Advice to Rebuilding a Relationship with Your Spouse After Recovery

The very fact that your spouse opted to receive treatment for their addiction is something to be proud of. Be that as it may, it is important for you to understand that after rehab and recovery, there is still a lot that needs to happen in order for your loved one to stay sober and life a more productive life. Seeing as how you and your spouse live under one roof, learning how to cope and rebuild your strained marriage will be imperative to the recovery process.
The Prescott House, a rehab facility for men, points out that one of the most common reasons that recovering addicts relapse is due to unresolved relationship issues early on during the recovery process. As such, to help your spouse get back to some sense of normalcy, it will be important for you to try and be a supportive partner. Here are some suggestions on how to begin mending the fences that were ruined by addiction in your household:

Understand That These Things Take Time

Though mending the fences is recommended for helping a spouse who is recovering from addiction, it does not have to be instantaneous. There was a lot that went on during the time that they were suffering from addiction and it may take time to resolve all the feelings involved in that. Though you will start to make leaps and strides towards the success of your relationship, it is important to prepare for setbacks and bumps in the road.

Set Goals

As a recovering addict learns to adapt to new ways of life setting goals and having routines will be a pivotal part in their ability to live a happy and sober life. Therefore, when it comes to repairing the relationship you guys have, you want to sit down as a couple and set up goals and how you’re going to accomplish them. If the issue before the addiction was finances, you might come up with a way to get the bills under control so that it is not a stress trigger. If the issue was infidelity, you might work at finding ways to “spice up” the marriage and communicate more effectively to prevent the problem going forward.

Don’t Get Pulled In

One mistake that can be made once your spouse comes home from recovery is assuming that they’re completely “healed”. Though they may have received treatment for the last 90 days, a lot of their character flaws and ways of thinking are still in them. You may find in the early stages that they’re a bit more impatient and moody at times as they learn to utilize the methods they learned in rehab. As their spouse it is important not to get pulled into their emotional roller coaster. Empathizing with them is fine but don’t feel the need to walk around on eggshells or keep your emotions bottled in for fear that they will react. You have to continue helping them to grow by carrying on as normally as possible.

Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

As a supportive spouse, you want nothing more than to be able to take care of your loved one’s every need. However, in the process, it is important to not get so wrapped up in caring for and supporting them that you forget to take care of yourself. The only way you’re going to be able to remain strong enough to get through this transition and healing period is to be physically and mentally prepared. Getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, eating the right foods, and even the possibility of seeing a therapist for yourself are all great solutions to caring for yourself throughout this process.

There is no denying the fact that rebuilding a relationship with a spouse who was once suffering from addiction can be a roller coaster of events. However, by taking it one day at a time, setting goals, preparing for setbacks, and staying true to yourself, you can ultimately help to repair the damage to your marriage so that you can get back to your “new normal” way of living. The road certainly won’t be easy, but with a plan in place such as the one described above, you will find that it is a lot easier to get through each day learning to love your spouse all over again.

Best Baby Gifts

If you are surrounded by friends who have just started having kids or are currently pregnant, the amount of stuff they need can be confusing and overwhelming. Do you need a wipes warmer? What’s a Diaper Genie? What can we buy them that won’t be clutter, but will also be something that the parents and their kids can enjoy? That’s where we come in – with this gift guide, you can be sure to find something for new parents, whether they already had the kids, or are expecting soon.
Gift Cards Galore

The first thing any new parent will tell you about, besides how adorable their babies are, is how much diapers cost, and how much of a mess their babies make with them. So if you are really and truly completely out of ideas, a gift card to stores like Amazon.com, or Babies R Us, will be received by new parents with welcome and relief that it’s not another onesie that their child has already gotten too big for.

Playmats Are Lovely And Practical

Get your friends’ kids some imaginative playmats. The babies can use them for tummy time, and exploring as they learn how to sit and stand. They should be easy to clean and maintain, portable, and you can find uniquely patterned ones at places like Gilt City.

Happiest Baby On The Block

For new parents, one of the biggest mysteries to solve is what to do when their baby cries. Luckily for new parents, Dr. Harvey Karp has come up with a great solution for them, with his Happiest Baby series. From newborns to toddlers, Dr. Karp provides expert advice on everything from colicky babies to stopping tantrums. Get them the DVDs and the books, so that the parents can watch and learn directly how to swaddle their baby and rock them to soothe them.

Food Containers

As babies get older, they will be eating more solid foods, but in smaller proportions. Moms and dads will need food containment options. Many parents these days are making a huge effort to avoid BPA and plastics, so sturdy mini containers like the Wean Green glass cubes are great practical choices. Another great option is to pick stainless steel containers, which do have the advantage of being less prone to breakage.

Baby Board Books

Get your friends’ kids off to a great educational start with some solid baby board books. It’s never too early to start reading to your kids. Studies have shown that kids whose parents read to them will do better later on in school and in life. Baby board books are great because they can take a lot of abuse and saliva, as baby starts to chew and play with them. There are a ton of options, but we especially love Charley Harper’s line art, Susan Goldman Rubin’s educational series on art masters like Magritte and Matisse, and tongue-in-cheek ones like HTML for Babies.

Towels & Napkins

New parents are forever cleaning up messes for their kids. If they hate having to resort to wipes or paper towels every time, which can get expensive, treat them to a nice big stack of mini-towels or washcloths, which can be used for years.

 

Children And Cellphones

Parents who are consistently concerned about the safety and whereabouts of their children are now more often than not opting to purchase cellphones for their kids. There are numerous inexpensive options out there, many of which can be purchased at a budget price thanks to a Kohls coupon or other special offers, so it’s not a problem. How does a parent know when their child is old enough to be trusted with a cellphone of their very own, though?

Benefits and Drawbacks

The benefits that come with giving your child a cellphone are undeniable, but there are several drawbacks as well. Having the ability to reach out to your child and text or call when you want to know where they are or what they are doing is great for a parent’s peace of mind.

The child will also enjoy having a cellphone, as it gives them a valuable opportunity to fit in with their friends. However, there are certain risks involved. Parents must establish ground rules when allowing their children to use their own cellphone.

First and foremost, the phone should be taken away at bedtime. Think about how often we stay awake texting and talking on the phone as adults. Even though we know we will be tired for work in the morning, it doesn’t stop us in the slightest. Now imagine a teenager who only has a few hours of school to contend with each day. The temptation to stay awake and text is often too difficult to resist.

Teens with cellphones who own a car place themselves at greater risk by texting while driving. Some studies have even shown that talking on the phone, even with a hands free device, impairs driving as much as alcoholic beverages do.

So when does a parent know if their child is ready?

There is no set age limit to when a child should or should not be given a cellphone. Parents must first set a great example with their own mobile usage. If your child sees you driving and texting, staying awake late at night to text and talk and constantly glued to the Internet, they will follow the same patterns.

Look at the developmental traits of your child. Do they normally go out with their friends, without you? Are they consistently on the move? A child who is developing a life of their own, outside of their parents’, is a child who needs a cellphone far more than one whose parents still take them most places.

Ultimately, it is up to the parent to consider the needs of their child and provide for them. Every child wants a cellphone of their own, but very few children truly need one.

Should a parent decide to buy a phone for their child, they must set the ground rules early and stick to them. A basic phone (meaning no data plan) with established time limits, in conjunction with setting a proper example, goes a long way towards ensuring you and your child’s experience with cellphones is a positive one!

 

Paving The Way For New Standards Of Excellence In Private Schooling

Private institutions of education have held a distinguished place in the fabric of American society since the earliest days of this country. However, since the recent days of controversy concerning the Common Core mandate, the perceived disparity between the standards and values offered by private and public schools has once more come between the cross hairs of public opinion.

The Search For A Way Forward Beyond Partisan Political Divides

This division is the focus of much partisan bickering between the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as the particular bugbear of a quite vocal segment of public and private educators themselves. The goal of all educational facilities in America, both private and public, should always be to make students competitive with those in other parts of the world. Although this essential focus is agreed upon by representatives on all sides of the debate, the methods by which the educational system arrives at this result are often violently disagreed upon.

Regardless Of Your Political Stance, Private Schools Have Much To Offer

It should be admitted by even the staunchest advocates of universal public schooling that, regardless of the political stance one takes concerning the eventual results of such an education, private schools do have much to offer the upcoming generation of American business, political, and cultural leaders. In fact, private schools promise to have an influential and long lasting effect on the American school system as a whole.

Partnership Between Private Schools Is An Encouraging Development

The work being done by Elizabeth English Archer at NOLS is an excellent, if by no means uncommon, example of the sort of rich and productive activity that is ongoing at many private educational facilities. Other private facilities, both secular and parochial, have likewise produced excellent results.

Meanwhile, some schools are partnering in order to increase their effectiveness. These new found collaborations between various private educational institutions are an encouraging development in the ongoing history of schooling in the United States. It is important that such collaborations be allowed to continue, because they provide the educational system with a great deal of knowledge gained through valuable experience.

Private Schools Are Engaging In The Search For New Educational Standards

While much of this new found mutual aid and cooperation has come as the result of an ongoing search for a viable alternative to Common Core educational methods, it is nonetheless true that the search has produced extremely promising results. Perhaps the most interesting contemporary result of such efforts has been the recent emphasis on reevaluating and reshaping the modern education of girls. Many new private schools have appeared in the United States that are focused on the task of educating girls in the light of recent social victories won on their behalf by committed activists.

Private Schools Are A Significant Sector Of The Social Landscape

Although no one can state with precision what the future of private institutions of education in the United States will be, it is reasonably certain that they will continue to be a significant sector of the social and cultural landscape of this nation for many years to come. The ongoing struggle for the soul of the American educational system will thus continue to be a relevant factor in the evolution of our society.

You Bet I Wear my prAna Pants 7 Days a Week #7DayStretch

Okay — I will be the first to admit it. I love jeans. Pants of any kind really. I have never been much of a skirt or dress kind of girl (well, unless you could my preschool years, but that was a long, long time ago…).

And not just any pants will do — they have to be super comfortable and look like a tried, at least a little.

I can admit it, I used to live in yoga pants.

But now that I wear scrub pants (hello comfort!) to work 5 days a week, I like to look a little bit more put together at night and on the weekends.

Enter prAna

prana pants

When I was asked to wear a super stylish pair of pants from prAna for 7 days straights, I am not gonna lie – I jumped on the opportunity. I immediately fell in love with about 5 different styles of pants that they offer, and I definitely plan on purchasing more in the very near future.

I finally decided that my week-long love affair with a pair of pants would be with the Halle Pant.

First of all, I am a sucker for any pair of pants that come in a TALL size. All my tall girls know it – quality and cute tall pants are hard to find.

prana

The Halle Pant immediate drew me in for a few reasons. The main being I loved the cut and colors available. I opted for a dark gray because it would go with everything else I own, but I have to admit — I was really tempted by the teal and the olive green.

The Halle Pant is described as being

Durable, moisture managing, water resistant, and reinforced at the knees, the versatile prAna Halle Pant is prepared for mountain hikes, desert bouldering, and anything else you can throw at it. Your imagination will limit you before the Halle ever does.

And they aren’t wrong. Not only can it be worn as a super cute boot cut pant, but you can also convert it into a pair of capris that would be perfect for hiking, boating or anything else you wanted to get into.

Don’t even get me started on the fabulous material!

halle pant

Soft, yet strangely durable, the Halle Pant is made with Stretch ‘Zion’ performance woven with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. These pants can really stand up to all that life (and parenthood) can throw at them. Normally, I look like a mess with something spilled on me within minutes of getting ready, but these pants still looked good right on through until the end of the week.

I also liked that they didn’t get all stretched out like jeans typically do after the second wear. Yes, these were not as form fitting by the end of the week, but they didn’t look like I had been wearing them for days on end either.

All in all, I was very impressed by the high quality of these pants, and yes — they washed up beautifully as well!

Interested in taking the 7 Day Stretch challenge for yourself?? Head on over to the prAna website and check out all the stylish and functional items they have to offer!

Is it time to take off the glasses?

If you wear glasses, you may find them very useful, but chances are that in some situations, you also find them very annoying. They can be uncomfortable to wear, especially when it’s hot. They can fall off your face when you move your head around, a nuisance if you’re the sporty type. They get steamed up in cold weather and accumulate dirt all the time; they’re also vulnerable to breaking, they get tangled in long hair and they’re awkward to combine with other eyewear like safety goggles or 3D cinema glasses. If you’re sick of the hassle, could it be time to give them up? What are your alternatives?

A brand new look

Over the last few years, glasses have been very much in fashion. There’s no denying that they look great on some people, but they also dominate the face. When wearing glasses – especially if you own just one or two pairs – you lose the ability to change your look to go with different outfits or suit different social situations. Without them, you’ll look like a completely different person. You might still opt to wear them some of the time, but having the freedom to choose feels fantastic.

Contact lenses: yes or no?

When most people think about giving up glasses, the first alternative that springs to mind is contact lenses. There are pros and cons to these, and whether or not they’ll work for you will depend on the kind of person you are. Using contact lenses safely requires you to be a fairly diligent, organized person with the patience to go through careful cleaning routines. You’ll need to be prepared to pay a bit more money for them than you would for glasses, and you’ll need to be comfortable placing them on the surface of your eye, though this is something you’ll get used to over time.

You won’t need to have problem-free eyes, however, as the many different types of contact lenses now out there means there’s something to suit almost everybody. They’re very comfortable to wear, they’ll give you amazing all round vision, and despite what people say, they very rarely fall out. You can even get tinted ones to change or enhance the color of your eyes.

Laser eye surgery

If you’re looking for a long-term solution so that you won’t have to worry about glasses or contacts anymore, laser eye surgery could be the solution. You’ll need healthy eyes to be a suitable candidate, but you can get a free Lasik consultation in Toronto to find out if the procedure would work for you. Surgery like this is a painless experience, and you won’t need to stay overnight in a hospital. You’ll have improved vision straight away, and you’ll never need glasses again.

If you’re getting frustrated with your glasses, you don’t need to put up with it. Both contact lenses and laser eye surgery are much more affordable than they used to be and have the potential to transform your life. The only thing you need to decide is when to make it happen.

Why skiing is becoming a popular holiday globally

Dashing down a slope, the cool wind in your hair, beautiful scenery around you as you glide purposefully over soft, white powder…why would anyone not want to take a skiing holiday? Well, more and more people are starting to agree: the most recent Crystal Ski Industry Report – which measures the skiing market ‒ showed that the popularity in ski holidays for 2014 had grown for the first time in five years.

That’s something that Vancouver-based winter sports photographer and ski instructor Jim Decker would encourage. Jim Decker blogs to encourage families to engage with the slopes, not least because it gives him the chance to take beautiful portraits set against the stunning mountainous setting of British Columbia. After all, couples that marry on the slopes are likely to bring their children in later years – introducing a whole new generation to the snow.

But why the sudden rise in interest? The popularity of the most recent Winter Olympics certainly won’t have dampened enthusiasm. Sochi 2014 provided some of the most memorable sporting moments in recent history, with stars such as Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso (US), Chemmy Alcott and Alain Baxter (GBR) swooping in to medal for their country, in exciting events such as the Super-G, Giant Slalom and Slopestyle. There’s nothing like watching experts in their field to make you want to take a lesson.

It also helps that funding into skiing has grown significantly in recent years. In the UK, UK Sport has recently announced that investment into winter sports will rise to £31m ($48.3m) by 2018, over double the figure that was spent in the run up to Sochi. That also applies to skiing specifically as well as the Paralympic version – proving that the sport is becoming more and more inclusive.

And it’s not just the usual countries of Austria, Canada, or France – more and more people are jetting off to less traditional countries, such as Italy, Bansko in Bulgaria, the Chilean Andes, and even Mount Herman in Israel’s Golan Heights. You can even ski in Hawaii, where Mauna Kea’s rare snowfall events produce great powder. Even the Middle East can offer families a fantastic time: the Iranian resort of Shemshak is at 2,550m (8,366 ft) but comes with gloriously blue skies.

Such a variety in destinations also means there is a wide spread of budgets: for those in Europe, a quick hop over to Romania or Slovakia is easy and, thanks to the rise of budget airlines, super cheap, while anyone in the US should look no further than a jump across the border to classic Canada.

It’s not just about cost, either: more people care about health now than ever before, and skiing is an excellent and enjoyable way to get fit, boosting flexibility and cardiovascular condition. And let’s not forget: without skiing there is no après ski! The spa industry is also growing at a rate of knots – the same knots, perhaps, that you’ll be able to get massaged away before you dip into your alpine hot tub. Bliss.

It’s simple – from a rise in interest in Olympic sports, a boost in funding alongside cheaper breaks, a whole host of destinations to choose from, to the promise of après ski ‒ skiing has never looked so cool.

How technology can help us get the best deals online

Shopping online is popular for many reasons. You have a much greater chance of finding a good deal when you can compare the services and prices of different businesses. Here are some of the many ways that technology can help you find the best deal:

Comprehensive searches

Any search engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc has a shopping search that can yield many results. You can easily sort by price or shipping time. One problem with these searches is that for some items they yield few results, especially if something you need is obscure.

Email lists and other deals

Businesses have learned that marketing online is inexpensive and effective. Signing up for a company’s email list or reading their social media posts can result in coupons and other savings. An email list brings the deal to you.

Specific search sites allow for easy quotes

Car loans and insurance rates are good examples of products and services that can be easily compared online. Calling many different companies and giving them all your info can take a lot of time. With an online insurance or car loan quote you can get rates from many different providers and lenders so you can make sure that you are getting the best deal available. This also means you don’t have to deal with any high-pressure sales talks. Your time is valuable, so why waste it?

Utilize apps to track prices

If you know well ahead of time that you need something you can use an app such as camelcamelcamel to track the price and get what you need as inexpensively as possible. This also means that if there is a sudden 50% off sale on Amazon you will know about it.

Always search for discount codes

The world of business is competitive, and the world of internet commerce can be even more competitive. This has led many online retailers to offer incentives such as 10% off your first order. A quick search can yield a code that can save you a lot, so spend the extra minute it takes to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Shop the clearance section of your favorite online stores

Shopping online gives you access to more clearance deals than ever before. If you don’t care if you are wearing last season’s winter coat then you could find yourself wearing designer clothing for discount store prices. Sometimes clearance goods are not returnable unless truly defective, so make sure you are aware of policies before you buy.

Check out sites that specialize in deals

Browsing sites such as Overstock.com and Slickdeals can result in bargains on a variety of items. Overstock has very cheap or free shipping even on large items, so it is a great alternative to Ikea. Slickdeals tracks different deals from a variety of sites around the web. Overstock is great because it has a ton of customer reviews about most items so you can better compare your buying options.

10 Ways to Save Money Around the House

Everybody wants to save more money. Most of the time, though, we look for ways to save money when we go out. We look for discounts on movie tickets, we buy second hand clothing to wear to work and out for evenings on the town. But what if we told you that there were lots of things that you could do to save money right in your own home? It’s true!

Here are the ten best ways to save money around the house:

  1. Turn Off the Lights!

This is particularly easy during the spring and summer months, when it stays light out late into the evening. Just open your blinds and let the natural light do the work for you! Beyond that, only turn on a light when you are actually using it. Leaving the lights on when you leave the room is a huge energy (and money) drain on your wallet!

  1. Unplug Everything!

Did you know that, even when appliances and machines are turned off, they can leach power from the grid? Over time those little amounts of power add up! You can save money by simply unplugging everything that you are not actively using. You can make this even simpler by plugging everything into a power strip.

  1. Bundle Your Services

Television, cable, internet, phone, DVR–these services become much cheaper when you bundle them together. For example, it’s possible to get DirecTV packages that include hundreds of channels, internet service, DVR service, and more, starting at around $50. Even if you can’t get DirecTV in your neighborhood, we’re willing to bet you can cut your bill by at least a third if you bundle everything together under one service plan.

  1. DiY Fix-It

While, yes, you want to leave the major repairs to the pros, you can fix a lot of little stuff yourself. You can fix loose handles, doorknobs and even minor plumbing repairs all for the cost of a screw driver or maybe a few small parts.

  1. DiY Decorating

Never hire someone to paint the inside of your house for you or decorate for you! You can paint and decorate yourself, for a fraction of the cost of hiring a pro. Thanks to sites like Pinterest, there are now tutorials for how to create any look you want with just a few bucks for supplies and a weekend’s worth of free time! Plus, getting crafty is good for the soul.

  1. Grow Your Own

Why are you spending major bucks in your grocer’s produce section? You can grow your own fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices yourself in a few containers. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow a few herbs and spices in a window box! Pro tip? Use the seeds you find in the produce you’ve already purchased to help get your garden started!

  1. Shorter Showers

Even if you aren’t living in a drought-stricken area, taking the shortest shower possible is good for your water and your power bill. The best way to shower is to turn on the water to wet your skin, then turn it off while you’re soaping up and shampooing your hair. Turn it back on again to rinse everything off and viola! You’re done! Look at all the free time you have!

  1. Collect Rainwater

While we’re on the subject of saving water, setting up a rainwater collection system is incredibly easy and reduces your water bill by quite a lot. You can use collected rainwater (for a really robust supply, hook your collector up to your gutter system) to water plants, and for things like washing cars and the outside of your home. There are lots of great uses for gray water!

  1. Potlucks

Instead of going out for a meal with friends, why not have a potluck and stay in? Have everybody bring a dish to share and then settle in for a friendly movie night or game night. Plus, since it’s a potluck, everybody will take their dirty dishes home with them afterwards (save for whatever plates, cups and cutlery you provide) so cleanup shouldn’t be too terrible.

  1. Go out!

Wait, what? We just told you to stay in! In this instance, though, we’re not advocating expensive nights out on the town. Instead, get out during the day for family bike rides or to go hiking with friends. Go for walks or short road trips. Your town probably has way more free stuff to do than you know about. This way you’ll save money on power, water, etc while also getting in some free entertainment!

Have we missed something? What are your favorite methods for saving money at home?

Are you one of 7% who cannot access a short term loan?

Are you one of the 7% who may no longer be able to access a short term loan? If you are, what is your best way forward? Just because you can no longer get a loan doesn’t mean that the need goes away – far from it. What it does mean however is that you may need to try and make some adjustment to your financial status in an effort to improve your rating; even if only by a small degree, and then talk to one of the more responsible lenders, to see if you can qualify for one of their short term loans.

According to information on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website, the new caps they introduced earlier this year have resulted in 7% (approximately 70,000 people) no longer being able to access short term loans. This figure is down on the original 11% they estimated when they floated their proposals in July last year. This group of consumers is an unfortunate by-product of the new rules and regulations that have been brought in to help the majority of borrowers, at the same time as regulating lenders.

Summary of the new caps

The caps that the FCA introduced in January 2015 can be summarized as follows:

  • An initial cost cap of 0.8% per day has been introduced on interest repayments. This should lower the cost of short term loans for the vast majority of borrowers.
  • The total repayment amount of any short term loan cannot exceed 100%. This has been brought in to help to stop a number of borrowers getting into increasing debt.
  • A maximum default fine of £15. This is aimed at helping those people who are struggling to keep up with their repayment.

Repeat borrowing under the microscope

Repeat borrowing is a known feature of the short term loan industry. The FCA will be carrying out some studies in the near future in order to properly assess the feature of repeat borrowing with particular regard as to whether or not lending companies are carrying out adequate checks to assess its ongoing affordability to clients.

These new rules and regulations apply to all HCSTC (High Cost Short Term Loan) agreements. There is also a new ruling about debt reinforcement on all HCSTCs. The new ruling says that any UK based debt collection agencies must refrain from chasing debts on behalf of any Electronic-Commerce Directive (ECD) Lenders where their charges are in excess of the capped rates.

Closing down the loopholes

The FCA has also looked into any potential loopholes, such as UK companies setting up operations abroad, and directing their main business to focus on UK borrowers, utilizing rates over and above the newly capped UK rates. They have been given authority in any such cases to take appropriate action against said lenders.

Before the new caps were introduced the FCA consulted with many industry stakeholders. This group included various professional and academic bodies as well as lenders and consumer groups. At that time, the FCA also forecast that they expected 90% of lenders to freely take part in what is called real time data sharing. This they said would enable the industry to work with current data on the state of the industry. Progress in this area is as expected, so no further consultations are planned at this time.

With complaints about short term loans down by 45%, the new caps appear to be having an effect. It does mean however that the unfortunate 7% of people who cannot access loans are going to have to try and put their houses in better order.