When you tell your friends that you are headed to Florida for a vacation, the first question to pop up maybe are you going to the “most magical place on earth?” That is because Florida is often associated with only the mouse with the ears. Well, let me be the first to tell you, that Florida has so many different spots to vacation, that does not include being in a big tourist trap. Let’s go over some of the best Florida Vacations that not only have historical value to the state but are also hidden off the beaten path.
Best Florida Vacations
While St. Augustine is no longer a quiet and quaint town, there are so many different historical sites to visit. I love incorporating history into our vacations, so St. Augustine is the first on our list. There is so much to do in this town for family members of all ages. (more…)
Working at home is one of the most sought-after jobs that people tend to be searching for. And to be truthful and honest? They are competitive to get gobbled up quite quickly. Not only does working at home require excellent communication and time management skills, but employers are also seeking out people who are responsible and self-motivators as well.
There is a reason that work at home jobs are in hot demand! The thought of being able to wake up for work and never have to leave your home? Sign me up as well, right? Sounds like a pretty good gig if you can narrow down the search and find those legit work at home jobs that suit you and your skill set.
While it may take a bit of time and patience to weed through all the work at home job options out there, it’s worth it if you can land the one of your dreams! The secret is that you have to search online daily and already have your resume updated and ready to go. And if you’re wondering where to find some possible work at home leads, here are the job sites that you should be going to bright and early each and every day. The early bird catches the worm, right? (more…)
If you have a teenager, or pre-teenager with anxiety, you know that it can be tough knowing what to do or say to help them. Our daughter went through a couple of years of anxiety which seemed to come out of the blue. A therapist friend of ours explained that this can happen when the abstract mind is developing. This makes sense now, and like our daughter, you will find that many times anxiety for your teen or pre-teen will pass, too. In the meantime, here are some important things to know.
First remember: Your teenager with anxiety is NORMAL!
Childhood and teenage anxiety are extremely common. Don’t feel that you have failed as a parent. They are learning about how to deal with adult life, and some anxiety is bound to be involved. In fact, I’d be worried if they had no anxiety about life and growing up.
However, some teenagers and pre-teens are likely to be more anxious than others. And that’s okay, too. We are all different people and cope with life in diverse ways. Our teenagers are the same. Some of us just experience more anxiety around certain situations than others.
So, don’t panic!
Although anxiety at this age is normal, there are some parenting strategies we can use to help our teenagers and pre-teens overcome and cope with anxiety. These strategies will equip them with life skills that they will go on to use in adulthood in order to cope with the world.
Anxious Teenager Tip One:
Do not tell them not to worry. Instead, help them work out if they should be worried (or as worried as they are) about something.
It’s all too easy to tell your child ‘Trust me, you don’t need to worry’. But at some point, you must remember that they will feel anxiety and you will not be there to say, ‘trust me’. This tip will prove valuable especially when they enter adulthood.
When your teenager is worried, sit them down. Have a discussion with them. Use these questions to help them conclude about how much anxiety is needed in any situation by themselves.
-What feelings are you experiencing?
-What about this experience is making you feel that way?
-What are the possible outcomes and how likely are each?
-Do you need as much fear as you are holding for this experience at present? And why?
-How could we look at this situation with a positive realistic viewpoint?
Try to help them come up with some positive self-talk they can use while they are in the situation. For example: ’I am nervous about going to the party tomorrow, but I have an opportunity to make some friends. If they don’t like me it’s ok. It’ not the end of the word. I will try again with some different people another time.’
Gradually, your child will learn to ask themselves similar questions and self-regulate their own anxiety.
Anxious Teenager Tip Two:
Don’t avoid subjecting your teenager to every situation that causes them anxiety. If you do, how can you expect them to learn to manage their anxiety? I am not suggesting that you let your teenager become overwhelmed with anxiety-provoking situations. Instead, I am suggesting that you tailor how many anxiety-provoking experiences they experience with what they can cope with and a very tiny amount extra that provides an achievable challenger for them to overcome. This allows your teenager to experience a sense of achievement, grow in confidence, and feel able to progress a little bit more with each experience.
For example, your teenager may be invited to a birthday party they are anxious about. You could say “Ok, I know you’re anxious. Shall we go for half an hour and then leave?” The following time you could suggest that again you will go for half an hour then leave, but this time they must say hello to at least 1 person there.
Anxious Teenager Tip Three:
Don’t tell them what they are doing. Propose ideas and ask them if they want to do something. Anxiety is so debilitating because you feel trapped and out of control of the situation you are in. By asking them what they want to do and giving them a choice, you allow them to feel some control over the situation. This should help to ease their anxiety.
For example, ‘Would you like to go to the park this afternoon?’. Listen to not only their words but their body language. If they look like they are saying ‘yes’ when they want to say ’no’, give them another opportunity to give their opinion. You could say “You don’t look very keen on going to the park, is there something you’d rather do with me this afternoon instead?”
Anxious Teenager Tip Three:
If your teen or pre-teen is in the midst of a real anxiety attack, using the senses can help to calm them. First, have your child find one thing that they can see and focus in on that. Next, find one thing to focus on which they can smell, touch, taste. . . you see where I’m going with this, right? This trick is incredibly helpful in reigning in a full-blown panic attack.
Hopefully, these tips will help your loved one learn how to cope with their anxiety now and in the future. Remember, some anxiety is short-lived. If you think it has become a problem, and you’ve noticed personality changes in your teen and/or a change in sleep patterns or and lack of interest in things that they used to enjoy doing, please seek out a professional counselor.
Have you tried any of these tips with your teenager? How did it go? Do you have any of your own tips you like to share? Let us know!
One of the most popular areas of contemporary interest for modern family health surrounds the benefice of a gluten-free diet. I first discovered the health benefits of a gluten-free diet after the birth of my daughter. According to Forbes, over 3.1 million people were on a gluten-free diet in the USA in 2009. However, just over 70% of these people did not have celiac disease but instead chose a gluten-free diet for the additional health benefits. Read more about my top five benefits of going gluten-free (for the modern family.)
Gluten is a protein that occurs in grains such as wheat and barley. Some people have celiac disease. This means that their body has an autoimmune response to these proteins which is not normal and can cause serious illness. It is also possible that rather than having celiac disease you are have what is called a gluten sensitivity. This means that gluten may cause your digestive system to become irritated or inflamed. Either way, consuming gluten causes sickness and/or discomfort.
Every sensation in our body, whether we are aware of it or not, has the capacity to affect our day to day life. For example, an irritated gut has the capacity to trick our brain into thinking we are anxious, thus, causing stress. This is because anxiety’s effect is also largely felt in the gut and is commonly known as the feeling of butterflies in your stomach. My test for celiac disease came back “borderline”. My doctor erred on the side of a “positive” which is why I simply choose not to consume gluten. Here are some other benefits of eliminating gluten from you diet:
1-Going Gluten-Free Improves Gut Health
Modern families are increasingly adopting a gluten-free diet to improve their collective health. But are there real benefits to going gluten-free if you do not have celiac disease, or is it all just a fad? Should you eliminate gluten from your family’s diet?
Gluten can cause inflammation in the gut lining, especially in those who are sensitive to gluten. Inflammation itself is a sign of a problem. However, inflammation in the gut also means that the proper absorption of nutrients from our food cannot take place.
Going gluten-free can help to reduce inflammation and improve the overall health of the gut. The health of the gut can also be improved by taking probiotic products.
2- Going Gluten-Free Can Aid Weight Loss or Gain
Ok, so largely this benefit isn’t directly a result of going gluten-free! It’s a by-product. Most foods that contain gluten are processed foods that contain a lot of fats and sugars that cause us to put on weight. So, put down your cookies and your cupcakes – it will be kinder to your gut and your waistline!
For some, going gluten-free can help with gain and/or maintenance. Leaky gut syndrome (intestinal permeability) can cause essential nutrients to “leak” out and cause some to become undernourished.
3- Going Gluten-Free Can Improve Our Energy Levels
Opting for a gluten-free diet can reduce fatigue and improve energy levels. Studies conducted by The University of Aberdeen also found that adopting a gluten-free diet also improved concentration in its participants and found that they were able to think more clearly.
Gluten-free diets have been popular in celebrity culture for a long time now. Gwyneth Paltrow and Novak Djokovic are among stars who have gone gluten-free as a means of improving their physical and mental health.
Why does it lead to higher energy levels? Because going gluten-free reduces inflammation and bloating. This, in turn, improves the bodies capability to absorb the nutrients we need from the food we take in.
4- Going Gluten-Free Is Essential for Treating Auto-Immune Disorders
There is a major link between gluten and auto-immune disorders. In fact, to adequately treat an auto-immune disease it is imperative that you cut gluten from your diet.
If you have an auto-immune disease your body is trying to protect itself from toxins or even foods, it considers being harmful. However, your body fails to differentiate between your own body cells and the substance it is trying to defend you from.
So where does gluten come into it? The gluten we eat today is not the same gluten consumed by our grandparents. Wheat has been modified over the years to create fluffier bread, cakes, and pantries. It has also been altered to give it a more uniform structure and color.
We are being increasingly exposed to more gluten that our bodies are not naturally programmed to process. Our bodies can not tolerate this. Therefore, we experience more inflammation and poorer health of the gut along with auto-immune disorders.
5- Going Gluten-Free Helps Kids Who Are on The Autistic Spectrum
Research has found substantial evidence for a link between the brain and gut. Both adults and children who suffer from autism are much more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems. The Autism Research Institute has found that as many as 70% of children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder also suffer from gastrointestinal distress.
These gastrointestinal problems cause the gut’s lining to become more permeable. Partly digested gluten and protein particles pass more easily through the more permeable membrane. The then travel to the brain and bind to opioid receptors. This affects the neurochemistry of the brain and causes symptoms of autism to worsen. For example, mood swings can become more frequent or intense.
A Few Extra Tips for Going Gluten-Free
- Firstly, concentrate on what you can eat. Not what you can’t eat! Habit is a tricky thing to break. Everyone who goes on a gluten-free diet finds it challenging to begin with.
- Buy a gluten-free cookbook.There are so many grain-free cookbooks that we love! Cookbook’s showing mouth watering pictures have the amazing ability to get us excited about food. They will also present you with ideas on how to create interesting meals that you will love on a gluten-free diet.
- Don’t cheat! Little bits of gluten here and there might not seem like much, however, they can cause your body distress and make you feel worse. If you are trying to change a habit you want to see progress. But progress is hard to see when improved health is clouded by little bits of distress due to cheating.
- Make connections. Join Facebook groups dedicated to sharing gluten free recipes and motivating each other to maintain the change of diet. Follow inspiring Instagrammers and / or create a Pinterest board to fill with new meals to try.
- Check labels on food packets and tins. The easiest way to break a gluten-free diet is accidentally! Check whether food contains gluten before consuming it.
- Reflect on how far you have come. Reflection and taking time to notice a difference will make it easier to maintain a gluten-free diet.
- Praise yourself. Rewarding positive actions is used in psychology to reinforce a desired behavior. Eventually, reinforcing a desired behavior creates a habit.
So, after reading this post how do you feel about glutens place in the modern family diet? Do you think you will be adopting a gluten-free diet in the future? Do you feel able to implements a family gluten free diet? If not, then why? Let us know, you might get your questions answered in a future blog post!
It is hard losing animals you love and care for. The sad truth is, it’s inevitable on the homestead. We hope that this blog post helps when you wonder how to deal with losing animals on the homestead. For us, many of these animals are also our pets. Recently we lost our precious Leo. This loss was particularly hard on Kate, as we lost another cat named Charlie only a few months before. To add insult to injury, one of our hens was also taken the same week that Leo disappeared.
Homestead Animals Have Jobs
Here Benny and Charlie taking a break from rodent patrol by napping together next to the hay roll
Many of our animals on the homestead have jobs to do. Our barn cat, Benny, guards the barn from rodents. He is great at this! He is a little bit more cautious than Charlie and Leo were, because Benny doesn’t roam too far from the chicken house or the barnyard. Perhaps his feral mother taught him to be extra cautious. We adopted Benny and his mom at the same time. His mom did not stick around, but Benny did, and over the months became much more sociable. Today he is the sweetest, most loving cat we have ever owned. Charlie was also a feral cat, but he wandered a bit farther than Benny and he, like Leo disappeared without a trace.
We have had hens taken by hawks, fox, and coyotes. Over the years, we get used to this, and we understand that no matter how much we try to protect our animals, sometimes predators outsmart us. It is never easy to lose an animal. To my daughters, all of our animals are pets and every time we lose one, we all grieve. It is particularly hard on our youngest, Kate, who is still grieving over the loss of all of her animals. Each time we lose another, the grief of them all is renewed.
Grieving is Necessary
We all know how attached kids can get to pets. We have had memorials for Beta fish, baby opossums, beloved guinea pigs, baby birds that we’ve found as well as services for our hens and cats. When a child loses a pet for the first time, they don’t know that the feelings will be so strong, and they don’t know to expect grief. This is a big emotional load for a young child to deal with, not just the first time, but every time.
To a child, and to many adults who love their animals, losing a pet can feel like the loss of a human loved one. Pets are more than just animals to children; they are companions, good listeners, and even physical comforters. Pets can fill an emotional need for children like nothing else can. Feelings can range from anger, sadness, depression and despair. We lost Leo in early January, and we are all sad, however, Kate still falls into despair at times.
Allowing your child to have a ceremony can be helpful, and talking honestly with them about their feelings is important. For me, as a mom, I try so hard to not give the “adult response”, but to find my inner eleven-year-old who lost her dog one winter in Upstate NY. I grieved for that dog for months, maybe years. When Kate and I can talk about all of that honestly, I think it makes her feel like she’s not so alone. It doesn’t take away the heartache though; only time can do that.
Unfortunately, so often on the homestead, our animals disappear without a trace, and so no formal burial can take place. We try to remind Kate of all the fun times that she had with her animals, especially with Leo. We remind ourselves that some pets are with us for a long time, others for only a short time. Remembering Leo as a joyful cat who lived his life at 100 mph almost always makes us smile.
We made Kate this poster of Leo to help her remember all the fun times she had with her beloved kitten. It hangs in her room next to her bed.
And Then Another Animal Comes Along
Meet Jesse Covenant
Just when you think you can’t get any sadder, sometimes God gives you a gift. This little guy wandered over to our neighbor’s house. She called to tell me that she found Leo. When I got there, my heart sank; it wasn’t Leo. But, it turns out this guy was a stray who had obviously been wandering alone for quite some time. I brought him home, surprised Kate and her sister when they got home, and the rest as they say “is history.” For now, this guy’s only job is to live inside and bring joy to our healing hearts. He’s adjusted well, after his surgery, many naps, and proper nutrition. Kate has even taught Jesse how to walk on a harness!
There is always something to be done around the homestead, and sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day for The Parents (aka The Working Parents) to get it all done! Ever since our girls were little and we began to homeschool, I have always also worked part-time (and for a few years full-time.) Talk about needing some extra hands to help out!
1. Start Early
As soon as the girls were old enough to use them, we bought them their own tools: hoes, rakes, gloves, hammers, nails, drills, screws, paintbrushes, paint and small pieces of wood. They created at will, and what they made was often times messy, but always awesome. Since we involved our girls in most everything we did around the homestead, they watched and learned. Even when we thought they weren’t watching, they were; and not only were they watching, they were remembering.
Kate getting her garden row ready. She’s about five years old here.