Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cheap Ways To Decorate Your Home This Christmas

As the end of the year draws nearer, most families will find their expenditure sky rocketing. The holiday season is quite demanding on the pocket. Some people ring up huge bills buying gifts for families and friends. Hopefully you will be careful not to go into debt and end up struggling the rest of next year to pay off your purchases. It is wise to save money where you can, and decorating your home for the Christmas season is one area that you don't have to spend a lot of money.

Here are some ideas for you:
- Use items you already have around your home. Repurpose your old Christmas decorations. You may be able to create an entirely different look in your home by using many of the decorations you already have. For example, instead of hanging the wreath on your front door, use it as a center piece. Place a glass hurricane globe in the center of the wreath, fill the remainder of the wreath with glass ornaments and then place a scented pillar candle in the middle of the glass globe.

- Fill your home with scents that are associated with Christmas. It could be cinnamon from an apple pie, nutmeg from pumpkin pie or evergreen. You could also fill a Christmas basket with glass ornaments in red, green and white. Add some pine cones, cranberries or other aromatic items. You can use these aromas to help your family have pleasant memories of the holiday each year.

- Don't waste the Christmas cards that you receive. You can display them in a fun and exciting way. Hang a garland of popcorn and cranberries across the doorway or over a mantle. Using clothespins, hang the cards you receive on the garland.

- Dress a teddy bear in a Santa suit and place it on a sled. If you have white fabric, spread it around the tree and then put the sled on top. Arrange the fabric to make it look like snow. You can use other toys to decorate around your tree.

- Make your own Christmas tree ornaments. You can do it using salt dough. It can be a fun project for the kids. Not only will you end up with free, personalized ornaments but you'll be encouraging your kids creativity as well. I'm sure you're finding ways to occupy their time too right?

- Hang paper snowflakes. This is very easy to do and so much fun for kids. Stick them on the windows or hang them from the ceiling.

This is what my kids and I did to decorate our home for Christmas. They loved making and hanging the paper snowflakes. The kids are asking for a bigger tree. They are growing taller and so the tree looks small now :)

If you have a easy and cheap idea on decorating your home for Christmas, do share it here. I would love to hear your ideas.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tips for passing down family photos in the digital age

(ARA) - For many years, photography meant developing a roll of film at the local store, sliding your glossy prints into a photo album and then placing them on your bookshelf. Digital photography changed all that, and now your photos live on computers, hard drives, CDs, USB drives and even your phone. But just because photos rarely go into leather-bound albums doesn't mean that they're any less precious. The evolution of photography has changed the ways in which we use photos - and it makes sense to think differently about how to preserve and pass on your treasured memories.

Consider these tips for preserving photos in the digital age and beyond.

* Select. Digital photography lets you take almost countless photos - far more than you could capture with a roll of film. But this volume of pictures can often overwhelm the family photo curator who needs to sort, evaluate and store hundreds or even thousands of images after a single vacation or special event. To avoid image overload, whenever you add new photos to your collection, edit out as many as you can. You'll end up with the best photos of the bunch and won't have to wade through an endless array of shots just to reach your favorites.

* Share. As much as taking photos is about capturing memories for yourself, it's also a great way to share experiences with friends and family. And for sharing, digital photography and social media is a match made in heaven - instead of sending off prints with holiday cards, you can quickly upload them to the Web. If you want to share a single snapshot at a moment's notice, you can post directly to Twitter or even use photo-centric social media apps. For larger groups of photos, from your latest vacation or baby's first year, add albums to Facebook or other photo hosting and sharing sites - just be sure to provide captions so everyone knows what they're looking at.

* Preserve. SanDisk issued results from an online survey conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive from July 28-August 1, 2011 among 2,294 U.S. adults aged 18 and older which found that 79 percent of U.S. adults with digital photos plan on passing them down to future generations. But holding onto digital photos for long periods of time can prove nerve wracking if you are unsure whether the storage technology will preserve your photos far into the future. CDs can scratch and external hard drives contain moving parts.

To meet this need, SanDisk developed a photo album for the digital age called the SanDisk Memory Vault, a new device that can preserve digital photos in their original quality for up to 100 years.  About the size of a pack of cards, the Memory Vault plugs into a computer's USB port, letting you drag and drop your favorite photos onto the device and keep your history of precious memories close at hand. Whether you need a convenient way to preserve your own photos or want to surprise your family historian, the Memory Vault can pass down your important photos for years - and even generations - to come. For more information, visit www.sandisk.com.

Photos are among the best ways to relive and share our most cherished memories. They often remind us of moments we forgot and can bring a joyful time back to life in an instant. Make the most of your photo collection by selecting your favorite images, sharing them with family and friends and preserving them for generations to come.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Free digital scrapbook kit! Free digital scrapbook kit!
Who wants? Who wants?
Well, its here for your taking. Remember, the free kits change frequently. So if you want this particular one, you've got to download it this week. Next week, it is going to be a different one.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:

 This digital kid includes 2 digital papers, 5 page elements and 2 quick pages.

You can get by clicking this link:

You don't have to pay full price when you buy MyMemories Suite. Here's a discount code that will slash $10 off the price. Plus, you get another $10 gift certificate to buy stuff at their online store. Just copy and paste this code:

MyMemories Suite V3 has just launched. There are more features and content compared to Version 2. They've listened to feedback and made their scrapbook software to better suit your needs. Easy and fun; that is what this digital software is about.
Here's where you can get the software:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tips for keeping your home healthy

(ARA) - Maintaining a healthy home is critical for your family's welfare - especially now as the weather cools and you begin to spend more time indoors. Applying a few simple solutions now will ensure your indoor living environment is safe and healthy for seasons to come.

Reduce toxins

Less desirable weather may make fall and winter seem like an ideal time to tackle your indoor painting projects. However, you need to be mindful of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in many interior paints and finishes. VOCs are one of the biggest threats to indoor air quality; they include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have both short- and long-term health effects. For indoor jobs, select paint with low or no VOCs to keep your air fresher. Additionally, some houseplants such as ivy and gerbera daisies can help to naturally remove VOCs from your indoor air.

Clean your indoor air

Ragweed and pollen will trigger allergy symptoms for millions of people this fall; however, the worst allergy triggers are often found inside the home. Installing a whole-home air filtration system can help to remove indoor allergens including dust, mildew, pet dander and pollen from the air you breathe. For example, the AccuClean (TM) System by American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning removes up to 99.98 percent of the allergens from your filtered air, so even if it's allergy season outdoors, your indoor air is crisp and clean.

Prevent mold

During the cooler fall and winter months, people tend to seal up their homes and spend more time inside, which traps moisture and humidity - both significant contributors to indoor mold growth. Maintain healthy indoor humidity levels by venting bathrooms and clothes dryers and using an exhaust fan while cooking. Install an air humidifier to provide year-round control of your indoor moisture level, and keep your home at 50 percent humidity or lower to reduce the chance for mold growth.

Watch out for CO

Protect your indoor living environment from carbon monoxide or CO by installing CO detectors or alarms throughout your home. This fall, make sure your home's heating system, including items such as a furnace or heat pump, vents and chimney, are inspected and serviced by a professional contractor. And, if there is a fireplace in your home, open the damper before lighting a fire to help prevent the buildup of potentially poisonous gases inside of your home.

Keep a seasonal routine

Most homeowners already know it's important to test their smoke alarms on a monthly basis, but how often do you change the alarm's batteries? One way to keep track of alarm maintenance is to make battery changing a seasonal activity. For example, beginning this fall, replace the batteries in your smoke alarms (and CO detectors), every time you reset your clocks.

By taking these simple steps now, you'll create a safer and healthier home, allowing your family to relax and enjoy all the delights the fall season has to offer - both outdoors and indoors.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Proud Moment

I gave up my days of competing for medals and trophies. However, that doesn't mean my proud moments are over. Here is my latest proud moment:
My children have medals and trophies for me to enjoy too. The 2 kids did well in their final examinations.
K1 took 1st place in class and in the overall standard. Also took top marks in English, "Kajian Tempatan" and moral studies.
D1 took second place in class and in the overall standard. Actually, he tied for 1st place but his friend did better in the mid-term. So, they awarded the first place to his friend. D1 took top marks in Maths and Science.

Of course academic achievements are not the only thing to be proud of. Character is important too.

Well, I'm not one to brag but this is a proud moment. Keep up the good work kids.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Easy kids' room updates can make winter less dreary

(ARA) - As temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, kids begin spending more and more time indoors. To help make spending time inside more enjoyable, give your child's room a fun makeover. With bright colors and fun details, you can transform a bland bed or playroom into a kid-friendly space they won't want to leave.

Color the walls

An easy way to inject color and personality into any room is with paint, and Dutch Boy's Crayola palette is perfect for creating a fun atmosphere. Kids can choose colors that match those in their crayon boxes, with names like Granny Smith Apple, Razzmatazz, Crayola Canary and Inch Worm. If you're in need of some extra creative inspiration, Dutch Boy's website offers a number of images and idea cards using color combinations from the Crayola palette. You can even download how-to painting instructions and coloring pages for the kids. And don't stop at the walls - paint dressers, chairs and other furniture bright colors to make the whole room pop. All 96 shades of the Crayola palette are available in Dutch Boy's popular Refresh line, so you're sure to find the perfect color to match your child's personality.


To give your child's room unique flair, divide the space and add privacy, a canopy will do the trick. Whether store-bought or hand-made, a canopy can create a whimsical feel that your child will love. Drape your child's choice of lightweight fabrics from four ceiling hooks to create a customized cover for his or her bed. And while canopies are usually seen as bed accessories, don't think that's where they have to stay. Hang a version with a circular base and arrange plush cushions on the floor to create a comfy reading nook for your little one.


Inspiring creativity and adding some fun to your child's room is as easy as A-B-C. With chalkboard paint, you can give your child a new way to practice the alphabet, arithmetic, drawing and much more. Simply cover a flat surface with a product like easy-spray Krylon Chalkboard Paint, let dry, and voila! For a standard message board, paint the backside of a bulletin board or other sturdy panel with a few coats of paint. Hang the board on the wall with a piece of colorful ribbon or set on an easel, and you've got an easy-to-clean way for kids to learn and play. You might even transform tabletops or toy box covers into chalkboards to give them more space to get creative.

Wall decals

Build on your child's new bright walls and give the room a more personalized feel with wall decals or stickers. These temporary art pieces are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, designs and colors, and the options of kid-friendly styles are endless. From animals, to movie characters, to sports logos, to stars and flowers, there is sure to be a design or theme that matches any child's personality and age.  Because the stickers are easily removed, kids can simply transition to more traditional letters, mirrors, landscapes and silhouettes as they grow older. Some companies can even make decals from photos, so the design possibilities are truly limitless.

You can help your kids enjoy the great indoors this season and give their rooms new appeal with these few easy updates. Helping to plan and decorate their "new" rooms will also give your kids a sense of pride in the finished product, so they'll enjoy their spaces through the fall months and beyond.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

It is scrapbook time again. I hope you like this week's free scrapbook kit.  MyMemories is very generous in giving it to us. Remember, the free kits change frequently. So if you want this particular one, you've got to download it this week. Next week, it is going to be a different one.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:
This kit includes: 2 digital papers, 2 page elements and 2 quick pages.

You can get by clicking this link:

MyMemories Suite makes your scrapbooking easy. It doesn't take that long to learn how to use the software. Actually, it can be quite addictive.
You don't have to pay full price when you buy MyMemories Suite. Here's a discount code that will slash $10 off the price. Plus, you get another $10 gift certificate to buy stuff at their online store. Just copy and paste this code:

Here's where you can get the software:

If you show me how you've used the scrapbook kit above, I'll share with you another free scrapbook kit. Call it a bonus scrapbook kit. Just leave a comment below and tell me where I can view your scrapbook creation. I will then give you the link to the bonus kit.

Hope to hear from you soon and happy scrapping!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chinese Chicken Curry

My DH requested that I make some chinese chicken curry.

Chinese curry? Indian curry? Malay curry?

What's the difference? I'm not really sure. I guess the spices are different?

Anyway, I went to the market and asked the man who sells curry spices if he sold the spices for chinese curry. He said "Yes". I was ecstatic. I asked him to put together one pack for me. I continued to ask what were the spices used? His answer..... "That's a secret".

The "secret" spices for chinese curry. Let's see who can figure this out.

I was actually quite surprised by his answer. But I guess it has to be a secret or else people won't go back to him to buy it. Anyway, this is how my chinese curry turned out.

I didn't put any cinnamon, star anise or cardamom. No curry powder either. Blended shallots, garlic and ginger. Added my FIL's chilli and also coconut milk (santan). I think I threw in some lemon grass too.

Does it look any different from Indian or Malay curry? One thing though, it tasted good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

One family's story that could save your baby's life

(ARA) - Like most parents, Kari and Lyle Judson had never heard of respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV. But in December 2008, when RSV took the life of one of their twin sons, those three letters forever changed their lives.

Kari gave birth to preemie twin boys, Alexander and Dominic, both weighing well under 5 pounds. When the boys' lung function proved "normal" for preterm infants, they were declared healthy and were discharged without any warning about the dangers of RSV during the winter months.

RSV is a common, seasonal virus which can lead to symptoms similar to the cold or flu. While the virus affects nearly 100 percent of babies before the age of 2, those most at risk for developing severe RSV disease are premature babies - those born before 36 weeks gestation. Premature babies have underdeveloped lungs and fewer of the vital antibodies needed to stave off infections, so they are not as well-equipped to fight RSV as full-term babies. Other risk factors for RSV include: low-birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds), certain lung and heart diseases, and situational risk factors such as attending daycare, having pre-school or school-aged siblings, or exposure to tobacco smoke.

With their parents unaware of the dangers that even a play date could present, Alexander and Dominic enjoyed their first months of life. On Dec. 28, 2008, however, both boys began displaying signs of listlessness and developed fevers - hallmarks of RSV disease. They were taken to the local hospital, where Alexander's condition quickly worsened and he was not responsive to breathing treatments. Due to the severity of his condition, Alexander was airlifted to a specialty hospital, but while in transport, he lost brain function due to lack of oxygen and was put on life support.

Even as they were dealing with the tragic loss of Alexander, the Judson family still had to face Dominic's severe RSV infection, which required breathing treatments and an 11-day hospital stay.

While deaths are not common, RSV disease causes up to 10 times as many infant deaths each year as the flu, resulting in up to 400 infant deaths annually in the U.S. Additionally, RSV disease is the leading cause of infant hospitalization in the U.S., and is responsible for one of every 13 pediatrician visits and one of every 38 trips to the emergency room. In fact, Kari found herself back at the pediatric pulmonologist's office when her third son, Ryan, developed a mild RSV infection, requiring breathing treatments.

Because there is no treatment for RSV disease, Kari and many in the medical community say the importance of prevention can't be emphasized enough.

"I want all parents to know about the dangers of RSV and what they can do to protect their little ones from this virus," says Kari. "We're so thankful Dominic and Ryan both recently received clean bills of health, but we will continue to be alert for symptoms of RSV disease and take steps to prevent the spread of germs, especially during the RSV season."

Parents should do the following to help protect their babies from RSV:

* Understand the risk factors and ask a pediatrician if your child may be at increased risk

* Help prevent the spread of the virus with frequent washing of hands, toys and bedding, and avoiding large crowds and those who are sick
* Carefully monitor your baby's behavior for warning signs like a severe cough or wheezing; difficulty breathing or rapid, gasping breaths; blue color of the lips, mouth, and/or fingernails; difficulty feeding; fatigue and fever

"I've seen how seriously RSV can affect babies and their families," says pediatric critical care physician Dr. Paul Checchia, director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at the Texas Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. "While frequent hand washing is the best defense for most families, babies at the highest risk may need extra precaution and should talk to their baby's doctor."

Visit www.RSVprotection.com for more information.

Friday, November 11, 2011

She Did Her First Cross Stitch

This is my daughter's first cross stitch project. I bought the kit from an online store. I gave her basic directions on what to do and then left it to her to complete it.

She enjoyed doing it and felt proud she got it done. Yes, she made mistakes that needed to be undone. It was a lesson in perseverance.

I tried cross stitch when I was 15 year old. Sadly, I didn't finish the project. I completed about 85%. I made a mistake doing the outline and then didn't bother after that. Maybe I should have started with something smaller.

If you are getting your child's first cross stitch project, start with something simple and small.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Hey there scrapbooking enthusiasts! It's Thursday and that means another scrapbook kit for free. The kits are the courtesy of MyMemories!" Remember, the free kits change frequently. So if you want this particular one, you've got to download it this week. Next week, it is going to be a different one.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:

This kit includes: 2 digital papers, 3 page elements and 2 quick pages.

You can get by clicking this link:

I use MyMemories Suite scrapbook software to do my scrapbooking. I love it. You want an easy way to scrapbook, this scrapbooking software is for you. You don't have to pay full price when you buy MyMemories Suite. Here's a discount code that will slash $10 off the price. Plus, you get another $10 gift certificate to buy stuff at their online store. Just copy and paste this code:

Here's where you can get the software:

If you show me how you've used the scrapbook kit above, I'll share with you another free scrapbook kit. Call it a bonus scrapbook kit. Just leave a comment below and tell me where I can view your scrapbook creation. I will then give you the link to the bonus kit.

Hope to hear from you soon and happy scrapping!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Don't Risk Your Child's Safety With A Counterfeit Baby Carrier

Despite a campaign to raise awareness of fake baby carriers over the past two years, an illegal and dangerous trade in counterfeit products continues in Australia via online auction sites.

Counterfeit copies of the popular ERGObaby carrier have been offered for sale on online auction sites and authorised Australian and New Zealand distributor Babes in Arms is trying to stop these products reaching unsuspecting consumers and endangering babies.

Babes in Arms director and mother of four, Anita Lincolne-Lomax, sources the best baby slings and carriers from around the globe to build an expansive babywearing range that promotes a baby’s natural desire for closeness, but solves a parent’s need to be hands-free.

“Safety is a paramount consideration for parents when they’re buying baby products. These baby carrier copies are very convincing, and even the most discerning buyer could be fooled,” Anita explained.

Parents are being deceived by the counterfeits, buying the products at a price only marginally lower than the genuine product.
  • The counterfeit carriers possess a few qualities that customers should look out for:
  • The carriers are not covered by product warranty or insurance
  • They will not have been tested for safety standards and are not likely to comply with US lead-free criteria
Most importantly, they are made with inferior materials and parts – particularly the buckles, which can lead to breakages and drops.

“The people responsible for making the counterfeit ERGObaby carriers are preying on parents who want to nurture and care for their children and who are trying to save money by buying discounted or second hand goods through auction sites’, Anita said.

“Babes in Arms has given many parents across Australia the opportunity to hold their babies close within their loving embrace and be able to balance their needs and that of their babies with our wonderful range of babywearing products,” she added.

This is the season where baby carrier sales go up as people buy the products as Christmas gifts. Parents often research baby carriers and are very selective about which products they buy, but caring family members who aren’t as educated about such issues sometimes buy them as a gift. Raising awareness about legitimate and genuine products is important for the safety of babies.

“It’s distressing that people are, in good faith, buying what they think is a wonderful and safe product, but find they have been duped into buying these terrible copies,” Anita said.

Anita offers a message to all parents and families looking to purchase baby carriers: “We strongly suggest that people only purchase ERGObaby products through authorised ERGObaby stores and distributors, and not through any auction sites.”

La Stella Blu Baby Carriers

In a pram-dominated culture, Babes in Arms has successfully raised awareness about the ancient wisdom and benefits of babywearing that promotes a peaceful start to life for new parents and their babies.

As an industry expert, Babes in Arms is both a national product gateway and an educational resource for parents, retailers and health professionals alike.

For local authorised ERGObaby stockists in Australia and NZ, go to www.babesinarms.com.au or call 1300 725 276.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

5 Ways to Respect Your Child

"Under the horse chestnut tree", 1 p...Image via Wikipedia
It sounds like it is backwards. Shouldn’t it be the children respecting the parents and not the other way around? Well, yes, but it does work both ways. Respect is something that’s learned, it’s not an instinctive gift automatically acquired when a child is born. How can a child learn to give respect if they are never shown what respect looks like? How can they know how important it is to respect and be respected if they never feel it themselves? Here are five ways to show, and teach, your children respect.
  1. Listen
    Listening is greatly underrated. How often do your really listen to your children when they’re speaking? How often do you get mad at them for not listening to you? Show them what respectful listeners look like. When they talk, stop what you are doing and make eye contact. Give affirmations like ‘Um-hmm’ or ‘really’. Ask questions. In short, be respectful. Not only will they get to see what respect looks like, they’ll become better listeners and more confident in their speech. For shy children, a parent really listening can bring them out of their shell. For loud children, a parent listening can calm their need for attention and actually make them quieter. Whatever the case, you are also building your relationship with them when you listen. The better relationship you have when they are little, the easier it is to keep when they get older.
  2. Be polite
    This seems like a silly thing to say, but how often do your interrupt your kids while they are talking? How many times do you stop their games and make them clean up? How often do you tell them what to do without saying please, or get something from them without saying thank you? You wouldn’t like it if someone did that to you, so why are you doing it to them. Show your kids some manners and you’ll be surprised at how fast they’ll mature.
  3. Give them responsibilitySpeaking of maturity, nothing says mature like responsibility. Show them your respect by trusting them with something important. It’s up to you and your child what that is. It could be taking out the trash, cleaning their room, or making their lunch. Whatever the responsibility is that you give them, make sure it is theirs alone. Don’t pester them about it. If it doesn’t get done, then let it be.
  4. Let them suffer
    Eventually the repercussions from misusing responsibility will happen. They’ll complain that they can’t find a toy, or they forgot to make their lunch and had to eat the dry peanut butter sandwich the cafeteria provided. Then you can respectfully point out that, had they done their job, they wouldn’t have had that problem. That way, you are respecting their decision to do- or not do- their job, but they will still get the point. Suffering is one of the great teachers. Isn’t it better for them to suffer a little bit when they are young than to have to suffer a lot as adults?
  5. Give them choices
    Another simple idea, but an important one. The ability to choose is something that adults take for granted, but to a child it is a sign of deep respect. You respect their ability to decide what’s best for them. Now, I don’t suggest starting out with anything big. Two choices are fine. Red or blue. Carrots or peas. Simple choices are best, especially for very young children. The goal is not to frustrate or confuse them. Once they make a choice, they will be happier with it then they would have been with whatever you chose. Plus, this gives them the ability to discern the ‘best’ thing, something that’s very important in decision making later in life.
Respect starts at home. Teaching your children respect is one of the most important things you can do, both for them and for yourself. There is a reason that we listen to authorities, that we follow the rules. That reason is respect. Yes, fear of punishment can also play a part, but respect is much healthier and longer lasting than fear. So, show your children what respect looks and feels like early, and they’ll grow up to be responsible, respectful, and polite adults.

Author Bio
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com
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Monday, November 07, 2011

Shoe shopping for kids: A parent's guide to a year-round task

(ARA) - What is it about children's feet that make them seem like the fastest-growing part of their body? With back-to-school shopping behind you for another year, you might hope you can stop spending on shoes - at least until flip-flop season arrives with spring.

But kids' feet do grow year round, right along with the rest of them. In fact, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, a child's shoe and sock sizes may change every few months.

Comfortable, sturdy shoes are among the most important articles of clothing you'll buy for your child at any time of year. Ill-fitting shoes can cause problems that range from minor blisters and discomfort to serious injuries and impaired development.

"A pair of well-made shoes can keep children safe from foot problems such as sprains and strains - both in class and on the playground," says Dr. Michael J. King, president of APMA. "Unless your child complains of discomfort, you may not realize he or she needs new shoes. Parents need to be vigilant to ensure kids are wearing shoes that fit properly and provide the stability and support kids need."

Conduct the time-honored toe test - using your thumb or forefinger to determine where the child's big toe is inside the shoe - once a month. Inspect shoes regularly for signs of wear that could compromise their stability. When it's time to buy children's shoes, APMA has some guidelines for parents.

"Checking for three different aspects of a shoe's design makes it easy for parents to distinguish which models are foot friendly," King says.

APMA recommends parents perform a simple, three-step inspection   on new shoes before buying:

1. Look for a stiff heel. The heel counter should not collapse when pressed from both sides.

2. Ensure the shoe bends at the toes, but nowhere else.

3. Finally, make sure the shoe does not twist in the middle.

In addition, keep these tips in mind to help ensure kids are wearing comfortable shoes and practicing good foot health:

* Take children with you when you buy their shoes and shop at the end of the day when feet are at their biggest. Every shoe fits differently, and allowing a child to have a say in the shoe-shopping process can help promote healthy foot care habits down the road.

* Always buy for the larger foot. Feet are rarely the exact same size, so buy a shoe that fits the slightly larger foot.

* Avoid shoes that require a "break-in" period to feel comfortable. Shoes should be comfortable immediately. Be sure your child tries on the shoe wearing whatever type of socks or tights they will use with it.

* Never hand down footwear. Just because a shoe fits one child comfortably doesn't mean it will fit another in the same way. Also, sharing shoes can spread athlete's foot and nail fungus.

* Whenever possible, purchase shoes at a shoe store staffed by well-trained shoe fitters. An experienced sales person can help relieve worries over getting the proper fit.

If your child's shoes show uneven wear or wear out on the heels quickly, it could indicate a problem that should be examined by a podiatrist. You can find a podiatrist in your area, as well as a list of APMA-recommended footwear, at www.apma.org/seal.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Scream On Halloween

BabyK can really scream. We had a few minutes of scary fun on Halloween. DH brought out some of his Halloween props he bought a few years back for a party. The thing that scared BabyK the most... SPIDER!
Watch the video and let me know if anyone wants to hire her to scream for scary movies.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Art Ideas For Kids

Last week the kids had a 1 week holiday. I didn't want them to be on the computer or TV the whole time and so, had to think of something to keep them busy. Thank goodness I found this website called Art Projects for Kids. The owner of the blog is Kathy Barbro and she's an art teacher. She shares her art projects that she does with her students.

Many of them are simple enough for my kids to do. I like how the projects teach the kids art concepts too (and she tells you what it is). You can follow what she does or use it to spark an idea. It is a wonderful website if you need art project ideas for your kids.

Got the idea from Contour Fall Leaves.I had the kids pick leaves from the garden, trace it and then draw the contours. Gave them options of coloring the contours of each leaf in different tones of the same color or choose 2 contrasting colors.

This idea borrowed from Kathy's Warm Hands project. Learned a bit about warm and cool colors.

Introducing Van Gogh with Sunflowers, Up Close & Personal. Learning how to draw sunflowers and pictures that go off the paper. You can learn how to draw sunflowers from this guy: draw sunflower video.

My kids seem to like doing it. Of course I had to sit with them and supervise. With my 4 year old son, I sometimes had to help him do the coloring. He also needed lots of encouragement to keep him going. I believe doing art helps to develop patience and focus. Not forgetting it helps little kids to develop their fine motor skills too.

We are looking forward to many more art projects. Here's another website that we are looking at: Mrs. Picasso's Art Room. I really appreciate her tutorial on how to paint a tree in her Sparkly Tree's project.

  • To encourage kids to do art, create a mini art center for them in the house. Stock it up with crayons, color pencils, paint, paint brushes of different sizes, glue, etc....
  • Teach kids how to clean up after they are done, or else you'll be a grouch every time they ask to do art.
  • Display their completed art projects proudly.
  • Do it together with them. This is one of the biggest motivator.
  • Mistakes will happen. 
  • Their art doesn't have to look perfect. It's a time for learning.
  • Many things can be done to get our kids away from the computer and TV. First, mom must learn to get off the computer herself :)
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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Choosing The Best Credit Card For Travel Rewards

 During my golfing days, I traveled a lot for competitions. I haven't traveled anyway since I had kids. If you do a lot of traveling or love to travel, it only makes sense to own a credit card for travel rewards.    

There are so many options out there that it can be confusing. How do you choose the best card? That depends on your lifestyle and the kind of rewards you prefer.

Here are a few questions to ask as you are trying to make a selection.
  • Is it easy to redeem the points?
  • What can you redeem the points for? Is it just travel or can you also redeem cash or merchandise?
  • What is the point earning potential? Obviously, you want a card that will give you many points for every dollar you spend. Some offer 2-3 points per dollar. Some even give you 3-5 points on certain purchases. You may even get 10 points per dollar for dining at their specified restaurants.
  • What is the annual fee? There are cards that do not charge an annual fee.
  • Are there restrictions and limitations? Check if there are blackout dates or seat restrictions. You want a card that gives you the flexibility to fly anytime and with any airline.
  • What are the perks? Maybe there is complementary domestic and overseas travel insurance, special travel deals, concierge service or airport lounge access.
The more well known travel credit cards are The Capital One Venture Card, Blue Sky, American Express Platinum Card, Discover Escape, Discover Miles and Delta SkyMiles Card by American Express.

With so many to choose from, you'll definitely find one that suits your need. It also helps to ask your friends who like to travel what card they are using.

If you are planning to take a trip, The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs have information on international travel, passports and visas. You'll also find currency exchange rates, travel warning, health information, entry requirements and more over at usa.gov international travel.

Terrific Thursday Freebie: MyMemories Scrapbook Kit

Hi to all my scrapbooking enthusiasts! Here's another scrapbook kit for free. Everybody say "Thank You MyMemories!" Remember, the free kits change frequently. So if you want this particular one, you've got to download it this week. Next week, it is going to be a different one.

Here's the preview to this week's scrapbook kit:

This pack includes:
2 Digital Papers
4 Page Elements
2 Quick Pages

I love the bright, cheery colors of this digital kit. I'm sure you'll find some fun photos to plop into this one. 

You can get by clicking this link:

You don't have to pay full price when you buy MyMemories Suite. Here's a discount code that will slash $10 off the price. Plus, you get another $10 gift certificate to buy stuff at their online store. Just copy and paste this code:

Here's where you can get the software:

If you show me how you've used the scrapbook kit above, I'll share with you another free scrapbook kit. Call it a bonus scrapbook kit. Just leave a comment below and tell me where I can view your scrapbook creation. I will then give you the link to the bonus kit.

Hope to hear from you soon and happy scrapping!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

How Do I Get My Child To Sleep?

"How do I get my child to sleep at night?"

I believe this is a very popular question among many parents. I've had my share of struggling with this problem.

Well, if you pose this question to a group of mothers in a forum or group discussion or wherever, you will very likely here this answer: SET A ROUTINE!

Many mothers are doing this and I guess it works coz' they don't have much problems getting their kids to bed. An example of a routine would be a nice bath, changing into cozy pyjamas, brushing teeth, reading books with mom or dad, lights out. It is also important not to stimulate them before bedtime. That means turning off the tv, radio and computer. No rough play or any kind of active play. All activities have to help your children wind down.

  • A few years ago, I was having such a tough time getting my kids to fall asleep, I decided to try something new instead of shouting and threatening. I used RELAXATION TECHNIQUES. You can read about what I did in this blog post: How To Get Your Kids To Sleep
  • I found with my kids that if I could get them to lay still, their mind would shut down and they would fall asleep. The trick is to get them to lay still. I remember playing this game with them where I would have us all pretend we were hiding from the T-Rex. You have to be very quiet and not move or the T-Rex will find you and eat you. That game worked until the kids figured out what I was doing. Sometimes, it takes a bit of creativity to come up with something that works.
  • Music helps. Make sure you play music that has a hypnotic effect. Then maybe you can insert in suggestions too like "you won't jump on the couch anymore" or "you will eat your vegetables". Just kidding. But yeah, there is music that can bring down the brain waves. Look for Baroque music. That is actually good for studying too.
  • Just accept that some kids are naturally born night owls. My daughter is one of them. She's 10 years old this year. She tries and tries to sleep but if she can't, she just can't, no matter what. For so many years we've struggled to get her to sleep early, she just can't. Nowadays, she'll just read her books until she feels sleepy. It is not unusual for me to see her sharpening her color pencils at 10pm. I know she takes after me. I remember when I was younger, my dad would chase me off to bed early so I would be properly rested for my golf tournament the next morning. But I would lay on my bed tossing and turning for more than an hour. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't sleep. So sometimes, you just can't force your kids to sleep.
  • Give them what they need. My 4 y.o. son needs me to rub his stomach. My 8 y.o. son wants me to spend some time with him on the bed before he sleeps. Sometimes he wants me to scratch his back. My 2 y.o. girl will ask for the boobs but I'm trying to stop that (weaning is hard). As substitute, she has picked up her brothers preference for stomach rubbing. It is better to sacrifice 10 minutes doing stuff to put them to bed than fighting for 2 hours getting them to sleep independently. One day they will grow up and your "services" will not be required anymore.
So, what do you do to get your kids to bed?

This affiliate link above will take you to:
- 60min. Instant Baby Sleeo (TM) sound track .MP3
- Implementation guide e-book (Implementation guide.PDF)
- 11 Steps to sleep success (CHECKLIST.PDF)

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