Categories
Parenting

How Entertaining Kids During Summer Vacation Works

Summer Vacation. Some parents dread it, some parents look forward to it. Me personally, I enjoy looking forward to summer vacation, because I can bring my son to different places that are only available during the summer. This is the time to come up with ideas for entertaining kids.

I know there are parents out there that dread it because they have to think about what to do with their kids during this time. This time meaning the inevitable summer vacation, the break from school.

Loads of parents have to figure out camps, daycares, and activities during this time so that they can also continue working. Soon, like next year, I will have to start thinking about what I can do with my son during those breaks from school.

There are many different ways to entertain your kids during the summer and some are no-cost. I will try to keep this post as cost-efficient as possible.

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Entertaining with Outdoor Games

One way to entertain your kids is with games. Be it board games, lawn games or even pool games. There are many varieties of games.

One pool game you can play is Marco Polo. Marco Polo is a hide-and-seek game of sorts in the pool. One person is Marco and the rest swim around avoiding the person who is it. The person who is it shout or says “Marco” and the rest of the players shout or say “Polo”. The It person then has to find the other players with their eyes closed while continually saying “Marco”.

With lawn games you have a variety of different games, from lawn darts to badmintion. My husband and I love to play badmintion together, however now that we have our son, we try to find games that includes our child. Those games include lawn darts, lawn bowling, bean bags/cornhole, and as well giant jenga!

I will admit I have only tried the original Jenga as well as the earthquake Jenga. I will talk more about these in the board games/indoor games.

There are a lot of different varieties of games that you can play outside with friends, family and your kids.

Entertaining with Indoor Games

The number of indoor games is endless. From board games to card games, and building blocks, you are going to be able to entertain your children all summer long. The best thing about indoor games is that you can also play them during the rainy months as well.

If you and your spouse are gamers, there are multiplayer games, from Minecraft to Mario Party on the Nintendo Switch, as well as Little Big Planet on PS4.

I love board games. My husband and I collect Monopoly games, and we have around 10-12 of them. The joys of collecting different Monopoly games is that every game has different variations of the rules. Our favourite is Gamer Monopoly Mario Edition.

You have to go around the board collecting tokens, buying property and every time you pass Go, you have to battle an enemy. It is so fun. The game is also really quick compared to the other Monopoly’s.

A few years ago, before my son, my husband and I bought Jenga Quake. You play the game like regular Jenga, however, you have to do it quickly before the board that the blocks sit on, quakes. If you have anxiety, then I don’t recommend this game.

When having younger kids, like preschoolers and younger, though you could also do this with older kids as well, learning games can be made fun. Whether its through matching to build-up brain muscle, or math equations, you can make the process seem more like a game, than actual learning.

There are different variety of games that you can get off of Amazon or even in store at your local Target or Walmart. Yeti in My Spaghetti is a new game based off of a sticks and marbles game I used to play when I was younger. You have to pull the noodles without dropping the Yeti.

Imagination and Crafts

Every child has imagination. They go through the different phases of pretending their stuffed animals talk to them, or that the floor is lava. It’s amazing to see what they come up with. My son loves to pretend that he works with Autobots like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.

When making up stories, use their imagination to see where the story goes, make puppets with a little craft and have a puppet show, or even read stories to them to build up that imagination more.

Not every child will want to do crafts, some would rather just sit on the floor, watch TV or play with their toys. Do not despair! Its just a phase, some toddlers are all for getting messy, using imagination to create something new out of the craft supplies you have.

Entertaining them with crafts is defiantly the way to go. Making little brown paper bag puppets, to sock puppets, as well as making kites if you have the right supplies.

Every year we have the same summer vacation. Some places start summer vacation early and start school in august, but here wear I live, summer vacation for schools start after June 27 until September 7 ( or after depending on Labor Day). Entertaining kids doesn’t have to be a chore, I know you got this Parents!!!

Categories
Parenting

How to Keep Cool During Summer

Here are some awesome ways to keep cool during those hot summer days. From wading in the pool to drinking some ice-cold lemonade, you’re sure to stay cool.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This allows me, fueled by coffee, to keep updating the site. You may learn more here.

We all love the summer, but definitely not the heat waves. Me personally, I would love a nice cool summer on a beach sipping Alabama Slammers (will link once available). These are adult drinks that I have personally become fond of.

As a mom, I would truly enjoy a nice big backyard for my son to romp around in. It would have a pool, a small little jungle gym (as he’s getting into tumbling and climbing at the time of this post), and a great 2 level patio.

Look at me, dreaming already. I am sitting in my small 2 bedroom basement suite, with the air conditioner going, typing for all of you.

When I think of ways to keep cool, I think of sprinklers and ice cream, as well as a dip in the pool. However, it is my duty to share with you the best ways to keep cool with your little ones.

How to Keep Cool Tip 1:

Now, when you have little ones, you’re going to try everything you can to make sure they are hydrated after a long day in the sun. I know that trying to keep them entertained inside the house on a beautiful day will be tough. However, don’t despair!

Don’t keep them inside, they need vitamin D. A good dose of the vitamin to help keep those blues away when winter arrives. This tip is actually a product that I use for my son when we have access to a backyard. It is a sprinkler blowup ball that connects to your hose.

How to keep cool

The times we used it at my mother’s old place before she moved was great. He was shy at first, confused, but once we nudged him in, it was great!

The best thing about Amazon is that they have so many different options to choose from! We chose the smaller one as the backyard we had was small.

Tip 2:

If you love to dip your feet in some cool water, that’s great! This tip is for you. I am actually suggesting taking a dip in the pool. If you are like me, we have to travel to our pools.

How to keep cool swimming
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

However, where I live in Surrey, BC, our outdoor pools are free to enter. They open between the end of May to about the middle of June, as all the kids are getting ready for summer vacation.

But, if you have your own in-ground or above-ground pool, that’s great as well. As long as you practice water safety with your kids, you’re golden.

Pop some pool floats in, grab a drink and swim around with your kiddos. Maybe you can teach them how to swim.

Amazon has some really nice inflatable pools like this one or a more advanced for more stability.

Tip 3:

One way to cool down is to make your own slushies or frozen drinks. There are many different recipes on the web with different flavors.

I love to make a trip up to the gas station to grab an ice-cold Slurpee to drink on the way home. However, I don’t always have the extra $2 to grab one.

That’s why I will be starting to make them at home, especially since my son has started to like them as well.

Coca-Cola Slushies

  • 1 can ice cold coca-cola
  • 1 can decarbonated coca-cola

Freeze the decarbonated coca-cola into ice cubes. Then in a blender, blend together the cola cubes and the ice-cold can of cola together.

You can also make it with regular ice cubes if you wish. This recipe can be intertwined with different flavors and you can always make your own layers.

Tip 4:

Ice cream is the most delicious item in the world and every country has its own versions as well. When it’s my husband’s payday, my son and I like to travel to where Kiefer is working, and get gelato from a local gelato place in Vancouver on E 1st street called Amato Gelato.

They have 72 rotating flavours, and so far combined, Kiefer and I have tried 6 different flavours, while our son has tried 2 flavours. I may be lactose intolerant, but the ice cream is worth the sacrifice!

You can also make your own ice cream at home if you have the tools. Amazon has this really cool ball that makes ice cream when you play and throw it around. It’s called Softshell Ice cream ball by Yaylabs. You add cream, flavorings, and sugar in one end, rock salt, and ice in the other end. Kick, throw, play with the ball for 20 minutes and you have ice cream.

Tip 5:

You can also make a day trip to your local beach or lake for a day of fun. Here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, we have many different lakes and beaches. Up in the Okanagan, we have our only desert in Canada with Lake Ogopogo. I used to go there every summer as a kid with my foster family, for some much-needed time away from the city.

If you have time and someone to watch your kids, you can also take your girlfriends to the local wineries in the Okanagan. There is also a fun little place called Rattlesnake Canyon that has mini golf, rides as well as their own little ice cream parlor.

There are even little lakes with slides in the middle of them. Lake Ogopogo, named after the legendary myth of the Ogopogo monster, has kayak rentals, and boat rentals. If you stayed at the Holiday Inn right there, you got free kayak rentals if you produced a room key.

Across the lake, there is even a campground. I don’t know much about the campground as I stayed in the hotel, but I do know that they have their own kayak rentals.

Tip 6:

Air Conditioning! These awesome little devices love to keep small spaces cool. We have a Danby portable A/C and it keeps our small approximately 750 sq ft place nice and cool. The best thing about a portable a/c is that you can move it anywhere you wish, as long as it has access to a window and an electrical outlet.

The window a/c is a different story. You have to situate it properly in the window with the proper stand. There is a window a/c out there that is designed to sit in your window without having the proper stand like this one.

These are just a few of my favourite tips to keep cool here in BC. How do you keep cool in your country? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Parenting

Tantrums And How To Solve Them

When a child throws tantrums, we all (I believe) look around embarrassed on how our child behaves. There are reasons why a child throws a tantrum, but there are ways around them, as well as trying our best to solve them.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This allows me, fueled by coffee, to keep updating the site. You may learn more here.

Photo by Ba Phi from Pexels

Ah the terror of tantrums, you never know when they are going to happen.

I deal with it on a daily basis with my son. You see, in the past, we have always bought a toy to keep him happy. Now every time we go to Walmart, he expects a toy regardless of his previous actions.

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The Story:

The trips to Walmart used to be happy and carefree, but a few days ago, it was not. We had told him that he could only get a toy if he was behaving, but he wasn’t.

This resulted in a massive blowout. We took the toy away, which resulted in him screaming his eyes out, falling on the floor, limp noodle style. I was so embarrassed.

The Response:

So we picked him up, grabbed what we needed, and headed back upstairs to self checkout. While my husband paid for everything, I took him outside, into the mall and sat him on the floor.

He kept crying that he wanted that toy. However, we told him that because of his behaviour, he wasn’t getting it. Cue the waterworks, and cue the picking up again after my husband came to meet me. We ended up walking through the mall to get to the bus loop.

Lukas, was twisting and turning, in our arms, putting his legs up when we adjusted him, hitting us, etc.

When we got outside the mall, we placed him on a bench, and waited for him to stop. We also had to catch the bus at the same time. Kiefer picked him up, handed me the groceries and carried him to the bus stop.

After we got to the bus stop, Lukas had worn himself out, that he started to pass out. As we were walking home, he slept.

During these last few months, Lukas has been refusing naps, which make him more prone to tantrums.

I am not saying that I was a perfect parent, no one is perfect, because perfect doesn’t exist. There are parents out there, who do worse than what my husband and I did that day.

There are some parents, who will not agree with me either. That’s fine. This is my opinion.

In Reality:

A lot of people are going to have their own different opinions on how to solve tantrums, but some of them are not good ideas. When someone hears the word tantrum, they think of children throwing themselves on the floor, because they didn’t get their way.

There are different kinds of tantrums too, such as:

  • Fatigue or frustration tantrums
  • Attention-seeking/demanding
  • Refusal/avoidance
  • Rage tantrums

Fatigue or Frustration Tantrums

When a toddler or preschooler is trying something new, or has done the same thing over and over without results, they will become frustrated. As a child get older, they start to refuse their middle naps, which will cause them to become over tired as the day goes on. There is a way to solve this as well.

In order to solve frustration tantrums, you need to be able to help them solve their problem and continue to show them how to solve that problem. When you encourage or offer help, it shows to your child that whenever there is a difficult path, they can count on you for support.

Solving fatigue tantrums, is different. It might be more difficult, as your child has been refusing their naps, but you might offer them a rest period. It isn’t a nap, but a chance to wind down and relax, to regain their energy. If they fall asleep, they fall asleep.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

Attention-Seeking or Demanding Tantrums

Imagine this, you are cooking dinner for yourself and guests, when your child comes in and demands you to play with them. You want to give them the attention, however it isn’t possible in the current situation.

When you tell them no, they start to get upset and continue to demand more. Then, it becomes a power struggle. You wanting to get dinner finished, and them wanting you to pay attention to them.

To solve this issue is to flat out tell them no. Then, when they continue this tantrum, all you have to do is tell them that you love them and place them in a safe place for them to finish. After they finish, you can offer to talk it out.

Refusal or Avoidance Tantrums

Refusal or avoidance tantrums are when you ask your child to do something and they say no. Sometimes its cute when they say it, but other times its a hindrance. Say you are telling them its bedtime, its abrupt, doesn’t give them any warning at all. Children during this age love reminders on how long it is until it is time for their next task, kinda like routines.

To solve this one, you need to avoid asking yes/no questions and give them a heads-up. Kinda like “5 minutes until we leave.”

Rage Tantrums

These tantrums are when they act out kicking, hitting, and screaming. These are tough to deal with especially in public. the story about my son and his tantrum was a mixture of this type and demanding tantrum. Lucky for us, we had to deal with it in public.

The best case scenario in dealing with this tantrum, is not to give in and give attention. Remove them from the situation and try to give them a hug.

This is a method of gentle parenting (here I will post a link to the post I will write about gentle parenting). You are essentially holding them and allowing them to finish what they are doing while also giving positive affirmation.

Tell them it is okay to feel this way, that they have a right to their emotions.

In Conclusion

We, as parents, have to make sure that our children know how to regulate their emotions. Their minds are still brand new, learning as they go along, and any information they retain has to be repeated multiple times. They learn from us.

Categories
Mental Health

How to Accept Mental Health

As a parent who is home 24/7, and struggling with mental health, I found it hard to accept that I needed help. When being a new mom dealing with postpartum depression, or even struggling with potentially loosing your job during the global pandemic, its tough to admit that you need help.

I am in no means a medical professional. If you need help, please contact your medical professional.This post may contain affiliate links, where I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This helps me keep providing you with content.

When I first became a mom to my wonderful daughter, whom I gave up for adoption, I didn’t know about postpartum depression, nor did I know anything about the real world, being a former foster child. It took me talking to my mom about what was happening, and her telling me that I needed help.

You can just tell I am exhausted here.

It was July 2014, I was a new adult fresh out of foster care, having no care in the world, and just doing what I want with no consequences. My mom was concerned with my habits, as was I. I went to the doctor and talked to him about what was going on. He admitted that I was struggling with mental health.

He placed me on my meds, and off I went. Years go by and I am still struggling with mental health. I am constantly lying to my significant other, cheating, and spending money that I didn’t have. My mom and husband like to say, “I was living in a champagne world, on a koolaid budget,”

I constantly refused to talk about my problems. There are signs to knowing when you need help and I am here to help you get there.

Step One: Just Cry it Out

It’s okay to cry. Society has taught us that women are seen as emotional and unstable, whereas men are taught that its unmanly and unsightly to cry. It makes them look weak. To hell with that logic. Just because you cry, does not make you weak, it makes you stronger, it shows that you have emotions. Your emotions are valid. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise!

Take a pillow, put your head in it and scream your frustrations out. Cry in the shower if thats your thing. I do it when I am alone. At a young age, I was shown that my feelings were not valid, and I brought that with me into adulthood. Even now, I struggle with letting my emotions show to my now-husband, then-boyfriend, Kiefer. Once you feel you have had enough, proceed to the next step.

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Step 2: Talk with a friend, etc.

If you feel like you need to talk to someone before taking the big leap and talking to a mental health professional, find someone who is your rock, who will validate your feelings and push you to make that leap. It may be tough to find someone you can talk to, because you may feel like no one is there, or that no one will help. However, just knowing that there is a friend, spouse, family member, etc, out there.

Photo by Hannah Busingon Unsplash

I struggle a lot with taking to my husband about what I am feeling on a day to day basis. So, I just tell him “nothing is wrong’ or that “I’m fine,” but he doesn’t accept it. He always pushes me to keep talking about my feelings, even when I don’t want to.

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Step 3: Journal Your Feelings

Now you may choose not to talk with a friend, and that’s okay. You can always document your feelings in another form. Like writing, drawing, or any form of art. When I am not talking about my feelings, I tend to search the web for other journal ideas, or even journal shopping therapy. I shop around for different journals where I may purchase to probably write in it.

Photo by Alysha Roslyon Unsplash

I use Amazon for all my shopping needs for journalling and I found the cutest journal in it, as well as some cute pens to go with it. Journaling isn’t for everyone. You may find that another method is best for you, and that’s alright. You do you. There isn’t anything wrong about that.

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Step 4: See Your Mental Health Professional

It may be tough to pick up that phone to schedule an appointment, but I want you to take a deep breath, pick up that phone and dial it. I encourage you to try your hardest to make that appointment. When I first made my appointment, I was scared. I didn’t want it to happen, but I took a breath, pulled up my big girl pants and took that leap.

If you need help, you can always ask someone you trust to make that appointment for you. Just make sure that it is someone you have talked to before about how you are feeling.

Step 5: Attend Your Appointment

Everyone’s mental health appointment with their doctor is going to be different, based on their symptoms. Mine was just me talking about how I was feeling down, and sporadic, and recently it was about me constantly sleeping. Neither was healthy.

Sleeping wise, I was going to bed at 10 pm pacific time, waking up to send my husband off to work at 5:30 am pacific, then going back to sleep until my son woke me up at 8 am pacific. After I dropped him off at daycare, I would then walk home, curl back in bed and sleep until 11 am, then fall back asleep and sleep until 1/2 pm.

Like I said, unhealthy, am I right? Your appointment will go based on what you talk to your doctor about. Honestly, it’s always good to be honest with your doctor about what you have been feeling like, because they can decide the best course for you.

Step 6: Applaud Yourself

Congrats, you’ve completed a crucial part of your journey. I am so proud of you! Go get yourself a reward, be it a doughnut, a new book, etc. There are many different parts of this journey, but we will get there when it is time. I love to reward myself with new books, as that is one of my hobbies.

Let me know in the comments below about your journeys, I would love to hear them.

Categories
Parenting

Parenting with ADHD

Adhd is a mental health disorder that causes above normal levels of hyperactivity and impulsive behaviours. Adhd stand for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There is another one that is similar but without the hyperactivity, called ADD.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. This means that I may or may not earn a commission, at no cost to you. This helps me keep posting awesome content for my readers. I am not a medical professional, if you suspect any problems, please contact your health care professional.

When I first met Kiefer, he let me know that he had ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder(ODD) as well as ADD. I didn’t care because it doesn’t change who he is as a person. Little did we know, we would also be raising a child with potential ADHD.

Now Lukas isn’t diagnosed yet but there were signs that we see and researched that pointed towards it. Not only that, I am undiagnosed as well. So as parents with ADHD/ADD, its difficult to parent.

We get frustrated easily as Lukas defies us at every turn, he has no concept for danger, and is always running off. We had to invest in a harness that straps to his chest, and to our wrist. We would have gotten the wrist tether, however, he was able to pull it off.

In order to keep our little runaway safe, we have to use a harness.

There are many different signs that made us question whether or not he has ADHD. I will explain more about the signs we saw below.

Difficulty Paying Attention

In school-age children, there is signs that may seem normal for toddlers, such as; inability to focus on one activity, trouble completing tasks before getting bored, difficulty listening due to distractions, and problems processing and implementing instructions.

Lukas has many of these. Whenever we try to talk to him about his behaviour, he gets distracted and talking about other things.

We give him one instruction, like cleaning his room, and he gets distracted by a toy or he gets confused when we give him multiple instructions.

Fidgeting and Squirming

  • Being overly fidgety and squirmy
  • Having an inability to sit still for calm activities or having books read to them
  • Talking or making noise excessively
  • Running from toy to toy, or constantly in motion

Looking at Lukas, the only time he is not constantly moving is when he is on his tablet, or he is sleeping.

My son is always talking, and when he doesn’t get a response, he starts screaming or hitting. He will play with one toy then he will get distracted with another toy, and then start playing with the second toy that he got distracted with. Then the cycle continues.

Impulsivity

I believe impulsivity is within everybody. Impulsivity is when you are extremely impatient with someone or when you impulsively buy something. Here are some signs of impulsivity for ADHD:

  • Displaying extreme impatience with others
  • Refusing to wait their turn with other children
  • Interrupting others when they are talking
  • Blurting out comments unnecessarily or not at the right times
  • Have difficulty controlling their emotions
  • Being prone to outbursts
  • Intruding on others playing, rather than asking to join.

When we look at Lukas and the way he acts, it seems like he is being a typical toddler/preschooler. When my husband and I are talking about what the plans are for the weekend or the next day, he loves to interject and put in his two-cents. We do, however, try to include him in our plans about what he wants to do.

Not only that, when one of us is doing something important, like cooking dinner, or even doing some house work, he has to interrupt us by asking a question thats not related to the topic.

Everytime we go to Tim Hortons, we have to wait in line. During the current situation, there are round circle stickers on the floor to help with social distancing, so I ask him to stand on the current circle we are near, but he cannot stay still. He will constantly try to budge through people in line, because he desperately wants his sprinkle donut and apple juice.

Other Signs of ADHD

Like I said before, a lot of these signs can also be very normal for someone of our sons age. These last few signs, helped really point towards ADHD in our son and we will get him tested as soon as possible.

  • Aggressive behaviour when playing
  • Lack of caution with strangers
  • overly bold behaviour
  • endangering oneself, or others due to fearlessness
  • Inability to hop on one foot by age 4

Therefore,

We concluded that our son has ADHD, but we haven’t gotten him diagnosed yet. The doctor and I are keeping a close eye, as well as his daycare teachers. We concluded this because my husband was diagnosed with it at an early age.

If you suspect your child has some of these signs, I highly recommend that you talk to your medical professional.

Categories
Parenting

Breastfeeding Struggles and How to Overcome Them

Ah, breastfeeding. Everyone says it is the best thing for our infants. What no one talks about is the struggles you face as a parent who just pushed a human out, and now have to figure out how to feed it.

Disclaimer: I am in no means a medical professional. If you have any problems, please talk to your medical professional. This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. It helps keep the site running.

When my son was born, I struggled a lot. Every time he fed, it was like someone was stabbing my breast. It hurt. When we were in the hospital, the nurses told me to hold my son in the football hold.

The football hold of breastfeeding

Trust me, it felt so uncomfortable. Then, I would readjust him to find a comfortable position, and the nurses would tell me to go back to that hold, because it was better for the baby. I would tell them it hurt, but no one listened.

Breastfeeding is a struggle in itself. The difficulty latching, the milk not coming down, mastitis, and even when they grow teeth!

Now, I am not saying that I know what its like after 3 months of doing it, because I don’t. I stopped breastfeeding because my doctor didn’t want to put me on birth control while still breastfeeding.

I am going to talk about the different struggles today and how to overcome them in my experience.

Struggle 1: Holding

There are different ways to hold a baby. the football hold (as shown above), the cradle, shoulder hold, bum hold, lap hold, etc. the only way to overcome this struggle is to find whatever way is comfortable to you, and use it. Breastfed babies only are as long as they are getting milk. they know how to breathe, but you have to make sure that you aren’t blocking their only airway while they are eating.

Struggle 2: Cracked nipples

Ah, cracked nipples. Cracked nipples happen when the baby’s position or the latch is poor. When you correct the position or the latch, you can help alleviate the pain.

A way to help sooth the cracked nipples while not breastfeeding, use lanisoh. Its a nipple cream designed to help soothe the nipples, moisturize and the benefit is, you don’t have to wipe it off for the next session!

Its safe for baby to ingest as it doesn’t contain parabens, preservatives, additives or petroleum. Baby won’t notice.

Struggle 3: Mastitis

Do you ever get heavy sore, and hot breasts? This happens when a milk duct is clogged that it causes a back up which leads to infection. It hurts, like a son of a b***h.

There are ways around it, as well as handling it when it happens. Making sure that all the milk is let out is one way, but also making sure that you feed your baby on time.

I know it sometimes is hard or not in the best of situations to get to feed your baby, but when your breasts get rock hard, its time to feed that baby!

If you’re at home, and you just fed baby, and you are dealing with sore breast, you can pump the breast or, hop in the shower and massage the breast.

Struggle 4: Breastmilk Change

Breast milk changes colour to fit the dietary needs of your infant. When you are sick, the milk changes to give the immunity antibodies to the baby, so they don’t get sick.

Also when your baby is sick, it also changes as well to help provide the beneficial nutrients to help baby get better. There isn’t anything to fear, its normal and its not really a struggle, but I know that first time moms like myself, tend to freak out when we don’t know what is going on.

Everybody’s struggles are different. Remember that if you are struggling, its okay to reach out for help. You have a huge community to support you in everything you do.

Don’t listen to the haters or the people who push “breastfed is best”. If you have to supplement with formula, thats okay. A fed baby is a happy baby!

A fed baby is a happy baby

Categories
Mental Health

My Personal Signs of Depression

Everyone battles depression differently, which also means they show different signs. Not everyone can hide it well, like me, but there are a lot of people who have had years of experience hiding it.

depression

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission at no cost to you. This allows me, fueled by coffee, to keep updating the site. You may learn more here.

The beginning:

It all started years ago, when I was struggling through school. For a while I was happy and jealous of my sister who could do no wrong. Given the fact that she was special needs, I felt like she also needed to get into trouble. She did, but not for the things that I as accused of.

My sister and I never got along. Even though when she was dying of appendicitis(she was 13, I was 10), I was scared for her to leave me. She was my big sister, and because she was special needs, I felt like I was responsible for her and needed to take care of her.

After she came home from the hospital, she changed. Katrina, my sister, used to be a sweet girl, skinny and didn’t eat much. Now, she could eat 3 bowls of soup in one sitting, and didn’t know when to stop. She even got meaner. Katrina, after the hospital, got her room and I was jealous. Why did I have to suffer through another toddler screaming her head off at 3 in the morning before school? It wasn’t fair.

Katrina and I would torment each other. Sometimes it got physical, other times it resulted in a screaming match. She would slam her door, and I would stomp downstairs. During this time, my grades were suffering. I got to high school, made some friends, but I never truly grasped the concept of the work I was given.

I’d rather hang out with my friends then do homework. I even felt like my grade 8 social studies teacher had it out for me. ould hand in work on time, and she would lose it, saying that I never turned it in. Frustration got the better of me. I hated her.

Then it was math. I tried so hard to understand the concepts of math, but it felt like everything was just jumbling around my head.

One night I was doing homework, and struggling to get over one question, that my elder foster brother was trying to teach me, but it was so difficult that I started to cry. I was told, “Its not that hard, you don’t need to cry about it.” Here, I started to realize that my emotions were not validated. This is when I realized that, because I am in a foster home, I am not wanted.

Don’t get me wrong, I saw my real mother once a month, for only 2 hours, and my dad, I saw every second Saturday for 4-8 hours. In the past, when I would have a visit with my mom, I would sit in the window waiting for her to come. Then, the phone rang, its my mom calling to say she can’t make it. After time went by, I started to resent her. I still do. Constantly making excuses on why she couldn’t see me when I was younger, really hurt.

The Middle:

After graduation, I decided I was going to go back to school. No use sitting at the house, doing nothing, not earning anything. I didn’t have a job, and not only that I was restricted on where I could go to get a job. I was only able to go to Walnut Grove, and I couldn’t work past 11. It was tough. Trying to find a job with no experience.

Then we went to Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It’s the most beautiful place I have ever been, plus it’s the only dessert in Canada. I met a guy online, and we made plans to meet up in Osoyoos. We hung out, had fun and went our separate ways. 3 months later, I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t know who the dad was at the point, but after she was born and a DNA test was done, I knew it was the guy in Osoyoos.

I placed my little girl for adoption, 3 hours after I had her. 2 days before mothers day. When Mother’s Day arrived, I was sad beyond relief. My foster mom tried to comfort me, but I didn’t want to be comforted. This was also a month before I had to move out. There was no choice, I had to move out the day before Canada Day.

Then I moved, drank a little, went to the doctor to explain what I was feeling. Which was fatigue, loneliness, and loss of interest of things I was interested in.

Related Content:

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression

The current signs:

I got medication to help combat it. My doctor referred me to a counsellor/ psychiatrist, and it was helping a little bit, but every time I saw that little girl, I was dying inside.

I started spending money, faster than I had it. After that, I became a spendaholic. Buying journals like this with intentions to write about my problems. Never did finish writing.

Always starting and never finishing. I started to procrastinate on all my things, became a hurricane of mess, and was always angry. My then boyfriend, Kiefer, is the only thing that makes me happy, aside from my little boy.

Never the End

Fighting depression is a never ending story. One day, you could be all happy and excited, with courage to get out of bed to do things. Then the next day, you could be fighting to get out of bed to do the things you love.

3 years ago, I went to a new psychiatrist because of an incident that happened with my son. I was then diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.

Many days and nights, I fight with myself about having to do things around the house. My brain thinks of worse case scenarios, which gives me anxiety.

Categories
Parenting

Top 10 Gifts for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day coming up, some parents struggle with what to get their spouse. Some go the tech way, some go the DIY way, and some get items that have meaning and sentimental value.

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I personally try to go with the DIY way with our son, as its adorable when a toddler is creating gifts for others. However, DIY is not for everyone. It’s easy to come up with ideas, but sometimes it is hard to execute. I remember when I wanted to create baby footprint’s for our son’s first Christmas. It was inexpensive, as I had the ingredients at home, but it was difficult to implant, but I got it.

Kiefer has always been a tough guy to shop for. He seems like he has everything, but always has a difficult time trying to tell me what he wants. I mean come on, how is it hard to tell me what you want. He is a gamer, a baseball fan, and is into also cars.

I tend to always get him MLB games every year, but he always tends to put those games aside when a brand new game he is into comes out on the systems. He has always wanted to get back into baseball, but our son is a little too young to properly play.

Anyways, the gift for dad doesn’t have to be perfect. It can always be homemade by your kids, or even something small. The gift can always show how much you care about them. Here are my Top 10 Gifts for Father’s Day.

#1 – Laptop Stand

This laptop stand is perfect for those who don’t want warm laps. It has an ergonomic rise to help alleviate back and neck pain, as well as reducing eye strain creating extra space giving you the option to work without any clutter on your desk. It also as an adjustable computer holder with built-in legs, which you can adjust it’s height and store your keyboard, mouse, files, pencils underneath it; as well as an adjustable phone tray for easy access to your phone, help to release your hand when watching. This laptop stand contains heat cooling rubber tips and a hollowed out design to allow for ventilation and more airflow to keep your computer cooler.

#2 – FitBit

I use Fitbit to track my sleep score, my breaths, and my heart rate. Fitbit uses an app where you can keep track of everything from water intake to calorie counting. If you also purchase the Fitbit Aria scale as well, you can keep track of your weight journey. They have multiple different versions from ones that don’t track your heart rate to ones that can even send text messages. I used to have the very old one that didn’t have a display, and that got me hooked from the start. Now I have the FitBit Inspire HR which tracks my heart rate, the steps I have taken every day, as well as the calories burned. After 10,000 steps or whatever goal you set, it shows little videos or banners to congratulate you on reaching your goal.

#3 – Oculus Quest 2

This is for the gamer dad, one who wants to get immersive with their games. This version of Oculus is backwards compatible. Easy setup, meaning just take it out of the box, set up your facebook, download the free Oculus app and be immersive. Yes the games do cost extra, but they have a wide variety of games from bone chilling horror to immersive puzzles.

#4 – Yeti

Yeti makes a wide variety of different tumblers. From big water bottles to small camping wine glass tumblers. My husband uses his bottle from Yeti for his work (he works construction), and sure there is a dent in it, but it holds up very well, doesn’t leak and keeps liquids cold for hours. Not only that, they have interchangeable lids! From chug lids, to straw lids, and then coffee lids. They also come in a variety of different colours.

#5 – Blue Light Glasses

This is for the parents who are always on their devices or working from home. These blue light glasses filter out the harmful blue light to help reduce dry eyes, helps promote better sleep as well as eye fatigue. Not only that, it helps prevent those awful electronic migraines. If I didn’t have my blue light filter on my glasses, I would have a migraine before even half the day was done. They help so much.

#6 – Chemex Pour Over Coffee Carafe

This carafe is with patented pour over design that is meant for reheating and covering without loosing flavour. The borosilicate glass is high quality and of non-porous design that will make sure your coffee doesn’t absorb other flavours. It is easy to use with the filters and helps brew 5 oz. of coffee. Perfect for those that don’t want to share their coffee.

#7 – Fellow Stagg Stovetop Pour Over Kettle

Functionality meets modernity. This stovetop kettle has a sleek design as well as comes in silver, copper, matte black and matte white finish. With a new V1.3 precision pour spout with fluted tip that is designed for the optimal pour-over flow rate. It also has a precision brew range thermometer that brews the right temperature for tea and coffee, so your coffee tastes just like the baristas make.

#8 – Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager

This device helps the parents with tired feet after a long day of working and parenting. All those long hours on your feet can cause strain on them. The foot massager alleviates pain and improves blood flow to your feet. After use, your feet might feel sore, but that because your feet is getting used to being pampered. The unique shiatsu nodes and massage technique help relieve pain from plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, diabeties, chronic pain, muscle tension, tough knots, and other aches and pains as well. They also offer one year full coverage on all of their products from the date of purchase.

#9 – Nixplay Smart Digital Photo Display

This is for the parents who love to show off their kids (or grandkids) to everyone they meet or have over for drinks. this brings the functionality of having all your photos digitalized and helps prevent from bringing out the photo albums to embarrass the kids. Its smart, that you can also send photos to other smart displays to help show off other photos as well. It’s wall mountable, as well as can be either landscape or portrait angles. The display offers a digital app that allows you to control which photos you want displayed or even for different seasons.

#10 – Hot Sauce Making Kit

We all know those people. The ones who love to throw hot sauce over everything. Kiefer is one of them. So is my father-in-law, and my brother-in-law. The say its not hot enough, and they need hotter. Hell, the ghost pepper McChicken burger at McDonalds wasn’t hot enough. With this kit, they and your loved ones are able to make their own. They can make it as spicy as they want. It has a Scoville unit of 500+ and comes with 3 different varieties of peppers including ghost pepper.

This concludes the list for this year. Father’s Day isn’t just about dad’s. It’s about those who helped take care of you regardless of their blood, those you care about like a dad and of course your significant other. Let’s make this year the best one!

Categories
Parenting

5 Tips to Teach Your Kids Before the Age of 5

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We all have things we want to teach our kids before they go off to school. Sometimes we want to teach them the things we were never taught when we were kids, or even what was okay then, but isn’t now.

kids

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There are a lot of things that a toddler/preschooler needs to know, however tax returns aren’t one of them. Yet.

I personally want to teach my son how to use the potty. It’s a hit and miss right now, but I told him that after the pull ups are gone, its back to underwear.

My husband and I have different views on what we want to teach our son before the age of 5, however, my husband wants to get our son into baseball.

My husband even got our son into his favourite show, Dragon Ball.

Going back to the topic on hand, here are my top items to teach your kids before the age of 5.

Teach Your Kids Tip 1 – Potty training

Now you might think that some people have potty training down pact. Let me tell you that, as a mom struggling with mental health, I do not.

Poop Covered Toddler
My Son covered after playing with a dirty diaper

This is my son, covered in poop, after I found him in his room playing in his diaper.

I was shocked at the sight, not to mention, I only had a shower.

Mind you, this was while I was reading the Oh Crap Potty Training book while this was going on. I wanted to get him potty trained before his 3rd birthday.

That never happened. He refused to go to the bathroom consistently, and only went when he felt like it. Now he is getting better at going more often, but still has difficulty going when we remind him.

Teach Your Kids Tip 2: Names

I personally think that the next item to teach your kids before the age of 5 is spelling their name. If they are able to spell their name before kindergarten, then it saves the teachers a little bit of time working on their name spelling.

My son is just learning to recognize letters, but can proudly say his name. Especially when we call him “baby” or “munchkin,” he likes to say in a loud voice, “my name is not baby! It’s Lukas!”

Lately I have been using a preschool method like this one. Lukas and I have been trying to get him to work on his letter, but he has an attention span that is comparably to a sloth.

Teach Your Kids Tip 3: Healthy Eating

We all wonder what our kids like to eat. Like, for example, my son just loves eating chicken nuggets, pancakes, grilled cheese, and anything that is fried. When we buy McDonalds, we try to make sure that he has apple slices instead of fries. Its the little things, right? Anywho, he is so picky, that he refuses to try new food. Its always, “I don’t like it,” before he has a chance to try it, or its where he has tried it once before, and wants it again, but decides he doesn’t like it.

A tip I learned from the parenting course I took, was that if your child is helping you cook, they might be more inclined to actually try the food, because “I helped cook.” We even went to the point to get him his own sink, so that he could feel included in washing dishes.

When we include our children in the things we do, they feel like they are a part of the family. They love to spend time with mommy and daddy, even when its as simple as cleaning the house.

Teach Your Kids Tip 4: Boundaries

Everyone knows that toddlers and other small children know no boundaries. Sometimes it doesn’t help that during play, some parents or other family members keep playing rough or tickling, even after the child says stop.

Boundaries are a lesson that should be taught from when they turn one, or even when they know a few words. This is easy to implement when you start asking simple questions like, “may I change your diaper” or even, “Can I give you a hug.” Asking these questions, or similar, teaches your child that you are respecting her boundaries, and asking her/him permission to do such things. As they get older, they love to get into peoples faces, thats when you need to start implementing other peoples boundaries.

Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with how often my son constantly comes up and repeatedly asks the same thing. Its frustrating, I get that. However, we as parents don’t always get the luxury of having the time or space to separate ourselves to cool down. Which, brings me back to the point of teaching about other peoples personal bubble.

To teach them about the personal bubble, you have to stop them doing the action, i.e. jumping on you, and tell them to stop and ask first. Keep doing that until they start doing what you ask of them. Some kids might be able to catch on right away, and others might not catch up even after a few tries. It’s about consistency.

Teach Your Kids Tip 5: Discipline

When a toddler acts out, we run to time outs and other miscellaneous ways of discipline. Like when our child acts out, we use time outs a lot. We, Kiefer and I, were raised with the medieval way of discipline which was spanking, head knocking, and a wooden spoon. We didn’t like those ways, so we don’t use them. Not to mention, in Canada, its illegal to spank or hit a child with anything.

Positive Discipline has effective consequences

If a toddler or preschooler hears no, they throw tantrums. Sometimes they throw tantrums in the unlikeliest of places, like in the store, because they aren’t getting what they wanted. When this happens, a good rule of thumb, is either ignore the child, or forget the groceries and take them home. Now if you are like my family, where you don’t have access to a vehicle, we find a secluded corner and stand there until he is finished.

There are a lot of books about positive discipline, and this one was recommended to me by my support worker. It talks about power struggles to avoid that come with bedtime, eating and using the potty, it teaches the appropriate skills needed to excel in social interactions, as well as seeing- misbehaviour as an opportunity to teach non-punitive discipline–not punishment.

In conclusion,

I believe that there are many different ways to teach our kids before they start kindergarten. These items that I have listed are just some the items that I believe would be beneficial for kids to know. Also, everyone learns differently, what might work for me, might not work for you. So always try different methods.

What about you? What methods do you think should be taught? Let me know in the comments below!