5 Strategies to Stay Sane, Be a Happy Single Mom and Raise a Positive Family

By Erika Oliver

I didn’t plan to be a mom. I planned to be a career woman that took a city by storm. Well how hard could that be? I have a couple of college degrees and even though I didn’t have parent role models to pattern after, I’m smart and can figure things out.

Yeah right. Where was the warning label? “Parenting is the most strenuous, scary and unappreciated job on the planet. Prepare to give your soul, sanity and wallet.” It’s true that parenting also offers unimaginable rewards and fun but it’s the moments of utter shock and being pressed to your limits that I wasn’t prepared to navigate.

If you didn’t expect to be a parent (especially a single parent), thought parenting would be easier, or are breaking negative family patterns here are my words of survival – and in many cases triumph – to keep yourself intact and raise a wonderful, loving, and gloriously positive family. [Read more...]

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Spirituality for “Science” Brains: A Step-by-Step Recipe to Tap into Your Spiritual Nature…without Abandoning Logic

 Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 12.41.42 PM“Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”  —Albert Einstein

If you’re a science-minded person, you may assume that you’ll never understand or experience the “touchy-feely” realm of spirituality. Accessing this side of yourself might just be as simple as following the scientific method.

By Thomas J. Strawser

You know you have a pretty good life. All of your basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter are met, as well as more than a few “wants.” But even as you take inventory of all that should fulfill you, you can’t shake the nagging feeling that something is missing. Or maybe you don’t feel that life is all that great. Perhaps you’re worn down by the stress of unemployment, or grieving a loved one, or dealing with crushing anxiety or depression. Either way, you can’t help but wonder: Would my life be better if I believed in God?

Sure, spirituality is supposed to be a source of happiness, fulfillment, and comfort. And it would be great to know your lost loved ones have passed on to something more than a box of dust and bones. But you’re a logical, science-minded person and, frankly, you like it that way. You just can’t bring yourself to believe in what you can’t see. Can you?

 Actually, you can. In fact, you can use the scientific process to help you find and validate a belief in your own Higher Power.As a practical person, you know the scientific process helps us discover solutions that work. And you use the results every day: Just think about wind and electricity. We can’t see these things, yet we believe in them because we can observe their energy and power. Every person has a reservoir of unseen inner spiritual energy that very few ever use.

[Read more...]

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Why Are We in Denial about Death? 

Physicians and Family Members Must Find the Courage and Compassion to Talk about Dying … before It’s Too Late.

By Linda Campanella

I was with my mother and father when the oncologist told Mom the recommended course of treatment for lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain was “palliative, not curative.” Because we are a medical family (my father is a radiologist), we understood what the word “palliative” meant in this context, and there was no misunderstanding the meaning of “not curative.”

The cancer was terminal; it was going to kill my mother. Any treatments would relieve symptoms, but would not cure the disease.

Before we left the oncologist’s office, appointments for initial radiation therapy and chemotherapy sessions were made, and the overall course of treatments had been explained. But, in these anxiety-inducing and grief-filled moments when our family’s journey through incurable, terminal disease was beginning, not a word was said about the full spectrum and promise of palliative care or about the gift hospice would represent when the journey was coming to an end.

[Read more...]

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2014 Dads and Grads Gift Guide

grads_and_dadsThe months of May and June can sometimes catch gift givers off guard. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as high-school and college graduations, there are suddenly many people to shop for in your life in such a short time span. To help our readers, Pittsburgh Better Times has prepared its 4th Annual Gift Guide for Dads and Grads. 

Also, thank you to our readers who also sent in their gift ideas and suggestions for 2014. If you’re looking for a gift idea, our annual gift guide features a wide variety of gift ideas for moms in a variety of categories including home, fashion, beauty, family, and fitness.

If you have other suggestions, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list!

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8 Spring Cleaning Ideas for Less Clutter & More Cash

By Andrea Woroch

Spring has finally sprung and with it, the powerful desire to de-clutter your life. Spring cleaning doesn’t just help you get organized, it can save or make you money, too.

1. Coupons
If you spent the early months of 2012 clipping coupons in resolve to save more money, you likely have overwhelming stacks of vouchers spread through kitchen drawers that go unredeemed. Clean up that coupon clutter with the mobile app fromCouponSherpa.com, where you can easily browse for paperless coupons on-the-go and even download digital grocery deals directly to your store loyalty card so you never miss a discount.

2. Wardrobe
Spring is a great time to reorganize your wardrobe as winter clothes can be swapped with warm weather essentials. It’s also a good time to unload the unworn stuff. Since we tend to wear only 20% of our wardrobe 80% of time, you likely have clothes that can go. Try putting away items at one end of the closet after each time their worn so that at the end of the month you will have a visual reference of what you can part with.

Though donating is great, consider selling the designer stuff at a local consignment shop for extra cash or check out online consignors like CovetShop.com.

[Read more...]

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7 Simple Ways New Moms Can Whip Into Shape

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 9.41.44 AM
Taking care of a new baby is exhausting for mom and her busy schedule can make it difficult to get rid of that baby weight. Although a fitness workout can get mom feeling energized and help her shed a few pounds, there are also other ways for moms to get back into shape without even having to leave the comfort of their own homes. Baby J founder Jennifer Jacobellis shares some ideas for new moms to get back into shape and feel energized once again.

1. Mommy & Me classes: There are several mommy & me classes for mom and baby that are designed specifically for moms to bond with baby while also building strength and increasing flexibility. Mommy and baby yoga classes are great for this but you want to make sure you bring a soft baby mat like the Baby J padded play mat for baby to lie down on. The mat has adorable designs and colors and a Velcro closure so it stays rolled up in your diaper bag and one side always remains clean.

[Read more...]

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

flowersSpring has finally arrived. Flowers are blooming and the sun is shining, which also means that Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Still searching for the perfect gift to buy for mom this Mother’s Day?

To help prepare you buy the perfect gift for your mom, wife, or girlfriend, we’ve assembled our annual Gift Guide for this wonderful time of the year.

Also, thank you to our readers who also sent in their gift ideas and suggestions for 2014. If you’re looking for a gift idea, our annual gift guide features a wide variety of gift ideas for moms in a variety of categories including home, fashion, beauty, family, and fitness.

If you have other suggestions, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list!

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Baby Spinach Quesadillas by Patsy Catsos for VSL#3

image002Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
4 6-inch corn tortillas
1 cup mozzarella cheese, part-skim, shredded
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

Directions

  1. Drizzle canola oil in a cold skillet or on the surface of an electric griddle. Turn the heat on to a medium high setting. Place the corn tortillas on the griddle, Sprinkle first with grated cheese, then with spinach leaves and chopped roasted red peppers.
  2. When the cheese has melted and spinach leaves are wilted, fold each quesadilla in half. Remove them to a cutting board and cut in wedges.
  3. Serve warm.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 84 calories, 4.3g total fat, 79.1mg sodium, 7.1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 4.6g protein.

Recipe provided by registered dietician, author, and advocate of VSL#3Patsy Catsos.

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Coconut Granola Bars by Patsy Catsos for VSL#3

image001Ingredients

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup rice syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 serving protein powder
3 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
1/4 cup ground chia seeds

Directions

  1. Butter a 10 x 15″ baking tray.
  2. Stir the first five ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be the consistency of a stiff cookie dough.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepare baking tray. Spread it out and press it down using a wooden spoon. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Allow the tray to cool before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Servings: 35

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 183 calories, 10.6g total fat, 41.1mg sodium, 18.9g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 5.5g protein.

Recipe Tips

Is your natural peanut butter separated and hard to stir? If it is in a glass jar, warming it briefly in the microwave will help. Remove the lid, microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and measure. If it’s in a plastic container, place the container in warm water for about a minute, then stir and measure. Store leftover peanut butter in the refrigerator to prevent separation.

Recipe provided by registered dietician, author, and advocate of VSL#3, Patsy Catsos.

 

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iPad and iPhone Kung Fu—Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Hacks for iOS 7

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 7.57.00 PMA shortcut straight to power-user level with over 300 tips, tricks, hints, and hacks to make your Apple device the one thing you can’t live without. Learn the secrets of FaceTime, Maps, Safari, and Mail. Transform your Apple device into a go-to office tool, as well as tighten security to deter theft. Designed to be dipped into, most tips in iPad and iPhone Kung Fu take only a minute to implement, but will change your life. Good for iOS 7 on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

Apple changed the world with the iPhone and iPad. But while Apple’s impeccable design and attention to detail makes using the devices easy, getting the very most from the software takes time and effort. iPad and iPhone Kung Fu picks up where instruction manuals finish and wastes no time turning you into an expert.

Whether it’s browsing the web with Safari, emailing with Mail, photographing with the Camera app, sharing on Facebook or Twitter, reading and learning with iBooks, or navigating with Maps, this book digs down into the nitty-gritty of the operating system and its apps. You’ll find the juiciest and most astonishing time-savers and labor-saving tricks for iOS 7.

But the iPad and iPhone aren’t just about content consumption. Learn tricks for using Apple’s iWork applications to edit and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Find tips for using GarageBand to make tunes, and hints for how iMovie can create your latest blockbuster. You’ll discover the secrets of Apple’s iPhoto image editing app too.

This is the premier companion for your Apple adventure, and the only book you need.

What You Need:

For the Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch running iOS 7 (or earlier releases of iOS with some common-sense adaptation)

Available for e-readers in epub, mobi, and PDF formats direct from the publisher and in paperback from fine bookstores worldwide.

About the Author

Keir Thomas has been writing about computers for nearly two decades and is the author of the best-selling Mac Kung Fu and Ubuntu Kung Fu, also from Pragmatic Bookshelf. The author of more than ten books, which have been read by more than a million people and translated into many languages, Keir formerly edited computer magazines. He lives in England with two cats.

View Keir Thomas’s full profile page.

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