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10 DIY Fall/Winter Decor Items Your kids Can Help You Create

10 DIY Fall/Winter Decor Items Your kids Can Help You Create

When the air turns colder and the days shorter, it’s time to find a way to entertain the kids indoors. One way to keep them occupied is by having them help create fall and winter decor items. These projects are fun, easy and educational. So shut that cold weather out and get cozy with these crafts!

Photo by Dave meier Picography

    Living Wreath

    One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is seeing all the houses in the neighborhood decked out with festive flare. Wreaths are a traditional decoration that signify the holidays. This year, instead of putting up the usual dried pine boughs, make a living wreath. Creating a living wreath is an exercise in micro gardening, as well as showing our children that we don’t always have to destroy nature to suit our needs – such as by chopping limbs off a pine tree. We can create something beautiful that also sustains life.

    Makers Kit- permission given

      Mason Herb Garden Kit

      Fresh herbs make every recipe taste better, but let’s be honest: They can be really expensive. Growing your own herbs for pennies on the dollar is a great solution. Even if you don’t have room to plant a large garden, you can grow your own herbs indoors in a mason jar.

      Your kids will love this project because they get to play with the dirt and watch it grow. Gardening indoors will teach them about making use of the space they do have and the growing cycle of edible plants.

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      kaboom pics crayons

        Homemade Candles

        Does your kid have a bunch of old crayons laying around? Turn them into candles! This colorful project teaches kids the value and joy of upcycling. Instead of tossing out old or broken toys – in this case, crayons – kids can upcycle them into something new and different. For a scented candle, add essential oils. Citrus and peppermint oils are energizing and uplift the spirits. Lavender and cedarwood oils are calming.

        Photo by Kerry Foster soap

          Handmade Soap

          Making soap is a lost art. It’s now mass-produced, and most soaps contain chemicals and dyes that are unnecessary and potentially harmful as well. Teach your kids that they can make pure soaps just like their ancestors. To make it fun, use different molds, colors and scents. Candy corn soap is the perfect craft for fall. You and your kids can even make the soap as gifts for their teachers or friends.

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          thankful tree photo by Steven Yeh

            Thankful Tree

            A thankful tree makes the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. This vintage-inspired design combines rustic wooden disks and chalkboard pieces with a tall glass jar and mixed nuts in place of the usual river rocks or glass beads.

            Get your kids involved by having them help you write out things they are thankful for. Help them think about all the great things that happened during the year and guide them to be thankful for things that aren’t materialistic.  It’s a good way to teach them to be mindful of good experiences they have.

            maple leaf photo by Amin mat Azahar

              Maple Leaf Globe

              Peering into a maple leaf globe will take you back in time to when you were a kid playing in a big pile of fall leaves. You jumped in and threw big armfuls up in the air so the leaves would rain down on you. Like a snow globe, a maple leaf globe sets a scene inside a glass filled with water, but instead of white snowy flakes, maple leaves in vibrant colors flurry around.

              Your kid can help you pick out the tree and leaves that will go in the globe, and after it’s all put together, you can watch the leaves fall and teach your child all about the fun things you did during your childhood.

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              pipe cleaner photo by Daniel Orth

                Crystalized Snowflakes

                This project is so fun and easy the kids won’t even realize they’re getting a lesson in chemistry. With just two ingredients, you can fill your home with beautiful crystallized snowflakes. All you have to do is dip pipe cleaners in Borax overnight and crystals form on the small fibers. When you wake up in the morning, you have beautiful crystallized snowflakes.

                You don’t have to stop at just snowflakes, either. You can make hearts for Valentine’s Day or clover for St Patrick’s Day.

                birdseed ornament photo by Sxates

                  Birdseed Ornaments

                  Adorable birdseed ornaments make the perfect addition to any rustic Christmas tree or holiday decoration. Making them is fun for the whole family. When the holidays are over, have your children hang them on trees outside. They will learn the importance of helping our animal friends thrive, especially when natural food resources are scarce.

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                  scarf by saxarocks

                    Hand-Dyed Scarf

                    Hand-dyed scarves make wonderful gifts. They are a one-size-fits-all accessory that women and men alike can wear. How do you make a gift that can seem so generic seem special? Make it yourself. Creating a hand-dyed scarf is a quick and simple project that your kids will enjoy. It may not be the most expensive gift to give someone, but your children will learn that it is the thought the counts when it comes to giving.

                    To make a special scarf for someone, your child will need to learn about the recipient – their favorite color or possibly their favorite sports team if the scarf will be themed. Putting thought into what the recipient will like and then coming up with a design to suit will hold more meaning than any store-bought gift that is more expensive.

                    window clings

                      Window Clings

                      My kids love to decorate the windows with seasonal clings. Make it even more fun by creating your own window clings using cookie cutters and homemade paint. It’s really two crafts in one. First you can make the paint together, which will provide hours of fun on its own, then you can fill seasonal cookie cutters with the paint to make window clings.  Make leaves and pumpkins for fall or Christmas trees and snowflakes for winter. Your kids will learn that even the simplest things are more fun when you’re part of the process from start to finish.

                      Use the cold winter months cooped up in the house to pass along the DIY bug to your kids. Not only will they get to spend quality time with you, but they’ll also learn lessons that they can keep forever.

                      Featured photo credit: elleau via flickr.com

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                      Published on October 19, 2018

                      The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

                      The Most Critical Do’s and Don’ts of Working Out While Pregnant

                      Are you scared of working out whilst pregnant? Or simply not sure how to proceed? Everything seems slightly more daunting once you’re carrying and creating a whole other person.

                      In this article I will give you specific advice, tips and strategies for working out while pregnant. Ensuring that you, and your baby, are safe. Not only that but you will both benefit.

                      Benefits of Working Out While Pregnant

                      It is clear that everyone, not just you but your baby, and probably your partner and other kids will benefit from you working out while pregnant. If you’re sleeping better and feel less stress, you can guarantee everyone in the household is going to feel better.

                      How you benefit from working out while pregnant:

                      • Reduced incidence of lower back pain
                      • 30% reduction in the risk of gestational diabetes
                      • Reduced likelihood of unplanned cesarian
                      • Lower incidence and reduce severity of depression
                      • Less pregnancy weight gain
                      • Lower risk of urinary incontiennce
                      • Reduced pregnancy constipation
                      • Less pregnancy tiredness
                      • May have a shorter labour

                      How your baby benefits from working out while pregnant:

                      • A healthier heart
                      • Normal birth weight
                      • Quicker neurological development
                      • Reduced risk of respiratory distress syndrome (for infants of high-risk women)
                      • Less maternal stress could reduce impact on immune system development

                      Instant Big-Rocks for Working out While Pregnant

                      Before we get cracking into what really will benefit, here are some instant ‘big-rocks’ when it comes to working out while pregnant.

                      Safety first: Check with your midwife

                      Each person and pregnancy is individual – and as I”m not speaking to you in person, the first pre-qualifier is that you check with your doctor that you’re ok to work out while pregnant. In certain circumstances, it is not recommended due to potential complications arising from exercise.

                      If you’re new to exercising or have just fallen pregnant do check with your GP or midwife before commencing or recommencing your exercise program.

                      Exercise Check In Second – No lying Flat or Crunches

                      Crunches are a whole other issue in regards to pre and post natal training that I’ll get into during another article.

                      For now, know that lying flat on your back puts pressure on your body, especially after 16 weeks. The weight of your bump pressing on certain blood vessels can reduce cardiac output, make you feel dizzy and affect the flow of blood that carries nutrients and oxygen to your baby.

                      While this means traditional stomach crunches are out, you can and should still include core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises in your routine. These I’ll get to later in the article.

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                      Third Intensity Check In – No High Intensity Workouts

                      When it comes to exercise intensity, it is best to abide by the guideline “to be able to comfortably hold a conversation” whilst working out. Unless you are an athlete and extremely used to very high heart rates whilst you workout, keeping your rate of perceived exertion to a 7 out of 10 is best practice.

                      Experts agree that you should avoid undertaking activities that will raise your core temperature by more than 2°C – or above 38.9°C. This is because such a temperature change may result in hyperthermia (the opposite of hypothermia). Hyperthermia during pregnancy has been linked to a twofold increase in the risk of birth defects impacting the spine or brain.

                      As such, it is not advisable to use hot tubs or spas during pregnancy, and hot yoga should be avoided as well as parking in only moderate intensity exercise.

                      Final & Fourth Point – No high contact/dangerous sports

                      For obvious reasons, contact sports or sports in which it’s likely you can fall or have an accident should be avoided.

                      For example scuba diving while pregnant should be avoided as your baby will have no protection against decompression sickness (‘the bends’) or gas embolism – bubbles in the bloodstream that can cut off blood supply or cause breathing difficulties.

                      Similarly, horse riding, climbing, cycling, gymnastics and other activities that require extreme balance are best avoided as your centre of gravity shifts and affects your balance.

                      Certainly, sports like kick boxing, jujitsu or rugby in which contact is prevalent should be avoided for bump protection.

                      Actual Workouts You Can Do While Pregnant

                      1. Let your personal trainer or group exercise instructor know that you’re pregnant

                      In doing so they can assist you in providing expert advice or refer you to a qualified practitioner in your area. If you’re unsure ask your GP or Midwife for a referral.

                      2. Use your breath to engage your core and pelvic floor throughout your workout programs

                      Your breath plays a big part in controlled core to assist with labour and reduce back pain. We each take thousands of breaths per day, as as your baby grows pressure is placed upon the lungs and pelvic floor.

                      Preparing and practicing proper breath ensures that your core remains as integrated and activated as possible throughout and after your pregnancy.

                      3. Find a Holistic Core Restore Coach

                      The reason the Holistic Core Restore® programmes are more effective than performing keels or traditional abdominal exercise alone for true core restore and pelvic floor activation. A Hollisitc Core Restore Coach will work with you to integrate your core and pelvic floor with your whole body through a series of movements and lifestyle factors.

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                      4. Join a Pre & Post Natal Class

                      Join a Pre & Post Natal Class in order to move in specific ways designed to boost your health and recovery post birth.

                      This not only provides you with a chance to connect with other pre & post natal women in your area to and create a community; but also provides you access to pre & post natal experts who can give you tailored advice for exercising whilst pregnant.

                      5. Focus on strengthening the glute muscles

                      Focus on strengthening the glute muscles to counteract the anterior tilt produced by your expanding bump.

                      Most people will simply focus on keeping the core engaged and active to help the ‘pre-mummy-tummy’ bounce back. When in actual fact the synergist muscle to the core for pelvic stability is the butt.

                      Really focus on strengthening the glute muscles in order to support the core, posture and back.

                      Hinge movements such as single leg romanian deadlifts are a brilliant way to do so. You can do this holding a Kettlebell or Dumbell but also, once the bump is big enough just using your bodyweight.

                      6. Enjoy swimming

                      Enjoy swimming, especially in your third trimester, to remove weight and boost lymphatic drainage of your feet and ankles.

                      It’s well known that your ankles swell during the last months of pregnancy. This is due to the changes in posture from the weight of the stomach pulling down towards the floor.

                      Consequently, this causes the front of the hip to become compressed. And this in turn reduces circulation of the lymphatic fluid in the lower body.

                      One way to improve this circulation is to get into water as the pressure from the water removes the weight of the bump whilst providing pressure to the legs improving circulation.

                      7. Bring layers to your workouts

                      Bring layers to your workouts so that you can add and remove layers as you warm up and cool down.

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                      As previously mentioned, changes in body temperature can be dangerous for the baby – using layers so that you can keep your temperature constant is one the the most simple and best things you can do whilst working out while pregnant.

                      8. Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts

                      Practice the 7 fundamental primal movement patterns in your workouts – squat, lunge, anti-rotate, push, carry, hinge, pull.

                      “We love pregnant mamas to be regularly training their squats, since a low squat is the ideal position for working through contractions and pushing during labor.”

                      They also improve pelvic floor strength and elasticity to help prevent tearing during the natural labor process and teach abdominal strength relative to hip mobility for an easier labor and faster postnatal recovery.

                      Kiberd and her team prefer front squats done with at least a 12-kilogram kettlebell held at the chest. (Choose an appropriate weight for your level.)

                      “The kettlebell gives great feedback to the muscles that need to engage to stand you back up and to stabilize your weight while you’re down in the squat,” she explains.

                      And once the bump gets big? “No weight on the front is needed,” she says. “The belly is that natural weight.”

                      9. Do exercise that your enjoy

                      Because really if you’re enjoying it so will bump and you’ll feel less stressed.

                      Do not making working out while pregnant a chore – if it becomes that way, seek advice from an expert in your gym or area on some new varied things that you can try.

                      10. Practice anti-rotation exercises

                      Practice anti-rotation exercises whilst focussing on the breath for core integration and activation.

                      The Palloff press (a core stabilizer done on a cable machine) and the bear crawls offer the same degree of effectiveness.

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                      “These two exercises engage the external and internal obliques, which are involved in stabilizing the torso in rotation and help stabilize the shoulders down and back.”

                      11. Make sure to wind down properly

                      Cooling down slowly after your workouts and providing a little leeway time before your next appointment will reduce your stress levels and help you feel more balanced.

                      It will also stop sharp changes in body temperature that are non-beneficial to your baby.

                      Take your time and enjoy each session for what it is.

                      The Bottom Line

                      You will have to make fitness modifications as your body changes, but deep down, you know that’s ok. Dr Dawn Harper says

                      “We’re now seeing evidence that exercising in pregnancy may be one of the best things you can do for your baby’s future health. Pregnancy exercise can have a huge impact on your personal experience of pregnancy, too. Provided you follow the expert guidelines, it’s safe for most women to continue and even start exercising in pregnancy. Just make sure you check with your midwife or doctor first, in case there are any specific medical reasons why you should avoid being physically active in pregnancy.”

                      There are certain things that are essential. The first being to check with your Dr/Midwife to be given the ‘OK’ to exercise.

                      There are definite ‘no-nos’ such as abstaining from contact or dangerous sports as well as performing extreme high intensity workouts that bring your heart rate and temperature very, abnormally high for you. It is also contraindicated that you perform any exercises lying on your back.

                      The exciting thing is that you can and should exercise. You simply have to adapt to what is possible by seeking advice of a local pre & post natal expert. If you take one sentence away let it be this:

                      Focus upon your breath, workout at a 7/10 level, strengthen your glutes and perform whole body integrated exercises preferentially led by a pre & post natal expert.

                      And finally, if in doubt, get in the pool for some weight off your feet and relax!

                      References

                      1. Pennick V, Liddle SD. Interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013(CD0011):1-100.
                      2. Sanabria‐Martínez G et al. Effectiveness of physical activity interventions on preventing gestational diabetes mellitus and excessive maternal weight gain: a meta‐analysis. BJOG 2015;122(9):1167-74.
                      3. Price BB et al. Exercise in pregnancy: effect on fitness and obstetric outcomes-a randomized trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012;44(12):2263-9.
                      4. Domenjoz I et al. Effect of physical activity during pregnancy on mode of delivery. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;211(4):401.e1-e11.
                      5. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
                      6. Robledo-Colonia AF et al. Aerobic exercise training during pregnancy reduces depressive symptoms in nulliparous women: a randomised trial. J Physiother 2012;58(1):9-15.
                      7. Perales M et al. Benefits of aerobic or resistance training during pregnancy on maternal health and perinatal outcomes: A systematic review. Early Hum Dev 2016;94:43-8..
                      8. Shi W et al. Epidemiology and risk factors of functional constipation in pregnant women. PloS one 2015;10(7):e0133521
                      9. Gaston A, Prapavessis H. Tired, moody and pregnant? Exercise may be the answer. Psychol Health 2013;28(12):1353-69.
                      10. Barakata et al. Exercise during pregnancy is associated with a shorter duration of labor. A randomized clinical trial 2018, 224 33-40
                      11. May LE et al. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy influences fetal cardiac autonomic control of heart rate and heart rate variability. Early Hum Dev 2010;86(4):213-7.
                      12. Bisson M et al. Physical activity volumes during pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies assessing the association with infant’s birth weight. AJP Reports 2016;6(02):e170-e97.
                      13. Labonte-Lemoyne E et al. Exercise during pregnancy enhances cerebral maturation in the newborn: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2016:1-8.
                      14. Muktabhant B et al. Diet or exercise, or both, for preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2015 Jun 15;(6):CD007145.
                      15. Marques AH, Bjorke-Monsen AL, Teixeira AL, Silverman MN. Maternal stress, nutrition and physical activity: impact on immune function, CNS development and psychopathology. Brain Research. 2015;1617:28–46

                      Featured photo credit: Jernej Graj via unsplash.com

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