Saturday, June 23, 2018

Vegetable Pasta Salad with Pesto: A Very Quick Dinner

Looking for quick dinners that will bring comfort and nourishment without a lot of hassle? This meatless Vegetable Pesto Pasta is hearty without being heavy. Bonus: It comes together in minutes! It’s too hot to be in the kitchen! You lose all motivation to plan, shop, and cook during the summer. You struggle getting to […]

The post Vegetable Pasta Salad with Pesto: A Very Quick Dinner appeared first on Life As Mom.

from Life As Mom

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Guiding Your Teen Through Depression

It is a known fact that depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in our nation. Men and women of all ages experience the pervasive sadness, exhaustion, pain, anxiety, sleeplessness or extreme sleepiness, dragging them down and making it extremely difficult to function in daily life. For those suffering in this way, the main treatment is therapy and anti-depressants. Some people are afraid to take anti-depressants because they think that they are “happy pills”. The reality is that when we are terribly stressed for a long period of time, the neurotransmitters in our brain become unbalanced, making us feel even more depressed. Anti-depressants balance the neurotransmitters in our brain, helping us function and do the hard work needed in therapy. People usually respond to these two forms of treatment.

Many times, depression is overlooked in teenagers. Because teenage depression looks different from adult depression, parents sometimes don’t recognize the symptoms. While adults are in touch with their emotional pain, depressed teenagers usually start out complaining about physical aches and pains. Although stomach problems, headaches and just a general ill feelings may plague them, a doctor will not be able to find a diagnosis. Adults feel pervasive sadness when they are depressed, while teenagers usually become increasingly more irritable. Parents should be aware of their teen’s descent into intense irritability.

Because there is an increased sensitivity to criticism, your teen may start avoiding activities where they fear failure. While your teenager once may have delighted in trying out for sports, the school musical or go on dates, if he is depressed, he will begin to avoid anything resembling taking a risk in order to avoid rejection. Parents who nag their teen to achieve only serve to worsen their teen’s depression.  On the other hand, they might engage in high-risk behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, skipping school and unsafe sex. Teenagers may change their group of friends, associating with the wrong crowd and stop talking to their old friends. They may completely withdraw from real life activities and focus their attention on the online world. This can be dangerous as he may create an online persona, engage in online chats or play role-playing games, all to escape the realities of his life.  Some signs and symptoms of teenage depression are:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Poor school performance
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation

Because suicide in teenagers is at all an all-time high, it is crucial to keep an eye on your child and do everything possible to help him in his depression. Some suicide warning signs to watch for are:

  • Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
  • Seeking out weapons, pills or other ways to kill themselves
  • Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying
  • Writing stories or poems about death, dying or suicide
  • Talking or joking about committing suicide
  • Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead”, “there’s no way out”, “I wish I could just disappear forever”
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Saying good-bye to friends and family as if it is the last time

It is extremely important for depressed teenagers receive prompt, professional treatment. If your teenager refuses treatment, it is wise for family members to seek professional advice.

In therapy, teens can understand why they are depressed and how to cope with the stressful situations in their lives. Individual, group, or family counseling may be helpful.

There are many groups for depressed teenagers. Teen Tribe is a mental support group for teenagers. The Teen Depression Toolbox helps educate depressed teenagers about what they are going through. Music For the Soul uses the power of songs and videos to bring emotional healing.

Parents need to know how to communicate with a teenager who is depressed.

Trust Your Gut

If you think that your teenager may be depressed but he claims that there is nothing wrong, you need to trust your instincts. Consider turning to a favorite teacher or school counselor if your teen won’t talk to you. Do not ignore signs of depression, no matter how vague they may seem.

Listen, Do Not Lecture

The best thing is to let your teen know that you are there for them, totally and unconditionally. Once your teenager begins to talk, resist the urge to pass judgement or to criticize. The important thing is for your teenager to feel safe with you.

Acknowledge Their Feelings

Do not make light of your teen’s feelings, even if they make no sense to you. Don’t try to talk them out of their depression. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing will go far in making them feel understood and supported.

Gently Persevere

If your teen shuts you out at first, don’t give up. He may have a hard time expressing what he’s feeling. Be respectful of your teen’s comfort level while still letting them know of your concern and willingness to listen.

With the proper understanding, unconditional love and resources available to help depressed teenagers, your teen will come out of the darkness he is in. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Image: Pixabay

from Parenting Tips and Advice at Uplifting Families

Friday, June 15, 2018

7 Great Theme Ideas for Your Child’s Summer Birthday Party

Birthday parties are extremely exciting for children, and parents can make them even more exciting by having a theme associated with the birthday party. During the summer months, you have a lot of options for theme parties because of the nicer weather and ability to be outside. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do inside parties too. Having a theme for a party not only makes it easier for you to decorate your home for the event, but it also allows you to have a theme for food, treats, games, and giveaways too. If your child is having a birthday this summer, here are seven great theme ideas for their summer birthday party


Carnival themes are fun because it allows you to have plenty of games and activities on hand to keep all the kiddos entertained. For instance, you can set up a ring toss, a picture booth, a bean bag game, and more. If you’d like, you can also hire a magician, clown, or petting zoo to come to the party too. You can even look on Amazon for carnival games and be amazed by the possibilities that show up. Plus, there are plenty of carnival party accessories too, so you can have tablecloths, plates, and decorations that all match and set the tone for a fun day at the carnival.


If you have a pool, having a beach-themed party is a great idea for kids. Most of them love to swim, and you don’t have to pay money for any additional entertainment as the pool will suffice. If you don’t have a pool, you can still do a beach themed party by either having everyone at a local pool or by setting up a bunch of water-related games at your house instead, such as a water slide, water gun fight, sprinkler, and more. This beach themed party is especially important when the weather is hot and kids want to run around yet cool off at the same time.


A movie-themed party is another great option that allows you to easily keep the kids entertained, and you can take this in two ways. First, you can have a movie award themed party where everyone arrives in nice clothes and your home is adorned with a red carpet and picture backdrops. The other option is to have everyone over and just have a movie marathon with their favorites. Renting a big screen allows you to have this party outside if you’d like, but if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can do this inside too. Just be sure to have plenty of movie snacks on hand, such as candy, pop, and popcorn. You can even make it classier by having a popcorn bar filled with different toppings or different types of popcorn, such as caramel or even white cheddar popcorn for the adults.


If your child has a favorite superhero (or ten) then why not have a superhero party? Children can come dressed up as their favorite superhero, and you can have your home or party location decorated with superhero decorations. Find superhero games to play, or even consider putting superhero movies on a loop to provide additional entertainment.


Most little kids would enjoy a princess themed birthday party. Be sure to ask your guests to dress up as their favorite prince or princess, and then make the party a little more elegant (while still keeping in mind they’re children). For instance, serving finger foods and providing “nice” dinnerware will make the event seem classier and made just for a princess.


Having a camping party is another great theme, especially for kids who are a bit older. If you want to make it a truly fun experience, you can set up tents in your yard and allow the kids to sleep outside. The night of the party, be sure to fully commit to a bonfire, and serve hot dogs and s’mores as the main two food groups to keep everyone full and happy.


No matter the sport, you can easily turn it into a themed party, or you can just stick with “sports” in general to give yourself more entertainment options. If you’re picking one sport, such as baseball, you can go about it a few different ways. First, you can have your child’s party at a baseball field and allow the kids to play while you serve hot dogs, pretzels, and ice cream. You can also take your child and a group of friends to a baseball game. If you’re opting for sports in general, then be sure to have plenty of sports-related games on hand to keep everyone entertained.

Summer gives you more flexibility when it comes to planning your child’s party, and these seven themes will give your child a party they’re excited about.

Images: Pixabay

from Parenting Tips and Advice at Uplifting Families

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Let Summer Sizzle – While You Keep Your Cool

What’s your best bet for delicious, easy, and keep-your-cool dinner prep this month? I’ve got a magic bullet to solve your dinnertime dilemmas. Do you end up eating take-out too often? Is grocery shopping an endless chore that leaves you buying and SPENDING more you need? Do you forget to thaw that thing you NEEDED for dinner? Do […]

The post Let Summer Sizzle – While You Keep Your Cool appeared first on Life As Mom.

from Life As Mom

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Home Cooked Meals & How to Make Them Easily

Home cooked meals can be some of our favorites, but they can also be a lot of work. How can you make it easier to cook at home? I think it’s pretty common knowledge among us parents that feeding our families home cooked meals is better for kids nutritionally and developmentally as well as easier on the budget […]

The post Home Cooked Meals & How to Make Them Easily appeared first on Life As Mom.

from Life As Mom

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Get Dinner Prepped AND Whistle While You Work

There’s one sure thing you can count on every day: your people will want dinner. And while it may seem like a chore, there are ways to get dinner prepped AND enjoy the process. Check out these tips for easier dinnertime prep. What’s for dinner? I’m hungry. When are we eating? No doubt you’ve heard […]

The post Get Dinner Prepped AND Whistle While You Work appeared first on Life As Mom.

from Life As Mom

What to Do When Good Debt Goes Bad


As counterintuitive as it might sound, there is such a thing as “good” debt. Sure, taking out a loan to acquire something capable of appreciating in value is a good thing. Yes, one could argue vacations put you in a better mental space and can help you create value, but they fall under the category of “bad” debt nonetheless.

Meanwhile mortgage loans, small business loans and student loans all fall into the good debt category because you are investing in something that may earn more money in time.

But be warned! Good debt can quickly turn into bad debt if it’s not managed carefully. Here’s what to do when good debt goes bad.

First Remember Nothing Is Guaranteed

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when buying a nice home in a nice neighborhood was a quick ticket to profit street. Home prices were appreciating rapidly and there was a lot of cash in the system to help nearly everyone purchase a home. Ultimately, that went bad and a lot of people were left with outturned pockets.

Similarly, student loans can be useful investments if you’re going into a field with high income potential. But you have to be somewhat prescient to anticipate the needs of society when you graduate to make sure your diploma will be valuable. Otherwise, you’ll be out of school with a huge debt burden and no way to service it.

Ditto small business loans. The good news here is lending institutions tend to require extensive documentation and evidence of your expertise before committing. This makes them a better bet, but things can still turn on a dime, leaving you in a lot of trouble.

Smart Debt Solutions

If you find yourself in a situation in which your good debt has gone bad, you do have options. The first thing to do is take stock of your situation to see where your debt to income ratio falls. Add up all of your monthly bills and compare the total to your income. If you make more than you owe, bill consolidation, coupled with renegotiating the terms of your loans to lower your interest rates and payments is a good move.

If you owe more than you make, you can consider one of a couple of debt reduction strategies. Be apprised, many forms of good debt fall into the “non-dischargeable” category, which makes dealing with them a bit tougher. However, if you also have a lot of unsecured debt, getting it managed or settled could free up enough cash to keep the good debt afloat.

Debt Management

Generally conducted alongside credit counseling, this approach involves getting creditors to waive interest payments and fees to help make repayment easier. Lenders tend to accept debt management programs because they’d rather get their principal back than risk losing everything if you’re forced into bankruptcy.

Debt Settlement

Agreements are also reached with creditors in debt settlement. However, in addition to foregoing fees and interest payments, creditors are asked to forgive part of the loan amount in exchange for a lower settlement amount. This at least gets them some of their money back, again, before you declare bankruptcy and the debt is charged off completely.

Primary Consequences

Both debt management and debt relief will have a detrimental effect on your credit score. However, management typically leaves less of a scar than settlement. There might also be tax issues to consider, as the IRS might classify the forgiven portions of a debt as income.

You also need to be careful to find reputable companies with which to work. There are people out there who live to prey upon those in need of this type of assistance. However with careful research, like these Freedom Debt Relief reviews, you can find honest people who are sincere about helping you turn things around.


Image: Pixabay

from Parenting Tips and Advice at Uplifting Families