Match Your Motor To Your Lifestyle In 3 Simple Steps

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If you’re after a new car, the chances are you want something a little more salubrious than the motor you have now. You may have saved up for a little while and have a hefty amount in your bank account ready to be unleashed on a new vehicle. While it’s sitting there wallowing, you need to decide what sort of motor you want to see sitting on your drive. You might be keen to part exchange and save a few dollars on the purchase price. It doesn’t matter how you are funding your new set of wheels, it’s vital that your vehicle suits your lifestyle. Take a look at the sorts of motors you might be tempted to buy.

 

Campervan

 

While you might not have considered purchasing a home on wheels, if you love the great outdoors, adore nothing more than going camping for the weekend and yearn for going where the wind takes you, then you might want to scrap the idea of getting a car. A campervan does everything a car can do and so much more. You can still commute to work, visit friends and family and do the weekly shop. At the same time, you’ll be able to venture off on a road trip at a moment’s notice all the while showing off how achingly cool you are driving your retro 1980s campervan. While it might seem a little self indulgent, a campervan may be a practical option.

 

Hatchback

 

If you live alone, do a lot of city driving and money is tight, there’s nothing better than a simple yet trusty hatchback. So long as you aren’t heading out on the highways and making long journeys, hatchbacks can be a financially sound option. The insurance is low, they are cheap to buy and the parts are easily accessible should anything go wrong with your motor mechanically. If finances are tighter than you’d like, think about investigating auto loan rates to see if you can budget a little more stringently. For those people who want a small set of wheels and who aren’t petrol heads, then a simple vehicle that will get you from A to B will suffice.

 

Convertible

 

If you have plenty of readies in the bank, you don’t have a small brood of tiny human beings in tow, and you enjoy the thrill of the open road, it might be time to treat yourself. A sporty little number may be just what you are looking for. While the insurance may be a tad higher, you can feel safe in the knowledge that you will adore every drive you take. The horsepower will be immense, the handling will be a pleasure to master, and you will enjoy feeling the wind in your hair as you accelerate on the open road. While it might not be the most financially sensible or practical vehicle if you need plenty of trunk space, this is a sound investment if you want to have a carefree drive and fun when behind the wheel.

 

Purchasing your next car may be giving you a headache. However, by focusing on your lifestyle and the sorts of things you want from your vehicle, you will find the perfect set of wheels for you.

The Precious Newborn Days and Screening Tests

There is no getting away from how precious our babies are to us. From the moment we see the lines appear on the pregnancy test we are invested in their futures. Every twinge and stretching muscles, every wriggle and set of in utero hiccups is kept a watchful eye on by a team of professionals and ourselves. We pour over countless books about how to have a healthy and relaxing pregnancy, labor and birth and how the early days (now called the fourth trimester) might impact us mentally and physically. Sometimes, in the focus of the pregnancy and childbirth, we actually don’t pay as much attention to the following few days as we maybe should. There are a few checks that will be done on your little one in the days and week after birth, here they are and what they are for:

Immediately following birth:

APGAR score. This test is often done so quickly many post-birth parents won’t even see it being done, but you can ask your midwife if you like. The test is done at one, five and ten minutes post birth. Your baby will have the following things checked:

 

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Skin Colour
  • Movement
  • Response to stimulation

 

Each of these categories is given a score between zero and two. But what do the ratings mean? Well, between 8-10 means your baby is in excellent condition, 5-7 might need a little help but is in fair condition, and under 5 they might need a little bit of help. Be sure to keep in mind (as tricky as it might be) that even a low score might be rectified in an hour or so, it could be the effects of traumatic birth or a lot of pain relief making the baby sleepy. The test will be repeated as required.

Weight & Height:

When you have had the golden hour of skin to skin, you might find your baby might need to head off to be weighted. This is to make a start on your child’s development charts in their records. Height, weight and head circumference is noted down.

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Standard Screening:

Heel stick test, this is where your babies foot will be pricked to collect some blood samples. You might like to comfort your baby during this process, some babies cry, and others seem too relaxed to care. Work with your midwife or paediatric nurse to make it as stress-free as possible. You are able to ask for extra screening should you feel like you want to, but the standard ones are usually enough to flag up any issues. You will be contacted in a matter of days if you need to have a follow-up.

 

Their hearing will be tested too. The two tests are relatively quick, between 5-10 minutes and non invasive.  In fact, these tests are often performed when your baby is comfortably sleeping.

 

OAE test: Otoacoustic Emissions, this test checks what parts of a baby’s ear are responding to sound. A mini earphone and microphone are placed in the ear, and some sounds are played. A baby with normal hearing with have an echo played back into the ear canal, and the microphone will measure what is returned. If no echo is picked up by the microphone, it can indicate some hearing loss.

 

ABR test: The Auditory Brainstem Response test, this one checks out the brain’s response to sound. During this test, small headphones are placed in the ears, and sounds are played (similar to the first test). Small electrodes are positioned along the baby’s head to detect the responses.

 

(it is essential to protect your child’s hearing as they grow. You should invest in some baby hearing protection early in life. And stick to the 60% volume for a maximum of 60 minutes with headphones as they grow)

 

Pulse Ox: This non-invasive test measures how much oxygen is in the blood. It helps to identify heart issues, by detecting the amount of oxygen that is in the blood. A small sensor is placed on your baby’s skin, and it takes a few minutes to get the result. There will likely be tests at 24 hours old and a few days after you both leave the hospital.

 

You will not need to ask for any of these screenings to be done, they are done for all babies – regardless if you have health insurance or not. The screening test will most likely be on the forms for standard medical procedures that a newborn baby will need after birth. All states require these screenings to be done as it is designed to protect your newborn. All of these tests will be done from moments after birth to within 72 hours maximum.

 

The Perfect Home Office Should Be…

Given the changing demands of the modern family, building a home office space is one of the most popular home upgrades currently on the market. But whether you’re converting a guest room, an attic or a garage, you need to do it in style. Frankly, knowing what you want to achieve with the space is arguably the most crucial element of all.

 

So, before confirming your plans, make sure your home office is designed to tick the four boxes below. Achieve this goal, and success is assured.

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The Perfect Home Office Should Be Private

 

The home office space is a unique environment, and it should feel safe and secure at all times. After all, you are likely to store personal data and important work documents in the space. Whether they’re hard copies or stored electronically, good security is vital. This is a great excuse to boost your home CCTV and alarm systems. The benefits of doing this extend beyond the office.

 

It may also be necessary to place a lock on the door or certain filing cabinets and features. The last thing you need is to see important documents go missing due to curious young minds.

 

The Perfect Home Office Should Be Comfortable

 

Home office rooms should encourage productivity. Still, if you’re uncomfortable in this space, those mental distractions will leave you wanting to avoid the room altogether. Blinds and curtains allow you to control the natural lighting, which can be crucial. Meanwhile, it’s imperative that other fundamental features, like the HVAC systems, are in good health.

 

Perhaps most importantly, an ergonomic office chair and a suitable desk will allow you to work in the most efficient manner. Fail with this task, and the room will become a glorified storage space.

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The Perfect Home Office Should Be Organised

 

The space dedicated to office duties is likely to be one of the more compact areas in the home. Therefore, making the most of the available space is crucial. Master the lighting and choose suitable flooring to instantly make things look bigger and better. When combined with using shelving rather than bulky storage units, you’ll be in a far better position.

 

There are many ways to make things even easier, such as going paperless. Likewise, choosing high spec laptops over desktops can work wonders, especially if two people need the space.   

 

The Perfect Home Office Should Be Yours

 

Above all else, the home office should offer a sense of belonging. Without making it as personal as the living spaces and bedroom, it needs to have a sense of character. Small gestures like wall art or sports memorabilia can brighten up the walls. Meanwhile, if you find it easier to work with music, a CD or record player can be a useful addition. Those touches make the place feel like home.

 

The ability to have things your way is the best thing about a home office over the standard work one. This can be the key to making the transformation feel worthwhile. Do not ignore its importance.

Building A Healthy Relationship Between Your Kids And Their Technology

There’s no denying it. Technology has come an incredibly long way in a scant 30 years. The ubiquity of consumer technology has completely transformed the way we live our lives. If our childhood selves could see us now they’d likely be agog with amazement. Wait, you’re able to rent movies without going to the video store or even getting out of your sofa? Phones sit in your pocket now rather than being mounted to the wall? Wait, you can chat face to face with people thousands of miles away… For free? What do you mean, you don’t need to take a map with you when you travel somewhere unfamiliar? What does GPS stand for?!?

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Technology has made our lives infinitely easier and made previous inconveniences like getting lost on a busy highway or flicking through dozens of channels trying to find something good a thing of the past. But technology is a double edged sword. If we become too reliant upon it it can start to do our thinking for us and our skills and minds will naturally begin to atrophy. For generations that were young enough to embrace new digital technologies when they emerged but are old enough to remember life without them, finding the balance is relatively easy. We recognize that today’s technology is useful to us without ever really taking it for granted. When we start to rely on it a little too much we’re usually able to take a step back. But for younger generations, like our kids, these technologies have always been there. And this could present them with a set of problems that we as a society have yet to come to grips with. Here we’ll look at how the changes in technology both today and tomorrow can affect our kids’ development and how we as parents can ensure that technology only ever affects them in positive ways.

 

The dangers of too much tech

 

Remember when our parents told us that watching too much TV would give us square eyes or that if we didn’t go out and play more we’d get asthma? Or that video games would turn our minds to much? Of course they were incorrect and even as children a part of us knew that they were railing against technological change that they weren’t able to fully understand… And we always fear what we don’t really understand. But like us, our kids will have to grow up with a healthy relationship with the technology around them, utilizing ot to make their lives easier but without the things they own ever owning them. But for younger generations, this is somewhat more difficult.

 

Sure, we had TV and video games to contend with but today’s kids are conversant with mobile apps before they can even talk. Consumer technology is far more ubiquitous If they develop more of a relationship with technology than with their fellow human beings this can impede their development. Technology is changing the way our kids develop both physically and cognitively in a number of ways. Our kids are growing up in an era in which distraction is the norm and so the essential act of focusing their attention is becoming harder and harder for them to hone. Moreover, technology conditions the brain to absorb information in a way that is very different to reading uninterrupted text in, say, a book. Thus, kids growing up with their faces in tablets run the risk of struggling to pay attention and to absorb and retain information. If they spend more time interfacing with their devices than their peers this can lead to increased risk of depression and impeded social and emotional development. Reliance on technology can even impede their physical development. Many chiropractors and spinal health specialists are noticing an increasing trend in ‘text neck’ among adolescents and younger adults as they have grown up frequently looking down to send or read text messages or scroll through their social media feed on their smartphones. This can not only lead to spinal mobility issues and neck pain but poor posture which can become exacerbated in adult life (especially if they find a career that involves sitting at a desk), which can inhibit digestive health and even increase their risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

This article is not intended to be a technophobic rant. Technology is good and it’s here to stay, but as today’s children will grow up in a world where tech will only ever become more affordable and ubiquitous, it behoves us as parents to make sure that they grow up with a healthy relationship with it.

 

The problem with prohibition

 

Sometimes, the most damaging words a parent can utter are “No, you can’t!”. As much as we may want to insulate our kids from the inherent risks of too much exposure to technology, we must also be wary of the dangers of reactive prohibition. If we tell our kids they can’t do something they will want to know why and if our response is “because it’s bad for you” not only is this an oversimplification, but it’s a rationale their underdeveloped prefrontal cortex won’t be able to fully appreciate. Simply put, kids and teens don’t yet understand that their actions now could have far reaching implications in their adulthood.

 

Perhaps the secret lies not in demonizing technology in the eyes of your kids but by awakening them to the other options available to them…

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Achieving a balanced diet of activities

 

Just as you can’t have a healthy diet when you cut out all fats or all carbohydrates or all proteins, so too is it impossible to have a healthy and rewarding curriculum of activities when you only ever grow up knowing the pleasures of the screen. Kids need to grow up with a balanced diet of activities so that not only are they able to grow up fit and healthy in mind and body, they are able to enjoy a broad range of activities away from their games consoles.

 

Cycling is a great way to bond together as a family while also benefiting from a good cardiovascular workout. It’s also a great way to spend time in natural surroundings. Fresh air combined with access to trees, plants and grass is a proven mood booster which will combine with the hit of dopamine and endorphins we get from exercise to show kids that a pleasurable time can be had outdoors just as easily as in front of a screen.

 

Team sports are also a great way for kids to not only get their daily dose of exercise but to exercise their creative problem solving skills, communication and teamwork abilities as well as apply focus and determination to honing and refining their skills.

Even inside the house there are myriad forms of entertainment that don’t require batteries or a screen. Just take reading, for instance. When kids are able to disappear into the world of books, not only do they improve their concentration and language skills but their imagination as well.

 

Striking the balance with video games

 

Video games aren’t all bad. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that they can be beneficial for kids’ cognitive development, helping them with focus, logic, hand eye co-ordination and creative problem solving techniques. Many games involve some element of puzzle solving while character based Role Play Games can help kids develop their empathy skills as well as seeing that their actions have consequences.

 

At the same time we need to acknowledge that video games can be addictive and should be rationed to an appropriate time. One to three hours of video games a week is usually enough for kids to reap the cognitive benefits without any ill effects.

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Making screen time social

 

Screen time can be an isolating and antisocial experience or it can be a shared experience that the whole family can enjoy. It’s all a matter of how you spin it. A good way to maintain a healthy balance is by making screen time an occasion that’s earned and shared. That way your kids spend less time with their screens but they get a higher quality of engagement. Screen time stops being the default way to spend time and becomes like the dessert section of the menu; rewarding and gratifying… But you wouldn’t want it to be the only thing you do.

 

The great thing about growing up in the digital era is that with so many streaming services bringing high quality movies in 4K directly to the home, this has the potential to never get old. Make sure that the whole family gets together at least once a week for a movie night. Give the event a sense of occasion with popcorn and other theater accurate snacks. This will hopefully help them to regard screen time as a fun family affair rather than an insular activity that precludes them from spending quality time with the rest of the family.

 

Technology isn’t going anywhere and is evolving at such a pace that it will likely form a large part of your kids’ adult lives. But when they grow up with a healthy relationship with technology they stand much less chance of being enslaved by it.

5 Ways To Make Your Entire Family Healthier

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Having a healthy family is a priority for most parents. After all, being sick isn’t fun, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to see those you love suffer from an illness, even if it’s just a cold or minor bug. That being said, few parents make the changes necessary for a healthier lifestyle, as they assume that they’ll be difficult to put into action and stick to. However, getting fit is rarely as difficult as you might think. If you’re hoping to make your entire family healthier, including your partner, kids, and pets, here are five things you need to do.

 

  1. Eat Three Healthy Meals

Most people assume that eating healthy means eating a lot less than they do right now. Thankfully, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Instead of cutting back on how much you and your family eat, you should focus on switching up your meals to include more fruits and vegetables. These provide vitamins and minerals that are vital in keeping you strong and fighting illness. You should also ensure that you feed your pets a balanced and nutritious diet.

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  1. Ensure You Exercise Together

When most people imagine working out, they picture jogging around the neighbourhood or visiting a local gym. This can really put people off from exercising, as these options aren’t particularly appealing to most people. However, there are plenty of activities that your whole family could enjoy, including swimming, dancing, playing football, or cycling. You should also walk your dog every single day and play with any of your other pets to keep them active.

 

  1. DNA Test Your Dog

If you have a mixed breed dog in the family, you might want to give it a DNA test. There are lots of brands you can choose from, so do some research and find out more information before you choose one. These DNA tests will, of course, tell you what breeds your dog is made up from, but it will also let you know what health conditions you need to look out for. This means that you can work on preventing these conditions and keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

 

  1. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress is something that everyone has to deal with, kids and animals included. Unfortunately, if left unmanaged, it can lead to some pretty serious health problems, so it’s crucial that you work on keeping stress levels low. This means ensuring that everyone eats right, exercises every day, manages their time well, and goes to bed at a reasonable hour. You may also want to invest in a few plugins for around the house and create somewhere for your pets to be by themselves.

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  1. Go For Regular Checkups

Even if you and your family seem pretty healthy, it’s important that you all go for regular checkups at least once a year. Of course, for your pets, this will be with a vet, rather than the family doctor. It’s important that you do this, as the professionals may be able to spot something wrong that you haven’t been able to notice yet. They will also be able to suggest more ways to make your family a little healthier.

 

Making a healthier family really isn’t as difficult as you might think. Hopefully, the tips above will help you.

 

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