Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Freshman, Jessica Barba Goes Back to School After Suspension

Freshman at Longwood High School in Middle Island, New York, Jessica Barba, created a phony account on Facebook under the alias Hailey Bennett and an anti-bullying video for a school project, and after all the hard work she put into the project, rather than getting an A+, she was suspended. What? Yes, suspended. For five days!

First, you have to watch the video. It’s far beyond Freshman level, and it brought a tear to my eye. Additionally, this video was the same quality as any commercial you would see on television! I know it's 6 minutes long, but it's really a must-see! You can watch it here:

Her Dad, Michael Barba, said in an interview with NBCNews that he was proud of his daughter and the project that she did and that he believed that the suspension should be taken off of her record. From several news reports, I've gathered that the real trouble aroused when a parent saw some of the postings on the fake Facebook page and alerted the police. Then the school suspended her.

“I just created the video in order to raise awareness of the major issue that’s bullying,” Jessica Barba lamented to Matt Lauer on the TODAY show. “I don’t understand why I’m being punished for it.”

Jessica's dad got just what he wished for. The school district won't make any comments, but they have erased the suspension from Jessica's record and she has returned back to school. However, I think they owe this 15-year-old a HUGE apology and an A+ on her anti-bullying project!

What do you think?

Aishwarya is Even MORE Beautiful!

Indian film actress and model, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, also touted "most beautiful woman" has been facing a lot of criticism since the birth of her baby, Aaradhya. Apparently, her “baby fat” after having her child has caused so-called fans (I call them “haters”) to spout harsh comments about the extra weight that she is carrying around.

I saw a comment on Facebook that one of my friends from India made and I had to look into the story…Let me just say that I think she looks fantastic! They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but I think that ANY woman who spends 9 months growing and nourishing a baby in their abdomen is beautiful, no matter how she looks before, during, and after the delivery!

I also saw another thing on Facebook that I loved. It was one of those “photos” with a message and it had a picture of a woman’s tummy with a few stretch marks on it. It said almost exactly what my husband has been telling me since my first child…”Your body isn’t ruined! You’re a tiger who’s earned her stripes!”

Love it!

So, what do you think? Don’t you agree that people need to leave Aishwarya alone and let her enjoy her time as a mom without being self-conscious about the amazing body of hers that just produced a child?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

4 Benefits of Using Wall Murals in Your Baby's Nursery

When my college roommate visited me for the first time in over a decade, a lot had changed. I had two small children and she was expecting her first. My former guest room was now a nursery for my youngest son. In place of the antique sleigh bed was a generic futon that looked more like college furniture than what we owned while in college. Fortunately, any despair she felt over the sleeping arrangements was cancelled out by her amusement over the wall mural in the room.

The next morning over breakfast she asked who we hired to paint such an adorable scene, which was immediately followed by her next question – how much of Junior’s college tuition did it cost to have it painted? She was surprised to learn that it wasn’t a hand-painted job at all, but a convenient and affordable vinyl wall mural.

We talked nursery décor all through breakfast, and as my husband graciously cleaned up and tended to our sons, my friend and I escaped to the patio where I found myself sharing tips for decorating the nursery for her impending bundle of joy. My first piece of advice was to choose a wall mural in the theme that you want, and then choose bedding and accessories around it. You may wonder why I am such a fan of these large-scale room decorations. Here are some of the benefits I shared with my friend.

A quick way to liven up otherwise bare walls

If you live in an apartment, you might be thinking “I can’t do anything to ruin these perfectly white walls or I’ll lose my security deposit.” When renting a condominium in the city, my husband and I used wall murals to decorate our oldest son’s bedroom. When time came to move into our new home, we carefully peeled the vinyl away from the wall and rolled it up in case either of the boys requested that theme in the new house. (For the record, they didn’t. We ended up giving that wall mural to a neighbor.)

Less expensive than hand-painted art

Vinyl murals are a great choice if you can’t afford the cost of hiring an artist to add a customized painting to your son or daughter’s nursery. Along with being economical, the ones produced today will often look just as crisp and professional years from now as they do the day that they’re installed. And with alphabet decals you can personalize the mural by adding your child’s name or a sentimental quote.  For instance, you could choose to use a quote from an A.A. Milne character. One of my favorites is something that Christopher Robin says to Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Clear instructions make for quick and easy installation

My husband and I were surprised at how quick it was to install a wall mural! Once we decided on a layout and wiped the wall free of any dust, installation only took a couple of hours from start to finish. One tip a friend recommended was to cut out newspaper in the general sizes of each piece in the mural. Using blue painter’s tape, we were able to use the newspaper cutouts to get a good general idea of proportions and decide wall placement without too much adjusting once the actual mural was in place.

Easy to change as kids grow and develop new interests

Our sons have outgrown the adorable, pastel-hued them that originally graced their nursery walls. My oldest is now into sports, and my youngest son’s bedroom was recently updated with a Disney Cars wall mural. Another benefit that wall murals provide is that their removal is as easy as their installation. If I’d spent a fortune on custom paintings for my sons’ bedrooms, I wouldn’t be very eager to paint over them each time the boys decided on a new theme for the décor. Wall murals provide an easy way to reflect my sons’ current interests. Because they’re reusable, as my older son outgrows one theme, my younger son is usually more than ready to display those murals in his room for a while.

When installing a wall mural, it’s best to have a friend on hand to help out. This definitely isn’t a one-person job. By following the instructions on the packaging, within a couple of hours you can take your child’s bedroom walls from bland to beautiful, whether in a new baby’s nursery or for updating the look to reflect your toddler or preschooler’s favorite Disney characters.

About the Author

First published more than a decade ago, freelance writer Becky James-Muth often writes reviews that relate to her own life, like the reviews found at She and her firefighter husband find the Disney Cars wall mural a convenient way to personalize the décor in their sons’ bedrooms. When she isn’t working or spending time with her family, Becky enjoys visiting with friends, reading classic literature, and sewing.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Whether you're outside, enjoying the weather, BBQ'ing and listening to good music, or inside, keeping it cool in the shade and air conditioning, be sure to take a moment to give thanks to the men and women we've lost while they were defending our country.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

10 ways to optimize your iPad for kids with special needs

So far, the avant garde Apple iPad has streamlined the way people communicate with each other and transmogrified the intuitive interaction with touchscreen. However apart from the professionals and business users, the iOS tablet has also cut the frills and simplified a lot of things for people living with disabilities. While most of us may consider iPad more of a ‘smart’ gizmo to hang out with, the device (on the other hand) grabs additional points for serving as an amazing educational tool.

So whether you have a kid with special needs or know of someone, we have discovered a lot of other possibilities of the tablet. Listed below are the 10 most incredible ways to optimize your iPad for kids who have special needs. Take a look.

1: Pick the Right Specs

Although iPad 2 lends support to an outweighing Retina display for a great visual resolution, people with special needs might not really appreciate. Thus, make sure that you settle upon the right specifications. The tablet with the right dimensions and camera could be useful in the classroom environment – whereby an illustration or an abstract concept can be explained with unprecedented ease.

2: Volume Control

You can jack up the volume on the iPad for people who have certain auditory difficulties or any other special needs. If you don’t want to restrict control over your device, a huge yet convenient case can be considered – which will basically enable users to muffle some of the sound.

3: Explore Accessibility Features

Many would not realize but the iPad comes equipped with a great deal of accessibility features. Kids with special needs can explore the embedded ‘Voice’ functionality, which helps one read what they swipe out loud. Visually impaired people can even give a try to its ‘white on black’ view.

4: Try an External Keyboard

Though some find Apple device’s touchscreen keyboard extremely seamless and comfortable to use, but with kids with special needs can also benefit from an external keyboard. In fact, people who have fine motor issues may also benefit from the external keyboard and type in easily.

5: Make Time for FaceTime

Sure enough, people who have autism problem tend to experience a difficult time whilst learning to make eye contact with others. To minimize which, you can undoubtedly benefit from the iPad’s FaceTime – a unique feature which allows people to comfortably chat with friends and family outside the home. Not only this, kids who find it difficult to associate with social groups may even build the social interaction skills with utmost ease.

6: DIY Keyguard

At the same time, you can utilize your iPad for people who are uncommunicative but by attaching a DIY Keyguard. The keyguard won’t only enable kids with special needs to answer a sequence of yes or no questions, but will also let them share or express their likes and needs.

7: Set Boundaries

While there come endless possibilities with Apple iPad, the device however does not prance as thoroughly beneficial if you lack a plan. Thus, make sure that you have set boundaries from the start as far as using the iPad for your kid with special needs is concerned. In fact, parents should focus more on using the tablet as educational and therapy medium instead of as an entertainer.

8: Make Photo Albums

As parents, you can even help your kid learn how to associate pictures of objects with concepts. Although combining pictures with concepts is usually very difficult for people with special needs, but the process can still be made simpler by helping them make photo albums on the iPad. They can also learn how to organize the photo albums and express their preferences.

9: Keep Cleaning

Another significant way to optimize the iOS device for special needs is by cleaning the device on a regular basis. For your kids, you should generally focus on apps that provide education and therapy. Try to remove and clean the device from the apps that do not really provide any valuable information or do not flex their muscles.

10: Lock Screen

Last but equally important, you can lock the iPad’s screen in order to prevent the display from orientation. Since constant rotation of the screen can be irksome for people with special needs, locking the screen would help them have a greater feeling of control over the entire experience.
That certainly brings us to a standstill for the ways that could be employed to optimize the iPad for kids with special needs. Hopefully, they will add some ease and convenience to your life as well as to your kid’s life.

About the author: Diana Maria is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology, health and parenting. Beside this she is fond of games and gadgets. She also likes reading various articles on &

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Your Child's Health Records: Why It's So Important


It may sound dramatic, but keeping your child's medical records up-to-date and complete could save her life. There are machines that tell you just about anything you need to know about the human body. When it comes to making an accurate diagnosis, however, medical professionals often need more than what they detect from a medical checkup. Your doctor has no way of knowing that your grandmother on your father's side is diabetic or that your mother's side of the family has a history of heart disease. This is why it is more important than ever to keep accurate medical records, especially for your children.

Use Record Keeping to Monitor Your Child

If you're like most parents, your first record for your child is probably their immunization record. If your child is born with a birth defect or medical condition, you'll need to keep even more re-cords. If, for example, your child has seizures, you may be asked to keep a video diary to document each attack. It's no longer just enough to write down stuff here and there. Records need to be as accurate as possible. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is among organizations developing techniques to streamline the record keeping process. One method of record keeping involves multiple cameras and related software to observe a child's behavior. The data collected can be easily stored in a central database and retrieved by those who need access to that information.

Sharing Information to Get Quicker Treatment for your Child

Tools like PDAs and digitizing pens take the burden of accurate record keeping away from parents by collecting data in a more useful form. The ultimate goal is to share information easier. If your child has conditions such as autism or cancer, they are likely to seen by more than one doc-tor. Collecting information about your child that can be easily retrieved makes it easier to keep treatments on the same page. This also makes prescribing medicine easier and eliminates the need for repeated testing if information is lost or not available. Platforms such as Personal Health Records make it easier to share information with educators and researchers, allowing access to real-time data.

Long-term Research and What this Means to Your Child

The benefits of long-term research and data collection have been known for years. It's a painstaking process that used to rely strictly on various records kept by different doctors, hospitals, clinics and labs. It wasn't unusual for one facility to have a completely different record keeping method than another one. This made the process of sorting through data very time-consuming. Thanks to efforts to combine databases and develop standards for keeping records, access to re-search is becoming less chaotic. Better health records along with improved storage and sharing methods can make it easier to determine which medical treatments are more likely to be effective and which ones aren't. It's also a good way to study the long-term effects of certain medications and observe a pattern that can result in improved drugs and better treatment options.

Technology is making it much easier to track your child's medical history. That, along with recent government requirements to digitize all health records, are helping to create a cohesive network of data that be accessed by doctors, pharmacists and researchers. Maybe someday your children's children won't have to suffer from many of the common ailments and afflictions that plague our children today. And to think, it all started because of something as simple as keeping an accurate record of your child's health.

Charlotte Reeves is a blogger for several medical Web Sites. Charlotte guest writes for this site where you can find out about a health information management degree online .

Proper procedures when making baby food recipes

Babies are the pride and joy of our civilization we live in today. Keeping them safe is one of the most important things that we all look into to ensure they grow up health and strong. Nutrition is a crucial part of our little ones lives. It determines their allergies, weight, energy, and well being of the child, but so many foods have additives in them it’s hard to keep track. Some are even expired and sitting on the shelf for way to long or have had other textures or mixtures within the process of making the baby food, so how can we make sure are child is safe? 

Many choose to make their own baby food, but many also do not take the proper precautionary measures when doing so. There are ways you can make your own baby food, know what is going into your baby's food and how you can make it safe for your child to eat, instead of taking a shot in the dark with other baby food brands out there. 

Here are some tips for the caring mother and father to know what is needed of them:

Tip One: Make sure your hands and food are properly washed

It is very important that you wash your hands and any foods that are being prepared for the child to avoid unwanted friends like germs and bacteria. Remember that a healthy baby is a happy baby. This also makes a happy mommy and daddy. Taking the time to wash the fruits and vegetables could be one of the most promising things you can do to ensure your baby will not catch or contract anything.

Tip Two: Try to avoid cross contamination

Use different utensils, bowls, and so on to avoid cross contamination. This will ensure that you are taking every measure there is to protect your baby. You do not want them being introduced to unsightly bacteria and germs by accident. This simple extra step can avoid that

Tip Three: Refrigerate

You can refrigerate or freeze your baby’s leftovers or unused baby food within two hours of preparing them to avoid expiration or germs.

Tip Four: Temperatures for preparing foods

Be sure that, when you are preparing foods,  you cook them to the proper temperatures to ensure your child is not going to be eating undercooked food. For ground beef, at least cook it to 160 degrees. For chicken, be sure it is all white in the middle and at a temperature of 165 degrees before mashing it up. Make sure that when you are done preparing all these foods that your refrigerator is set at a low of 40 degrees to ensure shelf life to be longer and healthier for your child.

Tip Five: Make sure you know about recalls

It is very important that you stay in touch with stores and news to watch for recalls on anything and everything that may involve the foods you use or may buy soon. Checking for expiration dates will also help ensure that your child is getting the best value that money can buy with all the nutrition they could possibly get.

These tips are to help ensure that you can prepare home recipes for your child. Always remember to check with your doctor to make sure what foods are appropriate for your child and to watch out for any possible allergies your child may have to any foods you buy. Keeping a log of what foods you are buying and when you bought them can help as well. Always be sure to re-check items when needed you can never be to safe when it comes to your child and his or her health.

Kate Matheson loves her newborn son, Zechery. Even though he is just a few months old, Kate is already thinking about all of the things she needs to do to make sure he is taken care of. This includes health insurance coverage. She recently checked out for information and a great deal for her son!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Have a Little Fashionista in the Family? 5 Websites to Spur Their Creativity

little fashionista

If you’ve got a little fashionista in your family, why not let her capture her creative side and design her own T-shirts? There are dozens of websites that allow users to create, and then order, their own designs.

If your girl loves trendy clothes and expressing herself through fashion, sit down at the computer and help her design her own summer clothes!

Here are five sites that will allow your fashionista to create her unique style:

FP Girl 

At, the website is geared towards girls and pre-teens, as is evident by the colorful, splashy homepage. With 11 different styles of T-shirts to choose from, your girl can let her imagination run wild. Your fashionista can choose her style of tee, pick a color and then decorate her shirt with over 100 pre-made graphics. When your girl is done creating, she can design a label for her shirt, preview it and order it. Prices are no more expensive than you will find in popular children’s stores, making this site affordable and fun.

CafePress has been around for years and is one of the most popular clothing design sites on the Web. The site offers organic, fitted and traditional children’s T-shirts, as well as tank tops and even pet shirts. How much fun would your fashionista have designing her own summer tee and creating a matching one for her furry friend? Users can choose from pre-loaded clip art, upload their own images and put words on the front or back of their shirts. The choices are virtually endless on CafePress!

CustomInk provides a wide variety of design options and style choices, this site is your one stop shop for unique summer-wear. Shirts are available in a wide range of trendy colors, ensuring that your fashionista will find something to suit her fancy without having to try too hard. Upload images, choose from clipart or add text to create a unique T-shirt your girl will be proud to wear on the hottest days of summer.

Spread Shirt 

Spread Shirt is newer to the self-design market but has taken off strongly! The site guarantees their shirts to be printed with the latest technology, keeping them safe from cracking and peeling with extended wear and washing. At users can choose from over a hundred pre-designed images or upload their own, ensuring that each T-shirt is one-of-a-kind. Your fashionista will love this website!


Your daughter can design a shirt for herself or for her entire squad with Whether your girl wants a unique shirt for summer or has been put in charge of designing the new team logo, she’ll be able to create with ease on this site. The site offers free shipping and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. You can rest assured that if there are any issues with your tee, the staff will bend over backwards to make it right.

Creating T-shirts has never been easier for the little fashionista in your life. Sign on to these five sites and see which gets her creative juices flowing! No matter which site she chooses, she’ll be guaranteed to have a unique, beautiful T-shirt to kick off the summer in trendy style. You may just find that her creativity inspires you to design your own shirt!

Michelle Isbell is a freelance blogger for where you can find services for Manchester T shirt printing. She loves customizing shirts with her kids!

How to Help Your Teenager Buy Their First Car!

2001 VW Jetta 1.8tTurning 16 is a rite of passage for teens across the nation. At 16, most children earn their driver’s license and start looking forward to their first car. Instead of buying a car for your teenager, take this opportunity to begin teaching your child financial responsibility and help them purchase their own car. Here are five tips to help you lead your child down the path to vehicle ownership:



1. Open a Savings Account

Plan on helping your child save for a down payment for at least two years. If you want your child to have a car when they are 16, start helping them save when they’re 14. If your child is already 16, plan on helping them purchase their first car when they are 18. Encourage your child to do chores or take on a part-time job and start saving at least ten percent of their income. You may want to encourage your child to save by offering to match their deposits dollar for dollar. If your child deposits $50 a month, and you match that amount, they’ll have a $2400 down payment in two short years.

2.Build Good Credit

A positive credit history will ensure that your child gets a good deal on their first car. As soon as your child starts saving, help them obtain a secured credit card. Seed the card with a few hundred dollars and teach your child how to use the card responsibly. Not all secured credit cards are reported to the major credit bureaus; make sure the one you choose is reported monthly.

3.Create a Budget

Once your child is ready to make their purchase, sit down with him or her and create a budget. Your child may be dreaming of a $20,000 car, not understanding that it comes with a $300 monthly payment. It’s not fair to your child to allow them to get their hopes up by looking at cars that they can’t afford. Once you’ve created a budget with your child, go shopping for a vehicle that your child can afford.

4.Comparison Shop

Once you’ve made a short list of the cars that both suit your child’s needs and financial status, visit several dealerships in order to get the best deal. Never let your child go shopping for a car alone! Your child is more apt to get a bad deal if the salesperson realizes that they are new to the process and have no adult back-up. If you get the feeling that the salesperson may be trying to take advantage of your child’s excitement, look elsewhere. Use the opportunity to teach your children the art of negotiation!

5.Compare Loans

Don’t assume that you’ll get the best loan rates directly from the dealership. Once you’ve gotten the dealership's deal in writing, head home and contact your own financial institution. You may find a better deal for your child through your bank or credit union. A first time car buyer isn’t going to get the best interest rate, but you can often find more competitive rates through a financial institution that you have a history with.
By following these five tips, you’ll be helping your child buy their first vehicle and build a positive credit history at the same time. Help your child open a savings account, sit down and create a budget, and help them secure the best auto loan possible. The lessons that your child learns throughout the process of buying their first car will be invaluable to their future as a financially responsible adult.

Tom Yates writes for auto and auto selling blogs and web sites. For more information on prepping your car to sell, Visit this Website.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Internet Safety, You, and Your Child

Children and XOs in MongoliaAs a parent, you want to make sure that your child stays as safe as possible. However, while we are definitely keyed-in to dangers posed by strangers and the environment a child lives in, many parents forget about the Internet. The Internet is an ever-growing part of normal life, and children are investigating at younger and younger ages.

What can you as a parent do to make sure that your child cruises the Internet safely?

Make the Internet Public

If you have a computer that your children can use, keep it in a public area, like in the kitchen or the family room. Make sure that the screen is turned so that it is partially visible to the room. Not only does this allow you to peek over your child’s shoulder on a regular basis, it also teaches your child that they should not be secretive about the things that they look at. While teens can be allowed some private Internet time, young children should never surf the Internet unattended.

Discuss Internet Safety

Many young children do not understand that being on the Internet is just like being outside of the home. Sit down with your child and speak with them about how strangers on the Internet should be treated like strangers that they meet in real life. Teach them that they should never give out their real name or address to someone on the Internet, and that if anyone says something that makes them uncomfortable for any reason, that they should come talk to you.

Use Your Filters

Many sites have family-safe filters. This allows you to ensure that your child only runs into appropriate materials while they are on the Internet. These family-safe filters can be applied to sites like Google and other search engines, allowing you to protect your child from running into inappropriate images or text. Filters and other types of safe-browsing devices are incredibly handy when it comes to figuring out how you can keep your children safe on the Internet.

Spend Time Online With Your Child

One way that a child can develop healthy Internet habits is to observe you. Sit with your child and share some of your favorite sites with them. Show them what you do on websites, and make sure that they understand why your surfing may be different from theirs. This is also a good way to teach them the finer points of Internet etiquette; if you allow them to chat on forums, remind them that they should be as polite on the forums as they are in real life!

If you want some friendly, kid-safe sites, check out some of the following:

Check the History

From time to time, check out the history of the Internet browser on your family computer. This allows you to see what sites have been visited recently. If you see something unfamiliar or inappropriate, speak with your child about it. While you should absolutely let them know what is appropriate and what they should not be looking at, it is important to find out what they were looking for and why.

Share an E-mail Account

When your child is young, share an email account with them. A shared e-mail account can help you make sure that you know what is going on in their life, and it also prevents them from communicating with strangers without your oversight.

The Internet is a fantastic resource for many things, and it is essential that your child learn to use it wisely. While it takes some effort, helping your child understand what the Internet is for and how it works can help them use this powerful tool wisely.

Laurie Thacker is a content contributor with two children. A computer-savvy mom, she helps parents find good kids websites, in order to help children learn to use the internet safely.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Constructing a Peaceful Home: 3 Noises that will Pacify Your Crying Baby

There are numerous ways that parents try to get their crying or fussy baby to settle down and fall asleep—patting their baby's back is a great option. Rocking their baby gently or giving their baby a nice calming bath is a great alternative too. But sometimes these common soothing methods just don't work and parents too begin to cry out of frustration. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think you've exhausted all other options, one other method to look into (which has proven time and time again to be effective) is using the power of sounds to calm you baby—some experts even swear by it.  To learn about the various noises (aside from lullabies) that may just be able to put your new born at ease, continue reading below.

White Noise

In short, white noise is simply a constant neutral, sometimes "fuzzy" sounding noise that drowns out other noises, such as loud voices and ringing cell phones. It more or less is the sound your television makes whenever the cable gets disconnected and the screen turns to static—although it's not as obnoxious and babies find the sound quite hypnotizing. There are several ways that you can create white noise. The first is to purchase a white noise CD or find some free samples on YouTube, like this hour-long snippet found here.  Other household devices that also make the similar, monotonous white noise sound are: 

·         Washing Machines
·         Dishwashers
·         Vacuum Cleaners
·         Hairdryers
·         Fans (although their effect is typically not quite as effective)

But because constantly running the washing machine just so you can soothe your baby for example can be pretty pricey, it's recommended that you first experiment with various white noises first just to get a better feel for what works best for your child. Once you learn what settles down your baby, record the noise instead—that way you can play the white noise on demand and don’t have to waste your electricity and water.

It may sound odd, but most babies are soothed by the constant pulsating noise of a heartbeat. It makes perfect sense if you think about it—babies are used to hearing their mother's heartbeat while in the womb. The familiarity of the noise is like comfort-food to the ears for your baby. That said, try taking your child to a quite room and then place them really close to your beating heart. If that does not work, you can easily find samples of heart beats online, like this one and play it very loudly. Just make sure to shut off all other noises, so your baby can focus on the heartbeat.

Lastly, whispering is also another great way to soothe your baby because it's a great distraction—babies are not used to voices being in that low of a register and will most likely stop crying to focus on what you are saying/doing. So get extremely close to your baby's ear and begin to whisper loving words and phrases. Humming in a monotone note in your child's ear can have the same effective.

This is a guest post by Kristie Lewis from construction management degree. You can reach her at: Kristie.Lewis81 @ gmail. Com.

House Cleaning or Maid Service

You can just imagine, with seven children running rampant through the house, I could definitely use some help in the house cleaning department! Maid Service Ashburn VA needs to come up to the Western New York area and help me out!

From what I read on their site, they will come in and perform a Spring Deep Cleaning, and then once your house is thoroughly clean, they will continue their maid service with their Guaranteed Maintenance Rotation System, which sounds similar to how I split up the children’s chores that they are SUPPOSED to do! They’ll clean regularly, but then deep clean a certain part of the house each time they visit.

I was in awe of the list of things they do every time they visit a home, from dusting to cleaning shower heads and mirrors, cleaning appliances, removing cobwebs, dusting picture frames and mini blinds, wiping individual knick knacks…yes, and the list goes on and on…All of those things that fall to the wayside when you have children who would rather play games and watch television than really clean a room the right way!

Maid Service, oh won’t you come save me! It’s really pretty up here in Western New York, near Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Maxi Skirt Craze

First came the popular maxi dress, and now the maxi skirt has made summer trend headlines on blogs, websites and in online stores across the internet. 

Maxi skirts can be seen on almost any boho friendly and chic celebrity traipsing through Hollywood. A great thing about this maxi skirt trend is that you can find it anywhere, from Target to high end boutiques.

Who can wear one? 

Anyone. Literally. 

It’s a popular myth that shorter women can’t pull this look off. Oh, the contraire! Women who are shorter should probably consider pairing the maxi skirt with a wedge or a heel to prevent any unfortunate tripping situations. 

Curvy girls can rock this look too! It’s all about placement of the waistband: the higher you place it, the more an hour glass shape will appear.

Where to wear it? 

This will depend on the styling, fabric and look of the maxi skirt and what you mix with it. The great thing about the maxi-skirt is that you could wear this skirt anywhere, from beach-side to a late summer wedding. They're perfect for topping over a bathing suit or pairing with one of your favorite sleek, slimming tops.

How to wear it? 

Maxi skirts look best topped off with a fitted tank, blouse or button up. 

Throw on a cute fitted leather or denim jacket to complete the look for the more breezy summer evenings. 

Add some classy sandals, or for your shorter women, heels. 

Grab a neutral clutch-sized bag or cross-body purse. 

Then, top off the look with a chunky bracelet or a necklace. But, remember less is more!

What maxi skirt trends to copy?

·       The more flowy, the better
·       Pleats are in
·       Belted
·       A simple black with a bright fitted top
·       Color block
·       Neon colors
·       Pretty pastels and neutrals

So, be on the lookout for your next summer purchase! Grab a maxi skirt and have fun with it. It’s a beautiful and very comfortable way to spend those summer days and nights in one of the latest fashions.

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger, editor & a knowledge gainer of  being full time nanny.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5 Grocery Saving Apps That Will Keep Your Budget on Track

Day 309/365 - Lily 365 - November 5, 2011

Every savvy mom knows that if she wants to feed her family well, she’s got to cook at home. If you’re trying to grocery shop on a budget, couponing may seem like your only option. Pay attention moms! There are some great apps that you can download to your smartphone that can save you a pretty penny on your next trip to the grocery store. Here are five of the best apps to use if you are trying to keep your grocery budget on track:

Grocery IQ

Grocery IQ is an all-encompassing shopping application that will not only streamline your shopping experience, but save you money at the same time. The app will help you find grocery coupons and discounts in your area, allow you to scan barcodes to add items to your shopping list and share your list with any household members who have the app. The free application also allows you to select coupons right from the items on your shopping list and check items off as you add them to your cart.

Saving Star

SavingStar is an amazing free app for your Android or Apple device. You can select coupons for the products that are available in your local stores and save them right to your store loyalty card. The difference between this app and other grocery apps is that you won’t save money at the checkout; you’ll get cash sent directly to your PayPal account. Additionally, you can choose to have your cash rewards directly deposited to your bank account or given to you in the form of an Amazon gift card. Over 100 stores participate in SavingStar, virtually guaranteeing that at least one store in your area uses the service.

Grocery King

Grocery King is an interesting application. The app allows you to make a grocery list, input your store’s loyalty card information and then gives you the average price for each item on your list. Input the price you are paying and the app will tell you if there is a lower price to be found at another store in the area. If you’re getting the best price available, the price you input will turn green! If you need your partner to stop at the store on their way home from work, simply send your grocery list to their device and they’ll know exactly what you need!


The more you use ZipList for your weekly grocery lists, the smarter the app becomes! Intuitively, the app will begin to send deals directly to your phone, negating the need to search for the best deals in your area. Store your favorite recipes, create shopping lists and share your lists with family members. ZipList is a grocery app that is so helpful you’ll swear its psychic!


This app, available on iOS, lets you organize your shopping list by store. You can also track pricing for the items on your list and input coupons available for the items you buy the most. Not only does this app allow you to create shopping lists but it will alert you to any food recalls, give you nutritional ratings and let you store your favorite recipes.

By downloading these one or all of these five grocery applications, you can save significant amounts of money on each shopping trip. Not only can you store recipes, create lists and locate the best deals, but you can share your great finds with friends and family; you’ll never be more appreciated!

Jenny Meyers is a full time mom and part time freelance blogger for a site that makes it easy to find coupons for just about anything - for example, ny&co coupons at

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Advertiser and Coupon Widget

We'd love to introduce our new advertiser, Coupons by You will find their funky green coupon widget in the right hand's super-duper easy to use! Simply type in the type of coupons you need or want and the widget will bring you right to them!

Welcome to Mommy Rantings, Coupons by!

Cupcakes and Cashmere looks for less

I’m a huge fan of finding style inspiration from great fashion bloggers who have endlessly fabulous wardrobes. While I may not have the closet (or the budget) to match theirs, I love pulling together an inspired outfit or a look for less.
It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of wearing the same pieces from your wardrobe together, so every now and then it’s nice to get a push in the right direction by discovering new ways to wear old things. Do you guys feel that way? I know I’m guilty of tunnel vision when it comes to certain items in my closet. For instance, I purchased a top to wear with a certain skirt. Even though it would look fabulous with several different items, I only wear it with the one skirt!
Cupcakes and Cashmere is one of my all-time-favorite bloggers. She has a really fresh take on classic and foundational pieces of a woman’s wardrobe. Whether it’s adding a splash of neon, or mixing prints, she knows how to look fashion forward. I absolutely love this late-‘60s look for a day she spent biking. This outfit  is perfect for lunch with the girls, or even an impromptu afternoon cocktail party. It’s definitely worth copying.
How to get the look: This full-on ‘60s vibe comes from the cropped pants, lovely blouse, sunglasses, and tied in her hair. In the early ‘60s, women mostly wore dresses, but as more ladies became active and as years passed, casual clothes became more popular.
After the war (and after many women became active in the workforce), women began wearing pants more often. Never to a special occasion, and never to work, but this look would have been popular for housewives in the 60s. The signature cropped pants and blouse were extremely common among young women in the time period. Even though we’d consider this outfit slightly dressier than “casual” these days, it definitely evokes a laid back, yet feminine feeling.
Although Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere wears mostly neutrals (minus the colorful scarf), pastels would look lovely with this soft and feminine look. You could dress it down even more by wearing cropped jeans with the blouse instead of the cropped pants. Will you be recreating this look with pieces you already own?
Also, for more fashion tips and inspiration on how to shake your wardrobe up, visit the Beginner’s Guide to Style to learn how to mix colors, prints, and accessorize like a pro!
Author Bio: When I’m not accessorizing with scarves in my fabulous day job writing for, I’m writing my fashion blog, settling into newlywed life, and loving on my precious puppy, Luna. Fashion and beauty have always been an interest of mine, and I enjoy discussing tips with others who appreciate it too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

“Mom, You Cannot Believe What Grandma Just Tweeted.”

227/365 - 5/23/20111

By the time their kids grow-up and leave home, parents finally figure-out that 90 percent of great parenting is simply showing-up. Of course, what works pretty well with the children naturally works spectacularly with the grand-children. Therefore, use all your talent, tactics, and technology to “be there” for your children’s children.

Because baby-boomers are proving “sixty is the new forty,” they are more actively engaged with their grandchildren than any generation before them. Of course, grandparents still spoil and indulge the grand-kids, because that’s their job; but, most of all, they send daily assurances of their love and admiration for all the little over-achievers. In fact, many grandparents admit they are a lot more loving and supportive of their scores of grand-children than they ever were with their own two or three children. Time, technology and maturity make it easier and more important than ever to stay connected across the generations

Grandma merges tradition with technology.

Keep family traditions alive and keep the family network buzzing. Use all your old-fashioned skills—like handwriting and the art of coherent paragraphs—to stay in-touch with the grandchildren; send letters, post cards, and greeting cards just like your own grandmother and grandfather did. Use your twenty-first century technology to keep the whole family abreast of everything that’s happening right now. Although the tools seem a little intimidating, their magic quickly inveigles you. You quickly discover how easily you can communicate with the entire extended family, and you will feel inspired to capitalize on all your computer's and the internet's advantages and features.

“Grandma’s got some pretty quick thumbs.”

Well-tutored by their teen-age children, grandparents have learned how to use all the advanced features on their cellphones. Most of all, grandparents can send text messages with skill, aplomb and grace equal to any self-respecting teen’s. Get the grand-kids where they live: Text them with your best wishes and love when they have tests in school, big games in youth sports, and especially when your intuition tells you they just need some love. A text is not quite as good as a shipment of homemade cookies, but it gets the job done when you have no time to bake.

"Hey, Grandma’s on Facebook!”

Create a family Facebook page, using it to stay up-to-the-second on everything happening in every grandchild’s life. Share millions of pictures and thoughts, and capitalize on the timeline feature to establish the big milestones in your own and your children’s lives, so that the grandchildren can see continuity from one generation to the next. Especially use the family Facebook page to transmit and reinforce family values.

Skype and Facetime

If you’re an iPhone or iPad aficionado, of course, the grandchildren will be more than a little impressed; but, most importantly, you will have opportunities to chat with the kids face-to-face. As long as you have some kind of web-cam—as every self-respecting grandparent must—then you can use Skype. Capitalize on the photo features to see your grandchildren in action. Ask them to take you on guide tours of their worlds, so that you can visualize their activities when you write to or text them. Of course, the grandparent handbook does not prohibit your showing the kids the finer features of your world, too.

“Live broadcasts.”

Parents, use your tech tools to send your children’s major events to the grandparents in “live broadcasts.” If grandma and grandpa are still developing their technological skills, you can use old-fashioned cassette tapes to narrate soccer and softball games, school events and other big occasions. If your mother and father are as tech-savvy as you are, post family videos to YouTube; and if they are as sophisticated as most baby-boomers have become, then broadcast the kids’ events live via Twitter, making them immediate and fully interactive.

Welcome to “Grandma's Wonderful Web Museum.”

Instinct and intuition tell grandparents they must capitalize on their technology not only to share the family’s current events but also to transmit the family’s history. The Facebook page keeps you and all the grand-kids up-to-date right here and right now; create a complementary page for family history. In fact, create two pages—one on or another genealogy chart, and the other on the blog site of your choice. Use the genealogy site to trace the family’s heritage as far back as you can. Use the blog site to pass-on family stories and artifacts, also seizing opportunities to post the grand-children’s greatest art, academic work and accomplishments.

Of course, the “oldies but goodies” still play well: “Snail mail” has become so exceptional in children’s lives that kids love the novelty of finding stuff in the low-tech mailbox. Try to send post-cards, notes, and pictures every week, and seize opportunities to request the best of the grand-children’s writing and artwork for inclusion in your scrapbook or for display in your online museum. Make a point of collecting great report cards. Every now and then, capitalize on the ease and speed of internet shopping to send little gifts to the grand-kids. Yes, the time-honored expression still holds, and it remains absolutely true that “it’s the thought that counts.” As the children grow into their teens, especially as grand-daughters come of age, you may begin sharing a few family heirlooms. Make sure, though, you attach stories and explanations to the heirlooms, so that you pass-on the sentiments along with the stuff. Most of all, seize opportunities to visit in-person. Nothing, absolutely nothing is more fun than delighting the grand-children and driving your own kids crazy.

Victoria Fricke is a freelance blogger for as well as an avid vlogger. She often recommends keek to other blogging or vlogging enthusiasts as one of the easiest ways to upload and update videos, even from your phone. Also, she often browses their Funny Videos section in her free time.

Summer Trends 2012

The warm weather, the outdoor activities, the clothes… What’s not to love about summer? While spring arrived mere weeks ago, many are already anticipating the trends of summer 2012. This summer, there are a number of great trends to be on the lookout for. Forget about scouring the pages of fashion magazines -- below is a list of hot summer trends, courtesy of the stars.


(Image courtesy of

Aside from the fact that I am a diehard Vampire Diaries fan, I tend to look to Nina Dobrev for fashion inspiration. In addition to her success on The Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrey is a rising fashion icon, looking adorable in a fedora and aviators. As evidenced by the many paparazzi shots floating around the Internet, Nina is no stranger to the fedora. They can be worn casually, or easily dressed up. As an emerging trend this season, fedoras can be found at nearly any store in the mall or online. For summer, be sure to look for breezy straw fedoras that will keep you cool!

(Image courtesy of

You’ve probably already begun to notice that lace is everywhere. While the dainty detail has traditionally been used to accent tops and dresses, this season is bringing lace shorts, shoes, headbands, and even belts. Colored lace is another exciting trend to be on the lookout for this summer. Here, Rachel Bilson, goes with a more classic look, sporting a crisp white lace dress and a fitted blazer. On a side note, her blush-colored mary jane platforms (part of her collection) are absolutely to-die-for!

(Image courtesy of

Whether you are as traditional as they come, or like to take chances with your style, colorblocking is one summer trend that is emerging. This gives you the ultimate chance to play with color this summer. While the neon trend of spring will continue to linger into the summer months, you can expect to see more colorblocking with beautiful pastels and even prints. Dress it up like Katy Perry above, or keep it casual with colored flat sandals, shorts, and a tank top. Don’t forget that accessories are another chance to add a pop of color to your ensemble. While two colors may be classified as playing it safe, I wouldn’t recommend mixing more than three!

Author Bio: Beth is an Indianapolis-based fashion blogger who writes for The Fedora Store. From fashion and beauty to home décor and entertaining, she is dedicated to style and trendsetting on a budget.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Swimming Floats: Give Kids Confidence in the Pool

I never really thought that fashion could be important when it comes to kids swimwear. However, new developments in children’s swimwear are revolutionising the way we can keep our kids safe in the sun and teach them how to swim in the pool. 

It is perfectly natural for some children to become worried about swimming if they have not experienced it previously. Where some children seem to be natural born swimmers from the start, not every little angel can take to the water so easily. Common fears tend to be associated with sinking, not knowing what is under the water, pool vents and even the unusual feeling of getting water in the ears, nose and eyes. With all these new experiences to contest with, it is no wonder that some kids need an extra helping hand to find their feet in the pool.

Surveys have even revealed that in today’s celebrity culture, young children are susceptible to becoming unnecessarily body conscious in addition to their anxieties surrounding swimming. Although it might be a parent’s instinct not to bow down to the pressures of fashions in children’s clothes, every child wants to feel confident and comfortable when it comes to taking the plunge in the pool. Parents who allow their children to be confident in how they dress, by investing in useful swimming floats swimwear can help their children face their swimming fears.

Swimming Floats and Buoyancy Aids

Helping your child feel confident in the pool and on the beach is the best way to help them get to grips with their bodies and their swimming abilities. As every child learns at a different pace, it can be heartbreaking to watch when your child wants to join in with the rest and can’t quite get there. Swimming floats and buoyancy aids are ideal for children of all ages and can give them the boost they need to swim on their own.

Babies can feel comfortable in the water and enjoy swimming float suits that let mum and dad bounce them around. Swim suits containing swimming floats are also a great investment for older children wanting to explore a little further in the pool unaided by mum and dad. The floats contained within the suits allow them to kick freely without fear of sinking. Once their confidence has grown sufficiently to swim on their own, swimming floats can be removed from the suit for fashionable swimwear.

It can become even more difficult in the teenage years with the crossover to adult swimwear. Teenagers are conscious about how their body looks and want to feel confident on the beach. Wetsuits are a great alternative to swimwear and can offer sun protection and body confidence in one.

Swimwear that Can Transform

There is no need to make kids feel ugly or frumpy with good quality, fashionable children’s swimwear can transform how they feel about themselves and instil a sense of confidence in their swimming abilities. 

Konfidence aims to provide the most fashionable and high quality children's swimwear online. The company has grown thanks to its outstanding reputation throughout the world and its unique collection of swimming floats.

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