Hibiscus Flowers

We bought some hibiscus seeds a while ago and planted them in the garden. I thought they were just hibiscus bushes like I’ve always had. But these are much different. The plants took off and grew quite large but no blooms. Then about a month ago we received hibiscus seed pods in our Local Fare Jax food bag. I wasn’t sure what there were. We looked it up and then went in our back yard to see our hibiscus bushes were full of pods!

 

We tasted them straight off the bush and found them to be tart, a bit like rhubarb.  We chopped some up and put into a salad. We dried some out to see what the pods and seeds looked like.

 

 

Last weekend I decided to make a pie. I used Granny Smith and Fuji apples and diced up hibiscus petals.

We also boiled the petals down into a simple syrup to use in mixed drinks.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Cooking Healthier Meals For The Family

If you are the person, or one of the people, who cooks for the family in your household, there are a number of main concerns that you are generally going to need to focus on. An important one is always going to be ensuring that you are cooking meals which are as healthy as possible for your family, so that everyone is going to be in good shape, but that in itself can be surprisingly hard to stick to at times. It is, however, entirely necessary to make sure of. In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can make sure of cooking healthier meals for your family starting today.

 

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Reduce Fat & Sugar

One of the main things that most of us need to try and do is to reduce the amount of fat and sugar we eat. There is far too much of both of these in our diets, and it essentially just means that we are often eating empty calories. In order to try and avoid that, you should think about what you can do to reduce the amount that you have in the meals you cook – which is much easier to control than the meals you don’t cook yourself, and so they are a great opportunity. This could be as simple as seeking out recipes for cornbread with less fat and sugar that can still be delicious, or even changing the entire way you approach cooking at home. As long as you are keeping these down, you are doing everyone in the household a favor.

Keep Portion Sizes Down

One way in which most of us don’t do ourselves many favors is by dishing out huge portions to the entire family every time we cook. By doing this, you are essentially just ensuring that your family are going to put on weight, and keep putting it on until you do something about it – or unless they are actively working off a lot of calories every day. Even then, however, it is much easier to simply make sure that you are not feeding them too much in the first place. Keeping the portion sizes as low as possible is going to be one of the very best things you can do for your family, and it is likely that you are going to find it easy to keep on doing it once you have started. So start today, and see how much of a difference it really does make to everyone’s diet.

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Careful With The Salt

Too much sodium is not good for anyone – in the long-term, it can cause a lot of dehydration, and that in turn is related to many problems with one’s overall health. It is wise to try and keep the usage of salt to a minimum too, as this is something that can have a profoundly negative effect in the long run. As long as you are careful with the amount of salt you use, you should find that you and your family are going to be in much better shape overall, so this is a hugely important thing to do. At first, you might feel that your meals don’t taste quite right, but the taste buds actually get used to less salt after a while, and then you will realize that you have been using far too much for far too long.

Dish Up A Rainbow

So far, we have only been looking at what you should avoid – but it’s just as important to think about what you should actively be serving up for your family. There are so many things that you need to make sure your family are eating, and one thing you might want to focus on in particular is that you are ‘eating a rainbow’ as they say. This simply means that you should be trying to incorporate as many vegetables of different colors into your food. If you do that, it means that you are getting many of the nutrients and minerals that you need in your diet, and that is most of the battle here. Dish up your family a rainbow every day, and you will really be doing a lot for them indeed.

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As you can see, there is plenty that you might want to try and improve upon if you are keen to make your meals healthier, and so improve the health of your family on the whole. If you focus on these things, you should find that you are going to be able to make that a reality in no time.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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5 Reasons Why All Kids Should Learn To Play An Instrument

Learning a musical instrument is great for your kids. It’s good fun and it gives them a creative outlet that they can use to express themselves. You might need some earplugs to get through the first few months of practice because they won’t sound great but it’s worth making that sacrifice because it benefits them in so many ways. These are just some of the reasons that learning to play an instrument is good for your kids.

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It Teaches Patience 

Patience is an important skill for all children to learn and, playing a musical instrument is a great way to do it. They won’t be able to sit down at a piano and play right away, they’ll have to start off with the basics and work through a beginner’s guide to piano before they can create anything that sounds remotely like music. But if you encourage them to persevere until they get better and better, it shows them the value of patience. They will get a real sense of achievement and understand that hard work and perseverance pays off. This is a mentality that they will take into all areas of their life, so it will be a huge help to them in the future.

It Improves Coordination 

Parents are often told that they should get their kids into sports because, aside from keeping them active, it’s a good way to improve their coordination. But not all children are interested in sports, so playing a musical instrument is a good alternative. When playing an instrument, they need to concentrate on reading the music whilst also using their hands to play at the same time, so it improves coordination a lot.

It Helps With Math 

This is one that people don’t often think about, but music is built around mathematical patterns. The scales and chords are all based on numbered patterns, so learning to play music can also help to improve math skills. This is especially useful for kids that are more creatively minded and get bored by math lessons at school.

It Gets Them Away From Screens 

Parents often feel like they’re fighting an uphill battle against screens. Tech addiction is a big problem, especially in teens, so it’s important that you find ways to limit their time using screens. There are some great parental control apps that you can use but you’ll find it a lot easier to convince them to cut down on screen time if you give them alternative activities. Music is a great hobby for kids that helps to convince them to put the screens down for a while.

It Encourages Self Expression

Managing mental health in children is so important, but some kids find it hard to express themselves, especially if they are working through difficult emotions. But music gives them a creative outlet for those emotions and helps them learn to express themselves more.

These are just some of the great benefits of learning a musical instrument, so you should consider encouraging your children to pick up this great hobby.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Fun Ways To Get Your Kids Outside More Often

 

With all the technology in the hands of kids today, it can seem like they stare at a screen all day. So many parents are struggling with getting their kids outside more often. It can be tough to come up with ideas that are active, fun and interesting enough to get kids’ attention.

Too much screen time can be harmful to your child’s development and health. Kids need to be out in the sun and the fresh air. Spending more time outdoors can help improve your child’s sleep cycle as well as strengthen their immune systems.

Something as simple as getting them outside to help in the garden or hide out under your backyard awning from businesses like www.cityseamlesspatiocovers.com and play a game with their friends can help them start to enjoy spending time outdoors. Try some of these fun ways to get your kids outside more often.

Covered Porch

If you live in an area that has a full four seasons you might wish that you got more use out of your outdoor spaces. You can use your porch all season long if you have the right protection.

If it’s too hot or too rainy, it can be tough to get your kids to leave the comfort of the couch willingly. Keep safe, dry and shaded with a patio cover, pergola or gazebo where your kids can relax in comfort.

Have More BBQs

Nothing is better than eating your dinner fresh off the barbeque out on the patio. Discover the beauty of an outdoor evening in your backyard and enjoy a family dinner together.

Family Walks

Make it a habit to take a family walk every night after dinner. A daily walk is a great way to get to know your neighborhood, talk about your days and get a little exercise.

Outdoor Toys

Kids might get bored quickly if there is nothing for them to do once you get them outdoors. Have a range of outdoor toys around to keep your kids busy. Sports balls, a tire swing or a volleyball net are the perfect toys to keep your kids outside and active.

Plant A Garden

Get your kids involved in growing a garden. Give them the responsibility to water and weed the garden so they can feel part of the growing process.

Fireplace

Kids can’t resist the fun of a campfire. Add a fire ring or fireplace to your outdoor space to keep the kids heading outside for evening fun.

Set Screen Time Limits

With the pull of technology being so strong, one of the best ways to get your kids interested in other activities is to limit their screen time. Once their time is up they will need to look for other options including heading outside.

Conclusion

Kids today tend to stay indoors more than any other generation. Try a few of these fun ways to get your kids to join you outside more often. Get into the habit of going out and finding activities to do together as a family so that you set a good example for your kids.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Financial Freedom – 5 Tips To Help You Ditch Your Debt For Good

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Being in debt can be monumentally difficult. In the short-term, it can cause deep stress and a strong sense of insecurity and fear about the future. Long-term, it can cause huge issues with relationships and mental health while preventing us from being able to plan for any goal other than escaping debt.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re stuck in the debt cycle, it’s time you considered a different future for yourself and your family. To help you, here are five tips you can use to ditch your debt for good:

  1. Accept The Truth

The first step to changing your financial future is accepting the truth. Sometimes it’s too painful to acknowledge the debt and how badly it is affecting you. Once you have accepted the truth, however, you can move forward and get the debt help you need. This will allow you to finally see your future as hopeful as a better financial outlook becomes possible.

  1. Commit

Sometimes, when a debt professional helps you get your problems under control, and the worry slips away, your commitment can slip a bit too. Treating yourself to new clothes or an expensive night out with friends can be tempting. Although you will get some short-term highs from slipping back into old habits, you risk digging yourself right back into debt.

 

A commitment to long-term change and to being permanently debt-free means putting in the effort every day. It will be hard, but whatever it takes to refocus yourself on becoming debt-free, do it today – it will be worth it.

  1. Consolidate Your Debts

You can group your debts together into one monthly payment. This is called debt consolidation, and it can work astonishingly well if you have lots of debts with hefty interest. Debt consolidation is an achievable way to help you become debt-free, especially if dealing with multiple companies is one of your biggest issues.

  1. Make Some Sacrifices

It might sound obvious, but for many families, cutting back on Christmas presents, skipping the annual holiday, or living without a car, are unthinkable sacrifices. If you do the math, though, you may be surprised at how quickly cutting back on those luxurious items can pay off your debt entirely. Depending on the size of your debt and how many luxuries you enjoy, you could be free within just a few months. Think about how much money you could save for holidays and special occasions once that debt is paid off.

  1. Generate Additional Cash

If you have cut back as much as possible, it may be time to start considering ways to generate additional cash. An extra job, online side hustle, craft sales, decluttering and selling, or doing some handiwork locally could all top up your repayment budget. If you can plump-up your repayments or even pay a lump sum to clear your debt, it will be worth the extra work and resourcefulness. There are plenty of online resources detailing realistic side hustles. Find something that works for you, and go for it.

“Never let a short term desire get in the way of a long-term goal” – Curtis Martin

 

Having debt is undeniably difficult, but it does not have to be forever. The above tips are just some of the many tactics you can employ to ditch your debt for good. A desire for long-term change, combined with hard work and honesty with yourself, can transform your finances for the better. Our last and most important piece of advice: Don’t give up. The results will be transformative for you and your family.

 

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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