Category Archives: Tips and tricks

Handy ideas on how to deal with everyday problems

Guest Post: Best Holiday Gifts for Grandparents.

This week’s guest post is provided by Libby. As a 60-year-old grandparent of seven, Libby prides herself on successfully spoiling every child with minimal complaints from her daughter, son, and their respective spouses. Even with chronic back problems, she is determined to earn the title of “World’s Best Grandparent” and spends every afternoon loving on her kids’ kids, one child at a time. Libby created Grandparenting.info to share what she’s learned as a grandmom and to help new grandparents make the most of every second with their grandkids.

There’s no doubt that you love your grandparents, and this holiday season is a great time to show them just how much. When choosing a gift, you can make their day by getting them something they’ll truly cherish. They might be extra appreciative of gifts that they can use to make their lives easier or more comfortable, such as tools for their favorite hobbies or a senior-friendly phone. Here are some ideas.

Sentimental Gifts

Letting your grandparents know how much they mean to you is always appreciated. The holidays could be a great time to gift them some sentimental gifts that will remind them they’re always in your thoughts. According to Personal Creations, personalized gifts can hit the right spot. They can combine sentimentality with function or add a great aesthetic to a room. Your choices can include daily use items like clothes, bowls, mugs, and jars. Decorative gifts like photo albums, throws and pillows can really brighten your grandparents’ day. 

If your grandparents are like most, they like to talk about family and the great, big family tree. Why not get them a gift that will showcase these interconnections? Family tree frames can be used to house pictures of a family tree of varying sizes depending on how large you’d like to make it. You can even get creative and combine more than one of these frames. 

Tech-Based Gifts

Yes, it may seem that technology and older adults aren’t always a good match, but you might be surprised by the number of senior-friendly technology devices out there. According to Gear Brain, some tech gifts your grandparents might appreciate include robot cleaning devices and a truly simple Wi-Fi product that your grandparents can have set up in no time. If you always want to send pictures to them but they’re not that tech-savvy to use email, consider getting them digital photo frames that you can update with pictures at the touch of a button. 

If your grandparents need a new mobile phone, then consider checking out some flip phone options like the LG Exalt LTE or the Kyocera DuraXV LTE. Both of these phones work well for seniors, but the Kyocera phone is great for those who love the outdoors. Where tablets are concerned, you should definitely check out a few Samsung devices which feature large display screens and are easy to use.

Companionship Gifts

If your grandparents aren’t close by and you don’t get a lot of time to visit, it might be good to consider getting them a gift of companionship. There are numerous health benefits for older adults who have pets, but there are also quite a few responsibilities involved with taking care of an animal. In this case, it might be good to strike a happy medium where your grandparents get to interact with animals but aren’t completely responsible for their care. 

If your grandparents live in a location that is frequented by birds, then a good birdhouse might be just what they need. When it comes to birdhouses, Gardener’s Supply Company suggests paying attention to the material that it’s made of and where you intend to place it. Make sure to find a birdhouse that is the right size for the kind of birds you expect to visit. A recent companion invention may also be of interest as a gift. The companion pet is a robotic pet that behaves very much like a cat or dog, but your grandparents won’t need to clean up any messes or make visits to the vet. 

Hobby-Friendly Gifts

Depending on your grandparents’ activity level, they may have certain hobbies they enjoy, so you can get them gifts that support that. For older adults who love fishing, you can choose from gifts that match their level of expertise. Whether your loved ones are just starting out or have been doing it for a while, you can definitely find gifts that can help them enjoy their hobby even more. 

If your grandparents are more sedentary and have a knack for knitting, then how about getting them some tools for their craft? They may appreciate items like knitting needles, storage tote bags, and a yarn ball winder. Finally, for the gardener in your midst, they may be interested in trying out bonsai trees. If they have the patience for growing the trees from scratch, consider getting a good starter kit. Otherwise, you can get them a bonsai tree seedling that they can start tending to immediately. 

The gift options for older adults have broadened over the years, and you can pick out quite a few gifts that would mean a lot to your grandparents. You can get them sentimental gifts that will keep their memories close at hand or get them technology-based gifts that they’ll find easy to use. Whatever you choose, your grandparents will certainly be appreciative that you put so much thought into it.

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How to cook soup, a busy parents’ guide

Find a whole cauliflower in the back of the fridge you forgot about. It looks a bit sad but it’s still good, surely.

Leave it on the bench for 6 hours while you keep thinking you’ll get to it “in just a minute”

Break the cauliflower into large florrettes and tip onto an oven tray. Spray with oil and put in the oven while the toddler’s dinosaur nuggets cook.

Ignore for about half an hour and congratulate yourself for remembering to take it out before it burns. The crispy edges are, in fact, exactly what you were after and not a mistake at all. Leave tray on top of the stove while you put the baby to bed.

Chop some onion and/or leek and/or celery and/or whatever you have to hand and throw in a large saucepan with plenty of oil and garlic. Keep the temperature fairly low so you can leave the veggies to sweat and not burn while you put the toddler back to bed.

  1. stir the veggies.
  2. put the toddler back to bed
  3. stir the veggies.
  4. resettle the baby.
  5. stir the veggies.
  6. put the toddler back to bed.
  7. forget the veggies but that’s ok because you had the temperature low.
  8. put the toddler back to bed. and this time you mean it!

Add the roasted cauliflower and any stock you may have (that half a box in the fridge says use within three days but you can’t remember when you used it so best just throw it in now). Top up the liquid with approximately 2 paw patrol drink bottles worth of water.

Remember you were meant to add spices earlier. Add them now! A dash of this and a shake of that. Cumin coriander and tumeric maybe? Don’t have those? Thyme and oregano? None of that either? Forget the spices, it’ll taste good as it is!

Turn the heat up now and let it boil then simmer while you pack up the toys and the dishes. Move the laundry that needs folded to a different area, to be done “later”.

Now your soup looks cooked. It’s certainly hot and it’s time to watch the next episode of your show so let’s say it’s done! Get out your stick blender and whiz it up. Add plenty of salt and don’t worry that it tastes like you tipped in a bit too much tumeric.

Your soup is now done. The kids are asleep. You a wonderful chef and parent combination.

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#8. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby.

Photo by mehul R parekh on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

No sooner have you brought your bundle home than the months start flying by and before you know it, it’s time to start solid food. You inevitably begin to think about where your tot will sit and turn your eye towards the multitude of high chair options. But 9 out of 10 are complete overkill and some could even be dangerous. Keep it simple.

#8 Thing you’d be wasting your money on: A huge fancy padded high chair.

Like so much baby gear, the highchair is a good idea gone rogue. Yes, your baby needs to sit up to eat. In fact if they can’t sit up well they are not ready for solids yet. And yes it’s convenient they sit up at table height. And, of course, they need some straps and such to keep them safe. But what they do not need, and what you will regret having to clean, is a highchair built roughly the size and shape of a spaceship, with all the complications and a price tag to match.
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Guest Post: 6 Tips for Choosing Childcare

This week’s guest post is from Nelli Hooper, founder of  York Enrichment Childcare Centre in  Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

If you would like to contribute a guest post please send me a message!

One of the biggest decisions parents face is in choosing the right group childcare facility for their children. It’s hard to send your young kids to another place every day, but it is easier if it’s a place that feels like home. Here are some things you can do to make sure you make the right choice.

photo credit: massdistraction / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Don’t Wait

When looking at childcare, it’s never too early to begin. If you have a specific place or are looking at a reputable, exclusive facility, you may have to sign up months in advance. You want to know at what age they begin accepting children so you can plan your time off. The best childcare centres are usually full with only occasional openings when children graduate.

Consider Accreditation

Not all childcare centres are accredited, but many seek that status to add to their reputation with parents. A centre that is accredited has met the requirements and follows the standards and guidelines that have been put in place. In addition, it shows you that they take their centre seriously. You can contact a state agency to find out which ones are licensed and accredited.

Schedule a Tour

You will want to see the centre before you make your decision to give you an idea about where your child will be staying. You should get to see the first room they will be in and meet the caregivers. They should show you around the room and even give you an idea of the schedule your child will have. This can help you feel more comfortable leaving your child in a strange place when the time comes.

This is also your time to inspect the place. Look for cleanliness and organisation. While any place with young kids is bound to have some chaos, it should be kept to a minimum. Are kids taught to line up and take turns? You can often see this even on a walk-thru of the facility as the kids are engaged in their normal activities. Caregivers and teachers should always be actively involved with the kids.

Ask Questions

Before you take a tour, you should prepare a list of questions that you want to ask. Some of them may be for the director while others will be for the teacher.

  1. What is the ratio of teachers to children?
  2. How many children will be in your child’s class?
  3. What training and certification have the teachers had?
  4. Is there a lot of turnover?
  5. Do the children have a schedule?
  6. How is discipline handled?
  7. Are there opportunities for parents to talk to teachers?
  8. How do you handle special situations such as food allergies and special requirements?

Ask About Parent Visits

Find out if the childcare facility allows parents to visit their children. They may require pre-planned visits while some may be more laid back and allow you to drop in. However, all centres should encourage parents to stop by at appropriate times. Some examples include on holidays, for classroom parties, or even for breakfast or at snack time. These visits allow you to see how your child handles the childcare setting on a daily basis.

Ask Around

Find out from friends and other parents what they think of certain childcare centres. They will tell you the good and bad about where they send their kids. You can also ask other people that work with kids. Library personnel, paediatricians, church teachers, and others can provide valuable insight on the best places to send your child.

Take the time to learn about the childcare centre where you plan to send your child. Since they spend the majority of their days in this place, it should provide them the stability and love that they need to grow and develop into happy, healthy kids.

Nelli Hooper is the proud owner of York Enrichment Childcare Centre located in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  Her program has an excellent facility and is setting the standard for childcare within York Region.  Please visit her website at http//www.yeccdaycare.ca to learn more about childcare and how it can benefit your child.  

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Potty mouth!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You dropped a glass. It shattered as it hit the ground, sending glass splinters skating across the floor and a pool of shard filled juice creeping under the fridge.

“F**k.”

A fairly common response. Except you didn’t say it. Your 18 month old toddler watching you from the doorway did.

My baby has a potty  mouth before he’s even potty trained!

He’s so cute at this age. Now he understands around 200 words and can probably say about 60. You can share jokes together, he is beginning to follow your simple rules and instructions, and is able to tell you what he wants to eat and how he likes to play. I bet you love to show off to others how he can repeat a word for you – “Can you say, ‘shark’ ?? … Tell Grandma what this is! …”

What an excellent mimic! And isn’t is he adorable when he tries to use the broom or the phone or the remote just like you do? And now he’s swearing, just like you do. It’s enough to make you want to say, “F**k!” 🙂

How did this happen?!

Your toddler thinks you are the bees knees. You are the bestest, smartest, most wonderfullest person and he wants nothing more than to be like you and to have your approval.

If he’s heard you repeat a word or a phrase often enough, and to be honest it doesn’t have to be that often, he’ll want to try and say it too – to be like you. And if you react when he says it with amusement or attention, even negative attention, he’ll want to keep eliciting that response from you.

As far as your toddler is concerned, he’s ticking all the boxes every time he says ‘the F word’. He does it just like you do, and he gets plenty of attention for it as well.

What should I do to clean up his act?

Remove both the reasons he’s doing it in the first place. Don’t give him something to mimic and don’t give him attention for saying the word.

Believe me, I love a good curse word, when used in the company of adults who appreciate it! But those blissful days of babyhood when you could talk about whatever you wanted, using whatever language you liked and know your child had no clue what was going on are O-V-E-R. And if you can’t spell you’re in trouble, too, because you’re going to spell rather say say things like, ‘ice cream’, or ‘park’, or ‘bedtime’, for many years to come.

Be more mindful of what words you say, and the content of your conversations, from now on. Encourage your child to say a phrase like, “Oh Oh!” when there’s an accident and be sure to do the same yourself.

If he keeps using unwanted words, tell him not to say it, but don’t make a fuss. Do not laugh, no matter how inappropriately hilarious it is to hear your munchkin unknowingly swearing like the proverbial sailor. Keep a blank expression on your face, not one of disapproval either. After briefly telling him not to say the word, go about your business, preferable something unrelated to your child. Now he is no longer getting any worthwhile response from saying this word.

Soon enough he will forget about it and choose to use language that he mimics from your own and that is reinforced by your interactions with him. That is, until he goes to school and learns them all over again from the other kids!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When has your child said something inappropriate?

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