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Parenting

Parenting is nothing you expected and everything you could have imagined all rolled into one. I have been spit up on, pooped on, vomited on all before 7 a.m. in the newborn years. I’ve watched my toddler shove a pearl up her nose and poop in her mouth, and I’ve even masticated food. Not as fun as it sounds. I’ve survived breast buds and the sex talk. I share everything I ever learned and you might want to know about parenting from pregnancy to labor thru to the teens years.  It’s is hard but it’s the toughest job that you’ll ever love but the salary sucks.

Things To Do When Your Home Business Starts Booming

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Congratulations! Your home business is starting to take off. You’re seeing more and more customers coming through your virtual door, and your sales are increasing. This is great news, but it also brings with it a new set of challenges. Be ready to get your hustle on. How do you ensure you can keep up with the increased demand? It can be exciting and overwhelming, all at the same time, How do you maintain the high level of quality that got you this far? In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for keeping your home business thriving when it starts to boom!

3 Things To Do When Your Home Business Starts Booming

Find A Bigger Space

If you’re starting to feel cramped in your current space, it may be time to look for a bigger office or store. This will give you more room to work and could even help you attract more customers. More space allows you to deal with various small business growing pains like hiring more people, stocking more products or supplies, and dealing with more customer traffic. You don’t have to get a huge office space, but you certainly do reach a stage where a home business is too much for a home. If certain aspects of your business are growing, like increased sales, you might want to consider looking for affordable storage units to deal with your excess stock, for example.

Hire More Help

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work needed, it may be time to hire some help. This could mean hiring an employee or two or outsourcing some of your work to a freelancer or contract worker. Having more help will allow you to get more work done and free up your time so that you can focus on the parts of your business that need your attention most.

Hiring help can also be a great way to improve the quality of your work. If you’re starting to feel like you’re stretched too thin, the quality of your work will likely suffer. By hiring someone to take on some of the workloads, you can focus on the most important tasks and ensure that they’ve done to the best of your ability.

Improve Your Systems

As your business grows, you’ll need to start thinking about ways to improve your systems and processes. This could mean anything from streamlining your inventory system to implementing a new customer management system. The goal is to ensure that your business is running as efficiently as possible to keep up with the increased demand.

Improving your systems will take some time and effort, but it will be worth it in the long run. Your business will run more smoothly, and you’ll be able to serve your customers better.

There you have it! These are just a few tips for keeping your home business thriving when it starts to boom. If you’re seeing increased sales and more customers, don’t be afraid to take some steps to accommodate the growth. With a little planning and some hard work, you can ensure that your home business continues to be successful for years to come.

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Tips How You Can Make Any Conversation Interesting

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Have you ever been a part of a conversation that was just so incredibly boring? I get easily distracted and if I’m not engaged, I mentally check out. It’s not even a conscious choice, my brain just goes on a walkabout the universe in my head. Worse than being bored is realizing that the reason a discussion is so terribly uninteresting is because you are the reason for it. Yikes. A great skill to have is to know how you can make any conversation interesting.

It does not matter who you are, it can be difficult to conduct talks that are fascinating; even the best talkers can run out of steam every once in a while. Believe me, I love to talk and most of the time, I’m pretty entertaining but even an extrovert like me sometimes runs out of interesting things to say. We should all educate ourselves on how to keep a discussion engaging, but how can we do that?

Practice is the key to make any conversation interesting, as it is for anything else in life. The good news is that opportunities to practice having discussions that are intriguing, sincere, entertaining and engaging can be found just about anywhere.

Ask a representative working in customer assistance about how their day is going. Have a conversation with the other patrons at the restaurant to find out what their go-to foods are. Find out which car brand your technician prefers and why they like it so much. Call one of the chat line numbers to speak to like-minded individuals.

Some people may find the idea of getting out into the world and honing their conversational skills to be very natural, while for others, the idea may seem like something out of a nightmare, especially for introverts. No matter where you are on the spectrum, we have compiled some helpful pointers on how to liven up a discussion, and you can use them right away.

It does not matter if you are starting from the beginning or trying to sharpen skills that you already have; just keep in mind that this is an enjoyable activity.

Here are a few tips to help you make any conversation interesting.

Mastering the art of conversation might take some time, just like mastering any other form of art. You may attribute some of your success to the acquisition of skills in efficient communication, but a significant portion of it is attributable to the application and practice of those skills in real-world settings.

You will need to acquire the skills necessary to be a good conversation partner who is trustworthy, intriguing, and relatable. In light of this, we have compiled a list of some simple pointers that might assist you in making your talks more fascinating and ensuring that you become an excellent conversation partner.

Tips to Make Any Conversation Interesting

Make sure that the conversation is centered on the other individual.

People enjoy focusing the conversation on themselves. You might be surprised by how much information the other person decides to reveal with you when you center the conversation on them and offer them the opportunity to talk freely about themselves. In addition, the more they communicate with you, the more of a connection they will feel to you.

However, this does not imply that you should maintain your silence during the whole conversation. That would have the reverse impact and make the discourse boring and uninteresting.

You should interject every once in a while with a few of your own personal tales that build off of what the other person is talking about. In order to inspire them to go more deeply into specific subjects, you should ask them perceptive questions.

Keep in mind that the dialogue is being directed by you at this point. Since you already know where you want it to go in the end, you should make sure you quietly steer the conversation in the way you want it to go while they continue talking. But you should also keep in mind the importance of showing real attention and curiosity in what they have to say.

People can tell a mile away when someone is being condescending or pretending to be sincere. If you want to make a conversation interesting to someone else, you need to authentically engage and pay attention to what they are saying. The proverb “Every day is a school day” is one that I like to have in the forefront of my thoughts at all times since I find it to be quite true. If you approach your talks with that frame of mind and actively attempt to expand your knowledge, you will maintain a genuine interest in what you hear.

Watch night time talk shows

Some of the finest conversationalists are found working as hosts of late-night talk shows. In point of fact, they receive compensation for their capacity to carry on engaging talks night after night after night.

Talk show hosts will naturally ask a great deal of questions, sprinkle in some comedy, and make sure that the subject remains primarily centered on the guest throughout the engagement. If you want something more serious, you may watch shows that feature in-depth interviews with prominent figures.

Regardless of the situation, it is important to pay attention to the mannerisms of both the host and the person they are speaking with. In what ways are they manipulating the timbre of their voice? Do they communicate with one another using a certain kind of body language? How are they maintaining their relationships with one another?

Talk gently and with clear enunciation

It is not necessarily a negative thing to speak quickly, but it might make the person you are conversing with feel a little lost in the conversation. If you are not present during your interactions and you are extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter being discussed, you could speak so quickly that the other person’s head begins to spin.

It is imperative that you deliberately slow down your cadence until it reaches a point where you feel as though it is almost too slow for you. If you do that, we swear to you that you will not be talking too slowly; it will simply seem like that. Putting this into practice is something you can do by either recording yourself or asking a buddy to do so and give you feedback on what they hear.

Ask them questions

When it is not specific enough, small conversation may be both unpleasant and aggravating. It is possible that there are instances when you do not want to know what the other person has planned for supper tonight.

Asking inquiries about the individuals you are communicating with at the beginning of a discussion gives you the opportunity to find out more about the people you are interacting with. Include the term “you” in your inquiries to direct the conversation onto them.

Make use of open ended questions

You are not doing it correctly if the response to your inquiry can be reduced to a straightforward “Yes” or “No.” These are the kinds of inquiries that may swiftly bring an end to the conversation.

You do not want to be in a position where you are forced to scramble for ways to restart the talking or pondering how to make the conversation exciting once again. Instead, make open-ended inquiries the focus of your attention whenever you can.

Practice makes perfect – every time

Practice is the single most important thing you can do to keep discussions engaging, regardless of whether you are an outgoing person or someone who prefers to keep to themselves. Get out into the real world and talk to actual people. Practice your ability to actively listen by asking your friends new questions and by striking up conversations with strangers.

The more you engage in conversation, the more refined your abilities in doing so will become. Because of this, your ability to capture the attention of another person might significantly enhance as a result.

These are just a few tips how to make any conversation interesting no matter who is involved. What is your best tip to make any conversation interesting and keep the conversation going?

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mom life, how to take care of yourself

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Being a mom means that often you have to give up the things that you want to do in favor of the things that you need to do. It blows, if I’m being honest. It means that your children have to come first, and you have to come second more often than not. However, this does not mean that you should not be looking after yourself also. You are still a person, and you still need to look out for yourself, make sure that you’re healthy mentally and physically.

If you feel as though you’re reaching your breaking point, but you don’t want to do anything about it as you feel “selfish”, you need to understand that it’s not selfish to look after yourself. I can relate to this more today than I ever have in my life. I just took 3 jobs and to say that I’m  ”tired” is an understatement. Remember how tired you were in those first few weeks of being a mom? Back in the days when you were cluster feeding around the clock until your milk came in, you were terrified the baby would stop breathing while you were sleeping so you never did and you were still recovering physically and emotionally from becoming a new mom? Yeah, I feel like that times 3.

In fact, for the first time in my life, I ACTUALLY understand the term “bone-tired” because ladies and gentlemen, even my frigging bones are begging for a nap. Don’t be like me.  I’m overwhelmed, exhausted and feeling utterly guilty from how much I’m working. Did I mention that I am also finishing up my Master’s program and planning my daughters’ quinceañera, all while doing digital marketing for 2 companies and writing daily news and educational articles for parents?

Keep reading for more tips on how to take care of yourself, to be happier. And yes, I’m planning on taking my own advice, just as soon as I get through this week of quinceañera prep.

You Don’t Want to Burn Out

First, you need to make sure that you do not burn out. If you get to a point where you are completely burned out, then you are not going to be able to help anyone, not even your kids. All you’re going to want to do at this point is sleep for days, and then you’re not spending this time with your kids anyway. These are hard facts ladies but ones you need to hear. As such, why is it not okay to take the time that you need to collect yourself and feel better, but it’s okay to sleep when you reach the point that your body physically cannot take it anymore?

Burnout is scary when it happens to everyone involved. Avoiding this as much as you can, should be one of your top priorities. BTW, I think I am hitting the burnout phase as I’ve been doing this 3 job thing for 3 weeks now.

Take A Break to Be You Again

It’s okay to take a break from your children. You do not need to be with them all the time to be a good parent. You do not need to deny yourself things that are perfectly reasonable to want in order to be a good parent. You do not need to stay at home all the time with the endless piles of things to do to be a good parent. You can go out. You can do the things that you love to do. You can go and see your friends, drink a paloma cocktail and dance and still be a good parent. You can take a bath for more than 5 minutes, you can read a book, or watch a movie without your kids just to give yourself some time to be you.

At the end of the day, you are still a person and you need to be treated as such. Find someone to look after the kids for a little while, and just be you, the real you; the woman you were before you became their mom.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and now see some of the things that you need to know when you feel guilty for taking a break from your kids. It’s not a bad thing to do, and it’s not as though you are a superhero who can do everything all the time. You are a human and you’re allowed to need some time for yourself, and I promise that this is okay. And now, I’m off to take my own advice and go take a long, hot shower, crawl in bed and binge-watch my favorite K-drama.

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Time-Management Tips for Busy Moms

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Being a parent is hard in ways that people never tell you about; in ways that you couldn’t even have imagined. From juggling work (Yes, mama got a full-time job as a Marketing Director and going back after being OOO for 17 years is effing hard), managing your home ( I’m trying my best to manage the tornado disaster that is lived in and loved by two active teenagers and two rambunctious dogs), and taking care of your kids’ physical and emotional needs, being a modern mom or dad involves a lot of hard work and dedication.

About 97% of young Millennial and Gen X mothers and fathers often feel burned out by parenthood. As a mom, it’s very easy to lose track of time when you are busy handling multiple tasks. There aren’t enough hours in a day, and it can feel very frustrating and stressful not being able to get everything done. But that doesn’t mean your life has to be that way. This post will help you find ways to manage your time better while allowing you to also do the things you love. Without wasting any more of your precious time, here are some top time-management tips for busy moms.

Top time-management tips for busy moms

Have a schedule and stick to it

As a mom, you’ve probably questioned how quickly time runs. You wake up early, get breakfast, get your family ready for their days, do chores, work, and prepare them for bed at night. It seems like an endless cycle of doing the same things repeatedly and when you through a full-time job into the mix it sometimes feels impossible. Having such a routine can make you lose out on some productive hours. Instead, why not create a daily or weekly schedule (ToDoList is my favorite app ever) that you and your family can follow? During one of your rare quiet moments, you can draw up a list of everyone’s activities and put them in a planner. Fortunately, there are several online planners that everyone in your household can access and stay on top of their tasks and activities. 

Learn to delegate

Yes, you’re a mom, and while most moms are amazing at multitasking, you’re still human. That means you’ll also burn out and want a break and some much-needed rest. You cannot do it all, so you must learn how to delegate. If you have a partner, you must learn to share your responsibilities. Also, if you have older kids, you can delegate certain tasks to get them involved. Delegating these responsibilities lifts the weight off your shoulders and gives you enough time to attend to other matters.

So, what can you do? Set up a family meeting to discuss how everyone can play important roles at home. You can set up a chart and delegate different responsibilities to each family member. Ensure that the entire family is clear on the rules and agrees to any schedules. Once this has been established, you will begin to find time for things. 


Shop online

One of the best things about online shopping is that it saves you time and makes life much easier. Instead of spending hours traveling from home to your local grocery store and back, you can do it in the comfort of your home. With online shopping, you will still have access to a wide range of products that make it easier to compare prices just as you would in a physical store. And even better, most online shops offer amazing discounts and offers to make it better to buy in bulk. However, be forewarned you can easily spend more than you do at Target because it’s just too easy.

But it’s not just groceries you can get for your family. You can also order your family’s medications online. Most local pharmacies offer online services for your NHS prescriptions and other medications, so it’s definitely worth a try.


Buy your time

There are times when it’s just impossible for both you and your partner to get out of tight and busy schedules. What do you do when you have other responsibilities preventing that? You must pay for additional help. Paying for extra help can set you back a couple of dollars, but it is worth it. You can outsource chores such as cooking and cleaning. I’d highly recommend this just to give yourself a break. You are already doing so much. If you have younger kids, you can enroll them into a good daycare or hire a babysitter for those busy days. You can also ask your parents or trusted friends to help you out when you are in a bind. 

Make time for yourself

Juggling various responsibilities can take its toll on your physical and mental health. You might also lose your sense of identity after spending years placing everyone’s needs above yours. That’s why it’s important to carve out personal time where you can unwind and relax. Ask for support from your partner and use this break to do the things you love to do. It could be catching up on your hobbies, visiting a friend, or pampering yourself at the spa. 

With these simple and effective time-management tips, you can better manage your schedule and still make time for yourself. Don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.  

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proven ways to help support your child at school

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone, especially kids. The world has been an upside-down and, quite frankly, scary place to be since 2020. The new normal is not normal, at all. So, if you feel like your child isn’t doing as well as you think they are capable of in school, then you know how frustrating this can be not only for you but for your child. You may feel helpless, as though nothing you do helps, and maybe you even feel hopeless that you have no choice but to watch them struggle. It doesn’t have to be this way though, in fact, there are many ways that you can give your child the help and support they need.

Teach your Child that Failure is Okay

This is something I, as an adult, still struggle with myself. If you want to get good at something, then you have to start by being bad at it. Encouraging your child to increase their rate of failure is the best way for you to help them learn. Teach them that with failure comes success, and make sure that they are resilient too. If you can do this, then they will take setbacks much easier, and it will also help to prepare them for later life too. Chess has been described time and time again as being the ultimate teaching tool, purely because of all the positive effects that it can have on your child and their logic. It also helps them to develop concentration and discipline too. Many board games involve some degree of chance, but this is not the case with chess.

Do not Over Praise

It’s so important that you explain to your child that everyone in life has a different talent and that it is not always possible for everyone to get a trophy either. Over-praising can lead to some issues, and this is especially the case when your children realize that they are not as amazing or as brilliant as they thought they once were. Sure, there is power in setting positive yet realistic expectations but that doesn’t mean that you have to praise them for everything.

Make Learning Fun

Learning becomes much harder if it is always seen as a chore. A lot of people have mental blocks when it comes to math at school, and that’s why so many people don’t like it. Psychologists have shown time and time again that if you are in a good mood, then this will make you more engaged and it will also make you more open to learning too. You will be able to master any difficult task if you have the right attitude, and the sooner you can teach your child this, the better. Want to support your child even more? Why not see if you can get some high school worksheets?

Let your Child Follow their Passion

It is not possible for your child to be good at everything, but if you can, you need to try and get them good at a few things. If your child is showing a very specific interest or if they take a lot of joy in a particular topic, then they will find it easier to really push themselves with it. If your child loves music, then try and push them in this direction rather than trying to steer them academically all the time. If you can do this, then you will soon find that it is much easier for you to give them the support that they need to do well.

Make Subjects feel Relevant

It is often hard for a child to focus and enjoy a particular subject because they are not able to see how it has any relevance to their life. They may not be able to see how it is going to help them in the future either. Specific subjects tend to be branded into the head of your child and at times they may wonder if it’s just something that they have to do in order to keep adults happy. If you want to help them here, then you need to make subjects feel relevant to them. You also need to make sure that you do what you can to prove to them that the things that they are learning, are worth it in the long run. If you can do this, then you will soon find that you can make your kids happier when learning and that they are also much more engaged.

So, there are many things that you can do to try and make sure that your kids are happy and if you follow this guide, you’ll soon find that it is easier than ever for you to give them the support they need to excel academically. Why not see how many tips you could implement for yourself today? It’s never been easier to get on the same wavelength as your child.

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Questions To Ask Before Getting A Family Dog

Dogs are awesome. We are dog people. To be fair, we love cats and guinea pigs and mostly all animals but dogs are our favorite. They can be excellent additions to any family. Saffaron, Lola and Stella are the best things that have happened to us. These furry friends stick by your side for their entire lives, giving you all the attention you need, through thick and thin, dogs just love you unconditionally. Honestly, humans don’t deserve dogs at all. They’re far too good for us; offering up all of their love without wanting anything but a few belly rubs and treats in return. 

Having a dog to yourself is one thing – it’s completely different if you want to get one for a family. When you have kids to think about as well, you can’t make a snap decision to just get a dog. A few key questions need to be asked and answered to help you figure out if this is the right move for you and your family. 

Do you have room for a dog?

Firstly, is there enough room in your house for a dog? You might have a relatively small home with a small backyard. It’s absolutely perfect for you and your family right now. There’s enough space for everyone, and the yard is just big enough for the kids to enjoy. 

Unfortunately, if you add a dog into the picture, the house seems a lot smaller. There’s no space for the dog to roam around during the day – particularly if it’s a fairly big one. You can’t really find anywhere to keep a dog bed and there’s certainly not enough room outside for your pooch to have a little house. 

Consequently, some families might be unable to handle a dog because there’s not enough room in the home. This does depend on the type of dog you’re thinking about getting – smaller ones don’t need that much room. However, we will talk more about dog breeds later on! 

Are you able to look after the dog?

How busy is your daily schedule? Are you packed to the brim with things to do every single day? If you already struggle to find time for yourself – which a lot of parents do struggle to do – then a dog may complicate things. Suddenly, you have another responsibility on your hands. 

Can you walk the dog regularly? Can you keep them groomed? Can you ensure they’re given all the attention they deserve? Can you afford to keep them fed, loved, and rewarded with treats when they need them? These things may not always be cheap or convenient to provide but you need to consider them. For example, you might think treats are not a necessity but Treatibles are great for training, and behavioral adjustments, some are good for joint pain, tummy issues and relieving anxiety.

Yes, you can argue that your kids should give them lots of attention. In reality, they are the ones that probably asked you to get a dog anyway! But, what if they are too young to walk the dog by themselves? They’re too little to give the dog a bath or even to feed it. So, all the responsibility falls on your shoulders. 

Okay, what if your kids are old enough to help you look after the dog. In this scenario, you still have to give them loads of attention when the kids are at school. There are many hours in the day when a dog will be left without your children to take care of it. Can you find the time in these hours to give them attention? If you work a full-time job, the answer will be a resounding no. 

Please, please, please take this into consideration before getting a dog for your family. As you can imagine, time is the number one reason people surrender dogs. Owners simply can’t find the time to give a dog the attention and care it deserves. Don’t be one of those people that gets a dog and has to give it up. It’s not nice for the dog to be taken to a new home, only to end up being abandoned at an animal shelter. 

If you want a family pet, but don’t have the time to devote many hours a day to that pet, think about getting a cat. They’re super low-maintenance and can be left for hours on end with no issues. As long as there’s water, food, and a cat flap, the cat is fine by themselves.

Why do you want a family dog?

Ask yourself, why do you want a family dog? It might seem like a strange question, but consider what has pushed you to think about bringing a furry friend to your family. Is this a decision you and your partner have been thinking about for a long time? Perhaps you had dogs before when you were growing up, and you’d love to have one for your new family to enjoy. That’s a perfectly viable reason to get a dog; you want a new addition to the family!

But, what if you’re getting one because your kids have pestered you about it. They’ve been saying they want a dog, so you’re finally thinking about caving in. If this isn’t something you and your partner are too keen on, don’t give in. 

It’s never a good idea to get anything because your kids really want it. Kids are kids, meaning they like different things all the time. They may love the idea of a dog right now, but will they still be as interested in a few weeks or months?

A dog is a long-term investment for you and your kids. Be sure that this isn’t just a phase before you decide to get one. 

Can you afford a dog?

After answering the previous questions, you’ve reached a pivotal point in the dog acquiring process. Can you actually afford the financial commitment that comes with owning a dog?

The initial costs will vary depending on how you get your dog. If you adopt, it’s completely free. If you purchase a dog from a breeder, prices depend on the specific breed of dog as well as the caliber of the breeder. 

However, these aren’t the main costs you should be worried about. Instead, you need to question if you can afford the ongoing costs of dog ownership. So, how much is this going to cost? Well, you should start by considering everything you need to buy: 

There’s a lot you need to think about, and the costs can add up to anywhere between $1,500 to $9,900 per year. That’s a lot of money that you might not be able to afford. Of course, it all depends on your financial situation. Some of you may do the calculations and figure out that you can definitely afford an extra mouth to feed. If that’s the case, you’re one step closer to owning a dog. 

If you can’t afford a dog, think about how you can save money to possibly get one in the future!

What dog breeds are good for kids/families?

You can financially afford a dog, but you’re still not ready to go out there and pick one up. Some dogs are better suited to families and young children than others. For the sake of your kid’s safety, you need to consider breeds that are suitable. Here are some of the options you should think about: 

Labrador retrievers

Labs are always popular family dogs because they have the perfect temperament for kids. They’re very patient, playful and full of love. As you can see on https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/lab-retriever-michigan/, you can get labrador retrievers in a range of colors, with chocolate labs being very popular these days. They do grow to be quite big, but they always retain a sense of playfulness that makes them perfect family companions. 

Boxers

Boxers are great medium-sized dogs, so they’re great to have around kids. There’s never any worry about the dogs knocking over young children, and they have a very fun-loving, bright and active demeanor that makes them ideal for a family setting. While originally a working dog, these dogs are constantly eager to play games and have fun outside. They’re a great option if you want a pet to occupy your kids for hours on end. 

Boston terriers

A small dog breed that works really well with families and children is Boston terriers. The great thing about Boston terriers is that they are pretty low-maintenance. They don’t need to be walked that much, and they’re more than happy to stay inside for hours a day. Make no mistake about it, this doesn’t mean they’re lazy creatures. They are still keen to play with your kids, they’re just easier to look after than many other dogs. 

Should you adopt or buy a dog?

The final question is whether or not you should buy a dog. It is a good idea to adopt whenever possible. However, if you are looking for a specific breed of dog – or you want a puppy from birth to raise in your family, buying from a breeder might be the better option.  After asking yourself all of these crucial questions, you will know if a family dog is the right choice or not. Furthermore, you should also know what breed of dog is the best, and whether or not you should adopt it. It is so important to think this decision through as carefully as you can. Don’t rush into things as it could mean you get a dog that ends of being put up for adoption very soon.

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things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastif

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A couple of months ago, we were doing our regularly scheduled visit to play with puppies because puppies make us feel better about life and life has been kind of shitty these past couple of years. When completely out of character, we impulse-bought a “Dogue de Bordeaux” which I think is French for expensive ass dog but still not as expensive as its much tinier but much more expensive little cousin, the French bulldog. Apparently, if your dog is French he’s going to be adorable, lovable and expensive. These are things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff if you’re nasty.

The thing is you know how when you just know something is right? Like my husband said he knew right away that I was “the one”, his “soul mate”. Well, we all felt the same way about Stella (our big, beautiful, playful, sweet, lovable French mastiff). The thing is when we bought her, we had no idea what kind of breed she was which is very out of character for our family because we like to research and plan the shit out of everything.

This may have been the most spontaneous thing we’ve done in the past decade because since we had children, we’re always thinking long-term and BIG picture but not on Friday, March 11. Nope, we fell head over paws in love with Stella Coco on the spot. The Big Guy was signing paperwork before the girls and I even knew what was happening.

things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

The first couple of days, not going to lie, I was having major buyer’s remorse. Remember, no idea what the Dogue de Bordeaux was before deciding to bring her home. Once I got home and Googled Dogue de Bordeaux, I scared myself because she will be the biggest dog breed we’ve ever owned with the shortest life span and she needs a lot of love and attention. Did I mention she’s only 6 months old and eats 5 cups of food a day? The vet predicts 8 cups a day by the time she is full-grown.

I was intimidated because they are also known for being great family guard dogs but that’s never been what I looked for in a dog. Our dogs are like family members. TBH, I think the Big Guy and I gravitated towards this mastiff because of her HUGE paws. When our Bella was a baby, we called her Big paws and Stella the big paw French Mastiff shares our Bella’s gentle, giant, friendly disposition. How could we not bring her home with us, she was born to be a part of our family.

things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

Things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux

  1. The DDB is an excellent companion, deeply devoted to her family. 23 hours of the day, she’s calm, affectionate, docile and steady. But for that one hour (at least in my experience, at the puppy stage) she can be needy, hyper and super playful but always loving. She also has a protective instinct and guards her family with courage like a boss b*tch. In my opinion, Dogues de Bordeaux are great for families with older children who won’t be easily knocked over or startled by this big dog that tends to hop when excited.
things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastif

Be warned, this gentle giant is not a pushover most of the time. Along with that mostly calm temperament comes a stubborn streak that will make a teenage girl seem easygoing, self-confident, and a tendency to dominate. However, in our house, she is very submissive to our much tinier and older Victorian bulldog, Lola. I’m not sure if it’s because Lola’s older, if it’s a doggie respect thing or if it’s the regal Bridgerton aura that Lola emits but Stell tens to just roll over and bear her belly for her big sis. Socialization and patient positive training are a must with Dogue de Bourdeauxs, much like myself, they can’t be forced to do anything. Start early—it’s easier to train a puppy than a DDB who may be bigger (and certainly stronger) than you are.

  • Dogues do very well at dog sports. While only moderately active, their willingness to learn and eagerness to please their owners make them adept at cart-pullingobedience and even therapy work.
things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

Keep in mind, that exercise will tire them out so we’ve figured out that burning off some of that energy before bedtime (much like when we used to dance the sillies out with the girls) is the key to the whole family getting a good nights sleep.

  • Do not teach your cute 30 lb. puppy any habits that you wouldn’t want your 130 lb. DDB to have. We’ve always had medium-sized working dogs but never something as massive as our Stella is anticipated to be so our dog babies have always been lap dogs, even at 50 lbs. we’re made of sturdy stock but our pediatrician has assured us that this warning needs to be heeded or we will be the ones who suffer the consequences. She loves to sit on our laps, sleep across my teenager’s chest and cuddle in like she’s tiny. She is currently 60 lbs. at 7 months (honestly, she’s on the smaller size compared to other DDBs of the same age and we are fine with it) and she’s getting too strong for the girls and me to control or pick up so positive reinforcement is the trick in our house. She loves treats like they’re addictive.
  • These are tall like ridiculously tall. Our girl can stand up with her front paws at the height of our kitchen island. Did I mention
  • They drool. Apparently, they really, really drool! Our Stella is not as wrinkly as some of the others and has not started to drool uncontrollably yet. It’s coming though. She loves to fill her jaws with water and carry it across the house. Anyone who lives with a Dogue de Bordeaux quickly becomes familiar with strings of drool covering furniture, floors and walls. Be prepared that you may have to up your cleaning game. I know, sounds like a shit trade but I promise you, all the love that your French mastiff will give you will be worth every single slobbery kiss you endure. To know a dogue de Bordeaux is to love her sweet face, drool and all.
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gifts for new moms that aren't for the baby

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Becoming a mom is a privilege, just ask any mom but it is also exhausting and thankless and, did I mention, exhausting. Half the time you forget your own name because everyone refers to you as mom, mama, mommy or so-and-so’s (insert baby’s name here) mom.

If someone you love has become a mom for the first time, you probably want to give them a special gift to mark the occasion. A lot of gifts for new Moms are actually things for the baby. This can be helpful for Mom, but after a while, she might soon find she’s got more newborn baby stuff than she can use and feels as though her special occasion is more about the baby than herself. It can be lovely to give your new Mom loved one something that is purely for her, and not for her baby. 

Jewelry

If the new Mom you know is someone very special to you, like your spouse, partner, sister, or best friend, you could give her a beautiful piece of keepsake jewelry. Jewelry to commemorate something so special will always be sentimental to her. You could buy something like a beautiful necklace, or even have something custom designed just for her to really make a statement. Choose a stone, with help from the James Allen review from Pricescope, and a setting, and you have something she’ll always treasure. 

Gift Vouchers

Vouchers can be very good gifts as they give the receiver more choice. Think about what might be most appreciated by a busy, tired new Mom. You could give vouchers for their favorite local takeaway or food delivery service. Give vouchers for some pampering, whether it’s a pedicure or a full spa day. You could even make your own vouchers for things like an evening of babysitting, that she can cash in to have a date night with her spouse or an afternoon off to go shopping. 

Subscriptions

A subscription gift could be for something practical and useful, or something more fun for her. If you know she’s struggling to find time to cook, gift a recipe box subscription service that can make cooking quicker and simpler. You could gift a subscription to her favorite magazine so she has something to read when she’s up doing late-night feeds. What about a subscription for a flower delivery so something pretty arrives every month for her?

Coffee

Disrupted nights mean a tired mom. A lot of new Moms drink a lot of coffee, although if she’s breastfeeding, you should double-check with her how much she is able to have. A gift of some posh coffee that’s eco-friendly and gourmet like Steeped Coffee, a pretty mug to drink it out of, or a to-go cup to put her coffee in when she takes the baby out in the stroller will all be well-received. You can find beautiful cups that have clever technology in them to keep your drink warm without needing to use a thermos cup in the house. These are perfect for new Moms who struggle to drink a whole cup of coffee before it gets cold. 

At-home beauty and spa treatments

There is not a lot of free time when you have a newborn but that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to feel good and take care of yourself. Facemasks, at-home teeth whitening kits, lotions and serums, a foot spa or a great skincare system like Tarte’s Awake line, vegan and cruelty-free, is a favorite in our house.

Loungewear

As a new mom, clothing can often be decided by what can be put on quickest, is most comfortable, and is the cleanest. Make this easier for her by gifting her some stylish but comfortable loungewear. Comfortable leggings, yoga pants, or cardigans are all good choices.

As a mom, what is the number 1 thing that you’d want as a gift from family and friends?

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back pain, sciatica, midlife

Well, it’s been a hell of a last few days. Of course, it’s May so what else did I expect? If the universe is not trying to break me, is it even May? Thursday, I fell down my stairs. Hello, sciatica, not so happy to see you again. My fall was dramatic like a full-on telenovela or someone threw me down our stairs (though it feels like it) but more accurately, our new, gigantic French Mastiff excitedly came down the stairs while I was heading down to refill my water bottle in the middle of the night. Well, if you’ve been here long, you know that at night or in inclement weather I walk like a f*cking pirate thanks to the hardware situation in my leg from the broken leg situation in 2015. Yep, it’s the f*cking gift that just keeps on giving.

My point is that I’m already unstable as it is and when an unexpected bull in a China shop comes running behind you in the dark, I’m more than likely going to end up on my ass and I did.

Disclosure: I was provided the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow for review purposes but my true love and opinion of this pillow are all my own.

Anyways, it was only about 4 stairs but my life did flash before my eyes because this is not the first time I’ve fallen and, more often than expected, I’ve ended up in the ER. I didn’t this time but, of course, it was no regular fall. In my desperation not to break more bones, I forgot my own “go limp b*tch” protocol and stiffened my entire body up. What happened you asked?

My feet were capoeira style swept out from beneath me thanks to aforementioned adorable, silent but deadly dogue de Bordeaux (big ass dog) and thanks to the carpet on the stairs, I lost my balance. I stiffened my arms trying to catch myself (as if I remember nothing from the 2020 broken toe/concussion situation) and at the same time, I broke my fall into the banister with my ribs while stiffening my legs, arm and entire right side of my body. I thought I escaped with minimal damage until the next day. I woke up pretty sore.

Oh no, bad timing. I had a second job interview at noon with the owner of a company that could prove to be a super exciting opportunity for me. I pulled on my big girl panties, a really cute outfit and sucked up any pain I was feeling. Did I mention the in –person interview went from being 2 people to 7-9, depending when you checked?  Did I mention I haven’t had an in-person interview in 17 years?

The unconventional interview lasted 5 hours (that’s a post for another day) but I wasn’t actually surprised because the first one lasted 6 hours. But for the 5 hours, I was sitting in a typical office chair, super uncomfortable. About hour 3 I started using my left hand as a chin rest because I was actually trying to feign interest in someone else’s interview that I ended up a part of. I think I must have kept it there for about 2 hours. After 5 hours, I tried to stand up and my sciatica said, “F*ck you, Debi. Sit your ass back down!” But I had to go because it had been a long, weird day and I had eaten nothing all day so I was ready to eat the face off of the next person who looked at me.

I got in my car and as I drove, I knew the damage had been extensive and the weekend was going to be for recuperating. As soon as I got in my car, I realized that my left hand that was supporting my face for 2 hours, had tingling in my pinky and ring finger. OMG, did I have a stroke during my interview? I figured it just fell asleep under the weight of my chunky face and double chin. Only the pins and needles gave way to numbness.

By the time, I reached home, I could barely get out of my SUV because my sciatica nerve pain was so intense. I slowly grandpa walked into the house and barked at my poor husband to get us some dinner, as I put the heating pad on my back and prayed the damage wasn’t permanent. I felt about 100 years old. I started to get worried because the funky feeling in my fingers was not getting any better.

Well, it’s been three days. The feeling just came back in my fingers today. It’s an ulnar nerve injury from when I dislocated my elbow trying to do some manual labor in my yard that is acting up. It’s basically a pinched nerve that shows up occasionally t keep my humble.

However, my lower back sciatica pain that started when I was pregnant with the girls has its own plans. I’m currently trying to find a way to position myself to not want to kill myself from the pain. The only thing that seems to work is the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow it’s a one-piece pregnancy pillow that can be used in multiple ways ( well beyond pregnancy, as I am almost 15 years postpartum) to make you and your growing baby bump ( or your regular mom belly) more comfortable. Its unique contoured design supports your body head-to-toe. That boppy has been my saving grace these last few nights. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Well, that was my weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy every moment of it or was it too short and filled with obligations?

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Breastfeeding Tips Every New Moms Should Know About, Tips to Help New Moms Get the Best Breastfeeding Results

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Having your first baby (or any baby) comes with excitement at all the firsts. You can’t wait to take care of your sweet baby and even things like breastfeeding seem magical. Even though sometimes it’s not as easy or as magical as we anticipate. Breastfeeding offers various benefits for you and your baby so if you can do it, I’d recommend giving it a try. It provides the ideal nutrition while preventing the risks of developing diseases. It also helps restore your uterus to its original size and reduces your risk of falling sick or depressed. But in all honesty, it’s not always easy and moms frequently find breastfeeding uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. However, it’s a great way to bond with your baby, one of my personal favorites and, for me, it was worth the work but it’s different for everyone. If you do want to give breastfeeding a try, here are some tips to help new moms get the best breastfeeding results. 

Provide ample support for your body 

Breastfeeding can be stressful or unpleasant if you’re not positioned comfortably. Therefore, you’ll find it helpful to support your body for the best experience. You can invest in a chair with substantial support for your arms and back. It’s also helpful to place your legs on a footstool, coffee table, or stack of pillows to create the perfect balance. If sitting down to breastfeed isn’t for you, you can also make yourself comfortable on your bed. As a tip, rest your back on many pillows for the needed support. 

Invest in a good nursing bra 

You’ll find that your regular bra may not be so comfortable. Due to their structure, you may have to take your bra off when breastfeeding. Moreover, the texture of your regular bras can feel irritating or compound the pain in your sore nipples. Fortunately, nursing bras are specially designed to enhance comfort when breastfeeding. These options enable you to nurse without removing anything and can accommodate your breasts, no matter how engorged they are. Therefore, investing in maternity bras is essential, so keep this in mind. 

Determine the proper breastfeeding position 

Admittedly, there is no right or wrong way to hold your baby while breastfeeding. However, some positions may be less pleasant than others. Therefore, determining the right options is essential. Fortunately, several breastfeeding options are available, and you can choose what’s best suited for you. For instance, the cross-cradle hold is excellent for feeding newborns and babies with latching difficulties. This position supports your kid’s shoulders and head when sucking. However, avoid holding them around the head to prevent a shallow latch and sore nipples. Another position you can consider is the reclined position, where you place your baby on your tummy or chest. Instinctively, your baby will work its way to one of your breasts. The skin-to-skin contact also stimulates their feeding instincts, so keep this in mind. Fortunately, you can research the various breastfeeding positions online for a more informed decision. It may take a while but you will find one that best works for you and your baby. Believe me, I feel like I tried every position there was, in fact, I may have created a couple but in the end, the girls were full and that’s the most important thing.

Drink water regularly 

You’ll discover that you get thirstier when breastfeeding. This is normal, as your body releases oxytocin to remind you to get enough water to produce breast milk. While drinking more water than is necessary won’t increase your milk supply, dehydration can reduce how much you produce. Moreover, you risk having mood swings, low energy, and poor skin health. Therefore, it’s important to drink water regularly for the best results. I kept my ½ gallon Hydro Jug by my side and it reminded me to keep drinking and I’ve never stopped. Experts advise taking a glass of water before or during breastfeeding and consuming cucumbers, watermelons, oranges, and other fruit with high water content. You can also improve your water’s taste by adding small juice amounts. However, avoid excess caffeine and alcohol when breastfeeding. 

Eat enough calories

When I was breastfeeding, I was hungry so remember to feed yourself, as well as, your little one. One cool and delicious snack that a lot of new moms like to snack on is EZMILK trail mix for moms. I wish they had it around when I was breastfeeding, it would have made things a lot simpler. It’s a natural, filling trail mix for breastfeeding & nursing moms made with just 5 ingredients, including almonds, raisins, organic pumpkin seeds, organic watermelon seeds and fennel seeds to help support a mom on her breastfeeding journey. Nourishing and delicious, EZMILK is naturally free of gluten, grain, dairy, soy, added sugars and fenugreek. It’s perfect to help curb mom’s hunger cravings while breastfeeding and the pouch can be kept within easy reach for a quick snack!

What’s your best tip to help new moms get the best breastfeeding results?

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