Our Stories

Engaged Learning

Igniting a Love for Learning: Transformative Strategies for Engaging Young Minds

The traditional approach of rigid educational structures is rapidly overshadowed by the need for innovative, engaging methodologies to kindle a deep-seated love for learning among children. This transformative journey begins not within the confines of a classroom but within the dynamic, curiosity-driven spaces we create for our children at home and beyond. The essence of this article — from Settle in El Paso's collaborator, Sara Bailey— is to explore creative strategies that make learning an adventure—a treasure hunt where every discovery fuels the desire to explore further. Fostering a Curiosity-Rich Environment The cornerstone of an engaging learning experience is a curiosity-rich environment. It's about turning the mundane into the magical, where every question leads to a journey of discovery. Encourage your children to question the world around them, and more importantly, embark on quests for answers together. This shared exploration strengthens bonds and instills in them the understanding that learning is an endless adventure, not confined to textbooks or classrooms. Lifelong Learning as a Family Value The most powerful educational tool is your own example. Demonstrating a genuine enthusiasm for ...
Read More
Family car

The Ultimate Guide To Upsizing Your Car In El Paso

The following article is written by Jackie Edwards. Jackie is passionate about writing about family lifestyle. She contributed many other articles to our blog in the past. In this article, Jackie provides a guide about upsizing a car. Spacious interiors, advanced safety features, and a track record of reliability are key considerations when upsizing your family car. Indeed, as a growing family in El Paso, you are seeking more than just a mode of transportation; you’re craving spacious interiors that can accommodate everything from sports gear to strollers, advanced safety features that instill confidence on bustling highways, and a track record of reliability that withstands the city's diverse terrain and weather conditions. As the needs of your family evolve, so do your expectations for the ultimate vehicle that’ll not only transport you but also become an essential part of your family's journey through life's adventures in El Paso. Choosing a spacious family vehicle Choosing a vehicle with ample seating to comfortably accommodate your entire family, along with extra space for unexpected guests, ensures flexibility for various outings. If you have more than ...
Read More
parenthood: How to Prepare for it

Enjoying Motherhood: How To Prepare for Parenthood

Motherhood is beautiful, but it is also stressful when you are a new parent. Without adequate preparation, you may feel more anxious and stressed when the baby comes. Preparing doesn't make parenthood easy, but it does help you handle it with grace. This article is written by Sara Bailey. Many thanks to Sara for her repeated support with valuable articles on our website A Family Blog: Settle in El Paso. This article offers some valuable tips to help you along. Prepare Before Conception We understand that preconception is an important time to ensure optimal health and wellness. During this period, it’s essential to evaluate potential genetic disorders and perform tests for nutrition and other necessary elements. Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that screening tests can help identify any medical or genetic risks that could potentially lead to complications during pregnancy or after birth. Vitamin abnormality testing is important to figure out possible metabolic imbalances that could affect the baby's development. Additionally, it's also important to speak with your doctor about the top supplements you should be taking during pregnancy, like methylfolate, ...
Read More
Parental efficiency

Mastering Parental Efficiency: How to Streamline Living and Financial Savings

Parenthood is as chaotic as it is fulfilling. Balancing work, family, and personal life often leaves parents feeling drained and stressed. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel!You can regain control over life's frenzied pace while keeping your finances under control by adopting smart organization methods. This article, written by Sara Bailey to be published on our website, Settle in El Paso, presents actionable insights for parents on the go to become more organized, efficient, and financially savvy. Create a Daily Task Agenda Creating a daily checklist helps bring clarity to the myriad of tasks that need attention. Drafting this list at the beginning of the day sets the tone for what needs to be achieved. Organize the tasks by priority to guide your focus through the day. Checking off these tasks offers a sense of accomplishment and can significantly boost your motivation. Adopt this strategy, and you’ll likely find it makes the day's chaos more navigable. Manage Your Receipts Paper receipts can easily become a source of clutter and stress. But keeping track of receipts is essential for ...
Read More
How to help your child succeed at school

How to help your child succeed at school

As parents, we have an excellent opportunity to help our children learn, grow and thrive. Of course, helping children succeed at school starts with assisting them in understanding school. We can help our children understand their own needs in a classroom, such as requesting the teacher to repeat something for better clarification. We can also talk to our children about how the school day runs and what is required of them to succeed. In addition, a home is a place where many other items need to be practiced to foster a child’s academic growth.  Here are some tips for helping your child succeed at school. Learn about school and your child’s education Talk with your child’s teacher about school and school programs, including class schedules, homework expectations, and what teachers expect from students. Remember that teachers are always busy, yet they are willing to communicate with parents. Be brief and respectful about their time. It is always good to ask the teacher a generic question -- is there anything I can do at home to help my child succeed in ...
Read More
Rethinking / reimagining museums

Rethinking museum tours

I like going to any museum. A science museum is not only about science; it is also about the history of science and how the life of people can be influenced by science. Similarly, an art museum demonstrates the creative minds of the past that can be compared to contemporary art. Art reflects the history of an era. A museum of dinosaurs not only displays prehistoric creatures but also demonstrates the scientific breakthroughs of paleontology. A museum can be considered a portal to the past. Looking at artifacts opens the doorway to realize the vastness of the surroundings. A museum displaying fossilized beings will provide insights into the evolution of living beings. A museum displaying early native arts will help by giving birth to new ideas for modern artists. Knowing the history of anything helps avoid past mistakes and take the inspiration to pursue the greater good. Museums are portals of summarized research from which innovators can learn and take inspiration from. I like to visit any museum because whatever the type of the museum is -- it somehow connects ...
Read More
Discounts For Traveling With Kids

How Discounts Can Make Traveling with Kids Less Stressful and More Fun

Do you remember the times when you looked forward to traveling, where the journey was just as much fun as the destination? That was probably before you had kids. As a parent, traveling changes. You might feel overwhelmed alone with a crying baby on an airplane. Or, you have a bored toddler screaming in the backseat. And some destinations require more preparation, like bringing a portable crib, high chair, or potty. On top of all that, everything just seems more expensive. That can make traveling on a budget very challenging. Traveling with kids isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. It also doesn’t have to be stressful on your finances. And all you have to do is look for discounts. Sara Bailey explains how to do it on our website Settle In El Paso. Get Them a New Toy A new toy can be exciting for kids at just about any age. It can be a distraction from boredom, an interesting stimulus, or an appealing reward for good behavior. Some parents who limit their child’s access ...
Read More
Renovation Ideas for Healthier Life

5 Home Renovations That Will Make You Healthier

If you’re planning a home improvement project in the near future, you might already know how important it is to protect your indoor air quality during the demolition and construction phases. However, keeping the air clean isn’t the only way you can promote better health during home improvements. By choosing the right materials and picking specific types of projects, you can make your home even healthier than before. Below, Sara Bailey presents projects around the home and yard that can improve your well-being even after the work is complete. Tackle Mold Problems Mold in the home is unsightly, but it also has serious health consequences if the problem gets out of hand. Mold can grow where excess moisture builds up, such as damp basements or bathrooms with poor ventilation. It can damage drywall, ceilings and even the beams of your home in serious cases. Removing mold is a challenging task, but it’s important for your own health as well as the structure of your home. Because it’s sometimes dangerous to get rid of mold on your own, you may need ...
Read More
Welcome to El Paso

Welcome to El Paso, Texas! Here’s What You Need to Settle In

Sara Bailey, the creator of Thewidow.net, contributed the following article to our website. Her writing reflects a passion for family love, parenting, and values. This time, she provided us with an article loaded with useful links for new El Paso members. If you’re after a family-friendly community with great schools and an affordable cost of living, you’ve come to the right place. El Paso has a lot to offer. From a vibrant arts scene to excellent eateries, it won’t be long before you fall in love with El Paso’s way of life. But first, you need to take care of business. The following list offers everything new homeowners need to get around. Settling Into Your El Paso County Home Set up utilities at home Find an internet provider Get the best tips for unpacking after a move Find El Paso Services Find an electrician Locate a plumber Connect with a handyman Cleaning services Lawn care Resources for El Paso Drivers Learn how to get a Real ID Locate your nearest DMV Find a trustworthy auto repair shop Moving your business ...
Read More
Essential Baby apps

Essential Apps to Take the Stress Out Of First-Time Parenting

Sara Bailey, the creator of Thewidow.net, contributed the following article to our website. Her writing reflects a passion for family love, parenting, and values. The article below provides information on apps that can reduce stress out of first-time parenting. Being a first-time parent can be exhausting. You aren’t getting as much sleep as you’d like, and you stress about the health and wellness of your little one. While they can’t eliminate all your stress, the following apps can give you insight into your little one’s eating, sleeping, and development and give you extra peace of mind knowing your little one is healthy. Glow Baby If you’re a first-time parent, you’re concerned about your baby reaching all their first milestones, like learning to sit up, roll over, crawl, walk, and start eating solid foods. With the Glow Baby app, you’ll be able to celebrate each of your baby’s first 101 milestones and track their growth and development. The app also lets you track their feeding schedule, diaper changes, and sleeping habits. The app displays all this information in easy-to-read charts so ...
Read More
find time for yourself with a new baby. #newbaby #selfcare #mommy #mommytime #mommycare

5 Ways to Find Time for Yourself with a New Baby

Mommies struggling to sneak in some me-time is not new. I’m pretty sure cave-women faced the same emotions and struggles when they had a baby. There wasn’t much to be done about it sixty thousand years ago. But it’s 21st century now and we can certainly tweak our super tight schedule a bit to get some time off babysitting. There’s no shame in thinking about taking care of yourself after having a baby. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I mean, look at you! When was the last time you slept like a log or had a night out with your gal pals? Your child is and should be the priority of your life. But that doesn’t mean you should stop living your life. Here are five ways in which you can find some time to blow off some steam after pregnancy. Utilizing the Nap Hours Training older children to sleep between 7:30-8:00 PM is great because, after that, a mom can do whatever she wants until the infant wakes up at night crying at the top of her/his lungs ...
Read More
Skills that help your child

8 Lifeskills to Teach Your Kids before They Turn 7

I have cancer, I don’t have too long and my kids will be helpless orphans who will grow up to become sociopaths -- This kind of crappy thoughts often run through your head, don’t they? Don’t lie. Parenting is hard. While taking care of a child is the most fulfilling thing you can do with your life, you can’t ignore the anxiety and stress that come with it. You can’t be there for your kids forever, that’s the bitter truth of life. But you can at least teach them how to face every challenge life will eventually throw at them head-on. The earlier the learning begins, the better. Take a look at the list of 8 life skills your child should master before she/he turns 7. Of course, there are many more things to learn but let’s start with the most basics, shall we? 1. Preparing a Simple Meal No, your 7-year-old doesn’t necessarily have to know how to make duck confit with spicy pickled raisins (although, it would be pretty cool!). But what your child can do at this ...
Read More
Financial planning: Plan Early, Save Often: Financial Planning Tips for Parents #financialplanning #finanance #moneyplanning #family

Plan Early, Save Often: Financial Planning Tips for Parents

Sara Bailey, the creator of Thewidow.net, contributed the following article to our website. Her writing reflects a passion for family love, parenting, and values. The article below is about financial planning that every parent needs to consider to ensure care for a child into adulthood. Parents have a lot of important financial considerations to weigh these days. Busy lives and hectic schedules place a premium on planning for childcare, while the cost of living and ever-increasing expenses of education practically demand attention as soon as possible. Parents work hard to provide the best possible life for their children and should plan carefully to put that hard-earned money to work for their families. Begin by assessing the value of your home, and determine how much your assets are worth. Financial planners and tax advisors can show you how to invest and maximize those assets during your peak earning years, but there are some basic tips that can get you started on making smart financial decisions. Life Insurance This is one of the most fundamentally important financial arrangements you can make for ...
Read More
Managing Stress with a Newborn

Managing Stress with a Newborn

Avery Bullock is a freelance writer from North Carolina. Avery is passionate about creating exclusive articles on many different topics, including family lifestyle, parenting, and awareness. She contributed the following article to publish on our website. Her email address is: averybullock["at" symbol]livestowrite[dot]com There is little doubt that of all of the tasks and responsibilities we face in life, raising children is quite probably the most difficult one. And within that particular chore, there is even less doubt that the most stressful and mind-numbing period occurs when the child is a newborn baby. Between the incessant crying, constant feedings, never-ending diaper changes, and late-night wakeups, it is enough to make even the most dedicated parents question their own sanity. But have no fear, because this stage most certainly doesn’t last forever, and believe it or not, one day you will actually look back fondly on it and even miss it. But we know none of that does anything to keep you from pulling your hair out right now, so we thought presenting you with some helpful tips and suggestions for how ...
Read More
How to tackle bullying

The Impact of Bullying: Not Just Children, but Families, Too

Jackie Edwards is a freelance researcher and editor, who wrote the following article. Jackie is passionate about writing on family lifestyle. She contributed many more articles on our blog in the past. In the article below, Jackie explains how bullying impacts families. Bullying is an all-too-common occurrence in schools in El Paso. Unfortunately, while the child in question bears the brunt of the pain from bullying, the resulting misery can spread to the child’s family and friends, too. It doesn’t just end with the bully and the bullied. Fortunately, there are things us parents can do to reduce the impact on everyone involved. In this post, we’ll explain how to do just that. Stress at Home When a child is put under more stress from bullying at school, that extra stress often makes its way into the home, too. This excess stress can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as anxiety, anxiousness, anger, and secrecy. In the worst situations, bullying can even lead to self-destructive habits in the child. Of course, as a parent, it’s essential to keep an eye out for the ...
Read More
Self care tips for busy parents. |self-care tips| busy parents | self-care |

Staying Healthy and Happy Within Your Budget: Self-Care Tips for Busy Parents

Wendy Ross from Safer Tomorrows is a generous contributor on our blog. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer by profession. She is passionate about writing on topics related to family lifestyle and awareness. The article today focuses on a set of self-care tips for busy parents. Busy parents may recognize the need for self-care, but conference calls, school and sporting events, helping with homework, and preparing healthy meals don’t allow much time for you. As a parent, you’re predisposed to put others’ needs ahead of your own but to do that you need to stay healthy and maintain a positive mental and emotional outlook. For that, you truly need self-care and there are ways to make it happen. Sleep sanctuary A restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep is a cornerstone of self-care. You can’t function properly, mentally or physically, if you’re not getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. The first step in getting a good night’s rest is to create a cool, quiet, dark and relaxing sleep haven, and to make sure you have soft and comfortable bedding, ...
Read More
Summer skin care tips for all families. #skincare #skincaretips | skin care tips | skin care | summer skin care tips |

4 Summer Skin Care Tips for Every Family

Jackie Edwards, a freelance researcher and editor, wrote the following article to publish on our blog. Jackie is passionate about writing on family lifestyle. She contributed many more articles on our blog in the past. In the article below, Jackie provides some important Skin Care Tips for every family. With 96,480 new melanoma diagnoses every year, everyone in the US, including El Paso residents, needs to be more concerned for their skin. And when it comes to your little ones, you want to make sure you’re establishing a lifelong habit of protecting their skin from the sun. Here are the top tips for this summer. Protect Yourself From Both Kinds of Sun Rays All ultraviolet light rays are invisible to humans, but they can still cause visible damage to your skin and even the DNA in your skin cells. Most people forget that there are two types of skin rays out there: UVA and UVB rays. Both of which cause different impacts on human skin. Both types of rays are found in abundance, especially during summers in El Paso. UVB ...
Read More
Tips to Teach Your Child How to Read. The article provides three tips to improve reading skills of children. | reading skills | improve reading skills | reading specialist | reading tutoring | reading programs for kids | reading teaching | How to teach reading | reading kindergarten

3 Tips to Teach Your Child How to Read

Written By: ChildrenLearningReading.com Learning to read at a young age is important for the development of a child. Reading helps children develop a better understanding of their surroundings, allows them to gather information from printed materials, and provides them with a wonderful source of entertainment when they read stories and rhymes. >> Click here to directly jump to a simple, step-by-step program that can help your child learn to read, and watch a video of a 2-year-old child reading (Affiliate link) Children develop at different rates. Some children develop reading skills quicker than other children; however, what's important is that as the parent, you are keenly aware of your child's maturity and reading level to provide them with appropriate books and activities to help them improve. As parents, you are the most important teacher for your children. You will introduce your child to books and reading. Below we have some tips to help you teach your child to read. Teach Your Child How to Read Tip #1 Teach your child alphabet letters and sounds at the same time. Studies have ...
Read More
the article describes some globally inspired on-trend home designs. Doors play a big role in home design. The article describes some door designs too. | Home designs ideas | Home design ideas | Home design inspirations | Home designs inspirations | Home designs | door plans | Modern home designs | modern home design ideas

On-Trend Home Designs

Design trends change from one year to another. Location influences designs as well. For example, home designs in the East Coast are quite different than designs people enjoy in the Southwest. However, there are global trends that we can adapt anywhere partly, if not completely. The post gives some trendy design ideas. Six trendy design approaches to explore The influence of global cultures is increasingly visible in home decor as technology expands homeowners' worldviews. Acting on the inspiration of global trends can be as simple as shifting your outlook to bringing eye-catching features and everyday functions into your home. Playing with color, replacing doors and incorporating unique accents can help contribute to an on-trend style that flows seamlessly from room to room. Colors offer the opportunity to create a mood and update a space. Besides, doors provide an average of 800 square feet of previously untapped design potential that can add visual interest and enhance the functionality of a room. Unique accents invite whimsy and individuality. As you make plans to redesign spaces within your home, watch for the following ...
Read More
Six groups of food nutrients with pictures. #food #parenting #healthyfood #health #healthtips

Six classes of food for children and grownups

Dear Son's food behavior seems to be highly motivated by what Dear Mom ate when she was pregnant. Dear Son does not like those items much that Dear Mom did not eat regularly when Dear Son was being cooked inside the tummy. 🙂 We have been trying to give Dear Son varieties of food since he was one. We lost the focus lately. This post is to remind ourselves about the six classes of food and their sources. Children need most of the food groups daily. Six classes of food that provide us the nutrients and functioning agents to keep us healthy are listed below. Water, Minerals, Vitamins, Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat. The article goes beyond the six groups of food. It describes necessity and sources of fibers in food. In addition, the article describes some healthy cooking techniques that result in lesser oil and cholestorel in daily meals. Food group 1: Water Water is something that we do not keep track of as daily intake, but it is one of the most important ones. It builds the transportation system ...
Read More
How to create a blog from scratch. The article provides details about how to start a blog from scratch. #blogging #blog

How to create a blog from scratch

Well, nothing in this world starts from scratch. 🙂 You know what I mean; everything has some parts already done. I want to create a blog; what would I do? I asked Dear Wife a few years ago --- how to create a blog --- when I felt that we should start writing about our family lifestyle. Dear Wife is an avid reader and follower of the blog-world, which I was not at that time. She replied, "Honey, you can create a blog on any existing blogging platform. Or, you can create your site if you are serious." It turned out that it was not a whim; I was damn serious. 🙂 In this post, I will attempt to highlight the basic steps required to create a blog from scratch (to the point the blogging effort remains reasonable). I will not describe too much of how to do every step, but I will provide enough information that will help create a blog from scratch. 🙂 Sorry, I use too many smileys in my posts. In reality, I do not smile ...
Read More
Fruit parfait and vegetable bowl recipes. The article presents some fruit and vegetable recipes that children would love to eat. Ensuring five servings of fruits and vegetables daily is absolutely required for the growing body of a child. #recipes #food #fruitparfait #fruit #vegetablebowl #vegetables | Healthy Fruit parfait | Fruit parfait recipes | healthy vegetable bowl | healthy vegetable bowl recipes |

Fruit parfait and vegetable bowl recipes for children (and grownups)

We received several messages with concerns and questions after we published the article --- 5-2-1-0: Parenting rule of thumb for children’s healthy lifestyle --- a few weeks ago. Majority of the concerns are --- how will we ensure that our kids remain hydrated if we do not give them juice to drink? Another question is, ensuring five servings of fruits and vegetables is difficult; what can be done? Keeping children hydrated without juice The answer to the first question, how to make sure children remain hydrated throughout the day without allowing them to drink juice, is straightforward --- give them water and train them to drink water at regular intervals. It is essential that children become habituated with drinking water frequently. It is alright to drink juice as a treat once in a while but not daily. We need to help children develop the habit of drinking water from their very childhood. The question related to drinking water is somewhat connected to the second question --- how to ensure five servings of fruits and vegetables. Here is how the two ...
Read More
Outdoor salad skewers and flavorful salad recipes. #recipes #outdoor #skewer #chickenskewer #ChickenSalad #salad | salad skewers healthy | healthy salad skewers | outdoor skewer recipes |

Outdoor salad recipes for the warm weather

Warm weather came early in El Paso last few years. This year, warm weather was a little shy to come even in the southwest. Still, I am pretty sure we were one of the earlier ones to enjoy the warm weather in the country. The warmer weather is allowing El Pasoans to enjoy homemade meals in the outdoors for the past few weeks. It is time to seek out recipes for outdoor entertainment. We like to keep the preparations light and simple with dishes that can be created at a moment's notice. Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers, uniquely flavored with Aunt Nellie's Baby Whole Pickled Beets, can be prepared in less than an hour for our last-minute get-togethers with friends for a Friday or Saturday dinner. The Middle Eastern-Inspired Bean Salad with a touch of za'atar seasoning and READ Bean Salad can be a flavorful accompaniment to the main course. Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers Prep time: 25 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Servings: 8 Ingredients: 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Baby Whole Pickled Beets 2 large boneless, skinless ...
Read More
Deviled egg recipes. #recipe #eggrecipe #Deviledegg | Deviled egg classic | Deviled egg recipe | Deviled egg sprinkles | best Deviled egg recipes |

Deviled egg recipes perfect for a family dinner

Eggs are a great source of three nutrients --- vitamins, protein, and mineral (iron). Not too many food items cover multiple categories of nutrients out of six. Eggs in the form of an independent dish might not be served that frequently as dinner but deviled eggs receive much attention as a party dish. This article lists several recipes of deviled eggs. Given that eggs hold plenty of nutrients, let's start considering it as a dinner item once in a while. Origin of deviled eggs Deviled eggs, also known as stuffed eggs, first appeared in American cookbooks in the mid-19th century, but the origin can be traced back to ancient Rome where eggs were boiled and seasoned with spicy sauces, as described in history.com. Today, deviled eggs are a staple during Easter. Stats of eggs Around 250 million cases of eggs are produced each year in the USA, according to the United Egg Producers. Around 180 million eggs are purchased each year for Easter alone. What does the classic deviled egg contain The classic deviled egg includes a mixture of mustard ...
Read More
Healthy Habits to Adopt When You’re Facing a Major Life Transition. It is essential to maintain healthy habits during a major life transition. We all go through major life transitions. Moving, graduation, marriage, having children, losing a loved one, retirement – all of these can cause major upheaval to your emotional well-being. And during these transitions, many people resolve to focus on one thing at a time – waiting until things change. #lifestyle #motivation

Healthy Habits to Adopt When You’re Facing a Major Life Transition

Today's article is a contribution from Stephanie Haywood, who is a blogger passionate about self-care and personal development. Stephanie is the person behind mylifeboost.com. We all go through major life transitions. Moving, graduation, marriage, having children, losing a loved one, retirement - all of these can cause major upheaval to your emotional well-being. And during these transitions, many people resolve to focus on one thing at a time - waiting until things blow over before making any changes in their lives. This can be solid advice, depending on the major life event. It can also be a missed opportunity. Periods of transition can be great times to get rid yourself of bad habits and adopt good ones. Here are some great ways to transform yourself and piggyback off a seismic life shift. New Career A new career can be a thrilling adventure, but it also comes with its fair share of worries and anxieties. If you're in the midst of a career change, now is the perfect time to embrace new habits. If punctuality has always been your Achilles' heel, ...
Read More
The decision of getting a dog depends on many parameters. A family needs to verify if the dog will receive proper care and attention. #family #dogs #pet

Should I get a dog

My family is in a stage to face the question --- Should we get a dog. Dear Son is six years old, and it is a good age when they start asking for a dog ? if the family does not own one already. I researched a bit, spoke with some friends, and came up with this article, instead of getting the puppy. 🙂 Sorry, Dear Son, I am not that brave. I look at my confusion regarding owning a dog positively. 🙂 My confusion indicates that I want to see a puppy in the family, but I am concerned if I will be able to take good care of the new pet-member. If you have the same confusion, please do not feel ashamed. Just do some research and figure out if your family is ready for a dog. The following discussion will help, I believe. The Youtube video below provides a gist of this article. Should I get a dog for my family? I liked the article Chris Jordan wrote at Alpha Mom highly advocating getting a dog for ...
Read More
The 5-2-1-0 Rule for healthy lifestyle of children. The rule ensure active life with healthy food habits. #family #children #health #healthy #lifestyle #kids

5-2-1-0: Parenting rule of thumb for children’s healthy lifestyle

Are you worried if your parenting strategies are ensuring a healthy lifestyle of your child? It is natural to worry about children's health. To make sure that your child is enjoying a healthy lifestyle, you can simply use the 5-2-1-0 rule. The 5-2-1-0 rule (five-two-one-zero rule) refers to a style that ensures the following items in a child's life on a daily basis: five servings of vegetables and fruits, no more than two hours of screentime, at least one hour of physical exercise, and no juice. We heard about 5-2-1-0 rule from the pediatrician of Dear Son. Later after searching the topic over the internet, we found that the topic is discussed well in the literature and relates to the prevention of childhood obesity. A link from Doernbecher Children's Hospital, regarding 5-2-1-0 Rule, is provided here. We made the following Youtube video to raise awareness regarding the 5-2-1-0 rule. Dear Son watched the video several times. To our surprise, Dear Son now reminds us of any item of healthy practice we forget in any day. You may show your child ...
Read More
How to plan for saving with Roth IRA? #saving #moneysaving #retirement #familyplanning #familysaving #roth #rothira #money

How to save money using Roth IRA: 2019 and 2018

Many people are blessed with employer-initiated retirement plans and contributions. A matching contribution can result in at least 15% saving every month that goes toward retirement investments. A traditional IRA is a tax-deferred retirement savings account that is widely used. One pays taxes on money only when one makes withdrawals in retirement. Early withdrawal from a traditional IRA results in a large penalty before the age of 59½. Regular income tax on the withdrawn amount and a penalty of 10% is common before 59½. Is there any other retirement saving option that allows early withdrawal without penalty? The answer is --- Yes. One can use the Roth IRA retirement plan.For example, I can contribute to a Roth account, which allows withdrawal of the contribution before the age of 59½ without penalty. Roth IRA income limits in 2019 and 2018: Eligibility of Roth retirement plan A great thing about Roth IRA is that most people are eligible for Roth IRA as individuals. That is, Roth IRA is not employer-generated. There are some income-level restrictions though. General requirements for 2018 are as ...
Read More
The article provides information on how to maintain in-home air quality. #family #airquality #familysafety

In-home Air Quality is a Key to Family Health

Wendy Ross from Safer Tomorrows has been a generous contributor on our blog. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer who is passionate about writing on topics related to family lifestyle and safety awareness. The article today focuses on in-home air quality that every family should maintain on a regular basis. In-home air quality can be a major health concern, particularly for parents.  Children whose bodily systems are still developing can be damaged by polluted indoor air, leaving them vulnerable to health issues.  What is the quality of the air like in your home?  The answer may surprise you. Body and mind You probably think of your house as a sanctuary from the outdoor world, but pollution levels inside many residences may be deadlier than the polluted air outdoors.  Chemicals, molds, smoke and other contaminants can flourish indoors, leaving families, especially their youngest members, at risk.  As Today.com explains, when your home’s air contains a heavy load of toxins it can lead to respiratory issues, which in turn can cause chronic health problems. Kids who suffer from bronchitis, for example, are ...
Read More
Does law support free-range parenting? #parenting #free-range #children #family

Free-range parenting: Does law support it?

You probably heard about the three parenting styles --- authoritarian, equalitarian, and permissive. You will find plenty of literature regarding these parenting styles. In recent years, a version of the permissive parenting style, called free-range parenting, has received much attention. Just like the permissive parenting, free-range style involves freedom of opinions, self-improvements, and personal goal attainments. However, free-range parenting goes a step ahead of permissive parenting style in terms of supervision --- parents minimally supervise or even observe children in this parenting style. What is free-range parenting? Free-range parenting is a permissive parenting style in which children grow independently with limited parental supervision. In another sense, it is allowing children to roam around a bit and develop independence. Our grandparents raised our parents in a world where free-range parenting was pretty common. Some of us received a flavor of freedom in our childhood. Many states in the USA do not allow free-range parenting anymore. Given many tragic occurrences in recent years, many states in the United States discourage free-range parenting. However, a few states have specific laws regarding free-range parenting ...
Read More
A wooden tea-light candle holder DIY is not as hard as we thought. It requires some work but the final product gives a soothing satisfaction. #diy #woodworking #candleholder #homedecoritem #homedecordiy

Rustic tea-light candle holders: A wooden candle holder DIY project

Over the past few years, tea-light candles have become a part of our home decoration. In the days when we cook a lot, especially when we invite people, burning a few candles removes the cooking smell naturally. Additionally, evenings of marriage anniversary, Thanksgiving and Christmas are prime candidates of candlelight. Tea-light candles are soothing but candles alone are not quite presentable without a nice candle holder. Have we ever thought of making our own candle holders? Yes, we have been thinking about it for some time but we have worked on a wooden candle holder DIY project for tea-light candles only recently. Our resident Handyman (Dear Dad of this blog) has become very interested in woodworking projects. He loves the smell of wood. All sorts of softwood-hardwood thingy are his center of attention during the weekends nowadays. This is a good time to get things done around the house. Some examples of getting things done would be --- making some candle holders, a few wall-mounted coat racks, several floating shelves, a side table, some trays, or let's say --- a ...
Read More
Tips for Self Care and Satisfaction. #lifestyle #health #personalhealth #selfcare

Self-Care and Satisfaction: Life-Boosting Advice for a Happy and Healthy 2019

Stephanie Haywood is a blogger and the person behind mylifeboost.com. Her blog is about her passion --- self-care and personal development. The wonderful article below is a generous contribution from Stephanie to the readers of our family blog. The article speaks of Stephanie's passion. This New Year, instead of focusing on unrealistic “all-or-nothing” resolutions, why not seek measured, incremental improvements that make you feel good about yourself? Feeling better doesn’t have to be about plastic surgery or dropping 30 pounds on a kamikaze diet. It’s possible to get there with small, manageable steps that encourage you to keep trying, to seek self-improvement through your relationships, in your perspective on life, and in how you see yourself. Emphasize Oral Health Medical science has made a clear connection between dental health and other aspects of physical well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems and even contribute to dementia. From a social standpoint, poor oral health can be debilitating. If your teeth are in bad condition you may be less outgoing, lack self-confidence and be less proactive about ...
Read More
Wall mounted coat rack diy. The article describes how to build a wall mounted coat rack using wood. The rack can be used to hand hats, scarfs, and bags. #woodworking #declutter #diy WoodworkingDIY #DIYWood

A wall mounted coat rack DIY

Our coat closet near the front door does not have enough hooks for all our coats, bags, and hats. I am not sure how all these things pile up in the closet in just a few days. Anyway, our resident handyman (Dear Dad of this blog) stood up in solving the issue. You are probably thinking that our handyman magically decluttered the closet. He would rather take the saw, cut some lumber, and make something to mitigate the issue than spending a few minutes of his precious time in decluttering. Organizing is Dear Mom's department. This time, Dear Dad came up with a wall mounted coat rack with knobs. The rack has five knobs to hold five items. Further details on the DIY procedure of a wall mounted coat rack are provided below. Items required for a wall mounted coat rack The items for a wall mounted coat rack DIY project are easily available. Some Amazon affiliate links are provided in this article to help readers realize what items I am referring to. We will receive an incentive from Amazon ...
Read More
How to protect your blog from security threats. The article provides tips on how to secure your blog. #blogging #BlogSecurity #blogs #security

Website security: How to protect your blog from security threats

The article is about how to secure your blog. It does not have to be a blog --- if you have any self-hosted website, you need to know some basic security-related items. Without basic website security measures, your blog is at risk of malicious attacks. I do not think our blog is of any competition to anyone. We do not even have a business around our blog. Yet there have been a few malicious attempts to break the website. You might have already read about one of the attacks and how we solved the issue in one of our previous articles. In this article, I am listing a few measures to protect a blog from security breaches. I am not providing a list of security plugins here. Security plugins will provide an additional layer of security. The following strategies are sometimes ignored but should be used as basic security measures. Setup two-factor authentication to access the hosting site A two-factor authentication is a website security measure in which, after you enter your username and password, the system performs another level ...
Read More
Server File Access Permissions bloggers need to be familiar with. The article describes how to increase the security of the blog files that are stored on the hosting site. #blogging #website #security #websecurity #blogSecurity

Server file access permissions every blogger needs to be familiar with

There are certain files on the server (on the hosting site) that are crucial for a website. What we see on a blog is different from what is stored in the file system of the server. As bloggers, we need to understand the access permissions of the files on the server for the security of our blogs. This article is about File System Permissions, or File Access Permissions. If you are already familiar with File System permissions, I still recommend that you read the section titles of this article to make sure that you are aware of what permissions your blog-files should have. If you are not familiar with the term File System Permissions, I strongly suggest to bookmark this article and evaluate your files on the server using the tips provided below. Why is it important to know the access permissions of your server files? We need to keep our websites protected from malicious attacks. We do not want our blog to be down in a fine morning because it was attacked either by a hacker or by a ...
Read More
The article provides a 1-click download of an Education.com worksheet. #education #wordsearch #childdevelopment #forkids #kids #children #educationdotcom

Word search worksheet: Free 1-click download

Education.com reached out to us a few days ago. They informed us that they liked our blog and loved our post on developing early math skills. Education.com shared a snowman word search worksheet with us. Dear Son liked it very much. We received permission from Education.com to share the word search worksheet with our blog readers. The worksheet image is below. Click on the worksheet and you will get the PDF. No email or subscription is required for this PDF. The solution to the worksheet can be downloaded from this link: Solution. It is a direct download --- no email address is asked. Your kids' reading skills will stay warm this winter with this fun word search! Check out Education.com for more reading activities to keep young minds working! Concluding remarks Along with word searches, grow the culture of daily reading at home to improve the reading skills of your child. One of our earlier articles --- How to improve reading skills of children --- provides a few more tips. Happy reading! Relevant articles ...
Read More
Is El Paso Texas a safe city? I am not sure why people ask this question from some other metropolitan towns. #location #elpaso #FamilyInElPaso #ElPasoFaily #LivinginElPaso

Is El Paso a safe city?

People relocate to different cities for many reasons, among which relocation for jobs and education is the most common one. El Paso is no different. Over the past few years, we received a few messages with questions regarding relocation to El Paso. We have also seen El Paso-related questions on forums like city-data.com, or even in Quora.com. A frequent question is --- Is El Paso safe? Is El Paso a safe city? Before you lose patience and leave this page, I will directly answer your question. If you list top ten safest metro cities in USA, then El Paso will be in that list. El Paso is so safe that El Pasoans brag about it. I brag about it too, when relatives or friends from other cities ask me this question. Here is the source article: The 10 Safest and Most Dangerous Metro Cities in America. Here is a KFOX14 news article on the topic: Report: El Paso, one of country's safest cities. What is my personal experience about safety in El Paso? My family and I have been in ...
Read More
How to help your child develop early math skills. #education #childdevelopment #parenting #math #mathfun #mathisfun #forkids #kindergarten #elementary #firstgrade #secondgrade

How to help a child develop early math skills

Math is fun. Kids need to realize this from an early stage. Actually, I said it wrong. Parents need to realize that math is fun from the early stages of their kids. I have seen too many of my friends blaming elementary school teachers for the poor math-skills of their children. It is easy to blame teachers for the failure of our kids. That way, we can hide limitations on our end. A major part of growing up depends on what academic environment we develop at home. Performance of our kids at elementary school is somewhat an accumulation of what we teach our kids at home and what curriculum the school district offers at school. Blaming teachers is insanely foolish and nothing but an attempt to hide from our parenting responsibilities. Now, let us go back to the topic of math. I do not know much about other towns or even other states but many schools under the El Paso School District seem to use a reasonable amount of math right from the kindergarten and the first grade. Reinforcing the ...
Read More
The article describes how to lower a fever in a child naturally. It also outlines when to call a doctor. #parenting #forkids #kidshealth #treatment

How to lower a fever

How to lower a fever in kids? Giving a warm bath to the child is an excellent way to lower the fever naturally. Another option is to put a wet hand towel with cold water on the forehead, at the nape of the neck, under the armpits, and in the groin. It can be considered that a child has a fever when the temperature is above 99.5 °F. Actually, 99.5 °F might not be a sign of illness because a fever can be even caused by excess clothing, teething, or as a reaction to a vaccine. As the pediatrician of Dear Son says --- A fever itself is not an illness. Rather it is a symptom of another health issue. The body tries to cope with the issue and increases its fighting chance. The actual issue needs to be diagnosed. Fevers caused by bacterial or fungal infections and virus attacks are common and sometimes painful for kids of any age. Lowering down the fever is a way to keep the child lesser uncomfortable. Needless to mention that, depending on the ...
Read More
Helping your kids make healthy choices isn’t always easy, especially when everyone is busy and time is so short. #parenting #forkids #kids #children #ChildDevelopment

Helping Kids Make Healthy Choices: A Guide for Parents

Today's article is the latest of many writing contributions of Wendy Ross from Safer Tomorrows. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer who is passionate about writing on topics related to family lifestyle and safety awareness. The article today focuses on helping kids make healthy choices in everyday life. Helping your kids make healthy choices isn’t always easy, especially when everyone is busy and time is so short. It can be tempting to stop for fast food or heat up some mac and cheese instead of preparing a meal with fresh ingredients, but it’s so important to help your little ones learn to make the best choices for their bodies because those lessons will last a lifetime. Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can teach your child to make good decisions in order to stay fit and healthy. Involving them in planning meals, shopping, and preparing food will help them see how important good nutrition is, and this will stick with them when they’re at school and outside the home. You can also lead by example and begin a workout ...
Read More
Supplements do not necessarily just refer to additional minerals and vitamins. #health #healthypractice #familyhealth

How El Paso Residents Can Supplement Their Health Safely

Jackie Edwards, a freelance researcher and editor, has been a generous contributor to our family blog. Jackie is passionate about writing on topics relevant to family lifestyle. In today's article, Jackie describes how El Paso residents can supplement their welfare. Although the write up is focused on El Paso, the ideas can be replicated for any town, I believe. El Paso is ranked highly on lists of America’s happiest and healthiest cities according to Time Magazine (Rank: 16 of 189). With so many exercise options and proactive and data-oriented authorities who have citizens’ best health interests at heart, it’s clear that this is a healthy city in which to live. But there’s always more to be done. Supplements, such as additional minerals and vitamins, are widely available in El Paso --- and it may well be worth heading to a health food store in order to get what you need. And from ensuring that you get the sort of exercise you need to checking that the substances you consume are safe, there are plenty of other ways to supplement your health. This article ...
Read More
In all cultures, regardless of what traditions are followed, #Christmas and the #Holiday season are of great fun for #children. Christmas brings families and friends closer. Our little acts of kindness can reach strangers too. #family #culture #ChristmasCulture

Inspiring Christmas traditions in different countries

We use Google a lot to know about stuffs. Our Search history as well as search patterns can tell a great story. For example, it can tell us that it is the Holiday Season. Duh ... We found this interesting pattern from Google Trends regarding holiday traditions: people in USA ?? search for information regarding holiday traditions of other countries, during the holiday season.  ❄️? Most searched queries with "Holiday traditions in ............", where there is a country name in the dot dot dot part, contain Germany ??, France ??, Italy ??, Spain ??, and Mexico ??.So, we thought ? we should do a little research on the holiday traditions, especially Christmas traditions, of these countries and write an article. ? Christmas traditions in Germany ?? Christmas is known as Weihnachten in Germany. Germans use a calendar called Advent Calendar as a countdown mechanism for Christmas. Advent calendar starts from December 1 and ends on Christmas Eve. That is, it has 24 entries. Each of the 24 entries has a small door or a window. Behind the door there is a ...
Read More
Visiting A Farmers market As A Family Activity. Ardovino's Desert Crossing Farmer's Market is in New Mexico but very close to El Paso. #ElPaso #Travel #Family #FamilyActivity #ForKids #ForFamily

Ardovino’s Desert Crossing Farmers’ Market

Ardovino's Desert Crossing Farmers' Market Like all kids, our son loves sowing seeds and watering plants. He even grew strawberries last year. He says, you need four things to grow plants: water, light, air, and love. While growing plants with love and then happily eating their fruits sound an odd kind of affection for plant-kind, gardening activities make adorable memories. Anyway, this post is not about our gardening activities, rather it is about gardening by others (and we being the consumer of the produce). The post is about a farmers market called Ardovino's Desert Crossing Farmers' Market. Location of Ardovino's Desert Crossing Farmers' Market The address of Ardovino's Desert Crossing Farmers Market is 1 Ardovino Drive, Sunland Park, New Mexico 88063. You are right, it is not in El Paso. It is not in Texas either. However, it takes just five to ten minutes to go to this farmers market from the Sunland Park Mall in El Paso. Operational hours of the Ardovino's Desert Crossing Farmers' Market The farmers market is open only on Saturdays from 7:30 AM - 12:00 ...
Read More
Taking good care of mommy is essential at all times to ensure good care of the baby. #Pregnancy #child #baby #family #momcare #formom

Pregnancy: Taking Good Care of Mom is Taking Good Care of Baby

Today's article is a generous contribution from Jackie Edwards, a freelance researcher and editor, who is passionate about writing on family lifestyle. In the article below, Jackie focuses on explaining the importance of good care for mom during pregnancy. You've got the happy test results, you've got the glow, now what are you going to do to prepare for the rest of your pregnancy? First, know you are in good company. In 2016 alone 400,000 babies were born in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health. From that cup of coffee in the morning to your Friday night sushi dinner, you're going to have to take stock of many of your habits for the next nine months. Luckily there is a wealth of information available to answer all of your questions. Let's start with the basics. Break a Sweat Moderate exercise is recommended for expectant mothers. Now is not the best time to start training for that marathon you've been thinking about, but never trained for. However, taking walks, swimming, and yoga are safe and effective ways to ...
Read More
White Sands National Monument is in the Tularosa Basin of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. It is the largest gypsum dune-field in the world. White Sands National Monument preserves a large portion of the dune-field and its lifeforms. #WhiteSands #travel #FamilyTravel

White Sands National Monument

If you are in El Paso, you probably do not want to miss White Sands National Monument. In El Paso, if you meet relatives of your neighbors or friends, it is customary to ask them if they have visited White Sands. 🙂 White Sands National Monument is (technically) in the New Mexico state. However, El Pasoans call it an attraction of El Paso. White Sands National Monument is our common day-trip family getaway. What is White Sands I always become confused --- is "White Sands" singular or plural? Well ... since we know it as a location, let us use "White Sands" as a singular noun in this article. White Sands is a 275 square miles of desert full of wavy dunes. It is in the New Mexico state. Gypsum sand makes the dunes all white. When you drive toward White Sands, you can see the boundary between the White Sands and non-White Sands, which is pretty amazing!  The White Sands is in the Tularosa Basin of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the whole world. White Sands National ...
Read More
What strikes first time visitors as special or unusual when they arrive in El Paso, Texas. #ElPaso #Texas #travel

What strikes first time visitors as special or unusual when they arrive in El Paso, TX?

I found the question on Quora. I think, we can say a thing or two regarding this question. Being in El Paso has been a blessing for us so far regardless of the distance with our families and relatives. The jobs we do here in El Paso have been impactful --- we could probably not do a greater impact if we were somewhere else. Now, what job we do is censored for the sake of anonymity (despite the fact that many of our friends and colleagues already know about our adventure with this blog). Now, to answer the question, "what strikes first time visitors as special or unusual when they arrive in El Paso, TX?", my impression is --- it is just another town in USA. That said, every town is different. Every town has special as well as unusual things. Not being from around helps a newcomer see things that residents ignore. The following list provides some items that a first time visitor might find special or unusual. Mexican-American culture Being a border town, Mexican-American culture is prominent here ...
Read More
Cooking with kids is a great way to help them learn independence, responsibility, and even school-related skills like math and science. Many children love being in the kitchen, especially during holidays when there are so many fun things to bake. However, it’s important to remember that young ones may not know kitchen safety. #safety #parenting #cooking #kids

Cooking With Kids: How To Keep Things Safe

Wendy Ross from Safer Tomorrows has been contributing to our blog for quite some time. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer who is passionate about writing on topics related to safety awareness and family lifestyle. The article today focuses on safety during cooking with kids. Cooking with kids is a great way to help them learn independence, responsibility, and even school-related skills like math and science. Many children love being in the kitchen, especially during holidays when there are so many fun things to bake. However, it’s important to remember that young ones may not know kitchen safety, especially if you have a gas-powered stove that creates open flames. Laying out the rules beforehand will help everyone stay safe and give you peace of mind for the future. It’s also important to make sure your child has the right tools to work with. Little hands can have a hard time using adult-sized utensils, so look into buying kid-sized kitchen utensils to make things easier. You’ll also want to go over fire safety and ensure that your kitchen has at least ...
Read More
Is the tap water of your city safe to drink? The article provides some guideline on how to determine if the city water is safe. We are in El Paso. So, we used the El Paso city water data. #Safety #WaterSafety #awareness #FamilySafety

Is your tap water safe to drink?

Drinking water is a concern for everyone. The concern is quadrupled with little ones at home. Is my child receiving the best water? Is the water arsenic free? What if there is lead in the drinking water? All kinds of questions to worry about. My dentist said that the city water is good because it has fluoride in it. How about the harmful items? Sadly, this post will not give answers to any of the questions parents may have. This post will rather provide more items to think about. Is El Paso tap water safe to drink? Ever since we moved to El Paso we noticed that many of our colleagues, friends, and neighbors have in-home water filtration systems with big water dispensers. I was always curious why everyone would have one of these giant systems in their kitchen corner. (Probably because they throw big parties all the times. Or, there could be some other reasons.) For some reason, I haven’t asked anyone why they choose these systems over tap water. So, today I was searching for any data related ...
Read More
Family preparation for the cold weather in the holiday season. How are you preparing for the holiday season? #Christmas #holiday #family #HolidaySeason #ChristmasPreparation

Family preparation for cold weather in the holiday season

This is the most wonderful time of the year! As much fun the time is --- every family needs some kind of preparation for the winter. Preparation can vary from personal care to home care. If there are little ones in the family, the preparation becomes more serious. Speaking of the little ones, please do not forget to ask your parents if they need any help with their house in preparing for the winter. This post provides some tips for the winter preparation. The post contains affiliate links. That is, we will receive a reward if anyone uses the links to purchase anything. There will be no additional charge at the buyers' end. Caulk windows Applying new caulk to seal the window edges is an easy DIY that any family can afford. Different types of caulk can be found in Home Depot, Lowes, or on Amazon. Caulk comes in popular colors like white, grey, or brown. It can even be transparent too. Please read instructions and material compositions before you purchase. Some caulks are suitable for bathroom fittings, some are ...
Read More
Turn your home into a smart home. Smart homes can be more energy efficient than regular ones. Many families are converting their homes into smart homes using available devices. #home #smarthome #family #homediy

Some Ideas on Devices that can Turn your Home into a Smart Home

Jackie Edwards, a freelance researcher and editor, has been generously contributing to our site by writing a variety of articles. Jackie’s article today focuses on turning a home into a smart home. During the summer electrical bills shoot up to over $100 in El Paso according to Eddie Gutierrez, an El Paso Electric spokesman. The conventional advice given to residents to help reduce their energy bills in the summer is that they should adjust their thermostat settings for summer and also for wintertime. However, smart home devices can do all this adjusting and more for you. All you need to do is pick the right smart connected device that will bring you more convenience than frustration. Heating and cooling your home You can install thermostats that can not only adjust themselves without you having to push a button or turn a knob, but can also learn your heating and cooling preferences and schedule. These smart thermostats can read the temperature in every room in your house and determine which room needs more heating or cooling. A Nest thermostat for example, ...
Read More
Effective and Impactful Parenting. The post provides tips on parenting strategies. #parenting #kids #impactfulparenting #parentingtips

How to do more impactful and effective parenting

Parenting is full of should-we-say-this and should-we-do-that kind of dilemma. We act thinking that we are doing the right thing but time will answer if we are making the right calls today. Psychologists, pediatricians, and scientists would create a typology of issues, effective parenting styles, and family lifestyle that affect the growth of children. In reality, every child is different and we really do not know what strategies or parenting styles would be appropriate and impactful for our children. Effective parenting is easy if consciously and unconsciously it is inherent in parents. Making an impact using a parenting strategy is difficult if we speak before we think. Effective parenting is simply the concept of parenting with the goodwill that whatever we say or do will become a model for our children. When I drop Dear Son at school, I always feel the excitement with a funny feeling that all these kids were not here only a few years ago. Think about the pressure a kindergartener goes through. Imagine that you have landed in a country where you do not understand ...
Read More
Keeping Kids Safe at the Pool. The post contains pool safety tips for families with little children. #poolsafety #safety #family #parenting

Keeping Kids Safe at the Pool

Today's post is written by Jennifer Hampson. Jennifer is a freelance writer and content manager. One of her passions is writing articles on family safety. She has contributed the article below to raise an awareness regarding pool safety. Texas comes in third in the list of states with pools, according to the APSP’s U.S. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Market report. Despite the fact that most parents teach their kids to swim from the time they are little, we still have much to improve upon when it comes to pool safety, with the USA Swimming Foundation noting that Texas leads the nation in the number of child pool drownings in 2018. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has therefore urged families to follow specific steps to ensure safety of kids when they are around water. Keeping a Close Eye on Kids The list of recommendations includes always accompanying a child when they are in or near water. Drowning can occur in as little as 30 seconds in children and they can drown quietly, without splashing or shouting for parents. To ensure kids are safe in the water, never let ...
Read More
How to calm down a child, during a temper tantrum episode. #parenting #temperTantrum #ForKids #Kids

Handling Temper Tantrums: How to Calm Down a Child Quickly During a Tantrum Episode

How to calm down a child is probably a question any parent would ask from day one. As the child grows up and develops emotions, tantrums come on the scene. Slowly, stopping kids from throwing tantrums becomes a major parental activity. Children from ages one to four have limited vocabulary to communicate with people around. Limited vocabulary sometimes leads to frustrations. A kid can be also irritated from something else --- like a little hunger, a bad day in the daycare, or even discomfort due to minor sickness. The good news is --- parents are born with instincts to realize all the cues of tantrum. I mean, parents were not born with the ability. They grow the ability over time after the child is born. As kids grow up and their vocabulary broadens, it is possible to discuss with the children about their frustrations. Sometimes, just speaking with kids about their frustrations helps them feel better. Kids love logical deductions and statements like "It is ok to feel frustrated. Speak with grown-ups when you feel frustrated." Yes, I am speaking ...
Read More
Family humor: if you need some good laugh. #humor 3family #fun #parentingfun #laugh

Family humor — if you need some good laugh

I have listed a few sources of family humor today, in case you are in need of a good laugh. I am always in need of a laugh --- so I thought why don't I list a few and share with others? Hope you will enjoy. Me time If you are a parent and if you are searching for tips on how to ease the pain of your life, you are in luck because we have found the perfect video for you that contains the tips. The video is targeted toward dads but applies to moms as well. Moms and dads should not be discriminated. Although the baby did not stay inside dad's tummy, a dad goes through some level of postpartum pain. 🙂 There is this revolutionary medicine, called AphukenbrakE, that reduces parental stress. All parents should take advantage of it. Here is the video with the tips on how to use AphukenbrakE. Please do not attempt to purchase AphukenbrakE without watching the video. You do not want to spend money without knowing the side effects. Get it done ...
Read More
How to freeze food to save money. Freezing food can save a lot of money. Additionally, it cuts down on waste. #freezing #food #moneysaving #frugal #foodbehavior #frudalliving

How to freeze food to save money

Freezing foods can save a lot of money by giving you the ability to stock up things when they're on sale. It also cuts down on waste. We freeze a lot and freezing definitely save our time and money. The post contains my tips on how I store the food, how long I store it for, and the best way to reheat frozen food. Baked food (Bread, buns, tortillas, muffins, and croissant) We often find good prices on wheat products like sandwich bread, buns, and tortillas. If you go to Costco or Sam’s Club, you know how large those bags can be. It is really hard for a small family to finish them before the expiry date. Wheat items may go bad before we can finish them. Muffin from Costco is another item that we had to through away frequently before we started to freeze them. How do we freeze wheat products? After bringing the large Costco bags of sliced bread, or buns, we directly put them in a rack of the freezer. Keeping the muffins directly can be space ...
Read More
Ideas of sides for a Thanksgiving meal. #ThanksGiving #SidesRecipe #Recipes

Ideas of Sides for the Thanksgiving Meal

Who does not like to eat turkey meat? I don't. Despite my lack of interest in the turkey meat, Thanksgiving dinner has always been one of my favorite meals of the year for the gorgeous side dishes. Side dishes add texture, taste, and color on the plate. This article will provide some ideas of side dishes for the Thanksgiving meal. Cornbread Cornbread is something that Dear Son waits for very fondly. Well ... he waits for it in the morning for breakfast. Dear Son requests for a piece in his school lunchbox. He even makes please-please-cutie-awww eyes to get cornbread as the main item of his dinner. There is no way we will forget cornbread as a side for the Thanksgiving dinner. Readily available mixes are good (and easy) for cornbread but making it from scratch is always fun. Melissa from Bless This Mess provides this great cornbread recipe that makes cornbread sweet and fluffy every time. Green bean casserole Green bean casserole is probably the most popular Thanksgiving side dish. It goes very well with the high-protein turkey. Although ...
Read More
DIY Ideas for Thanksgiving Decor. #Thanksgiving #ThanksgivingDecor #FallDecor #HomeDecor

DIY Ideas for Thanksgiving Decor

Decorating for Thanksgiving is always a fun. It adds an element of warmth to the holiday season. The arrangements need not be overwhelming and expensive. Making a house or an apartment look festive requires only a little planning and a little bit of effort. You do not have to spend a lot of time. A few minutes every day starting from a few weeks before the Thanksgiving are enough to make a place look festive. A few inexpensive and fun Thanksgiving decoration ideas are given below. Scarecrow Making a scarecrow for the front porch is not that difficult. Many families enjoy making scarecrows for Thanksgiving decoration. You need to make sure that the little ones are not afraid of a scarecrow though. Making a cute scarecrow might help fight the scarecrow fright. A scarecrow can be made out of straw collected from a farm or even Home Depot or Lowes, corn husk, tree branches from your backyard, and old clothes. If you do some woodworking DIY, making the scarecrow backbone and hands from scrap wood is not difficult, especially given ...
Read More
ideal Desserts for A Family Thanksgiving Meal. Dessert is an important part of a family meal in the holiday season, especially because desserts create memories. #dessert #recipes #thanksgiving #thanksgivingmeal #holidaydessert

Ideal Desserts for the Family Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is coming. A feeding frenzy is accompanying Thanksgiving in most families as they get together for the holiday. Thanksgiving's main focus has become the food, with many people arranging more and more elaborate meals each year. For me, dessert is the most, if not the only, important part of any great meal! When the Thanksgiving season knocks on the door, I start thinking --- what can be an ideal dessert for the family Thanksgiving meal this year. The definition of ideal is quite vague and varies from family to family. I feel that pumpkin is still somehow related to the Thanksgiving season and the culture. How about some dessert out of pumpkin after the Thanksgiving dinner? Sounds like an ideal to me, for a family's Thanksgiving dinner. Several ideas of pumpkin dessert are provided below. If you still have good pumpkins from Halloween, you can reuse them. The pumpkin should be still good if you just drew on the pumpkin for decoration and the peduncle is still in place. Alternatively, you can buy a new pumpkin from a farm or ...
Read More
How to increase accessibility for seniors. #accessibility #senior

Increasing Home Accessibility for El Paso Seniors

This is a contributed article from Jackie Edwards. Jackie is a freelance researcher and editor, who loves to develop resources about family lifestyle. Jackie's post today is focused on home accessibility for seniors. 12% of the El Paso population are seniors (Persons 65 years and over based on data for 2017 estimated by the United States Census Bureau). 23% of the seniors in El Paso live on their own. In order for these Texan seniors to age safely in place, effort has to be made to make a senior’s home as accessible as possible. While a lot of focus is generally placed on the kitchen and bathroom, the bedroom often gets neglected, despite it being the room in the house where a senior spends most of his/her time. By following a few basic guidelines, a senior’s bedroom can be increasingly accessible, making it significantly easier to age in place. Pick the right bedroom In a home with multiple bedrooms, it is important to choose the correct one for a senior. Avoid, where possible, any stairs or other level changes. If there is ...
Read More
Healthy cooking techniques for my family. Cooking style is important in preparing healthy food. | Healthy cooking | homemade cooking | cooking | cooking styles | cooking style | cooking techniques | cooking technique | cooking techniques basic

Healthy cooking techniques for our everyday dinner

We have limited time to cook like almost all American families. Given that both of us work full-time and stay out of home most of the daytime, it is tempting to go for restaurant-food or order a pizza in the evening. Luckily, with some organization and planning, we have been able to avoid frequent consumption of pizzas and restaurant-food. A few kitchenware, in this era of modern technology, have allowed us to practice healthy cooking and still keep ourselves sane. The post contains affiliate links. That is, we will receive a reward if anyone uses the links to purchase anything. There will be no additional charge at the buyer's end. Air Fryer --- Who does not like fries? Well, deep-fried food is something that we try to avoid. We like french fries though. Dear Son is fond of french fries, but we do not like to give him deep-fried food. Won't it be wonderful if we could air-fry the potatoes! Speaking of french fries and many other types of fried food --- Hot Air Fryers are gaining popularity, now-a-days. It ...
Read More
How to do sanding to give a professional look. Sanding gives a finer finish to wood furniture. The post provides some tips on sanding techniques. #sanding #woodworking #woodwork #HomeDecorFurnitureTips #diyFurniture

How to sand wood: DIY tips for woodworking

A year ago, we did not even imagine that we will be writing on this topic: how to sand like a professional. We have been doing a little bit of woodworking DIY for which sanding is essential. Sanding not only helps in finishing new wood products but also it helps in giving a nicer look to old wooden furniture that we already own. Moreover, sanding is fun! The learning curve of sanding is not steep. We find sanding to be somewhat addictive. Possibilities are endless when you know how to sand. You have a ten-year-old breakfast table --- sand --- stain --- and seal it --- you have a piece of brand new furniture. You want a strong wooden side table at a reasonable price. Buy a piece of unfinished furniture, then sand --- stain --- and seal. You want a gorgeous looking dining table but want to keep the price low? Please keep an eye on craigslist.org. Once you get one under a hundred dollars, buy it, sand --- stain --- and seal --- you have an awesome dining ...
Read More
As a parent, you think of your child’s safety all of the time. You take precautions at home, in public, and even when they are in school. However, how can you keep your car safe for your family? Regular maintenance and safe driving practices are important for preventing accidents that can be life-changing for your family. So, if you are a parent driving around with your children, you need to make sure you are following some basic safety steps. #safety

5 Steps You Need to Take to Keep Your Kids Safe in Your Car

Wendy Ross from Safer Tomorrows has generously contributed another article for our family blog. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer who is passionate about writing on topics related to safety awareness and family lifestyle. The topic of the article below is focused on keeping kids safe in the car. As a parent, you think of your child’s safety all of the time. You take precautions at home, in public, and even when they are in school. However, how can you keep your car safe for your family? Regular maintenance and safe driving practices are important for preventing accidents that can be life-changing for your family. So, if you are a parent driving around with your children, you need to make sure you are following some basic safety steps. Make Your Brakes a Priority If you are like most drivers, you probably take your car’s brakes for granted. If they’re not squeaking, you may ignore them, but they are an important part of your vehicle’s safety features. So, they should definitely be a focus on your car’s maintenance routine. If your ...
Read More
Practice of sustainable food storage. #sustainability

How to Practice Sustainable Food Storage

Jackie Edwards generously contributed another post for our family blog. Jackie is a freelance researcher and editor, who loves to develop resources and articles about family lifestyle. Jackie's post today is focused on promoting the practice of sustainable food storage. You buy organic, pesticide-free groceries for your family. You shop local to keep more trucks from polluting the roadways. And you carefully package your food to avoid unnecessary waste. While you might feel like you’re taking all the right steps towards a greener lifestyle, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that there are most likely areas that you’re overlooking. While packaging food might help to prevent waste, it also produces waste. Many of us don’t consider the impact that our kitchen storage solutions have on the environment. Based on a Municipal Solid Waste report prepared using data from Texas, total disposal in 2015 in Texas was 33.45 million tons, which results in 6.67 pounds of disposal per person per day in Texas. Much of the trash comes from the kitchen in the form of plastic containers and single-use bags. If ...
Read More
Looking for samples for the assessment of gifted and talented education? Resources are scarce and sometimes expensive. The post provides some sample of the "what's missing" type questions. The questions are suitable for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First grade students. #prek #kindergarten #gifted #talented #education

What’s missing in this picture

As stated in one of our previous posts, resources are scarce to prepare for the assessment of gifted and talented education (G/T entrance assessment). We believe, if a child sits for the G/T test in kindergarten, the following assessments are used: Guess What, Verbal reasoning, Odd-item out, and What’s missing. For upper grades, two more items might be used: verbal and nonverbal memory. You might be able to find resources and books for all the items. However, samples for What’s missing-type questions are not abundant. What's missing in this picture game is an amazingly fun activity for kids when she/he is preparing for G/T or not. In this post, we focus on some samples of What’s missing-type questions for the entrance assessment of the gifted and talented education. We specifically focus on "What's missing in the picture" format. In the bottom of this post, you will find a PDF file containing all the samples used in this post and their keys. What is "What's missing" As mentioned in the previous post, the "What's missing" assessment uses pictures. The child examines ...
Read More
Gifted and Talented education, commonly called G/T, provides additional materials and resources to students identified as gifted. Gifted and talented education is a part of the public school systems in USA. How to prepare a child for the gifted and talented program? #giftedtalented #gifted #talented #education #childdevelopment

Gifted and Talented program: What is it and how to proceed

Gifted and Talented education, commonly called G/T, provides additional materials and resources to students identified as gifted. Gifted and talented education is a part of the public school systems in the USA. In most states (if not all), the student has to sit for an assessment test and pass it to get enrolled in the program. A child entering the Gifted and Talented program in the elementary remains in the program throughout elementary, middle, and high school. This is what we were told by the elementary school personnel of an elementary school in the EPISD (El Paso Independent School District). G/T program structures vary from state to state. Therefore, there can be different policies in other states other than Texas. Should parents prepare their children for the G/T test? The gifted and talented program is not for children who are doing awesome in the class, rather it is for children who demonstrate the potential that they will perform remarkably at a high level of intellectual excellence in the future. The idea is to mentor these kids a bit so that ...
Read More
Wooden tray DIY. Woodworking is fun. The post contains the design of a wooden tray. It also describes our experience on the building process. #woodworking #woodwork #woodentray #diy #homedecordiy

How to make a wooden tray

We had been desiring to make a wooden tray for quite some time. Just like any do-it-yourself project, we learned a lot on our way of building the project. Making things is so much fun! Making a tray can be very simple. We hoped to give the project an amateur look and a farmhouse style. By the way, we are amateur DIYers. Therefore, we will not be able to give a professional look to the project even if we want to. 🙁 The post contains affiliate links. We will receive an incentive if you use the affiliate links to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. Getting the wood This step was quite easy because we were looking for a cheap and thin wood board and we found one in Home Depot. It was a half inch thick, six inches wide, and six feet long wood piece. What was the price? Two dollars and some cents. It was a cheap wood board. The wood was not even dried well. The smell of the wood was great. Name of ...
Read More
Little children face hard tome in using the toilet in school with costumes. The article provides a list of spiderman costumes that have separate pants. #spiderman #halloween #costume #halloweencostume

A list of school-friendly Spiderman costumes for halloween

Most of the halloween costumes come as overalls. As a result, little ones have hard time in using the toilet. Teachers need to help every time the kids go for potty. You might recall from another post that Dear Dad wrote two years ago on how he applied his DIY skills to make the Spiderman costume he bought more school-friendly. The idea was to make sure that Dear Son can go to the toilet by himself while wearing the costume in his daycare. Dear Dad separated the bottom half of the costume and made pants out of it. 🙂 It was hard work but totally worth it. Things have not changed much. Dear Son has started his elementary school though. We are still afraid that he will face the same trouble in school on the coming halloween day. Didn't I say things haven't changed much? That includes his choice of costume --- it is still Spiderman. This time, instead of going through the trouble of DIY-ing an overall costume, we have decided to search for a multi-piece Spiderman costume --- ...
Read More
Which store --- Lowe's or Home Depot --- do we prefer for our DIY project supplies? #diy #lowes #homedepot #diyproject

Which stores do we prefer for our DIY project supplies?

Lowe’s and Home Depot are our preferred stores for our DIY project supplies. They are like dream places for us. We, Dear Mom and Dear Dad, can spend hours in any of these two stores – walking through the aisles from gardening to plumbing, woodworking to cement-working, and paints to hardware tools – looking at the labels of things useful as well as not useful. However, we do not have the entire day to be there because neither the food will get cooked nor the laundry will be done itself. Well … most of the laundry will get done by itself since we are lucky to have a washer and a dryer, but there are many more chores to take care of, not to mention both of us need to spend quality time with Dear Son. It does not matter how avid DIY-ers we are, we do not want to spend more time than required to shop even if we are in our dream store – Lowe’s or Home Depot. All DIY-ers know about their local stores well-enough to make ...
Read More
Learn about Intersex children and raise the awareness. #awareness #intersex #family

Intersex children

1.7% babies are born in between a female and male trait. This article is written with the hope that it will add a drop in an ocean of humanitarian efforts to raise intersex awareness. What is an intersex condition? Intersex conditions happen when babies are born with a mixture of male and female genitalia. There might be an in-betweenness in the body when the baby grows up. Due to both male and female hormones, someone may appear female but have man chromosomes and testicles. An individual may have female organs like ovaries as well as a uterus but may have a clitoris that is large enough to resemble a penis. The intersex condition among people with XX chromosomes is often a result of a condition known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, as stated in a document of the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA). Congenital adrenal hyperplasia hinders the normal growth of children. Other times, genetic conditions appear as mixed-gender organs in newborns. Some intersex traits are visible and some may be hormonal and hidden. Often, hormonal and hidden intersex conditions ...
Read More
Being a full-time single parent is hard. Pair this with the fact that kids cost money, and you may find that you could use a side hustle to bring in some extra cash. #sidehustle #money #moneymaking #family

Get Your Side-Hustle On: Ideas for Single Parents

This is a guest post written by Wendy Ross from Safer Tomorrows. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer who is passionate about writing on topics related to safety awareness and family lifestyle. The topic of the article below is focused on side hustle ideas for single parents. Being a full-time single parent is hard. It’s up to you to provide meals, give baths, help with homework, clean the house and provide a personal taxi service to the school, appointments, and extracurricular activities. If you don’t do it, well, it won’t get done. Pair this with the fact that kids cost money, and you may find that you could use a side-hustle to bring in some extra cash. While the supplemental income is certainly nice, you need to side hustle for the future as well. At some point, you may want to take up a part- or even a full-time job, or ever turn your side hustle into a booming business, to make sure the route you choose is adding value. Hone your skills in whatever area interests you whether it ...
Read More
How to reduce the electricity bill? #FrugalLife #frugal #familylifestyle #saving #savingplan

How to Reduce Your Electricity Bill as An El Paso Resident

Jackie Edwards generously contributed another post for our family blog. Her previous article can be found in this link. Jackie is a freelance researcher and editor, who loves to develop resources and articles about family lifestyle. Today's post is about how a family, especially in Texas, can reduce the electricity bill. In the ever-changing climate that Texas has, you’ll likely already understand the woes that come with having to alternate between heating and cooling throughout the year. As a result of this climate, the average monthly Texas electric bill is around $128.50, or $1,542 annually. Settling down in El Paso offers many opportunities to enjoy the good life, such as 300 days of sun a year and a delicious food culture. However, if you’re going to enjoy life as a West Texan, you’ll want to keep the energy-saving tips in mind. Evaluate Your Habits Evaluate your habits and come up with a plan to make small adjustments first. The idea is to start making these changes step-by-step until they become a habit. First, you can begin by washing laundry with cold ...
Read More
Baby proofing your home does not have to be expensive. The post describes how to baby-proof home with inexpensive items. #kids #babyproofing #safety #toddler

Baby proofing solutions every parent should know about

This is a contributed post from Jackie Edwards, a freelance researcher and editor, who loves to develop resources and articles for new parents. Jackie herself is a new mom to twin girls. She is passionate about writing articles on family budgeting, childcare ideas, and parenthood. Baby proofing solutions every parent should know about Accidents are the leading cause of death in children aged one to four years according to data from the CDC. Although parents may have their minds occupied by other activities in the first few months of their baby's life, after six months the need to protect the baby from unintended injuries increasingly becomes a preoccupation. This calls for proper baby proofing measures in the home. There is no shortage of effective and elegant baby proofing solutions and baby proofing companies in any town including El Paso but the costs involved could be prohibitive for some families. Here are some ways you can babyproof your home without spending a small fortune and without needing to hire a baby proofing service. Magnetic Drawer Lockers There are a number of plastic or metallic ...
Read More
Antibiotic may cause diarrhea in children as well as in adults. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can be prevented using several precautions. #parenting #diarrhea #kids #kidswelfare #kidshealth #health

How to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children

Diarrhea can be caused by many things but it is common during or after antibiotic administration. If a kid is administered antibiotic, it is essential to take a close look at the stool. Well … parents look at the poop every day when the child is an infant or a toddler. As children grow up, poop becomes more and more unreachable to parents. When it comes to prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children, parents need to speak with older children about their poop --- there is no other option. The post contains some Amazon affiliate links. We will receive an incentive if you use the affiliate links in this post to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. What is Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea? Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea (AAD) is the diarrhea that may occur during or after the administration of antibiotics. It may appear in children of any age as well as in adults. What are the symptomps of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea? The symptomps are just the regular symtopmps of diarrhea --- loose stool, more than usual frequency of bowel movement, and ...
Read More
Preventing cyberbullying is the best way to protect your child. The post describes a guide on how to safeguard children against cyberbullying. #cyberbullying #parenting #children

A Guide to Cyberbullying and Social Media Safety for Concerned Parents

This is the second guest post Wendy Ross from Safer Tomorrows has written on our family blog. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer who is passionate about raising safety awareness and helping people in all types of dangerous situations. This article speaks again for her passion. A Guide to Cyberbullying and Social Media Safety for Concerned Parents Cyberbullying is a serious and complex issue experienced by about 34 percent of students. For parents who grew up in the age of schoolyard bullying, Internet harassment might be a new phenomenon. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying can occur at any time and anywhere. It’s difficult to protect your child from this kind of harassment and mistreatment, particularly because offenders can easily remain anonymous and victims are often reluctant to report issues. Fortunately, there are ways that parents can spot cyberbullying issues and help kids overcome them. Take the Preventative Approach Preventing cyberbullying is the best way to protect your child. Parents.com recommends keeping your computer in a common area of the home so you can monitor your child’s online usage. You should also get familiar with social media ...
Read More
Does carrying a balance on credit cards improve credit score? #creditscore #creditcard #frugal #saving

Does carrying a balance on a credit card improve credit score?

Credit cards do not allow us to realize the expenditure as well as cash does. Expenditures easily cross the budget when we use credit cards. Carrying a balance on credit cards by paying off only the minimum becomes a habit quickly. Minimum payment is frequent among the young generation, especially college students. Some people leave balances on credit cards thinking that the balance will improve their credit score. Many people pay off the minimum monthly payment due to emergency situations. Regardless of the reasons, we need to understand how much we are hurting our financial situation with a balance on our credit cards. We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. Is this correct that paying off minimum instead of the full balance improves the credit score? Nope. Paying off less than the full balance will not benefit the credit rating. Paying off the full balance before the due date will keep the credit record in good standing and increase the credit score ...
Read More
How to plan for housing expenses to save money. The article provides information on what is an optimal housing expense ratio. It also provides a guideline on how to keep the housing expense low. #housing #familyfinance #money #moneysaving #saving #moneyplanning

How to plan your housing expenses to save money

Who does not want a large house with a pool, or an apartment with an additional guest room and a office? Along with many wants and needs, school district of the residence is a crucial item for a family with kids. Quality of the schools of an area influences the housing expense. There are so many trade-offs when deciding on housing. A housing-related burning question is --- what is the optimal housing expense ratio, when compared to monthly gross income? We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. Optimal housing expense ratio It is obvious that the amount one decides to spend on housing depends on one's personal financial situation. Housing is costlier in big cities than small towns. Despite the variations in housing expenditure between towns, a rule of thumb is that one should not spend more than 30% of her/his pretax income on housing. Pretax income refers to the gross income before income taxes are withheld. What if 30% housing expenses ...
Read More
Summer kids flicks #elpaso #summer #familyfun

Summer Kid’s Flicks

Summer in El Paso is hot and toasty. Well ... toasty might not be the right word because it sounds comfi. Hey, at least we don't have the humidity. 🙂 Anyway, stay inside in the three digit temperature if you are near El Paso. Despite the heat, summer is always a fun here in this boarder town. Such as, the Summer Kids' Flicks series is arranged at The Grand Theatre - Fort Bliss. We have not yet watched a movie this summer in the theatre; we might pick a good day to visit Fort Bliss --- although not sure if our little one will watch a whole movie in one sitting. 🙂 The series seems like a great opportunity for parents to take their kids to see their favorite movies for only $4! A ticket not only includes the movie, but also a free kid's popcorn and soda. For further details, please visit: http://www.thegrandtheatre.com/skf Information about the showtimes and dates can be found in the following flyer ...
Read More
Financial freedom using 50 15 5 rule. The magic mantra to financial freedom for any family or person is: save money and get out of debt. Live a frugal life as much as possible. #saving #moneysaving #financialplanning #frugal #frugalliving"

Achieve financial freedom of your family using 50/15/5 rule

The magic mantra to financial freedom for any family or person is: save money and get out of debt. Live a frugal life as much as possible. So, what is the most serious mistake in achieving financial freedom? Is it "not saving money"? Yes, something like this. It is, spending everything. One cannot save when he/she spends everything. So, how can we set boundaries in spending money? We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. Use your carrots to save money Have you ever seen that scene in cartoons --- A cart driver activates a reluctant horse by dangling a carrot in front of it? We can save money by dangling a big fat carrot like that. For example, if purchasing a house or an apartment is high in my priority list, I would set a goal to save to reach that target quickly. Everyone needs to find his/her carrot. We make our lives easier by spending money. How is that? To avoid ...
Read More

We are in a list of top El Paso Blogs

The Founder of Feedspot, Anuj Agarwal, created a list of 15 blogs and websites of El Paso. We are honored that our blog is in Anju's list. Many thanks to Anju. Please click on the medal below to visit the Feedspot post. We have been blogging for around two years. It has been a great experience. I have learnt a lot during this time (I am referring to the social aspects that I am not good at). Due to blogging, I was able to say "hi" to so many people that I won't normally get a chance to meet. Thanks to all the nice people of the entire world. Settle in El Paso team ...
Read More
Why should we encourage our daughters in STEM. #stemeducation #science #education #learning

Why should women join the STEM fields

Women continue to be underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) despite significant efforts from the Government and the academia. Why are there so few women in STEM fields? This article titled "Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics" describes some interesting research findings. Research indicates that gender bias, stereotypes, and the environment of science and engineering departments in the academia play as blocking factors to women’s progress in STEM. Definitely society and family play another crucial role. They say --- gender stereotyping begins at home. I don't know who They are but They seem to be always right. 🙂 We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. Purpose of this post Around a year ago, we wrote a survey post requesting our readers to let us know their opinion about why should women join the STEM fields. The purpose of today's post is not to find why there are so few women in STEM fields. Rather, the purpose ...
Read More
Succulent planters. #cactuspot #smallflowerpot #succulentpot

Inexpensive succulent/cactus planters with coupon codes

HandMadesUS on Etsy is giving a great deal on small succulent and cactus pots. Aside from the low price, the shop has given a 50% discount coupon for Settle in El Paso readers. The coupon code is coupon code is: HALFOFF. The buyer can apply the code during checkout. The price will magically become half. The shipping is free. The entire earning of some of the planters seems to be going toward shipping cost. Clearly, HandMadesUS is a new store and it is trying to make a mark. A short description of the products of HandMadesUS is provided below. White cement, colorful, succulent planter Looks really gorgeous. The listed price is only $7. With the coupon "HALFOFF", the price will be $3.5, plus some taxes based on the state of the buyer. The store offers FREE shipping. Really ... will they have even a penny left from $3.5 after shipping it for free? As I said earlier, the store is new and trying to reach out to people to spread the good name. Please do not forget to give a ...
Read More
Is money blogging real?

Is money blogging real?

Absurd ... don't be ridiculous. Blogging as a main income stream is no more realistic. Probably it was practical a decade ago. You want to see data? Here is the data --- there is no university or (physical) institute which is currently offering a degree or even a certificate program in "blogging". You will find plenty of online courses on blogging though. The online courses may teach how to blog efficiently and earn money out of it. These online courses are mostly offered by well-established professional bloggers. If "money blogging" were real then we would have seen more institutionalized efforts on blog training. This article is not to criticize the concept of "money blogging", rather it is to let people know that "money blogging" is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Those who earn money from blogging run a business in reality. We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. There is nothing called "money blogging" I am a "professional blogger" because I have earned ...
Read More
Preparation for safe and active exploration for kids

Summer Fun: Safe and Active Outdoor Exploration for Your Kids

This is a guest post written by Wendy Ross from https://safertomorrows.org. Wendy is a Chief Safety Officer who is passionate about raising safety awareness and helping people in all types of dangerous situations. This article speaks for her passion. Summer Fun: Safe and Active Outdoor Exploration for Your Kids Summer’s right around the corner, and your kids are aching to get outside and start having fun in the backyard, at the playground, and in the swimming pool. Most kids run into trouble of some kind during the summer. This year, do some planning ahead to prevent those sunburns, bee stings, and poison ivy rashes. Many of the problems children get into can be prevented with a little education and some preventive planning. Summer’s a time for little ones to explore and learn about their world. Children develop motor skills and gain confidence, and you can help protect them by taking a few precautions. Bothersome bugs Kids love to explore their environment. The younger they are, the more reckless they tend to be. Protect your kids from being stung or bitten by ...
Read More
The post describes some seasonal allergy symptoms and remedies. #allergies

Seasonal allergies: A recurring story

I (Dear Mom) grew up without any form of allergy. Then, one fine evening, one of my eyes started acting out. I couldn’t fathom why on earth, all of a sudden, one eye would become so rebellious and emotional. Well, I knew it had to do something with the itchiness that accompanied the tears, but I had no clue what exactly caused the sudden itchiness. It progressively got worse from that point. A day or two later I had to visit the doctor. His diagnosis was --- I developed an allergy. Obviously, he was mistaken, right? I never had an allergy. How can I have allergy suddenly? Allergy is not something we can develop overnight, can we? Therefore, I asked all sorts of questions to make sure that I was not misdiagnosed. I mean, I thought allergy is something we are born with. I refused to believe that one can develop allergy well into their adulthood. Eeh, whoever said “ignorance is bliss” must have developed an allergy later in her life. There are some Amazon affiliate links in this post ...
Read More
How do I handle my Social Anxiety Disorder? Social Anxiety Disorder makes a person fearful and anxious of many daily activities, work, school, and many other activities. It is mostly fear of being judged by others. #anxiety #anxietydisorder

My Social Anxiety Disorder — How do I handle it

I had Social Anxiety Disorder. I think, I still have it to an extent. Suppressing Social Anxiety Disorder becomes easier with age, at least I feel that way. There are some Amazon affiliate links in this post. We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. What is Social Anxiety Disorder If you are not familiar with the term Social Anxiety Disorder --- it is exactly what the words literally mean --- a disorder that makes one anxious in social situations. It is more than shyness and discomfort. Social Anxiety Disorder makes a person fearful and anxious of many daily activities that involve other people. It is mostly fear of being judged by others. Effect of Social Anxiety Disorder Social Anxiety Disorder disrupts daily functionality. It may lead to avoidance of social interaction with people. Social Anxiety Disorder can limit the potential of a person. Work, school, and other activities become harder for a person with Social Anxiety Disorder. How did I recover from Social Anxiety Disorder ...
Read More
The post provides a beautiful infographic on the benefits of living in EL Paso, Texas. #ElPaso #Texas #travel #Living #TexasLiving

Seven reasons to move to El Paso

This is a guest post written by an El Paso native, Ali Walker. Ali is an Attorney at The Walker Law Firm. She graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin and received the Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree from the University of Colorado. During her law school, Ali served as a legal extern for the Colorado Supreme Court and interned with the Eighth District Court of Appeals in El Paso. Ali was a Staff Attorney for the Chief Justice of the Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals prior to joining the Walker Law Firm. The article Ali has written is focused on reasons for moving to El Paso. --- Settle in El Paso team 7 Reasons to move to El Paso By Ali Walker If you are considering a move to El Paso, Texas, you may be wondering what kind of area you are getting into. Have no fear! We have compiled a short informative infographic that illustrates the various beneficial characteristics of the town. Stay tuned for a list of the best neighborhoods, locations, and activities in ...
Read More
Dear Son's drawing --- Martin Luther King Jr.. Freedom, peace, and love.

Freedom, Peace, Love — From my Family to Yours — Let’s Create a Peaceful Next Generation

Dear Son: Dad, do you know who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was? Dear Dad: Yes, I do. Dear Son: Well, I have news for you. Dear Dad: What is it? Dear Son: He is dead. Dear Dad: Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Dear Son: Do you know how he died? Dear Dad: Not really. How did he die? Dear Son: Someone didn't like what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was saying. Someone said bam bam and gave some shots to Dr. Martin Luther King. Dear Dad: Gave some shots? Dear Son: Yes, you know how I get those shots when I go to the doctor? Those shots. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. got shots. Do you know when he died? Dear Dad: No, when did he die? Dear Son: When Mrs. A* was a baby. *Dear Son goes to the Kindergarten. Mrs. A is Dear Son's teacher. Concluding remarks: We have managed to raise a kid who has no idea what guns are, what guns do, or what being shot means. Only guns he knows are the ...
Read More
What do you do in winter? Do you have winter rituals? #winter #winterdays

Getting the most out of the dull gray winter days

The lingering cold of the winter days can be ruthless. Much of the US is now blanketed in snow. The picture is entirely different in El Paso. We barely had snow this year. Yet, the days are cold, windy, and gray. I (dear mom) have a bitter-sweet relationship with winter. I cannot stand cold, yet I love the warm, fuzzy feelings that come with winter. This post is a reminder to me as to why winter is so special. Hot chocolate What better way to create warmth in the harsh cold days than to have a good old cup of hot chocolate. Holding a warm cup itself brings a sense of comfort. To top that, we have a velvety hot drink in the cup. Lately, I have been digging the Nestle Abuelita hot chocolate. Unlike many other brands in the market, this hot chocolate has less sugar, just perfect for me. It also has a creamy texture that I am very fond of. Stews, casseroles, and rich food To our family winter is about having rich, warm food. Winter is ...
Read More
Some unconventional and some usual money saving tips. All the tips are easy to implement. #moneysavingtips #moneysaving #moneytips #savingmoney #savingmoneytips #savingstips"

Unconventional and usual money saving tips for a family

How many times have you thought of tracking, planning, and budgeting your expenses? We had thought about it many times. In the last few years, we have really started to figure out the areas where we can cut expenses without major changes in lifestyle. Speaking of lifestyle --- priorities have shifted in the last few years. Boosting a college fund for the little one by cutting some expenses is of higher priority than the short term excitement of owning the latest version of iPhone. Speaking of the latest iPhone ... you know how it is. The latest iPhone is exciting till it gets its first scratch. So, why rush getting hold of it? Saving for college fund is more exciting, at least for now. Today's article provides a list of usual as well as unconventional money saving tips. There are some Amazon affiliate links in this post. We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. Save by using AliExpress We buy from Amazon and local stores ...
Read More
How to improve cellphone signal at home #cellphone #cellphonesignal #cellphonetips #cellphonereception

Boosting cellphone signal (without spending money) if you live in a weak signal reception area

The strength of cellphone signal is critical to good communication with friends and family, nowadays. Signal strength at your home depends on how far you are from a cell tower, or if you live near a mountain, or near some interference zone. Our home is a victim of weak cellphone signals. 🙁 We do not have good cellphone reception at home. What is the solution to this problem? This page contains some affiliate links. We will receive an advertising fee for items purchased through an affiliate link on this page with no extra cost at buyer’s end. Having a landline This is a great solution. However, I do not feel good to pay for a landline in this era of smartphones, especially given that we are already paying for two cellphone connections. Is there any other solution? Cell phone signal booster This is the first solution that came to my mind after moving to our current house --- a cellphone signal booster. There are many types of signal boosters --- some are suitable for AT&T connections, some are good for ...
Read More
Are you paying too much interest for your #mortgage? Will early payments help reduce #interest? #mortgage #mortgageloan #loan #homebuyer

Pay off mortgage early — How much extra am I paying for my mortgage

One of the biggest monthly expenditures of most families is a mortgage. For many, the minimum payment may not look that big compared to a rental. As a result, putting worries about mortgage aside quickly becomes a convenience. After all, we have many more things to be anxious about in our life including college fund, retirement, health insurance, and above all --- our jobs. If we look carefully, we may notice that our mortgage does not shrink as much with the minimum payment the bank has set up for us. It is said that it is better to pay off the mortgage early. Do early payments really help? The answer to this question is simple, although paying off early is quite troublesome. If you find that paying off early is saving you a significant amount of money, then yes --- paying off early is worth the trouble. This post provides a calculator to find how much interest your mortgage will cost you during the lifetime of the loan. A calculator is provided later in this post. We will receive an ...
Read More
How to encourage children’s positive eating habits. Make healthy meals for children. #kidsmeals #FoodHabit #HealthyFood #healthymeal #kidsfood

How to encourage children’s positive eating habits

Children enjoy rules and discipline, as long as these rules are reinforced in a positive way with a smile. Here is my smiley face 🙂 Encourage positive eating habits from day one, with a smiley face. Well ... day one might be a bit early but as soon as your child can use the highchair, it is essential to develop positive eating habits so that the child does not have to struggle with the "rules" when she/he grows up. Children who learn and practice positive eating habits are likely to make healthy choices when they grow up. The question for today is --- how can we strengthen this practice of healthy eating habits? Having meals together to develop positive eating habits Having meals together as a family helps children develop a family spirit. Dinnertime is generally when all family members are present. Make dinner a special event every day. Children learn etiquettes quickly when all have meals together. You also get a chance to show your child how to eat right. You will notice that picky eaters eat more when ...
Read More
Feliz Navidad. Merry Christmas. #Christmas #MerryChristmas #FelizNavidad

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas! It's the most wonderful time of the year. We wish you the best in this holiday season and also in the rest of the year. What did Santa do today? Santa brought "presends". Dear Son is in the kindergarten. A boy from the third grade sent a letter to Dear Son --- the third grader indicated that if Dear Son "behaves" Santa will give "presends". Yes, that is how I came up with the spelling "presends". Letters from upper division elementary school kids are randomly sent to kids of kinder and pre-k. Isn't that so adorable? Anyway, because Santa may come, Dear Son made sure to clean up all the messes he usually makes around the fireplace. I don't know if a modern day chimney is accessible by Santa anymore (or, if there is a chimney at all, although there is a decorative fireplace) but the idea of keeping children excited and busy with something is really smart. Santa came! Take a look at the proof below. How long did the excitement last? Dear Son woke up around ...
Read More
/ Family / 11 Comments on Feliz Navidad
Free download of PDF file for sight words. No login required. #printable #sightwords #children #kids #kindergarten

How to use sight words to develop children’s reading skills

Sight words play a major role in developing children's reading skills. It is a common practice that early learning centers, Pre-K, and kindergarten classes give some levels of efforts on teaching sight words to children. We are happy to find that all elementary schools under the El Paso Independent School District stress a lot on sight words in kindergarten. Dear Son is going to one of the elementary schools in this school district. The expectation of how many sight words a child should be familiar with in his/her age varies between school to school. Children can learn many more sight words than the expectations listed by schools, through playful learning. Playful learning is stressless for children as well as parents. This page contains some affiliate links. We will receive an advertising fee for items purchased through an affiliate link on this page with no extra cost from the buyer's side. What are sight words? Sight words are frequently used words in English. I guess, every language has its own sight word list. The use of sight words as a tool ...
Read More
Childhood Obesity in our country is concerning. The post describes ways to assess and prevent childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity assessment and prevention

This is one of our awareness posts. This time the topic is --- Childhood obesity and overweight. Childhood obesity between ages 2 to 19 in the United States is concerning. More than 12 million children and teenagers in the USA suffer from obesity, which is around 17% of the population between ages 2 and 19. That means, if you go to an elementary, a junior, or a high school, you are highly likely to see one out of five kids with excessive weight. There are some Amazon affiliate links in this post. We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. Why is childhood obesity a concern? The answer is simple. Children with overweight are highly likely to remain overweight when they will grow up. Obesity damages physical and emotional health. Some examples are as follows. Hypertension Hypertension is actually high blood pressure. Headache, tension, restlessness are some of the symptoms, whereas hypertension can even go unnoticed. Regular checkup will detect high blood pressure. Now-a-days, there are ...
Read More
How to improve reading skills of a child. Five foundational reading skills — phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension — are known to be crucial in early learning. #kindergarten #children #prek #reading #readingskills #readingskill #earlylearning

How to improve reading skills of children

Five foundational reading skills --- phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension --- are known to be crucial in early learning. While daycares, preschools, and kindergarten classes focus a lot on helping children improve reading skills, a major part of this particular development depends on the reading culture of the family. Especially, the fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension aspects of reading skills require practice in a cozy and playful environment at home. What can we do to improve the reading skills of a child? The post is about what we can do to improve reading skills. It contains Amazon affiliate links. That means, if you purchase anything using any of the links, we will receive an advertising incentive from Amazon, with no additional cost from your side. Start early Introduce your child to alphabets early. Each little one is an Einstein. Soft books with ABC, 123, Shapes & Animals are great to familiarize a kid with alphabets and numbers. Alphabet and number songs are great tools for a pre-toddler's early learning too. You can even keep an audio CD of alphabet ...
Read More
Many Black Friday Deals start a week before Thanksgiving. The post provides some early deals and promo codes. Wish you a great thanksgiving & upcoming holidays.

About some Black Friday deals

Update on November 26, 2017: Black Friday is over. The listing in this post contains current promotional codes. These are not Black Friday deals. You might have already noticed that some Black Friday deals have become active on Amazon. A number of deals caught my attention today, among which Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, Fire HD 10, Fire 7 Kids Edition, and Kindle Paperwhite are my favorites. I have listed all these items below. In addition, I have provided some promo codes in this post, which are still active. I have provided their expiry dates as well. You can click on any promo code to visit the promotion page and have the promo code on your Amazon cart. You will receive the discount during checkout. The promo codes are valid only for purchases in the USA. These promotions are of course limited time only and valid while supplies last. We will receive an incentive from Amazon with NO extra cost from your side if you use the links to purchase anything. Settle in El Paso team ...
Read More
How can you assess your anxiety level? What is the remedy of excessive anxiety? The post provides a quiz that helps diagnose Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). #anxiety #GAD #anxietydisorder

How to determine anxiety level

Worries come as a byproduct when families have children. Of course, family photos on social media only portray happiness (well ... most of them). Anxiety is latent. Will my child be bullied in his kinder class? or will Dear Son eat lunch? Or, will he go potty in school or will I find his pants wet when I pick him up from school? Things like these are completely absent in anyone's social media even though such anxiety is an integral part of who we are. At times, I worry so much that I wanted to do some research (I mean Google search) on excessive anxiety. This post is based on what I found regarding anxiety, a feeling that all parents of all times have experienced. Well, if all parents of all times felt anxiety, then it should be a normal thing. Ok... Then, when is anxiety abnormal? The answer is, anxiety is abnormal when it becomes a disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) There is a widely used medical term called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD refers to excessive worries. When ...
Read More
New Mexico Museum of Space History

A Trip to the New Mexico Museum of Space History

Living in El Paso, Texas has the charm of being close to many attractions. Not that we are travel-addict --- rather quite the contrary. Just that --- going here and there helps to charge up for some days. Moreover, Dear Son needs to see things, we want to create memories, and gather some tales to tell for the future. That being said, long drives irritate Dear Son and probably all five-year-old kids. Although long drives are becoming better as Dear Son is growing up, we make sure to prepare well when we go for a day-long drive. Anyway, this post is not about travel preparation. Rather it is a story of a trip to a nearby place from our home. New Mexico Museum of Space History is in Alamogordo, New Mexico and is only around 96 miles from our place in El Paso. It is a less-than-two-hours’ drive --- suitable to travel without planning to stop anywhere. If you are lucky, the journey will end before a tantrum-session of a little one starts. 🙂 Moreover, Dear Son’s fascination (or maybe ...
Read More
Tailwind Tribe is expensive. Is the new Tailwind Tribe worth the price?

Will you get what you pay for the new Tailwind Tribe?

It is hard to answer if we will get what we would pay for the new Tailwind Tribe. Sorry, I started without a context, which is not polite. Please allow me to describe. What is Tailwind? Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler: tailwindapp.com . Many bloggers use it to keep their Pinterest profile active. Regular pinning gives some sort of weights and pins that are linked to your blog posts start to start to attract traffic from Pinterest. I have tested and observed that Pinterest helps increase traffic but this post is not about how I may grow my traffic using Pinterest. Therefore, I will stick to the topic of Tailwind Tribes. Life is busy. We do not have time to use Pinterest everyday. Therefore, many bloggers choose to use a scheduler to do the pinning automatically. Many prefer to schedule pins of the coming week or so in advance so that they can focus on other things. Tailwind is a website where you can schedule your pins. Tailwind will automatically pin the posts your scheduled. Plain and simply ...
Read More
Promo codes for promotions and deals on Amazon.

Some limited time promotions and deals on Amazon

We have access to some promotional offers since we joined the Amazon Associates Program. These offers come with some promo codes that we are more than happy to share with our readers. Manufacturers create these promo codes to attract traffic to their products. We tried to provide some lucrative promotional offers in this post. You can click on any promo code to visit the promotion page and have the promo code on your Amazon cart. You will receive the discount during checkout. These promotions are valid only for purchases in the USA. All of these promotions are limited time only and valid while supplies last. We will receive an incentive from Amazon with NO extra cost from your side if you use the links to purchase anything. Settle in El Paso team ...
Read More
Pumpkin/squash blossom recipe (stir-fry). A delicious seasonal savory delicacy.

A squash blossom recipe

Texan cuisine has been influenced by many cultures. Among all the Texan cuisines, Tex-Mex cuisine is quite common and popular in the El Paso region. A seasonal Tex-Mex delicacy is pumpkin or squash blossom. Pumpkin or squash blossom is one of the reasons why I look forward to the squash season and the pumpkin fest. You might be able to find the blossoms in a local farmers' market. In case you are wondering --- yes pumpkin and squash blossoms are edible. The article provides a pumpkin or squash blossom recipe. Squash or pumpkin blossoms can be served on a dinner table in many forms --- fried, baked, or even in the form of a quesadilla. I am providing a simple stir-fry recipe in this post. When stir-fried, squash/pumpkin blossom is savory. It has a hint of zucchini or green calabacita taste. Stir-fried squash/pumpkin blossoms can be served with steamed rice or tortilla. Ingredients Pumpkin/squash blossoms --- 25 to 30 flowers Jalapeño --- 1 count, seeds removed, chopped Onion --- 1 tablespoon, chopped Garlic --- two medium garlic cloves, chopped Tomatillo ...
Read More
Most annoying greetings of modern times

Five most annoying greetings

Greetings have emerged from Hi, Hello, Good morning, Good day, to different types of expressions used in modern days. Not sure if many of the modern greetings were there a few decades ago. Some of these are really annoying greetings. This post outlines some of the annoying greetings, I feel I should talk about. 🙂 What's up Really? What is up or down --- is this even a question to ask? I really get pissed-off when someone greets me with What's up. Did you mean, what is happening in my life? What aspects of my life do you really want to know? Are you a close friend of mine who may ask what is going on in my life? I get super annoyed if someone who is not a close friend or a family greets me with What's up. Haven't seen you in a long time Dude ... Am I supposed to meet you periodically so that you don't have to say this? The most annoying part of this is --- it sounds like complaining. If it is a complain ...
Read More
Free halloween invitation cards for any year

Free printable halloween invitation cards

We have created five different halloween invitation cards, which we thought you might like to use. We wish we could take the full credit --- we used Canva templates to create all these invitation cards. All JPG card files provided with this post are of high quality (300 DPI) and each can be printed on a 5.5"x5.5" paper. We have also provided the PDF files. They are free to download from here. No registration and no email address entry required. We created them for ourselves --- just thought we would share on our blog --- the printables may help someone save time. Get here on your broom This is our most favorite. The original template had a different witch and spooky tree, which should be purchased. We replaced them with free-to-use images from the internet. You will need to write the party location and time on the card using a photo editing software, or by a pen after printing. The PDF file is in this link. Jpeg is below. Potion party invitation All grownups of today were afraid of the ...
Read More
How to run a drip line for your garden plants. The post describes all the details of drip irrigation with pictures.

Drip line irrigation DIY for a home garden

While it is great fun to use the garden hose to water plants, it might be difficult doing so every day. On the other hand, plants on the Chihuahuan Desert won't grow without high-quality love and affection from the garden owner. 🙂 An automated sprinkler system and drip line irrigation will automatically demonstrate the love to the plants, when we are busy during the weekdays or when we are out of town. In some previous posts, we have demonstrated how to install a sprinkler valve on a 3/4" PVC line and how to connect a PVC to a Poly pipe. Today we are outlining how we may run a drip line for trees from the poly pipe. This post contains Amazon affiliate links, the meaning of which is that if anyone purchases anything using the Amazon links in this post, we will receive a commission with no additional cost from the buyer's side. What is a drip line irrigation system? I am sure you have seen drip irrigation lines many times before. Have you noticed those skinny pipes under the shrubs? ...
Read More
Ho do you know it is time to quit your job?

How do you know it is time to quit your job?

Hmm! You will know when it is time to quit your job? The universe will give you signs. Seeing those signs is as plain and simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the best food in the world. Well ... I am not good at metaphors. So, let's not talk about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich example. Anyway, how will you really know it is time to quit your job? Knowing this is easy-peasy lemon squeezy because we have already created a list of scenarios that will give you the light-bulb moment when you experience them. You notice that your male boss tends to unnecessarily spend more time with female employees Regardless of whether you are male or female, you need to run in the opposite direction of this office. If you are a female employee, definitely you do not want to be in an office where your boss is hitting on all female employees. If you are a male employee, you definitely do not want to be in an office where people are not respected, needless ...
Read More
Reporting the correct number of subscribers is sometimes tricky. This post describes how Jetpack currently counts number of subscribers for self-hosted Wordpress blogs.

A script to count number of blog subscribers correctly

How do we have 2685 subscribers in our blog? I don't have any idea. I have been struggling for the past two days to reduce this number. You are probably thinking I have gone crazy. Instead of writing an awesome post on how I got more blog subscribers, I am talking about how I should bring this number down. The subscriber-count of our blog became 2,685 from seven hundred something in one day. Shouldn't I be alarmed? Why am I trying to bring the subscriber-count down? I am trying to bring the subscriber-count down because the number is not correct. So far, our blog has 37 user subscribers, 63 email subscribers, and 620 Wordpress followers. The total should be 37+63+620=720. I do not have any clue why the total number is 2,685 in the sidebar. In one fine morning, I noticed that the number has increased drastically. I have no clue what happened. How do I get my subscriber count? One direct way to obtain the subscriber-count is by using the widget Blog Subscription (Jetpack) after connecting a self-hosted Wordpress ...
Read More
Interesting warning signs in a restaurant.

A few terrible warnings

We were traveling on Saturday, not anywhere near Charlottesville, Virginia. Our route covered from the far Western side of Texas to the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert in the New Mexico state. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch where we saw two Warning signs. There will be no warning shot The first sign said, "Ammo (ammunition) is expensive. There will be no warning shot." When I read this, I thought --- Well ... I understand jokes. Red Neck Area ... Proceed at your own risk The second sign made me feel something was swirling inside my stomach. It said, "You are entering a Red Neck Area. .... Proceed at your own risk." We had Dear Son with us. Should we run out of the restaurant? Observation While my forehead was sweating, I looked around. A lot of white people were around. I did not have the courage to look over their necks to verify the redness though. Anyway, they looked happy. Slowly, my eyes went to another table where there were a few kids. Oh, that means the ...
Read More
Sprinkler valve installation is not as hard as it may seem. #gardening #irrigation

Sprinkler valve installation DIY

Sprinkler valve installation is an easy DIY. You will know how easy it is if you just do it once. In this post, we will explain from very scratch, (1) what is a sprinkler valve, (2) what are the sprinkler valve options, (3) how to install or replace a sprinkler valve. Well ... we will explain many more items in detail, which we did not even imagine we would know before the summer of 2017. Let's speak irrigation. Ready, set, and go ... Oh, wait. This post contains Amazon affiliate links, the meaning of which is --- we will receive a monetary incentive from Amazon if you purchase products using the links (with no additional cost from your wallet). Of course, if you hire a professional landscaper or a plumber to replace or fix a sprinkler valve, you will not need to go over this article (but you are still very welcome to read it). Before you search for plumbing or landscaping professionals in your area, let me just tell you that Sprinkler valves are pretty inexpensive (may vary between ...
Read More
A must have series for children: Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin

Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin

This post is written in the voice of a (cranky) great-grandma of a neighbor. She will tell us today about Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin. I was patient with her and as a result I received great information about some great books. I suggest you remain calm as well. She is “all talk” and in real life, harmless and sweet. This post contains some links to Amazon. If you use any of these links to purchase anything, I will get an incentive from Amazon with NO extra penny from your purse. I am being stereotypical here because I said purse. I did not say wallet. Who does not know Winnie-the-Pooh? Of course it is a silly question. It is as silly as it can be. Everyone knows that he is the best friend of Christopher Robin. You know who Christopher Robin is, right? Ok … since you asked politely, I am going to answer all your questions. Who is Christopher Robin? Give me a break … Definitely you are an American (from USA). You only know Rapunzel and Cinderella for your ...
Read More
Old days versus the shiny present.

The past and present satire

We hear the phrase --- good old days --- a lot. This is funny because a few memories of my childhood scare me to death now. For example, when a family member went shopping she/he had to be off the grid for a few hours. When my dad traveled, we had to wait for his call to inform us that he reached the destination safe and sound. It sounds scary nowadays. Anyway, past and present always create a dilemma. In this post, we make a humble attempt to compare past and present days side by side. We will let readers decide the answer to the question --- which one is good: past or present. Declaration of becoming a single In the old days, a friend carried the message to the friends of a friend that someone became a single. Nowadays, Facebook relationship status does that job well. Along with regular relationship status, Facebook has --- "It's complicated", "In a domestic partnership", "In an open relationship" --- which allow people to express their availability in a complex manner. Life was too ...
Read More
When you know you are screwed.

When you know you’re screwed

Life is so complex and there are too many ways to be screwed. We came up with only four "you're screwed" drawings for this post. We may come up with more "you're screwed" satire in the future. Caution: Please note that this post is a "you're screwed" satire. Therefore, the phrase "you're screwed" will repeat many times. "We need to talk" implies "you're screwed" The moment you hear your girlfriend saying, "Honey, we need to talk", you know that you're screwed. If you are a super nice guy, the next few sentences are going to be --- "You have a beautiful mind. I have enjoyed dating you. But..." You know the rest. Sorry dude ... Please do not take it personally. It is a standard procedure but nevertheless, you're badly screwed. Not a good idea to break up over text You have been called for an interview with a company of your dream job. You are excited. After entering the interview room you discover that your ex-girlfriend with whom you broke up over a text message five years ago is ...
Read More
Water safety is crucial for kids. Constant supervision and training is required to ensure safety. #safety #watersafety #familyfun

Water safety for kids

All kids enjoy playing with water. Our little one enjoys water regardless of its size --- a swimming pool or a plastic kiddie pool or even a glass of water on the floor. As much fun as it can be with water, parents need to make sure that safety precautions are always in place around water. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services lists a rich set of water safety tips in this link: Water Safety. Through this post, we are wholeheartedly promoting the water safety tips, especially for families with small children. The basic idea is to watch kids around water at all times. Never leave children near water alone Regardless of whether it is a small baby bath tub or a large swimming poll, not for even a few seconds adults may leave a child near water. I am not joking --- small children should not be left alone near even a toilet. Keep aquariums out of reach of children If you have aquariums, keep them out of reach of children. As we all know, any glass piece ...
Read More
The post describes an easy DIY project on how to connect PVC to poly pipe. #diy #irrigation #gardening #pvc #polypipe #irrigationdiy

How to connect PVC to Poly pipe

Connecting PVC to a poly pipe is not as difficult as it sounds at first. This post uses infographics and a video to demonstrate how to connect PVC to Poly pipe. Such connections are sometimes required for garden irrigation. A video demonstration of how to connect Poly pipe to PVC A video is worth TEN thousand words. So, we made a video to make sure that the process of connecting PVC to a Poly pipe is ten times clearer. Poly pipe vs PVC Most domestic outdoor water lines are PVC pipes, which normally do not bend much. Poly pipes are becoming popular for irrigation DIY projects because they bend well and they are easy to handle. Long poly pipes, in rolls of 50ft to 100 ft or even longer, are available in local hardware stores. PVC pipes are generally available in 10ft pieces. You will need to glue multiple PVC pipes for lines longer than 10ft. When required, poly pipes are joined by clamps. PVC pipes are joined by primer and PVC cement (glue). PVC pipes can handle high water ...
Read More
Digging a trench in the backyard for sprinklers can be a daunting task if the soil is rocky and if you do not own or rent a trencher. If you are in a place where the soil is a bit sandy, you will be able able to use this technique to trench, which does not involve a trencher. #gardening #sprinkler #diy

How to dig a trench without a trencher

Digging a trench in the backyard for sprinklers can be a daunting task if the soil is rocky and if you do not own or rent a trencher. Now, why on earth will you dig a trench without a trencher. Well, since you asked, … here are a few reasons: Your local hardware shops do not have a trencher that you can rent. I checked Home Depot in the Westside of El Paso. They do not have a trencher for rent. You might not have a truck to carry a trencher to home and back to the store. That means extra cost to transport the trencher especially if you need a heavy-duty one for your backyard. Yes, you might need a heavy-duty trencher if you live close to the mountains, especially like the one we have --- the Franklin Mountain of El Paso. Your backyard is full of sand, pebbles, and boulders. You are like me (and I am like you). You do not want to hire people. Your budget is limited. You are willing to learn something that you ...
Read More
A humor post outlining how one can text and drive at the same time. The post has sarcastic statements to discourage text & drive.

How to text and drive

We are extremely sorry to say that we cannot text and drive anymore. It really surprises us why state governments do not realize the necessity of being tech-savvy in everyday life. Texting and driving (at the same time) is one of the most tech-savvy activities that has driven millennials as well as modern adults of this century. Texas was, so far, known to be one of the states that recognized the necessity of texting and driving. Damn it ... Texting and driving will be considered illegal from September 1st, 2017 even in Texas. Here goes our freedom of texting and driving, multitasking, and being so cool. This post describes a few ways of how we, the cool tech-savvy community, may survive this disaster of texting & driving ban. All the following methods can be applied hands-free. Therefore, their use should be legal. However, we strongly suggest that users consult a lawyer before implementing these methods. The authors of this post do not guarantee any safety or legal consequences of the methods. All the following methods have one feature in common ...
Read More
Questions from children

A child asks dad, “Why are your breasts so small?”

I am sure the question in the title of the post, "Why are your breasts so small?", has raised many eyebrows. Actually, this is the question Dear Son asked me today. Dear Son is four years old. As his Dear Dad, I was not sure what to answer. I am sure all parents have some strategies in answering children's questions that are difficult to address. The first possible answer When Dear Son asked me the question, too many strategic answers flashed through my mind within a blink of an eye. The first one is, "Boys have small breasts and girls have large breasts." Complications of this answer also popped up immediately. What if Dear Son goes to his pre-school tomorrow and starts telling his teacher, "Boys have smaller breasts and girls have larger breasts", assuming that his teacher might not be aware of this important piece of information. This might be an information that our neighbors might be missing as well. Dear Son might consider it his responsibility to teach everyone such an essential finding. The second possible answer The ...
Read More
Toy Train Depot is a fun place. Do not miss it if you go near Alamogordo, New Mexico. #travel

The Toy Train Depot of Alamogordo

If you are near west Texas or if you visit the southern part of the New Mexico state and if you have kids, you probably do not want to miss the Toy Train Depot of Alamogordo. The Toy Train Depot has a toy store, a museum containing miniature model-trains from different times, and a train ride around a park. I did not think that it would be much exciting when Dear Wife first told me about it. I still followed her lead just like always. Just like most other cases, Dear Wife was right and I was wrong. We had a blast! The address of the Toy Train Depot is 1991 N White Sands Blvd, Alamogordo, New Mexico 88310. It is around 90 miles from El Paso. Museum entry fee per person is $5 and it is $5 for the train ride. A discount applies if you purchase both the museum entry and the train ride. The total per person becomes $8. A highlight of our visit to the Toy Train Depot in Alamogordo, New Mexico is given in the ...
Read More
The post describes how can one reduced bounce rate of a blog site. #bouncerate #blogging #bloggingtutorial

How did I reduce bounce rate by 45% overnight?

A blogger's dream is that readers will read their posts. This is obvious. Otherwise, we won't be blogging, rather we would be writing diaries in the first place. By definition, a blog is an online diary that is public. We do not want our readers to bounce to any page other than our blog. Bounce rate is an indication of what percentage of readers bounced to something NOT relevant to our blog after landing on a page. Bounce rate is higher if readers come to a page and then leave without engaging with the blog. Lower bounce rates are better. Many SEO strategies are out there to reduce bounce rate. I rarely used any such sophisticated strategy. We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links in this post to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. How may I know the bounce rate? Good question. The standard way to view the bounce rate is via Google Analytics. In this post, I assume that you have already have a Google Analytics account and you placed ...
Read More
A quiz to check the level of permissive parenting style you are using. #parenting #Permissive #parentingStyle #PermissiveParenting #ForKids #Kids

How to check if you use the permissive parenting style

Parenting styles, as explained by Dr. Phil Permissive parenting style is the last one in Dr. Phil's list of parenting styles. The quiz questions of this post are directly borrowed from Dr. Phil's parenting quiz document. Other parenting styles In our previous two posts, we explained Authoritarian and Equalitarian parenting styles. We provided two quizzes in those two posts. The quiz in the current post is for Permissive parenting style. Permissive parenting style Permissive parents set broad boundaries for their children. Their approach is more gentle and they like to intervene only when kids are in trouble. Parents using the permissive style believe in empathy, compassion, friendship, and encouragements when dealing with a situation relevant to their children. Permissive parents allow freedom of opinions, self-improvements, and personal goal attainments. They know the cues well that will motivate the children in the right direction. Permissive parenting style is accepting, supportive, respectful, ensuring, and motivating without exactly uttering motivational words. It encourages the child to reach self-selected goals. Sometimes this style is too lenient. It may need a long time to see ...
Read More
Different children react to different parenting styles --- Authoritarian, Equalitarian, and Permissive --- differently. Which style are you using? #parenting #kids

How do you know you are an equalitarian parent?

In our previous post, we explained the Authoritarian parenting style. This post focuses on equalitarian parenting style. An equalitarian parent believes that children should have preferences. Equalitarian parents give choices to their children. Rules are simple in such families. Equalitarian parents discuss the reasons behind the rules with their children. Parents using the equalitarian parenting style follow children’s needs and children’s instincts instead of imposing a decision. How to check if you are an equalitarian parent Motivated by Dr. Phil's parenting quiz, we have set up the following quiz with ten questions to identify four levels of equalitarian parenting style: high identification with the equalitarian style, dominant behaviors for the equalitarian style, average or moderate behaviors for the equalitarian style, or low behaviors for the equalitarian style. Upon completion of the quiz, your level of equalitarian parenting style will be shown. Different children react to different parenting styles --- Authoritarian, Equalitarian, and Permissive --- differently. An equalitarian style is suitable for some children, while other children may need an authoritarian or a permissive style. However, a consistent style is preferable ...
Read More
Authoritarian parenting style provides clear and inflexible rules for children. A parent sets the family goals and expectations in this parenting style. #parenting #kids #parentingstyle #Authoritarianparenting #parentingstyles

Check if you are using the authoritarian parenting style

Authoritarian parenting style provides clear and inflexible rules for children. A parent sets the family goals and expectations in this parenting style. There is nothing bad about authoritarian parenting. It is just one of the three styles --- Authoritarian, Equalitarian, and Permissive, as described by Dr. Phil. Authoritarian parenting is known to be decisive, efficient, assertive, task-oriented, strict, and rigid. There are ten questions in the following quiz to identify four levels of authoritarian style: high, dominant, average, or low. These questions are prepared based on Dr. Phil's parenting quiz. At the end of the quiz you will be told what level of authoritarian style you demonstrate. Note again that authoritarian parenting is not a negative thing. It is just more directive. As Dr. Phil mentioned, this style leads to a better structure, which many children may need. You will need a real browser (chrome, safari, explorer, or firefox) to play this. I do not think the Wordpress App will be able to execute this interactive quiz. Settle in El Paso team Subscribe to receive notifications on our new posts ...
Read More
Summer Learning Loss refers to the loss of academic skills during summer holidays. Younger kids suffer from this loss more than the older kids. Preventing or minimizing summer learning loss is not much difficult with a good summer-activity plan. #summerfun #kidseducation #summerplan

How to avoid summer learning loss

Summer Learning Loss refers to the loss of academic skills during the summer holidays. Younger kids suffer from this loss more than the older kids. Preventing or minimizing summer learning loss is not difficult with a good summer-activity plan. Some activities and plans are highlighted below. Dear Son is still a preschooler. We have observed that his reading/writing/math skills get a bit rusty if we travel for a few days. Dear Son is probably not of an age when we should be much concerned about summer learning loss. However, it is never too early to plan for the future, especially regarding Dear Son's education. Flexible learning schedule Kids do need to realize from their early stage that summer is a special time. Of course, they will realize that because schools are closed. Dear Son goes to the daycare but there is no homework during the summer. Therefore, making kids realize that summer is a special time of the year is not a difficult task. We plan to work on some homework during the summer but at the same time, we ...
Read More
What to pack for a zoo trip with a toddler? A zoo trip with children cannot be sudden. It needs some preparation. #parenting #children #summerfun #travel #familyfun #family

What to pack for a zoo trip with a kid

Early elementary stage or Pre-k is a great time when children enjoy watching all the beautiful animals in the zoo. Going to a zoo with children cannot be a random and sudden decision, though. We need some preparations and a great zoo packing list. Here is a handy checklist containing things you may want to bring with you during a zoo trip, especially when there are children involved. Camera Hats Stroller Water Snacks An extra set of clothes (for kids) and a light towel Sunscreen First aid An umbrella Allergy medicines Wipes, hand sanitizers, and tissue The rest of the article contains further details about the checklist. There are some Amazon affiliate links in this post. We will receive an incentive if you use the Amazon affiliate links to purchase anything with no extra cost from your side. 1. Camera Nowadays, it is easy to forget a regular camera given that everyone carries one with the smartphone. Every time we go for a zoo trip, my cellphone betrays by showing the message that it does not have enough space left ...
Read More
Remove location information from photos

How to remove location information from your photos

Smartphones, most of the times by default, add location information with photos taken by the phone-camera. You may prefer to remove the location information before uploading them to Facebook page or to any other social media. Now the question is how do we remove location information from photos. Can I see the location information of a photo using a computer? Definitely. You can right click the image file on a Mac, select Get Info, and then see latitude and longitude along with many other pieces of information. On a Windows computer, you can right click the file and select Properties, which will display the properties window of the image file. Latitude and longitude will be there if and only if the file contains embedded location information. Why you may want the location information embedded within your photos? There are many reasons why you may prefer to keep the location information embedded. Some reasons are as follows. Some photo organizing software will help you group your photos based on embedded location information. Google photos is one such app. It is always ...
Read More
How to hide your identity while blogging anonymously. #anonymous #anonymousblogging #whois

How to blog anonymously

Well … it is hard to do anonymous blogging nowadays. There are many things that will reveal a blogger’s identity. For example, writing your own name in the blog will reveal your identity! I am just kidding. The article provides some tips on how to blog anonymously. A common one is, writing your real name during an email communication. I did that a few times. I wrote my name in some emails that I sent to a few fellow bloggers. It does not worry me much because bloggers have their codes. I know that my fellow bloggers will not reveal my name. Not that I am a famous person hiding under the shade of Settle in El Paso; it is that I do not want my boss to know I blog during office times. Yes, I am so efficient that I can blog during my office times. Additionally, I can manage my six-figure salary job. I could say seven-figure but you won’t believe me. Humor has to be close to reality. Not that I am joking here ... Actually, I ...
Read More
Teacher with two kids

Teacher appreciation week

Dear Son's daycare (Pre-K) center is celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week. The daycare has become his second family in the last few years. Since Dear Son was five months old, he is staying with his teachers during the daytime of weekdays. That is, Dear Son spends most of his conscious times with his teachers during weekdays. Teachers are his family. When is the teacher appreciation day? In USA, it is on Tuesday, May 9 in 2017. Different countries have different designated days for appreciating teachers. Wikipedia has a long list of teachers' days in all countries. In some countries, the teacher appreciation day is a holiday. The summary is that all countries recognize how important the role of a teacher is in building a society. History of the teacher appreciation day In USA, it is the Tuesday of the first full week of May. According to National Education Association (NEA), the discussion of a national day recognizing the efforts of women and men who dedicated themselves in giving education started around 1944. The discussions started after Mattie Whyte Woodridge (1909–1999), an ...
Read More
Is introvert blogging a thing? #blogging #blogger #introvert

Wish of an introvert blogger

I am an introvert but do not worry... I will not bite you. You do not have to fix me either. For a long long time, from my childhood through adulthood, I thought that being an introvert is a disorder (I probably did not think that it is a disorder, rather I thought that it is a bad thing). Dear Son is growing up and I am noticing that he is going a lot after me. He has shown me that introverts are lovable and adorable. Of course, otherwise there was no way Dear Wife would have said "yes" many years ago. 🙂 Introverts are perfectly normal human beings Hah ... Who defined that extroverts are normal? Psychologists, doctors, or extroverts? If the number of extroverts is greater than the number of introverts than the definition of being normal is already biased. Introverts are simply not outgoing people. An introvert's comfort-zone Introverts do not feel comfortable in crowds. Is this because crowds have too many extrovert people? I really do not know. However, I know that I feel comfortable in ...
Read More
Intersex babies — I have to take care of God’s creation. The post provides a story of modern age motherhood. #intersex #parenting #humanity #humanrights #awareness

Intersex babies — I have to take care of God’s creation

We wake up in the morning. Then, we get ready for the day. We go to work. Sometimes, we talk about Obamacare with colleagues. Often, we talk about Trump. We also talk about vampier movies. Sometimes we feel bored. We cry out --- I need a vacation. Have we ever considered that we are super-blessed? People of most countries do not even know what a health insurance is. One BBC article caught my attention today. The article made me think a million times how blessed we are being in this country. The article is about intersex babies --- babies born in between the usual male and female traits. The venue of the story is not USA. It is Kenya. Intersex babies in Kenya There was a time, probably not too long ago, when the duty of a Kenyan midwife was to kill an intersex baby right after birth. Then the midwife had to declare that the baby was stillborn. It is suspected that the practice is still there in remote villages of Kenya. In the remote places, many people still ...
Read More
The post describes a free software that can be used to blur the background of an image. I am pretty impressed at the quality of the pictures the software generates.

How to blur the background of a photo

I am not a good photographer. In fact, I know nothing about photography. The blurry background of a photograph always amazes me. I know how to do that using the iPhone's macro thingy. 🙂 Of course, DSLR camera could give me such natural romantic-blurry-dreamy pictures but I am not into DSLR yet. No way I am going to spend that much money without knowing anything about photography. For now, I would let the knights hold the sword. I will stay with my pen, figuratively speaking of course. In reality, it should be "I will stay with my keyboard". 🙂 Is there any photo editor that can do the blur background trick? Hunting for a free photo editor to blur background Anyway, like millions of people, I believe that whenever there is a will there is a set of internet-search results that will show me the way. In fact, there are ample photo editor software products that will allow you to change the regular background of a photo to a blurry background. The problem with most of those software products is ...
Read More
Is caffeine safe for the baby during pregnancy? If yes, how much caffeine is safe at that time? #caffeine #pregnancy #pregnancycare #maternity

Caffeine during pregnancy

Maternal nutrition is very important while an embryo/fetus is still developing. Parents need to take extra caution considering that some of the products adults consume can be damaging to the baby’s health whilst in the uterus and later on in life. I avoided all sorts of caffeine when Dear Son was in the tummy. I avoided all sources of caffeine including coffee, chocolate, or even an innocent cup of tea. It was a tough thing to do since I run on caffeine. It was my first pregnancy; I was extra-cautious. Thinking back, and reading more, I think I could probably cut myself some slack. 🙂 Some of my findings regarding caffeine during pregnancy, again from the Internet, are as follows. What is the impact of caffeine on childbirth? Researchers of National Institutes of Health conducted a study, which reveals that couples' pre-pregnancy caffeine consumption is linked to miscarriage risks. Results demonstrate that a woman is more likely to miscarry if she and her partner drink more than two caffeinated beverages a day during the weeks leading up to conception. In ...
Read More
Setting boundaries is important in parenting but what would a good indicator that we have set the boundary enough? #parenting #kids #forkids

Parenting: the power and peril of setting boundaries

As you know, we are a family of three. We did not have a good idea about parenting. I (Dear Mom) thought I will grow an ‘instinct’, a ‘motherly instinct’ to be precise, with the birth of Dear Son. That did happen. Dear Son’s cry would trigger a primitive sense of panic unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Other than that, there was an astounding level of non-instincts. I gave up So, I thought I should work on ‘developing’ instinct. I started reading parenting books. I discovered there were different types of parenting. By different I mean many different types, not just 2 or 3 types. I tend to trust everything I read in printed form – a bad idea. Initially I felt lost reading so many different ideas. Each idea was like a voice; it was a cacophony. I gave up. Parenting was not my cup of tea. Dear Son was going to grow up as a modern-day Tarzan. By the way, where is Tarzan? He used to be popular. Nope, I do not give up that easily ...
Read More
Is higher education worth the time and money? #education #higherEducation

Is a higher education worth the time and money? John’s question and Jane’s answer.

By higher education, we mean any education after High School. Based on 2015 Census report, around 88% of the U.S. population have high school diploma, around 59% have some college or higher degree, 32.5%  have Bachelor’s degree or more. 12% of our population have advanced degree (like Master’s or Ph.D.). While the population with a High School diploma is quite large (although a 100% will be the best), higher degree holding population is drastically small. Is higher education worth the time and money? Now the question comes, Is higher education worth the time and money? That is, should people continue with their studies after high school? It is true that higher education costs money. Student loan is a common source of finance. Most student loans have low interest rates. Moreover, the first installment can be paid after graduation, upon getting a job. Should one start enjoying life earlier and not worry about student-loans? Oh, Yes. One could start earning right after high school. In extraordinary circumstances, one can earn six figures per year. There are even examples of millionaires who ...
Read More
How to plan weekdays to meet weekend expectations. #Family #Lifestyle

How to plan weekdays to meet weekend expectations

Because both of us have full-time jobs outside home, not everything is well-maintained in the home-front. Dear Husband could care less about the lack of tidiness in a home, but my world is driven by visual input. I see things scattered all over the home and my mental to-do list starts growing. Well, now that I am thinking, Dear husband also has strong opinion about things left on counter-tops! He demanded that he be given certain part of the kitchen counter and that the counter should always be empty – ready for him to use when he drives into his cooking frenzy. Usually, there are tons of other chores waiting for us at the end of the week like cooking, cleaning, grocery, vacuuming, and laundry. So, instead of a restful weekend, we somehow end up with a chore-full weekend. I start dreading wasting the weekends in these mundane tasks and not doing something weekendy, like picnic, going to museums, or doing something fun. So, last week I had a light-bulb moment! Why don’t we try doing some of those chores ...
Read More
Does Alcohol Increase Breastmilk Production?

Alcohol while breastfeeding

Really? I said “Really” but I get it. There are times when depression kicks in easily after childbirth. The mind wants to take a little rest as well as the body. I do not drink. Therefore, alcohol was not a problem for me when I was breastfeeding Dear Son. In this article, I am documenting my two cents collected from the million-cents of the internet regarding alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. Does alcohol increase breast milk? Actually, beer may increase the production of milk a little bit but that is not the alcohol of the beer that stimulates milk-production, rather it is the polysaccharide in beer that increases the milk. Alcohol does no good other than posing many dangers to the child. There is good news --- nonalcoholic beers have the same polysaccharide that will increase breast milk. You know what, drinking 2% milk also helps make more milk. Therefore, the idea of consuming beer or any alcoholic beverage to increase milk is totally wrong. The effects of alcohol on breast milk and the baby The level of alcohol in the ...
Read More
Tune, shrimp, and vegetable soup. A great source of protein and vitamin. #recipes #soup

Veggie-Tuna-Shrimp soup recipe

I love to cook. Dear Wife also loves to cook. Over time, her expertise has grown well in the dessert area while mine has extended in the main dish area. When we invite friends or colleagues at our place for dinner or a weekend-lunch, they cordially thank Dear Wife after the main dish. Guests realize something is wrong when Dear Wife starts beaming. Societal assumptions of females being in charge of cooking and males being in charge of consuming the food are becoming obsolete. Don't you watch cooking TV shows? 🙂 Ingredients Anyway, I am not going to discuss society here today. Rather, I will describe my dynamic recipe of Veggie-Tuna-Shrimp soup. The trick is in the words --- dynamic recipe. The meaning of dynamic recipe is no actual recipe. It is a sort of apply-whatever-you-want within a reasonable choice recipe. However, you cannot call a soup Veggie-Tuna-Shrimp soup, unless there are at least vegetables, tuna fish, and shrimp in it. There you go. The main ingredients are vegetables, tuna fish, and shrimp. Now, tuna fish is, you know, tuna ...
Read More

Survey: Why should women join the STEM fields?

STEM refers to academic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. We have seen many discussions over the last few years on why there are so few women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Implicit bias, stereotypical threats, social force including bullying in school, family responsibilities, and many other factors have been already identified and discussed as the reasons of why there are so few women in the STEM disciplines. I, Dear Dad of Settle in El Paso, have been thinking about working on a topic --- Why women SHOULD join the STEM fields --- for quite some time. To this end, I have bugged Dear Wife numerous times to give her numerous cents. She has been informing me that this is a large topic and we need to study more before we hit the Publish button. I have been researching and researching. The more I am researching the lesser focused I am becoming. However, I have come to a list of reasons why women should consider joining STEM areas just like any other areas they prefer. The list is ...
Read More
Why is it important to wake up early? #earlyrising #lifestyle #morningperson #morning

Why I wake up early

Well. They say you cannot win every battle in life. Hmm... now that I am rethinking, I do not think anyone said that you cannot win every battle. Rather, the saying is --- Some battles are not worth fighting. If we would like to reach the workplace by 8 am, we should leave home by 7 am given that there are three schools on our way. Yes, planning the route to avoid school zones is a good idea. In our case, the minimum number of schools one our way to work is three. Anyway, if we would like to get out of our home by 7 am, we should wake up at 6 am. Given that we would like to get the ball rolling before Dear Son wakes up, that 6 am shifts to 5:30 am. 🙂 That is, 5:30 am should be a good time to wake up to make sure that we reach work at 8 am. Where was I? Oh, the battle thingy... Trust me on this. The battle of being a morning person is worth fighting ...
Read More
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. How seriously do we really take breakfast? #breakfastideas #breakfast #food

The battle of breakfast: Family breakfast ideas

Mornings are busy times. Both of us work, so we leave home early. With a pre-scholar on board, the rush is real. Today, I (Dear Mom of Dear Son) am going to share our breakfast battle along with some family breakfast ideas. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, we can give so little time to it. Over the years, we found some ways of making breakfast a tad bit easier. We have a long way to go before mastering the art of breakfast. Here are some of the things we try to do nowadays for breakfast. Dear Son Dear son loves fruits. So we make sure to stock up on fruits. Apples, strawberries, grapes (choking hazard), watermelon are some of his favorite fruits. So, every morning there is at least some fruits on the table. Lately it has been apples and strawberries. We started to ask Dear Son to pick up something from the store that he would like to try for breakfast when he was around three. Involving him meant less guesswork on my part ...
Read More

Cinderella-Ballerina-Rapunzel or Spiderman-Batman-Superman?

International women's day is celebrated on March 8th each year. The earliest recorded woman's day was held on February 28, 1909. In the early stage, this celebration or movement was organized by Socialist Parties in the USA and some other countries. In the following decades, the event became a globalized movement. The United Nations started to celebrate the International Women's Day from mid-'70s. The official United Nations theme for the International Women's Day in 2017 is --- Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030. I, Dear Mom or Dear Wife of Settle in El Paso team, attended a workshop on the International Women's Day that discussed interesting points about gender stereotypes. I would like to share some of those items. Interpretation of the word 'No' When told ‘No’, men and women have different ways of interpreting the word. Women usually interpret it as ‘No, you are not worth it’, ‘No, you are a failure’. Men, on the other hand, interpret it as, ‘No, not now’. As a result, men are usually more persistent. They keep trying ...
Read More
A great childcare is crucial for a child's psychological and physical development. This post describes what to look for when you are choosing a childcare. #childcare #toddler #infant #daycare ##childcarelife ##childcaregiver

What to look for when finding a daycare

Childcare is working parents' main concern. Astute readers with children already know that the quality of the daycare and the care the teachers provide are the most important factors under consideration during childcare search. One may think what is there to do in daycare other than feeding and changing diapers. If we count the hours on weekdays, we will see that an infant or a toddler spends more conscious time in the daycare than with their parents. It is crucial that an infant or a toddler is receiving the care necessary for her/his development. We think that the following items are crucial when searching for a daycare-center for an infant or a toddler. Speak with the Director and ask questions The first thing to do is to speak with the Director of the childcare center. Keep your antenna alert. Some people are very good at advertising; Some are not great at selling but might be the better childcare provider. When you are searching, you must concentrate on the term "care". Try to find how caring the Director herself/himself is. Come ...
Read More
A stock or a mutual fund --- which one is better? #investment #money #moneysaving #moneymaking #financialplanning

Stocks or mutual funds – in which should we invest?

One of the strategies we follow in our financial planning is safe investments. However, investment is never safe. The question is how much risk we should take. Investment is not our main stream of income. We use it as a mean of savings. This is one of the reasons we take low risks in the area of investment. Another reason is, we are not experts; we are learning as we go.One feature that caught our attention while we were doing some extensive research on strategies for saving is the diversity in an investment portfolio. The dilemma of which stock to own is somewhat addressed by diversification of a portfolio. The term diversification is widely used by financial advisors. We did not have much idea about investment and diversification until a few years back when we started to think about long term financial planning. As the term diversity figuratively suggests, a portfolio should have divergence from different angles. We will explain the details soon in this article. Stock: A stock is a unit of ownership of a company. Another alternative term is share. Stocks do not ...
Read More
There are three critical items about audience that bloggers should keep in mind during writing a post. Keeping audience's convenience and psychology in mind is important to make sure that there is a synergy between the audience and the blogger. #blogging #blogpost #blogwriting #writing

Three things about audience to keep in mind while writing a post

Well... There are millions of things to keep in mind while writing a blog-post; I am just listing three items because these are the critical ones that stay in my mind constantly regardless of what type of post I am writing. There are hundreds of types of articles in the blog-world, for instance, travel stories, recipes, fashion items, information posts, stories from experience, life lessons, essays, so and so forth. To a blogger, the common denominator among all types of articles is the importance of audience in writing. Therefore, keeping audience's convenience and psychology in mind is important to make sure that there is a synergy between the audience and the writer. I feel that, the followings are the most important aspects that we (I and Dear Wife) generally keep in mind when we write a post. Readers' time is precious We all, now-a-days, spend too much time on emails, phones, and social media. People try to cut-down time-consuming activities that are not directly relevant to their work or not important for their lifestyle. Everyone tries to save time. It ...
Read More
Selecting a school or a school district is sometimes a tedious work. Talking to other parents help. However, doing your own research is the best policy. The article provides information on how to select a school. #school #education #parenting #kids

How to select a school

How to select a school or a school district is a difficult question. There are too many parameters involved. Selection of a school sometimes depends on the type of school --- public or private. Private and public schools Let us discuss a little bit about these two types of schools. Private schools: If you are leaning toward private schools then 90% of your problem is already solved. You choose the private school based on the ranking, what location is convenient for you, and of course how much you will be paying per year. Please make sure to talk to the counselor or the principal before you sign a contract for the whole year. The tradeoff between a private school and a public school to us is basically a choice between the following two items: (a) securing lesser amount of college fund assuming that our child will be able to manage scholarships for college, and (b) securing a bigger college fund to make sure that we will be able to support undergraduate studies of our child in a good university when ...
Read More
Hand, foot, and mouth disease in children. #child #infantcare #babies #toddler

Hand, foot, and mouth disease in children

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common in children. Given that it is caused by a virus, there is not much to do as a cure for this disease. In the USA, every year there are more than 200,000 reported cases of this disease. Infants and preschoolers are affected more than adults. Dear Son had to go through the course of this disease when he was one year old. Let us explain some of the facts regarding this disease. What is Hand, foot, and mouth disease? It is a contagious viral disease that causes sores in the mouth, and rash in feet and hands. Coxsackievirus causes this disease. Symptoms involve sore throat, fever, blisters on tongue and gums, red rash, and no appetite. Babies get really irritated when they have hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Despite its severe looks, this disease is considered a minor illness. How contagious is this disease? I would say that it is a super contagious disease. One day we saw a notice in the daycare center that there had been a report of a hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The same ...
Read More
The Best Valentines day gift ever. #ValentinesDay #Family

The best Valentine’s day gift: The gift of being there

This is Dear Wife. We have been married for a while. Before getting married, I was a person passionate about giving gifts. I loved picking out gifts for the people who meant a lot in my life. I liked to show my gratitude through gifts. Likewise, I also expected gifts on special occasions. Things did not change a lot after I got married. For special days, like birthday, or valentine’s day, I would have some gifts ready for Dear Husband. A lot of thoughts (and often, money) went into getting those gifts. But, it was not always the same with dear husband. He was not that much into gift giving. At first, he tried, then I tried to remind him when it seemed like he was forgetting an important day, then we both gave up. During one of those early years of our marriage the following conversation took place around Valentine’s day: Me: Valentines day is coming. Dear husband: You want something? Me: Why else would I remind you that Valentine’s day is coming? A few days later, during Valentine’s ...
Read More
What to do if you smell gas odor in your home? #safety #familysafety #firesafety

What to do if you smell gas odor in your home

What to do if you smell gas odor in the home? Well... Natural gas cannot be smelled in its original form because it is odorless. Gas companies add some chemical compounds that are harmless but have a sulfur-like odor so that we can recognize possible gas hazards. We smelled such an odor in our home last evening. We immediately opened the windows and doors and then called the emergency line (800-700-2443) of the Texas Gas Service. A lady picked up the phone. When I told her that we were smelling a gas odor in a particular area of the house, she replied that this was an emergency situation and we needed to do the followings. We must NOT turn on or turn off anything. We must NOT use the garage-door opener to open the garage. Everyone must go outside and wait for the technician who will respond to this emergency. The lady asked me if I am calling from a landline or a cell phone. I told her that it was a cell phone. She then told me that she ...
Read More

Parachuter from the North Franklin Mountain

Living near the North Franklin Mountain of El Paso has been an excitement for us. Last weekend, we saw two skydivers parachuting and gracefully landing at the bottom of the mountain. We were having our afternoon tea and enjoying the mountain-view. We noticed a bird, which in a few minutes appeared to be a parachute. I quickly got a camera, which is nothing extraordinary but my cell phone (iPhone 6). Later we noticed that there was a second diver who came down from the right side of the mountain. We were not able to capture images of the second diver. We do not know if they were skydiving or parachuting from the peak of the mountain. Either way, seeing them fly was exciting enough for us. We can only imagine how much exciting it was for the divers. 🙂 This post contains some of the pictures we took. Settle in El Paso team Subscribe to receive our newsletters and notifications on new posts. Your email address is safe with us. It will not be distributed to any third-party ...
Read More

Embracing death gracefully: the changed perspective

As we said in another post, we had a month-long trip to our parents and relatives. It was amazing, especially for Dear Son. During this trip, I realized a strength of my family that I considered a dark side for a long time. It is about how my family deals with death of a family member. By my family I mean my mother, siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins. My father is not in the list because he passed away around ten years ago. My father's passing My father was less than sixty when he died. How did I handle my father's passing then? I was furious. I felt lost. I had wonderful dreams almost every night where he was alive and then realized he was no more when I woke up. My chest was full of pain from inside, figuratively speaking. Dear Wife was the only one with whom I could talk freely about my father and cry. Everyone talked about how nice my father was, how knowledgeable he was, how much he loved us, so and so forth. No ...
Read More

Magoffin Home State Historic Site

Happy new year! It has been some time since we published our last post. We know that our readers are damn worried without any post from us. Bazinga 🙂 ... we are kidding. I am sure no one noticed that we have not posted anything in a while. Anyway, we are kind of having a month-long vacation. We are visiting our families and relatives. This is something we do almost every year. We are planning on continuing such tours to families and relatives in the coming years as well. Speaking of posts, we wrote one guest post during our month-long vacation. Our friend Lisa Amaya invited us to write a guest-post in her blog Life of an El Paso Woman. For the specific post we wrote, published in Lisa's blog, please click on the following link: Guest Post: The Magoffin Home of El Paso. Some additional pictures of the Historic Site of Magoffin Home State are provided here for our readers' viewing pleasure. 🙂 Settle in El Paso team ...
Read More
Thanksgiving parade in El Paso

Thanksgiving parade in El Paso

Thanksgiving Parade in El Paso, TX in 2018: Sun Bowl Parade, Date: Thursday, November 22, 2018. Step off Time: 10 a.m. (MST) More information including the map can be found here: Sun Bowl Parade. The content below was prepared based on the Thanksgiving Parade experience of 2016 Legend has it that the Thanksgiving Parade in El Paso was previously a New Year's Day Parade. I said "Legend has it", not because the information is mystical but because I like the sound of the phrase "Legend has it". 🙂 Actually, it is a historical fact that the town of El Paso arranged the parade on New Year's day from 1936 to 1978. The parade was scheduled on the Thanksgiving Day in 1979. Since then, El Pasoans have been enjoying the parade on the Thanksgiving Day. In El Paso, it’s not this time of the year without the parade. It has been 80 years since the first parade. The theme of this year's parade was "80 Years Around the World". We have been in El Paso for around three years but this ...
Read More
Toys for children of different ages: Infants, Toddlers, Pre-K, Elementary

Toys for children of different ages

Dear Husband has been diligently writing for this blog. While we do most of the activities together, there are areas where one of us has no clue how the other one does things. For example, I do not know what magic Dear Husband uses to keep Dear Son so calm and composed. When I am around, Dear Son whines, cries, demands, climbs, and clings onto me. Anything ridiculous I can think of, Dear Son will do or demand that when I am nearby. The dynamics are completely, utterly, absolutely different when father and son are together. They do not drive each other crazy. Somehow, they bring the best of them. Going back to my area of strengths regarding Dear Son --- I am somewhat okay at picking toys that keep Dear Son engaged. Very early on, we decided not to indulge in toys. Unfortunately, as the post will show, I veered off track. I continue to explore the exciting world of toys. I confess that I picked up horrible and terrible toys at first but slowly started to get a ...
Read More
Early math skills

Developing early math skills

Learning is different with different kids. Yes, of course, there are expectations based on age groups but there are also studies on different teaching techniques and their effectiveness. No, I do not have the references to these studies. I read from the Internet but unfortunately, I am not that organized to keep the references. 🙁 Anyway, what I was going to say is that Dear Son showed extensive interest on different topics from time to time. Currently, he is four years old. (The post was written in 2016.) He is showing more interest in numbers now. We believe his interests in certain topics grow based on natural instinct and timing. We exposed him to addition and subtraction a few weeks ago. He is enjoying it a lot. The preliminary activities relevant to addition and subtraction are as follows. Background Dear Son started to work on his numbers at an early age, before two. By his age of three, he was able to count up to thirty fluently and up to fifty with some help on every 10th number. He can ...
Read More

Pumpkin smash in a pumpkin fest

Given his age, Dear Son enjoyed no more than four pumpkin festivals so far, among which he barely remembers one. We know how much he loves the countryside drives and the visits to the front yard produce-sales of the nearby growers during the weekends. We knew that he would enjoy the pumpkin fest. Despite having hundreds of other things (please read a few other things) we could do as a family, we decided to go to the Pumpkin Fest last weekend (Sunday). The Pumpkin Fest was at the La Union Maze (1101 NM-28, Anthony, NM 88021). The place is just 20 minutes to 30 minutes away from the Westside of El Paso. It was the last day of the pumpkin fest in this season. We made another attempt to visit La Union Maze around a month ago but we found that the place was too crowded. We decided not to enter at that time. We heard that the last weekend is the least crowded one. Dear Son would be able to participate in many of the activities without long waits ...
Read More
How to make a school-friendly halloween costume. #costume #halloween

How to make a school-friendly halloween costume

I, Dear Dad, was planning on Dear Son's halloween costume. I always have smart plans (please read as easy plans). Yes, I like to keep life simple. 🙂 The plan was to take Dear Son to a costume shop and ask which costume he liked the most. Didn't I say I always have smart plans? Dear Wife was saying that halloween costume needs better planning than this and definitely more creativity is required. "No worries; leave the costume to me this year. Creativity is my middle name", this is what I said. Did we ever mention in this blog that Dear Son is not familiar with any super heroes? He might have heard of one or two from his friends in the daycare but in reality he does not know what superpowers super heroes posses. Dear Son has not yet learnt how to copycat the gesture of a superhero. His heroes do not have much physical strength and generally come from his story and picture books, for example --- Curious George, Dory, Llama Llama, Harold, so and so forth. None ...
Read More
Texas is called the Lone Star State. Do you know why?

The Lone Mountain-Star of El Paso

It has been more than three years since we moved to El Paso, Texas from the East Coast. The Star on the East side of the Franklin mountain of El Paso gave us goosebumps when we first came; it has been giving us goosebumps till today. We took the picture above a few months ago from an airplane. If you ever fly to El Paso at night and if you are sitting in the good side of the airplane, you will get a chance to view this star shine. The star shines on the mountain of El Paso each and every night. What is the story behind this Star? Of course, the Star on the Mountain of El Paso stands for the Lone Star State, Texas. Therefore, the next question is, why do we call Texas the Lone Star State? History of the Star on the Mountain of El Paso In 1940, a fifty feet wide star was built by the El Paso Electric Company. Another bigger star was built after that, which was renovated a few times and the ...
Read More
How potty training works. Given that potty training is every parent’s worry, especially for first-time parents, the number of grownups who are not potty trained is quite small. In fact, we do not know a single grownup person who is not potty trained. Of course, earlier is better because diapers are expensive and cleaning the butt with increasing amount of poop as the baby grows up can be a messy job. #pottytraining #parenting #kids

Potty training tips

We were damn worried about the title of this post. Many items popped up in mind, for example, "potty training guidelines", or "potty training in 3 days" or maybe "potty training in a few years", or "potty training meme", or even "how to control a pooping machine". (Please accept my apology for the language) No title seemed appropriate. Then we decided that a simple title for this post would be the best, as it is now. Given that potty training is every parent’s worry, especially for first-time parents, the number of grownups who are not potty trained is quite small. We do not know a single grownup person who is not potty trained. Of course, earlier is better because diapers are expensive and cleaning the butt with an increasing amount of poop as the baby grows up can be a messy job. (Sorry about the language but it is what it is.) It is surprising how much poop may come out of a tiny baby. (Forgive me again, for the language.) Potty training may start as early as nine months ...
Read More

The Third of Three Days Three Quotes: Abraham Lincoln

"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy." --- Abraham Lincoln, August 1, 1858. Civilizations have their won pace and course of enhancements over time. Once in a while, a few people come into the scenario to advance the civilization a few decades or even a hundred year. Anyway, there is no way of evaluating how much progress was made by someone because we cannot go back in time, undo everything done by that great mind, and get back to future to see the impact. We feel that that one of the greatest achievements of mankind in last two hundred years is the abolition of slavery. Yes, the quote above is from Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. Following is the quotation that gave meaning to the word word "humanity". We do not know what was the meaning of the word humanity to mankind before the following quotation was uttered. "And by ...
Read More

The Second of Three Days Three Quotes: Albert Einstein

"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Modesty is a virtue that only smartest people have. 🙂 Yes, the quote, "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." comes from once known to be the smartest person on earth, Albert Einstein. Einstein was not only a genius but also a man with strong morality and with soft emotions, which led him to be a very modest person. His biographer called him the divine man of the 20th century. "I have no special talent" sounds humble and of course ironic, especially when coming from a genius. The second part of the quote, "I am only passionately curious", explains why Einstein was a genius. As human beings, we all are curious. The question is how deeply we are passionate about our constructive curiosity. Again, why have we written a post with a quote? Bloggers love to network. Three Days Three Quotes is a networking activity. This particular activity involves quotations. The rules for the Three Days Three Quotes challenge are as follows. 1. Write three quotes for ...
Read More

The First of Three Days Three Quotes: Mother Teresa

"I think, love begins at home." Love is complicated --- this is what we might have heard many times. We learnt that love is very simple when our son was born. There is no condition in love for kids. There is nothing complex about it. I mean, childbirth is definitely complex but love is not. Mother Teresa's quote "love begins at home" is well justified. 🙂 Being a new El Pasoan, one thing that fascinates us is that Mother Teresa visited El Paso in 1976. During her El Paso visit, she spoke about love and compassion. Her legacy touched many El Pasoans and inspired goodwills in many directions including relief services, house shelter program, youth group, and nursing homes. In 1979, in her Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, Mother Teresa mentioned "love begins at home" a number of times. This Noble-prize winning nun inspired billions giving a purpose to everyone just by saying one small sentence "love begins at home". One does not need to cross the world to help mankind. Love and charity both begin at home. This is why ...
Read More

Movie night at UTEP

In one of our earlier posts, we mentioned that the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has educational opportunities and activities for all. In addition, they arrange fun activities. We described one such event, Annual Splash 'n' Sparks, in another post a few months ago. Today's post is going to be another local event that Miners arranged last evening (Friday, October 14, 2016). The name of the event was Movies on the Lawn. 🙂 The event was organized by the Office of Student Life at UTEP. There was no admission fee. Here is a picture from the event. The event was open for all El Pasoans. The Finding Dory movie was projected on a large screen. The audience sat on the green grass of the Centennial Plaza at UTEP. Centennial Plaza is commonly called UTEP Centennial Park. Many people brought lawn chairs and blankets. We had our blankets with us. We reached the Centennial Plaza at 6:30PM. It was pretty amazing. 🙂 The place was quite full. Families came hours before the event, kids played around, parents relaxed, and ...
Read More

Mountains from the sky

I was traveling from destination A to destination B a few years back. The pilot mentioned, "You should be able to see this and that mountain if you are in the right side of the plane". I got a chance to take some pictures because I was in the lucky side of the aircraft. 🙂 The pictures I took are as follows. A few rivers begin in these mountains. I can neither remember the names of the rivers nor the the names of the mountains. I did not do much documentation of my travels at that time. Nowadays, I annotate on Google Photos so that I can recall easily. I have forgotten where I was traveling but I vaguely recall that it was somewhere in the northern part of USA. If you recognize the mountains, please let us know the names. Settle in El Paso team ...
Read More
The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park

Spring water and nostalgia

We got quite some opportunities to GO PLACES (this is not a Toyota ad 🙂 ), years before our son was born. We still have opportunities but baggages become larger than before when there is a kid. It was during the smaller baggage days. 🙂 One such memory lane was created when we visited Yellowstone in some deep breath past. We were looking at our old albums and found the pictures on today's post that were taken a while back when a small carry-on was enough for a long distance travel of the family. 🙂 These pictures were taken in the Grand Prismatic Spring area of Yellowstone National Park. Grand Prismatic Spring is the third largest hot spring in the world. It sits on a bed of colored volcanic rocks with high silica content known as rhyolitic rock. Magma inside earth warms the water (H2O). The colorful rocks are dissolved by the magma-heat and brought to the surface of the spring. Of course, the geoscience behind the spring is amazing but for us, the pictures bring nostalgia. 🙂 Settlers Settle in el Paso ...
Read More

Water in the desert

El Paso is a special border town, which is a part of a triplet El Paso–Juárez–Las Cruces. El Paso is in Texas, USA. Las Cruces is in the New Mexico state of USA. Juárez is in the neighbor country, Mexico. Nature has a different border system. 🙂 El Paso is located in the Chihuahuan Desert, which covers parts of Mexico and the United States. We adore rains being in a desert and of course, given that we moved to El Paso from the East Coast, our love for rain sometimes can be obsessive. 🙂 Anyway, today's post is focused on the photos we took in the morning of September 30, 2016 after a heavy rain in El Paso. We got some rain water in our backyard. Pictures are as follows. We enjoyed the wet wind and the H2O ! ...
Read More
Online resources on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. #babies #mom #pregnancy #parenting

Online resources for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting

Resources are abundant on the Internet. We nowadays jump to the internet before speaking with anyone about anything. Our search spans from searching for housing to finding online reviews to doing extensive research for educational materials to why our baby has dark poop. We searched for many items related to our child over the last few years. I (Dear Mom) scrolled through many of those sites often during the nine months of pregnancy and then after the birth of our baby. Many of these sites are well maintained and can be considered great resources for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. We thought these online resources might be useful for new moms as well as families expecting babies. Some of the resources are listed next. Information on pregnancy I registered with BabyCenter. The site sends a weekly email with a baby’s development information. It was quite informative. Another website that hosts a ton of information on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting is: familyeducation.com. The What to Expect team maintains a fabulous website: whattoexpect.com. The team published a few books on what to expect during pregnancy, first few months, and years of a child. I ...
Read More
Going through postpartum depression is difficult. You need family support. #Postpartum #depression #mom #ForMom

My postpartum depression and challenges

In one of our last posts under the maternity category, we listed baby-related activities including feeding, burping, and sleeping. In reality, the childbirth experience has a great many dimensions. There are so many different angles of this experience that it is difficult to explain. It is most certainly like trying to understand what an elephant looks like only by touching parts of it. In this post, I (mom) will be describing a few missing pieces that are tied to a crucial element. Guess what? It is postpartum depression. Yes, it is a real thing. 🙁 Childbearing is one event, childbirth is another story, and having the child outside is a whole another realm. Dear Son decided not to lower his head, so I (mom) had a C-Section. There were a lot of needle poking, drugs, numbness, excitement, exhaustion, etc. involved. Aftermath of childbirth: Postpartum depression Delivery, whether normal or C-section, is an exhausting physical and emotional experience. It took me close to four months to be back to my physical condition. The time during pregnancy was easier for me than the ...
Read More

Our quest starts with pink every morning

We start a new Quest every morning or, at least every morning is a part of an old quest. Our quest in the morning starts with pink now-a-days. Let me explain. We open the window in the morning and we see the pink clouds in the sky above the Franklin Mountains of El Paso. The clouds slowly become snow-white and we see a few of the neighborhoods near the mountains wake up. This is how our quest starts with pink clouds every morning, at least in the Westside of El Paso. 🙂 The pictures were taken in the morning today. Settlers Settle in El Paso ...
Read More

An interview with Dear Son

In this post, we transcribe a conversation with our four-year-old Dear Son (DS). It was basically an interview for our blog but DS does not know that. Therefore, DS did not feel the necessity of answering the questions diligently. Many of the sentences he said are meaningless unless interpreted by us. It seems parents are the best translators in the world! The questions and the answers are below. Question: What is your name? Answer: Dear Son (At this point, Dear Son starts to play with Dear Mom's phone. He opens a word-learning app where the cartoon monster was eating random food items.) Question: What did the monster eat? Answer: The monster ate socks. Question: What did you eat for dinner? White and drumstick and rice (Translation: Dear Son meant White rice and drumstick) Question: Where do you live? Answer: In this house. I stay in the United States of America. Can you give me George fire department? (Translation: by George fire department, Dear son was referring to a storybook of the Curious George series) Question: What about fire department Answer: There is fire in my ...
Read More

Rain in El Paso

Today is a rainy day in El Paso! We are enjoying the rain; Ok, the most of it; other than the part where there is water penetration through a door of the house. Dear son likes the use of umbrella on rainy days, especially because rains are rare in El Paso. It is a wet day; a rainy day; and a happy day for us. This is a going to be our shortest post so far. We are ending the post with just a few pictures that taken on rainy days in El Paso! ...
Read More
/ El Paso / 9 Comments on Rain in El Paso

What to do and expect in the hospital during childbirth

It sounded so easy, such a fun, when we heard about others having babies. In practice, it is difficult, and of course stressful, we admit. However, it is as exciting as it gets and worth every bit of stress. We thought we would use an infographic representation of what to do during the three-days stay at the hospital. This is based on our experience when our son was born a few years back. We hope that the information we are providing will be helpful to others. Please do not hesitate to leave a comment if you have any question or if you have additional pieces of information that may help others. We adore comments; We will try our best to respond even if you just say "hi" as your comment. We are pretty sure every family has their own experiences. We would love to hear those along with any additional information. Settle in El Paso team Subscribe to receive our newsletters and notifications on new posts. Your email address is safe with us. It will not be distributed to any ...
Read More
A quick shrimp dish recipe. Great for dinner. #recipes

Easy shrimp dish recipe!

Here is our easy shrimp dish recipe. We always make sure that we have a packet of raw shrimps in the freezer. This dish saved the day (or the evening) many times for us. Feel free to add some jalapeño or red chili if you like spicy hot food. We do not use too many hot spices so that Dear Son cannot find an excuse to abandon the food. 🙂 Enjoy and please let us know if you try it! Settle in El Paso team Subscribe to receive our newsletters and notifications on new posts. Your email address is safe with us. It will not be distributed to any third-party ...
Read More
Easy flan recipe using a pressure cooker or oven. #flan #flanrecipe #recipe #mexicanflan

Easy leche flan recipe

We have been making flan time to time for quite some years! While we have shared the recipe with friends in informal discussions, we never got a chance to write the ingredients and the process down until today! The pictures we have presented in this article were taken during the labor day break. Flan can be made either using a pressure cooker or an oven. Our experience is that the outcome has higher probability of being smooth and solid with a pressure cooker. It is basically a recipe of Mexican flan. However, a few friends from India has informed us that the same flan was prepared by their grand moms and moms. The South Asian version of flan uses Cardamon instead of Vanilla extracts many of the times. In this article we are providing a recipe with the Cardamon flavor. Ingredients Sugar - 1/2 cup + 4 tbsp Egg - 4 Evaporated milk - 1 can Cardamon - 6 Preparing the caramel Put approximately 4tbsp sugar + 2tbsp water in a pot. Turn the heat up to medium high. Lower ...
Read More
Shopping with a toddler or a small children can be difficult sometimes. With little preparation, shopping with children can become fun. #parenting

How to shop with a toddler

Dear son keeps us busy when we go shopping. We deal with new situations with our toddler from time to time. So much for what to expect. 🙂 Children learn during shopping Some of the interesting behaviors of our son that we observed in the last six months while shopping are as follows. A few days ago, our son noticed that the shopping cart handles had Walmart written on it. The next time we went to Walmart, he started whining after we put him on the cart. It took us some time to figure out that the cart's Walmart logo faded away due to excessive use. We had to go back to the entrance area to get a cart that has an intact Walmart logo. Dear son needs to see the vacuum cleaner section of any departmental store he visits. He checks if specific models are there. He must touch all the vacuum cleaners in the store. Time to time, he attempts to bring a few cleaners that resemble the one at home. Dear son saw a frozen raspberry packet ...
Read More
The War Eagles Air Museum: A Museum of Aviation

The War Eagles Air Museum: A museum of aviation

There is nothing much to say, except that the War Eagles Air Museum is an excellent place to study the history of military aviation. The museum is located at the Doña Ana County Airport at Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The address is 8012 Airport Rd, Santa Teresa, NM 88008. Just like any of our previous travel-posts, we are providing the coordinates: Latitude: 31°52'32.94"N, Longitude: 106°42'2.74"W. It takes less than thirty minutes to drive to the museum from the westside of El Paso. Over the years, the War Eagles Air Museum has collected and restored many historic aircrafts of the second world war, as well as many of the airplanes designed later. The entrance of the museum invites the visitors to a small gift shop where we paid our entrance fees. Each adult pays five dollars and Kids have free entrance. The person in the front desk informed us that the War Eagles Air Museum is a non-profit effort. I started this article by saying, nothing much to say. Anyway, I love to write and I have some time today; therefore, ...
Read More

How to recruit a real estate agent, when purchasing a house

All of us, from around or not, born and raised here or in another place, have the same objective in life --- “live long and prosper”. 🙂 Having a place to shed the body is one of the primary instincts leading to a very old phrase of home sweet home. Searching for a home, commonly called house shopping or apartment shopping, can be a daunting task. Purchasing a house is extra-stressful. When we shop at Walmart, we are quite stress-less because there is no tension that we have to negotiate. Moreover, there is a ninety-day return policy for most of the commodities we buy from a departmental store; therefore, why stress on anything like shopping? House shopping is quite different than shopping in a supermarket. A house purchase is final the moment we sign off the closing documents for a house. A house needs a lot of maintenance. A house is too expensive of a commodity for which we get a very little time to examine it. Of course, one can do all sorts of inspections before buying a house ...
Read More

What will a child become tomorrow?

What kind of a person we want to see our children grow up to be? It is a primitive yet elegant question. Like every parent in the world, we have dreams about the person our child will become. Many parents will say that they would like their child to become a doctor, or an engineer, or a biologist, or an expert in any discipline. Many parents will dream that their child will be an athlete, a musician, or an artist. Many will say that they would like their child to be whatever the child wants to be. No pressure. Like millions of other parents in this world, we would like to see our son become a nice person. It is the simplest wish a parent can have. A crucial item is that toddlers do not know the definition of being nice and what is right or wrong. Nourishment of good items and discouraging not so good practices are what parents need to practice. However, our life now a days is so complex that the definition of not so good acts ...
Read More
Educational opportunities for all at public universities. #summercamp #activities #education

Educational opportunities for all at a public university

Do you know that, as a Texas resident, you have certain educational rights? It does not matter how young a person is, any interested person has the opportunity and rights to learn from the highest degree-holders in the country. You know what, it is your right as a taxpayer. Oh no, please do not bring that card that Texas does not have a state income tax. Remember, you pay higher property tax than other states. That means you are a taxpayer. Ok, enough on that debate, let us move to the educational opportunities. 🙂 As we all know, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is a state university. The tuition fee for residents of Texas is already subsidized. You will find that the in-state tuition fees for all levels of study - bachelors, masters, and a doctorate of philosophy - at UTEP are significantly lower than any private university. Not only that, it is significantly lower than many state universities of the country because UTEP has been able to attract funding sources by hosting many research projects, which helps UTEP to support its operational costs ...
Read More
The post discusses some family friendly ideas to invest and grow money. #StockMarket #Robinhood #Stocks #Investment #Money

Family-friendly ideas to safely invest and grow money

This post focuses on a few investment tricks that we are currently using. Yes, I am talking about investment through stock trading. If you are not already familiar with stock trading, you will have a basic idea about its importance and where to start from by the end of the post. We are fairly new in stock trading and we invest using a safe strategy. We should also mention that we are not using stock trading as our main income source rather we are using it as a saving so that the fruit ripens in the long run. Life started to demand more planning once our little one was born. We cannot just start an adventure trip to Grand Canyon on short notice; we cannot go to late night movies without managing a sitter; of course we cannot travel light anymore. The little one needs a lot of attention. Additionally, the little one brings more thoughts in mind, one of which is the financial stability. A few crucial financial items we think about being parents are: College fund: What if ...
Read More
Must knows for the fourth trimester (after childbirth)

A few items to keep in mind after childbirth

We stared this discussion in a previous post. Our second post in this sequel covers the "after childbirth" part. Before I continue with this episode related to the “after” part of childbirth, here are a few more items that I should have mentioned in the previous episode: 🙂 Mom needs enough calcium during pregnancy. Calcium is necessary for building bones of the baby. If mom does not get enough calcium from food sources, calcium will flow to the baby from the mother’s bone. Therefore, calcium is very crucial. Sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, broccoli, orange, sardine, etc. The duration of pregnancy is 40 weeks. Somewhere from week 24 to 27, the fetus is considered viable, meaning the baby can survive outside the uterus. It is a good idea to feel and notice the baby movement carefully at this time. There are some numbers for usual movements (for example, ten kicks in two hours based on countthekicks.org/faq/ ) Please keep in mind that every baby is different and there are periods of no activity. If you really want to check the baby movement ...
Read More
Kids can learn a lot by visiting local growers. We often visit local growers as a family. It is of great fun for our kid as well as us. One such place is Sierra Vista Growers.

A morning at Sierra Vista Growers

The address of Sierra Vista Growers is 2800 NM Highway 28, Anthony, New Mexico 88021. The website of the growers states that the city name is La Union. It does not quite matter what the city name is. The latitude is 31°57'4.00"N and Longitude is 106°38'28.71"W, which will never change despite any redistricting. It was a Saturday morning this summer (2016). We reached there a little before 10 am. We went there last year but memory is becoming a bit blur about the visit last year. We took enough pictures this time, some of which are shared in this post. Although Sierra Vista Growers is in New Mexico, it takes only twenty to twenty five minutes to Sierra Vista from the Westside Walmart on North Mesa Street. We saw many exciting scenes on our way to Sierra Vista, which includes motorcycle riding, horse riding, bicycling teams, horse farms, cranes drinking water, windmills, and of course all the green crops in the fields. The driving time was quite cheerful for our son! The big sign in front of the Sierra Vista Growers retail store is ...
Read More
A few important items to keep in mind during pregnancy

A few things to do when you’re pregnant

I was taking driving lessons a long time ago. Let’s just say the person giving me the lesson was the instructor. Instructor: Before changing a lane, you need to look at the rear view mirror. Now, look at the mirror. Me: Ok. I did. After a while, Instructor: Sooo, what did you see? Me: A nice mirror. Instructor: Can you see the road behind you? Me: Yes I do. It’s a good working mirror. Sometimes instructions are difficult to follow, especially when the instructions are provided with an assumption that the listeners have a certain level of common sense in the topic area. Childrearing is a lot of listening to instinct. Instinct develops from being exposed to certain situations and from the experience that accumulates through the exposure. By the time we were expecting or Dear Son (DS), neither of us has been to close proximity of an infant for a reasonable amount of time. By reasonable amount of time, I mean decades. It has been decades since we saw our siblings or cousins as infants. Yes, decades! By the ...
Read More

Sides of El Paso

Update: An update to this article has been made on June 26 2017. A previous update was made on July 11 2016 based on feedback from a reader. Thanks to all our readers for their valuable comments and feedback. We are planning on writing so many things that we are getting confused about what to write first. For example, we said in Reddit that we will write our stories on house shopping but we have not published much regarding house hunting yet. Before we start writing those stories, we feel that we should explain the geography of El Paso, TX first so that readers have a clear idea about the jargons we will use. Of course, every town has its own jargons! Everyone, who has lived in El Paso even for for a day or two, must have heard about the east side and the west side terms. In my first year in El Paso, I got confused about which side was east and which side was west. I came up with two terms: industrial east (IE) and residential west (RW). IE and RW are not correct terms since both sides have residential areas ...
Read More
A fun evening at the Annual Splash n Sparks at UTEP

Annual Splash ‘n’ Sparks at UTEP

This year it was on July 1, Friday. I am not sure if it is held on the same day every year. The full name of the event is Splash ‘n’ Sparks Appreciation Extravaganza. UTEP has arranged this event for the 18th time this year; that is, it has been 17 years since the first Splash 'n' Sparks was held. Kudos to everyone who arranged the event year after year. The event is like a fair except that there is not much business aspect of it. This is a big family event. We got a chance to attend two years in a row including this year. I think, only employees of UTEP, their families, relatives, and friends can attend. Employees receive complimentary tickets for their immediate family members. The tickets include entrance and food coupons. Tickets need to be purchased on site for relatives and friends who are not living under the same roof as the employee. We are not telling the reader whether we attended the  Splash 'n' Sparks as UTEP employees or as relatives/friends of an employee. Either way, the experience will remain as exciting ...
Read More

A Trip to a Village Called Ruidoso: Part 2

The next day was more exciting. We already brought breakfast the night before. After a simple breakfast, we decided to go to some nearby places and then go to the most exciting one. We will describe the exciting part soon. We should mention that we did not take enough pictures on the second day. A reason is that we forgot about taking enough pictures due to excitement. The second reason is that we had not yet planned on writing a public article regarding this trip at that time. Most of the pictures cannot be made public because we are present in those pictures. Anyway, we will try to provide as many pictures possible keeping our privacy intact. ? Our first stop on the second day was a nearby lake: Grindstone Lake (Latitude: 33°19'20.35"N, Longitude: 105°41'8.17"W ). Google Maps app marks it as Lake Ella Rose, as well. The reason we have provided the latitude and longitude is that we forgot the name of the lake and it took us some effort to find it out using Google Earth. We are providing the latitude and longitude so that the ...
Read More
A trip to Ruidoso via Mesilla from El Paso

A Trip to a Village Called Ruidoso: Part 1

Like any town of this country, when you are in El Paso you can easily plan a short vacation within four/five hours drive. We planned a trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico in the Spring of 2016. If you are not familiar with El Paso or Ruidoso, you probably do not know how different the climate of these two places can be. The difference is like wearing t-shirt/shorts to wearing a Eskimo Jacket. Like many major projects, my wife was the brain of this trip. She planned the entire trip and definitely, I did the hard work of enjoying it! The trip plan is shown in the figure above. From the picture you can see that we did not directly go to Ruidoso from El Paso. We stopped at a town called Mesilla, New Mexico. Mesilla is less than an hour drive from El Paso. Mesilla was the capital of the Confederate Territory of Arizona briefly during the Civil War. The town has a fascinating history, which grew over time, and definitely which is not the subject of today's web log. If you stop by Mesilla, I would suggest that you ...
Read More
Long-distance car buying experience. #CarPurchase #FamilyMove #Moving

Buying a car sight unseen

We moved from another state to El Paso, Texas a few years back. Cross country moves are always difficult, especially when you have a one-year-old. Your brain is about to explode, but the excitement towards a new job, enchanting smiles of your family members, and a little help from the movers given that your new employer is willing to pay moving expenses partially can make your life a little easier. We found that cost to move our thirteen-year-old car would be way more than our old friend was worth. It was the time to cut the for-ever bond with our dear old faithful vehicle. We are not proud of it --- we finally had to leave our old friend behind for just $1,550. Go Craigslist! Should we purchase a new car and then drive to the new location? We were a bit confused about strategies regarding purchasing a new car. Should we purchase it in the East Coast and drive the new car to Texas, or should we purchase the car after moving to Texas? Purchasing a car is always ...
Read More