Thursday, December 1, 2016

9 Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas to Trim Your Holiday Spending

Here are a few alternative Christmas gift exchange ideas for you to create a fun experience while keeping your holiday spending in check.
1. Pick a secret Santa.
This game is a classic, but by only giving one gift to a family member, you can focus more on the gift-giving experience (and picking out something extra special) rather than spending money on several gifts that may or may not hit the mark.
You can even up the ante by asking family members to leave secret notes and treats for the person whose name they’ve drawn leading up to December 25. Be sure to put a dollar limit on how much each person can spend on the final gift given on the holiday!
2. Make a coupon book for family members.
I love this idea because it’s personalized and can be a lot of fun depending on how creative you get!
These coupons can be for “Making Your Bed for a Week,” “Doing the Dishes for 1 Week,” or “Letting You Pick the TV Show We Watch.” Choose simple things that can make other family member’s life a little easier or a little more fun!
3. Set gift expectations early.
It’s important to set gift expectation for kids early on. Let them know that even if they have a long wish list, only a few presents will show up under the tree.
You can make this into a learning exercise by having your children prioritize which gifts they really want. Have them rate each gift idea by putting stickers next to them on the list, coloring in stars, or writing out why they want this particular gift more than others.
You can also help your kids choose a couple toys they already have to donate to charity. This kind act makes room for a few new ones while teaching them about giving and sharing with others.
4. Take a family trip.
Instead of spending money on everyone’s presents, use the money for an outing. It can be as simple as a local trip — you’ll even find some good deals during the week between Christmas and New Year’s while the kids are still on vacation.
Even if you just travel to a nearby town or a local park, it’s the act of getting away as a family.
Too stressed to plan a family trip? Check out this list of easy family staycation ideas!
5. Let your kids do the shopping.
If they’re old enough, give your kids a set amount of cash, allow them time to search for deals and coupons, and then let them shop away for gifts for family.
The cash will help them learn the value of every dollar and how to stay within a set budget, plus most kids love the thrill of shopping on their own!
6. Give back as a family.
You can sponsor a family in need by making a donation through Heifer International. As a family you can provide a gift of a cow, goat, or chickens to a struggling family from another part of the world.
You may also be able to sponsor a local family through your local Salvation ArmyFamilies First, or even adopt a military family for the holidays through Soldiers’ Angels. It’s a wonderful way to feel the real meaning of the holidays and do something as a family!
7. Trade favorite recipes.
For extended family, have everyone make their favorite dish or dessert and attach hand-written recipe cards — one for every member of the family. Gather together for a family meal and swap recipe cards so everyone in the family can build their own family recipe book!
8. Share a family photo collage.
Photos are one of the least expensive and most treasured gifts, in my opinion, so why not build a family photo album together?
Have each member of your family print up to 10 (or more if you like!) of their favorite photos from that year for each person in your family. (That would be six copies of each photo if you’re a family of six.) Then, share your memories while enjoying time together. You can also have each family member bring an empty photo album with them to fill with the photos they receive so they can look back on their wonderful holiday experience next year.
9. Create a family gratitude journal.
Grab a beautiful journal or inexpensive notebook and set it in a public place where every member of the family has access to it. Starting on January 1 or even as early as December 1, each person will write one thing they’re thankful for in the journal each day. In 2018, you can all look back on your thankful messages together!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Simple and Effective Fertility Tips To Help You Conceive

Conceiving can be difficult for some while some may get pregnant even in a few month. There are many for whom trying to conceive is a struggle. They try for years with the hope of getting pregnant but are unable to. There might be many reasons for the same and if you are unable to conceive even after trying for a year, you should seek medical opinion. But before that, there are some remedies and fertility tips that you can try and you never know they might just work!
Have confidence in your body: First and foremost, you should think positive and be confident about your body. Stop negative thoughts, and do not stress about not getting pregnant. A happy you, means, your right hormones are triggered and your body functions better. Try to spend some good romantic moments with your partner. Think of making love and not just having sex.
Eat well: Say good bye to junk food and say hello to fresh fruits and vegetables. Also stop all the contraceptives, if you had been taking any. Have more nuts and dry fruits. Drink enough water. Avoid alcohol and other such beverages. Keep away from aerated drinks as well. Stop smoking. Take the necessary vitamins and folic acid tablets. However, you can do this after taking a doctor’s advice. When you lead such a life, you are laying a foundation for a greater chance of conception. 
Know your ovulation days:  Generally, the 15th day of your menstruation period is when you will ovulate. For example, if your menstrual cycle is of 28 days and you had your period on the first of a month, then the 15th day or the 14th day is when you will ovulate. There are also some signs that tell you are ovulating. You get a sticky and clear vaginal mucous on these days or your body temperature might be a little higher on these days. You can also buy an ovulation stick which works just as a pregnancy test. The ovulation stick will help you know if you are ovulating or not.
Have sex: Of course, this is the most important part. Try not to get stressed or angry on these days. If you can plan a getaway, then do that. You should try to have sex either on alternate days or every day if you can, starting from the 11th day of your last period. If that is not possible and if you know for sure  your ovulating days, then you can start having sex at least three days before it.  The sperms can remain in the woman’s body for two days, that is why alternate days of sex is always recommended. It is important to enjoy your time rather than having sex with the thought of conception.
Keep trying: Once you have decided to have a baby, it means you have to keep trying. Not all can get pregnant at the first attempt, and that means you should not give up hope. Some may take months of trying. So, keep at it. Enjoy trying and have fun. Be happy and have confidence. Instead of thinking, what if I don’t succeed; think ‘I will get pregnant’.  Instead of getting fed up, look forward to trying to conceive.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Sad Reasons The Spark Fades In Your Relationship

You were once in love. Do you remember how that felt? Now, you can’t stand being at the same table anymore. His chewing is disgusting, and he says he never realized how dead your eyes look when you talk. How did you get here? Intimate relationships are great at first. The two partners involved enjoy each other to the fullest because everything is new. They love with all their being and they put their hearts on the table. But as the relationship matures and things get serious, new behaviors emerge. That passion you once shared slips away, and little by little the flame burns out. Too often, couples today are a big part of the reason that spark fades. Here’s why!

5 Sad Reasons The Spark Fades In Your Relationship

1. They become distant
Couples kill intimacy the moment they stop caring and become distant. This usually after after 3 or 4 years of being in a relationship. When one of the partners stops communicating, the bond thins. Distance leads to more severe issues, including infidelity. Communicate your issues and concerns, and find ways to fix them. Be the one to reach out. Invite your partner to a special evening. Start asking how their day was again. Little steps can take you a long distance. Don’t allow your partner to become a stranger because at some point you won’t be able to reconnect.
2. They criticize their partners over little things
Couples who criticize each other can’t possibly be happy. Usually, when one of the partners stops being the caring, compassionate person you met years ago, it happens because of a reason. Rather than start screaming and shouting or become suspicious that your partner is cheating, try to understand them. Stop asking over and over again “what’s going on?” and find a way to be more supportive. Being criticized by a loved one can be nerve-wracking. Let your partner breathe and stop smothering them with questions.
3. They become secretive
He had a number of relationships before, but somehow managed to convince you that you were the one; and you believed him. Lately though, he seems indecisive and the things you once knew for sure are questionable. Does he seem distant? Does he make you doubt his honesty? Maybe something happened that he’s not telling you about. If the intimacy in the relationship doesn’t feel like it used to, then you should talk to him about it. It is vital for couples to communicate and find a way to keep the flame burning. Otherwise, that passion you once felt will become non-existent and the love will slowly fade away. Act now and don’t hide your true feelings. If you wait too long, your whole marriage can go down the drain.
4. They become indifferent
In the beginning every relationship seems mysterious, exciting and interesting. He used to find you fascinating. But lately he seems indifferent and doesn’t share anything with you anymore. What happened to his sense of humor? Where did the excitement go? Even on those nights you didn’t make love, you could still be up all night talking and having a good time together. But right now he’s giving you the cold shoulder. It’s sad that you can’t connect anymore. If you want to fix your intimate relationship and get another shot, you’d better speak to him now. Dig deeper and find the root of his indifference.
5. They’ve given up on the memories
In the past he used to get over the hard times faster. Now he’s clinging to every discomfort. Is he too focused on your defects? Does he seem reluctant and suspicious? Well then maybe it’s time to remind him of the women he once fell head over heels for. When you’re in a committed relationship sometimes it’s tough to focus on the good memories. When issues arise and your intimate connection is no longer what it used to be, it’s nice to remember the good times. Why focus on the negative when you can keep hope alive with memories that made both of you feel joy and happiness? Break out those pictures. Have a few, “Do you remember when…?” nights. Go visit your old haunts. Memories aren’t just in your head; you can reconnect by reliving. Don’t be afraid to plan out that trip down memory lane!
Holding onto a relationship and preserving the intimacy can be challenging. After years and years of being together, couples may feel their partner is changing for the worse. However, this doesn’t mean it’s their fault. Rather than blame your partner for being distant, secretive or indifferent, you should support them. Support their decisions and give them space. Be the person you want them to be and pretty soon you’ll see them coming back to you, too!

20 Questions To Ask Your Guy When You REALLY Want To Know Everything

Let’s face it – your guy is pretty amazing; but, he also doesn’t like to talk about himself. Why is that? Maybe it’s his selfless attitude, or he’s just a private person. Guys aren’t usually the masters of talking. Either way, you’re lucky to have him in your life.
When you’re dating or even if you’re in a committed relationship, there is nothing you want more than to learn everything there is to know about that special guy. But trying to get him to open up is sometimes like cracking a safe. Good luck learning that lock combo.
But you really want to know. What are his deepest fears? What does he want most in this world? If you could just tap into his brain for a day, what secrets could you unlock about him? And knowing him on a deeper level would help you feel even more connected – As a married couple or as partners, there is nothing better.
That’s why we’ve come up with a list of 20 questions to ask your guy to learn more about him, and love him more in the process. These are questions that really get into what he is all about as a person, inside and out.
The problem may be actually getting him to answer these questions. Maybe agree to get him to answer one a day via text, if you also answer the question, too. Or make it a game – once he completes all 20 then you’ll give him a special surprise. It could also be fun to have each of you answer these questions about HIM… and then compare your answers. This may take some convincing, so make it fun and hopefully he’ll see the value in doing it.
So print these questions, text them, or email them – just get them to him so he can answer them. You could even start with the less invasive questions at first to get him warmed up. Have fun!

Here are our 20 questions to ask your guy:

1. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Why do you think so?
2. Who is your hero or the person you look up to most (dead or alive)?
3. What is the biggest thing you look for in a guy friend? A girl friend? A marriage partner?
4. What is one of your strengths (physical, mental, spiritual, etc)?
5. What is one of your weaknesses (physical, mental, spiritual, etc)?
6. If you could travel anywhere right now for free, where would you go?
7. What is your dream job? Has this always been your dream job or has that changed?
8. If you could fix one thing in the world by just wishing it to change, what would it be?
9. What are your top three favorite foods (meals, snacks, desserts)?
10. What is your most embarrassing moment?
11. If someone were to portray you in a movie about your life, which actor would it be?
12. What is one thing you have always wanted to do?
13. What is your biggest fear (real or imagined)?
14. What motivates you the most in life?
15. If you had a free day to yourself, what would you do?
16. Have you ever lost a loved one, and what did it feel like?
17. What is your favorite book of all time?
18. What three things would you bring with you to a deserted island?
19. What do you think other people think about you when they first meet you?
20. When/how do you feel most loved?
Be sure to write down his answers so that you will both remember them in a year or two. His answers are bound to change over time, so if you revisit these in the future it would be fun to see if anything has changed.

5 Essential Things To Keep In Mind When Dealing With Inlaws

From the minute you said ‘I Do’ you’ve had issues with certain members of your new husband’s family. They’re different than you (you didn’t realize how different until now), they’re strange about how they deal with normal things, they eat their food on the wrong side of their mouth. Right now you are experiencing life with the inlaws, and it’s driving you insane. It isn’t that you don’t want to love them; it’s more like they try really hard to get under your skin and you have no idea why. Truth is, you all are going to have to get to know each other and there are things you are going to do that drive them bananas, too. But there’s hope! Here are 5 super important things to keep in mind when dealing with the inlaws. Not because you have to change everything about yourself to fit in with them, but because you will all need to make certain compromises to fit in with each other.

5 Essential Things To Keep In Mind When Dealing With Inlaws

1. You didn’t marry them.
Even though it feels like it from time to time, you did not marry them. Yes, the popular belief is when you marry your spouse you marry their entire family, but that isn’t exactly true. You married into a family, but you still (for the most part) have your own. And the biggest part of your own now has to be your spouse. You married him. So stop trying to figure out how to make them love you more, and put those energies into making sure he knows how much you love him.
2. They were raised with different values and thoughts than you.
And that’s okay. The thing to remember is that you’ve spent intimate time with your spouse. You might think you know his family, but you don’t. You know his version of his family. And no matter how much time you’ve spent with them while the two of you were getting to know each other, they are still people who probably held back a bit in order to look good to you. And you probably did the same. And that’s okay; but, you have to remember that now that you are married, they are going to let more of themselves shine through. And so are you. There will be growing pains, but if you work together, you can get to know them and hopefully cherish and honor their values and thoughts (as they hopefully will yours).
3. Don’t put your spouse in the middle.
Your mother-in-law is a pill. Your sister-in-law had a party and didn’t invite you. There was that one time your husband’s uncle maybe put a move on you at Thanksgiving. Tell your spouse these things, but don’t make him choose sides. Don’t make him choose between the family he has spent the first (ish?) years of his life with over you. It isn’t fair to him. Grow a backbone! If your MIL is stepping over boundaries, remind her of where they are. If your SIL didn’t invite you, maybe she thought you weren’t interested. Maybe it was only for the gals she went to college with. It’s okay to ask. And as for that uncle? Yeah, he’s always been a bit of a drunk. Do your best to stay away and know that it’s completely fine to not love everyone in the same way.
4. Do compromise; don’t be a doormat.
Just because you’re right doesn’t mean you have to get your way. Just like in your marriage, compromise with the inlaws will take you a long way toward finding a healthy center. If you spent a holiday at their house, plan a different time to have everyone over to your own. At the same time, you don’t have to give in to their every demand. Just because the inlaws had Thanksgiving at their house every single year doesn’t mean you can’t start a new tradition. Or, perhaps alternate between their house and your family home, or even your own. Compromise doesn’t mean you have to let anyone walk on you; it just means you don’t always have to get your way.
5. It’s okay to walk away.
If tensions are too high and you feel as if you might reach a point of saying something that can’t be taken back, walk away. They might be upset that you walked away, but whatever you might have said would last a lot longer and might never be forgotten. It’s okay to take a step back, think about how to handle a situation, and deal with it after you have a better frame of mind.
Learning to be part of a whole new family takes time, energy, and a whole lot of compromise and commitment. The thing you must remember is these people are now in your life for the rest of your life. When you have kids, when you are going through a tough time with your spouse, as you lose members of your own family, your inlaws will be there for you and with you – as long as you give them a chance to get to know who you really are.

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