of good communication an Everest size feat! It is difficult not to keep score and too easy to make up excuses and accusations when your heads are throbbing and eyes burning from lack of sleep. This goes to all baby and non-baby related tasks in the household. Jerry and I, being organizers by nature, draw up schedule for each week and stick to it. We discuss our individual plans every Sunday night and talk through the whole thing before going to bed. Any amendments to the master schedule must be discussed 24 hours in advance. It may sound rigid, but organizing our home similar to a business has been working for us. It's really a matter of establishing processes that fit your personalities as people and parents.
If not careful, however, the weekly discussion can turn into a heated argument over whom does more with plenty of finger-pointing. When communicating frustration or negotiating, I've found it is important to put myself in Jerry's shoes before making demands; Jerry does similar. We avoid attacking each other, especially with back-handed comments. We also leave the ego out of it, as parents we are officially equal in our responsibilities. Remember this isn't really about winning an argument, that misdirected focus doesn't help a family flourish in the long run.
You (and your relationship) are as important as the kids
Often times, it is easy for new parents to forget about themselves and their partner as they put the children as the top priority. Not only does this lead to unhealthy and unnecessary feelings of jealousy and abandonment, it destroys the parents’ relationship and their individual self-esteem.
I can still remember that moment of pure horror when I looked at the mirror three months after giving birth. I had basically let myself go for the most part of it; and it took me a while to fully notice the shaggy split ends on my head, the whole new set of wrinkles, and my alarmingly jaded look. It does not take much time to schedule an appointment with the hairdresser or hit the gym once or twice a week for a yoga lesson. With better physical and mental well-being, parents can much better cater to the needs of their baby, and as importantly, partner. So do not hesitate to call up a babysitter for an hour or two if a bit of exercise or a little pampering on a spa visit allow you to return to your child and your job fresh and vitalized.
Try a little tenderness
Nothing inspires and renews your passion as good quality time together. Jerry and I decide to set aside every Friday night and Saturday morning as our alone time, when we can have a little date night or simply order some Chinese and curl up on the couch watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother for the tenth time. It was difficult for me at first to be romantic again, after giving birth, I was not feeling exactly as sexy as I used to be. It took a bit of time and effort to spend time together, but it is all worth it by the end.
More importantly, small gestures go a long way. A ten-minute shoulder massage before bed can be both relaxing and sensual at the same time. After our little talk two months ago, Jerry and I introduced a positive-incentive system to our household task scheduling. Instead of constantly nagging and complaining, a little appreciation by making tuna casserole for dinner (Jerry’s favorite dish) is in order when Jerry volunteers to take over dish washing duty for the night. Just be spontaneous and have some fun with it!
If you need help with juggling the various responsibilities of your home and expanding family, remember you can always submit a request to www.myezbz.com for assistance!
Years ago when going through a divorce, I read a couple of books by financial author David Bach, including Automatic Millionaire and Smart Women Finish Rich. During that period of significant life change, I felt it was a valuable moment to regroup and look ahead financially. While I found a lot of the information in David Bach’s books useful, I also found myself with a recurring question: why didn’t I learn any of this when I was younger?
There are a lot of things we are taught in school, other things we learn from our parents and yet many more we pick up on our own. In my case, learning about money and investing came by way of the latter. This isn’t to say I had bad parents, because I didn’t. My parents did a phenomenal job with so many things, including stretching a dollar about as far as is possible. The two critical components I believe I missed out on however, were developing a true understanding of the value of money and the many reasons to save, rather than spend. My parents were very generous and that generosity insulated me from gaining a real understanding of both. While I watched my parents struggle from rags to riches, throughout it all, I never wanted for anything. They found ways to take care of me and make my childhood fun filled even when struggling to pay the most basic of bills. My mother was something of a money magician, clever and capable of making it appear seemingly out of nowhere.
As a parent now, I want to be sure my daughter has a different experience. While I’m equally generous with her, I don’t insulate her as much. I let her know about the limits of a paycheck and the many choices a person needs to make when supporting herself. While she is only 10, I’ve already instilled a very important lesson:
We spend first on the things we need, then we can spend of the things we want.
I’ve reinforced to her that each time we spend, we are making active choices and reducing the availability of money for the next experience; I let her participate in the choices that directly impact her. For example, recently she wanted weekend music and swimming lessons. While I was more than happy to encourage these experiences, the money I’d spend on them each Saturday matched what I’d typically spend on the same day’s family fun. She needed to realize this and understand we’d have to cut back on other things. While of course she felt the pinch, she also seemed to appreciate the experiences a little bit more than she might have otherwise. She recognized two things: first, that these activities had a real value and second, that she had the ability to assess whether the value was greater or less than something else she wanted. In the end, she decided to re-up one of the lessons and forgo the other in favor of something else.
Recognizing her ability to make smart decisions with the money we spent together, I decided she was ready for a weekly allowance. Though, rather than requiring my daughter do chores to earn it, I gave her another simple requirement:
Just be responsible.
I let my daughter know that responsibility is something we all must actively take charge of as we grow. I defined what I felt it meant to be a responsible 10 year old. It included things such as making her bed, brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, flushing the toilet after use, picking up her clothes and toys, and clearing her dishes, etc. These weren’t chores I explained, she didn’t have to do anything for anyone else; she only had to do very typical everyday things to take care of herself. As long as she was prepared to take that responsibility seriously, she should also have the opportunity to make her own choices with some money. So, she earns a small amount each week for this and I only rarely have to remind her of these things. It has been a joy to see the great sense of pride and independence she feels every time I hand over her allowance.
Taking this even a step further, right after initiating the allowance I introduced my daughter to the concept of saving by opening a bank account for her, with an initial $20 deposit. I got her an old-fashioned, traditional passbook account, which lets her quickly see the balance grow with each subsequent deposit. She loved it. But, she did some quick math in her head and didn’t see the point of sticking her money in the bank, rather than in her wallet. Good point, I realized! After all, it isn’t as if there are enticing interest rates or significant incentives for a child to save for a rainy day. So, I developed an incentive. I created what I call the mommy match, which is akin to an employer’s 401k match.
I told my daughter I would match whatever she put in her bank account, dollar for dollar, for the first year she has the account. The only requirement I gave her was that she needs to leave the money in there. I explained this would be her long-term savings account and that such savings are for more significant events. I told her that adults save for emergencies, retirement or to buy a home and I reminded her that I went through a period of unemployment but was able to continue supporting us because I had my own long-term savings account. I let her know that as a child she doesn’t have to worry about these things but, one day she might want to buy something very expensive, or to take a special trip. A light bulb went off and this made sense to her. She was up for it and every week she makes an active choice whether she will deposit her allowance for long term, or keep it in her wallet. Sometimes she surprises me and hands me several weeks’ worth of allowances for her long-term savings. Or, she makes a rule for herself that anytime she gets a $20 bill it will automatically go into her bank account.
Whether all of this will have a lasting impact on my daughters understanding of and value of money remains to be seen. As they say, time will tell. For now however, I like to think I’ve given her the initial building blocks to a strong financial foundation.
Nearly every kid on earth looks forward to a birthday party thrown in their honor. For some kids, any party will do; just make sure to have cake and the standard three Gs: guests, games and of course, gifts! But for others, evolving interests drive the party requirements and many parents feel like pulling their hair out as the requests increase proportionately to their children's ages. Here are some tips for keeping it stress-free.
Nearly every kid on earth looks forward to a birthday party thrown in their honor. For some kids, any party will do; just make sure to have cake and the standard three Gs: guests, games and of course, gifts! But for others, evolving interests drive the party requirements and many parents feel like pulling their hair out as the requests increase proportionately to their children's ages. Here are some tips for keeping it stress-free.
Plan far enough in advance, 4-6 months
Many parents remember growing up and planning their own birthday parties the month before they occurred. Invitations were handed out at school or mailed for summer parties and all went smoothly. There was often one parent on mission control who was home enough to manage things; there was only a single way to RSVP and guest nearly always did; and kids lives weren't heavily scheduled. Nowadays families are busier than ever, so reserving 4-6 months of advance planning, preserves sanity.
Pick a date and time wisely
Some parents believe the majority of kids will show up regardless of the date and time selected, but that isn't always the case. Plenty of parents have learned this the hard way. Choose a date and start and end times to enable the best opportunity for guest to share in the occasion. The party doesn't need to be scheduled for the exact birth date, or even the same week. Try and avoid observed religious holidays of potential guests, high travel periods and times when team games are likely to occur.
Choose a theme, make sure it's one you can execute, then stick with it
Kids interests change with wind. That doesn't mean the party theme has to. Pick a theme your child loves and run with it. As long as it isn't too immature or fleeting, chances are they'll still like it enough four months later. Resist the urge to change to the latest big thing. As musician Rick Danko use to say 'go with your first thoughts, they're usually your best thoughts.' Whatever theme you pick, just do the research and make sure you can execute it. Some character themed parties can be significantly harder to pull off than parents realize!
Figure out exactly what you need at the start
This may seem obvious, but many parents don't give it much thought until the last minute. If planning to use a venue, find out exactly what is included with your reservation; There are many places that supply everything except the cake and party favors. If you're doing it at home or the venue doesn't supply anything except for the space, give thought to what you will need in the way of food, decorations, entertainment, favors, etc.
Make a master list with 4 main components :
1. Things to schedule
2. Things to buy
3. Things to make or assemble
4. Guests to invite
Lists are among the best time management tool for busy parents and the four categories above cover everything you need for planning a party. By organizing items in this manner, you can quickly cross things off and move onto the next priority. It also makes sense to add in deadlines or timeline lines to complete, to really keep yourself on schedule.
Simplify wherever you can
Unless you're on an uber-tight budget, it can be a wise to outsource some of your party needs. Planning on serving lunch? Pick up ready made pasta or pizza, or even better, have it delivered! Not an adept baker? Buy a cake. It's likely to cost a similar amount once you add up the cost of ingredients and value of saved time. Planning on making favor bags? Consider skipping them in favor of giving the kids small gift cards to iTunes, or bulk purchased movie tickets. They're cool, save time, cost about the same and kids love them!
Enlist friends and family for help when needed
The expression 'it takes a village to raise a child' isn't far from the truth. If there are friends and family available to help or lean on, take advantage of the offers and then repay in kind at a later date. No parent is going to be knighted or sainted for being a martyr for their child's birthday celebration.
EZBZ understands how stressful planning a child's birthday party can be and we would be more than happy to help you find the things you need. Just submit a request for whatever it is via www.myezbz.com or the EZBZ App