All Entries For sparkmoms
Family Circle polled hundreds of women across the country on everything from how often they have sex to how much they work out. Here, we uncovered the honest truth—and found a few celebrities who share the same secrets!
Sure, smoking is bad for you. But one in six American women still light up. Are you one of them?
89% > Nope.
8% > Yes, I smoke more than I'd like to admit.
3% > Yes, once or twice a year.
Kate Hudson's been snapped on vacation holding a cigarette, but even a once-in-a-while drag is too much. "Smoke contains toxins and the greater your exposure is, the worse your lung cancer risk is," explains Susan Blum, MD, author of The Immune System Recovery Plan. "Plus, the cadmium in cigarettes may disrupt your thyroid function." Quitting can be tougher than getting your son to take out the garbage without being asked in the middle of winter. But it's possible! Consider a method you haven't tried before, like a prescription (Zyban, an antidepressant, helps reduce nicotine cravings), OTC aids (including the NicoDerm CQ patch or Nicorette gum and lozenges) or even alternative therapies (such as hypnosis and acupuncture). Read More ›
Studies have shown that sleep helps you lose weight, improves your energy and even decreases your risk of heart disease. Follow these six steps for better shut eye this year.
Step 1: Prep for bed
Nightly routines aren't just for infants. They're essential for all ages. "Start a ritual about 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime to prepare the body for sleep," says Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, Missouri. It could include a hot bath (which decreases your core body temperature) or a cup of herbal tea. Read More ›
Often we talk about girls and the complexities of their friendships—I wrote a whole book about them that inspired the movie Mean Girls. But with boys, we usually assume their camaraderie lacks the same intricacies that make them feel pressured and confused. In reality, your son's relationships have similar challenges. What's more, understanding the role he plays within his friendship group is critical. Your insight will help him stay true to himself and create the support system he needs to get through life.
Within any one group, most boys have a three- to five-guy inner circle. Then there are a few more guys they associate with but are not close to. Boys have assured me that these roles can be found in every group, regardless of social status. The boys I interviewed and I came up with the following list to describe these roles: Mastermind, Associate, Bouncer, Entertainer, Fly, Conscience, Punching Bag and Champion.
What's important to know is that the roles emerge when there's conflict in the group. Conflicts don't always mean big arguments. They could be over simple things like where to eat lunch or which movie to see. But they're inevitable. And you will rarely be around to see them—so understanding what happens in these tense moments is key. But it doesn't mean that your son behaves like this all the time, that these boys aren't good friends or that they don't care about one another. Read More ›
There's a doctor in the house! Thirteen to be exact. And these women are about to give you their personal prescriptions for beating stress, eating smart and keeping yourself (and your families) healthy.
Alexe Page, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgeon with Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, California
I keep my kids healthy by...
making sure my teenaged son and daughter drink skim milk at breakfast and dinner. Teen girls especially need calcium because they build peak bone mass by age 20.
When I need to de-stress...
I do Sudoku. Read More ›
Maybe you know someone whose teenager has suffered a brain injury playing sports—a colleague at work, the neighbor down the block, your BFF from college. Would you recognize the signs if your child had a concussion? What you don't know could hurt him.
Sports-and recreation-related brain injuries have led to a 60% increase in ER visits among kids 19 and younger over the last decade. Test your knowledge of concussions. Take our quiz. Read More ›
Keeping the same bedtime, eating regular meals and caffeinating consistently can help. Follow these steps for a pain-free day.
6:30 a.m. Take a Brisk Walk
Regularly working out can relieve stress (a trigger for three-quarters of all sufferers) and stabilize the chemicals in your brain. One 2011 study found that people who performed aerobic exercise three times a week experienced a 93% reduction in migraine attacks. If physical activity is a trigger for you, talk to your doctor about popping a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like the prescription indomethacin, before your workout. Read More ›
Keep countertops free of items that don't belong there. Sort and file mail every day and hang up garments after taking them off. Encourage your kids to do the same with their clothes and toys, says Regina Leeds, author of One Year to an Organized Life.
Spend Just a Few Minutes a Day Decluttering
Brooks Palmer, author of Clutter Busting, suggests setting a timer for at least 15 minutes to help you keep disorder in check. "Start small and do it on a regular basis," he says. For example, sift through a stack of papers on your desk for recycling or deep-six that jumble of expired spices. And if you have to stop mid-project, go back to it the next day. Read More ›
Goof-proof products? Check. Expert application tips? Check. You’re officially cleared to self-tan. No streaks, no hassles!
Step 1: Prep
To end up with the most even color, you need to do a little advance work. "It's like a painter prepping her canvas," says Ricky Croft, VP Marketing for Sunless Inc. "Always begin with a clean slate." The day before you self-tan, exfoliate from head to toe, using an oil-free body polish or scrub in the shower. You should also shave at least 24 hours prior. Read More ›
Chow down at the same restaurant every date night? Jog the same route? Mixing it up could keep you younger—and sharper. "New surroundings and experiences can stimulate new ways of thinking, which keeps your brain young and vibrant," says Marie Pasinski, M.D., staff neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of Beautiful Brain, Beautiful You. Read More ›
My daughter was 11 when she went to her first school dance. I put on a brave face as she got out of the car in her polka-dot dress (with a denim jacket for her signature swagger). "Have fun," I said, trying to sound airy.
But what I really wanted to say as she disappeared into the crowd of sixth-grade bravado was, "Wait—come back!" She still seemed too young for a middle-school mixer and the awkwardness that accompanied it. I thought about my first dance: standing alone in a corner, not moving, desperately waiting for him to notice me. How did I get from there to dropping off my own daughter at the doorstep of romance? And was there a way to make those girl-meets-boy dramas any less heart crushing? Read More ›
In honor of Heart Awareness Month, I've gathered up recipes that have the ultimate superfood: chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. If you have not heard of chia seeds, read "What Can You Do with Chia Seeds? Plenty!" for more information. Don't let giggles and jokes about the kitschy Chia Pet commercials dissuade you. I add chia to almost all recipes these days. I love that it's gluten and alergy-free. Try these chia recipes today. Read More ›
Ground turkey is a staple in my kitchen. I buy in bulk and keep it in my freezer. My favorite use for this versatile item is turkey burgers. It’s fun to experiment with items in my fridge, cupboard, or farm box, aiming for half of the ingredients to be vegetables and whole grains. This creates a complete nutritional meal for my kids that also affords them choice of toppings and condiments. My personal favorite is to enjoy the patty on top of leafy greens with honey mustard dressing. Instead of consuming that full-fat 500 calorie beef burger, opt for one of these juicy turkey burger recipes. Here are a few of the best turkey burger recipes from SparkRecipes members. Read More ›
Going to the doctor when you're sick is a no-brainer. But going when you're perfectly fine can be a lifesaver. "People who schedule routine visits get the best preventive services, and that sets the stage for success," says Jonathan Temte, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in Madison. Screening tests are crucial: Your chances of beating virtually any condition are much greater when you catch it in its earliest stages—when it's most treatable or even curable. Use this chart as a guide, but discuss your personal history and specific needs with your doctor. Read More ›
Have you noticed that cupcakerys are the new hot trend in restaurants? Even in my non-metropolitan home town, our local bakery competed in the 2011 and 2012 Food Network Cupcake Wars and won "Best of the Best" on Cupcake Champions in 2012.
In our home, the month of February is an unofficial cupcake month, with Valentine's Day and nine separate family birthday celebrations to prepare for. However, if I stuck with the standard recipe, my husband and I would surely gain a few pounds and my kids would gain an eternal sugar high. That said, there are some simple modifications that add nutritional value, reduce the processed sugar, fat, and calories too. Substitute whole-grain flours for all purpose flour. Use fruits and vegetables as a natural sweetener and add color and texture; applesauce can be used in place of oil; flaxseed meal or chia seeds mixed with water can be used in place of eggs; and Greek yogurt can be used in place of flour. I also find that when I use natural ingredients, I crave the processed sugar less-and-less. Another health benefit and convenience with cupcakes is that a serving is as simple as one cupcake. Leftovers can go right into the freezer instead of a late night snack. Celebrate something special with these healthier cupcake recipes. Read More ›
Spray, swipe and sponge your way to a spotless house in no time with these helpful strategies.
Oven:Tackle those charred drips and baked-on blobs.
Racks: Lay them down on newspaper or, even better, place racks inside a large plastic garbage bag and spray with a nontoxic oven cleaner. Let sit, then scrub with a scouring pad, rinse well and dry.
Interior: Zap splatters by running your oven's self-cleaning cycle. If you don't have the feature, Debra Johnson, training manager at Merry Maids, suggests applying a fume-free oven cleaner (like Easy-Off). Give the solution about two hours to do its job, then wipe away the greasy debris with rags or paper towels. Follow with a scouring pad, if needed, and a once-over with a microfiber cloth. Read More ›