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Sweden’s parental leave laws have revolutionized the lives of moms

Amanda J

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Paid family leave positively affects a mother’s health as well as her newborn baby’s development. Imagine that! A new study about parental leave further solidifies what everyone has claimed as true for the past few years. 

In Sweden, lawmakers give new moms and dads 16 months of combined paid time off after welcoming a newborn. The country recently decided to slightly alter its rules so that both parents can take up to 30 days off at the same time. Sweden’s laws previously allowed parents to divide the 16 months as they saw fit but prohibited both the mom and dad from being at home with the baby on paid leave at the same time. The result was often a situation in which the mother spent 14 months at home alone with the baby while the father used the remaining two months of paid time to bond with his newborn. 

Sweden’s new rule change was an effort to allow fathers to get more bonding time with their newborn babies. The results had a positive impact on the health of mothers as well. 

Researchers found that new moms who spent the first few weeks of postpartum with both their babies and partners were less likely to need anxiety medication and avoided significant stages of depression that typically come after childbirth. Specifically, anti-anxiety prescriptions decreased by 26 percent and the need for new moms to visit a specialist after childbirth decreased by 14 percent under the new laws. In addition, antibiotic prescriptions decreased by 11 percent after Sweden allowed both parents to take family leave at the same time. Now, how’s that for waging war against the opioid crisis?

Some wonder why Sweden’s rule change impacts moms in such a positive manner. The secret, according to researchers, is in support. New moms feel like the world is on their shoulders after giving birth to a child. Not only are they charged with caring for a precious baby, but new moms also go through changes in their bodies that require adjusting and coping. Having another adult present during the learning curve relieves tension and allows the new mom to ease into the process of caring for herself while also tending to the needs of her child. Who better than the newborn’s father to provide such support? 

Maya Rossin-Slater, one of the researchers to hail Sweden’s story of family leave a success, gives further insight. “A lot of focus has been on what we can do in the hospital immediately following childbirth, but less on mothers’ home environment, which is where the vast majority of women spend most of their postpartum time,” she explains. “What we’re saying is one important component of that home environment is the presence of the father or another adult caretaker.” 

Of course, the United States is one of few developed countries to still deny the reality of paid family leave being essential to a child’s positive upbringing. Perhaps, this new study will further support what everyone has been saying. 

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Amazing

Guinea Pig and Dog Share Beautiful Friendship, Similar Fur Patterns, In a Story DESTINED to Make You Cry!

Danielle S

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If you grew up in the 80s and 90s then you probably remember the animated film, The Fox and the Hound. In the movie, two species of animal that have no business getting along end up becoming the best of friends. The film was adorable and touching, but was it realistic? As it turns out, interspecies friendship is relatively common in nature, and even more common among pet owners. This is where the story of Mr. Jenkins, an adorable puppy, and his best buddy, the guinea pig named Maple, begins.

Tahnee Reid was born and raised in Australia. Based out of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Reid had grown up as an animal lover. Reid was living with her pet guinea pig when she made the decision to adopt an adorable three-year-old puppy named Mr. Jenkins. At first, Reid was incredibly nervous about how Mr. Jenkins and Maple would get along. After all, Maple was smaller than Mr. Jenkins’ head. If the new dog wanted to put an end to Maples, he could make that happen. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending!

Upon bringing home Mr. Jenkins, an excitable Boston Terrier, Tahnee was shocked to see how her two animals got along together. Not only did they bear a striking color resemblance to one another, but they quickly became the best of friends. Tahnee said, “I really can’t believe how close they are to each other. They’re total best friends.”

According to Tahnee, Mr. Jenkins was the excitable pet that she had concerns about. If Mr. Jenkins couldn’t calm down around the little guinea pig, Tahnee would never be able to relax. However, Tahnee soon came to realize that the two pets shared a mutual passion, eating carrots! Tahnee says, “I think their friendship first blossomed over their mutual love of carrots.” Tahnee went on to explain that she would give Maples a carrot only for Mr. Jenkins to run over and beg for his own. Soon, they were sharing carrots with one another and before long they were napping together!

Nowadays, Maples is the proverbial shadow to Mr. Jenkins’ excitable daily routine. While Mr. Jenkins is the younger of the two pets, Maples tends to treat him like her own personal hero. According to Tahnee, Mr. Jenkins even acts like a parent as he’ll check on Maples throughout the day in order to make sure that she is okay! Tahnee says, “They really do have this amazing and strange little friendship. It captures the hearts of everyone that meets them or sees their photos.” Tahnee went on to explain that Mr. Jenkins had quickly grown attached to his little shadow and that he was proud to have a little sidekick who followed him around the home.

In the divisive world that we live in, it sure is nice to see how two creatures can overcome their differences. What do you think of the adorable Mr. Jenkins and his best buddy, Maples?  Do you want to bring home your own monochromatic buddies?

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Amazing

Neglected Puppy Loses Vision, Saved By New Owner in Wholesome Story!

Jolie

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There is just about nothing worse than seeing an animal suffer, especially when that animal is an adorable puppy. When Puddin was first adopted, she was neglected and abused by her owners at their home in Texas. The poor little dog soon had an infection develop behind her eyes. Unfortunately, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in of Texas would not get to the puppy in time to save her vision. As a result, Puddin ended up losing her vision after veterinarians were forced to remove her eyes. Had the vets not acted in time, the infection could have cost Puddin her life! This story doesn’t end here, however, as there is a happier ending on the horizon!

After animal doctors saved Puddin’s life by removing her eyes and sewing her sockets safely shut, the future for the animal was in question. After all, it can be hard for new owners to be found when a dog is so clearly handicapped, even if that handicap came as a result of the heinous behavior of their prior owners.  The team at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals remained hopeful that they would find the perfect new home for Puddin to go to and that is where Cory Gonzales comes into the story.

Cory Gonzales was a young student when he first saw Puddin on the internet. Gonzales said, “When I saw Puddin online, I immediately fell in love with her ears, of all things.” Gonzales, just 22-years-old, would quickly schedule an adoption meeting with Puddin so that he could get the chance to meet the dog to see if they were a match. Gonzales said, “The day after I met her, I came back in and adopted her.” After meeting Puddin, Gonzales was quick to fall in love with the adorable puppy and the adoption paperwork would soon be filled out.

Despite losing her vision to the vile behavior of her former owners, Puddin soon found herself in a home where she was loved and revered. Gonzales was recently contacted concerning an update on Puddin. Gonzales said of his new puppy, “She is five months old now, and the way she has adapted to her new life is incredible.” Gonzales went on to explain that Puddin had managed to learn how to live in relative comfort without her sight. Gonzales explained that Puddin has begun to embrace her other senses to find toys, run around, play, and even stop herself from walking into things. Gonzales said, “It’s really amazing to watch.”

While Puddin was fortunate enough to find a happy ending, not all animals are so lucky. If you or someone you know suspects that an animal is being abused, do not hesitate to reach out to your local animal advocacy group. All animals deserve to be treated properly with love and respect!

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Cute

I Attempted Pinterest-inspired School Lunches And They Were Adorable!

Danielle S

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As a parent, I work very hard to make my kids’ school lunches as fun as possible. 

One of them hates eating in front of others, and the other loves to trade and share. I try to make their lunches as interesting and inviting as possible. I’m a busy, full-time working mother, and I usually send my kids to school with a pre-loaded lunch card. But this week, I wanted to create something fun and silly that would brighten up their days. 

If you’re on Pinterest all the time or have been just a few times, then you might be aware of the thousands of pins that provide inspiration. There are hundreds for just fun ways to cut sandwiches alone – if you can imagine a fun and creative snack, you’ll find it shared on Pinterest! 

There are great options for dinosaurs and aliens, woodland creatures and Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired snacks. Some parents are super clever and have come up with entire lunches created around special themes, like Toy Story or The Lego Movie. 

I was determined to find something that I could accomplish with my limited artistic abilities, but that would light up my kids’ lunches. 

Lunch Number 1: A Monster Sandwich

This one seemed like one of the easier ones to tackle first. 

This pin is from Land O’Frost, where they make a sandwich that looks like a cute monster! With only a few simple ingredients, it seemed like the perfect first lunch. 

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of sandwich bread 
  • 1 slice marble cheese 
  • 2 slices lunch meat 
  • 2 pimento-stuffed olives 
  • Mayo 
  • Mustard
  • A few toothpicks
  • A cookie-cutter

The Assembly

First, I cut the bread slices. The original recipe called for a round cookie cutter, but I didn’t have one, so I just used a bowl and a pizza cutter and we got to the same place. 

Then, I spread the mayo and mustard on the bread, and cut the cheese into tiny triangles to make teeth. 

I rolled the turkey loosely to make it look more like the tongue, laid on the cheese, and then the rest of the circle bread. 

I used two toothpicks to put into the olives to make the eyes. Neither of my kids will eat these, but at least they’ll be fun. 

Lunch Number 2: PB&J Waffle Mouse

I decided to step up the difficulty on day 2 with some PB&J Waffle Mouses. (Also, the youngest has been begging for waffles, so this felt like a two-for-one!)

This pin is from Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, and it’s absolutely adorable.

Ingredients

  • 2 regular waffles 
  • 2 mini waffles 
  • Peanut butter & jelly 
  • Some raisins 
  • A mini marshmallow
  • 6 pretzels 
  • Toothpicks

The Assembly

I started by lightly toasting the waffles, since I wanted them to hold up until lunch hour. I put the peanut butter on one big waffle and jelly on the other. I put peanut butter on the ears, tooth-picked them into place, and then folded the two big pieces together.

I took two marshmallows and put half a raisin into the center of each. I used a dab of peanut butter for some glue and put the eyes on. I used a few more raisins to make a nose, then three pretzels on each side to make some whiskers. I used two more raisins to make the smiling mouth! 

Lunch Number 3: Monkey Bagel 

This one is by far the hardest, and the biggest hit. My kids have been begging for this one since I made it for them – it’s now a house favorite! 

This pin is from Eats Amazing, where they make the most amazing bagel that gives of serious jungle vibes. 

Ingredients

  • 1 bagel (my kids prefer these on cinnamon raisin) 
  • Mayo 
  • Mustard 
  • Lunch meat & other sandwich fillings 
  • 4 pieces of mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 blueberries 
  • 1 small sliver of red pepper or a couple of carrots

The Assembly

I lightly toasted my two bagel halves, since I wanted them to hold up longer. 

Next, I put my sandwich fillings on the inside (mayo, mustard, lunch meat.) 

For the ears, I took a piece of the mozzarella and cut them into ovals, and tucked them under the lunch meat so that they’d hang out. 

The original recipe calls for red pepper, but my kids won’t eat that, so I took some carrots from the other day and sliced them thin. 

I cut one of the cheese slices into a circle for the face, and other into a long oval for the mouth. I placed the blueberries for the eyes with a tiny bit of peanut butter as glue. 

My Final Thoughts

This was a super fun activity, and I absolutely loved getting a little creative!

I would recommend that you swap out ingredients for ones that your kids will prefer, as I was told one of my kids threw the olives at their sibling. 

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Cute

My Doggo Got Some New Digs & a New Friend, Thanks to Wild Ones

Danielle S

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My little doggo, Maggy recently turned 80 (in dog years), that’s 11 and a half roughly in human years. And I wanted to pamper my little four legged octogenarian with some winsome goodies.

Now, Maggy is a bit of a princess, but she’s not high maintenance. So I thought she deserved something special, not just the usual rubber bones and polyester dog beds you get at most pet shops.

LittleThings

So I was shopping around on the Inter-webs when I found just the place. It’s called Wild One, and it’s amazing! They have these adorable Walk Kits, super cute bowl sets, really nice harnesses, and exciting little toy kits that dogs really go for. At least Maggy did, anyway. She’s got lots of energy for an old lady!

The walk kit is made of really durable material and gives you everything you need for a stroll with puppers. The bowl set is really snazzy and has a heavy rubber base that’s non-skid- IE; perfect for avoiding messes. The toy kit is really high end stuff, with rope and rubber jambos that Maggy loves to tear into- and they’re so tough she can’t even get close to wrecking them. 

Finally, there’s the harness. I think it’s my favorite because it’s super tough, really cute, and the design is just great. I love it because it holds Maggy really securely and doesn’t choke her or pinch her anywhere. If there was an emergency, I feel like I could snatch her up by the harness without hurting her- though I still wouldn’t if I didn’t really have to. 

That’s really only the beginning. There’s so much more on Wild One that I can’t wait to get for Maggy. Really, she has no idea how big her Christmas is going to be.

But now, it’s time to come clean- because there is one problem with decking out Maggy in all these goodies from Wild One. When I took her to the dog park with her new walking kit and harness, EVERYONE wanted to know where I got them! The first time I took Mags to the dog park with her new gear I really didn’t feel like answering questions. But now I realize the only way out of this situation is to finally answer everyone who wants the same groovy doggy digs for their dogs.

It’s been a few months now, and now all the regulars at the dog park have their puppers totally decked out in Wild One swag. Not only that, but we started a dog and tea club and we meet at the gazebo outside the city library every week on our way to the dog park.

Yeah, it’s a pretty silly story, but I’m not the only one who’s made new friends. Maggy met a distinguished looking Great Dane and they are very fond of each other. Every time we go to the park she looks for Clide, (it’s short Clydesdale because he’s so huge!). And when they find each other they just play and play just like she did when she was a puppy!

So, that’s our Wild One story. It’s silly, I know. But apparently, even dogs can benefit from being a little fashion forward.

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Entertainment

Chip Gaines Is Melting Hearts With His Latest Surprise For His Family

Danielle S

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Chip and Joanna Gaines have a beautiful large family, but there was something missing. Chip decided that it was high time the family got a new surprise, in the form of an adorable English Mastiff puppy. The family is known for leading a simple life with lots of pets, farm animals, and 5 children, in addition to running a thriving business empire, known as Magnolia. 

Joanna shared the news with fans on Instagram, saying “Chip told me he hadn’t surprised us in a while with a new animal and that it was long overdue… we now have more dogs than children .” 

HGTV

Incredible Growth and Gaines

Their success began with Fixer Upper on HGTV, where there love and work ethic charmed viewers just as much as their ability to salvage houses and turn them into beautiful homes. The couple has made several additions to their family over the past few years. 

The new pup, who is yet to be given a name, seems to have taken a particular liking to the family’s youngest child, one-year-old Crew. The golden Mastiff can be seen on Instagram following the toddling Crew around the farm.

Surprises Are No Surprise to Joanna

Joanna has likely learned to expect the unexpected given Chip’s affinity for surprise additions to the family. Chip’s love for surprising his family with animals goes back to at least 2017, when Joanna went out of town near Christmas time. When she returned home, she found a fluffy kitten under the tree, prompting her to post a photo of the kitty with the caption “I go out of town for one night…”. 

HGTV

Last April Chip brought home the family’s first Mastiff puppy in a similar fashion, along with a kitten. These two joined the family shortly before Crew was born. They also got an adorable wakeup call last April as well.  Chip presented a baby goat that had been born the night before. A litter of piglets was also born that month, prompting Chip to proclaim “Errbody having babies round here” on his Instagram. 

Living the Simple Life

Despite their success as reality tv stars, Chip and Joanna have no TVs in the farmhouse. Farming is a family affair. They have five children. Drake is 14, Ella is 12, Duke is 11, Emmie Kay is 9, and Crew is 1. Helping out on the farm helps keep the children entertained as well as teaching them valuable life lessons. The children help with most of the farm chores, including feeding the animals and milking the cows. 

Their Newest Baby: Their Own Network

The network is set to launch Summer of 2020. In addition to Fixer Upper, the channel will feature design, wellness, food, and home and garden programming. The network gives the couple an opportunity to tell their story and share their strongly held beliefs on many aspects of life. They are also excellent role models in a landscape where people to look up to are few and far between. 

How Do They Achieve Balance?

How do they balance the farm, raising five children, and launching their own cable network? According to Joanna, balance isn’t something she’s interested in. She says “I’ve found that something miraculous happens when I make space for both: Each is made better by the other.” She explains that her work and family overlap, and each is influenced and inspired by the other. 

Chip and Joanna’s latest addition may be the newest, but it’s clear that they have boundless love for all their family members, both the two and four-legged varieties. They are living the American dream, and doing it on their own terms. 

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