Sensible Ways to Stay Connected with Friends and Family
Many families are spread far and wide these days but even if you live in a different country to most of your relatives and friends, there are some easy and practical ways to keep in touch.
The world is a smaller place thanks to technology and it is inexpensive to reach out to people and keep up to date with what everyone is doing. Here is an overview of some apps that can help you stay connected, practical tips for sharing images and videos, plus a look at why it is good to get into a communication routine.
All you need is Wi-Fi
Whenever you have a Wi-Fi signal you can use a variety of different apps to stay in touch with people without having to worry about the cost of international call charges.
If you download WhatsApp on your mobile you can then make calls and send messages to friends and family using the Wi-Fi connection.
A viable alternative to WhatsApp is Skype, but it seems a lot of people around the world prefer the former, as it has an easier interface and you can send messages just as quickly and easily as speaking on the phone.
Another good option would be to download the call recorder app by Apalon Apps. It gives you the ability to record all of your calls, so you can listen to a message straight from the app or replay a special call from a loved one whenever you want.
Sharing your memories
It is not always practical to share everything on social media sites like Facebook and some relatives might not have a profile anyway.
A practical way to share your latest memories with others would be to share videos and images via a cloud storage service.
You can often get a basic account for free with someone like Dropbox which gives you 2GB of space as part of the deal when you sign up. This can often be enough to load the images and videos that you want to share with others.
All you have to do is create a shared folder and then let them know when you have added something new for them to see.
Another alternative to consider is uploading some videos to YouTube. There is a facility to make these videos private so only those invited to join the channel will be able to view the content.
Get into a routine
If you are living abroad and missing your family and friends you will want to try and stay in touch on a regular basis, so consider getting into a routine for communicating with them.
Work out the practical issues such as time zones and work commitments and then try to work out a time and method for getting in touch that works for both parties.
For instance, If you want to call your family on a Sunday and tell them about the week you have just have, set a time that works and everyone will soon look forward to your regular catch up session.
It feels good to stay in touch and keep a regular communication routine, otherwise, the weeks can soon turn into months and before you know it, you haven’t managed to speak with anyone for ages.
Zara Green has family living all over the globe and cannot imagine what it would be like if she couldn’t use today’s wealth of tech to keep in touch with them. She writes about tech and social media in her articles, sharing useful info and how-to articles.
22 Tips To Help With Child Constipation
Having a child that has issues with constant constipation isn’t fun. Child constipation is often cause by poor diet or a diet without a good variety. There are foods you can add to your child’s diet. Foods to eliminate and more. When my son was a baby he had such bad constipation he would go 7-10 days without having a bowel movement and they when he did it would be very painful with crying, screaming and more. He didn’t understand his pain, just that it hurt. I knew someone that had an older kid with this problem that started holding his poop, since he associated pooping with pain. So, then when he finally did, the pain, of course, was bad. It was a vicious cycle and I so I started to research what I could do to try to not let this happen to my son. One thing I did, when he was a baby and not on solids was change my diet (since he was breastfeeding). I added more fiber to my diet and even tried to drink a small amount of prune juice. This was not on the advice from a pediatrician. Our pediatrician insisted he wasn’t constipated and did nothing after many visits. Thank God for the internet! I researched on my on what to do.
As my son grew older he still had this problem. When he was a toddler he liked to eat breads, crackers and other grains but not much for fruit and vegetables. Back again, to finding foods he’d like. I found there are high fiber foods I could add to his diet that helped. It was hard that a lot of them he didn’t like, but some persistance (try it again, just a few bites) he learned to like some of them.
Most children need 25-25 grams of fiber a day. Fruit is good but has sugar (even if natural) and is low in fiber. Most people aren’t going to have 10 cups of blueberries, so you need to add something else. 1 cup of lentils is over 15 grams of fiber!
Things to Eat For Child Constipation
- Split peas. Only thing I can think to make with these is a soup.
- Lentils, black beans, lima beans and chick peas are high in fiber. You can make a soup, add them to a taco or burrito, mix with rice. Get creative.
- Oats (oatmeal, muffins),barley and bran flakes.
- Some veggies: Artichoke, peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, bell peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips
- Some fruits: raspberries, blackberries, avocado, pears, figs. Don’t forget plums and prunes.
- Add flaxseed to food. You can sneak it in quiet easily. Yogurt- mix with granola. Spaghetti- add in the sauce. Oatmeal, mix ground flaxseed in while making.
- Switch your pastas to whole wheat. Switch your rice to brown rice or wild rice.
- Add chia seeds to food. They have 5.5 grams per tablespoon! Mix in smoothies or pudding.
- Add spinach or carrots to recipes (spaghetti sauce, carrot cake, smoothies). Pureed veggies can be added to a lot of sauces.
- Popcorn. Yes, really. 4 cups has about 5 grams of protein. So not a lot, but popcorn is a low-carb, low-cal snack too.
Foods To Avoid For Child Constipation
- Dairy. Milk, cheese, ice cream… it is all binding.
- Certain bananas. Weird but unripened green ones can cause constipation and ripe ones actually have some fiber.
- Chips. They caused delayed digestion and can cause constipation.
- Fried foods. They are slow to digest and can cause binding. Skip or reduce the donuts, french fries and foods battered in bread, like fish & chips.
- Frozen dinners. Most are low in fiber, high in fat, high in sodium and low in any nutritional value.
- Sugar desserts: Cakes, cupcakes & cookies. The are low in fiber, low in fluid, and high in fat.
- Chocolate. I know, YUM, right? But it is something you should at least reduce.
- Foods with gluten. A gluten intolerance can lead to constipation.
- With some people apples cause constipation and with others it helps with it.
- Eggs.. Weird, huh? But they are actually low in fiber and high in fat and can cause child constipation.
- Certain vitamins. Some have calcium and iron that can cause constipation.
Greek Yogurt With Flaxseed, granola, apple slices and blackberries.
Don’t forget exercise! Little ones you can give massages, work their legs back and forth. As they get older you can bring them to the park, go on walks, bike rides, even do some sit-ups (squish around the intestines to help mash things up a bit).
If the child constipation is chronic then you should seek a doctor, or get a second opinion. It is always safe to rule out any serious issues.
Get A Squatty Potty! It will help with the position and posture a person is using while sitting on the toilet (adults can use it too) and help poop come out easier.
Make sure your child is also drinking enough water! If they are dehydrated than their poop will be too, causing constipation.
What tricks or foods have your found help with child constipation?
How To Keep Warm In Winter, Without Freezing Your Wallet
Winter is here, and it’s cold outside! Bundling up in warm parkas and mittens works for going out in the snow and cold, but what going back in? Keeping that sneaky cold from getting inside isn’t just closing the doors and windows and turning on the heat. In fact, that can cost hundreds in wasted electricity and air conditioning costs. Cold air and temperatures can sneak in when and where you least expect it, and before you know it, everyone is wrapped up in blankets and the thermostat is working overtime.
The best part about keeping warm isn’t the toasty feeling you get, it’s the extra conservation to the environment! Not only does following these tips keep you warm, but you’ll also be reducing damage done to the environment by the various levels of resources used to heat your home. This includes raw materials, the processing of these materials into energy, and the transmission of that energy into your home.
Some of these tips come from unexpected places, like windows, pipes and electric sockets. It all counts, though, and that precious warm air could be slipping out through these spots. Some of the remedies count on nature – natural light is warm, welcoming, and stimulates nutrients in the body, as well as warming your house naturally. Others might count on a little DYI – automatic thermostats need installation but can provide benefits that are offset in your electric bill. No matter what, however, all of them are up to you! Every little bit you can do to eliminate or minimize the leaking of warmth from your home can in turn save you money.
All of these are safeguards to keeping your living space from feeling like a penguin’s living space. It just takes a little knowledge of your home, its insulation, and its energy use. The rest is up to you!
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How To Create A Drought Tolerant Yard
Living in California means we don’t have much water. Either from rain or from snow melt. Here rain helps with our plants but our drinking water comes from up north. So if there isn’t a lot of snow melting in the spring we will have less water for the summer. We are in a drought and have been for over a decade so many people are doing a drought-scape in their yards. It is a great way to reduce water consumption and save on our water bill. Added bonus, I fired my gardener and am saving $65 a month. I applied for the drought rebate program with the water company and was approved a few months later. Prior to starting work on my yard it didn’t look too great. I had a mix of random types of grass growing and lots of weeds. It didn’t look bad if it was mowed short and watered often, but since my water bill seems to always be too high I’ve been trying to reduce my watering and only water my vegetable planters and my fruit trees. Before you start a job like this it is a good idea to figure out your supplies ahead of time. We used 3 pallets of wood chips (mulch). Each pallet held 60 bags. Each bag cost $3.67 plus tax. We thought we’d have extra to return but we actually used it all up and could use about 10 more bags. If you are ordering by a pallet it is easier to order extra and return some. We bought the wood chips from Home Depot. The cost for delivery was $79. This cost was the same, regardless of the number of pallets. So it was better to order three pallets and have extra rather than order two and need more. If we had extra we could always put a few in a truck to return them. If we needed more we would have to pay a new delivery fee.
If you want to be frugal and do this yourself read more. Lots of tips and tricks I learned. I helped a few family members in their yards and they helped me do mine. Great win-win. We had 3-4 adults and two teens working so we got it done pretty fast.
Before doing the any work my yard was sorta green, not great looking grass. Lots of weeds ( you couldn’t tell if the grass was really short but it was really a mix of weeds and lots of different types of grass). I like grass, when it looks good. But comparing the grass-yard to my new drought-yard, I love the new one.
For the areas where I am keeping plants, it is important to have good topsoil, good fertilizer and some insecticide and fungicide products, incase your plants get sick. I found products from The Dirt on Dirt to work great in the garden. They are environmentally friendly, non-toxic and fast acting. My rose bushes and artichoke plants also get aphids. I found the Eco-Mite is a great insecticide Miticide and is safe for flowers and vegetables.
I’ve used the Eco-PM Fungicide on my orange tree. It was getting leaf curl and the leaves were turning brown and dying. After using the Botanical Fungicide three times (once a week or two) I noticed the leaves weren’t getting worse. Looking a few weeks later, the tree had new,healthy leaves, and the leaves are looking a lot better.
The fruit trees in the photo (and some not seen) are dwarf lemon (behind the bench), fruit cocktail (in the center), plum (behind the fruit cocktail) and dwarf orange (on the right). I want to plant a dragon fruit tree on the front-right. Since it needs less water than everything else I might put some bricks around it and make it a little raised.
Garden Vegetable Planters. Empty for winter but will soon have lots of veggies in them. The NutriRoot is a great liquid soil applied fertilizer to help plants develop a good root system. I use this every time I plant a new tree. My dad built the raised garden planters with some wood and paint. Took a few hours to cut and paint the wood then he brought them over and we assembled them, did some touch-up paint and filled each with soil. Living in Southern California means I can plant so much! Last year we had melon, corn, artichoke, tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkins, lettuce and a lot more.I’m not sure what I’m doing with this side yet. I was thinking some stepping stones leading to a bistro set. It is hard to see but there is a few plants on the left side. Right now they are blending in with the wood chips but they’ll get taller and add some dimension to the yard.
The top front yard had about 7 plants, so far. I’m going to plant two trees (left and right side) soon. The right of the driveway has a rosemary and sage (very top) and on the right of them a raised vegetable garden. I usually plant my tomato plants here that I get every year from Tomatomania. Below that is some lantana, aloe and lavender.
When adding wood chips make sure you get a LOT! Make a guess on how many you need and double it. This was our first try. But they didn’t spread out enough and it left the ground with bare patches. This was before we bought the pallets. Frugal Tip: Any bags of soil or wood chips that had rips or tears in them were 50% off at Home Depot.
In the front I want to do a dry river pathway and add a few large rocks too. Something to break up everything and add some style. I did not buy any huge plants since they are not safe close to the house (don’t want a place for potential burglars to hide) and on the parkway I was told I could not plant large plants that would block people from getting in/out of their car if they parked on the street in front of my house. All in all, my estimated budget for the whole project was about $2500 and I spent $2000, so I was under budget. Part of this was from using some potted plants I already had (to put in the space on the right of the driveway), shopping sales for plants, soil and wood chips and having family help with the labor. In the spring, when wood chips are about 50% off on all bags, I will buy some more to make the overall height of them a little higher to deter weeds and grass from growing.
On top of reducing my water bill on grass, I have a prettier yard. New raised veggie planters. Fired my gardener and am saving about $800 a year. Saving about $100 a month by using less water. It is a great win-win for the environment and my pocketbook.
4 Tips To Control Children’s Technology Overuse
CONTROL YOUR CHILD’S USE OF TECHNOLOGY THIS NEW YEAR WITH THE HELP OF THESE EFFECTIVE TIPS!
The New Year is right around the corner which means we are all off to a new start. It has rightly been said that change is always gradual. You cannot expect to see a growing plant with flowers blossoming, right after you have bowed the seed. To nurture a plant successfully, you need to take care of it by watering it regularly or by providing the necessary sunlight to the plant. The same principle applies to parenting. No one can be an expert, as a parent. Parenting practice progresses gradually and it transforms to its better version day by day.
Since the beginning of the New Year indicates a fresh start, a new ray of hope and a lot of renewed chances for fueling up your parenting, therefore, make the most of this uplifting time of the year and reconsider your parenting priorities.
Here are a few tips to help parents in managing their biggest concern about their child, i.e. the influence of technology on kids. You can take control of your child’s use of technology and digital media with these tips. Implement them this New Year and get rid of your agonies.
1. Treat Technology as a Tool
When kids use the tech gadgets only for playing games or for useless activities, then they consider technology only as a source of entertainment. Teach your kids about the valuable advantages of such devices. Let them know how they can use a smartphone or a tablet for learning purposes. Don’t treat technology as a luxury, make them realize that the internet is a privilege and should be used only as a necessity.
2. Create a Balance in Their Activities
Instead of taking away technological freedoms from your kids, create a balance in their routine. Let them spend time in front of a TV screen or any other screen within a limit. Engage them in other activities such as swimming, soccer, reading novels, etc. By incorporating this tip in your child’s routine, you can boost your child rearing game and can take control of your kid’s attraction towards technology.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Kid’s Use of Internet
Most of the ingenious parents take advantage of parental control options to make their life easy and relaxed. If you are still not one of those smart parents then perhaps this is the time to consider becoming one. Take advantage of parental control apps for managing your kids’ use of the Internet. Parental control apps are specifically developed for the ease and comfort of parents.
Parental control apps such as FamilyTime offers a set of extremely thoughtful features in controlling children’s use of technology. With the app in hand, parents can:
1. Mirror contact book of kids to view contacts saved on the child’s device exactly the way they
appear on their device. With the contacts, you can see all details saved there such as email
ID, home address, birthday, etc.
2. Monitor SMS history to see the threads of sent and received SMS on your kids’ device with
the help of FamilyTime app and stay updated about what they talk about.
3. View call logs to see whom do they contact and at what time
4. Watchlist suspicious contacts to receive instant alerts every time a contact is made by either
party, i.e. your kid and the watchlisted contact.
5. Track location in real time to time and see where they are at any given time.
6. Trace location history for the past months to see the list of places they have visited in the
past. Through the location history tracking, you will see the list of places with their complete
address and the date, and time of their visit.
7. Monitor web history to see the URLs they visit with the date and time stamps.
8. See bookmarks and favorites to keep tabs on their web preferences.
9. View the complete list of apps installed on their device
10. Check App usage frequency to analyze the time they spend on each application.
11. Block apps to restrict their access to the apps you find inappropriate.
12. Put auto screen locks on their devices for a specific time interval.
13. Remotely lock their phone to limit access to their device whenever you want.
Give this app a try for free. You can get the trial version with premium features from the Google Play store and iTunes.
4. Model Good Digital Habits in Your Own Personality
This New Year make it your goal that you will mirror those digital habits in your own behavior which you want your kids to adopt because kids follow their parents most of the time. Keep your phone away during meal times to let your children realize that they should do the same. If you use your phone while driving, your teen is likely to do so once he/she start driving which is why you need to anticipate your own traits in order to control your kid’s use of technology.