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How to Help Elderly Relatives Stay at Home

Elderly person's hands - help elderly relatives stay at home
Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

The majority of elderly people want to live out their retirement in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by the people that they love and their familiar surroundings. Although this is not always possible, there are steps that you can take that can help your loved one to stay in their own home for longer while also being able to live their life to the full.

Make Home Adaptations

Homes are not always safe places for seniors, especially for those with mobility or memory issues. However, there are now many home adaptations that you can make to your elderly relative’s home to make living there easier for them. This includes products such as handrails and grips along corridors and stairs, shower seats to help them to wash safely, and stairlifts to enable them to travel between floors easily. There are many benefits of a home stair lift as your loved one ages and this includes increased independence and the ability to access all areas of their home without the risk of falls or trips.

Find Home or Live-in Care for Your Loved One

Even the families with the best intentions may not always have the time to care for their relative 24/7, and you should look at home or live-in help for your relative. Many caregivers can be employed on a daily basis to help your relative with simple tasks such as getting out of bed and dressing, and there are many services in the UK such as Meals on Wheels to help your family member to care for themselves. If they need a bit of extra help, a live-in caregiver can keep your relative safe 24/7, and they can perform tasks such as cooking and doing domestic chores.

Sort Out Finances

Looking after an elderly relative in their home can be expensive. There are many schemes that can help you to care for your family at home, such as the Disabled Facilities Grant. This grant offers money to help you make home improvements that can help your relative to live independently for longer. You may also consider taking control of these finances if your loved one is unable to look after these themselves.

Give Up Your Own Time

Most importantly though, you should be willing to give up as much as your time as possible to care for an ageing relative. From helping them with domestic tasks to popping in for a chat, your contribution is vital to their independence. You should not bear this burden alone though, and you should make a timetable with other members of your family to divide care between you. You should also only contribute an amount of time that does not detract from your own mental or physical health.

Keep Them Active

You can also help your relative to stay home for longer by keeping them active. This can include arranging for them to attend social events and day groups in their area, as well as planning active outings to encourage them to keep moving, which is beneficial for their overall health.

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How do you plan a family holiday the kids will love?

plan a holiday the kids will love - theme parks are always a god choice
Image by Flo Heibe from Pixabay

Planning a family holiday that everyone will enjoy can be difficult, especially when you have kids. However, by taking your kids’ needs and their wish list into consideration, you will be able to plan a family holiday that both you and your kids will love – you might even never want to return home!

Find the perfect location

The first step in making sure that you book a getaway that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives is to find a perfect location for your family holiday. When you have kids, the perfect location is often one that has many attractions and things to do for children, has good weather to ensure that no one complains of the cold, and that there is plenty of family-friendly accommodation in the area. For instance, the Algarve in Portugal is perfect for families, with its combination of family resorts and expansive beaches, and Florida is the dream destination for every child, with its variety of magical theme parks and beautiful sunshine.

Book attractions for less

You also need to make sure that your destination has enough attractions to keep your kids entertained all holiday long. Although you should make sure that you are able to have some me-time during your visit, ensuring that there are things to do for kids will stave off boredom and keep the kids entertained for longer. However, kids’ attractions such as water and theme parks, wildlife and farm experiences and museums can be expensive, and so you should look around for the best deals on tickets. For instance, if you are heading to the Sunshine State, American Attractions offers Florida tickets for low prices, allowing your kids to enjoy the magic that the state has to offer for longer.

Let the kids help with planning

The best way to make sure that you have planned a holiday that your kids will approve of though, is to get them involved in the planning process. Get a map out and let them discuss where they want to travel to, show them where you will be staying, and use guidebooks and YouTube to help you show them the possibilities. By researching the trip together, you will be able to check that they will enjoy the activities that you have planned and you will be able to increase the excitement around the holiday for everyone in your family.

Reduce travel times

For many children, the worst part of the holiday is the journey, and if you want to prevent eight hours of ‘Are we there yet?’, the best action that you can take is to reduce travel times during the holiday. This may include choosing a destination that is closer to home or staying in one location rather than driving between destinations abroad. If you do have to travel, make sure that you have factored in rest stops every hour or so, and that you pack enough entertainment to keep the kids entertained for the duration of the journey.

The Top Ten Foods and Products You Need to Eat Better

top ten foods - vegetables

If you are like most people, you want to eat better. But with a busy lifestyle, and time spread thin already between work and home, you don’t feel like you have the time or energy to do so. Or perhaps, you have no idea how to get started. Below is a simple list containing a mix of food items and products you can use to eat better. Take a look and see what you can add into your daily routine to get on the right track to healthy eating.

#1. Prep Containers

One of the best ways to begin eating better is to prep your food. With glass or plastic meal prep containers, you can easily create daily lunches for work or go-to snacks when you are on the run. The prep containers have small compartments so you can add in fruits, nuts or cheese.

#2. Air Fryer

Do you love fried food? Who doesn’t? Unfortunately, fried foods like chicken and fries are high in calories and not good for you. Thankfully, there is a product that provides a healthy solution. An Air Fryer can easily be used to cook your favourite fried foods but in a healthy way.

#3. Cauliflower

Considered today’s superfood, cauliflower can be used for basically anything. Make pizza crusts, tater tots, mashed potatoes, the options are endless. By using cauliflower as a substitute for other food items, you are cutting down on calories and enjoying the nutrients from the vegetable.

#4. Supplements

A great way to start to eat better is to add in supplements. Many people struggle with portion control. By using supplement products that contain protein, you will feel fuller quicker. Drink protein shakes or take the supplement in pill form to begin to cut back on the amount of food you are eating.

#5. Vitamins and Minerals

It is also important to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy mind and body. With products like Kyani Team Genesis, you are gaining nutritional value which helps you to begin to feel good when eating better. Tied in with a healthy diet, nutritional products containing the much-needed vitamins and minerals will help you to create a better quality of life.

#6. Spiralizer

This product is both fun and beneficial. The kitchen gadget will allow you to turn zucchini into noodles, that can easily be a pasta substitute for your favourite dishes. You can use the spiralizer on a variety of vegetables to create unique and healthy meals.

#7. Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Having a water bottle on hand that keeps your drink cold is essential to eating better. Adults need to drink 64 ounces of water per day for a healthy lifestyle and drinking more water helps you to stay fuller longer.

#8. Vegetable Steam Basket

Another great option is a vegetable steam basket. This item is affordable and helps you to steam your veggies perfectly every time!

#9. Vegetable Chopper

This product is perfect for getting bite-sized veggies. Use the chopper for salads or supper recipes!

#10. Avocados

Adding avocados to your diet provides a healthy fat that is nutritious and delicious. Easily add avocados to your morning toast, mid-salad or eat fresh as a snack!

These are just a few examples of how you can add products and foods to your daily routine to eat better, enjoying a healthier lifestyle.

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How to Grow Your Instagram Account With 7 Easy Steps

Phone showing images on Instagram
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Using Instagram as a platform for your business can seem like a daunting task, there are literally millions of accounts all jostling for the attention of other users. Regardless of if you are just starting out on Instagram or are just looking to grow your account, we can help. A larger account results in more visibility, more of your target audience engaging in your content which can translate into increased sales and leads. Follow our easy steps to grow your Instagram account!

Create Showstopping Content

Your feed needs to have a certain ‘vibe’ it could be the same filter that you use time and again, the same colour palette or the way you structure and compose your images. Once you have found your vibe, stick with it! Your feed needs to tell a story about you and your business and it needs to be consistent. There is no point in working towards a vibe though, if your content isn’t up to the high standards of other accounts. Don’t rush your content, make sure you make it as good as you can and that it matches your vibe!

Hashtags Are Currency

Even if you are still working on generating your ‘vibe’ you need to know and understand very quickly that hashtags are Instagram currency. Research what the top hashtags are that day, how do they relate to you and your product? Can you use them? What hashtags are your competitors using, should you be using them too? You have space for 30 hashtags on your posts, use all of them! The better you select your hashtags, the more feeds and explore pages you will potentially show up on. Hashtags are your currency for free promotion to a billion Instagram users; make sure you select the ones that will get you out there!

Be Regular

In this day and age, everyone is easy to forget, and everyone is forgotten far faster than ever before. Back in the day, it was seen as edgy to take a hiatus from social media, now you just get forgotten. You need to keep yourself in your audience’s mind, do this by posting awesome content on a regular basis. You don’t want to post every 5 hours, you’ll come across as spammy, but you want to be posting once a day to keep your audience engaged with you.

Engage With Others

Instagram is a game and there is a lot of speculation as to how you can win it. We all know that you need to engage with other accounts to get people interested in your feed and potentially follow you, but you can be even more strategic than that. An hour or so before you post, engage with other content from other users, this way when you post, there is a higher chance that they will see, like and then follow your account. Continue this engagement after you’ve posted too! The logic behind this, is that the more people engage on your content, the more people Instagram will show it to, so engage with others at strategic times to help grow your following.

Write better captions!

This may well take you just as long to write a good caption as it will to create and edit your content! A good caption is what draws the audience in past the image and into your feed. If you have an interesting photo but absolutely zero context to what it is, people will just scroll past the image and look at the next one. You can go so many ways with captions, be it smart, funny, informative or just emojis. Gauge your audience and look at your competitors to see what it is they are doing and what is working on their part.

Post Photos of People

Seems simple and straight forward, but a lot of business and brands forget to post photos of the people that are involved in their projects or business. Faces get an additional 38% more likes than architecture, office spaces etc so it is worth posting the people you are involved with to help boost your following even more!

Track The Best Time To Post

Your target market and desired audience may not be your local community or even on the same to continent. You need to make sure that you are posting your content at the most effective time to maximise its visibility. Check Instagram analytics to find out who engaged with your content most and at what time. You will find that this can give you a valuable insight into who is looking at and engaging with your content. If it isn’t your target market, then you can adjust your posting timing and see if that makes a difference!

Be Safe

Instagram is a hackers’ playground. Along with that, Instagram regularly blocks users. Sales of VPNs for IG and proxies have gone through the roof in recent times whilst users try to protect their privacy. Bottom line: If your account isn’t safe, it can’t grow.

Final Thoughts

Instagram doesn’t have to be a difficult platform to grow your audience on. The main thing that you will need to do above all else is to be consistent. Be consistent with your feed, vibe, narrative, captions, postings and timings. If you are able to be consistent with all of these things, then there is no reason as to why you can’t easily grow your feed and expand your audience!  

Capturing Your Special Moments: Family Photography

3 sisters - family portrait
Image by TréVoy Kelly from Pixabay

With the holiday season just around the corner, what better way to decorate your Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa homes than with the perfect family portrait?

Family photos are the perfect way to welcome the holidays by sending them out as holiday greeting cards, decorating mantle places, and using them as precious gifts for family members.

Family photography is perfect for other occasions as well. Commemorate the newborn in your family, or perhaps the addition of your new “fur” baby.

Family photographs are especially cherished as our loved ones age and pass on. These memories will last a lifetime.

Capturing your most treasured moments is now easier than ever, as Toronto offers a variety of photography studios that specialize in family photography.

Family Photography Locations in Toronto

Although there are a great deal of general photography studios all over the city, Toronto also has a few studios that are geared toward family photography specifically.

The Junction, Humberside, and High Park in the west end, Riverdale and East York in the east end, and Davisville in the north are all options for family photography studios in Toronto.

Outside of the city, Woodbridge and Brampton have studios as well.

Finding the Perfect Family Photographer

With the sheer volume and variety of Toronto family photographers, it may be overwhelming to make a final decision.

However, these days most photographers offer websites with online portfolios. Many also offer links to their social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram, for easy access to additional photos as well.

Reviews of family photographers can easily be found on Google and Yelp.

It is important to find a photographer that you are comfortable with, because feelings of discomfort are easily seen on camera. In addition, you should be confident that the photographer has the skills to represent your family honestly.

Next, decide if you would like a studio shoot, or a location shoot (outdoor or in home).

Types of Family Photography

Most photographers offer a choice of in studio or on location photography –  outdoors, or in the comfort of your own home.

Shooting in a studio vs. on location each have pros and cons.

  • In studio – Shooting in studio allows for a more controlled photoshoot, which can result in better quality photos. In addition backdrops, props, and more photography equipment, such as lighting will be easily available. No need to worry about lighting and weather outside.
  • On Location –Shooting on location can make people feel more relaxed and natural, especially if they are in a place that has special meaning. In addition, children are freer and can run around; this allows for more candid photos.

Keep in mind to schedule sessions at least 1-2 hours before sunset.

Ideas for posing on location are endless and include forests with changing fall colours, meadows, backyards and front lawns, and streams.

A reputable and experienced photographer will know the best-hidden locales, with the best light, so do not hesitate to browse through portfolios for inspiration. The possibilities are endless!

Documentary Family Photography

The newest trend in family photography is veering away from the overly posed and uncomfortable looking studio sessions made famous in the late 1990s. Nowadays, families are opting for documentary style photography sessions, as they live their daily lives. Baking cooking with Grandma and fishing with Granddad are memories that the grandchildren will cherish long after they are gone. Dad helping his daughter with homework, mom cutting son’s hair; these are all regular everyday moments that can be beautifully captured.

Documentary photography tells the family’s story in a way that a portrait studio session never could, making it so much more meaningful and authentic.

Tips for Taking the Perfect Family Photograph

Natural poses are best. Relax and have fun!

Eat beforehand and make sure to be well-rested.

Think about your clothing choices. They must be attractive and comfortable. However, choice of colour and texture depend on the look you are aiming for. Is it bright and bold, or neutral and subdued?

Family Photography Cost

The cost of family photography varies. Photographers in the downtown core typically charge a bit more than those in the outlying areas and suburbs.

Many photographers charge approximately $475-600 (plus HST) per session and include a digital album of about 100 edited images.

Shoots last about 1-2 hours. Prints are later available for purchase, or high-resolution photos are available on USB for an additional cost.

Some photographers even offer the option of ordering hardcover photo books of your sessions.

Note that many photographers limit the session to 4 people/pets.

Family photography is a wonderful way to preserve your most cherished moments. A variety of Toronto photographers are available to take whatever style of photography works best for you and your loved ones.

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Top tips to know before visiting New York City

New York City

Travelling to New York City is not like travelling to any random city. This is a city known all over the world for almost everything. It is like a mecca for tourists, and each year millions of visitors swarmed this city to see its wonderful sites and do things it is known all over the world for. But it can also be confusing, expensive, and stressful for the people who don’t know much about it. So for this reason, we are going to tell our esteemed readers different things to know before travelling to this marvellous city. By knowing that, you will get a better New York City experience. You will also know about different things to do in New York, USA, which will further help you to enjoy. So read this article, and take note of everything shared here.

Top tips to know before visiting New York City

New York City can be a nerve-wracking place. It is crowded, loud, flamboyant, and there seems to be a kind of unwritten code of conduct, which only native citizens can comprehend. These features of this special city make us think that New Yorkers are generally rude people. However, this is not the reality of this place, and there are a nice group of people there. It is just that this city is unique in a lot of ways, and people embrace it, love it, and live a great life being a part of it. What you can do is to know these things before travelling to New York.

Following are some great things we have discussed for you to know before travelling there. So read on and enjoy your trip to New York.

Travel with discount

When you are going on a New York trip, the price of your air ticket may vary. Sometimes you will be asked to pay a little too much for your ticket, and sometimes you won’t. However, there are different ways that can help you reduce the cost of your ticket. You can book through a travel agency, as they provide a great platform to compare your tickets. In this way, you will know the rates of all the outbound flights to New York City. They can also offer you a special promotion or discount package, which will further enhance your savings. You can also find a discount on hotel accommodation, travel transfers, and local transportation in this way.

When I went on a trip to Accra, I availed the services of a travel agency. They helped me find a reasonable discount on the best hotels. I also booked my flight ticket from their platform, which was a bit cheaper from other passengers sitting with me on the plane. Some travel agencies also offer travelling transfers and car rental service.

Travel in a subway

Travelling in New York’s iconic subway is not only cheaper but also faster than travelling on jammed roads and streets. The condition of traffic is beyond anyone’s imaginations. It can take more than an hour just to travel a few blocks in a car. Taxis are also quite expensive in New York City. So it is better to travel on a subway train and evade the traffic along with saving your money.

Know the actual meaning of Downtown

When you heard someone say Downtown in New York, just remember what he or she means is “in a southerly direction” or any neighbourhood below 14th Street. People think that downtown means the commercial part of the city, so they get confused, and probably end up in the wrong place.

Mind your surroundings before taking a snap

When you want to take a photograph in any street, you need to be very careful. First, you need to cross the street and stand at a place where nobody else is going from. You can then take a picture if it doesn’t disturb anyone else. New Yorkers get annoyed when someone stands in his or her way just to take a snap of themselves in the middle of the street.

Never hesitate to ask for assistance

New Yorkers are considered rude people, but this entirely untrue. They just get a little annoyed when they see themselves being entangled with a tourist. However, they are quite welcoming when someone asks for his or her help, and are always more than willing to assist. So you should never hesitate to ask for their help.

Don’t spend too much time at Times Square

Times Square is a huge tourist trap in this city. It can take up a lot of your precious time, and all it offers is some pictures. So try to take a few snaps there and avoid it at all costs.

Avoid dining in at chain restaurants

You should always buy eateries from local restaurants instead of food chains in the city of New York. Chain restaurants are quite expensive, and they can easily rip you off. So it is better to eat from local restaurants. They have equally tasty food and offer a lot of variety to their customers.

New York City is expensive

New York City is not a cheap city. Everything you find here is overly priced. So you need to carry some good bucks in your pocket before travelling there. If you are on a budget, you should purchase basic items from back home and bring them along with you.

Stay safe when wandering in NYC

Although this city is quite safe, it is wise to take extra care of your surroundings. Try to avoid dark alleys, as there is always going to be a threat of being mugged. There are also pickpockets, so make sure your pockets are always protected and you are paying attention.

Avoid anyone in a costume

There are people in several types of costumes that will literally photobomb you, even if you don’t like their appearance, and then ask for money afterwards. So make sure they are nowhere near when you are taking a snap.

Avoid exchanging currency at the airport or exchange places

Avoid exchanging currency at the airport or any other exchange shop. Instead, try a bank that offers this service, or just simply use your debit card to draw money from an ATM machine.

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Top 8 festivals in Asia you must attend

people looking at Chinese lanterns - festivals in Asia

Being home to the earliest human settlements, Asia is a continent with traditions and cultural heritage roots that runs down deep. With such rich historical association comes great multiple traditions that are followed in every corner of the biggest continent of Earth. There is so much diversity in cultures due to history, landscape, traditions, religions, and other aspects, each region has its unique festivals that are celebrated all over the place. So visiting Asia to enjoy its amazing festivals is another kind of tourism which we are going to promote in this article. For this reason, we are going to discuss the top 8 festivals in Asia you must attend once in your life. Read on, learn about these festivals and plan a trip to this continent to have a great time.

Songkran – Thailand

Songkran is celebrated as the beginning of traditional Thai New Year. It is also an important date in the Buddhist calendar. You can enjoy this festival by getting a water gun and filling it to fight with others. This moment sends you to your childhood memories, but with events like these, you can easily relive those moments and enjoy a great time. You can also use a bucket of water, or any other means to throw water on others.

In order to reach Thailand in the most suitable rates and find decent accommodation to enjoy this amazing festival, you need to visit this link This travel agency is one of the best in the business and you can find amazing travel deals and packages easily. They can also help you build a custom travel plan too as suited best on you. We highly recommend their services to all our readers due to their exemplary record in the travel agency business.

Eid-ul-Adha – Pakistan

Although there are many Muslim countries that celebrate this religious event in full swing and spirit, Pakistan is the place to be if you want to get the truest feeling of Eid-ul-Adha. Celebrations and preparations start a month before the Eid and run almost 2 3 weeks after the event. This event is the most fun time to be in Pakistan as people of all age groups enjoy it to their fullest. It is a tradition to buy cattle from cattle markets and sacrifice them on the Eid day. Then their meat is used in barbecue parties, weddings, distribution in the poor families, and other parties of all sorts. If you are a true lover of meat, Pakistan is the place to be. The cattle sacrificed for this event are mostly cows, buffalos, camels, goats, sheep and yak.

Holi Festival – India and Nepal

Holi is a festival of Hindus and is celebrated all over the world with great enthusiasm. But we recommend you to celebrate this moment of joy and happiness in India or Nepal. Holi, or more commonly known as the Festival of Colours is celebrated in every street and home in India. People fight with colours and watercolours. They also enjoy Holika Bonfires, along with a colourful display of fireworks. It symbolizes the burning of the Holika, which was a devil in Hindu mythology. This festival is enjoyed by millions of tourists each year, so when you are going to take part in it?

Snow and Ice Festival, Harbin – China

Harbin is one of the coldest cities of China, but winter spirits are always high there. This city hosts the annual Snow and Ice festival, and you can see different sculptures, artworks, statues, castles and countless other monuments made from ice. This place becomes a winter wonderland for visitors, and it is open to everyone. This place is not just special in its own way, but it is also unique. So book a trip to Harbin, China and enjoy this unique festival.

Thingyan – Myanmar

Thingyan is just like Songkran, but this festival is known with a different name in Myanmar. People love to sprinkle water on others and play with it as they used to in their childhood. You can have a great time in Myanmar celebrating this festival with your family, friends, loved one, or even local acquaintances.

Mevlana Calaledin Rumi, Konya – Turkey

Mevlana Calaledin Rumi is celebrated in Konya, Turkey from 7 to 17th December. This is a Sufi festival and it begins in the 13th century after the death of the famous Persian poet and philosopher Rumi. On this occasion, the whirling Dervishes celebrate the life of their Sufi poet and spiritual leader in order to achieve the frenzy and unity with God. This controlled spinning is a great thing to witness, and you can experience this unique dance in no other part of the world. So book your tickets to Turkey now and enjoy one of the best times of your life by attending this event.

Bali Kite Festival, Bali – Indonesia

Bali Kite Festival is not a typical kite flying festival, it has a religious touch to it. But people from all over the world are welcomed there to celebrate it with the locals. The kites that people flow have a purpose to communicate with the Hindu Gods, to bless their harvest. It is said that the bigger the kite, the better it will be for anyone to communicate with the gods. So people fly huge kites in their gods’ honour. There are also certain competitions that are held all over Bali on this amazing event.

Pingxi Lantern Festival – Taiwan

Pingxi is the festival of welcoming the locals and tourists from all over the world. This lantern festival is a great way to mark the beginning of the spring season, and a great chance for you to take a few snaps for your Instagram profile. You can witness thousands of lanterns being released into the night sky. You can also bring your own lanterns and release them. This is indeed a great moment of joy and happiness for anyone.

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What to Pack in Modern Lunchboxes for Kids?

Lots of parents have a level of anxiety about packing their kids’ lunchbox that makes morning times less than ideal. The fact is that lunchtime should be a fun occasion for kids where they can let their hair down and eat something that gives them a boost.

packed lunchbox
Image by jun yang from Pixabay

Choosing the Best Lunchbox Snack

Putting together the right lunchboxes that kids will enjoy is not always an easy thing for parents to do. The problem is that so many parents have so little time to dedicate to the morning routine that they simply stick in a bunch of snacks without much thought. This often leads to lunch and break times that are not always so much fun for kids as they struggle to find something they really want to eat.

Fussiness is all part of growing up and the real challenge for many parents is to come up with a lunchbox food formula that works. The ideal lunchbox is different for every child, but kids usually want the following kinds of foods:

  • Easy to handle foods that are convenient for their small hands to grasp
  • Foods that look like they might be fun to eat
  • Foods that look familiar to them
  • Foods that taste good

As you can imagine, this situation is more like a puzzle for the average parent who might be stretched in a dozen different directions on a busy school morning.

A Snack for the Busy Parent and the Fussy Child

When kids become fussy, it can be a real headache for parents. How many times have you packed a lunchbox only to find that half of it hasn’t even been eaten?

It’s important to choose the right kinds of snacks for a lunchbox. They should certainly be small enough to fit inside the lunchbox and should be easy enough to handle for the child. They should also be appealing and taste good.

Strings & Things from Kerry Foods has ideal snacks for lunchboxes because they are small and easy enough to hold, even on a busy playground. It’s also easy to eat and has an appealing fun factor that most kids will like.

Making Lunchtime Fun Again

In this context, it’s important to make sure that lunchtimes at school are fun. Kids get distracted easily and packing a lunchbox full of appealing snacks is the key to grabbing their attention and making sure that they eat something during the day.

Lunchtimes are also a great time of the day for kids to let their hair down, play, and relax. They can connect with friends and make new friends. The ideal snack fits into this scenario and doesn’t demand too much of their time or get in the way of what they want to do.

Strings & Things from Kerry Foods make lunchtimes fun because it fits into what lunchtime should really be about: a fun social part of the day where kids can play and have something to eat that’s appealing and not overly demanding.

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Bankruptcy Basics – Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13

I’m writing this article as an experienced Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer to provide you with an outline of the basics of bankruptcy and to answer some common questions.

What Kind of Bankruptcies Are There?

The two types of bankruptcy most commonly filed by consumer debtors are called “Chapter 7” Bankruptcy and “Chapter 13” Bankruptcy, after the Bankruptcy Code sections where the applicable law is found.  Whether to file under one Chapter or the other depends upon several factors, including your current income, the value of your assets, and your goals in filing a bankruptcy petition.

How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?

If you file your bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7, you have passed the “means test” (an evaluation of your debt and your income and family size in relation to the median income for your state).  Your attorney will help you determine whether you qualify to file Chapter 7 – extraordinary medical, commuting or childcare expenses can also factor in and render you eligible to file even if your income is above the median for your family size. 

Procedurally, a bankruptcy case is commenced when one files a “petition.”  Once the petition is filed, the “automatic stay” goes into effect, which stops or “stays” collection actions against you, including lawsuits.  When you file your petition, you will also file “schedules” in which you set forth your personal information and your debts, your income, your expenses, and the nature and value of your possessions and assets. 

Your assets, less some “exemptions,” constitutes your Bankruptcy “estate.”   The estate is administered by a Trustee.  The Trustee will meet with you and your attorney at the “341(a) hearing” to establish your identity and verify facts set forth in your petition and schedules, and to make further inquiries if warranted.

If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can expect to receive a “discharge” of unsecured debt within four to six months from filing, barring complications, and then your case will close, giving you your fresh start.

How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?

If instead of filing a Chapter 7 petition you have filed your petition under Chapter 13, you will have experienced much the same procedure as if you had filed under Chapter 7, and also you will have filed a proposed repayment “plan” lasting three or five years.  You will commence making monthly plan payments to the trustee, who will, in turn, make distributions to your creditors in order of priority as set forth in that plan. 

When all plan payments have been made, your Chapter 13 plan is completed and you will receive a discharge as to that portion of unsecured debt which was not be paid through your plan.

As you might imagine, there is much to consider in determining whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing is appropriate for you. You should meet with a qualified bankruptcy attorney before making the decision.

I’ve heard that the Trustee can seize my assets if I file Chapter 7 – is this true?

The short answer is yes, Trustees have the power to seize assets that are not “exempt” from the bankruptcy “estate” (all of your assets and possessions). Your attorney’s job is to make sure all of your assets are protected from seizure by fully utilizing all “exemptions” (statutory means of taking assets/possessions out of the estate) available under the law. 

Be aware that, to the extent your estate exceeds your allowable exemptions, the Chapter 7 trustee may liquidate (sell) and distribute that portion of your estate to your creditors.  This can be problematic if, for example, you have equity in your home or car; in other words, if your home or car are worth more than you owe on them. 

One of the purposes of your initial consultation with your attorney is to determine whether any of your assets are at risk of sale by the Trustee.  If so, and you want to retain possessions that are non-exempt and/or in which you have equity, Chapter 7 may not be right for you and your attorney will help you explore your other options, including Chapter 13.

Is Debt Settlement Better than Bankruptcy?

No, unless you have only one or two creditors and those are willing to negotiate with you.

You should know that no creditor is required to negotiate with you outside of bankruptcy. Each of your creditors is entitled to be paid in full per the terms of their contracts with you, and creditors have little incentive to negotiate with you unless the law intervenes somehow. Filing a bankruptcy petition is the only sure way to stop collection efforts and force creditors to the table.

Can Bankruptcy Help Me With Student Loan Debt?

Bankruptcy will probably not help you with student loan debt unless they are private loans.  Consult with your attorney about whether your student loans qualify for discharge.

There are programs available through your loan servicer that can help you temporarily postpone or reduce your student loan payments.  For example, a deferment is a period of time, usually a year, during which your payments are temporarily postponed.  However, interest continues to accrue on unsubsidized loans and maybe capitalized, i.e., added to your principal balance, therefore, while loan deferment may provide you with temporary relief, it may also increase your overall debt. 

Forbearance can also eliminate or reduce your monthly payment temporarily.  There are two types of forbearance:  mandatory and discretionary.  You may ask your lender for discretionary forbearance due to financial hardship or illness.  Mandatory forbearance is granted when certain conditions are met, among them whether your student loan payment is twenty percent or more of your gross monthly income.

It is important that you avoid defaulting on student loans in order to remain eligible for programs such as these.  If your unsecured or medical debt burden is compromising your ability to pay your student loans and your monthly expenses, perhaps debt consolidation or bankruptcy can help you.

What Does Filing Bankruptcy Do To My Credit?

While it is true that a bankruptcy filing can remain on your credit report up to ten years, many debtors find that after they receive their discharge their credit scores rise because their debt-to-income ratio has dramatically improved. 

After receiving a discharge of unsecured debt, you can and should go about repairing your credit by paying all bills, such as student loans, utilities, rent or mortgage, and car loan or lease, on time and in full.  This way, if you need to borrow money in the years following bankruptcy you can show the lender a positive payment history after bankruptcy helped you achieve a fresh start.

About the author:

David M. Offen, Esq.

Mr. Offen is a Philadelphia bankruptcy attorney who attended Temple University College and Law School. Mr. Offen is licensed to practice in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is a member of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and maintains an active blog on all aspects of bankruptcy filing and current events.

This is a collaborative post

Where Does CBD Oil Come From?

CBD oil is made from marijuana or hemp plants. Both of these plants are among the earliest agricultural crops in history. Cultures have been using hemp fibres to make ropes and materials for millennia. The seeds are used for health purposes, and the flowers have medical-related applications.

People started cultivating hemp and cannabis as they came to understand that different types of cannabis served different purposes.

In ancient Egypt, pregnant women were given marijuana to ease the pain of childbirth. In the Old World, hemp was used to make clothes and construction materials. In the early 20th century, people started breeding cannabis plants to contain high THC concentrations to make them more potent.

Facts and Figures

CBD, the abbreviation for cannabidiol, is one of the hemp plant’s many cannabinoids. The amount of CBD in CBD oil is not excessive so as to spark concern regarding overdosing. Still, dosages above 100 mg a day are not recommended unless you have a doctor’s approval. It’s also a good idea to ask a doctor if you can safely consume CBD oil if you are taking any other medication. CBD is not known to interact with other medication in general, but it still helps to be aware of the risks.

Image by Julia Teichmann from Pixabay

Flavonoids and terpenes are just as important to the efficacy of the oil as the CBD content and quality. The best ones are fully preserved in golden CBD oil, the quality of which is superior to that of all other oils.

Hemp vs. Marijuana

There are some differences between the plants, with the appearance being the first and most obvious one. Marijuana plants are bulky and short, while hemp plants are tall and slender.

How is CBD Oil Made?

There are several ways to extract the oil from hemp, such as using hydrocarbon, ethanol, or CO2 as solvents. Full information on this is available at one of the UK’s leading CBD brands.  The oil is separated from the plants via specific extraction processes into four main types. The best one is filtered golden oil, which is 100% pure. There is also isolate, which contains no terpenes, no cannabinoids besides CBD, and no flavonoids. Terpenes can be added to the isolate after it’s made. CBD isolate is crystals in pure form, extracted from industrial hemp.

Raw CBD oil contains all the hemp elements including the impurities. Distillate is a form of processed and enhanced CBD with fewer cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.

Europe’s Hemp Leaders

France is Europe’s hemp growth leader with 14,500 hectares followed by Estonia with 3,500 hectares. The biggest licensed hemp farms in Europe are Endoca and Aurora Cannabis.

Licensing for European Hemp

Industrial hemp is legal in most European countries. Authorities state that it is legal to cultivate and supply plants for hemp fibre in the European Union if their THC content is low. Hemp rarely contains more than 0.3% THC. In the EU, you can grow industrial hemp legally if it contains less than 0.2% THC. Each country has specific legislation. EU-based farmers can get subsidies to cultivate hemp. Hemp producers in the UK must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

This is a collaborative post.

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