Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Take some time out to have some fun with your kids!  Here are some helpful suggestions and ideas!

1. Build an amazing couch cushion fort!

2. Celebrate an eco-friendly Valentine’s day together.

3. Here’s a whole list of fun winter time activities for you to enjoy.

4. Parent Magazine has a large collection of activity ideas for you to pick and choose from.

5. Do you have a tiny chef in your family?  Encourage his/her culinary passion with these baking recipes for kids.

6. Want to play games with your kids and have them learn at the same time?  Check out PBS Kids for a good start.

7. And eHow has an article on how to have more family fun on a small family budget.

What are your favorite ways to have fun with the kids?

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Love it or loathe it, it is Valentine’s Day again this Saturday.  I have collected some places for you to visit whether you are sharing time with someone special or wish Valentine’s Day would crash and burn.  Don’t forget to leave me a comment to say hi and let me know you were here!

1. iVillage/BlogHer present Valentine’s Day and You: A Love-Hate Relationship

2. AskMen.com paired up with Cosmopolitan magazine to bring you the gifts that won’t make him gag.

3. Lovingyou.com’s 7 Days of Long-Distance Relationship Romance

4. One man’s Valentine confession: Why I hate Valentine’s Day- on MSN

5. A Valentine’s Day Guide for Singles- MSN

6. Learn the History of Valentine’s Day from The History Channel

7. Kids’ activities for Valentine’s Day– Kaboose

8. Love Poetry.com- Both classic love poems and submitted love poems

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Every Monday I am going to try to post links to sites and articles having to do with relationships.

1. First, you may want to take this Relationship Satisfaction Test from Psychology Today.  It will help you determine what areas are your strengths as a couple, and what areas you could use some improvement on.

2. Bond with your sweetie like never before with these 25 Ways to Get Connected.

3. Looking for a Valentine’s Day idea?  Try this.

4. Don’t have a date for V-Day?  That’s okay.  Me neither!  And I am happy about it.  No, really!  If you don’t think you can be happy being single, read this iVillage article to start you on your way.

5. On an interesting note, I saw on MSNBC.com that researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that extra estrogen may make some women stray.  Feeling the pull?  Read about what could be going on (besides reaching your threshold for the number of your hubby’s dirty socks that can’t seem to make it to the hamper.)

6. Think it is time to break it off with your significant other?  Don’t know how?  It may pay to read this first.

7. The FDA has recalled many products containing peanuts.  Keep your family safe by keeping in the know.  Bookmark this page from the FDA that gives you a list of all of the recalled products and then check back often.

Tomorrow is Home on Tuesday.  Check back for list articles and/or links to help you with your home, garden, and automobile!

The New Weekly Schedule:

Relationships Monday

Home on Tuesday

Working Wednesdays

Fit & Healthy Thursdays

Fun Friday Lists

Stress-Free Saturdays

A Spot of Sunday Creativity

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1. Give your friends and family a break and don’t tell the same story at every get together.

2. Do 5 minutes of exercise every day. You can do that during a commercial break for American Idol.

3. Every time you buy something new this year, donate something old to charity.

4. Compliment someone every day- maybe they are wearing a color that compliments their eyes, maybe they cooked you a delicious meal, maybe they actually remembered to put their towel back on the rack after their shower, maybe they simply combed their hair today. Let them know you noticed it. 🙂

5. Go paperless. Sign up for online bill paying. You can sign up for automatic draft with your checking account or you can sign up for an e-mail that informs you when it is time. You will be saving the environment and could be saving yourself money by never being late for a payment. Plus, it’s completely free.

6. Save money by doing swaps. Hold a clothing swap with your friends. Someone’s “I’m over that” could be someone else’s “I am so into that”. Sign up for a book swap online. Paperbackswap.com even lets you have 3 free credits when you list 10 books you can swap. All you pay for is postage to send your books.

7. Pencil in one night a week to have a family dinner together. No BlackBerry, no IPods, no friends over, just you and your family. You can cook or have a pizza delivered. The point is to savor your time together. One night out of seven is completely doable.

8. If you have to have a store credit card (ex. from Sears or Kohl’s), then resolve to use the card for the discounts only, not as a credit card. Purchase only what you would if you were paying in cash. Then you can pay off the card in full every time you use it instead of spending a headache of money due to high interest rates.

9. Spend one minute every day cleaning or organizing something in your home. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish for only 60 seconds of your time. It takes longer than that to read this list.

10. Tell those whom you love that you love them. Time is short and we never know what tomorrow will or won’t bring. If something happened to you, would they know for sure how you felt about them?

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1.   Have an annual tree-trimming party, where everyone brings an ornament to hang on your tree to bring you good luck and blessings in the year to come.

2. Hold dinner at a different person’s house each year, trading off.

3. Use specific hand-me-down recipes every year.

4. Adopt a family for the holidays.

5. Go Caroling at nursing homes or hospitals.

6.  If you play musical instruments in your family, have everyone learn a favorite Christmas carol and play it together as a family.

7.  Watch a favorite holiday movie together on Christmas Day.  Serve hot chocolate and pop popcorn.

8.  Open just one present on Christmas Eve.

9.  Check out area light displays.  If you don’t have community displays to view, drive around neighborhoods and look at the lights on the houses.

10.  Spend an afternoon doing some holiday baking.  Kids will love it even more if you make it a messy baking day.  You can even make goodies to put in baskets and deliver to home-bound neighbors or relatives.

11.  Volunteer your time as a family to help someone else.  You could help an elderly neighbor put up Christmas decorations or you can shovel snow off the walk of someone who is disabled and needs assistance.  It will warm your heart and the person that your helping.

12. Decide to fill stockings up with dollar gag gifts.  The creativity will grow with each passing year and the laughter will, too.  Some ideas I found on various Internet forums to help get you started: fake lottery tickets, straws in a bag with a note that says “Straw Hat- Assembly Required”, Sawdust in a Ziploc bag with a note that says “Expert Jigsaw Puzzle”, or try two AA batteries in a box with a note saying “Gift not included.”

13.  If your children’s grandparents all live nearby and they all want to see the kids, try spending  Christmas Eve at one grandparents’ house and Christmas Day morning or afternoon with the other set of grandparents.  Next year you can switch who gets which day.

14.  Once you have teenagers, you may want to hold the suspense longer to make Christmas morning a bigger deal. You can do this by making them eat a family-style breakfast before going in to the other room to open presents.  My own parents did this and it really can make the morning extra special.

15.  If you are Christian, you can use an advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas, use an Advent wreath in your home together, and/or make it a tradition to go to church/mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day every year.

16.  Take the family to the store and have each of you (or each kid and the parents as a couple) pick out one new ornament for the tree.  After a few years, you will have a collection of ornaments on the tree that everyone got to be a part of.  Each year as you hang them, it will bring back memories of the previous years.

What traditions do you and your loved ones celebrate during the holidays?

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From me: This article is important for me to share with you because I have many times been the receiver of awkward conversational lulls and wide eyes and stuttering when someone did not know what to say, whether it was the news that I have a chronic illness or news that my father has metastatic cancer or even someone knowing how to ask follow-up questions to situations.  It is challenging and I know this, so I am patient.  But Gretchin Rubin has come up with 8 tips to help make the situations we find ourselves in a little bit easier.

This article was written by Gretchen Rubin and was originally posted at her site, The Happiness Project.

I often feel like I don’t know the right thing to say. I’ll be desperate to find the right words, but in a tough situation, I just don’t know what to say to make a person feel better. I often find myself switching the topic of the conversation — so quickly that I’ve changed it before I realize what I’ve done.

I’ve been trying to come up with some tips to help me figure out what to say. This is what I’ve figured out so far:

1. Try to identify the real problem. It’s quite common for people (like me) to be upset about something, but then to pretend that they’re really upset about something else. Often, when a person’s reaction seems disproporationate to the purported cause, you can figure out what the real problem is, if you try. Once, the Big Girl came crying to me and said, “Everyone pays more attention to the Little Girl than to me!” I had a rare moment of wisdom enough to bite back my first responses: “You know that’s not true,” or “Didn’t I just play ten game of Blink with you?” Instead, I said, “No matter what, you know that you are our most precious, darling girl, and no one would ever forget about you, or think that someone else is more important than you.” That was what she needed to hear, and she skipped off.

You can’t make someone feel better if you’re not talking about the right topic, so taking the time to identify the real problem is a key step.

2. Don’t assume that you know what’s going to happen next. A friend told me that it really upset him, during his separation, when people spoke about his relationship as if divorce were inevitable. Similarly, even positive predictions like “It’s all going to work out” or “You’ll be as good as new” or “Of course you’re going to get that job/get engaged/get into that program” often aren’t very reassuring.

3. Find the right level of questions to ask. People really differ on what kind of conversations they like to have. Some people like to answer probing questions and to get into the details. Other people are just the opposite. So start with general and vague questions, like “How’s it going?” or “How are you doing?” and feel your way.

4. Don’t react with judgment. When something bad happens to someone, the people around him or her often try to identify a “mistake” so that they can reassure themselves that they’re safe, because they would never have made that mistake. But saying things like, “Well, I always said you should stop smoking,” “I never trusted her,” “You should have diversified your investments,” or “You know, you never set any good limits” is NOT helpful.

5. Resist the temptation to show empathy by drawing a comparison to your own painful experience. This sounds like a good idea, but from what I can tell, it doesn’t work very well. A friend whose baby died told me how enraged he was by people who compared his loss to their loss of beloved pets (yes, this really happened, more than once). And a friend whose child has a life-threatening illness was infuriated when people said they understood how upset she was, because they’d been through a divorce. Trying to show empathy by comparing your pain to another person’s is, apparently, not very comforting.

6. Acknowledge the reality of other people’s feelings. This tip comes from all-time favorite parenting book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, and it’s just as applicable to adults as to children. Often, people just want someone to acknowledge how they feel. It can be tempting to say things like, “You’re not really mad,” or “There’s no reason to be so upset,” or “You were never happy in that job in the first place.” But denying people’s feelings adds to their frustration; acknowledging bad feelings helps the feelings to dissipate. This strategy is harder than it sounds to follow, but it really works.

7. Follow their lead. When I’ve talked to people who are very upset about something, I’ve noticed that they often keep circling back to the same point. It seems to help them to keep talking about that same one issue. It’s not always obvious why some aspect of a problem would be the most worrisome, and I used to try to move the conversation along, but now I think that it’s most helpful to follow a person’s lead and to keep talking about whatever is weighing most heavily.

8. Think about what a person needs to hear. Sometimes it’s not obvious that something needs to be said; you must be alert to people’s unspoken thoughts. A friend of mine was very close to her in-laws. She told me that when her brother-in-law got engaged, she felt jealous of his fiancée and was worried about feeling displaced in a relationship that was important to her. There wasn’t any reason for her to worry, but that was how she felt. One night at dinner, the entire family spent the whole time talking about the wedding, and afterward, her mother-in-law said to her privately, in a very loving voice, “Jill, you know you’ll always have a special place in our heart.” Jill told me that she almost started crying, it meant so much to her.

I thought this was just about the perfect thing to say. Her mother-in-law guessed what Jill might be feeling, and wanted to reassure her. She didn’t deny what my friend was feeling. She wasn’t dismissive of the new daughter-in-law. She didn’t make a comparison. But she said exactly what my friend needed to hear.

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This was published at The Positivity Blog.  Visit by clicking here.

There is no specific advice on how to use your body language. What you do might be interpreted in several ways, depending on the setting and who you are talking to. You’ll probably want to use your body language differently when talking to your boss compared to when you talk to a girl/guy you’re interested in. These are some common interpretations of body language and often more effective ways to communicate with your body.

First, to change your body language you must be aware of your body language. Notice how you sit, how you stand, how you use you hands and legs, what you do while talking to someone.

You might want to practice in front of a mirror. Yeah, it might seem silly but no one is watching you. This will give you good feedback on how you look to other people and give you an opportunity to practise a bit before going out into the world.

Another tip is to close your eyes and visualize how you would stand and sit to feel confident, open and relaxed or whatever you want to communicate. See yourself move like that version of yourself. Then try it out.

You might also want observe friends, role models, movie stars or other people you think has good body language. Observe what they do and you don’t. Take bits and pieces you like from different people. Try using what you can learn from them.

Some of these tips might seem like you are faking something. But fake it til you make it is a useful way to learn something new. And remember, feelings work backwards too. If you smile a bit more you will feel happier. If you sit up straight you will feel more energetic and in control. If you slow down your movements you’ll feel calmer. Your feelings will actually reinforce your new behaviours and feelings of weirdness will dissipate.

In the beginning easy it’s to exaggerate your body language. You might sit with your legs almost ridiculously far apart or sit up straight in a tense pose all the time. That’s ok. And people aren’t looking as much as you think, they are worrying about their own problems. Just play around a bit, practice and monitor yourself to find a comfortable balance.

1. Don’t cross your arms or legs – You have probably already heard you shouldn’t cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.

2. Have eye contact, but don’t stare – If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and you’ll get used to it.

3. Don’t be afraid to take up some space – Taking up space by for example sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.

4. Relax your shoulders – When you feel tense it’s easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly.

5. Nod when they are talking – nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But don’t overdo it and peck like Woody Woodpecker.

6. Don’t slouch, sit up straight – but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner.

7. Lean, but not too much – If you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that you’re confident in yourself and relaxed lean back a bit. But don’t lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval. Or lean back too much or you might seem arrogant and distant.

8. Smile and laugh – lighten up, don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But don’t be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but don’t keep a smile plastered on your face, you’ll seem insincere.

9. Don’t touch your face – it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation.

10. Keep you head up – Don’t keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.

11. Slow down a bit – this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, don’t snap you’re neck in their direction, turn it a bit more slowly instead.

12. Don’t fidget – try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. You’ll seem nervous and fidgeting can be a distracting when you try to get something across. Declutter your movements if you are all over the place. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements.

13. Use your hands more confidently – instead of fidgeting with your hands and scratching your face use them to communicate what you are trying to say. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But don’t use them to much or it might become distracting. And don’t let your hands flail around, use them with some control.

14. Lower your drink – don’t hold your drink in front of your chest. In fact, don’t hold anything in front of your heart as it will make you seem guarded and distant. Lower it and hold it beside your leg instead.

15. Realise where you spine ends – many people (including me until recently) might sit or stand with a straight back in a good posture. However, they might think that the spine ends where the neck begins and therefore crane the neck forward in a Montgomery Burns-pose. Your spine ends in the back of your head. Keep you whole spine straight and aligned for better posture.

16. Don’t stand too close –one of the things we learned from Seinfeld is that everybody gets weirded out by a close-talker. Let people have their personal space, don’t invade it.

17. Mirror – Often when you get along with a person, when the two of you get a good connection, you will start to mirror each other unconsciously. That means that you mirror the other person’s body language a bit. To make the connection better you can try a bit of proactive mirroring. If he leans forward, you might lean forward. If she holds her hands on her thighs, you might do the same. But don’t react instantly and don’t mirror every change in body language. Then weirdness will ensue. )

18. Keep a good attitude – last but not least, keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference. For information on how make yourself feel better read 10 ways to change how you feel and for relaxation try A very simple way to feel relaxed for 24 hours.

You can change your body language but as all new habits it takes a while. Especially things like keeping you head up might take time to correct if you have spent thousands of days looking at your feet. And if you try and change to many things at once it might become confusing and feel overwhelming.

Take a couple of these body language bits to work on every day for three to four weeks. By then they should have developed into new habits and something you’ll do without even thinking about it. If not, keep on until it sticks. Then take another couple of things you’d like to change and work on them.

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