Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they’ll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day…….
(Family Features) Most parents know the first few weeks of school season and new daily routines can be hectic. From stocking up on school supplies to finishing up homework, there’s few unused minutes in the day.
One thing that’s particularly easy to forget in the mad dash to catch the bus or make it to morning drop-off is a well-balanced, protein-packed breakfast. According to a No Kid Hungry study, when students have a balanced breakfast in the morning, they are more likely to attend school and perform better on standardized tests.
Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they’ll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day. Recipes like Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches or Baked Eggs in Avocado can be ready in minutes and provide fuel long past the first morning school bell.
As a simple time-saver, Smithfield offers pre-diced, cubed and sliced ham that can make breakfast a breeze any day of the week. Incorporate it into a simple breakfast sandwich for a protein boost you can enjoy on-the-go. Served crispy or chewy depending on your preference, Thick Cut Bacon also puts a savory spin on nearly any breakfast plate, whether paired with eggs and avocado or a simple side of toast.
8 ounces Smithfield Anytime Favorites Quarter Boneless Sliced Ham, any flavor
4 large eggs
4 slices cheddar or American cheese
maple syrup (optional)
Prepare waffles according to package directions; keep warm.
In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook ham slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, fry eggs until desired doneness.
Lay out four waffles and top each with sliced cheese, ham and fried egg, topping with remaining waffles to finish. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.
Tip: Try spreading fruit jam on your sandwich for a change of pace.
Baked Eggs in Avocado
Cook time: 10 minutes Servings: 6
Nonstick cooking spray
3 large avocados
4 strips Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
1 cup blue cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 450 F. Spray baking sheet or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut avocados in half. Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of avocado to create well for eggs. Place avocados flesh-side up on prepared baking sheet or glass pan.
Gently crack one egg in each avocado well, making sure to keep yolk intact. Bake 10 minutes, or until eggs reach desired temperature. Remove.
Prepare snack-sized bags of fruits and veggies in advance and let your children choose which ones they want in their lunch that day….
My kids are starting back to school next week, and this year they are packing their lunch for the first time. Any tips on what I need to do to make sure their packed lunch is safe and healthy?
Wow – is it that time of year already?
If your child wants to bring a packed lunch to school, there are several ways to make sure their lunch is both healthy and safe from pathogens that could cause a foodborne illness.
This is an important distinction to make, as children are among the most vulnerable to food poisoning. That’s partly due to the fact that their immune systems are not as effective at fighting off bacteria and viruses compared to those of adults, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
When packing a lunch for your child to take to school, it’s important to remember that cold foods need to stay cold and hot foods need to stay hot, to avoid the development of harmful bacteria that could cause a foodborne illness.
In order to make sure your child’s perishable foods stay cold until lunchtime, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises that you pack two cold sources that will keep the contents out of the Danger Zone, which is when a food’s temperature reaches between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, at which bacteria grows most rapidly.
Frozen water bottles or frozen juice boxes can count as a cold source, as well as a freezer pack that you stick in their lunch box. Lunches that contain perishable food items like luncheon meats, eggs, cheese, or yogurt should be kept cold in this manner.
If you plan to send soup, stew or chili for your child’s lunch, you will need to use an insulated container. Before adding in the hot item, you can fill the container with boiling water, let it stand for a few minutes, empty it and then add the hot food, advises the USDA. Also, tell your child to keep the lid on the container closed until lunchtime to help prevent bacterial contamination and growth.
Other safe lunch-packing tips from USDA and FDA include:
If you pack your child’s lunch the night before, leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The meal will stay cold longer because everything will be refrigerator temperature when it is placed in the lunchbox.
Clean the insulated box or bag with hot soapy water after each use, and don’t re-use paper bags.
If possible, your child’s lunch should be stored in a refrigerator or cooler with ice upon arrival at school. Leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open in the fridge so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.
While it’s best if your children wash their hands before eating lunch, that doesn’t always happen at school right before lunchtime. So make sure you pack disposable wipes for your children to wipe their hands before and after eating lunch.
After lunch, make sure your children discard any leftover food, used food packaging, and paper bags. Don’t reuse the packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.
Remember, healthy lunches include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. If preparing sandwiches, opt for whole grain bread and add veggies for toppings. Additionally, you can make sandwiches fun for your children by cutting them into shapes using a cookie cutter.
As far as sides are concerned, prepare snack-sized bags of fruits and veggies in advance and let your children choose which ones they want in their lunch that day. Whole fruit such as apples, peaches, pears, bananas and tangerines are also good choices.
Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, email@example.com.
Remember that sleep is vital for memory retention and cognitive performance. Without it, children may experience behavioral problems…
(Family Features) With all the stress of a new school year, it can be difficult for students to readjust to a healthy routine, but many experts agree that sleep is among the most important parts of that routine. Numerous studies demonstrate that children who sleep better learn better.
While you’re busy shopping for pencils, book bags and notebooks, remember that a good night’s sleep should also be at the top of your list this season. Make the transition easier with these five tips from Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and a sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm:
Ease into earlier bedtimes. For many children, the sudden shift to an earlier bedtime and wake-up call can pose a big challenge. Children who were accustomed to falling asleep later at night during the summer will have to slowly adjust their body clocks to move bedtime earlier during the school year. To ease children into the earlier sleep schedule, start moving bedtimes earlier by 10-15 minutes each night until reaching your end goal.
Ensure a comfortable sleeping environment. Pay attention to factors like lighting and noise. It may be necessary, especially early in the school year when the days are still long, to add blackout curtains to help block bright light. If noise is a factor, consider adding some soft background music or a sound machine to serve as a buffer so other noises are less intrusive.
Be sure the bed is up to the task. Another environmental consideration is the bed itself. Mattresses are not always top-of-mind as you consider back-to-school shopping, but when sleep can have such an impact on your child’s educational performance, the right mattress can help ensure students are getting quality zzz’s at the start of a new school year.
Avoid bright light prior to bedtime. Aside from your window, there are also other sources of light that can affect sleep. Several studies have shown that excess screen time just before bed can have a negative impact on the brain’s ability to transition into sleep mode. Try curbing screen time well before bedtime, or if your child must use screens, engage the night-reading feature, which alters the hue of the light for less impact.
Develop a consistent nighttime routine. A routine performed 20-30 minutes prior to bed every night can subconsciously ease children’s brains into sleep. A ritual that involves bathing, brushing teeth, talking about the day’s events, discussing what’s ahead for tomorrow and quiet time with a book are all ways to unwind together and slow down those active minds for a transition toward a peaceful night’s rest.
Remember that sleep is vital for memory retention and cognitive performance. Without it, children may experience behavioral problems and other difficulties in school. Find more resources to help improve your kids’ sleep, including tips on how to purchase a new mattress, at DailyDoze.com.
While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be…..
(Family Features) When school is in session, it’s the perfect time to renew your family’s healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing.
While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. By taking the free Power Your Lunchbox Promise, you can gain access to customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes, which creatively include servings of fruits and veggies to keep kids’ brains charged all day.
Making the promise not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices this year, it also helps those in need. For every promise made, health-focused partner brands will collectively donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. In addition to kid- and registered dietitian-approved breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, the promise website features coupons, health tips to help your family during the school year, lunchbox ideas and giveaways.
Additionally, teachers have a special section of the site where they can make the promise as a classroom and download free fruit and veggie themed classroom decor and lesson plans.
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids Prep time: 15 minutes Servings: 2
2 red mini sweet peppers, sliced
1 mandarin, peeled and segmented
1 kiwi, sliced
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup red seedless grapes
1 large spinach wrap
1 tablespoon hummus
2 slices provolone cheese
2 ounces low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
Assemble two lunchboxes each with half of the peppers, mandarin, kiwi, snap peas, blueberries and grapes.
Lay wrap on flat surface. Spread with hummus and top with cheese, turkey and spinach. Roll up tightly and slice into 1-inch thick rounds. Add half to each lunchbox.
Black Bean Empanadas
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes Servings 6
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
3 mini sweet peppers, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onions
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon low-sodium taco seasoning
12 frozen empanada discs, thawed
3/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
1 large egg white, beaten
6 guacamole minis
6 packages crispy fruit
In skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add peppers, onions and tomatoes. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add black beans and taco seasoning. Cook 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat oven to 375 F.
Lay empanada dough out on parchment-lined baking sheet. Fill with black bean filling and 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold dough over filling to create pocket. Use fork to press down sides to seal. Brush with egg whites. Repeat with remaining dough, filling, cheese and egg whites.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
Serve two empanadas with guacamole, for dipping, and crispy fruit on side.
With convenient options like canned ingredients on-hand, parents can have the makings of a wholesome homemade meal right at their fingertips…..
(Family Features) When school is back in session, the real test for parents is not in the classroom, but in the kitchen. Between breakfast, lunch and dinner – not to mention snacks – meal planning seems endless and daunting.
With convenient options like canned ingredients on-hand, parents can have the makings of a wholesome homemade meal right at their fingertips.
Canned foods not only help cut down on prep time in the kitchen, but also deliver nutritional benefits. In fact, kids and adults who use six or more canned foods per week are more likely to have diets higher in 17 essential nutrients, according to a study published in “Nutrients.” Plus, cans provide year-round access to seasonal fruits and vegetables, and keep food fresh and flavorful without the need for preservatives and additives.
From on-the-go breakfasts like Vegetable Frittata Minis to hearty dinners like this Beef and Vegetable Soup and everything in-between, a well-stocked pantry – or your “cantry” – full of canned proteins, fruits, vegetables and soups can help busy parents get through the week with creative meals they can feel good about serving their families.
For more information about the nutritional benefits of cooking with canned foods and to find flavorful recipes for the back-to-school season, visit CansGetYouCooking.com.
Tuna Sliders with Green Chilies
Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking Servings: 12
1 can (5-ounce) tuna, packed in water, drained and flaked
1 can (4.25-ounce) chopped green chilies
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
6 slider rolls, split
In large bowl, combine tuna, green chilies, celery, red onion, mayonnaise and chopped cilantro; toss to mix well.
Top bottom half of each roll with lettuce leaves; top with some tuna mixture and top half of roll.
Beef and Vegetable Soup
Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking Servings: 6
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) low-sodium beef broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) sliced carrots, drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) cut green beans
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup cooked egg noodles
In 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, in hot oil, cook ground beef until well browned on all sides, stirring frequently. With slotted spoon, remove beef to bowl.
In drippings remaining in saucepan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic until tender-crisp.
Add beef broth, carrots, green beans, stewed tomatoes, basil and ground beef; over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10-15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Stir in cooked egg noodles.
Vegetable Frittata Minis
Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking Servings: 36
Nonstick cooking spray
8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 can (8 ounces) mixed vegetables, drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 375 F. Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper and basil to blend well. Stir in mixed vegetables and Parmesan cheese.
Fill prepared pans with egg mixture. Bake until egg mixture puffs and is just set in center, about 8-10 minutes.
With rubber spatula, loosen frittatas from muffin cups and slide onto platter.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin and Chocolate Chip Bread
Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking Servings: 20 (2 loaves)
4 cups oat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans. In large bowl, combine oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
In large bowl using mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, oat flour mixture and pumpkin; beat until just blended. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into prepared pans.
Bake 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely.
In small bowl, stir confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle mixture over pumpkin bread.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends implementing earlier bedtimes two weeks before school starts and setting the alarm a bit earlier each morning for a smooth transition to the first day of school.
(Family Features) Heading back to school is exciting for both kids and parents, but with all the thrill and anticipation, there can be quite a bit of stress, too. As a parent, you can approach the impending school year with a positive attitude and these tricks can help minimize stress and give your kids extra confidence when heading into the classroom.
Lifestyle expert and mother of two Jeannette Kaplun recommends these tips:
Start adjusting bedtimes before school starts. It’s common for bedtime rules to be broken in the summer. However, an abrupt transition to early mornings can lead to stress and irritability. The National Sleep Foundation recommends implementing earlier bedtimes two weeks before school starts and setting the alarm a bit earlier each morning for a smooth transition to the first day of school.
Curb the summer slide. Screen time isn’t just for passing time; leverage technology to keep the reading skills your kids learned in the classroom sharp all summer long. A device like the Fire Kids Edition tablet from Amazon is built from the ground up for kids with a two-year worry-free guarantee, a kid-proof case and a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, giving kids access to 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, educational apps and games. Parental controls like Learn First encourage learning before playtime and allow you to set screen time limits to help get kids back into a routine for the school year. Additionally, STEM toys and games can keep math and science top of mind during the summer months and help kids excel during the school year.
Dress for success. There’s a reason grownups tend to dress up for special events – when you look good, you feel good. Give your kids that same boost by helping them choose a special outfit for the first day of school that he or she feels comfortable and confident wearing. Shopping for clothes is an opportunity for your child to express individuality, so have fun with it. For added stress relief, lay out the complete ensemble the night before and have your child try it on to head off any concerns. If the routine works, try making it part of your nightly routine for stress-free mornings throughout the school year.
Simplify the shopping experience. Every back-to-school season comes with classroom supply lists and new wardrobe needs. A one-stop shop retailer like Amazon lets you complete your shopping on your own schedule, and its back-to-school store offers deals and a wide selection, making it easy to find everything from must-have items like binders, backpacks and shoes to fun gear such as glitter glue, donut erasers and emoji stickers that allow kids to express their personalities.
“Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to cause anxiety,” Kaplun said. “By shopping online at Amazon from your phone, tablet or computer, you can buy everything you need without having to find a parking spot, tracking down a sales associate to help you find your child’s size or standing in line to pay, saving you precious time. Plus, Prime members receive unlimited, free two-day shipping on more than 100 million items all-year long.”
Share the excitement. It’s perfectly normal for parents and kids to feel anxious about the new school year. Instead of revealing your own apprehension, share your favorite memories from your time in your child’s upcoming grade. Ask your kids what they’re most excited for and what they’re a little nervous about and come up with solutions together.
Get a jump start on your stress-free transition back to school with more tips and resources at amazon.com/backtoschool.
Family meals can be a good way to help kids have better eating habits….
I’m a mom of twin preschoolers and want to make sure that I teach them healthy eating habits at an early age. How I can do that and stay within a modest food budget?
It’s wonderful that you want to establish healthy eating habits in your children starting when they are young. Research has shown that ensuring good nutritional habits, particularly early on, can help prevent childhood obesity and other chronic diseases.
In addition to having a healthy weight, establishing healthy eating habits in children can help them have more energy and happier moods, and also can help them have those habits for the rest of their lives, experts say.
One way to help instill better eating habits in your children is to take advantage of great programs out there like Simple Suppers. The new free nutrition program created by researchers at The Ohio State University teaches families how to establish healthy eating behaviors without having to spend a lot of money at the grocery store.
The 10 lessons in the Simple Suppers program provide options that address both the benefits and constraints of healthy family mealtime routines.
The program utilizes balanced meals with low-cost ingredients that are easily attainable by families and encourages children to be involved in food and meal preparation with their families, said Carolyn Gunther, an associate professor of human sciences and state specialist for Ohio State University Extension.
While some of the program’s curriculum is available online, OSU Extension educators will soon begin offering in-person classes for families across Ohio, she said. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State (CFAES).
The program focuses on establishing healthy family mealtime routines for improved diet and weight status, Gunther said.
“Family meals can be a good way to help kids have better eating habits,” she said. “The lessons covered in the program teach families how to manage their resources when planning and preparing meals using budget- and time-saving strategies, how to compare various food options and sizes for meals, and how to get everyone involved in establishing healthy family mealtime routines.”
The Simple Suppers lesson plans cover the following topics:
Making family mealtime fun
Planning family meals on a budget
Timesaving strategies for family meals
Connecting with children through meals
Planning well-balanced family meals
Rethinking your drink
Making healthy cooking tasty and easy
Serving and eating healthy portions
Eating healthy away from home
Planning fun and healthy snacks
The program is offered to the entire family, with each class directed to either children or adults.
For example, during lesson one, “Making family mealtime fun,” children get to decorate an apron and learn how to set a dinner table, while parents have discussions on the benefits of family meals and get tips on how to make the meals both nutritious and fun.
The Simple Suppers program also offers easy, low-cost, nutritious, family-friendly recipes, including:
Fruit and Yogurt-topped Whole Wheat Pancakes and Veggie Scrambled Eggs
Fiesta Skillet Dinner with Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Breakfast Burrito with Salsa and Baked Apple Wedges
Quick Skillet Lasagna with Fresh Veggies and Dip and Crunchy Frozen Bananas
Baked Potato Bar with Chicken Tortilla Soup and Fresh Vegetables and Orange Fluff Salad
Meatloaf Muffins with Twice-as-Nice Mashed Potatoes and Fruit Pudding
Garden Sloppy Joes with Cucumber Salad and Easy Fruit Salad
Scrambled Egg Muffins with Microwave-Roasted Potatoes and Crunchy Berry Parfaits
Cheesy Crunchy Chicken Tenders with Applesauce and Glazed Carrots
Pizza Party Pizza with Tossed Salad and Berry-Good Banana Splits
Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re still uncertain about the right investments for your home, it may be wise to consult a local real estate expert….
(Family Features) If the ultimate goal of your home improvement project is aesthetic, the greatest benefit may come from your personal enjoyment of the new space. However, if you’re looking to add true value to your home, it’s important to consider which projects are likely to bring the greatest return on your investment.
Flooring Much like hands reveal a person’s true age, flooring speaks volumes about a home. Replacing and updating worn floors can instantly add value. A timeless selection like wood flooring, particularly in heavy traffic areas, is durable enough to withstand wear and complements a wide range of interior designs. If you already have wood floors that are in reasonably good condition, whether in use or under carpet, go ahead and refinish them for a budget-friendly alternative to installing new flooring. Another option that holds or even increases the value of your investment is tile, particularly in spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas.
Roofing Re-roofing a home gives it an instant value boost, but it’s a job that needs to be repeated periodically. One longer-term and on-trend alternative to traditional roofing is metal. Performance is the big selling point for metal roofs, but not only does the roof itself increase the home’s value, the safety benefits and peace of mind that come with knowing strong, fire-resistant metal roofs can last forever only add to the benefits.
With a variety of styles available, you can find a metal roof to match nearly any home style. For example, CertainTeed Metal Roofing offers profiles crafted to simulate Spanish barrel tile, slate and wood shake. Made from high-performance, deep-drawn steel, these roofing systems offer a lifetime-limited warranty and are engineered with a special multi-layered paint process that resists the elements while offering realistic color details and gradations. Find inspiration and explore a design gallery at CertainTeed.com.
Landscaping Curb appeal often counts for a lot, whether it’s for your own enjoyment or a potential future buyer. Enhancing your home’s exterior can pay off handsomely when you add vegetation and hardscaping that improve the overall aesthetic. Keep in mind that more unconventional styles are better reserved for private spaces like the backyard; for the street view, stick to a motif with broad appeal to garner the strongest return on your investment.
Entryway An outdated entry point isn’t just an eyesore; it can pose a security risk and even be the source of significant energy loss for your home. Replacing front doors and even garage doors can both bring a return on your investment and potentially start saving you money right away on heating and cooling costs. A new, properly installed entry door is likely to fit more snugly and allow for fewer air leaks. In addition, a heavier door and frame is more likely to stand up against forced entry.
Insulation It may not be glamorous, or even anything that you’ll see on a regular basis, but many experts agree that upgrading your insulation is a sound investment. In addition to adding value in terms of comfort and reduced energy costs, it’s an attractive selling point should you choose to list your home.
If you’re still uncertain about the right investments for your home, it may be wise to consult a local real estate expert who can provide insight on the features that bring the most value in your market.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
Have you ever gotten discouraged doing what you believe to be the Lord’s will? Maybe you have not seen results, and wonder if you need to give up. I love the above verse because God has a good work for all of us to do for Him, and it is up to us to fulfill it. If you have read the Bible, you must know that there are many people who wondered if they were up to the task God had for them to perform.
One of my favorites is Esther. (Esther 1-10) Here was a Jewish young woman, who God used to save the nation of Israel from annihilation. She was afraid to ask the king to help, but her guardian told her, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:12-14 NIV). Now, first she had all the Jews fast for her and then she approached the king. He could have very easily had her killed for approaching him without being summoned, but instead he let her speak. She asked the king to spare her people, and he did.
God has put you where you are for a reason, and you must be His witness. I know it can seem hopeless at times, but God began a good work in you and will be faithful to complete it. He knows that you are the one to help those around you to see how God works in a person’s life who has committed his life to Him. We are to be different by showing self-control, encouraging others, and being concerned about other people’s welfare. You are to show others grace and mercy, just as Christ showed His mercy to you, a sinner.
Always remember that God has a specific purpose for your life, and he has given you the ability to achieve it.
Finally, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
Help me to not grow weary in doing your will, even when I get discouraged. I know you have a purpose for my life that I need to fulfill with your help.
(Family Features) Bringing an outdated bathroom into the now is a sure way to infuse value and personal enjoyment into your home.
Whether you’re tearing down and starting fresh or simply looking to infuse some new life with a few key elements, these ideas, paired with an option such as Wellborn cabinetry, can give you the inspiration you need to transform a tired toilet into a modern marvel.
Make a singular statement For a bolder look, the best approach may actually be quite simple. Use a single material throughout the room for big impact. For example, run the same tile you select for the floor up the walls, across the vanity, around the shower and up to the ceiling. It’s a dramatic approach, but with the right color and pattern, it can work, especially with a pale or neutral tone. The same concept applies to other materials, such as plaster or concrete, which can create a uniform look that makes a statement.
Try a timeless tub Freestanding tubs were once associated with older, outdated homes, but like many things in design, these stand-alone vessels are once more back in vogue. Today’s freestanding tubs offer tons of style to fit nearly any design motif. If the claw-foot style of yesteryear is your thing, there are plenty of contemporary takes on the look for an updated, traditional bathroom. There are also a wide range of sleek styles that look nothing like the classic version for a completely fresh, sophisticated bath. Give your tub extra star power by setting it against a backdrop of tile or reclaimed wood, and punch up the style with standout fixtures to make your tub a truly unique feature of the bathroom.
Float your vanity Take a look at today’s trending bathroom designs and you’ll see floating vanities cover the pages of most design magazines and articles. Floating vanities, also known as wall-mounted vanities, mount directly to the wall, providing more floor space and creating a streamlined look.
By mounting the vanity to a wall, the space is broadened, naturally making the bathroom look and feel larger. Additionally, the wall mount allows homeowners to customize the space in terms of countertop height and comfort.
Although the aesthetic benefits often come at the cost of limited under-sink storage space, this potential pitfall can be overcome with a customizable U-shaped drawer option, such as those offered by Wellborn Cabinet, that allows functional drawers to be placed within the wall-mounted cabinetry. The storage-enhancing drawer option complements the Wall Mounted Vanity program available in the Aspire Cabinetry line, which offers mounted vanities in more than 40 door profiles, featuring door style selections of wood, decorative laminate veneer, textured melamine, smooth melamine, solid high gloss, matte and designer colors. For more information, visit wellborn.com.
Infuse unexpected color If you think of bathroom fixtures as purely functional, think again. Not only can they add a stylish focal point to your tub (and shower and sink, for that matter), the ultra-practical fixtures can actually be a source of color. Bold brass and gold tones are in style, or for something completely different, explore a new look like solid black fixtures that pop against several different textures and surfaces.
Introduce ample lighting Sub-optimal lighting can hamper the ambiance of smaller spaces like bathrooms. If the space has a window, ditch any coverings that restrict the natural light and instead rely on textured glass windows that provide privacy while allowing light to shine freely. Another option is a skylight, which is surprisingly easy to add. If access to the roofline is an issue, consider one (or even a couple) tunnel skylights. Also give care to selecting the right fixtures for the space. Not only should they coordinate well with the overall decor, they should provide plenty of task and ambient lighting to make the room both useful and inviting.
Trick Your Way to a Bigger Bathroom
When knocking down walls to create more space isn’t an option, there are still plenty of ways you can maximize a small bathroom space to make it look and feel larger than it really is.
Opt for monochromatic cabinetry. Whether you buy new or paint existing cabinets, make them blend in monochromatically in the lightest shade possible. White and light colors reflect light, making the room seem brighter and more spacious. To maximize the illusion, extend the monochromatic scheme throughout the space, including floor tiles, wall paint, ceilings and even the decorations.
Place cabinets strategically. Think of the spaces in your bathroom that you don’t usually use, such as the area above the doorway. Especially if you have high ceilings, you can install decorative storage shelves to house items you don’t need in everyday reach like bathtub salts, scrubs and more. You can also use the shelves for storing extra toilet paper and cleaners to free up valuable storage space below the sink.
Maximize vertical space. Consider extending cabinetry up to the ceiling. Adding color at a vertical height can cause the eye to go up and therefore enlarge the bathroom space and feel. It is also a wise use of unused space rather than borrowing from limited floor space, which can make the space feel cramped.
Consider open storage. Open storage shelves trick the mind because the airy openness can give the illusion of taking less space than enclosed storage. However, be mindful of over-filling shelves, which can create a cluttered look. Instead use the open space as an opportunity to feature artwork or other accents that add life to the room.