Talks about Mommy Ginger’s moments with her husband, child and the other members of the family.

How To Make The Most Of A Duvet Day

We all have those days when the mere thought of getting out of bed, let alone going to work or doing anything else, just seems impossible. On those days, the best thing to do is often to have a ‘duvet day’ where you literally stay in bed and relax as much as possible – it’s a form of self-care, and although it might initially seem like a waste of time (or even selfish!), the truth is it can help hugely and ensure you feel much better by the time you’re done. 

Of course, you can just doze all day, and for some people, that’s enough – or rather, it’s the best thing they can do. However, for others, there are different ways to make the most of a duvet day, and if you’re wondering what they might be, keep reading to find out. 

Make Your Home Cozy

One of the most important things to do if you’re going to have a duvet day is to make sure your home and wherever you’re spending your day (it could be your bedroom, but it could equally be a sofa in the living room, or a book nook somewhere else in your home, for example) is cozy and welcoming. When it feels great, you’ll be a lot more relaxed and not worry about doing the housework or making changes to make things more comfortable. 

Some of the things you can do include dimming the lights (and perhaps having candles too), playing soothing music, and making sure your bedclothes are fresh and clean. Make yourself a little cocoon of comfort that smells and feels great, and you’ll have the most amazing duvet day. 

Ignore Social Media

Social media can be a useful thing, especially if you run a business or you want to stay up to date with your family and friends. However, studies have shown that social media can also have a detrimental effect on your mental health – you’ll either see a lot of negativity, which is upsetting, or you’ll compare yourself to others and their ‘perfect’ lives and feel bad. Or both. That’s why, when you’re having a duvet day, the best thing to do is ignore social media altogether. 

This can be a hard thing to do because, even if we don’t like to admit it, many of us are addicted to checking our profiles and feeds. Therefore, find something to keep your attention for a while so you don’t even think about looking. Listening to music, reading a book, or watching a great movie or TV series would all be good ways to do it. Watch Vindication here, and you’ll soon see why things like this can keep you occupied and away from social media. 

Treat Yourself

A duvet day really is the ideal time to treat yourself to a little (or a lot) of pampering, and that could include whatever you want, from eating your favorite comfort foods to having a long, luxurious soak in the tub. 

Sometimes you might not know when a duvet day is coming (although you can also plan them in advance and make the most of them that way), which is why it’s wise to have your favorite things stored away in your home, just in case you need them. 

How Diet Habits Change During Pregnancy

It’s easy to make fun of the “pregnancy cravings” which often lead to bizarre (or to put it more nicely ‘interesting’) flavor combinations in the food we choose to eat. Of course, there’s a fair amount of leeway to be given here – try to grow a brand new human being yourself, however natural it is, and you’ll see that yes, it does have an effect.

But while we poke light and harmless fun at these changes, if temporary behaviors can bring joy to many, it’s worth considering what’s actually happening here. After all, alternative cravings or preferences aren’t exactly a health issue like itchy skin during pregnancy, provided you’re getting a balanced diet with enough nutrients and steering well clear of alcohol and other vices.

By learning of how our diet habits can change during pregnancy, you can develop better habits or help repeat the good ones that help you sustain yourself over the course of this quite unique period of your life. While exploring these changes, we also intend to give some worthwhile dietary advice for expectant mothers, and we hope such insights help: 

Increased Nutrient Requirements

Pregnancy places greater demands on the body, as it needs to provide nourishment and support for both the mother and the growing baby, and for a prolonged period of three-quarters of a year. As a result, there is an increased need for various nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrates. A balanced diet becomes paramount to meet these elevated nutrient requirements, but you should also be very careful regarding supplementation. 

Some supplements simply aren’t acceptable for pregnant mothers, while some may offer similar vitamin counts, so for instance taking a multivitamin and an additional essential vitamin on top of that could take you above the daily recommended allowance you should be aiming for. On top of that, certain nutrients are key for pregnancy, such as folic acid, iron, calcium and omega-3. It’s important to note that some companies put out great prenatal supplements to make sure you have everything to hand at once. In the long run, that can make a great deal of positive difference.

These can help your unborn child through helping to combat conditions like anemia and support bone development. In the long run, this will help you gain the best chance of offering optimal health to your child, while also helping you deal with the rigors of pregnancy more easily. So, to put it simply, diet habits not only change during this time, but those habits must be precisely and consciously considered.

Hydration Importance

We all know we need to drink a good amount of water each day, but in pregnancy, that becomes a non-negotiable consideration. It’s also important to be careful when drinking caffeine through teas as a max limit of 200mg is recommended to expecting mothers, as any more has been linked to issues like low birth weight.

Moreover, staying well-hydrated is critical during pregnancy. Water is essential for maintaining amniotic fluid, regulating body temperature, and aiding digestion – no doubt you can agree all of these are essential priorities. It also helps prevent urinary tract infections, which can be more common during pregnancy. Pregnant women should aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, then, equalling roughly 64 to 96 ounces, or roughly 8 to 12 standard-size cups worth.

Managing Nausea and Cravings

Most pregnant women experience these two difficulties as their body is taxed during pregnancy. While they might not completely dissipate, they can be managed. Managing morning sickness through dietary adjustments, such as consuming bland, easy-to-digest foods, can help alleviate discomfort. Likewise, understanding and satisfying cravings within reason is a normal part of the pregnancy journey, so don’t feel ashamed if you’re suddenly extremely attracted to the idea of eating pickled foods between two layers of wholemeal toast and hummus – you may balk at the idea later, but as of now, it may be the recipe you most dream about. 

A quick Google to see if a certain combination is safe to eat can always be helpful, but make sure you’re still satisfying your cravings in a considered manner, and if your partner pokes fun at you for it, remember that you’re carrying their child to begin with, and you deserve a little slack.

Weight Gain Considerations

Weight gain is absolutely an expected and necessary part of pregnancy for obvious reasons, and in some cases, you may grow extra fat as part of that, outside of carrying an unborn child. Healthy weight gain is essential, and it’s not solely about quantity but the quality of the calories consumed. 

It’s also important to remember that no two women will come through pregnancy the exact same way. If you’re a little larger after your pregnancy than you had expected, that’s absolutely fine, adn you can always focus on weight loss later down the line. In other words, unless this presents itself as a problem and you’re given recommendations by your doctor to change your habits, don’t worry about your figure during this time. You have much more important priorities to worry about.

Safe Food Handling

Pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses, which can be harmful to the baby. Safe food handling practices, including thorough cooking and avoiding certain high-risk foods, are critical to prevent possible sicknesses and other dangers.

In other words, you may be ultra careful about eating in new locations, especially when on vacation. You can also invest in certain helpers in the kitchen like temperature thermometers that pierce the meat and can tell you the exact internal temperature, for example in chicken the same temperature is 165 Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria that could lead to potential sickness.

With this advice, we hope you can more easily understand how diet habits change during pregnancy, and also never feel like an outlier if you pick up some quirky habits of your own along the way. It’s perfectly natural, and we’re sure you’ll keep up with your great diet as you wait for the arrival of your little one. Good luck!

Best Ways to Prepare for Sending Your Child to College

As your child’s high school years come to a close, the reality of them embarking on their college journey becomes more tangible. This isn’t merely about advancing from high school subjects to college courses. It’s a transition that goes beyond textbooks and lectures. Your child is about to step into a world of increased responsibility, fresh challenges, and new experiences that will shape their adult life.

Concurrently, as a parent, you’re also transitioning from guiding your child’s daily activities to trusting in the values and skills you’ve instilled in them as they take on this newfound independence. As a guiding force in their life, you can take many concrete steps to make sure that they’re not only academically prepared but holistically poised to embrace this new chapter. Here are a few of the most important:

Teach Them Basic Financial Management

Navigating the world of personal finance can be daunting for college freshmen. From managing allowances or part-time job earnings to making larger financial decisions about matters of tuition and housing – there are plenty of aspects for a young person to consider. As a parent, a strong knowledge base of financial principles can be one of the most enduring gifts you give your child.

For example, budgeting is one of the most important money-handling skills your child will have to practice while at college. It’s important that they know how to allocate their allowance, discerning between needs and wants, and foreseeing potential expenses. Emphasize that this proactive approach will prevent them from being shocked by a dwindling bank account halfway through the semester. 

It’s equally critical to discuss larger financial commitments in addition to everyday expenses. If you’re considering a bank loan to fund their education, walk them through the intricacies—interest rates, potential subsidies, repayment schedules, and the overall impact on your family’s future financial health. In addition, remind them that the allure of immediate gratification that credit cards offer can be treacherous. Encourage them to use credit judiciously and help them understand the implications of interest. By underscoring the importance of timely payments, you can help safeguard them from early financial pitfalls.

Figure Out Time Management Strategies Together

College life—with its myriad activities, responsibilities, and freedoms—can quickly become overwhelming without the anchor of effective time management. A packed schedule can become even more packed with social engagements and even potential part-time jobs or internships. This new environment, which is vastly different from the structured routines they have experienced in high school, will likely throw your child off-balance. Chances are, they’ll welcome your guidance when it comes to dividing their time effectively.

The first step to teaching effective time management involves introducing the concept of prioritization. Remind your child that not all tasks are equally urgent, and not all of them will require the same amount of time and effort to complete. Emphasize that dividing their time among different responsibilities according to priority will make their days much more manageable. Introduce them to tools, such as digital apps or traditional planners, as well to help them map out their days and weeks. 

Regular check-ins, especially in the initial months, will open up opportunities for the both of you to go over any scheduling challenges and successes your child will have encountered. It’s also an ideal time to discuss the art of saying ‘no’. With numerous clubs, activities, and social events vying for their attention, it’s crucial they discern which engagements align with their goals and support well-being.

Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Amid new friendships, challenging courses, and extracurricular pursuits in college, many students can unintentionally neglect their health. The college years are formative—not just intellectually, but also in shaping lifelong habits—which makes it an ideal time to cement the importance of health and well-being.

One of the most notable changes students face is dietary. They are no longer guaranteed home-cooked meals every day, so the allure of fast food, late-night snacks, and irregular eating patterns can be strong. Show your child what a balanced diet looks like for people their age, and try looking up simple, healthy recipes together that they can prepare on their own. You’ll also definitely want to encourage them to get regular exercise for both their physical and mental well-being. Go over the various physical activities offered at their chosen school, from gyms to sports clubs to fitness classes. This can help them find a form of exercise they enjoy and are willing to stick to.

Equally vital is the domain of mental health. College life is full of emotional highs and lows, and as a result, stress levels among students can run high. Foster an environment where they feel comfortable discussing their feelings. Teach them how to recognize signs of stress, anxiety, or depression and seek help when needed. Look up mental health resources that they can avail themselves of on campus, such as counseling services, and make sure they know how to access these readily.

Brush Up on Essential Life Skills

The transition from home to a college dorm or apartment is an exciting rite of passage. It’s the first taste of living semi-independently, and with that comes a suite of responsibilities that might be new to your child. Preparing them with essential life skills can significantly ease this transition and help them become more self-reliant.

Start with the basics. If laundry has always magically ‘done itself’ at home, now’s the time to demystify the washing machine and the art of separating whites from colors. Cooking is another invaluable skill. While they might not prepare gourmet meals daily, knowing how to whip up a few simple but nutritious dishes can be both cost-effective and healthier than constantly dining out. 

Lastly, teach your child how to manage their living space. Simple tasks like cleaning, basic grocery shopping, and even minor troubleshooting (think changing a light bulb or unclogging a drain) are important life skills to learn. These skills, while seemingly mundane, empower them to face day-to-day challenges confidently and resourcefully.

Discuss and Process Emotions Openly

Sending your child off to college isn’t just a physical separation. It’s also an emotional journey dotted with pride, anticipation, concern, and a touch of nostalgia. Your child might oscillate between the exhilaration of independence and the comfort of familiar routines and faces, and you may find yourself facing similar emotional highs and lows as you prepare to send them on their way.

During this time, it’s crucial to maintain open lines of communication. The college transition can unearth a myriad of feelings—excitement about the future, apprehensions about fitting in, academic pressures, and perhaps even homesickness. Creating a safe space where your child feels comfortable sharing these sentiments gives you room to provide them with the emotional validation and guidance they seek. 

It’s equally important for you, as a parent, to share your feelings too, striking a balance between expressing your concerns and championing their new adventures. This openness not only strengthens your bond but also equips both of you to navigate this significant life change with mutual understanding and empathy.

As your child stands on the threshold of their college journey, your guidance remains their steadfast compass. While the landscape of their world evolves, the values and skills you’ve established together ensure they’re equipped to navigate with confidence. Embrace this transition as a testament to your nurturing, and trust in their ability to soar.

The Journey to Getting Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night

Sleep becomes an elusive thing when you become the parent to a newborn. Babies don’t exactly have a good grasp of sociable hours to be awake and asleep, which means you quickly have to adjust to being awake whenever your baby is. Fortunately, this doesn’t last forever. Eventually, your baby will start to recognize night and day and then sleep through the night. You’ll be able to get them to sleep in their own bed without waking up multiple times through the night. And as a bonus, they’ll even nap during the day a couple of times too.

But how do you get to this point? It can be a long journey, but it’s worth it to get your own sleep back again.

Important Developmental Milestones

There are steps you can take to help your baby start sleeping through the night. However, a lot of what will get them to that point is certain developmental milestones that they need to reach. Of course, you can do some things to help them reach certain milestones, but there are also some things that just need to develop at their own pace. One important developmental milestone is obviously whether your baby needs to feed at night. Babies usually need night feeds until around four months old, but some will continue to want them to help soothe them back to sleep.

Being able to self-soothe when they wake up is essential for babies to sleep through the night. We all wake up between sleep cycles, but what matters is whether we’re able to fall back to sleep on our own. Babies might use a number of methods to soothe themselves so they can fall back asleep on their own. This could include sucking their thumb or rubbing their feet together. It’s also helpful if your baby is capable of rolling over both ways. Babies often prefer to sleep on their tummies, but this isn’t safe until they’re able to roll over onto their backs.

Understand the Different Stages

Taking some time to understand how your baby’s sleep can develop over time will give you an idea of what sort of timeline to expect. As your baby gets older they will start to need a little less sleep, and the times they sleep will change too.

Newborns require at least 16 to 17 hours of sleep every day, but they need to feed at night so won’t sleep through. They also don’t have a circadian rhythm or produce melatonin, so they don’t have a consistent sleep pattern, either. But it’s not long before your baby can start to get into a sleep routine. At around 3 or 4 months, it’s easier to get into a pattern. They probably won’t sleep through the night yet, but you can create a better routine for naps and bedtime.

When babies can go without a night feed at around 4 to 5 months, they can begin sleeping for a stretch of 5-7 hours. At 6 to 8 months, they can often sleep for even longer, up to 9 hours if you’re lucky. They will still need naps during the day, but 80% of babies sleep through the night by 9 months old. So when it comes to caring for your 10 month old baby, you can usually find that full nights of sleep are achievable. However, remember that every baby is different. If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night by then, it could only be a matter of time until they are.

Helping Your Baby Recognize Night and Day

One of the earliest things you can start doing is helping your baby to recognize the difference between night and day. This can help them develop their circadian rhythm and eventually get into a good sleep routine. When it’s time to sleep, you can make the room dark and quiet. When it’s time to be awake, let in more light and make a bit more noise to show that it’s daytime.

Create the Right Sleep Environment

Your baby should sleep in the same room as you until they are six months old. Experts typically recommend against co-sleeping, but if you choose to do it, it’s essential to make it as safe as possible. A side sleeper can be a good compromise, giving your baby a safe space to sleep while also having them right next to you. They need a firm mattress, with no toys or loose blankets in bed with them. If you use a blanket, it should be safely tucked in under their arms, with their feet at the bottom of the crib. Getting the temperature right is important too. It shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. It should also be quiet (although you might choose to use white noise) and dark.

Know When It’s Time for Bed

Recognizing when your baby is getting sleepy is really helpful when you want them to start sleeping through the night. It helps you to get into a good bedtime routine and make sure you put them to bed at the best time. Look for the cues that indicate your baby is feeling tired, like rubbing their eyes, pulling on their ears, or avoiding eye contact. Be careful of overtiredness too, though. Babies who are too tired can start to become more animated, and can actually find it harder to get to sleep.

Start Creating a Bedtime Routine Early

At first, creating a bedtime routine for your newborn can be tricky. There’s no real consistency in when they sleep, so a good bedtime routine is hard to establish right away. But, over time, you can set up a bedtime routine that works for you. Doing the same thing every night shows your baby that it’s time for bed. It gives them time to wind down and it’s a great opportunity to have some bonding time too. Your bedtime routine might include feeding, a bath, reading, singing, or a cuddle. All of these things can help to create a connection to bedtime.

Allow Your Baby to Self-soothe

Learning to self-soothe can be an important part of your baby being able to sleep through the night. This can include allowing your baby to fall asleep on their own instead of holding them until they’re asleep, as well as letting them get back to sleep without intervention if they wake up in the night. This doesn’t mean leaving your baby to cry, but instead not jumping up at the first sound on the baby monitor. Your baby might have woken up, but they could be asleep again in a few minutes without your help.

Be Active During the Day

Making sure your baby is tired enough at night is an important part of helping them sleep through. Doing lots of activities during the day will help your baby to sleep better. In fact, research shows that more physically active babies are better sleepers. Even younger babies can have plenty of tummy time, which is great for building up some important muscles and motor skills. You also don’t need to be afraid of waking your baby up from a nap. If you think sleeping too long during the day will mean they’re not tired at night, waking your baby up is fine. This is true from about 8 months or so, especially before bedtime. Your baby should be awake for at least a few hours before it’s time for bed.

The journey to your baby sleeping through the night can be a long one, but it’s worth it in the end when you finally get there.

6 Quick Home Upgrades You Can Do to Upgrade Your Lifestyle

Ever since home improvement reality TV shows became a thing, there has been a growing misconception that you need to embark on massive renovations that consume copious amounts of time and money to improve your living space. Fortunately, there’s no need to tear down your home or spend millions of pesos to meaningfully upgrade your lifestyle. As we’ll show you, you can achieve impactful changes with a few quick but thoughtful home upgrades that focus on the finer details. Here are six simple home upgrades that will change how you live:

1) Better Bedroom Furniture

Durable, well-designed bedroom furniture can have a profound impact on your sleep quality and overall well-being. A solid bed frame that you can easily clean and store things under, supportive pillows, and a comfortable mattress should be the bare minimum for all bedrooms. If you have the space, consider updating your cabinets with pieces that offer enough storage to hide all your clothes and linens to avoid visual clutter. Spending a bit more in these areas should help you sleep better and give you more energy to start your day.

2) Adding Weatherstripping to Doors and Windows

Adding weatherstripping to your home’s doors, windows, and other ingress points is an affordable but effective way to block outside noises and pests from entering your home. Even better, adding these can also prevent sound from exiting your home, preserving your privacy and making it possible to hold late-night parties without attracting the ire of your neighbors. Moreover, weatherstripping also slows down the exchange of outside and inside air thereby improving the efficiency of your air conditioners and air purifiers. 

The best part is, weatherstripping will not interfere with the opening and closing of your doors or windows. This means that, even when weatherstripping is installed, you can still open your windows to get fresh air, if you need it.

3) Painting Trim and Moldings

Painting the trim and moldings around your home uses up a lot less paint than painting the walls while still having almost as much impact. Doing this also makes a lot of sense if you already like the colors of your walls but still want to spruce up your home’s look and feel. While you do have to be a bit more precise when painting trim, it’s easily doable with enough prep work. Best of all, because there’s a lot less paint to deal with, the rooms you’re working on should air out faster.

4) Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

If you don’t want to bother with all the mess and prep work that goes into painting, you can simply use peel-and-stick wallpaper to transform the look of any interior room. All you need to do is to clean your wall thoroughly and you can create an accent wall, add a pop of color, or experiment with patterns in minutes. The great thing about peel-and-stick wallpaper is that it’s also a reversible solution that can be easily changed whenever you desire a new look.

5) Coordinated Bathroom Fixtures

Coordinated bathroom faucets, knobs, sinks, and showerheads are not something that most people consciously notice. However, the effect of coordinated pieces on your bathroom’s aesthetic and functionality is undeniable. 

While it may take you a while to install new fixtures by yourself, a professional plumber can probably swap them all out in less than a day. And unlike with tile swaps, new fixtures are usually ready to use almost immediately. If you were to switch out your tiles or do other major bathroom renovations, you not only have to wait several days but you’ll probably be out several tens of thousands of pesos at the end of it all.

6) Updating Your Electrical System

Many Philippine homes have old electrical systems that are either unsafe or no longer accommodate the large numbers of appliances we now typically have in our homes. Fortunately, it only takes a few hours for professional electricians to install additional safety electrical outlets and replace accessible fixtures. If needed, they can also upgrade the amperage of your home if you want to have high-powered appliances like clothes dryers or additional air-conditioners. They should also be able to install dimmer switches throughout your home and USB outlets in key areas like your bedroom and home office to provide modern convenience to your lifestyle.

With some planning, it’s entirely possible to implement meaningful home upgrades without excessive spending or serious time commitments. Except for updating your electrical system, these projects could be done and over within a couple of weekends, and they will all ensure that you’re left with a living space that’s truly suited for living in. While most of these projects are small, completing them is bound to result in significant improvements to your home’s value and your quality of life.