General

How to Teach Your Children to Make Healthy Food Choices

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my contributed posts in my disclaimer)

When kids are young, they soak up information so easily, because their brains are like sponges. They learn from us in every possible way, not just from the things we tell them but from the things we show them with our actions. A lot of the time, we don’t even realize that we’re teaching them anything at all!

Food is something they need to survive, but also something they can develop an unhealthy relationship with if you’re not careful. These patterns learned as children can be seriously hard to break out of. So, what lessons should you teach your kids about food:

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There Is No Good Or Bad

While some food is definitely better in terms of health benefits, calling foods good and bad in front of your kids can definitely help them to develop a negative view of food early on. This is why it isn’t recommended you talk about diets in front of them, what you can and can’t eat, how much you don’t like your body or anything that can make them pick up the same views. Because believe it, they will.

Balance Is Key

Balance is key to living a happy, healthy life. Eating vegetables, fruits, and healthy foods the majority of the time is great, but they should be allowed a treat every so often. For example, 80% of their daily food intake should be made up of healthy choices, and the other 20% they can be allowed a treat. The more they eat healthy foods, the more they’ll want to eat them (the same goes with junk food, so be smart). Getting them used to eating healthy foods while they are young can take time, but it’s worth it. It can take kids multiple times trying a certain new food to start to like it, so don’t give up.

Food Shouldn’t Be Used As A Crutch

A lot of the time, we unknowingly teach kids that food can be a crutch when we’re feeling low. If you give them food when they are bored, to keep them quiet, or for any reason other than they are hungry or they haven’t eaten for a while, then you need to stop this. They shouldn’t be in the fridge just because they have nothing to do. They need to get used to being uncomfortable with having free time and use it to do something creative or find ways to be active and engaged.

The Reasons We Should Eat Lots Of Vegetables And Nutritious Foods

Actually teaching your kids about why things are good for us can make them more aware of what they are eating. Make sure you are factual about this – for example, saying vegetables can help us to grow up big and strong isn’t always the best approach. Tell them which vegetables have what vitamins in them, and how they can help us to be healthier and happier.

My four-year-old knows that carrots help his eyes, and that milk makes his bones strong. You don’t have to go too in depth with it!

When it comes to foods that aren’t so healthy, if they are old enough, it can be better to say that they don’t have as much nutritional value as other foods. If you start saying things like ‘cake makes you fat’ then they are going to start developing negative views.  As they get into the teenage years (16+) you might start talking about nutrition and weight, but it can be extremely damaging on their self-worth if you insert those conversations too early.

Learning from an early age how to make healthy choices, and what foods have more nutritional value than others can definitely help out in the long run. I wish I had learned these things as a child, instead of being a mother before I understood how my diet truly affected my body!

How do you help your young ones to make healthy choices?

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Family, General

Happy and Healthy: Helping Kids Thrive

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Our number one concern as parents is to keep our children safe and happy, and from the moment they are born we have an overwhelming urge to protect this little person. At the same time, we’re not always sure of exactly what to do, or how to do it.

There’s plenty to think about when it comes to our children’s health- here are a few areas to consider.

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Diet

When we grow up, we learn how to tolerate foods we’re not particularly keen on because we know they’re good for us. But kids can’t and won’t do this, so if they don’t like something it can be a struggle getting them to eat it. Putting on pressure and getting annoyed can often make the situation worse.

It’s frustrating as parents when we know they need these things to grow and thrive but won’t eat them, but there are ways around it. Hiding healthy foods is one option. For example, not all kids will sit and eat a bowl of fruit and vegetables but many will sip on a smoothie for breakfast. Along with some berries and banana, throw in a handful of spinach. The taste isn’t detectable but it will pack a punch with nutrition.

Use a food processor to blitz mushroom, carrot, courgette and other veggies and cook it up with the ground meat. It will be fully disguised but means you can use less meat and boost their vegetable intake.

Keep trying different things, if they reject them don’t make a big deal out of it. Try again in a month or two as their tastes can change and develop. Be conscious of their diet young, don’t reward them with unhealthy food or treats and make eating fresh and healthy ingredients completely normal.

Exercise

Kids are naturally very energetic, so it shouldn’t be difficult to help them achieve the sixty minutes of moderate to intense exercise a day. Take them to the park to run around and burn off steam, play with a football or Frisbee or make up a game. Take them to a trampoline park or bouncy castle, ride bikes or have a water fight. It doesn’t need to be a set exercise like swimming or sports, it can be anything that gets them playing and running around. The more fun you make it the better.

Health Conditions

Most health conditions develop as we get older, however, that’s not to say all children are healthy and many do have conditions that they’re born with or develop in childhood. Cancers, bone conditions, organ problems and much more can occur.

Most of us are very overprotective of our children and will seek medical advice when our child is unwell. But don’t feel bad for doing this, better to put your mind at ease and potentially catch any health conditions early.

Protection From Accidents

Parenting is the finding the right balance between wanting to wrap our kids up in cotton wool, and giving them the freedom to learn, explore and do things alone- even if it does mean a few bumps and scrapes along the way.

Follow precautions, when they’re on bikes, roller skates or skateboards they should be wearing a helmet. Keep sharp objects, medicine, and chemicals in a safe place- either in a cupboard with a latch or on a high up shelf. The last thing you want is to end up in the emergency room, particularly if an accident could have been avoided. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, so it’s worth being cautious.

Mental Health

Mental illnesses aren’t something we associate with children, but psychologists have shown that they can and do suffer from them. And think about it, life is stressful for young children. Starting school, learning new things and being introduced to all kinds of new situations. Be gentle and give plenty of praise to children, let them know they can speak to you about anything.

Raising kids is tough. With a community of support behind you though, it’s doable. It truly does take a village.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard or received regarding raising kids?

Happy and Healthy: Helping Kids Thrive - The Southern Smiths: Tips on dealing with your children's diet, exercise, mental health and more!
Cooking, General

7 Healthy Weekday Dinner Crock-pot Recipes

It’s really feeling like a Monday today, isn’t it? It’s so early in the morning, and I’m already dreading cooking dinner.

And then I remember, I just got a new 6 qt crock-pot! Not only that, but my clean eating Pinterest board is full of healthy, low maintenance crock-pot dinner ideas!

So, I’m going to share with y’all a weeks worth of crock-pot dinner recipes, for when you really don’t feel like cooking.

Smoky Chicken Stew

Red Beans and Rice

Parmesan herb chicken and orzo

Cauliflower pizza casserole

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Teriyaki Chicken

Easy Roast

What are your favorite crock-pot recipes?

7 Healthy Weekday Crock-pot Dinner Recipes - The Southern Smiths: A week's worth of clean crockpot dinners to take the stress out of your evening
Cooking, General, Thanksgiving

5 Unique Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

I hope you had a great holiday! Now’s the time where you’re home, you’re relaxing, and you start to realize: you have WAY too much food, and no idea what to do with it. You either hosted, and no one took any home, or you attended and were sent with an oversized roaster pan full of leftovers.

Well, here are 5 more creative recipes to help get rid of those pesky Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Turkey and Cranberry Quesadillas 


Thanksgiving Leftovers Stromboli

Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie with Stuffing Crust 

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pizza 

Turkey Mushroom and Cranberry Risotto 

Have you tried any of these recipes? What’s your favorite thing to do with leftovers?

5 Unique Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes - The Southern Smiths: From stromboli to risotto, these are recipes you don't want to miss!
Family, General

Pregnancy Update!

For those not in the know, I’m currently 31 weeks pregnant. After two boys, we’re finally getting our girl, and I’m so excited!

I usually take one day out of the week to write a blurb about a member of our family, and I figured why should I skip out on Jade?

So here we go, what’s up in Jade’s world?

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I actually had an ultrasound last week, so I’ve got all the details and insider info ready!

Jade is measuring right on track! My due date is remaining in the January 25th area. I’m trying so desperately to avoid ALL the family birthdays that week. (Kody and my aunt share a birthday on the 23rd, isn’t that too close for comfort?)

She’s measuring at 3lbs 10oz, and we couldn’t get a decent length because she wouldn’t stop moving around. They actually weren’t able to get a specific picture of her heart because of her movement but said the ones they got were enough to detect anything.

She is still very obviously a girl, with no doubt at all from the tech or doctors.

This was actually the first ultrasound Kody was able to attend! You should’ve seen his face light up when they showed her little chin and nose profile.

She can turn her head, and her body is starting to plump up. We actually commented on the size of her arm muscles! She’s got some biceps on her.

I have a ton of Braxton-hicks, but nothing that the doctors are concerned about. Though this is my third pregnancy, I still call the doctors at least once a week if anything bothers me. I’m a very anxious momma.

I’m now having visits every two weeks! Time has flown by. Can you believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow?

She likes to turn around and flip a LOT. Last month’s ultrasound she was head down, this time her head is back under my ribs. I can feel her moving constantly, and I’m starting to think she never rests in there!

Her nursery is ready, we’ve got a partial layette, a closet full of wipes and diapers. I’ve got to stock up on some just-in-case formula, but I successfully breastfed the two boys and don’t foresee having any problems. Still, I always stock up just in case there’s an emergency, or someone is watching him and they run out of frozen milk

That’s pretty much all that’s going on in our world!

Do you have children? How many?

Pregnancy Update! - The Southern Smiths: An update about my current (and FINAL) pregnancy!
General, Home Improvement

Are You Prepared For Winter?

(This post is contributed to. You can learn more about my contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Winter is now just around the corner, and you’re going to need to be prepared for what it has to throw at you. It can really take its toll and cause you all kinds of problems if you’re not careful to prepare!
So many people get caught out when they shouldn’t; don’t let that happen to you too.
Here are the best ways to ensure you’re 100% prepared for the winter ahead of you.

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Take Steps to Protect Outdoor Items

Your outdoor hardware and tools need to be protected ahead of winter. You don’t want your electric tools to become frozen and damaged during the winter months. If that happens, you probably won’t even notice until the spring. Improving the quality of protection offered by your shed or garage is a good place to start with this.

Pay Attention to Your Mental Health

The winter blues are common, and they should be taken more seriously in our society. People are more likely to experience depression and stress during the holiday season.
And there are many reasons for that. Although it might not be possible to prevent these kinds of problems, you can pay more attention to your mental health and know when you’re likely to start experiencing problems.

Here are some little-known symptoms of depression you should look out for!

Prevent Pipes Freezing

One of the biggest problems you can experience in your home during winter is frozen pipes. Ever since I was little, my mom has reminded me to slightly run all the taps in the house!
When the pipes freeze up, your entire home and its ability to stay warm could grind to a halt. If your home is in a location that’s going to experience low temperatures, now is the time to insulate the pipes that might be most exposed to the cold. It’s a simple step but it could save you a big headache.

This link can show you how to insulate your pipes, and make sure you don’t have to worry about them freezing up!

Prepare for That Inevitable Cold

Most people experience a common cold during the winter months, and that’s something that you’re going to have to be prepared for. You know it’s coming, so make sure you’re ready for it.

Eat the kinds of foods that are going to boost your immunity. Chicken noodle soup is the best known for this!  You’ll also want to find the best medicine for a runny nose, because we ALL know that’s coming.

These are the kinds of steps that you won’t regret later in winter.

Get Your Car Ready

Your car will also need to be ready for winter. The last thing you want is your car breaking down and stopping you from getting to work on time this winter. Winter is the season in which the most car problems are experienced. And that’s not a coincidence. You should make use of antifreeze and address any of the minor problems your car has been experienced throughout the year. If not, those problems will result in much larger ones.
For more tips on how to prepare your car for the winter, click here!

Your home, your car and your body all need to be prepared correctly for the cold snap that’s ahead. By taking the right steps now, you will avoid problems later.

What ways do you prepare your home (and self!) for the winter?

General, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in 5 Countries

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the day we gather with friends and family, and really focus on how thankful we are to have survived another year. It’s definitely not about the food. Not at all.

I found some interesting things out this month! Did you know, the United States isn’t the only country to celebrate Thanksgiving?

I’m going to go over traditions in four other countries, and list out some of our own as well!

So, what country comes first?

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Japan

Today, while we’re celebrating our harvest festivals, Japan is having a different type of celebration.

On the 23rd of November every year, Japan celebrates   Kinrō Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day)

This holiday they commemorate labor and production, and they give one another thanks.

Different events are held throughout Japan, like the Nagano Labor Festival. This festival encourages peace and human rights, as well as caring for the environment.

It’s not uncommon for school children to create drawings and gift them to the local police stations.

Germany

In most Protestant churches across Germany, the first Sunday in October is   Erntedankfest or The Harvest Thanksgiving Festival

This is a Christian celebration where God is thanked for the gifts of the harvest. The date has been moved many times in history, but in 1972 the Roman Catholic German Bishops’ Conference set the first Sunday of October as a fixed date, without making it a stipulation across other communities.

There are various celebrations, from citywide parades to small church gatherings.

Canada

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Similar to the United States and Germany, theirs is a celebration of thanks at the close of the harvest season.

Though there are religious sects, it is a mostly secular holiday. It’s celebrated almost identically to the way the United States celebrates.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are the only provinces that do not have Thanksgiving as a statutory holiday.

The United States

Most people reading today are probably from the United States.

We celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. It is also a celebration of the blessings received through the year, including the harvest.

We get together with family and friends, watch parades, football, and eat pretty much the same meal every year. But it never gets old, at least not in my family.

This holiday is generally regarded as the start of the Holiday season for most Americans, though others might argue that Halloween is the true beginning of the season.

The Netherlands

Each year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day in the   Pieterskerk (a Gothic church in Leiden), a non-denominational service is held. This service commemorates the pilgrims who migrated to Plymouth Plantation that had resided in Leiden from 1609-1620 and left records of their births, marriages, and deaths.

In Protestant churches, the first Wednesday in November is Dankdag, or Thanksgiving. This is not a public holiday and those who recognize it go to church in the evening, or take the day off and attend the morning service.

Do you know of any celebrations similar to Thanksgiving? What are they?

Thanksgiving in 5 Countries - The Southern Smiths: I go over Thanksgiving Traditions across the world, From the United States to The Netherlands.
General, Thanksgiving

5 Easy Thanksgiving Side Recipes

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, are you ready?

One more day!

I know I’ve got some last-minute postponers out there. It’s down to the wire and you’re thinking

“Crap. I’ve got to bring something”

Never fear! Here are five quick and easy 30-minute side dishes guaranteed to wow your crowd.

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Recipes:

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Instant pot mashed sweet potatoes

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30 Minute Buttermilk Rolls

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Cabernet Cranberry and Currant Sauce

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Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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Keto Green Beans with Proscuitto

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side?

5 Easy Thanksgiving Side Recipes - The Southern Smiths: Easy last minute recipes!
General, Self-Care

Are You Washing Your Hair Correctly?

Chances are, you’re not. Just lather, rinse, repeat, right?

Not exactly.

When I was really, really young, TRESemmé was the hot new thing. I remember there always used to be tips on the back of the bottle, and that’s what activated my interest in proper hair washing techniques.

Let’s get into a few common incorrect ways we wash our hair

                                                          Incorrect

Not soaking your hair

Just standing in the shower for a few seconds isn’t really enough to penetrate through the layers of hair. You want all of your hair wet, not just the top layer

Using the wrong temperature

If your water is too hot, it will open the cuticles and create more frizz. No amount of conditioner is going to reverse the effects of hot water.

Not brushing your hair before jumping in

Brushing out your hair before you shower is super important. It helps loosen dirt and removes any knots or tangles that might be hiding product.

So, what’s the right way to wash hair?

Brush your hair before getting in the shower, to detangle and loosen up the dirt and product from the day.

Make sure /all/ of your hair is wet before starting to shampoo. You want the water to break up and wash away some of the product that can prevent your shampoo from penetrating your hair.

When you begin, work the shampoo into your roots. This is where most of the dirt and debris is going to be. Scrub your scalp, not your hair.

Rinse the shampoo completely. In some instances, you may want to shampoo a second time.

To prevent frizz, switch to colder water before conditioning. This will close the cuticle and make your hair appear smooth and shiny.

Apply conditioner starting at the midshaft and working towards the tips. These are the areas most commonly exposed to the elements.

Rinse again, and dry with your preferred method.

Did you learn anything new from this post? Let me know in the comments!

Are You Washing Your Hair Correctly? - The Southern Smiths: The correct, and incorrect ways of washing your hair.
General, Tips, Tricks, and Advice

SEO Tips From Expert Daniel Anton

* This is a sponsored post *

As a brand you know that having an online presence can impact your success. You may not be particularly clear the role that search engine optimization or SEO plays in that process. Even though major search engines are constantly updating the algorithms, SEO is most definitely essential to business. Someone who knows this personally, and runs his own SEO website, is Daniel Anton. But first, let’s share why SEO is important.

 

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Brings Attention To Your Business

While you may use strategies and social networking sites to help build your audience, they all point back to the main point in your online arsenal; your website. It’s not enough to build a great website and hope people can find it. You need to learn how to get SEO involved by creating content that is relevant and meaningful, gathering the attention of search engines and learning which keywords to include.

If your site contains the products and/or services users hope to find when they enter a search phrase into a browser, then you have a very good chance of finding your site at least on the first page of the search results. When you have done a great job with SEO, your site will show up in the top three results, something that will drastically increase visits to the site.

Helps Navigate Rankings

Navigating the waters of the internet does not mean planning out a roadmap and then sticking to it. Search engines refine their algorithms you will find that your site goes from ranking in the third spot on results to falling off the front of the page. To avoid that, be aware what is working, update your strategy before the changes are implemented and anticipate search algorithm changes! This does take time but it will mean your SEO strategy will continue to be successful and going into the future. Think of backlinks when navigating these rankings!

Builds Credibility

Your website, blog, or other forms of online presence convey something of value to other people.  In terms of a business, you want to educate, entertain, and ultimately convince consumers that what you have to offer is what they need to buy.  Unless you establish some degree of credibility with those consumers, your efforts will go nowhere.

A key component in establishing your credibility is link building. The more links to your site that are found on other credible sites, the better it is for your site’s reputation. Also, you want the links to be natural and not forced. Google and other search engines take all these factors into account when ranking your site.

SEO Teaches You to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

There are older methods of SEO that worked fine in years past, but they left many Internet users feeling a little cheated.  One of those strategies is referred to as keyword stuffing.  Older algorithms did not just look for keyword(s) that related back to the phrases users employed for searches.  They also looked for multiple uses of those phrases.  That meant if you included a commonly used search phrase in your text, the odds of that page showing up high in search results were very good. And the more you used those phrases the better.

SEO Enhances Your Ability to Compete with Other Brands

Your brand may be well respected, and that’s great.  The thing is there are other brands out there that are also known to users, and they have no problem comparing the quality and pricing of your services with those competitors.  You cannot rely on the reputation of your brand alone since just about everybody is looking for a good deal.You have effectively set the standard by which all other competitors will be judged.  Unless they can come up with some strong incentives, many of those shoppers will return to your site and place an order.

SEO Increases the Odds of Getting Your Site Bookmarked

The right type of SEO effort gets people to visit your site once and decide that it is worth coming back to again and again.  If you have used the right approach and the consumer believes that your site offers the benefits promised based on the search results, there is a good chance of it being bookmarked.  Rather than having to find it with another search, the user will simply click on the saved link

Keep in mind that saved link can be shared repeatedly with others.  The person who found your site by means of a web search now has the power to cut and paste that link into the body of an email to a friend or two.  That consumer can decide to share the link via a post on his or her Facebook or Twitter account.

Thanks to those solid SEO strategies, you have created a basis for the time-honored tradition of relationship marketing.

All these great SEO Strategies are perfect to keep your brand or business compatible with others in the business world. If you feel overwhelmed or are unsure of how to get started, I would hire professionals like those who work at RankCrew, started by SEO expert, Daniel Anton. RankCrew offers a variety of various packages to boost your blog such as link building packages, or social building packages. Each is broken down into smaller packages for starters, advanced or enterprise depending on where your brand is. Signing up is free and with over 16 years experience, you know you and your business will be in good hands with this experience, talented and available 24/7 team.

How have you guys utilized SEO? Let me know in the comments below!

[AD] SEO Tips From Expert Daniel Anton - The Southern Smiths: Tips to help you determine if you're using SEO correctly!