Tag Archive | Parenting Tips and Advice at Uplifting Families

Preparing for Your New York Trip

New York is a complex place with a variety of awesome destinations – so many, in fact, that you’d have a hard time seeing even a fraction of them in a one-week vacation. The Metropolitan Museum itself, for example, can account for at least two days of your time. Sheep Meadow at the fabulous Central Park can steal another blissful afternoon; not to mention the Central Park Zoo.

One way to ensure that you get the best part of your trip and see the most famous sights and sounds is to take a bus tour. You can book one online for any variety of passengers here: http://ift.tt/2yRL3cC, and be assured of avoiding the incredibly crowded streets in this major tourist destination. There’s one thing that a bus tour can’t help you with – and that’s preparing for your trip. Here goes!

Try to Purchase Tickets Early

Whenever possible, do not wait to buy tickets to places you want to go the day of. Most such places in New York are booked to the brim weeks and months in advance; but you can often grab a ticket a few days in advance. On the day of? Forget it. This goes for Broadway shows, the Statue of Liberty (definitely) and even some of the many museums. The web is such a convenient shopping place for almost everything; there’s no reason not to use it to buy tickets in advance of your New York trip, too.

Clothing Matters

New York can be a lot colder than you’re used to – especially if you’re from the West Coast or you’re visiting from somewhere on the Equator. This means you should wear layered clothing when visiting the state – as well as good shoes that keep in the heat. You’ll be on your feet for part of the day if you visit any of the museums, or get off the tour bus to mingle at Times Square, after all.

Pick the Right Times to Visit Popular Spots


As an example, let’s take the High Line urban park. This modern marvel is a park right in the middle of a converted railroad track, and can be extraordinarily crowded and busy on weekends when New Yorkers are off from work. Schedule to see it on a weekday to be able to actually enjoy the place. You’ll understand why it’s such a popular retreat as you lounge in the stadium seats and blissfully take in the city below.

The Staten Island Ferry is Worth a Ride

Along the route, you’ll catch the towering and majestic Statue of Liberty. The 25 minute ferry ride from New York Harbor is an experience unlike any other, and the fact that it’s free is a bonus. It’s nice to see the great city from the waterway for a change – you can get some of the best pictures of the path between Manhattan and Staten Island this way.

Check Out the Food Truck Schedules

The food trucks in NYC are easily the best in the world – as you would expect, with such a varied and eclectic assortment of people and cultures. Some of the food in these trucks are easily restaurant-quality – and beyond, in fact. There are actually highly-regarded chefs working in quite a few of them, and you’ll want to know where the better ones are located. After touring for some time, you’re bound to get hungry while still on the New York streets. Get a mobile app and peruse the listings before you visit the City of Dreams.

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Festive Fun for Families

No matter how you observe the holidays, establishing a yearly tradition is both fun and meaningful for families. It creates an air of anticipation, giving both parents and kids something to count on and look forward to. If you haven’t established a family tradition that takes place around the holidays, consider trying out some of these fun, festive activities. See which ones take hold, and repeat them year after year to relive the excitement.

  • Find the Perfect Tree
    A timeless tradition, the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree is a classic activity enjoyed by families. Hold off on converting to electric, and savor the adventure of sizing up and comparing the different conifers. Finding the perfect tree is a fun family activity whether you’re traveling to a U-pick farm or stopping by your local lot. Bring it home, prop it up, and have everyone decorate it together.

  • Decorate Cookies
    Sure to satisfy sweet-tooths, cookie decorating is a fun activity that can be done at any time of year. Recruit their help for baking, and have your child crack the egg and stir the dough to watch them marvel as their creation comes to life in the form of their favorite treat. Around the holiday season, cut the dough into festive shapes such as candy canes, silver bells, and gingerbread men. Once the dough cools, have the family gathered around the table prepared with frosting and sprinkles. Stash the treats in a cookie jar, or – better yet – take a walk and pass them out to neighbors to spread the holiday cheer.
  • Holiday Reading
    To remind the children that Santa is watching, read through the holiday classics each night leading up to his annual arrival. Take a family trip to the library and pick out all of your favorites, or store your keepsake treasures in a special place for the holiday season. Cozy up to the fire as you read through timeless classics such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Night Before Christmas.
  • Offer Thanks
    Too frequently children – and parents! – become fixated on gifts during the holiday season. To prevent Christmas from becoming all about presents, establish a family tradition that focuses on gratitude. Consider drawing a gratitude tree on a chalkboard —and then ask each family member to contribute. Make sticky leaves or ornaments onto which everyone can jot down something they’re grateful for. It can be practical (toilet paper, a car), universal (running water, a roof overhead), or personal (a family vacation, new pet). Encourage everyone to think of something they’re grateful for every day before running out the door this holiday season, and watch the gratitude tree grow into beautiful – and meaningful – décor.
  • Watch Christmas Lights
    Every family enjoys coming home to a well-lit house, but the real fun is found when you search for neighborhoods that partake in a little friendly competition. These blocks tend to be known for their dazzling Christmas lights as each neighbor tries to one-up the other, and with new Christmas lighting technologies, their displays are more impressive than ever. Drive your car over to Candy Cane Lane, park at one end, and have a delightful family walk to the end of the street. Don’t forget a thermos of hot cocoa!
  • Give Back, as a Family
    There’s no tradition more rewarding than spending time volunteering as a family. Deck your clan in ugly Christmas sweaters that are sure to draw smiles, and head down to your local church or soup kitchen to give back to the community. It’s a great way to encourage the spirit of the holidays, while at the same time teaching your kids a valuable lesson about helping those less fortunate.
  • Family traditions can be as simple or as complex as you make them. They provide ways for family members to spend valuable time with each other, and they create meaningful memories to be cherished for a life time. It’s never too late to start a new tradition! Give one of these fun and festive activities a try, and find out how rewarding it can be to put a little effort into some family quality time.

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What to Expect When Trying to Conceive


Many couples dream of having a baby one day, but most find out that trying to conceive a child is a lot harder than it seems. Requiring more effort than just the perfect partner and a night of passion, getting pregnant can take some time and may not happen the way you intended it to. Whether you’re just starting your efforts to get pregnant or have been trying for a while, knowing what to expect, and what your options are while trying to conceive can make the entire process a lot easier.

It May Not Happen the First Time

The concept, in your mind, seems simple enough. If you’re trying to get pregnant, all you need to do is have sex with your partner. Though that is the gist of the idea, there are other factors that play a role in getting pregnant such as timing, sexual health, physical health, and your emotional well-being. It is reported that even the healthiest couple can take on average about six months to a year of trying to actually conceive a child.  As the saying goes however, practice makes perfect. So, have fun trying to conceive with your partner.

If it Doesn’t Happen…

Some couples spend years trying to get pregnant without being successful. There are a number of reasons that infertility can occur for couples. The underlying causes could range from poor diet and exercise to preexisting medical conditions and relationship problems. If you and your partner have been trying for six months or more to get pregnant with no luck, you may need to visit a doctor to learn of your options.

There are Solutions

If you and your partner are unable to get pregnant, don’t fret as there are solutions available to you. Those couples who find that they’re unable to conceive naturally or on their own turn to options like:

IUI – Intrauterine insemination is a medical procedure for couples who want to get pregnant but can’t. The fertility treatment is designed to help the sperm to travel easier to the uterus. The semen is collected and washed before being slowly injected into the uterus. The procedure is not as invasive as others but doesn’t have a high success rate, particularly for couples who are older than 35.

IVF – A more common method used by couples trying to get pregnant is in vitro fertilization. In this procedure, the women’s eggs are removed from the ovaries and paired with her partner’s sperm. Once fertilized, the eggs are placed back into the woman’s uterus. If successful, the embryo will attach the uterus and pregnancy will begin. IVF costs are bit more than IUI, however, the success rates are much higher.

Surrogates – For couples who have complications that prevent them from successfully carrying or conceiving a child, surrogacy is an option. Essentially, hopeful parents work with an agency to find a woman ideal for carrying their child. The surrogate is then impregnated with the fertilized embryos and/or inseminated with sperm and carries the baby to full term for the couple. This process is the most expensive and can often be the longest process. Finding a surrogate and successful impregnating her will take a lot of time, money, and resources.

Tips for Getting Pregnant

There are a lot of factors that can play a role in your ability or inability to get pregnant. If you’re trying to conceive, there are some basic things you can do to improve your chances of having a family faster. This includes:

  • Eating the right foods
  • Exercising
  • Eliminating stress and negative vices
  • Maintaining proper health
  • Know when you’re ovulating

Every couple is different when it comes to trying to conceive. Some will find the journey very easy and get pregnant fast while others will have to deal with roadblocks and let downs. If you’ve been trying to conceive for some time with no such luck, it may be time to consult with a medical professional to find out what options you have for getting the family you always hoped for.

Image: Pixabay

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Five Reasons To Have Your Dog DNA Tested

DNA testing for your family dog has come a long way in recent years, and there’s finally meaning in having a comprehensive test done. Not only can you learn a lot more about your dog through genetic testing and finally solve the family debate over whether he or she has a hound mother or a pitbull grandpa, you’ll also gain valuable insight into the fundamental makeup of your dog. That’s information you and your vet can use to keep your dog healthy and happy for years to come.

  1. Curiosity. Many families decide to have their dog’s DNA tested purely out of curiosity. If you’re unsure of your dog’s pedigree, curious about its history, or simply want to know more about how different genes that make your dog unique, a thorough DNA test can tell you everything you want to know and more. Wondering why your dog has curly hair even though his or her litter mates don’t? A DNA test may help. Wonder what sort of dogs added up to produce your mixed breed dog? A DNA test can give you the answer. It can be a lot of fun for the family to learn the answers to all these questions, and it’s educational.
  2. Improved healthcare. For a more practical reason to consider having your family’s pet DNA tested, consider the potential benefits in the veterinary care your dog will receive. If you can provide your vet with a detailed analysis of your dog’s genetic history and predispositions, he or she will be able to offer better-tailored advice and care. Because dogs can’t describe their symptoms to the doctor the way a human can, this sort of detailed genetic analysis plays a far more important role in quickly and accurately diagnosing problems and offering treatments. And diagnosing and treating current symptoms is only half of the benefit to health care.
  3. Preventative measures. This ties in directly to overall health care but deserves its own section because of just how important it really is. Different dog breeds have different predispositions as far as illness and aging go, meaning a firm understanding of what your dog’s genes can help you give him or her a longer, healthier life. Highly detailed modern DNA tests can even identify the genes responsible for different illnesses and predispositions, giving you a precise blueprint of what to expect as your dog ages–and what to do about it. Knowing that your dog has a propensity for joint problems, or tooth problems, or eye problems can give you a blueprint for care that will minimize the chance of those issues becoming severe.
  4. Training. Learning more about the genetics of your dog and their various inherent traits can also offer benefits to training and expectations for behavior. For example, if you find out your dog may have difficulty with hearing or sight, it can help you identify the differences between stubborn behaviors and a simple inability to see or hear your commands. You may also gain insight into what your dog’s ancestors were bred for– does he or she have shepherding, protection, tracking, or other fun or useful behaviors “baked in” so to speak?
  5. Aid research. The idealists out there may find it worthwhile to invest in DNA testing for their family pet simply as a way to help vets and other animal researchers better understand dogs. There’s a lot of benefit to breeders, veterinarians, and pet owners if we develop a more thorough understanding of canine genetics. We’ll be able to make our dogs happier, healthier, safer, and smarter through a better understanding of what makes them tick. A DNA test for you dog doesn’t just help your do–it helps everyone’s dog and other pets in the long run.

Parting thoughts. Getting your dog DNA tested is about more than scientific curiosity and pedigrees–it also helps you learn more about your dog so you can take better care of them. The right test can add many healthy years to your dog’s lifespan, help you prepare for what’s coming, and make sure that if a health problem does crop up, your vet knows exactly what to look for.

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Luxury Retreats opens Your Door to Beauty

Luxury Retreats opens Your Door to Beauty

Some things just work naturally well together, and luxury resorts that promises to deliver scenic wonders is one. Travellers can’t pick any one specific reason why holidaying in Canada has captivated holidaymakers worldwide. There are just too many and Luxury Retreats brings you interesting and scenic ski lodges which offer a getaway experience bar none.

There are many vacation rentals available all year round, and a Winter holiday can be just as riveting and exciting as a Summer holiday. Canada for instance is an awesome skiing destination, and charming log lodges in the best ski resorts can provide a wonderful alternative to the sun and riding the waves.

The discovery of magnificent ski lodges in the likes of Whistler and Mont Tremblant unveils a rich spectrum of irresistible delights, where you uncover a whole lot more.  Breathe in, and you’ll get delightful whiffs of fresh snow, fresh mountain air, pine or even toasted nuts.

Luxury Retreats offers a wonderful selection of accommodation in places such as Canada but other places too that you’ve only dreamed of – Italy, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, California, Canada and many others.

A Unanimous Thumbs Up for the Greatest Retreats

As a full service villa rental company, you’re going to be on the inside track of the greatest luxury retreats ever known to travellers. Made up of a team of experienced villa specialists, they find their discerning guests the perfect place to stay in as well as a 24/7 personal concierge service to assist with every detail.

They are designed to help you with stress free rentals and to offer you homes that live up to all your expectations. Their splendid portfolio of rental homes are available worldwide, and when it comes to sheer excellence in Canada, you’ll find grand villas with every luxury on hand.

They also cater for every kind of traveller – adventurers, families with children, couples, singles and romantics wanting to wine and dine and who want a magical getaway experience.

Ski lodges in Canada have every comfort you can dream of –

●comfy bedrooms with flat screen TV’s
●fully equipped  kitchens. Don’t stress though, because if cooking isn’t on your to-do list, you can

●hire a chef to cook up delicious offerings to tantalize your tastebuds.
●villas are boredom-free and there are DVD’s and , high-speed Internet access
●indoor pools and outdoor pools
●home theater
●jacuzzis, hot tubs, gyms, steam rooms
●games rooms
●beautiful gardens for outdoor entertainment and much more.

Picture-Perfect Views

You can be sure that these villas are always well located in prime locations, close to all the things your family loves. Children are welcome at most of the villas and there is so much to do that kids usually rush off to play and leave adults in peace to do their own thing.

Flexibiity, space, privacy, luxury – it seems ridiculous not to investigate holiday home rentals.  Just imagine the sheer bliss of being able to visit Canada while staying in luxurious accommodation. Whatever your tastes, whether you want adventure and excitement, peace and tranquility or a romantic hideaway, there is a rental vacation house to offer you the experience you are wanting.

People with small kids particularly love the entire concept of a vacation house – love having laundry facilities with a washer and dryer – unlike a hotel where you have to pack in hordes of clothes so the kids are always presentable for the hotel dining room.

All villas have been vetted, and apart from the description and photos of their portfolio of vacation houses, they also give you a feel for the area by providing information on the attractions and amenities.You get exactly what you see and read about – no hidden and unpleasant surprises.

Destinations offering All You could Hope For

●Whistler ski resort in British Colombia, with both Whistler- and Blackcomb Mountains,  is looked upon as one of the hottest ski destinations in the world. It offers huge vertical drops, and also offers awesome ski diversity and a fantastic lift system. It’s not just about skiing and there are endless off-slope activities too as shopping, day spas, skating, dining as well as alpine skiing events. Mont

●Mont Tremblant too in Quebec, Canada is an adventure wonderland for families, packed full of great activities for kids too. If you’ve got skiing on your mind, the best Tremblant slopes are perfect for beginners to experts as well as for snowboarders. If you want to have time on the slopes without the kids, the Kids’ Club offers day care for tiny tots from ages 1 to 6 years. There is also the kid’s adventure area on the Nansen trail. If you want to ensure your kids are having the time of their lives, you may even want to buy your kids an activity card which can be used daily and allow your kids to try out all the riveting activities.

Offering great deals with vacation rentals in Canada, guests get real value for their dollar. A villa offers freedom to come-and-go as you please, and allows you to see and experience so much more than what you would at a hotel.

Luxury Retreat offers an awesome collection of inspirational properties located wherever you fancy – in tranquil country settings, in snowy mountain regions, along the shores of beautiful lakes, on cliffs overlooking the ocean or in vibrant cities close to the hottest entertainment venues you can imagine.

Discerning travellers like to make use of them to specially benefit from their superior levels of personal services such as personal chefs, chauffeur services, butler services etc – all designed to enhance your holiday experience.

Excellent Accommodation – Great Times!

Your luxury getaway starts the moment you arrive at your awesome ski resort. Canadian ski lodges are all picturesque paradises, and once settled in, you can dive into a world of fun activities or simply inhale the fresh air and take it easy while Luxury Retreat tends to your every need.

By being in touch with a trusted rental team, you’ll feel as though you are renting from an old friend, and that is the vey essence of superb vacation home rentals with Luxury Retreat. Why not contact them if you wish to enjoy stress free rentals with awesome deals and last minute specials, all guaranteed to ensure the time of your life.

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The Dangerous Process of Addiction Within the Brain

In today’s America, many of us are affected by addiction personally or through a loved one. Recent statistics show that over 20 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol, not including tobacco products. Despite preventative measures, such as initiatives like D.A.R.E and others who seek to educate children, over 90% of those addicted tried their vice (alcohol, tobacco, or drugs) before the age of 18. Even with help treatment centers everywhere and insurmountable measures taken to end life-shattering addiction problems, millions of Americans are still struggling to overcome.

There are many unique reasons for initially trying these substances, and many of these reasons can lead to prolonged use. These motives can include social aspects of use, and some of them may be habit-forming; for example, socially having a drink after work can become part of a nightly routine. Many drug users start as experimenters of mild substances, eventually turning the experiment into a routine and mild substances into harder ones, in an effort to find more drastic highs. Rather than answering the question of what are opiates by doing research, these individuals prefer to find out through experience. Use can turn into abuse, which evolves into compulsion due to the different ways substances affect the brain.

Drugs and alcohol affect different parts of your brain, but addictive tendencies tend to develop in the same way. Once addicted, the brain then disregards any consequences that may arise as a result of drug and alcohol use as it becomes rewired to prioritize it.

Most of the dependence happens within the limbic system, which controls our emotional responses. Eating, for example, creates a positive reaction in the limbic system, motivating us to repeat the action. In this case, the reactions create a system in which we need to live, by rewarding us for eating. Addictive substances also give the user a good feeling which in turn creates the same reaction and motivation sequence.

Largely because of how the brain works, these steps enable the brain to develop a reward system, and the rewards are activated and heightened with every use of the addictive substance. Medical research shows that the brain believes it is being rewarded with something good and eventually with something needed. This is because most addictive substances either mimic the effects of dopamine, which sends positive signals to the brain, or they cause the brain to overproduce the dopamine. The repeated use of drugs increases the need for dopamine in that sense, forcing the user to repeatedly seek them out.

There are many unique factors that contribute to the way in which a person becomes addicted, and how long the process may take. It is important to note that the method of using the drug tends to play a large part. Certain methods, like injection and sometimes smoking, create a rush or a high of brain-rewarding activity but fades very quickly into an extremely low feeling. This reason creates a need or higher reward for repeated use. Younger users can also develop addictive traits more quickly, as scientific and medical research shows that a developing brain is more easily subject to addictive patterns.


Image: Pixabay

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How To Make The Most Of A Small Bedroom

Small spaces can be hard to deal with at times. We would all love our homes to have spacious rooms for each member of our family but the reality doesn’t always meet up with the dream. Financial strains can put a limit on how much room you can afford to buy and sometimes, that puts us in a position of having to make due with what we have.

Or, you could be fine financially and are downsizing because you feel that you don’t need all that room, which just ends up getting filled up with more and more stuff. Maybe you have adopted the ideology of minimalism and you have settled into one of those great new “tiny houses” that are all the rage.

Whatever your reasoning might be, you have found yourself here at Uplifting Families, where we have found ways to take that small bedroom and maximize the space. To us, it seems like one giant craft project, which you know we love.

So let’s see what we can do to turn that small space into a warm livable bedroom.

Use Mirrors

This has to be the oldest trick in the book. When you put mirrors on the walls, your bedroom will look twice as large. If you want to expand the effect, put mirrors on the opposite wall as well. You will be amazed at the illusionary space they will provide.

You can go all out and install full mirrors on both sides, or you can create a subtle effect by using a large mirror on one side with a few small ones on the other. This is where you can get creative with it. There are a few things you should take into consideration before installing mirrors.

They can be very heavy so make sure you walls can support the mirror you choose. If you would like large mirrors installed, it would be wise to consult a professional or do your research online. Also, mirrors fog in the humidity so you want to battle that from the beginning, especially if you live in a more tropical climate.

Other Problems With Humidity And A Tiny Space

Humidity can also make that small room feel smaller by adding stuffiness to a room that should be comfortable. On top of that, excessive humidity in a small space could up your chances of growing mold in your mattress. You can combat the humidity by simply adding a dehumidifier that would be great for a small bedroom. If you have allergies you will benefit from the reduction in humidity when you sleep as well.

Light Colors

When you are getting your small bedroom ready, try to stick with pale or light colors when painting the walls. You may think that means only white or off white but there are a myriad of pale colors available in a variety of hues. Pinks, light blues, light oranges, pale green, these are just a few of your selections.

Of course, the lighter you go the more you will feel that your room is bigger than it actually is. Dark colors overwhelm a small space when placed on the walls.

One Dark Color

This is where you can have fun with a great paint color. You may have chosen an egg shell white for your walls, which gives this small space the feel of a larger room. Take a look at the bedding you chose an pick a nice dark color from that to paint the ceiling. A deep red or dark blue would be fun.

If this room is intended for your child, you can do a dark sky ceiling with the glow-in-the-dark stars. This would be a great adventure for any child and would transform their small bedroom into a special little place in the universe when the lights are turned off.

Choose Your Furnishings Wisely

When you are choosing a bed, a dresser, or any other significant furnishing for this bedroom, consider a few things. There are a great deal of multifunctional furnishing on the market today, including headboards that serve as shelving units. Trunks are a great addition for extra storage and could also serve as a place to put up your feet or sit on when you are getting ready, opposed to messing up your bed.

Another trick is to get furniture that has legs. This is a great way to streamline the bedroom and give it an airy feeling. Just be sure to avoid storing anything underneath those furniture items, otherwise, you can start to get a cluttered look, which will only make the room feel smaller.

On To Window Treatments

If you must have shades or blinds, try to stick with something simple that blends into the colors on your walls. White walls, use white blinds or curtains. A heavy material or color on your windows can start to make you feel closed in.

Going without window treatments is a great way to make the room appear bigger. But in a bedroom, that is difficult to do because we dress in there and sunlight peers in first thing in the morning. So, it may be tempting to put those bulky blue drapes in the room to keep it dark when you are still sleeping, but try to find a happy medium.


Working with a small room is difficult but it is not impossible. The tips above should be able to get you started in the very least. Once you have been able to make a small space livable you start to feel like you can take on anything. And, as a parent, you most definitely can.

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