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How To Save On An Evening Wedding

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 19, 2021 at 9:20 AM Comments comments ()

By: Rev Dr. Stéphanie Noircent




Receptions are often held in the evenings. Is it possible to save on such a high-demand time? Yes it is!

 

Use cheap foods. Buy lots of potatoes, carrots and rice. These items are cheap to buy in bulk, which is why many restaurants have these as sides.

 

Carnival foods are good picks for cheaper food. Hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, popcorn and cotton candy can be great. Guests can customize their meal with their condiments, and you won’t have to worry about guests not liking the food.

 

Instead of hiring caterers, hire a food truck. You’ll have fresh food able to be served on-the-go. You’ll also only pay for exactly what the guests eat. It’s brilliant!

 

Say your vows at sunset. Ceremonies often occur in the afternoon, and it’s very romantic to say your vows at sunset, where the light is the softest on your skin. Since most vows are said in the afternoon, you can save a lot of money by having your ceremony at sunset.

 

This is a great idea for an outdoor wedding. This allows proper visibility of sunset while the ceremony is underway. A beach wedding is a great option, or at a public park.

 

 

Picnic wedding. Save thousands on chairs and tables by throwing some blankets on the ground and voila; free seating! If you don’t have blankets to spare, buy some at your local second-hand store to save dozens of dollars. Add a few throw pillows to each blanket to makes sure everyone is comfortable.

 

Got some farmer friends? See if you can use some bales of hay to put food on, or for seating during the ceremony. Got some tree stumps? Use them for seating or centerpieces.

 

 

Off-season. Choose an off-season wedding month, day of the week and season to lower the price tag on your wedding even more. Spring or winter are the seasons where weddings are lest performed.

 

So far, the most popular months to get married are June, September and October. Pick a date that doesn’t fall around those months and you will save at least hundreds of dollars.

 

Saturdays are the most popular days of the week to get married. Choose a friday or sunday and you will be shaving off dollars even more!

 

 

Have any more ideas on how you can save money on your evening wedding? Comment below!

Essentials To Pack When Road-Tripping With Kids

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 18, 2021 at 9:45 AM Comments comments ()
by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree





First time traveling with kids on a road trip? Having a list on hand can help ensure you don't forget to pack anything. Depending on where you're going and how far, you can add or remove items in the list. If you're not going to the beach or anywhere where you will swim, you won't need your bathing suits. 


  1. Snacks are put as #1 for a reason. You don't want to have to stop every hour just because your kids are hungry. Keep snacks close by so you can give them to your kids when they're hungry.
  2. Water is always needed and necessary. You and your kids both need to stay hydrated throughout the trip.
  3. Juice boxes are always useful, especially since kids don't always enjoy water. Give them a serving of fruit while they quench their thirst after a salty snack.
  4. Diapers and wipes if you have babies or toddlers who aren't potty-trained yet. However, wipes come in handy even if your kids are potty trained as they can clean hands or wipe up any spills.
  5. Blankets because kids get cold fast. Pack a thin one if it's the middle of summer, and let them cuddle up to it if they sleep in the car. 
  6. Toys are essential. Try to get some that don't make noise and aren't hard so the kids can't deafen you or whack their sibling with it. Stuffed animals are best.
  7. iPad so the children can play on apps and games to keep them entertained. One per child is ideal if possible, or you can hand one to the child that's still awake while the others are napping.
  8. Cash is always useful, even coins for when you find those candy vending machines. You can use the bills in the vending machines when needed, pay for a hotel room, and much more. 
  9. Stroller is a great idea if you have kids who can't walk yet, or they can't walk far or for long. You can go for a stroll and enjoy the scenery while the kids nap or relax.
  10. Changes of clothes in case the children spill anything on themselves, soil themselves, and also just in general. Road trips often end up in staying somewhere for at least a few days, so you want you and the kids to be able to change clothes daily.
  11. Potty is a good idea if you are potty training your kids, or if your kids are potty trained. If there are no rest stops nearby and your kid has to go to the bathroom, you can pull over on the side of the road and have your child go in the potty. You can then empty the contents in the ditch and rinse it clean with water from a bottle or wipe it clean with a wet wipe.
  12. Toilet Paper for above situations, your kids need to be able to wipe themselves. 
  13. Tissues for those runny noses, tears or unexpected bloody noses. 
  14. First Aid Kit in case anyone gets injured. Include lots of bandaids for scraped knees and elbows.
  15. Shampoo is of course to keep your hair and your kids' hair nice and clean. 
  16. Soap is to use for washing both yourself and your kids.
  17. Lotion in case any members of the family have dry skin or just like to wear some and smell good.
  18. Deoderant is something that no one must leave behind. You don't want to be stinking up the car on your road trip!
  19. Toothbrush to keep your teeth and your kids' teeth clean. Make sure everyone has their own toothbrush.
  20. Toothpaste can be brought along too. If your kids dislike the strong taste of mint in regular toothpaste, be sure to bring along a tube of kid's toothpaste as well.
  21. Floss to keep the gums clean and stave away germs that cause bad breath. You don't want to be that person who's breath stinks up the car.
  22. Mouthwash kills harmful bacteria in your mouth, freshens your breath and keeps your mouth clean. There are alcohol-free types for children and for those who can't handle the sting of the stronger ones.
  23. Hairbrush or comb, depending on your hair type, is necessary to keep hair from getting matted. If possible, have each person bring their own. If you have any kids with long hair, bring some hair ties for them as well to keep the hair out of their faces.
  24. Camera so you can take photos of your trip together as a family! This is especially a good idea if you are going to stop and see the sights along the way.
  25. Medications if anyone is taking any. You should also pack over-the-counter medications such as pain medications to relieve headaches and pains. 
  26. Lip Balm especially when you are going to an area that is dry, or a place you've never been before, or a windy spot. You will wish you had brought it along and your lips will thank you.
  27. Sunscreen to stave off those sunburns the family can catch after spending time outdoors in the hot sun. Even in the winter, apply a thin layer to the face to keep yourself and your kids protected. The snow tends to reflect the UV rays and makes skin damage worse. 
  28. Bathing suits if you plan on going to the beach, a lake, or even a swimming pool or water park. You don't want to have to go in your underwear because you forgot your swim trunks.
  29. Towels do you can dry yourself after you've had a shower or went for a swim.
  30. Bug repellant is great for when you're going in the woods, or outside in general outside the winter months. Trust me, you would rather not be scratching itchy red welts for your entire trip and neither would your kids.
  31. Cards such as your credit cards or bank cards as a good backup method to pay for expenses such as gas, food and lodging.
  32. Passports are only needed if you're crossing borders, but if you are, make sure the whole family has one.
  33. Portable DVD Player is a godsend. You can have your kids all watching the same movie and it keeps them quiet for a few hours. You will appreciate it so you can concentrate on the road.
  34. Coats for when it's autumn or winter, if not, bring raincoats in case it rains. You want to be prepared for any scenario to avoid your kids getting sick.
  35. Hats to keep the sun off of your scalp and face, or winter hats to keep your head and ears warm.
  36. Mittens or Gloves during the colder months to keep your hands warm while you are outside.
  37. Scarves so the frigid air doesn't sneak into your coat and freeze your neck and chest.
  38. Boots to keep your feet dry as you trudge through the snow, or to wear on rainy days.
  39. Snow Pants for road trips in the winter so the kids can enjoy playing outside and making snowmen, or go tubing or skiing. 
  40. Camping Gear if you're going camping so you have everything you need.
  41. Bicycles so the kids can ride their bikes in the driveway or in parks you drive to so they can get some fresh air and exercise.

Got any other items you think should be on this list? Comment below!

8 Must-Have Exercise Equipment For A Home Gym

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 12, 2021 at 8:40 AM Comments comments ()

By: Rev Dr. Stéphanie Noircent




Save hundreds of dollars a year by getting your own equipment to use at home! Plenty of classified ads websites sell used equipment in excellent condition for cheap. You can even buy some at second-hand stores where it has been tested and is sure to work. 


Treadmill. A treadmill is a great addition to a home gym. Whether you have rainy days or a snowstorm, you can still get your morning run in. Even beginners can benefit from a brisk walk on the treadmill. You can up the incline at will as well!


Stationary bike. I love these because they are so great to use because you're sitting down. You can have a television in your home gym and use it while you binge-watch your favorite series or watch a movie marathon. You can also follow stationary workout videos.


Stair stepper. This pairs great with a standing desk if you have one. A stair stepper or a stair climber really strengthens your legs and works your glutes as well. You're sure to burn fat in those areas as well if that's what you're looking to do.


Eliptical. An elitpical machine is great addition to any home gym. It's an amazing workout for your legs and works great for balance as well. You can work your core as you stablize while you work out. 


Pull-up Bar. This is excellent for strength training in the arms. You can attatch it to a door frame and do pull-ups. My husband uses it all the time and it really helps him keep up his arm strength and he loves it. 


Yoga Mat. Not only can you do yoga on the mat, but you can also do any types of exercises. You can do lunges, squats, push-ups, sit-ups and more. You can follow instructional workout videos and tone all areas of your body.


Exercise Ball. This engages your core as you do exercises on it and always comes with an instructional video. You can have amazing results and you can strength-train your core, arms, legs and back.


Weights. Pick up some weights you know you wouldn't hurt yourself lifting. You can use it to strengthen your arms and build some muscle. You can also look up some videos for your level of experience and build up your routine.


Have you tried out this equipment? How did it work out for you? What else do you have in your home gym? Comment below!

How To Save Hundreds Of Dollars On Wedding Flowers

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 11, 2021 at 7:15 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Is your quote from the florist ridiculous? Are you looking for alternate ways to decorate your venue? Are you looking for realistic-looking, cheaper flowers? Or do you want ways to trim down costs from the flower shop? We’ve got you covered!

 


 

Pre-made bouquets. You can buy some pre-made bouquets online that are made with silk flowers. Often they are found on websites like ebay. There are also many cheap ones available on wish. You can also look on aliexpress to find what you’re looking for. There may even be some available at your local Michael’s store.

 


 

Scour local stores. Some smaller versions of pre-made bridal bouquets are available at your local dollar store. Too small for you? Use them as bridesmaids bouquets. Want them to have larger flowers? Give them to the flower girls!

 


 

Make your own. You can buy many silk flowers almost anywhere. Sometimes even Walmart has some. Most likely they are available in your local dollar store and second-hand stores. There may even be some at party shops. Buy the blooms that you want, then arrange them to your heart’s desire into bouquets, centerpieces, and anything else you want to make.

 


 

Brooch bouquet. This is the latest trend in bouquets and is usually mixed in with silk flowers. If there are lots of brooches and family heirlooms in your family, this is a perfect way to honor them. You can even buy a bunch at your local second-hand store, or even online.

 


 

Recycle real blooms. Is your heart set on having real flowers at your wedding? Never tell the florist it’s for a wedding, because they usually hike the prices up just because you’re getting married. Reuse the same flowers! Use flowers to decorate the arch where you’re getting married. After the ceremony, have the venue staff take it down and put it up at the reception venue for a backdrop, or to decorate the head table. Another idea is to have one bridesmaid per guest table that you will have. This way, you can have the bridesmaids give their bouquets to the staff to put in vases at the reception for centerpieces. Save even more by having smaller bouquets. Don’t have a separate bouquet to toss, just toss your real bouquet, if you’re tossing at all.

 


 

Got more ideas for saving big bucks on wedding flowers? Comment below!

Save on a Night Time Wedding

Posted by Live Love Mom on March 6, 2021 at 8:20 AM Comments comments ()

By: Rev Dr. Stéphanie Noircent




Wedding receptions often stretch out into the night. However, to get married at night and have the reception even later, now that’s not too often. Perfect for night owls, saying your vows under the stars can be incredibly romantic. How can you get your fantasy twilight wedding without breaking the bank? Here are a few ideas.

 

Get some tents. Have tents outside, thin enough to see the stars. See if you can buy used, or rent used tents. Those will come around cheaper than brand-new. Ideal for summer, thick tents usually make the interior stuffy. You can feel the night breeze to keep you cool.

 

Watch the shooting stars. Have blankets laid out in august on a clear night and have guests lay down and watch the meteor shower. If you live up north, enjoy the northern lights at the reception. This is a peaceful, relaxing activity for guests and the couple to enjoy all together.

 

Look for discounts. Many venues offer discounts for off-peak seasons, months, and days of the weeks, maybe even times of day that are not often used. Who doesn’t want to save more money on their special day?

 

Sparklers. They don’t stand out nearly as well in the daylight, and they’ve been increasing in popularity. There are even signs sold for weddings specifying the time for a sparkler sendoff.

 

Use your resources. Surround yourself with professionals, students, and talented individuals. Knowing you personally, they may offer you their services in lieu of a gift. Especially students, who haven’t gained enough experience yet and can’t charge you full price, but need the work on their portfolio.

 

Lights. Light up the room, venue or outdoor area with lights. Yellow lights add a soft glow and a romantic feel to the ceremony and reception. They also make the wedding photos look gorgeous. Recycle your white holiday lights and decorate your backyard with them. Light candles in an indoor venue, or electric candles to avoid fire hazards.

 

Hire people you already know. Have your hairdresser do your hair. Have your dentist bleach your teeth. Use your local beautician to do your nails and pre-wedding care. Call up the deejay you used at your niece’s baptism and ask if they do weddings.

 

Lanterns. Light lanterns and light up the sky at your reception. Paper lanterns can be bought for a low price. Have guests light them up and let them float away. Having a wedding by the ocean or a large body of water? Light floating lanterns and watch them drift away.

 

Use your own music. Hook an iPod to speakers, pick a playlist and set it on shuffle. There! You’ve saved hundreds on hiring a band or a DJ for your musical needs.

 

 

Wear long sleeves. Nights are cold, and you can finally have an excuse to wear the long-sleeved dress that you’ve been eyeing. You can purchase that adorable shawl to adorn your shoulders as you stand and declare your love.

 

Keep your guest list short. If you’re a regular reader of my articles, you will see that I write this tip a lot. That’s because, it’s one of the top ways to save money on your wedding reception. Nowadays, receptions are paid by the plate for guests. If you’re paying $25 a plate and you have 100 guests versus 25 guests, you will pay four times more than if you just invited close friends and family. Convinced yet?

 

Browse discount stores. You ca save hundreds by getting lightly used items instead of brand new. Go to the cheaper stores first before you visit high-end stores. That way, if you find an over-priced arch at a fancy store, you will know that there is one half the price waiting at your local second-hand store.


Got more ideas? Comment below!

Benefits Of Laboring In An Upright Position

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 25, 2021 at 8:15 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Maybe you've heard mothers rave about how easy their labor was, or how fast their baby's birth was. Maybe some mothers told you how they loved their upright birthing position, or how different their birth was from the last. Maybe you want to fact-check your midwife, doula or medical provider who told you that upright positions are best for labor and delivery. 


After going to school as a doula, we learn many things about pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. This was one of those things that we learned, and we know to encourage pregnant, laboring and birthing women to do. Here are some facts showing benefits to laboring and giving birth in an upright position, whether it's standing, crouching, sitting, or leaning. 


- In 2017, research revealed that mothers who gave birth in an upright position have a 25% less chance of getting an episiotomy and a 25% decreased chance of needing forceps or a vacuum and a 54% decreased risk of tearing.


- The baby has a 54% less chance of being in distress if it's born while the mother is in an upright position.


- Your contractions are the most effective. Certain preliminary studies have shown that an upright position during labor is just as effective as using pitocin to stimulate contractions.


- The duration of the first stage of labor, where the mother is dilated 3 to 10 centimeters, can be considerably reduced if the mother remains upright, active and mobile.


- It's been proven that an upright birth reduced medical birth assistance by 23% and 21% of episiotomies.


- It's been proven that staying in an upright position reduces the amount of time women are in the second stage of labor, also known as pushing.


- If a woman stays upright during her labor and birth, her chances of getting a cesarian is reduced by 29%.


- Being upright during labor and birth can free up 28% to 30% of room in your pelvis, which leaves room for your baby to be born.



Why The Divorce Rate Has Skyrocketed In Recent Years

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 18, 2021 at 8:45 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Plenty of people have alleged that the divorce rate is much higher than in past decades. I decided to look at the science behind this and see if it's true. From articles that I read, it turns out that the divorce rate had the sharpest incline around the 1970s. So however true this may be, it's important to ask ourselves; why?


Why are more and more marriages failing? The divorce rate currently sits at 50% to 51%, which is extremely high. If we want marriages to succeed, it's good to know exactly why people are getting divorced. Here are the top 13 reasons why people are getting divorced.



Money


The most common reason for divorce is money. There are many different reasons why money may become an issue in a marriage. If only one person works in the couple, the working person may resent the other spouse for not working and contributing financially to their household. In a twist, the unemployed spouse may resent their working spouse for not providing the unemployed spouse with some money for them to get themselves things they need for themselves such as clothing, shoes, and hygeine products. There may also be issues with trust when it comes to money. A spouse may spend money in a joint bank account meant for something else, or shop with the other spouse's credit card without permission. Even when both spouses cannot budget, they will blame each other for their reckless spending and inability to pay bills.


Lack of intimacy


This is definitely a romance-killer. Whether one spouse is being ableist because the other spouse has a medical condition that prevents sex, or one person has a higher libido than the other, this can be an issue. People with high sex drives need plenty of intimacy. However, some people are romantic but identify as asexual. Some spouses just have a lower libido or they don't enjoy sex as much. This can be due to past trauma, their spouse not being a talented lover, or a medical issue. It's important to talk to your spouse about any issues you may have with intimacy. Some have nothing to do with sex, and spouses just want to be cuddled, talked with, kissed, hugged, and generally appreciated. Don't forget to show your spouse you love and appreciate them!


Lack of commitment


Some people get married because society was pressured into it, but they weren't ready to commit. Some spouses even live in seperate houses, even seperate towns or countries. Perhaps one of the spouses believed they would move in together once they were married. When that doesn't happen and the other person doesn't want that to change, they will seek a divorce. It can also be because a spouse doesn't put effort into the marriage anymore. They can come home from work, spend time alone without their spouse, go to bed, then repeat. Like lack of intimacy, this is something that can be fixed with communication and perhaps couples therapy.


Conflict and arguing


Some say if you don't argue, then you don't care. This can be true to a point. If couples find out they have conflicting views and morals, it can very quickly destroy a marriage. Part of the reason people get married in the first place is that they have a lot in common, and agree on how they would raise children if they choose to have any. However, if someone changes core values and beliefs, it causes a rupture in the marriage. Even just constant bickering and nagging can wear the spouses down. 


Infidelity


This is one for the history books, as it was one of the first reasons for divorce that was allowed. When your spouse has another relationship or sexual encounter with someone else behind your back, it's a true betrayal. They do it while sneaking around, so you wonder how long it's been going on. You lose all trust in your partner. The infidelity can cause life-altering concequences such as STIs or even a child outside of the marriage. Some people even have double lives and two families. Marriages rarely recover from this, especially when the cheating spouse refuses to change, or they leave their spouse for their lover.


Abuse


Not too long ago, women weren't able to work and men were the spouses who had full control of finances. Women couldn't escape abusive marriages because they had no access to money to travel and get away. The law was never on their side either, as beating your wife was seen as socially acceptable. With the rise of domestic violence awareness and laws being passed to penalize it, women are finally able to leave abusive marriages. Men can also get away from abusive wives and go to shelters. Now that women can work, they can have their own money and be able to flee a marriage that is toxic. 


Lack of compatibility


Arranged marriages often end up in divorce (where society permits it) because the people are just not compatible. People change as they grow and mature. The two people who married 20 years ago are not the same people as now, and they may just not fit together anymore. Sometimes, people just fall out of love with their spouses. If you don't love each other anymore, there is no reason to stay together. Love, trust and communication is what builds a solid marriage, and if you don't have that then there is no reason to stay married.


Physical appearance


We all look amazing when we get married as young men and women. As we age, wrinkles and saggy skin happens, and some weight gets gained, some of us lose their hair. There are some people that divorce their spouse because the spouse's appearance has changed to the petitioner's dislike. Maybe you didn't think your husband would be fat and bald as he grew older. However shallow this reason may be, loss of attraction is a real thing. There are also people who will transform themselves and think they deserve better than the person they are with. If someone goes through a makeover or loses a lot of weight, they may not want to be with the person who accepted them for who they were before.


Addictions


When a spouse develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol, this is often a deal-breaker. Substance abuse not only consumes the addict, but it also drains family funds, ruins relationships, creates debt, and sometimes even puts the couple in physical danger. There are other addictions like sex addiction that goes hand-in-hand with infidelity, or food addiction that fits in with money problems and physical appearance. 


Getting married at an early age


Getting married too early has an extremely high rate of divorce. Whether teens married because a pregnancy was involved or they wanted to escape their parents or get emanstipated, it's often not the right person for you. People who get married in their teens or soon after rarely stay married. As you grow, you want different things for yourself and your life. Maybe you believed you would be a famous musician at age 16, but now at age 30 you know that isn't going to happen and how rare that would be to happen. Maybe your spouse grew up to be a completely different person than the one you got to know before you got married. 


Getting married for the wrong reasons


If you didn't marry for love, then you didn't marry for the right reasons. Some people get married to allow their spouse to get medical insurance, citizenship, or even just as a business deal. If you don't marry for love, then your marriage will probably not last. A marriage of convenience is not something that is meant to happen, but it still does to this day. 


Lack of communication


When you don't talk about any issues or hurdles you may have, there is no way you will know what the problem is or how to fix it. It's always extremely important to talk to each other and not assume the other person will know, no matter how many hints you drop. No one can read minds, so you need to say it with words. Communication is one of the reasons that so many marriages have lasted as long as they have. 


Lack of equality and loss of identity


If your spouse starts treating you like you are lesser-than and doesn't want to change, it's time to go. Remember, you are no one's servant. Loss of identity happens when children move out of the home and the parents no longer see themselves as parents, or at least not full-time ones. Even when both people retire, their marriages are no longer a couple of hours per night while they work. They may realize that they can't stand the way the other person chews, or puts their feet up on the table at lunch time. They may get sick of each other and want to divorce, or they may begin to argue while they become stir-crazy. It's important to get out of the house and engage in hobbies and things that you enjoy, whether together or not. 


Can you think of any other reasons the divorce rate has increased? Comment below!



Benefits Of Hiring A Postpartum Doula

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 11, 2021 at 8:45 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree





Emotional and physical support needs are at their peak. The mother just had a whole human being exit her body, she will be exhausted, and her body will already be in overdrive to heal her from the birth as well as make milk for the newborn. Dads may feel helpless and have no idea what they can do to help. A postpartum doula will help both of you fit into your new roles as parents and answer any questions or concerns you may have. They even know tricks on how to relieve postpartum pain.



Doulas have you reflect on your birth experience and never impost any judgement or any opinions on you. Whether you had a traumatic birth or the birth of your dreams, a postpartum doula helps you navigate the memories of the birth in a way that's healthy for you. Your doula will be a shoulder for you to cry on or an ear to talk into. She is your village, which is especially useful when you don't have one. Many mothers report having more positive birth outlooks with a postpartum doula.

 


Having a doula has proven health benefits. Did you know that hiring a postpartum doula actually lowers the chances of parents getting postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis? Who would have thought! They take care of the whole family; mother, baby, and father too. Not only can doulas allow you to get some much-needed sleep while they care for your child, but they will also make sure that you take good care of yourself. She also knows what to look for in situations where you would need to see your doctor again, such as passing large clots, failure to bond with baby, or constant sadness.



Doulas are all about supporting your choices. All prenatal courses refuse to teach new parents how to bottle-feed their child, even if you have already chosen to do so or have a medical reason for doing so. A doula will have no problem in teaching you how to bottle-feed, which formula may best suit your baby, and how to follow the instructions on the packaging. Doulas are taught and trained using evidence-based research and scientific findings so you can always ask them to help you process decisions you'll have to make so you feel more secure once you make a decision.



Your doula can help you in many different ways, depending on your own personal needs and wants. She can offer you breastfeeding support and information, do some light housework, help you cook and meal-plan, and more. She can even be there during the night while you and your partner get some much-needed sleep. She can also take care of your older children to allow you to have some bonding time with your baby. She can also assist you with newborn care and show you how to bathe your baby and how to change their diapers. She can even do some menu planning, go with you to go grocery shopping, and run errands. She can also do referrals in the community if you want any other services. They are well worth it.



The statitstics prove that it's the way to go. If you have a doula for both the birthing and postpartum period, the benefits are even more numerous. Did you know that you will have a 12% increased chance of having a spontaneous vaginal birth? The breastfeeding success rate also increases, and your labor time gets decreased an average of 40 minutes. Your baby also has a 14% decreased chance of needing to go to the NICU. There are also 34% fewer negative birth experiences with a doula. Mothers will feel more positive about their births, labors, and their postpartum periods. It's easier for parents to bond with their babies and get into a routine.



Got any more benefits to add to this list? Comment below!



Who to invite to your wedding?

Posted by Live Love Mom on February 4, 2021 at 9:15 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev. Dr. Stephanie McEndree



 

Have you made a list of everyone you want to invite, but the catering surpasses your budget? Is your guest list too long for your venue of choice? Are you not sure who to weed out of your guest list, or unsure of who to add to it? Then this is the right post for you.


 

Family. Unless you are no longer in contact or you don’t get along, inviting your immediate family is common. The bride and groom’s parents and grandparents, and their brothers and sisters with the spouses are where to start.


 

Close Friends. Invite your closest of friends, who you talk to and see often. Someone you can’t imagine having your big day without.


 

Extended Family. If you’re close to your aunts and uncles and cousins, you can go ahead and invite them. However, if you barely see or talk to them or if you’ve never met, it’s safe to leave them off of the guest list.


 

Friends. If you haven’t seen or talked to the person within the last year, it’s safe to say you shouldn’t invite them to your wedding. If you’ve had friends get married and they didn’t invite you, definitely don’t invite them. If you close your eyes and imagine that friend’s wedding, do you picture them inviting you? If not, cross them off the list.


 

Coworkers and Classmates. Sure, invite them if you spend time together outside of work and are good friends. Otherwise, if you only see each other at work, you can safely cross them off the list. If you don’t see your classmates outside of class, it’s safe to exclude them as well.


 

Acquaintances. All of these can easily be crossed off of your list, or excluded altogether. These are often just people you know through friends or family. This also includes friend’s plus ones; you don’t have to feed a total stranger. On the invitation, you can write just their name or just the friend’s name on the envelope.


 

Make a rule about children. It’s becoming more and more normalized for restaurants and salons to ban children from attending. You can confidently say whether or not children are allowed at your wedding, and stick to it. Your friends can get a babysitter, and if they refuse, they can always skip the wedding. It’s your day, it’s perfectly understandable that you don’t want babies crying or screaming during your big day. Love kids? You can always let children be a part of the reception, since it’s a party anyhow, but exclude them from the ceremony. If you’re fine with children being at both, you can always let the officiant know and let them know how you’d like them to handle the situation; ignore it, or make a joke about it.


How To Encourage Independent Play

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 28, 2021 at 7:05 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Depending on their age group, children can be extremely attached to their parents; sometimes, too much. There are years where they have great seperation anxiety, and that's okay. They want to be near you because they know that's where they will be safe and loved. Once they start outgrowing this phase however, it's time to start thinking about teaching and encouraging your child to engage in independent playtime.

Whether you work from home or just need a break, it's important to encourage your child engages in independent play. This allows them to focus on the task at hand and accomplish it with better results. There are many more benefits to independent play, including:


Self-reliance. Your child learns that they are able to trust themselves to do certain tasks that they need or want to do. They learn that they are capable of playing alone and spending time by themselves. 


Emotion regulation. Children get to take sensory breaks from the loud voices of people, the blinding bright lights in buildings or the bright sun in their eyes, many people touching them and handling them, and unfamiliar smells. They are able to self-soothe and keep calm, lowering their blood-pressure. 


Cooperation. Kids learn how to cooperate with themselves. They learn that they can control their body and it develops their hand-eye coordination. They also learn about cooperation through building towers with blocks, and how objects have to work together to maintain balance and support one another.


Better learners. Children are better able to notice things like cause and effect, patterns, shapes and colors when they are alone. Focus and concentration are key, and they are able to develop these things when they are able to have time to themselves.


Self-confidence. Kids can build their confidence as they get to be whoever they want while they play. They can run around pretending to be a super-hero and saving the world. They get to perfect their fine motor skills and gross motor skills and become more confident in their abilities.


Creativity. School-aged kids can use this time to develop their imaginations and express themselves. They can act out scenarios in pretend play, or with dolls or action figures. Kids often treat their dolls the same way they are treated, so it's also fun to watch your kids tuck in their toys the same way you do. 


Patience. When you are unavailable and it's time for independent play, children learn that they need to wait until playtime is over to have access to you. They also learn patience when stacking objects and trying not to make them topple over. 


Social independence. Children have the ability to learn to be socially independent, and having some independent playtime really helps to fine-tune these skills. They will be comfortable being in social situations where they would rather keep to themselves. They won't feel pressure to interact with others when they don't have to. They also develop a sense of belonging and importance which is crucial for asserting themselves and forming bonds with people around them.


Self-awareness. Babies aged six months and up start to learn how to coordinate their bodies, and at a certain age they discover that their hands belong to them, and that they to what is asked of them. With solo playtime, they are able to explore and experiment with how their bodies can move according to the brain commands they execute. 


Self-help. Kids are able to develop problem-solving skills and will be more self-sufficient and independent. They will learn that they can get up and get the toy they want, and not rely on a parent to hand everything to them. They will also learn to experiment with a toy they're not sure how to operate until they are able to work it the way they want to.


Freedom. Children get to be themselves! They get to call all the shots. They don't have to share or adhere to anyone else's wishes or requests. They can do what they want and play what they want, when they want, where they want. This helps the children to relax and reduces stress.


Decision-making. The most basic of decision-making skills are acquired through independent play. Kids don't have adults telling them what to do right now, so they have to pick their own game they'd like to play and which toy to use. They also get to weigh different options and choose which is best for them.


Self-motivation. For babies who can't crawl yet, having a toy roll out of reach will motivate them to start moving towards that toy. Your babies may learn to crawl or walk this way! It also helps them feel safe and secure so they feel like they have control over their own life.


Concentration. Free of distractions, this allows for the child to focus 100% on their playtime. With this level of concentration, they are able to do things better and even learn how to execute new movements. 


Self-discipline. They get to feel a sense of achievement and success, knowing they did this all by themselves with no help. They also get to learn how to be self-disciplined. 



With all of that in mind, how can you encourage independent play in your child? Here are some tips you might find interesting. Feel free to pick and choose which ones would work the best for your child and your familial situation.


  • Bring them to a new place. They will be taking in everything around them and are bound to take off and explore their surroundings. Babies, kids and children always want to experience the world around them.
  • Make sensory bins. You can offer sensory bins to your child that they will really enjoy. You can even choose those that work on fine motor skills such as making red tape, pompoms at the bottom of the bin and have the child fetch the pompoms with tweezers.
  • Give them a water table. If your child loves water, they will love a water table. They often come with wheels, toys and cups so the children can learn how to manipulate water all while having a blast. 
  • Offer them substitutes. If they can't get enough of your car keys, get them a plastic set they can play with, or a spare set you don't need anymore. Same with light switches, doorknobs, a phone that doesn't work, or anything else they seem to be fascinated with.
  • Start playing with them. This works with an especially clingy child who can understand what you are saying. You can start playing with them, then let them know that you are going to the bathroom. Wait until the child is well immersed into their activity so they are less likely to follow you.
  • Get craft supplies. Offer your kids pipe-cleaners, construction paper, scissors, glue, tape, pompoms, glitter, markers, tissues, string, anything you think they can make fun crafts with. You can even give them specific supplies for a specific project and play a video showing them on how to make that craft.


What are you waiting for? It's playtime!

How To Plan Your Own Wedding

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 21, 2021 at 8:05 AM Comments comments ()

 by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Start planning at least 1 year before your wedding date. This gives you plenty of time to book your venues ahead of time. If you live in a high population city however, you should start planning at least 15 months before the big day since wedding venues will get pre-booked fast.


 

Start by looking at things on pinterest. Themes, colors, dresses, suits, flowers, makeup, nails, etc. Get a good idea of what you want. You can make a board on there to save all of your wedding ideas. You can also show them to your future spouse and get their idea of what they would like in their wedding. 


 

Make a guest list of who you couldn’t imagine the day without, then made a “maybe” guest list of other people you’d like there. Once you choose your caterer, decide how many guests you can afford and put together a final guest list. You can comfortably ask your caterer to feed about 75% of your guests. An estimated 25% will not attend or will be no-shows. 


 

Do your research. Look up venues, officiants, caterers, DJs, Bakers, photographer, florist etc. Compare prices and what is included in those prices and make a decision, and make a deposit to each to reserve them for your day. If your budget is super tight, you can go with who is cheapest. If you strongly prefer one over the other, you of course choose the one you prefer. 


 

Make it your own. You can personalize the officiant’s ceremony a little into your own, and make a wedding website for RSVPs and all that. You can get free online wedding invitation templates and printed them out on 65 lbs paper at Staples with an RSVP card. Be sure to buy supplies such as envelopes, some ribbon, doilies and stick-on crystals and voila! Sent out the invitations. You can also come up with themes, and anything else unique to make it even more personal for you and your fiance.


 

Buying. You should then start buying stuff for the wedding (flowers since we’re going silk, wedding dress, wedding shoes, etc). You should call places such as linen stores where you want to rent linens and other things and ask if they are available on the date you want to have your wedding. If so, start booking. You also want to do the same with other services such as music, officiant, venue, florist, caterer, and anything else you would want at your wedding. 


 

Pro tip: Made a facebook group to keep the wedding party updated on how things progressed and new ideas you have.

Benefits Of Hiring A Birth Doula

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 14, 2021 at 8:05 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree





You've read one of our previos posts which lists what a doula is, and frequently asked questions. But, do you know exactly what the benefits of having a birth doula are? Well, you're about to! Adding a doula to your birth team is a decision you will never regret, and will keep reaping the benefits for the rest of your life. Here's why!


The statistics don't lie. According to evidence-based research, people who hire doulas have:

 

- A 28% less chance of having a c-section

 

- Are 40% less likely to need pitocin to speed labor

 

- Are 60% less likely to use an epidural

 

- Reduced amount of anesthesia and for how long it's used

 

- Reduction of the use of any type of pain medication

 

Higher APGAR scores in newborns

 

- Woman report being more calm and relaxed during the birth

 

- Women report a more positive birthing experience

 

- Fewer births need forceps or vacuum extraction


- Fewer cases of fetal distress


 

How exactly are all of these benefits possible? Here's how a doula does it.

 

Doulas offer informational, physical and emotional support. They offer prenatal classes while you're pregnant for you and your partner and teach you exactly how your body, pregnancy and birth works. Doulas also physically support you by providing acupressure, massage, and more for pain relief. They also offer emotional support as they encourage you and empower you to make your own decisions and cheer you on through your labor and birth.

 

They can help you make your birth plan and choose what's right for you. They explain every procedure possible and what to plan for if things go unexpected. They will help you write your birth plan and support you in whatever choices you make and they will never judge you. If you're giving birth at a birth center or hospital, they also help you make a list of things you will need to pack for the big day. 

 

They can help your partner figure out what to do during the birth. Some partners are like deer in headlights and have no idea what to do when they see their partner in labor. Your doula will offer various options for your partner to help you during the birth. You will also be able to express what you would like your partner to do, such as show you affection, catch the baby, or cut the umbillical cord, and everything in between. Your doula also works with your partner to meet your needs. They can take turns feeding you ice chips and putting a cold compress on your head or changing the bath water, massage you, and anything else.

 

They are also called birth coaches and are great for encouragement. They are your own personal cheerleaders. They will remind you that you can do this, and empower you to assert your rights and preferences. They will give you strength when you need it and be someone to lean on when neccessary. They will also usher people out of the room that you have not agreed to be in there, so you can rest assured your nosy neighbors won't be allowed to enter your sacred space if you don't want them to! They're like a night light, they watch over you and ensure that you're well taken care of.

 

They help the entire family adjust to their new roles. You only have nine months to wrap your head around the fact that you will become parents. A doula helps you prepare for everything, even if it's just making a list of baby items you will need. They can also offer advice to your loved ones on how they can best support you during and after your pregnancy. They can encourage you to maintain a routine once the baby is born and teach you how to breastfeed or bottle-feed, whichever you choose.

 

Doulas are certified and undergo training so they know what they're doing. They have experience and know how this works, and most of them are parents themselves. Whether they are fresh out of school or have decades of work behind them, each doula is full of knowledge and is excited to help you and your family. They want to give you the best experience of your life and give you space after the birth to bond with your baby and to be a family. 


So what are you waiting for? Hire one today!

 

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Signs You Are In An Abusive Relationship

Posted by Live Love Mom on January 7, 2021 at 8:00 AM Comments comments ()
by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Whether you are reading this because you want to know whether you are in an abusive relationship or not, it's always good to be informed and aware. Feel free to link this to your loved one if you've noticed some disturbing behavior from their partner. Remember, your health and wellbeing comes before anyone else's. If you are being harmed or are unhappy in any way, you have every right to leave that situation no matter what. You are a free person and no one can force you to do things you don't want to do. 

Here are the different types of abuse listed by category.




Financial abuse can rear it's ugly head in many different forms. If you have an income, whether it's welfare or from working, there are ways your partner can use this to abuse you. The partner may demand to know your bank card number and pin, and change it without your consent. They may demand your online banking password and change that as well. Spending your money without your consent is also financial abuse, and so is stealing your money. What some partners will do is keep their victim's money for themselves. Sometimes, the abuser will give their victims an ''allowance'' off of the victim's own salary. More often than not, this amount is barely enough, or not enough, to cover the very basic expenses of life. Abusers use money to control their victims and to keep them from leaving. 

If you don't have an income, your abuser will withhold money from you. They will refuse to spend money on food for you, or to share what they bought with you, such as hygeine products, clothes or food. When you are married, you are considered under your spouses's charge and care, and it is expected that they provide for your needs. They accepted that fact when they married you, there is no excuse to cause such gross neglect. Abusers even do this to their children, confiscating their earnings, stealing their money or withholding them from the basic neccessities of life. It's cruel and is absolutely abuse.



Physical Abuse is the most commonly recognized form of abuse. Abusers will strike, punch, hit, kick, shove, push, or throw their victims. They can go even further and stab, strangle, or break limbs. They can attack and beat their victims, their children, or their pets, even their family members or friends. This is the abuser wanting to exert control over their victims. They want to scare their victims so they are too afraid to leave. The abusers want their victims to do exactly what they tell them to, and use threats and violence to get their way. 

Physical abusers are getting smarter. They assault their victims in places that is usually hidden with clothing. If their victims often wear bikinis, they will strike their victim's buttocks and demand that their victim wear a full buttocks-covering for a bikini bottom. They can stab or punch in the head which is hidden under the hair. They can bite, scratch, twist, pinch, poke, or do anything that is harmful to their victim. To keep their victim with them, they will apologize and offer gifts and say they will change and go to anger management or therapy. This is all lies and when their partner takes them back, they begin the assault again. The cycle continues. Abusers go so far as to kill their victims, and beatings get worse one after another. It causes lifelong damage and even paralysis.



Mental Abuse often consists of gas-lighting, accusations, lying, deflective, defensive behavior. People nowadays call this ''mind games''. Abusers will often put their victims through a series of ''tests'' to prove their love, devotion or loyalty to their abuser. Abusers do this to make themselves feel superior to their victims. They can also invent scenarios they say happened, or will happen, when it never did. They can put you in a false sense of danger, such as lying about being in a gang and that a rival gang has a price on the abuser's head. The abuser can threaten that their friends or family would harm their victim. They yell at their victim in front of everyone, wanting to create a reputation that their victim is not a good partner. They threaten to ruin their victim's reputation and spread rumors about them. They get a thrill out of watching the mental anguish this causes their victim. They want their victim to seem like the ''bad guy'', and the abuser wants pity and sympathy from others. This may be a way to destroy their victim's confidence so that it makes the victim believe that police would never believe that the abuser is abusive or did anything bad. 



Psychological Abuse is one of the unseen forms of abuse. It often consists of threats or any attempts to frighten, isolate or control the victim. It's also called emotional abuse or verbal abuse. This includes verbal aggression, intimidation, manipulation, and humiliation. Most of the time, this form of abuse unfolds as a pattern of behavior over time who's aim is to destroy another person's sense of dignity, identity, self esteem and self worth. Victims often end up with anxiety disorders as they are subjected to this trauma.

Often the abuser belittles and insults their victim. They say these insults often so that the victim will start believing them. They say that no one else will ever love the victim, or that they are not worthy or deserving of love, or anything else that they need or want. It's truly soul-crushing.



Spiritual Abuse, also known as religious abuse, is when an abuser prevents his victim from practicing their religion. The abuser stops the victim from going to their place of worship or speak with any members of their clergy. They will mock the religion and it's customs and practices to make their victim feel ashamed to do anything spiritual or religious in front of the abuser, or at all. The abuser will impose their beliefs on the victim and may force the victim to participate in the abuser's own religion or spirituality, knowing full well the victim doesn't believe in it. They can prevent their victim from speaking about their religion or spirituality, performing prayers or rituals, and even force-feed their victims when they are practicing religious fasting. They can sabotage their victim's plans to go on a pilgrimmage, visit a holy place or even attend their confirmation, baptism or ba(r) mitzvah. Abusers know that worshippers can claim sanctuary or go to a faith-run shelter if they want to flee the relationship. This is their way of cutting off their victims' ties to further trap them into a relationship with the abuser.


Freedom of religion is a basic human right. To be deprived of one of the basic ways one can express themselves and devotion to their dieties or ancestors is horrible. If you recognize anything in this text, you are being abused.


Cultural Abuse is when an abuser prevents their victim from participating in their own culture. For example, Native American children were forced to wear colonist's clothing and not permitted to paint their faces, speak their native language and their hair was cut short despite the cultural significance of their long hair. Even to this day, people demand that immigrants speak the nation's official language in public, and not their own native tongue. Abusers will also prevent victims from celebrating cultural holidays such as Cinco de Mayo, Dio de los Muertos, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, or anything else that is important to the victim. Abusers will do everything to prevent their victims from getting tribal tattoos as pacific islanders do, to get piercings like certain tribes do, or even very modern and basic things like breastfeeding and baby-wearing the victim's own child. 

Often cultural abusers will force people who are not of their own culture to assimilate. They will try to wipe out their victim's culture and heritage and prevent the victims from repeating this. If they have children together, the abuser may even lie to children saying their victim parent does not come from that place, and prevent that parent from reciting cultural tales, songs or rites. 



Sexual Abuse can come in many forms. The abuser sexually abuses their victim when they sexually harrass their victim, molest, rape, or traffick them. This includes genital mutilation such as amputating the clitoris, sewing the vagina shut, castrating or amputation of the penis and forced sterilization or pregnancy and birth. This is one of the most sadistic forms of abuse. Centuries ago when people were forced into slavery, the abusers would force their victims to have sex with each other, even their own family members in order to cause pregnancies to make more victims of slavery. It's where the term ''mother-fucker'' comes from.


The abuser can also purposefully withhold sex from their partner as a form of punishment, reprimand, discipline, or a way to control their victim. This is often a form of manipulation to get their victim to do what the abuser wants. The abuser may also spread false information and rumors about the victim's sexual talents or body to ensure no one else will desire their victim. Abusers can also infect victims with STIs on purpose to trap that person. They can also lie about their own sexual health in order to more easily infect their victim. Abusers can also wear a condom during sex, but then secretly remove it without the other person's knowledge or consent. All of these and more are forms of sexual abuse.



Do any of these behaviors or actions sound familiar? Then, unfortulately you are in an abusive relationship. Pack a few things and get out of there as soon as you can. You deserve better, and you are worth more, and you are loved.


Tips For Healthier Skin From An Esthetician

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 31, 2020 at 7:15 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Did you know that your skin is your largest organ on your entire body? It's the barrier that protects everything your body is made of to keep out infection and hazards from hurting you. It's your first line of defense, so why shouldn't you take care of it? Skin is 90% of your selfie, save money on makeup and just take care of your skin.

Have you been having more bad skin days than good skin days? Are you looking to improve your skin's appearance? Do you want to live a life with healthier skin? Have you realized that you and your skin are worth it? Here are some tips for healthier skin from a professional esthetician.


Exfoliate your face. Ever wondered why there is dust that accumulates around your home no matter what you do? It's your skin, darling. You constantly shed dead skin cells every day, in fact you shed four pounds of skin every year! However, the process of shedding old skin takes a while. Your skin cells need to become dehydrated, brittle and fragile, die off, then peel off loosely enough to finally break free from your body. Why wait all that time? Get a professional medical-quality exfoliation from your local esthetician, or buy one from a dermatologist or medspa. With this you can slough off dead skin cells and make your face feel silky smooth and look radiant. You will glow and allow your skin to breathe! You are also removing thin layers of skin, which also sands down any pimples or blemishes that you may have. For deep exfoliation that can even get rid of your wrinkles, sun spots and more, ask your esthetician for microdermabrasion or a chemical peel.


Exfoliate your body. For all the reasons listed above, you also want to exfoliate your body. Who doesn't love touching baby-soft skin? That can be yours easily when you exfoliate. Exfoliating also loosens up any ingrown hairs that were starting to form and removes any dirt and grime that was on your skin. Any peeling and dry skin you had will disappear to reveal shiny new skin underneath. You won't want to stop running your hands along your arms and legs as you marvel at how soft you feel! You can exfoliate longer on rougher areas on your body like any callouses to really give you that smooth feel all over. 


Moisturize. No matter your skin type, all skin needs moisture. Dry skin flakes, is irritating and itchy. Scratching causes tiny tears in the skin which invites bacteria and creates pimples. You don't want that! Whenever you have dry skin, you always want to moisturize. You can get a good moisturizer from your local esthetician with professional salon-quality. Always look to estheticians first, as pharmaceutical brands just do the bare minimum. You want a deep hydration that will last. You want your skin to be nourished, healed and quenched with the best there is. Don't skimp out on a moisturizer!


Don't tan. The sun and tanning is an assault on your skin. UV rays actually cause wrinkles that sag the skin and age you very quickly. You may look good for a couple of years, but after that you will look many years older. It's a heavy price to pay just for two years of looking like a beach babe. Stay out of the tanning salon and slather up that sunscreen when you go out of the house. Don't like being pale? Get a spray-tan or use self-tanning lotion. Anything is better than roasting in the sun or in artificial beds that damage your skin. Not to mention tanning can cause skin cancer, it's really not worth the risk. Pale is in, and you will look younger longer.


Minimize touching your face. This can be a given due to the pandemic, but in reality it's an everyday type of tip. We touch hundreds of surfaces every day, and each of those surfaces have bacteria, viruses, fungus, dirt and impurities. Whenever we touch our faces after this, we introduce harmful irritants to our face. Our skin becomes inflammed as it defends itself against this assault, and forms pimples, blackheads and whiteheads trying to remove these things from our pores and skin surface. Save yourself the breakouts and blemishes and don't touch your face unless you absolutely have to. 


Wash your hands. As mentionned above, if you must touch your face, it's best to do it with clean hands. Wash your hands often, not just after you use the bathroom. Wash your hands before you touch your face, every time. Be sure you use a gentle soap as you don't want to damage the skin of your hands either. You also need to wash your hands when you return from going outside, even if it was just in your backyard. You absolutely need to do this anyways during the pandemic, but also when it's over. You don't want to get sick touching something someone who was ill touched, or get any of your housemates sick. Practice good hygeine and keep yourself and your skin happy!



Cheap DIY Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Use

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 25, 2020 at 7:10 AM Comments comments ()

 by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Save money and enjoy crafting as you make your own wedding favors. From edible goods to useful household items, create your own little masterpiece filled with love that your guests will enjoy.


 

Dry rub. Gather all of your spices and either make your own, or follow an online recipe. This is great because dry spices last years, so you can make them way ahead of time. You can always buy spices at the grocery store.



Ornaments. Most people have a holiday tree they put up during the holidays. You can make an ornament for them to decorate their tree with. This is especially appropriate for weddings in December. Your favors can be as simple as picking pine cones, painting them and tying a ribbon so people can hang it on their trees. You can even add a tag with your wedding date on it, or simply write happy holidays on it.


 

Sugar scrub. This is great to use as a deep exfoliation for your body. Make them for your guests in small jars or even plastic bags tied with a ribbon.


 

Salt scrub. Similar to the sugar scrub, salt scrubs can last a while and can be made far ahead of time. With coconut oil and a drop of essential oils, it will keep for a while so your guests can wait for a special moment to use it.



Wine Glasses. If you have too many of these in your own home or shot glasses, you can give them as favors. Use a hot glue-gun to write something personal to you and your future spouse, or even a symbol that means a lot to you two. You can sprinkle some glitter on top of the hot glue before it dries or paint over it.



Coffee Mugs. Plenty of people have plenty of coffee mugs, some that they never use. However, not everyone has enough at home for themselves or for visitors and family memers. If you have too many or you do not mind a trip to the dollar store, you can always buy some. You can also get some plain ones and paint over them in a ceramic shop and make them unique.

 


Soap. Look up a soap recipe, buy the ingredients and make a nice-smelling gift your guests can use to get clean. Everyone needs soap! Just be sure to ask if anyone has allergies.

 

 

Baked goods. Make cookies, brownies, cake pops, rice krispie treats and more. These delicious delights will be consumed in no time!



Keychains. The best keychains are those that include something useful on them, like a tool that can do many things, a bottle-opener, mini flashlight, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, a whistle, or anything useful.


 

Home-made jam. This is a great idea especially if you have fruit trees or berry plants at home. Make your own easily. Just get some fruit, sugar or stevia, and boil while stirring until it’s the consistancy you want. Put in jars and serve!



Alcohol. You can buy mini bottles of different types of alcohol and offer this as favors. They will definitely get used, and the small bottles may even be kept as a souvenir. 

 


Chocolate-covered pretzels. Follow a recipe. You can always buy pretzels, melt down some chocolate, dip the pretzels inside and freeze them to harden the chocolate.



Tea. Tea bags always come in handy for tea drinkers. If you know your guests are the tea-drinking crowd, you can offer tea bags as favors. You can make these yourself if you have an herbal garden and put dry mint leaves in a sachet. 



Seeds. Grab some seeds from the plants in your backyard and put them in a little burlap pouch and offer these to guests. You can also harvest seeds from a tree in your yard so each guest can plant a tree in your honor.



Coffee. One of the most common beverages people drink in the world, you cannot go wrong with coffee. You can buy a coffee can and scoop some beans in individually sized bags. You can also add in some hot chocolate powder so people can make themselves a nice mocha.


 

Caramel apples. You can make candy or caramel apples for your guests to devour. They can also be a fun alternative to dessert if you do not particularily like cake to serve your guests. 


Got more to suggest? Comment below!

What Is A Doula?

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 18, 2020 at 8:30 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




What is a doula?


A doula is someone trained in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and breastfeeding who is there to provide support (informational, emotional and physical) to the mother throughout the birth process.

 

A doula is a woman who provides support to the mother and her partner or single mother that is unconditional. She will listen, and not judge, she is there to help empower you to make the right decisions that are best for you and your baby. A doula is a special part of your incredible journey of birth, doulas create a bond of trust, comfort, knowledge and positive encouragement. A doula is someone that is consistently with you throughout your entire labour, the relationship between you is a bond held together by sincere compassion and trust. A doula has experience recognizing cues, sounds, and facial expressions and is able to respond with the appropriate comfort encouragement.

 

Doulas generally hold consultations in your home or where you are most comfortable. She helps to remind your partner or support person the tools they learned in prenatal classes and doula consultations.

 

What does the word “doula” mean?


The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek meaning ‘woman caregiver or servant’. Throughout history women have supported other women in their community during the childbirth process, which typically took place at home. Today, professional birth doulas take on this role when mothers are looking for someone to provide the emotional and physical support they need during their birth experience.

 

Are doulas accepted in hospitals?

 

Doulas have been working in hospitals for many years and doulas have been cultivating positive relationships with staff at the hospital. Hospitals recognize us as health practitioners. Nurses are often very happy to see a doula since this can mean the client is well educated on birth matters and she has extra support in the delivery and postpartum room.

 

Do I need a doula if I have a midwife or I am having a home birth?

 

A midwife has a very different role then a doula. A midwife is your primary care provider she will take care of all your medical needs and has huge responsibilities just as an Obstetrcian does. Her time is spent monitoring the baby, and charting your labour, she is responsible for the health and well being of you and your baby.

 

Doulas will be there for you often sooner then your midwife to help you through your labour providing labour tools such as massage, breathing techniques, acupressure, doulas will never leave your side unless for a washroom break. A doula is consistent in her care for you and your partner.

 

If I have a doula, will my husband/partner still be able to participate in the birth?

 

Absolutely! The doula provides support to both the mother and her partner. She ensures the partner plays a key role in the process, to the extent he/she is comfortable.

 

What happens if I end up having a cesarean section?

 

Advocacy is extremely important whether it’s a c-section or vaginal delivery. Doulas sometimes are allowed in the operating room for support. When things are moving quickly we can help you to gain perspective of the situation and help to slow things down and take the “emergency” out of a non-emergency situation. Doulas are there to help remind the partners, doctors and nurses of your birth wishes and help to keep the mother calm and relaxed.

 

Doulas help to facilitate skin to skin after a c-section. This is very important for breastfeeding, bonding, temperature and blood sugar balancing for the baby.

 

Does a doula replace my nurse? doctor? midwife?

 

No. Doulas do not replace any medical personnel. Doulas do not perform any medical tests or procedures such as taking blood pressure, temperature, monitoring fetal heart rate, etc. Their role is to provide comfort and support and to make sure the requests of the mother are being met. She can also help with communication between the family and the medical staff. A doula does not make decisions for you, but can assist with making your needs clear to the medical staff.

 

What are the benefits of a birth doula?


Research has shown that when a birth doula is present, labour tends to be shorter and with fewer complications. Women who use doulas report having more positive feelings about their childbirth experience. Doula assisted births have a reduced need for pitocin to induce labour or any other delivery assistance, such as forceps or vacuum. There is also a reduction in the request for pain medications, epidurals and cesareans when a birth doula is used.

 

Are doulas licensed?


Most doulas are trained and certified by recognized organizations and attend a program. Be sure you are hiring a certified birth doula by asking for their certification. Some organizations that provide certification in Canada are: CAPPA, CBI, DONA, ICEA, and Birth Arts International.

 

How do I find a doula?

 

Any of the above organizations have a search page to locate a doula in your area. When you find some prospects (they are available around your due date), you should meet with each of them and bring along a list of questions. It is important to meet a prospective birth doula in person to make sure you are compatible. Here are some sample questions which should assist you in making your final decision.



Frugal Honeymoons $100 and up

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 11, 2020 at 9:15 AM Comments comments ()
by: Rev Dr. Stephanie McEndree







Can’t afford a fancy trip overseas for your honeymoon? Do you only have the budget for your dream wedding or dream honeymoon? Would you rather have a small honeymoon now and a big one later? Look no further! Here is how you can have a honeymoon for as low as $100 per night.

 


 

Look on AirBnB. Some people have their entire houses for rent by the day, week or month. Rates can be as low as $15 a day. Check out the owner’s pictures and see what they’re offering.

 


 

Hotel room. Some hotels offer rooms as low as $99 a night. Look up the town you want to go to, and then look at different hotels. Make the hotel in another state or province if you’d like some alone time on the road.

 


 

Rent a cottage. Google websites where people offer their cottages or summer homes for rent. Many are luxurious with a view on the water, spas, and more. You can even pick your criteria.




Rent a cabin. Similar to renting a cottage, renting a cabin in a remote part of town is wonderful. They are often in mountains or in forests where you can meet plenty of wildlife. This getaway is perfect for someone who loves photography as you can go on hikes and photograph deer, rivers, and views below.




Go camping. Whether you go glamping with an TV or trailer or you use a good old-fashioned tent, you are sure to get the best views of the sky. Lay on a blanket and stargaze with your spouse, cook on the fire, and bond with nature. There are often parks nearby and beaches, and you can even go fishing.




Road Trip. Fill up your gas tank and drive around. You can visit nearby cities and the sights that you've never seen before. Take historic tours, look at the museums, see an art gallery. Go watch a play or the opera. You can see a sports game, go to a cultural festival, a concert, or even a circus. The sky is the limit!




Visit the beach. Go to the nearest beach where you live and make it a day trip. Bring some folding chairs, towels, sunscreen and your bathing suits and you're all set. 


 

Don’t want to make your own meals while you’re there? Go out to a new restaurant every time and get your food cooked for you. It gives you a chance to explore different types of cuisine and culture while you’re on your post-nuptial vacation.


 

Got more ideas? Share below!


Useful Tips For Parents Of Neurodiverse Children

Posted by Live Love Mom on December 4, 2020 at 8:00 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree




Whether your child recently got diagnosed, your healthcare provider gave you a hypothesis or you've been at it for years, it's impossible to know everything. For neurotypical parents, it's important to educate yourself on as much as you can in order to best meet the needs of your child or children. Here are some tips to help you do that.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a licenced professional in specialized education, neurological studies or anything like that. These are just tips based on my experience. Please consult your child's doctor before making any decisions.


Stimming. Stimming is the repitition of physical movements, vocal sounds and words, moving objects, and eating certain foods. Not every neurodiverse child does this, but it is very common. It can be anything at all. You will begin to recognize a certain action is how your child stims by noticing the repitition of it. This is how neurodiverse people self-stimulate. It's perfectly normal. 


Sensory overload. For people who have sensory processing disorders, they can become overwhelmed very quickly depending on what sense they are most sensitive with. This could be all senses, a few, or one. They can have a hard time focusing with so many different types of sounds around them, even what neurotypicals would consider small sounds such as a ticking clock or dripping faucet. Some people also are sensitive to touch, or with certain textures. They don't like to be held, touched or to wear clothes. Neurodivergents can also get too hot or too cold and it will be very uncomfortable, especially in an office or a classroom where they aren't permitted to leave their seat often. They can also be sensitive to bright lights, and even get migraines as a result of it. 


Often what can help is, when they are overwhelmed, to offer a dark and quiet place for them to take a sensory break. If they aren't sensitive to touch and they ask for it, you can give them a tight hug which will help their bodies regulate. If they are sensitive to touch, a weighted blanket can help. 


Introverted. Neurodiverse children and even adults will often be introverts. They prefer to be alone and to their own thing. This is often because when they are alone, they can control their environment and know not to do things that will overwhelm them. They can always adjust the thermostat to how they like, put on a tv show on mute with captions, install black-out curtains, and not be afraid of being over-stimulated. Some of them have trouble understanding social cues, expressions and phrases, so limiting human contact saves them from that frustration. 


Healthcare professionals and teachers will strongly insist on developing your child's social abilities and knowledge. You will need to be your child's voice in these situations. Yes, it is very important tnat everyone learns how to properly communicate, but be sure that the teachers, doctors, and everyone else gives your child space when they are overwhelmed. These interactions should also never be forced. You want your child to want to socialize, not see it as a negative thing.


ABA. ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis.This is a form of ''therapy'' that has been found to be abusive to neurodiverse children. You can look it up, but there have been many instances where ABA ''therapists'' have allegedly forcibly made a child smile, physically holding their cheeks up, Even when that child is sad or angry and they don't feel like smiling. They will offer toys to the child if they do what is asked of them, and take it away when it's not. Therapists are trained to physically move your child into positions they want your child to do, or things they want your child to do. They also ignore the child's needs and wants. If your child is getting tired, upset or over-stimulated, the therapist will never address this. They will most likely ignore it and continue the exercise. You can google ''aba abuse'' to read more about the multiple issues surrounding ABA. If you are thinking of signing up your child for this, please don't. 


Autism Speaks. Often portraying themselves as the place to donate for autism research, Autism Speaks treats people with autism as if they have a missing piece, like they are not whole as people. They see an autism diagnosis as a sad one, and search for a cure. This is incredibly damaging to people who live with autism or any kind of neurodiversity. Autism should be celebrated, not pitied, and people should be accepted how they are. Embrace your child's differences and teach them not to dislike the things that make them unique. It's incredibly important to place kids on the path of self-love. They cannot think something is wrong with them, because that is simply not true. If you choose to go with an organization or make a donation, please don't go with Autism Speaks. Listen to neurodiverse people and they will tell you. You can also easily look it up and see which places are inclusive and positive.



Flapping. This has often been discussed being one of the main symptoms of autism. In fact, not every autistic person flaps their arms or hands. In fact, lots of neurodiverse children never will flap their hands or arms. For those who do however, it's often because the child is excited or happy. Some parents call this happy-flapping. It's equivilent of a child jumping up and down for joy. In fact, some children may do both at the same time. It's an incredibly adorable display of joy that melts any parent's hearts.


High-Functioning. This is a term thrown around a lot by parents of children with autism, as well as the words low-functioning and severe. For some reason, in parenting circles it has been seen as some type of competition as to which child is most different. Parents seem to feel the need to extract pity from people because their child has autism. It needs to stop. High-functioning autism doesn't exist, it's just autism. These are terms made up by parents and other people to make their child's autism seem ''less severe'' and puts a lot of pressure and expectations on the child to be ''more normal''. It also invalidates the child's needs and makes them feel like they should be put on the back-burner for therapy such as speech therapy or physical therapy should they need it. Parents with children who talk or are potty-trained will be bashed by other parents who say ''you have no idea how hard it is'' in order for the bashing parent to seem like a super-hero for raising the child they wanted and chose to have. It needs to stop and to change direction completely. Parents need to uplift and support each other whether their kids have autism or not. Enough with the labels, which only enhances the ableism. 


Every Spectrum Is Different. There are no two people who have all of the exact same symptoms and who's neurodiversity presents exactly alike. In fact, the criteria used to diagnose people with autism is meant for autistic boys, not girls. Girls meet an entirely different criteria. With that in mind, some girls do get diagnosed despite this. Don't compare your child to others; just because they don't have the same symptoms doesn't mean that the doctors are wrong. If you have two children with autism it's important you meet their different needs. Both kids will be very different and need different things. 



Have any other tips? Comment below!

Things Your Guests DO Care About

Posted by Live Love Mom on November 27, 2020 at 8:30 AM Comments comments ()

by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree


Here is what’s worth shelling out a few extra bucks on.



 

Date, Time and Location. Be sure to ask around about your loved ones’ work schedules before you choose a date, since you will be able to know ahead of time what you need to book. Choose a date where most of your guests would be available. Holidays are an inconvenient time for guests as they often go on vacations. You also want to give enough time for people to get ready. Pick a location that is easily accessible to everyone. It’s also best to have your wedding on a weekend, since many people don’t work on weekends. However, if most of your friends and family work weekends, try having it on a weekday. Give crystal clear instructions and an address so guests can locate the area and not end up late to the wedding.


Labels. Clearly labelled areas such as the gift table for wedding gifts are essential, especially if your venue is having more than one wedding going on. You don't want your gift ending up with another couple. You should also provide clear indications of where to go. Venues who are used to hosting weddings and large gatherings already have this set up. However, especially if you have guests who speak and read a different language, it's important to lable important places such as the restroom area, the reception area and the ceremony space. 


 

Weather. Too hot or too cold causes miserable guests. If you insist on having an outdoor summer wedding or a wedding in hot climates, provide lots of water and an indoor air-conditioned space. If you are having an outdoor winter ceremony, be sure to make the ceremony short and offer an indoor heated space for the reception. You don’t want uncomfortable guests.


 

Parking. Parking should be near the ceremony and reception and be free. No one wants to pay for parking, ever. Don’t make your guests walk for miles in their formal wear either.


 

Timeliness. Do everything on time. It will stress guests out and they are getting bored. Guests will notice if cocktail hour lasts 3 hours, and if it takes 3 hours to have the meal served. You also need to have some time to let guests be and mingle, socialize, and take bathroom breaks. This is especially important if your venue only has 1 bathroom for 100 guests. The ideal venue will have  more bathrooms, so guests needing to go to the bathroom at same time because they will end up drinking and eating at the same time. An example of a good place to host your wedding are country clubs which have many bathrooms with stalls, so everyone can relieve themselves without having to wait in long lines and miss parts of the wedding. Keep in mind guests with children or elderly guests that may not be able to sit still for a 2 hour ceremony and will probably only be able to stay until their children's bedtime. Front-load all of the important things within the first 5 or so hours so everyone gets to participate in the important stuff. Keep the games, drinking contests or anything younger-crowd oriented towards the end.


 

Entertainement. A deejay is priceless. They can read the room and play songs and games accordingly. They set the tone of your entire day and shouldn’t be taken for granted. They often ask ahead of time if your guests area a younger or older crowd and choose songs, themes, and even make jokes accordingly. Be sure you don't shine light in anyone's eyes!


 

Music. Guests want to dance to songs they know, and songs that have a good tempo. Be sure to have slow as well as fast-paced songs. Classics never go underappreciated. Provide a song list to your deejay so they can play the songs during the best moments, and you have your chance to get your favorite tunes play at your reception. Be sure the sound system isn't too loud or hard to hear. Ideally, people who make speeches will practice at home or even at the rehearsal so the microphone isn't screeching, staticky or dropped during the reception.


 

Food. Be sure to serve some good food at your reception. People will be getting hungry, and you don’t want them leaving early because they are starving and can’t stand your food. Also, serve appetizers so guests will be full, especially if your meal is a long time after your ceremony. Many guests skip lunch so they can eat lots on your wedding feast. Warn them ahead of time to have a lunch if you don’t want guests to be too hungry.


 

Drinks. Guests like having something to drink, even if it’s wine or beer. If you’re not having alcohol, have interesting drinks such as mocktails. Cash bars are also a downer; if you can’t afford an open bar, serve wine and beer. You also want non-alcoholic drinks even if you are serving alcohol. With guests that are younger, be sure to have water and juice available as well, and maybe even milk if you are having really young guests. Sodas can also be used as mixers with alcohol so they are always useful to have.


 

Acknowledgement. Guests want some time with you, even if it’s just a few minutes. Be sure to chat with them, maybe take a few photos. Make the rounds at each table, the guests will love that they got to have a moment with you on your special day.


Have anything else to add? Comment below!




Daily Rituals To Adopt For Better Skin

Posted by Live Love Mom on November 20, 2020 at 7:30 AM Comments comments ()
by: Rev Dr. Stéphanie McEndree



Even early on, it's important to adopt great habits for your skin. Nature gives you your face at twenty, but you need to earn the skin you get at 30 and above. Skin care is all about prevention of ailments, treating what's there, and improving. Not only will your skin look better with these tips, but it will feel and be better. Here are six tips to help you achieve your skin goals!






Wash your face daily. Every day your skin will encounter aggressions from the wind and sun. You will have touched your face, eaten food, maybe given or recieved kisses. This and more makes dirt, oil and bacteria accumulate on your face. The sebum you produce naturally will also be present on your skin if you have normal or oily skin. You will want to remove that to prevent buildups that create imperfections such as milia, pimples or blackheads. It also preps your skin for whatever treatments you will put on it later.



Change your pillowcase daily. What's the point of washing your face and removing dirt and oil and old makeup from your skin if you're just going to sleep in the same sweat and oil-soaked pillow case every night? Your pillow case collects dirt, bacteria and sweat and needs to be changed and washed daily to prevent breakouts. Be sure you have at least 7 pillow cases so you can change them each day and wash them in the laundry once a week. Same goes for hats and night caps: change them daily and wash them often. Your skin will thank you.




Double-cleanse. You need to use an oil-based cleanser as well as a water-based cleanser when you wash your face. This ensures that every impurity on your face gets removed so your visage is fresh and clean. Oil-based cleansers are great for removing makeup, especially water-proof and professional makeup that really stays on your skin. Water-based cleansers help remove dirt and oil from your skin that would otherwise clog your pores. 




Never sleep with makeup on. It's been proven that you age your skin at least twice as fast when you sleep with your makeup on. The residue from makeup can smudge under your eyes, causing you to rub them more which causes wrinkles to form faster. It also seeps into your pores, causing breakouts, whiteheads, blackheads and even cysts. Mascara is also eyelash mites' favorite food, and giving them a feast may cause eye irritation. You can also get some mascara, eyeliner or eyeshadow in your eyes and cause them to become red and inflammed. Foundation and lipstick can stain your pillow and clog your pores as well. Prevent all sorts of disasters and remove your makeup before bed, always.




Wear sunscreen daily. Whether you stay at home, go out daily or are outside for hours every day; you need to wear sunscreen daily, even in winter. Even on cloudy days, the sun's harmful UV rays go through the clouds, through windows and onto your skin. Not only does sunscreen prevent sunburns, but it prevents damage done by harmful rays to your skin. Did you know that if you wear sunscreen daily, you will never have sun-caused wrinkles? You also dramatically decrease your chances of contracting skin cancer, and prevent yourself from getting rosacea. So, wear sunscreen on your face, neck and chest. Your skin will thank you for the rest of your life.




Use professional products. What pharmaceutical products do is simply strip your skin of it's natural oils with it's cleansers, and remove some of your makeup with its makeup removers. They are sub-par products that do the bare minimum. It's very important to go to an esthetician and order professional products for your skin. Your local esthetician will diagnose any skin problems and your skin type and will give you what's right for you. If you have any medical conditions she will refer you to a dermatologist who can prescribe medical intervention at that point. Professional products don't use harsh ingredients that damage your skin, they use natural ingredients which help nourish, repair and replenish your skin. Aren't you worth it?



Got more tips to share? Comment below!



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