Things You Must Discuss Before Getting Engaged

This post is inspired by the marital struggles that my parents, aunt, and now my best friend have experienced with their spouses over the years. I never married, but one day I would like to be, and I want to choose wisely whenever I decide to enter the dating scene again. I’m also a single mother so this only adds to the challenges I will face should I decide to date. I don’t like recreational dating because it creates too many problems and you could become too attached to someone who is just not ready for a true commitment. If you’re single and wish to marry one day, there are some things you must discuss with a potential partner before getting engaged. Here is a list of just a few of them.

1. Talk About Your Past

If this is someone you are serious about, it’s time to get real and vulnerable about your past. Your partner should also be willing to discuss his past experiences with you. This conversation is important because a person’s past determines how he or she thinks and behaves today. Discuss how your childhood shaped your views on what a healthy and unhealthy relationship looks like. Did you struggle with a pornography addiction and if so, are you seeking help in overcoming it?

2. What Are Your Expectations?

You and your partner need to discuss your expectations of each other before getting engaged. Maybe your partner expects you to stay home with the kids instead of being a working mom. You might expect your partner to assist you with household chores but he feels that it should be your responsibility to do them. You want to find out if there are any unrealistic expectations that the two of you hold to, and how those expectations might affect your future marriage.

3. Your Finances and Your Money Mindset

A lot of divorces occur because of financial problems, and if you want to avoid this reality with your partner, talk about your finances and what your money mindsets are. Do you believe in saving and investing more than spending? How much overall debt do the two of you have and how will you work to eliminate it in the future? Talk about who will be responsible for managing finances in the marriage. What good and bad financial habits do you now have that could affect financial stability long-term? What are your views on budgeting?

4. Your Religious Views

Because I’m a Bible-believing Christian, it is vital that the person I marry be equally yoked with me spiritually. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, then you need to make sure that your future spouse is a genuine Christian. This is not just someone who says that he is, but whose actions and values demonstrate this reality in his life. Does he desire God’s will and to walk in obedience to His word on a regular basis? Does he exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit in his life? Talk to his relatives and friends who know him well and inquire about what they believe about his walk with Christ. When the two of you are on the same page spiritually, it makes for a stronger marriage.

5. How Will We Handle Conflict?

Every marriage will experience conflict at times, and you want to choose a partner who can handle disagreements in a spiritually and emotionally mature way. Take a look at the previous conflicts the two of you had and examine how they were resolved. Was there any immaturity and excessive anger displayed while resolving the conflict? If so, are the two of you willing to get counseling to work on deeper issues that are causing conflict in the relationship? How do you handle conflict and how does your partner do it? Are you someone who blames instead of reflecting on your contributions to the problem? Does your partner give you the silent treatment after an argument?

6. What About In-Laws?

Whether you like it or not, you’ll have interactions with your husband’s family throughout the marriage. If you’re not on the best terms with your partner’s family, discuss it with him. Maybe his family members are just being spiteful and not respecting your boundaries. Or it could be that they see issues in the relationship that concern them. Offer to sit with your partner and the relatives you don’t get along with so that everyone can get to the root of the issues and come to a solution that will work for everyone. Don’t get overly defensive but also be assertive and set boundaries with your partner’s family when needed.

7. Parenting

If you want children right after marriage but your partner doesn’t, then this could cause conflict. Maybe you have an authoritative parenting style but your partner might be a more permissive or overly lenient parent. These are things that you must talk about before getting engaged. How many children do you want and how will they be raised? What are your views on discipline and their education? Will you send them to public or private school or homeschool them? Will you build wealth for them by opening investment accounts for them? How will you save for their college education?

8. Sex

Sexual intimacy is a crucial part of marriage and you need to talk about it before the engagement. If you experienced sexual abuse in the past, discuss it in detail and talk about how it has affected your views on sexuality overall. Your partner should also mention any sexual struggles or trauma he experienced. Maybe both you can get individual and couples’ counseling to get healing from those experiences. How often do you think you should have sex during the week? Which sex positions make you the most uncomfortable and why?

9. Career or Business Goals

Having ambitious career and business goals are great for building financial stability in a marriage, but it gives you a sense of fulfillment as an individual. Talk about your current job and what you like or dislike about it. Discuss your future career advancement goals and if those will require additional education. If your partner desires to become an entrepreneur, will you be able to deal with moments when the revenue doesn’t come in right away? Would you encourage his goals even if it doesn’t make sense at times? Would you be willing to relocate for your partner’s new job? Would he be willing to do the same if you had to relocate?

10. Health and Appearance

How important are good health habits and appearance to both of you? Do you have expectations about your partner maintaining a healthy lifestyle? What does he expect of you regarding your health and appearance? How often do the both of you exercise during the week? How important are doctors visits to the two of you? Are there any poor health habits that annoy your partner? Does your partner have bad health habits that you don’t like? Are there certain medical conditions that run in the both of your families?

In conclusion, these are topics that must be discussed before getting engaged because it sets the stage for what your future marriage will look like for years to come.

10 Bedtime Hacks for Children with ADHD

My daughter is a highly energetic child whose mind is always going. She hates any kind of activity that requires concentration for a long time, and this makes homeschooling a challenge for me at times. She is easily irritated and is quite the perfectionist when it comes to tasks she must complete. Sometimes she gets meltdowns and she might forget what I tell her just minutes or an hour after I talked about it with her. I currently give her reminders ahead of time and I set timers so that she’ll know what she has to do next after finishing a certain task. As for bedtime, it becomes a battlefield at times. Even when all of the lights and screens are off, she struggles to sleep. If you have a child with ADHD or just a high-energy child overall, you know how difficult it can be for them to get a good night’s sleep. Here are some bedtime hacks for children with ADHD.

1. Give Them Structure

We might think that highly energetic kids or children with ADHD would not benefit from structure and routines, but in fact, they especially need structure in the home. This is because these children often struggle with self-regulation, and they tend to hyperfocus on the activities that they enjoy the most. Impulsivity is another common trait among children with ADHD. Create a visual schedule of everything your child needs to do and the times they need to do them. Practice the new schedule with them and then let them do it on their own. When you implement a routine, it makes things less hectic for your child.

2. Reduce Caffeine Intake

While it is okay for your child to have a soft drink occasionally during the day, you don’t want to give him excess caffeinated beverages, and especially right before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant, and when your child consumes too much of it at night, he will have a hard time getting settled for bedtime. If your child is thirsty, give him water instead.

3. Keep Your Child’s Room Dark

When you have bright lights on in your child’s room or even a nightlight, it is a signal to him that he can stay up later. You want your child’s room to be a quiet and dark environment so that he’ll be more likely to fall asleep. I do this with my daughter at night and even though she sometimes takes longer to fall asleep even in a dark room, she usually cooperates. Turn off your child’s TV and computer and it might be better if you don’t put any electronics in your child’s room.

4. Aim for a Realistic Bedtime

It took me a while to accept this fact, but my daughter just doesn’t do well with bedtime routines that end around 7 or 8 p.m. Generally she falls asleep between 9 and 10 p.m. and she gets enough sleep each night. She also generally wakes up around 8:30 or 9 a.m. You don’t want to put your child to bed too early because he’ll only stay awake longer and still disturb your sleep. On the other hand, you don’t want your child to go to bed too late. Whatever bedtime routine you choose, you should be consistent.

5. Wear Your Kids Out During the Day

Exercise and other types of physical activity are vital to children with ADHD. If your child is hyperactive, you need to allow him adequate hours of active play each day. When your child finishes his homework, have him go outside and run around, jump on the trampoline, dance off his favorite tunes from his phone, play hopscotch, or roughhouse with his dad. Another idea would be to get him involved in an extracurricular activity that will keep him engaged such as football, softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, or a dance team.

6. Try Music

Ever since my daughter was a baby, she never liked to fall asleep off of typical soft lullabies. I even tried swaddling her but that didn’t help her sleep either. When I started putting instrumental jazz, mellow soul music, and chillwave hip-hop on for her and then rocked her gently to sleep, she would be out like a light. Sometimes you can put on soft or mellow upbeat music in your child’s bedroom to help him fall asleep.

7. Read a Story to Your Child

This is another cool way to relax with your child so that he can fall asleep. Don’t read books with too many stimulating plots or images. Instead, choose books with beautiful artwork and simple plots. Let your child pick out his favorite books and after you read the books, you can pray with him or have him state certain affirmations about himself before going to bed.

8. Limit His Naps

Most little ones drop their afternoon naps before age five, but if your child still takes naps, now would be a good time to reduce them down to just one nap. You want the nap to be close to mid-morning or early afternoon because if he takes one close to late afternoon, it will be harder for him to go to bed at night. I learned this the hard way when my daughter took a nap around 5 p.m. She didn’t fall asleep again until around midnight. She is very energetic and thankfully she rarely takes afternoon naps nowadays.

9. Consider Melatonin

Some studies have shown that melatonin supplements can assist children with ADHD in getting a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, you want to meet with your child’s pediatrician before giving them to your child. As for the correct dosage, melatonin is often prescribed as three-milligram tablets to younger children and slightly higher doses might be prescribed to older children. You should be aware of some of the mild side effects of melatonin. These include drowsiness, headaches, and increased urination.

10. Have a Calming Conversation

It might also help to have a calming conversation with your child right before bed. Avoid conversations about topics that will excite your child. Instead, talk about things that will prepare him to quiet his mind for bed. Maybe you can talk about how proud you are of him and answer questions he has been asking about nature or family history.

In conclusion, with these tips, you can help your child have a better night’s sleep.

15 Recipes from the Great Depression

Let’s take a trip through the Great Depression with these old-school recipes

My great-grandmother Grammy Fields grew up during the Great Depression, and she was an amazing cook. She was from a rural town in Mississippi, and she made most of her meals from scratch with simple ingredients. I still remember how Grammy Fields used to bake her yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, and everyone loved her coconut cake during the holidays. I also enjoyed her homemade lemonade, vegetable soup, and just about everything else she cooked. She inspired my mom’s cooking and it shows in how she prepares her meals. These memories are the inspiration behind this listicle. I’m going to list 30 recipes that people made during the Great Depression.

1. Shoo-Fly Pie

The origins of shoofly pie go back to the 18th century with the Pennsylvania Dutch, and this recipe is made with molasses, brown sugar, and flour. The name shoofly pie probably originated from the fact that because this pie was really sweet and sticky, it was likely to attract many flies. And when flies try to invade someone’s food, he might say “Shoo, fly.” Here is a simple shoofly pie recipe.

2. Rice Pudding

This is another Depression-era recipe my great-grandmother used to make. It is made with rice and other simple ingredients such as vanilla, sugar, and milk. Here is a rice pudding recipe that will take you back to a different era.

3. Potato Soup

During the Great Depression, potatoes were plentiful when meat wasn’t in high abundance. The good thing about potatoes is that you can prepare many delicious meals with them, and potato soup is one of them. Here is an old-school potato soup recipe for you to try.

4. Cabbage and Noodles

There are variations of this Depression-era recipe, but generally you would cook it with cabbage, egg noodles, and some type of meat. This is a meal that you can make a large batch of, and it can last at least a week or two. Here is a simple cabbage and noodle recipe.

5. Chipped Beef

To make creamed chipped beef, melt three teaspoons of butter and then add four teaspoons of flour. Add one and a half cups of milk to the butter and flour mixture and let it cook until it thickens. Finally, stir in a can of Hormel drief beef and serve over toast.

6. Buttermilk Pie

This is a simple pie made with buttermilk, sugar, and eggs. Here is a recipe for it here.

7. Poorman’s Meal

This recipe has potatoes, onions, and hot dogs as the main ingredients. The meal is also quite filling and can last a few days if you make a lot of it. Here is a video from Clara, a home cook in her 90s who lived through the Great Depression. She shows you how to make Poorman’s Meal

8. Ham Hocks and Beans

I live in New Orleans, and I grew up on red beans and rice with ham hocks. It’s an affordable and tasty meal and you can batch cook it since beans freeze well. You can also add green onions, chopped garlic, celery, and your favorite spices. Here is a neat recipe for ham hocks with pinto beans.

9. Hot Water Cornbread

Hot water cornbread is a great accessory to beans and ham hocks. Check out the recipe here.

10. Hoover Stew

This is another simple yet filling and delicious recipe from the Depression era. To make this recipe, you need elbow macaroni, canned tomatoes, hot dog slices, and corn. After you cook the macaroni, add in the hot dog slices, corn, tomatoes, a cup of chopped onions, and your favorite spices. You’ll have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.

11. Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine meatballs are prepared with rice, ground beef, chopped veggies, and spices. During the Great Depression, it wasn’t easy to get meat all of the time so many home cooks stretched their meat dishes by adding starches to them. You can serve them in tomato sauce, cheese sauce, or even brown gravy. Some good side dishes for Porcupine meatballs include green beans, creamed corn, a tomato salad, or mashed potatoes. Here is the recipe here.

12. Chocolate Gravy

This simple sauce was also popular during the Depression era. You can pour it over biscuits, chocolate cake, or even your pancakes! Check out this amazing chocolate gravy recipe.

13. Oatmeal Cakes

If you have plenty of oatmeal in your pantry, oatmeal cakes are an affordable substitute for pancake mix and packaged waffles when money is tight. In a bowl, combine three cups of oatmeal, a cup of milk, a few teaspoons of salt, a third cup of sugar, a teaspoon of melted butter, and one egg. Drop spoonfuls of the batter in a nonstick skillet and cook for five minutes on both sides. Serve with honey.

14. Tomato Soup Cake

Here is a neat way to use up your extra cans of tomato soup that you bought on sale. According to Campbell’s, the recipe first appeared in the 1940s around World War II. Here is the recipe from Campbell’s website.

15. Corned Beef Fritters

Corned beef was a popular and available staple during the Great Depression, so it isn’t surprising that corned beef fritters were consumed by many families at the time. Here is a recipe from the website The 1940s Experiment.

In conclusion, these Depression-era recipes can help you stretch your budget while filling your tummies at the same time.

Entrepreneurship is Possible with These Low-Cost Business Ideas

In our current economic climate, numerous people lost their jobs while others experienced a reduction in work hours or pay. If you’re in this situation, know that it’s possible to be an entrepreneur even during a pandemic. The good news is that you don’t have to take out hefty loans or purchase a building in order to fulfill your dreams. Thanks to the Internet and other inexpensive offline venture ideas, you can be your own boss and have financial stability. Here are some low-cost business ideas that cost little or no money to start.

1. WordPress Website Specialist

If you have experience in building websites using the WordPress platform, then this might be a cool business idea. You can help clients choose and customize the right WordPress themes for their websites, and you can assist them with troubleshooting if they encounter problems while building their WordPress sites. Start by looking for jobs on freelance sites such as Upwork and Freelancer. After you get enough experience, create your own portfolio website and reach out to potential clients by email. Here is a good article on how you can get started.

2. Dropshipping

This is a neat low-cost business idea if you’re interested in selling online but don’t feel like dealing with the packaging and shipping aspects of it yourself. With dropshipping, you sign up with a supplier and you sell products on your website. Once customers place orders, you submit their information to the dropshipping supplier and they fulfill the orders for you. Shopify is a neat platform to host your store, but you can also do dropshipping on your own website. Some good dropshipping suppliers include Dropified, Worldwide Brands, and Oberlo. Shopify has an article on how you can get started.

3. Start a Podcast

This is a form of passive income, and it doesn’t cost a lot to get started. Start by researching your show idea to see if it will be viable for your target listeners. Then download the podcasting app Anchor. It’s free and you can record podcasts either from your phone or the computer. Anchor also offers sponsored recordings for you to include in your podcasts and this helps you earn money from podcasting.

4. Stock Photography

Another idea would be to sell stock photos to a variety of photo websites. Every website offers different pay rates so it’s a good idea to research the ones you’re interested in selling your pictures to and compare the rates they offer. Some photo websites to get started with include Shutterstock, Alamy, 500px, Adobe Stock, and Zenfolio. Here is an article that gives details on how to do well in stock photography.

5. Cleaning Business

The current pandemic has led to a greater need for businesses and homeowners to maintain cleanliness in their environments at all times. For those who are skilled in housekeeping tasks, you can start a cleaning business. Start by offering to clean friends’ and relatives’ homes for free and request honest feedback on your work. Take a few before-and-after pictures and create a portfolio of the cleaning jobs you’ve done. Visit local businesses and inquire about offering your cleaning services to them. As your business grows, you’ll need to register your business with the IRS.

6. Create and Sell Website Themes

People often get tired of using the same themes for their websites, and are looking for the newest and most attractive themes to use. If you’re talented in website theme design, then turn it into a business. Start by figuring out what kinds of themes you want to specialize in. Maybe your specialty is food and beverage website design, and you can sell them to web design companies that are actively looking for these themes. Build your own website and feature your best work there. Send a link to potential clients along with information about your services.

7. Errand Running Service

Another idea would be to start an errand running service. If there are senior citizens, busy moms or dads, or college students in your neighborhood, meet with them and ask if there are certain errands that they’re not always able to run during the week. Offer your services and charge a discount as a way of thanking them for working with you. Some errands you can include in your business include grocery shopping, drop-offs at the post office, and meal pickup from restaurants that don’t offer delivery.

8. Sell Ebooks or Online Courses

All you need is a computer and Microsoft Office along with the Internet to sell ebooks and online courses. Amazon is one of the most popular platforms because you’re mainly uploading your ebook to the platform, but there are others such as Lulu, Apple’s iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords. Ebooks don’t need to be extremely long, and you can specialize in a certain niche. As for online courses, you can create and sell them to course platforms such as Skillshare, Coursera, and Udemy.

9. Graphic Designer

Another neat low-cost business idea would be to work as a graphic designer. If you want to improve your graphic design skills, take some online courses at a community college or from experienced graphic designers who offer classes. To find your first clients, send bids to online freelance sites such as Upwork and Freelancer. Another idea would be to build your own website and feature your best designs there. Send examples of your work to potential clients along with some information about yourself.

10. Resume Writing Service

This is going to be in high demand since more people need to find new jobs after getting laid off during the peak of the pandemic this year. You can work from home, and you control the rates you want to charge. You need strong writing skills, ability to understand your clients’ needs and what they want on their resumes, a computer, good printer, and the right stationery to print out resumes with. Start by visiting websites such as Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork. Contact local college career service center directors and inquire about offering your services to their students. If you do a good job, you could get hired on a freelance or full-time basis. If some of your clients have gotten jobs, they might refer you to job seekers they know, and you could increase your clientele this way.

In conclusion, these low-cost business ideas can assist you in boosting your income not just for this year but long-term.