Archives for June 2013

Mini Pig Lovers, Love PigGear

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Mini pig lovers, love PigGear.  I am a Mommy to a wonderful mini pig named Ernest.  He has been part of our family for several years now but he is still our baby, which means I spoil him rotten. 

Recently I stumbled upon this amazing small business that truly is a one women show.  Brenda Dupler is an Owner/Designer/Seamstress of PigGear.  PigGear is a website where you can go to spoil your pet.  Handmade Harnesses, Blankets, Cover-Ups, Jewelry and more.  Along with tons of links, blogs, and information on training and caring for your pet. 

  Ernie Harness2

Over the years I have bought several harnesses for Ernie but they would slip off or dig into the skin under his arms, basically they never fit right.  And it was always a fight to get him into them.  With PigGear I was able to get a customized leash and harness that was made for him, not for a dog.  Made with layers of soft flannel the harness is strong but doesn’t cut into him like the nylon did.   

And through PigGear I was able to find an amazing instructional video on how to harness train your pig.  When I first saw the video I didn’t believe it could be that easy.  But it only took 15 minutes of training and Ernie was running around in his new harness with out a care in the world.  He has even been taking naps with it on.  

  Ernie Harness

I enjoy shopping small business.  Finding someone who is skilled in there trade and who take’s pride and enjoys what they do.  So if you or someone you know has or plans on having a mini pig, PigGear is where its at.

Disclosure ~ Today’s Work at Home Mom received products to facilitate a review. All opinions and thoughts on these products are 100% ours.

Accessorize and keep your dog safe with dogIDs

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Accessorize and keep your dog safe with dogIDs.  A small family-owned business, dogIDs has delivered unique, personalized, top-quality pet products for nearly 15 years. 

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For our dog Grader we chose a Personalized English Bridle Leather Dog Collar with Nameplate & an English Bridle Leather Leash, both in London Tan. The stitching and hardware are excellent quality and the English Bridle Leather is incredibly durable and flexible. image2

Previously, ID tags I had ordered from different places seemed to wear out within months.  With engraved nameplates on both the collar and leash, they aren’t rubbing on his fur so the letters aren’t wearing off. 

Last year my husband and I rescued Grader from a shelter.  He had been found running in the woods.  With injuries and poor health he almost did not survive.  Since he is a runner we take precautions and make sure that if he does take off, he can be identified and returned home.  So most importantly I like how the letters on the nameplates are clearly visible and were made to our personal specifications. 

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Along with collars, ID tags and leashes dogIDs.com has several accessories to choose from for your furry friend including beds, bowls and more.

Enter for your chance to Win an English Bridle Leather Leash & English Bridle Leather Dog Collar.

Giveaway Ends July 22nd 2013 at 11:59 pm. central time

Check them out on a facebook,  twittergoogle +instagram, and pinterest

Disclosure ~ Today’s Work at Home Mom received products to facilitate a review. All opinions and thoughts on these products are 100% ours.

Everyday Superfoods: Oat Recipes You’ll Love



Completely You: Food

Everyday Superfoods: Oat Recipes You’ll Love

By Hillary Tonken for Completely You

This month, we’re focusing on oats—and we’re not talking about instant oatmeal. Even before you add milk, you’ll find that rolled oats are a great addition to any meal. They contain loads of calcium per serving, in addition to beta glucan, a form of fiber that’s been shown to lower cholesterol. Stumped on how to include them in your next dish? These four recipes will quickly dispel the myth that rolled oats are only fit for cereal and cookies. Here’s how to use unprocessed oats for a variety of different dishes sure to be a breakfast, lunch or dinner favorite.

Mini Meatloaves
The addition of oats instead of breadcrumbs makes this traditional meatloaf more tender than usual. Add in the scrumptious sauce and these mini meatloaves are sure to become a weekly staple.

Ingredients
1 ½ pounds ground beef or turkey
1 ½ cups organic ketchup, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large onion, minced, divided
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 cup organic old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Four 5” X 3”X 2 mini loaf pans or 1 standard loaf pan

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a large bowl combine ground beef, ½ cup ketchup, eggs, ½ chopped onion, garlic, oregano, basil and oats. Mix well with your hands or a large spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the mixture evenly among 4 mini loaf pans (or use 1 standard loaf pan). Place the pans on baking sheet and bake 30 minute or until cooked through. Remove from oven and allow cooling slightly before serving. Unmold onto plates and serve with sauce.

Sauce
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup ketchup, remaining half minced onion, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar. Warm slightly over moderate heat. Remove from heat and serve with the meat loaves.

Mushroom Ris “Oat” Ohhh!
Oat Groats are higher in fiber than the traditional Arborio rice. Even better, they provide a texture similar to traditional risotto with the added health benefits of oats, which have not been over-processed.

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

Ingredients
3 ½ to 4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups mixed sliced raw mushrooms, such as Portobello, shiitake and white
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups organic oat groats
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan

Directions

1. In a medium saucepot over moderate heat, add the chicken broth. Keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over high heat, add the oil. When hot, cook the onion and garlic 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is soft and starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the fresh thyme. Add wine and allow it to cook until almost evaporated.

3. Add oats and toss to coat. One cup at a time, add the chicken stock stirring the groats constantly until most of the liquid has evaporated. Keep adding chicken broth 1 cup at a time until oats are tender (but still al dente) and most of the liquid has been absorbed. It should be creamy in consistency. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese

Pumpkin Oat Muffins with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten free and moist, these pumpkin oat muffins offer a healthy spin on an old favorite. This makes a great breakfast treat, and can also be a wonderful alternative to cupcakes.

Makes 6 muffins

Muffin Ingredients
One 15-ounce can of organic pumpkin pie mix
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
4 eggs
2 cups Cup 4 Cup* gluten free flour (*Cup 4 Cup flour can be found in most organic or specialty grocery stores)
1 cup organic old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick cooking)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or flour one 6 cup muffin tin or use paper liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine the pumpkin, sugar, oil, juice and eggs. Blend well. Add remaining ingredients blending just to combine. Do not overmix.

3. Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Easy Crunchy Oat Granola
There are so many different brands of granola on the market; it can be difficult to choose the healthiest and most flavorful brand. Until I made this homemade version, my kids wouldn’t touch granola. Now, I can’t keep enough of it around. Once you make the basic recipe feel free to add your own ingredients to make it unique.

Makes 5 cups (including nuts and fruit)

Ingredients
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sliced almonds
3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup mixed nuts such as pecans, walnuts and cashews (optional)
1 cup mixed diced dried fruit such as apricots, cranberries and blueberries (optional)*

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 250°F

2. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Reserve

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, almonds and oats and toss to coat evenly.

4. Spread evenly on prepared pan and bake in oven 30 minutes.

5. Toss and continue to cook 45 minutes longer, tossing every 15 minutes or until desired crunchy consistency. The longer you bake it the crunchier it gets.

6. Cool completely. Toss with additional nuts and dried fruit if desired. Store in tightly sealed container.

*NOTE: Since the dried fruit is moist, I found that it softened the oat granola more than I liked so I opted to add it in before serving.

More recipes & food advice:

is a professional
chef with more than 30 years experience and has done everything in the food
business from cookbook author to photographic food stylist and culinary school
instructor. She is a frequent contributor to
Completely You.

4 Stretches That Stop Back Pain



Completely You: Lifestyle

4 Stretches That Stop Back Pain

By Derek Beres for Completely You

One of the top complaints I hear from new yogis is lower back pain.
In fact, many people begin yoga at the urging of their doctor for this
exact reason. Back pain is often caused by another region of the body —
tight hips or shoulders could account for aches felt in the lumbar
region. The good news: A lot of lower back pain can be cured with a
basic regimen of stretching and breathing.

Of course, I’m not a doctor — and you should always check with yours
before beginning any exercise program. That said, we live in a society
that does not value proper body alignment. We drive all the time or
slouch at our desks for hours on end, so it’s no surprise that we end up
with aches and pains. That’s why stretching is an important component
of any effort to alleviate back tension and create an overall healthy
lifestyle.

The following poses will help loosen up your muscles and offer
relief. Start by doing each pose three times in succession for at least
five breaths each, three times a week, and increase the frequency if
you’re seeing good results.

Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

This pose increases back, neck and shoulder flexibility.

1. Begin on your hands and knees, with your shoulders directly
above your wrists and hips above your knees. Find length in your neck by
extending your head forward while looking straight down at the floor.

2. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling as you tuck
your chin toward your chest, making sure to keep your shoulders and
knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, so there is no
tension in your neck.

3. As you inhale, come back to a neutral position on your hands
and knees, gazing on the floor just in front of your fingers, keeping
your abdominal muscles engaged. Repeat this stretch at least 10 times.

Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

This pose opens your hips and shoulders and strengthens your mid-back.

1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
Bend your knees, putting your feet on the floor then slide your left
foot under your right leg to the outside of your right hip.

2. Laying the outside of your left leg on the floor, step your
right foot over your left leg; your right knee will point at the
ceiling.

3. Exhale and twist toward the inside of your right thigh. Press
your right hand against the floor behind you, setting your left upper
arm on the outside of your right thigh. Pull your front torso and inner
right thigh snugly together, pressing your inner right foot into the
floor. Lean your torso back slightly, and continue to lengthen your
tailbone into the floor. As you inhale, feel a little more lift out of
the floor, and as you exhale, sit still and twist deeper. Stay in this
position for one minute while taking controlled inhalations and long
exhalations. Repeat with the other leg for the same amount of time.

Bridge Pose (Bandha Sarvangasana)

This pose opens your shoulders and hips, and strengthens your quadriceps.

1. Lying supine on the floor, bend your knees and set your feet
down directly underneath your knees with your heels as close to your
sitting bones as possible.

2. As you exhale, press your inner feet and arms into the floor,
pushing your tailbone upward toward your pubis, firming your buttocks
without feeling like you’re gripping too hard. Lift your hips off the
floor into a bridge while keeping your thighs and inner feet parallel.

3. Clasp your hands below your pelvis and extend through your arms
to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders — you want to press
your forearms into the ground to avoid tensing your neck. Lift your
buttocks until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor.

4. Keeping your knees directly over your heels, push them forward
away from your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your
knees. Lift your chin slightly away from your sternum and, firming your
shoulder blades against your back, press the top of your sternum toward
your chin. Remain here for at least thirty seconds and release. Repeat
two more times.

Reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
Another
excellent hip opener, this stretch targets both your hamstrings and hip
flexors, and is great for easing the lower back.

1. Lying on the floor, with both legs extended straight out, bend
your left knee and draw your thigh into your torso, hugging it into your
belly. Press through your right heel to keep your bottom leg grounded
and active.

2. Straighten your left leg up toward the ceiling, holding onto
the back of your thigh or calf muscle, pressing your left heel directly
upward. Broaden your shoulder blades so that you’re not gripping around
your neck.

3. As you press your heel upward, release the head of your thigh
bone more deeply into your pelvis and draw your foot a little closer to
your head. Take this slowly, as it will increase the stretch on the back
of your leg. If you’re shaking a little, that’s fine, but the feeling
should be manageable. Remain here at least 45 seconds and breathe
deeply, then switch legs.

is Completely You’s Getting Unstuck blogger. A journalist, yoga instructor and DJ/music producer, he has written for such publications as Departures and The Huffington Post. He teaches yoga at Equinox Fitness and Yogis Anonymous, and is one-half of the music production team EarthRise SoundSystem. For more info, visit DerekBeres.com.

6 Ways to Maintain Your Life Balance

We’ve all been there. There’s so much to do but there’s just not enough time in the day to do it. Getting behind with friendships, finances, and fun can be stressful and discouraging. We’re wondering if we’ll ever get caught up or if we’ll continue to drown in tasks and obligations. It’s time to conquer your hectic life. Here are many ways you can get your life back on track.

1. Devote Time For Rest and Relaxation

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Image via Flickr by RelaxingMusic

You may encounter a lot of unnecessary stress due to lack of sleep since sleeplessness often results in problems with productivity. If you’re not giving your body and mind consistent breaks then you’re probably not performing as well with your job and other daily responsibilities.

In addition to eight hours of sleep every night, make sure you’re responding to your body’s needs. If you find that you’re feeling irritable or unfocused, take a twenty-minute nap. A little relaxation can go a long way.

2. Learn How To Say No

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Image via Flickr by sboneham

If you agree to every event you’re invited to, you’ll likely become burnt out. Although it’s important you enjoy the company of friends and family, it can’t come at the expense of essential routines and tasks.

You’ll find that by just saying “no” every now and then, you’ll have more time on your hands to get important things done. As a result, you will have alleviated that excessive stress.

3. Prioritize Your Relationships

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Image via Flickr by Kevin Dooley

Are there toxic people in your life? These people ask so much of you but give nothing in return. They’re the types of “friends” who quickly eat up your time with no reward. Assess your relationships. Think about whom you should devote your precious time to. Then, say “no” the next time they want to grab lunch or need help clearing out their garage.

4. Manage Your Money with Ease

Bills have piled up on the counter. You’ve spent well over your means but haven’t reviewed your budget. You’ve thought about buying stock recently but don’t know where to begin. Life has been so frantic that even your finances are taking a toll.

It’s time you take control of your funds. Talk to a financial advisor or consider purchasing some good reads by Fisher investments for financial advice.  Get your budget back on track and you’ll feel a big weight off your shoulders.

5. Turn Off The Electronics

If your TV is always on and your cell phone is right by your side, you’re probably not making valuable use of your time. Whether you’re trying to relax with your husband or get some take-home work completed, you need to know when to turn everything off. You’ll find that you get your work done much faster and enjoy your time with others much more.

6. Don’t Forget to Treat Yourself

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Image via Flickr by Puck Goodfellow

It’s vital that you frequently grant yourself time for only you. Treating yourself can mean crucial daily exercise like a run or trip to the gym. It can also mean a reward like a visit to the spa for a massage or manicure.

If you can set aside just one hour every day to do something that you enjoy, you’ll find that you’re much happier, calmer, and productive.

Balancing your life isn’t a task that can be achieved overnight. It will take time, patience, and constant reflection to begin seeing the new less-stressed, you!

How to Turn Setbacks into Bounce-Backs



Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

How to Turn Setbacks into Bounce-backs

By Catherine Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly

A broken boiler floods your basement. You miss a crucial work deadline. Your sister announces she’s getting divorced.

When unexpected crises hit, it may seem as if your world has suddenly imploded. “But in the face of significant life stresses, you can continue to thrive and be successful,” explains Russell Newman, who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and is the co-author of an American Psychological Association guide to surviving dire problems.

It turns out that resilience — the ability to deal with and adapt to stressful or traumatic events — is a combination of attitudes and behaviors that help people overcome adversity. “What’s more, resilience isn’t something you’re either born with or not; it’s a set of skills anyone can learn,” adds Newman. Even if your life is going smoothly now, remember these four important ways to build resilience, and you’ll be able to clobber any curveball life throws your way.


1. Stay connected.

If you’re faced with a difficult personal issue, you may be tempted to shut yourself off from the world. But isolation can make your problems seem even bigger. “A sense of belonging and connectedness is the biggest part of building resilience,” says Newman, because you don’t feel so alone when you can lean on friends and family. Reach out and let others know you’re struggling. A compassionate listener can help you realize that your challenge isn’t the end of the world. (If you find comfort in prayer, try that too.)

2. Make a game plan.
Unexpected blows can leave you feeling powerless. Reclaim that power by creating a plan to overcome the situation. For instance, if you’ve been laid off, write out a list of steps to getting back on your feet, such as polishing your resume and calling your professional contacts. Then get going. “You’ll feel a sense of mastery and achievement when you put your plan in place, giving you control in what seems like an out-of-control situation,” says Newman.

3. Hang on to hope.
Resilient people tend to be optimistic for a reason: Maintaining a positive attitude makes you more likely to ride out the hard times without sinking into despair. If you’re the glass-half-empty type, optimism can be learned. Next time you start feeling as though things will never get better, think of your most optimistic friend and ask yourself what she would think and do in your situation. “That will put a new, more positive thought into your head so you don’t focus on the negative,” says Newman.

4. Think about your triumphs.
If you felt better after confiding in a friend, meditating or going for a walk the last time you and your husband had an argument, chances are that strategy will work the next time you two disagree. “Remembering what you’ve done in difficult circumstances reminds you of what tools you successfully used before that can help you deal with your current situation,” Newman points out. In turn, each obstacle you overcome will increase your confidence so that you can handle any setback and come out stronger.

Catherine Ryan
is a freelance writer and editor who writes on health, nutrition, beauty and green living for such magazines as
Self, Ode and
Parents. She is a frequent contributor to Life & Beauty Weekly.

Finding the “Me” in Motherhood



Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

Finding the “Me” in Motherhood

By Elizabeth Hurchalla for Life & Beauty Weekly

Whether you’re a mom or not, at some point you’ve likely put yourself on the back burner while turning your attention to the needs of those around you. But moms know this feeling better than anyone: With kids, life isn’t only about you anymore. That can be an amazing thing, but if you’re losing yourself in the process of raising a family, it’s time to refocus.

“Women tend to slowly give up more and more of themselves to accommodate their family’s needs,” says Tiffany Howsam, a Los Angeles-based family therapist who specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety. “They think that’s what they’re supposed to do.” Over time, you get so used to focusing on your children that every decision — from what’s for dinner to your next vacation — becomes about pleasing others.

Fortunately, you can take care of your family without losing sight of who you are, says Howsam. Here’s how to find a balance:

1. Take a step back.

Look at your situation from the outside. Are you treating yourself with the same TLC that you devote to your family? If you feel resentful because of your never-ending to-do list, or if you’re always exhausted or can’t remember the last time you did something just for you, you might be spending too much energy on others and not enough on yourself, says Howsam.

2. Set limits.
To be a supermom, you don’t have to be Supermom. “Women want to do it all perfectly,” notes Howsam. But if you volunteer with the PTA, put in a full day’s work, shuttle your kids to karate lessons, coach soccer and whip up a gourmet three-course family dinner every day, there’s no time left for you. So cut yourself some slack! The next time you consider taking on an activity, think about what you have to give up to do it. If you feel uneasy or you get overwhelmed, just say no.

3. Schedule time to do what you love.
Maintaining a sense of self requires at least a few hours each week of actually doing something just for you, says Howsam. “Think about the things you enjoyed before you had kids,” she suggests. “Or explore something you’ve always wanted to try, whether it’s gardening, reading a new book, getting a pedicure, going to a dance class or having coffee with a friend.” Plan your activity ahead of time and write it (in ink!) in your day planner so you’re more likely to stick to it.

4. Treasure the little things.
Doing something for yourself doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture: Creating special moments for yourself each day works too. Try picking three things that feel restorative to you and do them daily, suggests Howsam. Maybe it’s drinking tea in your favorite mug, taking five minutes of quiet alone time each morning or listening to your favorite music in the car rather than Barney’s greatest hits. Even just a minute of “you time” is better than nothing.

5. Lose the guilt.
When you say no or do things for yourself, you’re not being selfish, maintains Howsam. “You’re watching out for your own mental health, which includes taking time to recharge,” she says. You’re also setting a good example for your children and partner by letting them know you’re important too. And by taking time for yourself, you become a more engaged caregiver, which leads to a happy, well-adjusted family.

Elizabeth Hurchalla
is a freelance writer who has contributed to
Cosmopolitan,
InStyle and many other publications.
She has previously contributed to
Life & Beauty Weekly.

A Prize in Every Candle

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An amazing smelling and burning candle is what most people want when they spend money on candles, but when you get that, and a prize to boot then that means you have one heck of a product on your hands.

Prize Candles are all of the above.

Being a candle maker myself I am very picky about how a candle burns, the scent throw, and the type of wax it is made out of.  Well, I have to say on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best I give these candles an 8.  The only reason I didn’t give them a full 10 is because the only part I am not fully sold on is the prize. All the candles have rings in them, and the rings are supposed to be worth anywhere from $10 and up.  Well, once you retrieve the ring from the candle you go to the website and input your code that you find with the ring and then you find out what the ring is worth.

So, the first ring I dug out was only valued at $10 according to the website appraisal page.
It was a cute ring, but the picture is fuzzy. This candle is the Orange Blossom.

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So,  even though I was not impressed with the ring, the candle burned good and smelled good and that is more what I care about.

So, onto candle number 2.  This was a French Brulee, and smelled so good!!  Here is the ring from this candle.  It is not my taste at all in rings, and according to the site it is valued at $100.   Well, I find that very hard to believe because I couldn’t get $1 for it at a garage sale. So, I am not sure how they figure out what the rings are worth.   To me, both rings looked the same, like costume jewelery.

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Just because I don’t really get the whole “jewelery in a candle” concept doesn’t mean others don’t. Non the less, it is a great candle so if you like to find fun goodies in your candles I do recommend them.

Or, you can enter my giveaway and win yourself one.

PC_IslandParadise_1_grande

Enter to win an Island Paradise candle.

Giveaway Ends July 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm central time.

Disclaimer ~ Today’s Work at Home Mom received product to facilitate a review.
All opinions are 100% Today’s Work at Home Mom’s.

Find New Friends Fast



Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

Find New Friends Fast

By Catherine Ryan for Life & Beauty Weekly

When you’re younger, friends are everything. As you get older and people change and family responsibilities and jobs require more time and attention, it’s not unusual to lose touch with friends. And if you move to a new city, distance makes it even harder.

“In midlife, women’s lives are particularly full,” explains Irene Levine, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at New York University and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend. “But having supportive friendships is important — it reduces stress, blood pressure and the risk of depression.” Besides, friends make life more fun.

So check out these strategies for how to seek and develop meaningful friendships. They require only a little extra effort and repay you with a priceless gift.

1. Work your current commitments.
Conventional advice may suggest you sign up for an art class or book club to meet new people. But you’re probably overscheduled as it is! So instead, become more engaged in the groups you already have. For example, instead of watching soccer games with 30 other parents, become a board member of the league. Or lead a subcommittee for the PTA.

“You’ll connect more regularly and intimately with the same people,” says Levine. And doing so allows friendships to develop naturally, even though you aren’t shouldering much more of a time commitment.

2. Elevate an acquaintance to a friend.
When you find someone you click with, take baby steps toward making her a bosom buddy. “Share your real self slowly and wait for her to reciprocate,” says Levine. Meet for coffee and start by talking about your background or your interests (e.g., cooking or scrapbooking). Peeling back layers may be uncomfortable for shy types, but you need to expose yourself to see if there’s good mutual chemistry, she says.

On the other hand, should you feel totally at ease, resist the temptation to spill your life story right away. If your new pal is overwhelmed, she might back off unnecessarily.

3. Integrate yourself into a group.
If you’re on the periphery of an established social circle, breaking in can be daunting. Solution: Develop a closer relationship with one person first. Once the friendship sprouts, your pal is likely to involve you more with the group.

One warning: Don’t get too clingy with your go-to gal. At gatherings, chat with others so you don’t alienate her. And be patient. It takes time, but eventually you’ll be chummy with more members and become part of the inner circle yourself.

4. Spend time outside mommy-dom.
Being a mother is probably the most important part of your life, but it’s not the only part. “Mommy friends are our mentors and consultants, but it’s nice to have girlfriends with whom you can talk about more than kids,” says Levine.

So when reaching out to another mom, suggest a movie or art exhibit — anything that doesn’t involve kids. And steer conversation away from little ones. Exploring other parts of your personality helps a relationship transform from a one-dimensional interaction to a full-fledged friendship. Plus, you’ll feel more like the well-rounded woman you are, beyond your role as mom.

5. Be open to friendship.
“It sounds sappy, but most friendships begin with a smile and openness,” says Levine. That means engaging in small talk where appropriate — your office elevator, the community pool, courtside at your kids’ games. “If you act friendly and show people you’re interested in them, you’ll get a few ‘nibbles,’” she adds.

But finding your friend may be a hit-and-miss process. For example, you chat up a neighbor and she invites you to a party that turns out to be a pressure-filled sales pitch for her jewelry business. Don’t give up! Stay cheerful and talk with the other guests. Who knows, your future BFF may be there feeling duped too.

6. Nurture new connections.
Once you’ve made a friend, make her a priority by scheduling time together. If it feels forced or you’re just too busy, get your haircut at the same time and grab coffee afterwards. Syncing must-do’s guarantees a little one-on-one without overburdening your schedule. Also remember that you needn’t always connect face-to-face. Try other ways to stay in touch, such as Facebook, texting and quick calls, says Levine.

If you ever feel guilty about missed family time, know that investing in friendships pays off — for everyone. “Friends help us relax and keep life in perspective,” says Levine. Those “selfish” moments recharge your soul so you can be a better mom, spouse, daughter and sister.

Catherine Ryan
is a freelance writer and editor who writes on health, nutrition, beauty and green living for such magazines as
Self, Ode and
Parents. She is a frequent contributor to Life & Beauty Weekly.

Green Your Cleaning Routine with Unique

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Green Your Cleaning Routine with Unique.

Unique manufactures natural products that clean organic waste safely, effectively with affordability.  Organic waste is anything that is biodegradable, nearly all the stains, messes and odors in your home are from organic waste.  From carpets to septic, Unique uses natural bacterias to break down and remove the organic waste.

When it comes to cleaning, I am a freak.  With a husband always covered in grease, a high energy dog and pot-belly pig that likes to root around the yard then come inside the house and roll around, I am ALWAYS cleaning!  Unique has the power to take care of our messes and is safe for our pets which takes the weight off my shoulders, and the piece of mind that I am not fighting pollution with more pollution.

I love the Pet Odor & Stain Eliminator because I can apply it and let it do its magic, saving me time and energy.  For stains on our carpet, at night I saturate the stain and toss a rag over it.  In the morning I remove the rag and let the carpet dry.  Letting the cleaner sit overnight saves me all the trouble of being on my knees scrubbing.

Unique Complete, Stain & Odor Remover is the cleaner I use throughout our home.  Kennel, litter box, car, bathroom, basically floor to ceiling.  It is a concentrated product, which means you mix it 10 to 1.  So a 1 Quart container will make 2.5 gallons of cleaning product!

The Super Digest It is a life saver!   I use this in my kitchen drain, and in my shower.  Between food, grease, dog hair, human hair, etc., a drain should not be without it.

Unique also carries a 100% Refund if you aren’t completely satisfied!

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Reasons to Love Unique

All Natural / Safe For Your Family & Pets

Removes Stains And Odors

Uses Bacteria And Enzymes

Cleans All The Way To The Floorboards

Carried In Over 3,000 Stores Throughout The US

Guaranteed To Work

Inexpensive

Unique Giveaway

Enter to win a gift basket of Pet Odor Eliminator Ready to Use 24oz, Super Digest It Qt, Carpet Shampoo Qt, Unique Complete Qt, Wine Stain Remover 4oz.

Valued Over $50

Giveaway Ends July 17, 2013 at 11:59 Central Time

Enter using the entry form below.

Disclosure ~ Today’s Work at Home Mom received products to facilitate a review. All opinions and thoughts on these products are 100% ours.