Healthy Living, Life, Parenting

Have a Family Night In This Season – Tips from DIY Network Host

I have partnered with Yankee Candle for feature

Have a Family Night In This Season - Tips from DIY Network Host

It gets so busy over the holidays. We are in all directions and the kids are out of school for a few weeks so we may have to adjust our schedule or find nannies and daycares so they can be watched during the day. It is just as hectic for the kids as it us. It is important to find a few nights over the Holidays to keep yours and the kids schedule empty. Have a night in as a family.

Jason Cameron

DIY Network host and Pine Mountain spokesperson Jason Cameron, has put together a go-to checklist for all of us!

  • Make a festive snack – Everyone loves making sugar cookies and gingerbread, but the best part is eating your creations! While snacking on cookies, wash it down with some hot chocolate or warm apple cider.



  • Watch a holiday movie – From Frosty the Snowman to Elf, we all have a favorite holiday movie. These movies provide a sense of nostalgia for adults, and offer hours of entertainment for kids.


  • Decorate your home – Setting up holiday decorations in your home is a tradition that many families across the country have. Play some light music in the background and chat about your favorite holiday memories to make the activity more festive.

As mentioned above, there is a seasonal scented Balsam Fir Firelog by Yankee Candle from American home that leaves a pleasant scent that is easy to light and burns clean. Pick one up for your night in this season.

Healthy Living, Life, Parenting, Tips and Tricks

New Years Goals: 6 Ways to Get Mentally Fit

Getting fit isn’t always physical. Sometimes the hardest change we can make is the mental aspect of healthy living. I was sent this article to share and wanted to offer you these tips on getting mentally fit for your New Years goals of 2017.

Get mentally fit-New Years Goals

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services shares some key ways to get mentally fit for the new year so you can move forward successfully.

  1. Clear clutter. Look at your surroundings. If you have junk drawers galore, a messy car, countertops and cabinets that are full of stuff you don’t even use, it is time to clear the clutter. According to Dr. Hafeez, “cluttered spaces reflect a cluttered mind. If you want to wipe the slate clean to allow room for new people and circumstances that serve you, you must get your mind clear. Many of my patients who describe themselves as anxious, stressed or even depressed say they feel better when they start clearing up their physical space.”
  2. Exercise a little bit. Dr. Hafeez who also helps people overcome body image issues encourages aiming for smaller attainable wins. “People set high fitness goals for the new year and then fall off after a month or less. This leaves their self esteem shot which is when self loathing and depression can sneak in.” She advises setting a reachable daily goal of perhaps walking 10,000 steps per day. There are step-counting apps available to measure how much you walk and they add up quickly. “When you see accomplishment on a daily basis you stick with it, this sets your mind in a positive direction,” says Dr. Hafeez.
  3. Eat mind-boosting foods. Mental fitness also has to do with how well our minds work. A loss of memory or the ability to concentrate or focus can easily shift with an improved diet. “Research finds that along with other benefits, foods rich in Omega-3, such as some fish and nuts, as well as those full of antioxidants can help protect the brain from memory decline.” So eating more fish such as salmon and add fruits such as blackberries and blueberries to your diet can help. The good news is that brain boosting foods include delicious options such as chocolate, guacamole (avacados) and sunflower seeds.
  4. Color! The adult coloring book bandwagon is a good one to jump on. According to Dr. Hafeez coloring requires total focus on the present. The repetitive motion of coloring provides relief from stress and anxiety by entering a meditative state. “Not everyone can sit still and breathe for 15 minutes per day, but they certainly can color. It’s absolutely a fun way to achieve mindfulness and shake off the day,” explains Dr. Hafeez.
  5. Apologize and forgive. A fast way to mental fitness is forgiveness! “Carrying around resentments and guilt wears us down and can lead to serious illness such as cancer or stroke. If you experienced a tough break up, divorce or perhaps the 2016 political climate led to arguments and lost friends, reach out apologize and seek forgiveness and move on. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone a hurtful behavior. Forgiveness frees you and the other person making it easier to move forward.
  6. Learn something new. Challenge your brain by learning a new language, how to cook, paint, do Tai Chi. Pick something you think would be interesting or useful to learn and learn it. If you avoided cooking your whole life, learning the basics will serve your brain very well. According to Dr. Hafeez, “the more we can activate the cognitive functions of our brains the better our short and long-term memory and hand eye coordination will be.”

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind

*This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated.

Brands with a Cause, Healthy Living, Life, Pets Products, Tips and Tricks

4 Ways to be Pet-Prepared in an Emergency

This is not a sponsored post

In the event of an emergency are you pet-prepared? If suddenly tonight a natural disaster hit that had you finding shelter for your family, would you know what to do with your pets? In a recent survey of over 5,000 pet owners, 46% are not prepared. I was given some data from Pet360, Inc that I felt was important to share with my readers. I spent several years as a Veterinary Assistant and in one vet clinic I worked at in Oregon, we had bad forest fire nearby and at one point our clinic was at capacity sheltering animals. There were so many families running to local vets confused and panicked on what the plan was for pets. We could only hold so many. The plan is the owners responsibility especially if that disaster were to happen after hours of a clinic. 
What does being pet-prepared for an emergency mean?

Essentially, being pet-prepared in an emergency means having a plan. That plan should consist of access to crates, list of family/friends who approved helping out who live nearby, easy access and always enough pet medications on hand. Having plenty of food and portable water on hand. Vaccine/ownership records on hand. Leashes/harnesses to keep them confined as well as waste bags. Just as they teach for family safety, you should have enough supplies, food and liquid accessible to last a minimum of 3 days if stranded. 
Is your pet ID’d. A microchip is the best investment you can make for your pet. If you have no family or friends that can help you, do you know what hotels in your area are pet-friendly? Having a list you keep with emergency supplies can save you that headache in the middle of an evacuation.
The 4 P’s of Pet Preparedness 
Brought to you by Pet360 and Red Paw Emergency Relief Team
  1. Plan Ahead: There are many shelters that do not accept pets. Asking family and friends ahead of time to be accessible or to have a list of pet-friendly hotels will save you stress
  2. Practice with your pets: Pets and stress bring out odd behaviors. Like children, if you practice at quiet moments, it will be more familiar to them if a disaster struck. Make sure your dog is practiced entering and exiting a vehicle and has a ‘come; command. Make sure you put your cat in and out of a carrier and know their ‘come’ calls (opening canned food, calling their name, etc..)
  3. Pack and Emergency Kit: For a great checklist, I recommend Pet360’s top 10 pet emergency kit items
  4. Protect your Pets when they are home alone: Display a pet alert sticker near an open front area of your home showing types and number of pets, note if they are indoor only animals or both and list your Veterinarians number on that sticker.
Having a plan and doing some research now will allow you to get the pets taken care of so you can focus on larger issues when a disaster strikes.
For more useful information, visit the below sites

Gift Guides, Life, Parenting, Reviews

Staying Organized with the Mom Planner from Tools4Wisdom #Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

You are welcome! I am able to bring you to a planner I was sent from Tools4Wisdom that has everything you want in a Mom Planner. I have tried a few planners in my lifetime and also since becoming a Mom and some are way too complicated and others are too simple. This one is perfect. I love the top plastic shield page as mine get torn and bent and this planner stays stiff and protected so I look organized. Hard to appear organized as you walk around with a beat up looking folder. 
The first part of the planner are some goal-setting pages. Then you head into a weekly planner. The start of each month has a clean month-style layout and then you open up to larger grid week by week like in the picture above. I have a spot to jot down personal and family goals in the side. I have the daily grid with hourly times listed as well as a section to label notes for individual family members-Dad, Mom & Kids. There is even a menu planner at the very bottom. From breakfast to 5pm swim lessons you have your entire day in front of you. The end has a journal section so you can take your thoughts or parent meeting notes with you. You can even preview a digital view of the entire planner in this preview link.

The Mommy Planner & other Tools4Wisdom Planners are available at Amazon
To learn more and stay updated, visit and you can also follow them on the following social sites

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Gift Guides, Life, Tips and Tricks

DIY Anniversary Gift: Saving Memories

Tomorrow is my mine and my Husband’s 7th Wedding Anniversary. What I don’t think he knows is that when we first started dating over 9 years ago, he would leave the house for work before me. Every morning for a long while, he would leave me notes in my coffee cup. I saved those notes!

This year I found a notecard book in the office section at Target for $1.99, created a cover with some scrapbook supplies I have and glued the notes inside each page. The colors in these note cards work great and it is the perfect size. Add some ribbon to finish it off and this is what he’ll get in the morning…next to his coffee mug!

Do you have memories stashed somewhere you’d like to bring back out? 

Here is an image for you to Pin or Share on Facebook or other channels

Food, Giveaway, Healthy Living, Life, Parenting, Reviews

Control your child’s food consumption with Yum Yum Dishes

Yum Yum Portion Control Dishes
Food and children! If there is a constant in all the worries we have as a parent, it has to be diet!
One thing I have taught my boys throughout the years is to not eat until full all of the time. Meals are to fill up and snacks is just that-a snack! Kids think that snack time is an “eat until your full time”. It is not and unless you make that clear to them, they WILL overeat! I get so angry when I watch them head into the kitchen for a snack and they grab cereal bowls and cereal-NO! That is a meal, not a snack! Today my boys are pretty good about knowing what they ate and what they should now avoid the rest of the day. I have a 5 year old and 16 year old who both will make comments like “I had pizza for lunch-I need a salad or something now. I feel gross” or “mommy, can I have ice cream for dessert? All I had for snacks today was grapes and yogurt so I can still have a sweet”. I have never forced  my boys to stay at the dinner table until food is gone (I don’t want to give them the mixed signal to eat when they are not hungry). I will, however save the meal and tell them if they get hungry later they can reheat it. I also have always served a dessert after dinner. By doing this, sweets is not much a commodity. They are used to a dessert at the end of the day if they did not eat one earlier and when candy and chocolate is around them, they really can care less. Portion control and watching what they eat is the key! Portions don’t have to be massive, better they get hungry again later and you can serve them a healthy snack once again.
Yum Yum Dishes are now used everyday in my house. I keep the snack bowls right in the snack cupboard! If the boys ask for crackers and chips, I feel confident allowing them to serve themselves so long as they use a YumYum snack bowl. They are the perfect size to satisfy their hunger at snack time.
About Yum Yum Dishes
  • Available in 9 inch plates and 4oz snack bowls with lids
  • Plates are measured on the surface so you know how much carbs vs protein vs vegies to serve
  • Ceramic for easy dishwasher cleaning and safe in the microwave
  • 4oz snack bowls take the overeating of snack foods away.
  • Each bowl and plate have a friendly reminder when empty that “Yum Yum time is over”
To learn more and even find recipes and subscribe for healthy tips of the week, visit
The Giveaway
1 lucky readers will win Yum Yum Dishes of their own! You will get a set of 9inch plates AND a set of 4 oz bowls! ~ARV $46~
Enter below on Rafflecopter. Ends 1/10. Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of my Parenting Thursday segment. If you are a brand with a product or service that fits this segment, contact me at erinnsluka@gmail(dot)com

Disclaimer: I was provided the above product. All opinions are 100% my own