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Happy Family Tips

Coupon How-To From a “Been There, Doing That” Mother and Wife

Having a family of eight, almost nine tends to cause you to look for ways that you can save money or cut costs. Many of us have a very fixed budget, especially with the economy now. This makes it difficult to see areas in your budget that are flexible or have any areas to give. Some of us have cut deeply out of our entertainment budget, or in my case, our coffee house budget because that is one area that can actually be cut. Even if you don’t have a large family like mine, doesn’t let you off the hook. We can all stand to make some changes. That led me to find a solid “coupon how-to,” and now I’m passing that on to you – free of charge, without the need for a coupon, this time.
For years I have been anti-coupon. I just never saw the point. Why would I waste all my time cutting out coupons for 35 cents off of a name-brand item, when I can still buy the store or generic brand item more inexpensively? I also thought that if I had cut all of these coupons, I would be compelled to buy things that I had coupons for that I would have never normally bought. I sort of thought this because I had done just that a few times when I had tried the “coupon thing”.
I could also envision mass amounts of coupons spilling out of the top of my wallet, or crumpled up at the bottom of my purse. Let’s face it, my purse doesn’t need any help in the crumpled up paper department. I do have 6 kids after all. I pictured myself standing at the check out with a mile long line behind me, three to four unruly children begging for candy, and me digging through the bottom of my purse in the hopes that I could find THE coupon that would save me a bunch of $$$ only to find it and realize it was expired. No thank you. I tend to be a spectacle of sorts, as it is, if I travel through the aisles with all of my children. Adding the vision of the coupon fiasco to the mix was something I was not interested in.
So, when my sister-in-law mentioned to my mom that she had started “couponing” I gave her the eye-roll. (Behind her back of course. I am not that rude!) As she was describing all of the free stuff and super inexpensive stuff that she had picked up, I couldn’t help but be curious enough to ask the one question you never want to pose to a couponer, unless you want to become one yourself: “How?”
Her answer has become this “coupon how-to,” a crash course in all things coupon. By the time the conversation was over, I was not sold per se. But, I was intrigued enough to do a little more investigating of my own.
**Warning!** If you don’t want anything to do with coupons, you should probably stop reading this article now. You just may be sucked into the coupon vortex like the rest of us.
What I discovered is that every idea I had about coupons was, well…wrong. I do so hate to be wrong. If it involves saving money, I can be big enough to admit it. Couponing is very strategic. It requires planning, organization, research and mad skills. Okay, perhaps that is an exaggeration of sorts. But, the 1st three are definitely required.
Coupon How-To
– Supplies –
A new attitude about frugality and spending – non-negotiable!
4-6 Sunday Papers, depending on family size (Make sure they have all coupon inserts!)
Organizer – a baseball card organizer (in a 2-3 inch three-ring binder) works great for coupons.
Notebook dividers for above
– Directions –
Every Sunday pull out the store ads and match up the deals to your coupons. Better yet, find blogs in your area that have done all of the work for you. There are a ton out there. Some in my area even host monthly classes on how to become a “coupon queen.”
Label the dividers with different categories: baby, beauty/haircare, first aid, dairy, etc. You will find categories that work for you – but the best way is to label them in such a way that the coupons reflect the store aisles. Then start cutting those coupons and loading up your binder.
The goal of the coupons is to know when to play them. You don’t want to just make a list and see if you have a coupon for it. You want to use your coupons on items that are already on sale and at rock-bottom price. Then you use multiple coupons to stock up on the item. Because you can also …

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Happy Family Tips

Saving Your Sanity, Teaching Children Respect and Creating a Happy Family!

Teaching Children Respect
It is always with astonishment that I see parents bully and belittle their children and then complain that those same children are hateful or disrespectful!
Honestly, how loving and respectful can a child feel about someone who constantly criticizes and frightens them? What must it be like for a little kid to be yelled at constantly? I wonder how it must feel to have Mom or Dad, the most important people in your life, always demanding that you DO something, eat right now – or else! Go to sleep this instant! Can you imagine always being threatened and being told to shut up! Sit down! Go away! Wow! It is an echo of our own childhood that is behind this crazy parenting behavior. We feel justified because it feels so normal and familiar. In reality there is no justification for such abuse towards the smallest and weakest among us. We should not condone this treatment of children and we should challenge ourselves to become better more enlightened parents.
The attitude of “spare the rod and spoil the child” is rampant in our society. Many parents that would never physically strike their child may still use the “rod” of words. Words can sting much more than a spanking and may never be forgotten. Think of your own childhood, and chances are that you still have a few hurtful sentences running around in your head! I know I do.
Children are born sensitive beings. From the moment they are conscious they are watching us. Learning from every example, every word spoken, every attitude that we project. The idea that children should “Do as I say, not as I do” is ridiculous! It might make a struggling parent feel better to say that, but it’s just not the way it is. Children learn what they see. They model the behavior that is in front of them. Parents are the most important and influential role models for their children. Hands down. I suspect that the saying “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is more from modeling than genetics! I certainly hear my Mothers words randomly coming out of my mouth!
Being a parent is a very challenging journey. It never ends, and children will always reflect back the dysfunction within a family. Perhaps the greatest challenge is not just the daily work of raising kids, the feeding, clothing, watching their every move, but rather in the personal growth that is demanded of a parent. My own on going journey through Motherhood has brought me to my knees more than once, and forced me to examine and challenge my own attitudes about everything. It has pushed me to mature and grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined possible, and at the end of the day has brought meaning, joy and connection to my life that has made it all worthwhile. More than worthwhile…Priceless!…

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Happy Family Tips

3 Effective Positive Parenting Tips

Positive parenting is focused on encouraging and rewarding positive behavior in children rather than punishing unwanted behavior. Positive parenting isn’t about being overly permissive, though. All children need certain boundaries, both for their own safety and to teach them what is and isn’t acceptable. By focusing more on positive behavior, however, you’ll be more effective in leading your children to the right direction. Let’s look at some of the basic principles of positive parenting.

If you want to be a positive parent, you must devote some time out for yourself. If you are stressed out, you will not be able to give the right kind of attention to your kids. Your energy and patience are in limited supply and you also have to learn not just to take care of your children but yourself as well. It can be difficult to look after yourself when you’ve got kids because they take up most of your time and energy. Yet you should make sure you are eating well and getting enough rest and exercise. If you are under stress, whether it’s from your family, job or other issues, make sure you address this. Look after your well-being because doing so will give you more energy to devote to your children.

Reading is an essential skill that can be a source of great pleasure. While your child is young, make it a habit to read to them. This will encourage your child to love reading. As your child gets older, the two of you can read together. sure, your child will learn how to read when he goes to school, but it’s never a bad idea to help your child get started on reading. You’re bonding with your child when you read with them. Not only that, but you’re teaching them to appreciate books and enjoy learning. You can uncover interests and talents in your child if you expose him or her to a variety of reading materials that are appropriate for their age.

One aspect of positive parenting you should not overlook is encouraging healthy habits in your child. This includes eating a healthy diet and getting enough physical activity. This may be hard to do these days because your child is surrounded by a lot of temptations that could cause them to develop habits that are not healthy at all. What you can do, however, is make better food choices and cook healthy meals for your child. You need to make sure your child is active as well. It’s not healthy for your child to spend most of his or her time watching TV or on the computer. You’ll need to set limits and not let your child be dependent on passive forms of entertainment. You’ve just learned a few effective ways you can be a more positive parent to your children. Expect to face many difficulties along the way, as it’s not an easy thing to be a parent. Keep in mind, though, that if you consistently listen and communicate with your child and encourage and reward good behavior, you’ll find your job becomes a bit easier.…

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Happy Family Tips

Co-Parenting With a Partner – The First Year

If you’re like me, I really thought that, despite my decision to breastfeed, my husband was so gung ho about being a Dad that we would share the parenting responsibilities pretty equally once our first child was born. I was in for a rude awakening. Breastfeeding meant that much of the time I was literally attached to my new baby, and when I was not, I had an easier time calming him than my husband did. And even when I didn’t, I couldn’t stand to have my husband trying to comfort our fussy baby without stepping in and trying to help. Whether due to biology or psychology, I was so attached to my new baby that I couldn’t tear myself away long enough to really get a break. As a result, I became more comfortable in the baby care role, and he became less.
There are many reasons why fathers often take a backseat in the early days with a new baby. Whether because of a hormonally-afflicted “helicopter” Mom, an inexperienced Dad, a baby who is more easily calmed by the mother, or gender-related attitudes about who does what, newborn care often falls disproportionately to the mother. And since Mom is generally recovering from childbirth, likely adjusting to breastfeeding, undoubtedly sleep deprived, and in the throes of huge hormonal changes, this disproportionate share can become a BIG PROBLEM. You know that saying that “if Mom isn’t happy, nobody is happy?” I think the truth of that statement is widely underestimated.
So, we’ve got a Mom who can’t let go to allow her partner to care for the baby, a Dad who is either mildly incompetent or feels he is (or is being treated like he is), a baby who’s getting used to being cared for by Mom, and a Mom who is at the end of her rope and feels like she just can’t get a break (and is not sure she would take one if she could). Not a recipe for a happy family.
Negotiating who does what, recognizing the barriers to fairly allocating parenting and household responsibility and actually making and carrying out a plan to address those barriers and create a cooperative, supportive and fair allocation of workload is one of the major tasks of the first year of parenthood. Working out a plan for who does what, figuring out how to set goals for change if change is needed, and implementing those changes, can make a world of difference.
I once read a study (and I don’t have a citation, but I like to believe that it is true) that claimed that of all the factors that might predict the well-being of children as they grow up (e.g. praise, affection, discipline, structure, etc.), the one variable that is most predictive of a child’s future well-being is the degree to which his or her parents have a cooperative relationship around parenting. So, if that is true, it matters less who does what (or if it is done correctly), and it matters more that parents are supportive of each other as parents and partners.…

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Happy Family Tips

Relaxing Vacations In Ski Chalets

When one mentions the word chalet, often images of skiing in the Swiss Alps come to mind, but one does not have to go to Switzerland or be a pro-skier to experience a chalet vacation! Travelling to any ski resort, whether in the USA, Canada, or Europe, chalets can provide an excellent opportunity to relax, have a mug of hot chocolate by the fireplace, and unwind in the isolation of snowy mountains surrounded by loved ones or strangers about to become new friends.
The dictionary defines a chalet as a wooden home with a sloped roof and overhanging eaves, common in Switzerland and other areas in the Alps, but these days it’s not restricted to Switzerland at all. Most cottage or lodges built to resemble chalets in the Alps are called chalets. In some parts of Quebec, any vacation home built near a ski hill is called a chalet, whether or not its built in the traditional style.
Chalets were originally used by dairy farmers in Europe during the summer months. To prevent the milk from spoiling during transport, they would stay in the chalets and make milk or cheese. In the early years of the 20th century the idea came about to use these chalets as a holiday, an extension of the country house weekend. In the early sixties, chalets were accommodations that one would share with eight or ten guests to share. Sharing the one chalet also meant sharing one hot water tank so guests would race to be the first people back inside after the lifts stopped. Those that came after the first one back were rewarded with afternoon tea as a consolation prize. The warm tea became a staple of chalet-living and continues to this day with either tea, hot cocoa or good quality wine.
Guests visiting these rustic ski resorts can also partake in some obvious activities: skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or some indoor activities like board games or some friendly rounds of poker. If you do decide to partake in some sports activities, skiing is a fairly popular sport that people of all ages and ability levels can participate in. It can be a great idea for a family vacation, and a good opportunity to bond with your children as they learn to make it down the bunny slopes!
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you may want to try your hand (or foot?) at snowboarding. Snowboarding is much like skiing on one wide ski, but requires much more core strength and can challenge your balancing abilities. Those who have much experience with downhill skiing may want to try snowboarding for a more challenging experience.
Those considering a skiing trip should also consider the arrangements that need to be made about their equipment. Most chalets have the ability to provide ski/snowboard rental as well as boot rentals. You’ll also need to ensure you pack snow gear such as a ski jacket and ski pants, as well as snow goggles and of course hats and mitts.
Once you’re done your outdoor activities for the day, plan to take a dip in the warm jacuzzi or take a few moments to sweat out some toxins in the sauna. Or, feel free to grab a mug of something warm and curl up in front of the fire with a loved one. There’s plenty of peace and quiet to enjoy once you’ve made the time to vacation at a ski resort.
Whether you decide to go to a chalet in a secluded mountain cranny in the Swiss Alps, or find a luxury resort in the Canadian Rockies, once you’ve had a wonderful travel experience like this you’ll be coming back for more every year!…

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Happy Family Tips

Need Aid With Parenting? Follow These Suggestions

With parenting, there are no definitive rules on how to do anything, exactly the right way. While this may seem to be a daunting fact, remember, that every person new to parenting always feels the same way. However, with a bit of sound advice, you can get off to a great start with your child. Follow these tips and advice, if you want to begin your career as a parent on the right foot.

Make sure you listen to what your child has to say. Listening can be anything from listening to them babble as babies, listening to how their day at school went, or listening to their problems. Kids want to know that you care enough to listen to them. If you listen to them, they’re more apt to listen to you.

A tip that goes unheeded by far too many parents is the suggestion that they remember to take time for themselves. Setting aside some personal time to decompress and maintain hobbies and interests will help moms and dads stay energized and engaged in the lives of their children. This will lead to a happier, more fulfilled family.

Let the baby nurse as long as he is still actively sucking with deep drawn motions. If the baby starts to slow down, hold down on your breast for a few seconds to release more milk. If he is still hungry, this will get him going again. If he does not respond then try switching sides as he may have emptied that breast.

Limit the amount of television your child watches each day. Too much television is bad for your child, mentally and physically. It is one cause of childhood obesity, can lead to poor eyesight, and contributes to feelings of anxiety. Have your child play with toys or go outside instead.

Close Family

As a parent one should make sure to set time aside specifically for the family. This is important for maintaining a happy and close family, because with our busy lives it is easy to let other outside activities such as sports and work get in the way.

Good Relationship

As unfortunate an event it may be, divorces happen all of the time. In order for you, a divorced parent, to hold a good relationship with your college aged and older children you must never get them in the middle of your divorce. This will push them away for you and your ex-spouse.

Mom And Baby

Look into slings and baby carriers designed for twins. They do exist, and they are fabulous. There is a learning curve for getting two babies into a carrier, but the benefits to mom and baby are enormous. Wearing your babies will allow you to get things done with your hands free, and the twins get the emotional connection and intellectual stimulation from being right with you.

Parenting is not a science, so while not everyone will agree on particular thing, you can choose and try different things to see what works for you. This is important. Take the advice that you feel will get the results that you want from your child. You now have solid information and advice; the next step is up to you. Good luck!…

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Happy Family Tips

Tips To Help You Be A More Efficient Parent

Each child is unique, much like a snowflake. Children have their own likes and dislikes, temper or calmness, and you need to adjust your parenting style to work with their listening style. Here are some ideas given to us by parents who have raised their children and survived.

Make time to play with your children every single day. Playtime helps get you and your children moving, which benefits your health. Playing also encourages creativity, social interaction, imagination, and good self-esteem. Active play is better than passive, so take your kids to the park or even just the yard and let loose your inner child.

Childproofing your home is more important than you may think. The number one cause in death of children is accidents, many of which could have been prevented if the parent had childproofed their home. Even if you think your child is old enough to know better, keep these safety measures in your home.

Have someone besides mom introduce the baby to a bottle if needed. A baby who is being breastfeed will be less likely to take a bottle from the mother as they want what they are used to. The process will go much smoother if a dad or other caregiver gets the baby used to a bottle.

When you have your first child, don’t buy every gadget on the market. There are a million products out there for your infant and the truth is, you don’t need most of them. Buying a million things will only clutter your house up and cost you more money than you need to spend.

When you have an infant, it is important that you keep an eye on your child at all times. At this stage in their life they cannot take care of themselves. Without keeping an eye on them they could get away with something that could injure them or possible kill them. For example,they could put something in their mouths and obstruct their esophagus.

Close Family

As a parent one should make sure to set time aside specifically for the family. This is important for maintaining a happy and close family, because with our busy lives it is easy to let other outside activities such as sports and work get in the way.

Good Relationship

As unfortunate an event it may be, divorces happen all of the time. In order for you, a divorced parent, to hold a good relationship with your college aged and older children you must never get them in the middle of your divorce. This will push them away for you and your ex-spouse.

Mom And Baby

Look into slings and baby carriers designed for twins. They do exist, and they are fabulous. There is a learning curve for getting two babies into a carrier, but the benefits to mom and baby are enormous. Wearing your babies will allow you to get things done with your hands free, and the twins get the emotional connection and intellectual stimulation from being right with you.

Your children are precious, but aren’t really like a snowflake. They won’t melt if you do the wrong thing, so feel free to experiment with your parenting style until you find something that works. Kids are amazingly resilient, so supply lots of hugs and kisses when things do go wrong and everything will be okay in the end!…