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Top family traditions for Easter

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 26, 2021 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

By: Rev Dr. Stéphanie Noircent




Chocolate egg hunt is one of the most popular activities parents set up for their kids. It's a scavenger hunt either conducted outdoors or indoors depending on the weather. Kids hunt by looking in hiding spaces for easter eggs and gather them in their baskets. 


Painting Eggs is often done with families together. Grab some eggs bought for this purpose. You can poke a small hole on both ends of the egg and blow out the yolks so it doesn't go to waste. Then, simply use some watercolors and paint the shells with your kids. It makes for a cute centerpiece for the dining room table. 


Egg Relay Race is so much fun! You take some boiled eggs and put them on spoons. Put the handle of the spoon in your mouth and the first person to get across the finish line without dropping the egg wins! Kids can hold the spoons in their hands if they want to. I say use boiled eggs because even if they fall, the shell protects it and you can still eat it afterwards. No food waste!


Seeing the easter bunny is another thing kids enjoy doing. Go visit the mall and you're sure to get a photo-op with the easter bunny. The kids will love it and it will be a magical moment for them.


Easter baskets are a way to sneak in a few gifts for your kids. You can fill them up with goodies like treats, toys, and more. People often take photos of kids with their easter baskets as well.


See an Easter Parade together with your family. Take folding chairs if you have them so your kids and yourself can have a place to sit. Enjoy watching the floats, music and dancing together as a family and enjoy a good time together!


What are your family traditions for Easter? Comment below!

Halloween Trivia Game and Scavenger Hunt

Posted by Live Love Mom on October 30, 2020 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

by: Sheree Saumier


If I could pick any thing to do.. it would be event planning. Themed parties, in particular. I enjoy it SO much.


I really struggles with deciding to take the kids or not.... I didn't want them to miss out on the Halloween feeling.... but I really don't want to drag them all over the place during a pandemic, either... I know they'll be fine, but it's more the idea that need to take things like this seriously, you know?


I decided not to take mine trick or treating so, I have a scavenger hunt planned with lots of candy surprises, some games and Spooky Trivia!

 






1. Ireland

2. Tunips

3. Romania

4. Tootsie Rolls

5. Black cats

6. eyes

7. Mexico

8. North and South America

9. Victor

10. 2039

11. Cauldrons

12. Egypt

13. Bats

14. Zombies

15. Full Moon



Those are the answers.


 

If you use pinterest, I also have a board called "Halloweenie Quarantinie" with all the ideas for our Halloween Scavenger Hunt Party. I can also send you my Scavenger Hunt List, if you'd like. It's simple. Here is the pinterest board link: https://pin.it/3bbhoBL



Here is a scavenger hunt. So, basically, I took the activities we're going to do, and based the scavenger hunt around that, so It all kinda works together.

 

 




I bought most of the stuff at the dollar store. So it wasn't TOO expensive.


The ghosts are going to be dum dum lollipops with tissue paper. The pumpkins will but filled with candy and tied up with green pipe cleaners.... I got cheese balls to make little pumpkins with in small party favor bags.... the witch's brooms are just pretzel sticks with string cheese in the bottom. Stuff like that.


The dollar tree had candy buckets, so I got some of those and 3 little bean bag gnomes for a toss game.


I'm also going to draw jack o lantern faces on clear cups for a ball throw game, there's one similar pinned in the board.


Something I found that I thought was REALLY cool is he "Spider Web Fly Toss".... I bought a bunch of black craft pom poms, and masking tape, I'm going to make a couple hula hoops into a big spider web and the kids have to throw the "flies" onto the "web" and whoever gets the most wins. 


 


How To Have A Safe Halloween During The Pandemic

Posted by Live Love Mom on October 16, 2020 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




With some towns banning the distribution of candy to prevent the spread of the virus, it can be difficult for families to figure out how to celebrate halloween with their kids and still make it a magical time for everyone. Here are some ideas for fun for the whole family!


Carve Pumpkins. Get some pumpkins from the grocery store and carve them into silly faces or inspiring shapes. Hollow them out and put an LED powered fake candle inside for a spooky glow. For younger kids, you can also paint the pumpkins or draw on them with markers.


Free Printables. Lots of places offer free printables with pages of halloween-themed drawings your kids can color in, and sometimes even some arts and crafts that are spooky. You can also look up some ideas on Pinterest on how to make some ghosts, cats, and other things with construction paper, tissues, tape, markers and more!


Scavenger hunt. Buy some candy in bulk at your local dollar stores or grocery stores and hide them around the house! Have your kids run around and find the candy around your house or in your backyard, weather-permitting. It will be like a cross between Halloween and Easter, hunting for easter eggs. Be sure to write down a list of where you hid the candy so you don't end up discovering them a year later. 


Deliveries. In order to keep everyone safe on Halloween, some towns are doing free candy deliveries for families with children. Be sure to sign up ahead of time, and to answer the door wearing a face mask and a face shield if you have one. Your kids will still get to eat candy on Halloween and this will bring smiles to their little faces!


Haunted House. Make your own haunted house for your family. Dim the lights, hang some scary decorations and make a blind haunted house too. Put some cold spaghetti in some jello while blindfolding your kids and tell them it's guts! Put some cold sausages in a bowl and tell them it's intestines! Put some raw ground beef and tell them it's brains! Of course, afterwards turn on the lights and show them the bowls so they know it's just a scary trick. 


Movie Marathon. Break out the popcorn and watch a scary movie marathon cuddled up on the couch with your kiddos! Stay up late together since Halloween is on a Saturday this year. They can hide under blankets during the scary parts if the kiddos are too scared!


Costume Contest. Dress up in your best costume that you can find from previous years, and have your kids do the same. Whoever comes out with the best costume wins! You can even make one out of household objects if you want; tie a towel around your neck for a cape, use a pot and spoon as a shield and sword, make a tinfoil hat, wrap a blanket around you for a dress! Use your imagination!


White sheets. Have a friendly competition with each other and wrap each other in white sheets or big towels to make a mummy disguise. The best one wins! You can also see who makes the best ghost by adding googly eyes to the sheets and taping a black circular piece of construction paper to make it look more realistic.


Bathtime. Get a funky colored bath bomb and have your kids pretend it's something magical. With purple, have it be a witch's magic spell to get clean. With green, it can be a witch's stew. Red can be blood, and black can be the dark of the night. White can be on the moon! Be creative!


Have any more Halloween ideas for home? Comment below!

11 Things To Expect When Your Daughter Has Short Hair

Posted by Live Love Mom on October 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Recently, my 4-year-old daughter told me that she wanted short hair. I wasn't sure if she was serious, but she kept insisting. I showed her different short hairstyles and she chose one. ''Mom this one! This one! Please, cut my hair up to here, please please please!''


Other than a trim and her dad giving her bangs, she's never had a haircut. I looked at her long and beautiful, golden curls and felt some sadness. I didn't want to let them go. I had been told before, once they are cut they may never grow back again. The moment was fleeting, and I realized that this is her hair on her head, and she should be able to make decisions about her own body (that aren't life and death). So you know what? I told her yes.


We headed upstairs and I have a professional hair-cutting kit and I put the smock around her and sat her on a dining room chair in the bathroom where there is a full-length mirror. She grinned ear-to-ear and giggled, she said ''I'm so excited!'' I kept asking her if she was sure, and she kept saying yes. So I combed her hair, pinned up different sections, and cut the back layer to the length she wanted. She saw her hair fall on the floor and squealed in delight. ''I can stop if you want. Are you sure? Do you still want me to do this?'' I asked. ''Yes mom stop saying that and cut my hair!'' So section by section I cut it until it was the length she wanted.


She looked at herself in the mirror and grinned so much her cheeks started to hurt. She said, ''Mom I am so beautiful, I look like a princess!'' I told her yes you are. She absolutely loved her haircut and still does. I'll never forget how happy a simple haircut made her.


I didn't expect it to look so gorgeous on her, but it does! Her face shape is perfect for it, and her thick hair frames her face well and there is even a part that curls still by her ear. She says she loves braids so I've braided the hair out of her face in a short one and she is just as happy as when I braided her long hair. 



 

1. Mistaken for a boy

''His hair is getting a little long, it's time for a haircut,'' I heard a stranger say. That day she was wearing an orange shirt and tan shorts (gender-neutral). I'm glad she didn't hear it, or she must have thought it wasn't about her.

''Why is he in a dress?'' Well first off there is nothing wrong with a boy in a dress, secondly why do you care what a stranger is wearing, and thirdly short hair doesn't mean boy.

I was surprised I was getting these remarks because her hair really isn't that short.

 

2. Hoping she doesn't hear the comments

The last thing I want is my little girl to be hurt or confused. I am thankful she has a happy-go-lucky attitude and if she does hear, she corrects the person. ''I'm not a little boy, I'm a big girl!'' 

Another mom asked me if I cut her hair because my daughter had lice. I informed her that you don't need to cut hair to help with lice anymore, and no, my child has never had lice. 

 


3. Having the other parent freak out

If you're a single parent, the other parent might freak out. Girl's hair is seen as a precious sign of femininity and I have no idea why, but parents often never cut their kid's hair other than a little trim, even if their daughters beg them to. Some girls have to wait until they are 18 years old before they cut their hair, or they get it cut by a friend, or they do it themselves. 

I remember the first time I cut a bit of my own hair off, my mother started crying when I showed her the hair I had cut off. My 6 year old had cut a little bit of her hair off and she expected me to freak out but I didn't. I told her it was her hair and it was fine. Her father however...he told her and my 4 year old that they need his permission to cut their hair. I told them privately that this isn't true, it's their hair and they can decide whether they want to cut it or not.

 

 

Even my husband looked at my daughter before she cut her hair and said ''please don't cut your hair, I like long hair.'' To which I looked at him and replied ''Then grow your hair long, your preference doesn't matter on someone else's hair.'' Men are taught to value feminine aspects at a young age such as dresses, skirts, pastel colors, long hair, lipstick, everything that people would call ''girly girl'' stuff. It can take years to unlearn these things. So with a little help I taught some people that they should never pressure my kids to keep their appearance a certain way to please someone else. No one ever asks this of boys and I won't have it.

 

4. Adults may not be so nice

''Why would you cut your hair?'' and I've heard ''Did you cut her hair as a form of punishment?'' and also ''Did you force her to cut her hair?'' Of course the answer is no on the last two counts and the first, well it's nobody's business but my daughter's. 

 

5. Grandparents will react

''Her hair is always in her face! Why did you cut it so short that she can't wear a ponytail?' How are you supposed to do her hair? Now I can't braid her hair anymore or make cute pigtails!'' Well her hair isn't anyone's plaything or possession. I stand by my daughter's decision to have her hair cut in the length she desired.

 

 

6. People you don't know will think you're crazy

Strangers will comment things saying I am trying to force masculinity onto her, or that I wanted a boy so I cut her hair and make her wear boy's clothes. Some have said I am blind and can't tell my kids apart so I had to cut the hair of one of them. Others will cite articles where parents or teachers abusively cut a girl's hair as a punishment and accuse me of doing the same. They will say I want to make her appear younger because I can't accept the fact that she's no longer a baby. It's really horrible how seriously people take a haircut.

 

7. Her hair will be talked about everywhere

There are positive comments out there of course. ''What gorgeous thick hair she has!'' ''What a beautiful bob!'' and she has been compared to Ruby Rose on the set of OITNB. She will also put on a crown and a princess dress and say that she is a beautiful princess and no one dares say otherwise.

 

8. Her hair has been a teacher

 

I feel like this was a very important step in teaching her about consent. I always tell my girls that their bodies are theirs, and they get to decide for their bodies. She had decided to cut her hair, and I did it. When she was younger she wanted her ears pierced (later changed her mind so we took them out), so we did it. I won't change anything about her appearance unless she asks. I remember people giving me and my friends a real hard time about them getting their hair cut, and quite frankly it's ridiculous. It's dead protein strands attached to a scalp, and it always grows back.

 

I also think that this helps teach her about gender roles and how they are fluid. Girls aren't required to have long hair, and boys aren't required to have short hair. We are fortunate to have members in my family where the ladies have short hair and my brother has longer hair, I want her to know that it's okay to be herself and not worry about the little box of femininity society try to trap her in.


9. Kids may say mean things

She hasn't been to school yet at her age, but it's bound to happen. There is a child in her daycare who has hair on the longer side and she was told that she looks like him. But not once did she tell me she wants to grow it back. She did come home crying from daycare once when she told me that a kid told her she wasn't pretty. I gave her a big hug and I told her that this kid is wrong. She said her daycare teacher heard what the boy said and he was reprimanded. Parents, teach your kids to be nice and not to be bullies, especially at such a young age. Thankfully I am always able to console her, and her teacher and friends and family boosted her confidence again by telling her how beautiful she is.


10. You need to be creative with hairstyles

Longer hair is easier: wash it, brush it, put it in pigtails, a bun, a ponytail or a braid and you're done for the day. Not with short hair! You need to pull back the hair from her face and secure it with a hairband. You can braid this as well so your daughter can have some braids. You can also do small pigtails. If some hair still falls in her face or her hair is too short to be kept back in ponytails, you can always add barettes to keep her hair away, or hair clips or bobby pins. You can also put on a headband or a bandana. There are still lots of possibilities and let your child choose as well.


11. You may need to brush her hair more often

The first time I cut my hair as a child, my mother told me that I would need to brush it more often. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but just in case it is I've listed it here. Since the hair can't be tied back in one long braid, it will move around a lot more as your daughter runs around, so it will get messy faster. You may have to comb or brush her hair accordingly. However, I have found that personally with my daughter, brushing once a day is fine and she hardly gets any knots. It depends on the length.


 

All in all, hair is just hair! Let your child choose which hairstyle they want. If they ever don't like it, their hair will always grow back!

To My Dearly Loved Grandfather

Posted by Live Love Mom on September 18, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Dear Grandpa,


I can't believe you're gone. I was sure we would have at least a few more years together. I wasn't told that you were in pain, or that your health was declining. I wish I had been informed sooner, before it became too late. I was told before you went, you had no more pain. I am glad that you were able to pass away with your dignity intact, and that you are no longer suffering. You never wanted to be in a nursing home, so I am relieved you never had to go in one. You were able to stay home with your wife and close to your loved ones. 


I am very thankful that you came to my wedding. My brother and myself, and my girls were able to see you one last time before you passed away. My brother hadn't seen you in three years before then so it was especially important. You got to meet his girlfriend of now seven years. I am glad that I went to visit you April of last year. We got to spend a week in your home where my girls brought you great joy. My oldest particularly enjoyed your company, and would cuddle and hug you a lot. We all sat together during mealtimes and ate well. 


Not many men live to meet their great-grandchildren, and I am so happy you met yours. I never had the pleasure of meeting any of my great-grandfathers, and here both my kids met both of theirs through me. It truly is a blessing. You were there for the most important milestones of my life; my children's blessings, and of course my wedding. You got to meet my kids when they were babies, and got to watch them grow up to school age. That certainly is something.


I remember you fondly. My brother and I would play in your basement when we were just kids. As we grew up, we got to spend more time with you. I would cook with Grandma and my brother would accompany you in your wood-working. I'd knit with my grandma and you'd play outside with my brother. We were always well fed, loved and pampered when we went to your home. We got to spend time with my aunt Trina and all her dogs. You even came to visit us during different holidays. It was very special having grandparents who not only spoke english, but who were so active in our lives. There wasn't a birthday or Christmas that went by without us getting a card from you and Grandma, even as adults. 


When I visited you in PEI, you told me your life story. I wanted to share that with the family now, and I can tell you that I won't ever forget it. You were a strong and brave man, and you loved your family the best you knew how. We will always remember you and keep you close in our hearts. We love you, Grandpa. We attended your funeral and there was no dry eye, not even my kids. They understand now that you're gone and you aren't coming back. They also know that you are watching over them now. Rest well, Grandpa. Rest in peace.



You were born the day after Christmas in 1939 to Alexandre Hallis and Marie Marguerite Baker, in Montreal. You were their first child, and you would later have six brothers and sisters. The youngest of your siblings was born when you were 9 years old. Your family lived in Longueuil, and you were particularly close to your Aunt Rosie. When you were about 15 years old, you were given to an all-boys orphanage. Your mother was deemed mentally unfit to care for her children, and your dad was working. Your siblings were also put in orphanages. You spent your teenage years in that orphanage, and you were able to visit your family for Christmas. They always gifted you clothes, since toys were not allowed to be brought back with you to the orphanage. You got to spend holidays with them. The orphanage wasn't easy, as the boys would cause fights and there were bullies there as well. At 16 years old, you finally got out of the orphanage. Orphanages were being abolished and a foster care system was set up, and you had nowhere to go. You told me that your younger brother Georges was taken from your parents and placed with a foster home at that time. You said he was the only one never to have been put in an orphanage, and you suspect he was abused. You signed up after new year's in January, in the military by telling them you were 18 years old. You chose the Air Force, and started out as a Private. Finally you could start your career, and you had a place to go. In your 20s, you were stationed in Prince Edward Island, where you met my grandmother. You were married in August when you were 23 years old and settled on the island with your wife. The next year, you had my dad. My grandma got pregnant twice more but unfortunately miscarried. She was told by the doctors that she would never have any more children. You moved to Bagotville since you were assigned to the base there, and Grandma was pregnant again. Thankfully, 6 years after my dad was born you had a healthy baby girl, my aunt Trina. You stayed there for a few years and that's how my dad and aunt learned french. You knew french already since you were born and grew up in a french province, but it was new to my dad and his sister. Grandma of course refused to learn the language so it must have been lonely for her. As live went on, you were stationed in Nova Scotia, and even Germany as my dad recalls. My dad told me that at one point you were in boarding houses for military families, and there were rats that came in the house out of the toilet. I was told that you killed the rat, flushed it down the toilet, so that ''those other rats know not to come up this toilet''. That actually worked. You found your calling in the air force as a firefighter and put out fires in military airplanes. You had accululated so much vacation time that you ''went on vacation'' when you were 52 years old. By the time you were 55, you had retired at the highest rank, Chief Warrant Officer. You settled in PEI with your wife and daughter. You wisened into old age and watched your kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids grow up. You did wood-working as a hobby and didn't do it for a profit. You could figure out measurements just by looking at a photo of something. You were really talented. Your father's family came from the Ukraine and Poland, and your mother's family was french. You were buried in Pleasant Valley, PEI. 


Rest In Peace

Jean Hallis

1939-2020

In honor of all mothers

Posted by Live Love Mom on July 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

Author Unknown
Translated from french




 

A dad comes home after an exhausting day at work. He just wants to watch his soccer game without having to endure the cries of the kids or take care of the housework. But that day, his wife couldn't take it anymore and left him. Her world breaks down when she leaves him alone with her children. Here are these words:

 

" My love,

 

two days ago we had a big fight. I came home tired from work. It was 8:00 pm and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch to watch the game.

 

When I saw you, you were exhausted and in a bad mood. The kids were bickering and the baby was crying while you tried to put him to bed.

 

I turned up the volume on the TV.

 

‘Would you mind giving a hand and getting involved in your children's education?’ You said to me upset by turning down the TV.

 

Exasperated, I replied: ‘I spent my day at work so that you could spend yours at home playing dolls.’

 

The tone is raised. You cried because you were angry and tired. I told you cruel things. You shouted, saying you couldn't take it anymore. You left the house crying and left me alone with the children.

 

I had to feed them and put them to bed. The next day, you didn't come back and I had to ask my boss to have a day off to take care of the little ones.

 

I became aware of the whims and tears.

 

I realized what it was like to be everywhere at the same time, all day long, without having a free moment even to take a bath.

 

I realized what it was like to heat the milk, prepare a child and put the kitchen away, all at the same time.

 

I realized what it was like to be stuck all day without talking to someone over the age of 10.

 

I realized what it was like not to be sitting comfortably at the table, enjoying a quiet lunch on my break time, because you have to run after the kids.

 

I was so mentally and physically tired that the only thing I wanted was to sleep for 20 hours straight. But I had to wake up after 3 hours because the baby was crying.

 

I experienced two days and two nights in your own skin and I can tell you, I understand.

 

I understood your fatigue.

 

I understood that being a mom is a perpetual sacrifice.

 

I understood that it was more tiring than sitting in my chair for 10 hours or making financial decisions.

 

I understood your frustration at having abandoned your career and your financial independence so that you could raise our children.

 

I understood your doubts that our economic security no longer depends on you, but on your partner.

 

I understood the sacrifices you made by never going out with your friends, forgetting your exercises or not sleeping an entire night.

 

I understood how difficult it was to be trapped and to have to watch the children when you missed what was going on outside.

 

I also understood why you were susceptible when my mother criticized the way you raise our children, because no one knows better than a mother what is good for them.

 

I understood that becoming a mother means occupying one of the most important roles in our society. What no one recognizes, appreciates or remunerates.

 

I am writing this letter not only to tell you that I miss you, but also because I do not want to spend another day without telling you that:

 

"You are very brave, you do it perfectly and I admire you."

 

This very moving letter was shared more than 110,000 times on Facebook. To all the moms who have cared for or are still caring for us and who do so much for us, so much so that we take it for granted, this letter is for you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

How To Celebrate Your Anniversary During The Pandemic

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 19, 2020 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (5)
by: Stephanie McEndree




Here are ways to celebrate your wedding or relationship anniversary during the pandemic.

Turn up the music. Turn on the song to your first wedding dance and dance your wedding dance together. See if you can remember the steps off the top of your head, no practicing and no cheating! If you make some mistakes you can laugh about it together.

Cake time. If you saved the top of your wedding cake at the wedding, bust it out and eat it together. If not, ask the bakery to make one like your old wedding cake but in a smaller portion for two. 

Reminisce. Look through your wedding album and flip through your wedding photos. Pick out your favorite moments and memories and chat about them together. Watch your wedding video and honeymoon video if you have them, cuddle up under some blankets and hold hands. 

Break out the bubbly. Have a private toast together and drink champagne. Treat yourselves to mimosas in the morning. Pair your favorite wine with some savory dinner. Light some candles and eat by candle light, and play some soft music if you'd like. 

Order memories. Order some food from the caterer you used at your wedding, bonus if you choose the meal you had on your wedding day. You can have a picnic in your backyard, eat on your patio furniture or even indoors on the living room floor with a blanket. 

Make it fancy. Go out to dinner at your favorite fancy restaurant and order your favorite meal. Bonus if they have dim lighting. 

Write it out. Write a letter about your favorite moments of your first year of marriage. Trade each other's letters and read them.

Renew your vows. Have a small self-officiated ceremony in your backyard, or even in your home. Recite your wedding vows together and add in some new ones. You can even throw in some humorous vows in there such as, you promise to help him look for things that are right in front of him. Have a good laugh together and make it your own.

Make love. Bust out some massage oil, sprinkle rose petals on the bed and in the bath, have a bubble bath together, play some sensual music, light scented candles and make sweet love.

Stay the night at a hotel. Often, brides and grooms stay at a hotel the night of the wedding, or the night before. Go back to that hotel and stay there again to reminisce. If you didn't like that hotel, choose one in town and make it a staycation. Relax, let the staff clean your room for you, and order in some room service and have some spa services if they're available. If you have the cash to spend, splurge for a 5 star hotel with a jaccuzi, hot tub, pool, sauna, gym, fancy restaurant and massage therapy.

Got more ideas? Post them below!

Celebrate Your Birthday During Coronavirus

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 12, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (1)

by: Stephanie McEndree


Wondering how you can celebrate your birthday during a lockdown complete with social distancing? Are these times with the coronavirus making you wonder how you can still have a nice birthday? Are you wanting to celebrate your birthday without putting your health or anyone else's health at risk? You've come to the right place! Here we explore different ways you can still have a great time while also keeping everyone healthy and safe. If you are someone planning a birthday for your loved one during the pandemic, here are some good ideas for you as well.


Have a video call conference. Call all your friends and family into one place, or one at a time. They are sure to sing you happy birthday, wish you happy birthday and want to celebrate. Reminisce over the old times and walk down memory lane. Talk about your favorite moments together.


Get some balloons. If you want, have some balloons you can blow up or get some already filled up. It will give your place some ambiance and help you get into the headspace that this is a celebration. Turn on your favorite music if you like.


Bake a cake. Get some ingredients together or even just a cake mix, and bake a birthday cake of your choice. Don't feel like baking? Get one at the grocery store that's already pre-made. Get your favorite flavor, and make it festive with sprinkles and candles. Blow them out and make a wish!


Spend time with your housemates. Whether you live with family or friends, now is the time to take advantage of their presence. Cuddle with your significant other, play with your kids, enjoy time with your friends. Play board games, watch tv, go for a walk. 


Go to a drive-through. Get some takeout or go to a drive-through so you can get some hot food. Eat your favorites! Some places even offer free dessert if it's your birthday. Just show them your ID! Be sure to wear gloves and a mask when you go out just to be safe.


Go to a drive-in movie. You can go to a drive-in movie if they are open where you live. Stay cozy in your vehicle and watch a good movie outside. You can also put camping chairs outside and bring some popcorn and soda and some blankets.


Have a picnic. Go in your front or backyard or even in the living room. Place a blanket on the ground and have a nice picnic. You can have some grapes, cheese and crackers with some deli meats or have some sandwiches, salad, whatever you like.


Look at the stars. Lay on a blanket or in a sleeping bag and watch the stars. In August, there are even shooting stars and if you live up north you can admire the northern lights. You can look up constellations first, then try to find them in the sky. There are even some apps that help you identify and locate them. 


Got any more ideas? Comment below!

I Stand With You

Posted by Live Love Mom on June 1, 2020 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree




I can't imagine what mothers of children of color are feeling right now. Can you imagine being afraid every day for your child to die? Can you fathom a world where unarmed people of color are shot and killed in their own homes? Can you imagine that the very people you call to help you, those who are supposed to serve and protect you from harm, end up killing you, a family member, a friend? Can you imagine hundreds of years of racism, and even during these times where people are realizing they were wrong in different aspects of prejudice, people of color are still facing racism so bad it's deadly? Can you imagine seeing the police as judge, jury and executioner as they gun down innocent black chilldren, men and women? Can you imagine these people being put on paid leave and temporary suspension, if any? This is the world we live in.


The only way I can possibly relate is to try to imagine what mothers of color are going through. But the fact of the matter is, I will never understand. No white person ever will, because we are born with a privilege. It's not right, and it's not fair. However, we need to use this privilege to stand up for and protect for our black brothers and sisters. We need to speak up because their voices aren't being listened to. We need to make sure their voices are heard. We need to do absolutely everything we can to protect them. 


Here is what you can do to help. Please add to this list in the comments if I have forgotten anything.


Join the protests. Peacefully join protests. Carry signs, join chants, walk. Stand in protest. Show you support the black community. Show that you are not okay with the deaths of innocent black children and adults. Show you are against police brutality.


Assist them. Form a human chain around them with others. Protect people of color. Especially during the protests, stand between them and the police. Do not let any harm come to them. The police will not use accessive force against you, especially if you are unarmed. 


Record it. If you see a person of color being mistreated, pull out your phone and start recording. Yell at the police officer or whoever is attacking them, to stop. Call attention to this mistreatment. Don't let them get away with it. File a complaint. Even if the cops tell you to stop recording and are being forceful, keep recording. You can pretend to stop recording and put your camera down, but have it still pointing to the abuse if you can. If not, at least keep it going so sound is still recorded.


Protests have been the peaceful way for centuries to show opposition against unfair policies. One of the most famous ones are the Boston Tea Party, and also Martin Luther King Jr's marches, and Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat for a white man. 


To every person of color out there, I am with you. I support you. None of you deserve to die. What happened was wrong. I stand with you.

How To Celebrate Your Kid's Birthday During Coronavirus

Posted by Live Love Mom on May 5, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (5)

by: Stephanie McEndree




Having a birthday during the pandemic can really throw things off for planning. You might have had a birthday party already planned, but you had to cancle due to the virus. Or, your child may have one coming up and you want to make it special. Here are some ideas on how you can have a great birthday party for your child without breaking quarantine.


Your backyard. It's safe and weather-permitting, you can do lots of fun stuff outdoors with your child. If you have more than one, you can set up some games they can play together outdoors. If not, join in on the fun and play with them. You can have a picnic outside, hit a homemade pinata filled with candy you bought at the grocery store. You can open presents outside too, and play with whatever you already have for them outside; trampoline, swingset or sandbox.


Indoors. This is a great choice for all weather. You can spend time together in many different ways! You can make paper decorations, bake a cake and decorate it together, and much more! You can also play some fun games such as pin the tail on the donkey, twister, board games and more. You can also video-call friends and family so your child gets to talk to them and spend some time with them. You can have a family movie marathon with your child's favorite tv shows and movies and cook some popcorn. Read them their favorite story at bedtime, use a bath bomb at bath time. Any way you can think to make the day special, do it. Your child may remember this birthday as the most fun yet!


Not sure what to do or how to keep your child happy or busy on their special day? Here is a list of activities you can plan and do during your child's birthday.


Pinata
Pin the tail on the donkey
Bake a cake
Decorate a cake
Movie night
Board games
Picnic
Puzzles
Scavenger hunt
Treasure hunt
Talent show
Twister
Card games
Costume play
Pretend play
Story time
Painting
Drawing
Arts & Crafts
Making paper decorations


Got any more ideas for kids' birthday activities? Comment below!

How To Spend Time WIth Family During COVID-19

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 29, 2020 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree


It can be hard being apart from your family during this pandemic. Here are some ways you can spend time together despite the coronavirus.


Video calls. Whether you use facebook, skype or even snapchat, you can video call with your family. People are starting to use Zoom so they can video chat with many people at the same time. Have an online family reunion and spend some time together.


Play games. There are apps linked to facebook that you can play together. You can also play games via video chat, such as bingo or battleship. You can play almost any game through video chat if you try hard enough, or are creative.


Activities. Do activities together online. You can go on video chat and watch the same youtube workout video and do the workouts together. You can try Zumba as well and laugh as you try to dance like the instructor. You can also learn a dance from TikTok together.


Phone calls. Pick up the phone and call your family! Especially with the older generation, they love having a phone call from their loved ones. If you're not sure what to talk about, you can always mention the weather and ask how they are doing and what they've been up to lately. A popular topic is how everyone is passing the time being cooped up.


Send them something. You can send a letter, a card, flowers or even a delivery meal to brighten up their day. If it's their birthday soon, mail them a small gift if you can afford it. It will let your family know you are thinking of them even during these hard times.


Got more ideas? Comment below!


How To Socialize During COVID-19

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 19, 2020 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree



It's harder now than ever to socialize with people during the coronavirus pandemic. Plenty of people, especially extroverts, are finding these times trying and very difficult. Without further ado, here is how you can keep connected with your friends during COVID-19.


Social media. Scroll facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, pinterest, and whatever social media accounts you have. You can keep up with your friends and how they're doing by reading their posts. You can also like their posts and comment on them to let them know you're thinking of them. For those who are anti-social or introverts, this can be the best way to reach out to your loved ones without being emotionally overwhelmed.


Online games. There are plenty of games out there where you can socialize with your friends, loved ones and even strangers. There are plenty of games on social media you can play with someone else. You can also get involved with more complexity such as MMORPGs. They are computer role playing games and are very popular. You can also bust out your PS4, or your Xbox or whichever gaming platform you own and start a friendly game. 


Video calls. Zoom, Skype, Facebook or more can be used to video call with your loved ones. You can do it either through your phone or on a computer. For computers, make sure you have a mic and a webcam so you can effectively communicate. Be sure you also have a good internet connection or the video will cut out a lot.


Emails. For the more old-fashioned people and for those who have elderly friends or who aren't used to the whold fuss about social media, emailing can be a familiar platform for communication. Send emails back and fourth and it can be as quick as instant messaging. 


Instant Messaging. Also known as IM, this is found virtually on every social media platform. You can IM on yahoo, google talk, facebook, pinterest, tumblr, instagram, twitter and more. Just make sure the both of you are online and start chatting! 


Phone calls. Scroll your phone and find the phone numbers of people you would like to talk to. Call them and if they don't pick up, leave a nice message. It's especially important during these times to check in on our elderly friends and family. Call your grandparents, your neighbors, your great-aunts and uncles. You can even offer to get them some groceries at the same time as your own to save them the trouble. Not sure what to talk about? Talk about current events, the weather, whatever you can think of!


Letters. For those special friends who live across the ocean, or even someone who enjoys recieving mail, write a hand-written letter. If you don't like your handwriting or it isn't legible, type up a letter and print it. Be sure you know the person's address so you can mail it to the right place. 


Have any other ideas? Comment below!

Precautions To Take When Going Out With Kids During The Pandemic

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 18, 2020 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)
by: Stephanie McEndree



Wear a mask. Have the kids wear a face mask as well as yourself. With coughing, sneezing or even talking launches airborne particles of the virus into the air up to ten feet away, it's better to prevent than to treat. Even if you don't have medical-grade surgical masks or N95 masks, a cloth mask or bandana is better than nothing. 


Wear gloves. Put on gloves on the kids hands as well as your own. Be sure not to touch your face while you have these gloves on. Discard them at the trash can by the grocery store's doors after you leave. This way you avoid cross-contamination on your vehicle and other objects you touch every day.


Social distance. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between people at all times. The only exception is the people you live with, and health professionals such as a doctor that has to examine you. There have been lines outside grocery stores before being allowed to go in. Maintain a distance of six feet between those people and yourself and your kids. 


Bring wipes. Use clorox wipes or similar to wipe down shopping carts, as well as door handles and light switches. Not only are you protecting yourself and your family, but you are also protecting others and minimizing the spread of the virus. Remember, baby wipes are not anti-bacterial and contain no anti-viral properties.


Disinfect groceries. When you get home, wash the reusable bags and wipe down grocery boxes and bags. As more and more people are infected every day, it's important to keep things clean. A box of cereal can be touched several times a day per person, so can the milk or juice carton. Keep things on the safe side and wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe.


Wash your hands. Wash their and your hands when you get home. Be sure to use warm water and soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. You can sing songs to help you remember, such as singing ''Happy Birthday''. This is also a great time to teach younger kids proper handwashing techniques and hygiene if you haven't already.


Order online. Some grocery stores offer an online cataloge of groceries that you can order in advance and have them delivered the next day. This is especially useful if you are a single parent or if one of your family members are high risk. 


Got any more suggestions? Comment below!

Put Your Kids Before Your Marriage, Here's Why

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 11, 2020 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (6)



I have heard and seen over and over on social media, the phrase ''put your marriage first always'', and to put their kids in second place. Having been raised in that exact environment, I have to wholeheartily and completely disagree.


As some of you know, I am no longer with my children's father. The relationship was toxic, and I am very thankful that I ended up out of it. If I had stayed in that relationship and stuck to the ''put your relationship first'', then I would maybe still be with him. I would have taught my children that it's okay to stay in a relationship you are unhappy in, and that it's okay to be mistreated by someone. They would have learned that this is how you treat someone that you love, and it would have reflected on their future relationships. Growing up in a toxic environment like that is good for no one, especially the children. Can you imagine growing up in a place where it's tense in the air, mommy is crying, and daddy is yelling? It's not something I wanted for my children, nor for myself. They say, happy mom, happy baby. So I did what I had to do, and I let go for good.


Now, having grown up in an area where my parents prioritized their marriage, I felt second-best during my highest moments. My dad made it clear that my mom was more important to him than me, his own flesh and blood. I remember crying to my grandmother about it. I remember feeling like, no matter what anyone did or what happened, they would stay together. And I was right.


My father started hitting me. My mom, prioritizing her marriage over her kids, stayed in the marriage that entire time. She never left him, she never called therapists or child protective services for help, never even came to comfort me when he was done. She just let it happen. It has affected me very negatively. I harbor a lot of anger not only against my father, but against my mother for not protecting me or leaving. She should have taken me and left. But she loved him too much, and was financially dependent on him. And she learned to put her marriage before anything because in the end, when the kids left the nest, she probably didn't want to be alone. She probably figured she was spending the rest of her life with my father, not me. 


Now as women we are raised that divorce is for losers, that we have to stay in a marriage no matter what. We are accused of not trying hard enough, of giving up too easily, that we should stay for the good of the children. As women are raised and conditioned to believe that being married and staying married is the ultimate goal, men are getting better and better at hiding their abusive tendencies. They wait until after the wedding to show signs of abuse, or they wait until the woman is pregnant, or he has alienated her family and her friends away so she is isolated and completely dependent on him. It's a gradual process, and it is a vicious circle. Women who have been raised in an abusive household will more than likely end up with someone toxic.


I decided to break the cycle. I want better for my children, and I will keep that mentality the rest of my life. Because in the end, could you live with your children hating you? Your children will most likely outlive your spouse, and they are the ones who will take care of you when you get old. They are all that will be left of you when you are gone. Do you really want to send them out into the world with emotional baggage already? You can get a new lover or partner anytime, but you can never replace your child. 


My advice to you, as someone who was raised in an abusive household and someone who had children with someone that was abusive towards me; put your kids first. At the first sign of foul play towards you or your children, run and never look back. Do it for yourself as well as your kids. You and your children deserve to be loved, happy, and most of all safe. Make the right decision.



Cheap Easter Goodies To Get In One Store

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 9, 2020 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (1)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With Easter right around the corner and us moms wanting to be safe, it can be hard to get the easter shopping done. It doesn't seem like a priority with what's going on right now in the world. With very young kids, they probably won't notice that easter didn't come this year. However, when you have older kids they will definitely notice. Here is what you can do to make it a wonderful easter without breaking the bank.


Backyard easter hunt. For people with special needs kids, introverted kids, or who simply don't want to make a trip somewhere else; a backyard easter egg hunt is perfect. Keep an eye on the kiddos while they look around your yard for some chocolate eggs!


Indoor easter hunt. This is great no matter the weather outside. Hide easter eggs all around the house and help your kids find them!


Egg painting. Paint some hard-boiled eggs or eggs with the yolk removed for some cute easter decorations. Watercolor paints or regular paint can be found at your local dollar store as well as paint brushes.


List of materials to get at your local dollar store for easter:



Chocolate bunnies. They come in milk chocolate and in various sizes, and some are in the shape of trucks, chicks and more. Pick up one chocolate bunny per child at your local dollar store and save big bucks on mall prices. Your kids will still get the chocolate they crave and you will have more money in your purse.




Paint and paintbrushes. Get these at your local dollar store for a couple bucks or less. Have your kids paint easter eggs at home with the eggs you probably already have in your fridge. 




Coloring books. There are often coloring books that are easter-themed around this time of year. Pop by your local dollar store and get one for the whole family, or one per child if you feel like splurging. You can even use the paint to paint the pictures instead of coloring them.




Chocolate eggs. They come in small bags at the dollar store and are under $4 each. These are a great alternative to the chocolate bunny as you can make sure the kids don't have too much at a time since they are seperate doses of chocolate. You can get them as well as the chocolate bunnies if you want!




Plastic eggs. You can get these easily at the dollar store and place the aforementionned chocolate eggs inside for a cute easter egg hunt! You can use them again next year too, so no waste.




Jelly beans. For the kids and even adults that prefer sweets to chocolate, these are also cheap and available at the dollar store. You can put them in plastic easter eggs or just put small packs around the house for the kids to find. Yum!


Any other ideas for materials found at a dollar store? Comment below!

How To Get A Full Body Workout Indoors

Posted by Live Love Mom on April 8, 2020 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With the coronavirus happening, it's impossible to get to the gym. Here is how you can get a full-body workout from the comfort of your own home. Remember to stretch first!


Jumping jacks. These work out the full body and you don't need any equipment. All you need is the weight of your body. When you start feeling the burn, that's when you know it's working. You move your arms and legs which gives them a workout, you engage your core as you jump to keep your balance, and it engaged your glutes when you slap your legs back together. Your chest also gets flexed as you move your arms apart and together.


Stair runs. Run up and down the stairs and it doubles as cardi an strength. It's equivilent to a stair stepper and a treadmill at the same time. Keeping your balance engages your core, and your legs and glutes get a good workout. Move your arms up and down like you do when you run, and you will work out your shoulders, biceps and forearms as well.


Push-ups. These are great for upper-body strength. If you're a beginner, you can always do wall push-ups or ''girl'' push-ups. If you are more advanced, you can always push yourself up and clap your hands before landing, or also do one-hand push-ups. Depending on where you place your hands on the ground, you can work more your shoulders or your chest as well as your arms.


Crunches. These work your abdomen. They are easier on the back than sit-ups. This is what people do to get a great-looking core. If you want to get abs, you have to do crunches. These mostly work your upper abdominal muscles and make it easier for you to keep your balance and get up from a sitting or laying down position.


Lunges. These are great for your legs and strengthen your glutes. You can do jumping lunges, alternating lunges, or side lunges. They work your calves and thighs and are very useful to keep you limber, strong and fast. It's great that you only need your body weight, however you can add some weights and work your arms at the same time as well.


Squats. These are great for both legs and glutes. They tone your backside and your legs at the same time! Since the hips are the heaviest part of the body, you are giving your legs a great workout by doing squats. You also tighten up the glute muscles, and make it easier to lift yourself up from a sitting position.


Scissors. These will shred your abs. You are sure to feel the burn with scissors. These work your entire core and are a surefire way to get abs. For those who don't know what scissors are, it's when you lay down and point your left knee and your right elbow together, then right knee and left elbow, and back and forth. Bonus points for never putting your feet or legs down, as this will maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.


Leg lifts. These are great for your core as well as your legs. Some find it easier to put fists under their backsides to help stablize them. These work your lower abs so you are sure to get a six pack or even an eight-pack instead of just the four-pack that crunches can offer. If you never let your legs hit the ground, you add more resistance and you get the best effects from your workout.


 

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Have A Wedding Contingency Plan

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 31, 2020 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (4)

by: Stephanie McEndree



Your wedding is planned and all set. You’re getting married in a few days, weeks or months. Then, something happens that throws off your plans! For many brides and grooms all over the world, their venues, officiants, caterers, DJs and more are all cancelling on them. Months and years of planning are going down the drain. So, what can you do? Here are ways you can have your dream wedding, or a wedding, during hard times.


 

Throw out your guest list. If you want to get married on your date, you need to tell everyone not to come. If your country requires witnesses, you can bring two people, but it has to be people you are in close contact with regularly, such as parents, kids or roommates, to minimize the chance of passing on an illness (in the case of COVID19). Ask if the venue will consider still having the wedding if it’s just the couple, two witnesses and the officiant and maybe a photographer.


 

Online option. Ask if your officiant is willing to marry you both online, where he can sign the marriage certificate once you are married and send it to the both of you to sign it, then you can mail it in. I am not sure if this is possible or even legal, but it can’t hurt to ask.


 

Stay at home. You can scrap all of your plans and just get married at home. Tell the officiant to meet you at your domicile, or in your backyard for more safety. Get married just the three of you present, and sign the license and be on your way.


 

Go to the courthouse. If they are open, call and ask to schedule an appointment to get married by a justice of the peace. Remember you can always have your big wedding later. What’s important is to get married and make it official.


 

Reschedule. Tell your venue to postpone the date for 2021, or ask them when they have an open date available later this year. With the virus being unpredictable, no one quite knows how long countries will be shut down for, so ask for a date several months away.


 

Remember, the most important thing is that both you and your partner are safe and healthy. This whole thing really is unfortunate, it really is. Hopefully, in a few years you will be able to laugh about it with your friends. You will have a dramatic story to tell your grandkids someday.



 

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Outdoor Scavenger Hunt For Kids

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 28, 2020 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

by: Stephanie McEndree



With the forced isolation due to the coronavirus and multiple countries shutting down, it can be hard to keep your kids entertained. Especially since many parents are homeschooling, it's a challenge to find activities to do that are both fun and educational. 


I was scrolling on my newsfeed on facebook and I saw that one of my friends from high school, Emilie, posted a photo of her kids holding a scavenger hunt sheet while outside sitting in a wagon. I told her that this is an awesome idea! I just had to blog about it. Which family couldn't use some creative ideas right now? 


The best part about this nature scavenger hunt is that you can practice social distancing, get some fresh air and some exercise at the same time. If your kids are toddlers, you can put them in a wagon. Your babies can go in a stroller and your big kids can walk. Print out a sheet for the whole family or one sheet per child, or even just write out a list. Make it a competition for bragging rights if you want. The possibilities are endless!


Don't feel like taking a walk outside, or feel it's too risky? No problem! Make it a backyard scavenger hunt. It's the perfect way to get the kids outside while also keeping them in view and away from potentially sick people. It's also easier to keep an eye on them, and it's safer for them especially in a fenced yard. Here is the backyard scavenger hunt sheet.



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The Rainbow Movement

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 27, 2020 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (3)

by: Stephanie McEndree



A movement has been sweeping across the province of Quebec in Canada. People are searching for ways to connect to the outside world while also being safe. This turned into the rainbow movement. The idea goes like this: parents have their children draw, color, paint, etc. a rainbow. Then, they stick it on a window facing the street. Often, parents add a hashtag #CaVaBienAller which is french for ''All Will Be Well''. Then, parents go for a walk with the kids and look at houses' windows to count how many rainbows they can find. 




It's a very touching movement, and also allows kids to go out, get some exercise, get some fresh air, and do something fun with the family. You can also walk the dog at the same time. Here are some ideas on how to make a rainbow.


Rainbow Mosaic

Handprint rainbow

Sponge painting

Paper plate rainbow



Got any more ideas to make a rainbow? Got any display ideas for your windows to encourage social distancing activities? Comment below!


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How To Save Money During COVID-19

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 24, 2020 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)
by: Stephanie McEndree



With businesses shutting down, many people are getting laid off, losing their jobs and put on unemployment or welfare, money has become tight. It has thousands of families re-visiting their budgets and wondering how they will make ends meet. Rainy-day funds won't last forever, and savings accounts will be drained, it's all a matter of time. So how can you cut down on your expenses to last as long as possible during this outbreak? Here are ways you can save hundreds of dollars by changing your lifestyle and cutting back.

Compare prices. Go to the dollar store and compare prices with your grocery store, and it's very likely lots of the items at the dollar store come cheaper. Buy every low-priced item you need at the dollar store. Whatever you can't get, go get at the grocery store.

Discount and surplus stores. There are even discount and surplus stores for groceries! Shop there when you can't get your groceries at the dollar store to get the most bang out of your buck. If you also need some clothes, be sure to go to a discount store and second-hand stores.

Use your reserves. Got canned goods and your freezer is full? Time to dig in. Frozen goods and even canned goods all expire eventually, and it's time to get through those foods. You won't need to go to the grocery store for a while, which will also prevent you from catching an illness.

Get it cheap. Focus on buying foods that are cheaper for now, such as pastas, ramen and chili. This too shall pass, but for a few weeks it can't hurt to go back to the basics. Also, get no-name brands or off-brand items. They may taste different than what you're used to, but the lowered cost at the cash register is sure to put a smile on your face.

Get multiple use objects. To cut down on costs, get 2-in-1 items. For example, get a bottle that is both shampoo and soap. This will avoid you from getting two different containers, hiking up the cost. It's also time for your kids to graduate to adult shampoo and body wash. It's less expensive and more efficient for cleaning. This goes for clothes too. Get reversible coats if you need a new one, a shawl you can use as a scarf, a hair brush with a comb, etc. 

Hang your laundry. Stop using your dryer and hang your clothes to air-dry them either around the house, outside on a clothes line, or both. This saves a valuable amount of energy and can cut your electric bill.

Have shorter showers. If you can go every other day, do that too. Some people in extremely tight monetarial situations lather up their bodies and hair with soap and shampoo, then turn on the shower to rinse off, and they're done. Use lukewarm water if you can, especially with the weather getting warmer. For baths, fill it up just enough to cover your legs, or your kid's legs. Bathe your kids together if they are young enough so you can save on water. 

Turn down the heat. With the weather getting warmer, you don't need your heater set up so high. Even lowering it by a couple of degrees will save you some money you can put elsewhere. If you get too cold, bundle up in your favorite sweater, thermals, or cuddle up under some blankets. 

Brick it. Put a brick in the water tank in your toilet. This reduces the amount of water that your tank pulls in, reducing your overall water bill. When money is tight, every penny counts.

Lay off staff. If you have services at home such as a nanny, cleaning lady, cook or babysitter, it's time to let them go. You can clean your own home and watch your own children. Note: if you have a nurse or home health care aide, it's recommended you keep them on unless you have a trained family member who can care for you. Speak to your doctor about any changes.

Re-think your packages. Call your phone, cable and internet companies and get rid of any extras you have that you don't need. You don't need your house phone if you have your cell phones, and if you have internet on your cell phones you don't need internet at home. You can always do this as a last resort, but if it's between these bills and homelessness then it's best to cut it out until things return to normal.

Reuse. Whenever possible, reuse items. Don't throw away some scrap paper or cardboard, keep it so the kids can cut it, paste it, paint it or color on it. Keep them busy and make this a cool indoor vacation time for them at the same time, without costing you supplies. It also cuts down on the electric bill as they're crafting and not watching TV.

Shut off the lights. When you're not in a room, close the lights. During the day, open your blinds and curtains and let the natural light in. Unless you have rooms with no windows, there is no need for lights during the day. Only turn on the lights at night and if you really need it. If you have more than one light in a room, use only one. 

Eat fresh first. It's important you eat all of the fresh food in your fridge before it goes bad, so it doesn't go to waste. Eat all of your fresh food before you open any non-perishable goods, even if you have to have salad for several days in a row.

Wear it twice. You don't have to change your pants or sweatshirt every day if they're clean. Wear them again so you can save on laundry and water costs and energy.

Shave it off. To remove costs of shampoo altogether, as well as beard oils, just shave your hair off. This works great for men who aren't particularly attached to their hair or beards. Use battery-powered clippers if you already have them as they don't cost you anything in the electric bill. For just a bit of stubble, use some razors.

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