Saturday, June 30, 2012

Do You Spend Or Save on Kids Clothes?

How much money do you spend on kids clothing?

When it comes to baby and toddler clothes, I've been lucky that I never had to spend much. Many friends and relatives were kind enough to give me clothes their children had outgrown. Of course I felt a little bad if my children only wore hand-me-downs, so once in a while I would buy them some new clothes. I would usually shop for clothes to celebrate the Chinese New Year. That is one Chinese tradition I try to hold on to.

I'm glad my kids don't demand for branded clothing. They also don't mind wearing the hand-me-downs. Just a few weeks ago I looked at my littleK's dresses and realized they were getting kinda small. I thought I would have to go shopping but then I remembered, I had kept some of her big sister's clothes in a luggage bag. Digging through the bag I pulled out a whole bunch of dresses, pants and shirts she could now fit into. Can you imagine, I kept those clothes for 9 years! There were some with yellow stains but that came off after using bleach. Now they look as good as new.

I've pretty much decided that littleK is going to be the last child. So, the clothes she outgrows, I won't be keeping them anymore. Thank goodness there is a church friend who willingly accepts the used kids clothing I hand over to him. His baby is a year plus behind littleK.

I get a little emotional when I give away those tiny little clothes. Do you feel that way too? I don't know why; maybe it is reality hitting me that my kids are growing up fast.

So, do you mind when people give you their kids used clothes? Do you dress your kids in branded clothes? What do you do with clothes your children can't wear anymore? I would love to hear your comments.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

At What Age Would You Allow Makeup For Your Daughter?

Bea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On the radio a few days ago, the topic of children wearing makeup was highlighted. A lady was not happy that her young niece was wearing makeup when they went out shopping together. This lady said that the mother should not have allowed it. I can't remember how old was the niece; definitely below 12 years old though.

Anyway, I have 2 girls and I started wondering at what age should I allow them to wear makeup? I know this girl in church who is the same age as my daughter (11 years old) and she wears makeup every Sunday. My daughter has not even bothered to ask about makeup. I don't think it has even crossed her mind yet to  put "stuff" on her face. I can see how mothers are a big influence in this area. I don't really bother much with makeup myself. This girl that wears makeup to church, her mother likes to dress up. I guess it is only natural that girls sort of follow their mother's footsteps?

Well, I don't want to play judge here and say girls should or shouldn't wear makeup before a certain age. However, for my own girls, I think I would set the age at 16, and that would be light makeup only. They can start putting full blown makeup when they start working and have to look professional. When they are still young, they already have youthful beauty. Instead of teaching that makeup makes them look beautiful, I would rather teach about proper skin care. If they clean their skin properly, keep it hydrated and moisturized, I believe they won't need much "enhancement" from makeup.

What do you think? At what age would you allow your daughter to start wearing makeup?
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Add a global twist to your summer fun

(ARA) - Summer doesn't have to mean taking a break from learning. In fact, you can use this vacation season to help your kids explore new customs and add a global twist to their summer fun. Whether toddlers, teens or somewhere in between, you don't have to trot the globe to open their minds and imaginations to the world. Here are some tips to help your family get started:

1. Explore a new language.
Consider learning a language together as a family through a community education course or a local cultural organization - you can even download language instruction podcasts or MP3s from iTunes and other places on the Web. If your children are younger, you can start by learning some fun words, phrases or greetings.

2. Sample cuisine from other countries
Take your family out to a restaurant that serves food from a different country, or consider preparing world cuisine recipes together at home. Make this into a game for your kids. Give each child an opportunity to select a country, and prepare a meal representative of the culture. Whether it's Indian, Mexican, Japanese or German, you can learn a lot about a culture from its food.

3. Embrace international media.
There are endless opportunities to learn about the world right at your fingertips - from watching an international news program to downloading international music. Take advantage of rainy days or cool summer nights to enjoy movies that are set in other countries. Search your TV listings for travel programs. And of course, you and your kids can read books together about far-off places.

4. Reach out to friends to share stories.
Ask friends, neighbors and colleagues who have lived in or traveled around the world to share their stories and experiences with your kids. Show the kids you are interested in learning about the world too by trading traditions and cultures over family barbecues or get-togethers.

5. Host an international exchange student.
Hosting an exchange student is a great way to broaden your children's worldviews. You can host an exchange student for a few weeks, a few months or a full school year. This unique experience will not only give you an opportunity to introduce your children to new customs and cultures, but will challenge your kids to learn about, appreciate and share their own culture and traditions. You can welcome a student in the fall and use this summer to prepare for their arrival. Use any of the above ideas to get ready for your international guest.

Families interested in hosting a high school exchange student can contact EF Foundation for Foreign Study, the United States' largest exchange organization, at or 800-447-4273.

Learning about the cultures and people of the world begins at home. Whether it's talking about world events, hosting an exchange student, or just enjoying delicious new foods, by helping your kids develop broad worldviews, you're also giving them a world of possibilities.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Importance of Family Meals

Photo from

If you don’t want your children eating like they are playing Hungry Hungry Hippos, then you need to have family mealtimes together.

What has one got to do with the other? Well, if your child is always eating alone or in front of the television, then when are they learning manners? Manners like:

  • Not talking with their mouth full
  • No elbows on the table
  • Proper use of utensils
  • Proper bite size
  • Eating vegetables
  • Saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘excuse me’
  • Not chomping, scraping, or slurping
  • Using a napkin
  • Polite dinner conversation
  • Listening skills
  • Not texting at the table
  • Sitting up straight
  • Serving others
  • Passing politely
There are probably more, but you get the idea. Do you think kids are born knowing how to do all this? With a good grasp of manners and etiquette? No! They have to be taught, and it is much easier to teach kids from a young age a little at a time rather than throw it all at them at once when they are older and ‘should know better’.

Do you want your kids to grow up and go out on a dinner date acting like a wild hyena? I’ll tell you what that will get them – a magically vanishing date. Or how about a business luncheon? How does it reflect on their professionalism if they stab their meat or slurp their tea?

Why do we get upset with children who do not understand what seems simple to us? They have never been taught! So, at dinner time put away the cell phones, turn off the television, and sit down at the table. You might be surprised at how much your children still have to learn.

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of live out nanny.

She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Photobook 2010

It is my goal to create a family photobook every year. This is better than a photo album as the photobooks I create contain journaling. This way, people who look at the pictures also know the story behind it. Makes it so much more meaningful.

Unfortunately, I only work on my photobook during my spare time. Most people think SAHM (stay-at-home-moms) would have lots of spare time. Let me tell you that is a MYTH! It took me around a year to finish this book. Thank goodness I do keep an updated journal, plus I make it a point to take pictures of my family every month. So when it comes to creating the photobook pages, I have my journal to remind me what happened during that year. Plus, looking back at my blog posts and FB updates helps too.

Okay, so here are some of the pages I created, just to give you a sneak peek.

My kids LOVE looking through the photobook. In case you are wondering, I created these scrapbook pages using MyMemories Suite scrapbooking software. MyMemories was featured on the Mother’s Day Special for Lifetime Television’s Morning show, "The Balancing Act". They are currently running a FREE PHOTOBOOK promotion

If you use my discount code, you can get $10 off when you buy the scrapbook software. The discount also gives you another $10 to spend at their online store.
You can get the software here —-> MY MEMORIES SUITE: SOFTWARE FOR SCRAPBOOKING

Scrapbooking and photobooks are a wonderful way to keep memories alive. If you are a new mom or have young kids, I highly recommend that you learn to scrapbook and journal the memories of your family. Your efforts will not go to waste and you'll be glad you did it. Now I have to start working on my photobook 2011. Let's see how long it is going to take me this time :p
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Saturday, June 09, 2012

6 Things to Tell Your Daughters about Boys

As a woman, there are many things I would like to go back and tell my younger self. A lot of mistakes were made that I wish I could prevent now. But you can’t go back. However, also as a woman, there are a few things that I think I have insight into now that I am older. Things I wish my parents had told me growing up;things about boys, dating, and sex. Here are six of them:

1. Sex isn’t bad – I was raised very conservatively, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there does need to be a healthy balance. If you send your daughters out thinking that sex is something to be feared and the desire for sex is something to be ashamed of, what happens when they get married? Does a switch suddenly flip and it is all okay now? No. If you are raising them conservatively, let them know that sex is a good, natural thing, to be shared between a husband and a wife.

2. Sex isn’t everything – Television and other kids send you another type of message about sex. Sex isn’t the be all and end all of existence. No one is having sex all the time, and all your friends haven’t had sex. Relationships, friendships, aren’t all about sex. Sex is just a tiny part of life; don’t make it bigger than it really is.

3. Boys aren’t all creeps – Between parents warning daughters to watch for boys who are ‘only after one thing’ and the media publicizing horror stories and perverts left and right, it is no wonder girls are afraid of boys. Not all boys are like that. Teach your daughters what a good man looks like, acts like, talks like.

4. Respect them, respect yourself–Relationships are about respect, and healthy sexual relationships are about that too. Boys aren’t the only culprits when it comes to sexuality and forwardness. Lots of girls are ‘coming on to’ boys nowadays. Teach your daughters not only to respect themselves and their sexuality, but to respect the boys as well.

5. Be ready – It is so important to teach them more than ‘don’t EVER have sex’ or ‘if you have sex, be safe’. Daughters (and sons) need to understand that people mature at different rates. Just because their friend is ready to take that step doesn’t mean they have to. They need to be ready; ready for the responsibility and the consequences.

6. There are consequences–Sex is an adult responsibility. When sex occurs, there is much more to it than physical interaction. First off are the typical pregnancy and disease warnings. Yes, those are important, but more important and less well known is this: sex causes connections. Deep, emotional connections that don’t go away. Daughters need to know that they are connecting themselves permanently to that person. At a young age, especially, it is likely the relationship will not last. What then? They get a piece of their heart ripped out. The more partners, the more pieces removed until their heart is tattered and empty. Talk about an unhappy life.

You may not agree with me about all these points, but these are my experiences. These are the things I wish I’d known as a young woman. And even though they may be things you didn’t experience, they may be things your daughter will. Take the time to have a serious conversation before your daughter gets herself into something she’s not ready for.

Author Bio

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to become a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at]

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Summer Learning

Summer is around the corner. The kids will be out and family vacations will be underway soon. However, it's also important to view this as a time to get your child ready for the new school year ahead. Parents often find it hard to figure out what to do to ensure that their children are productive throughout the summer. There is more than one way to keep your child learning and growing while they still have fun. The truth is you don't want to stop the learning process even though it is summer.

Summer learning and kids reading with Studydog[Source: Online Reading For Kids With Studydog

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Titanic Lapbook

When I first read about lapbooks, I thought they were an interesting and fun way to learn, regardless of whether you are homeschooling or not.  However, I never got round to doing one with my kids.

Well, a few days ago my daughter decides to do one herself. I'm actually very happy that she took the initiative to do it herself. She told me that this year is the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic. She's educating me instead now :) So, here is the lap book she put together without any help from me.

She used a manila pocket folder and cut it so it can open up. You'll find resources for this Titanic lapbook here.

I believe she got the idea of doing Titanic from our little train ride the other day. While on the train, there was a little tv monitor and they showed the thriller for the Titanic movie. It just goes to show that children can be inspired from anything and anywhere.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Keeping Busy With Art

How do you keep your kids busy during the school holidays?

One thing I've learned as a parent is that if you don't have anything for your kids to do, they will either spend endless hours on the computer, veg out in front of the television, end up quarreling with one another or do something that drives you up the wall.

I'm pretty lucky that my older 2 kids do not object to doing art work. Unfortunately they have a mother who is pretty hopeless when it comes to art. That's why I'm thankful for this site: Art Projects For Kids.

So, these are some of the art projects that my kids chose to do.