Saturday, February 16, 2013

The 5 Things Every Kid Wants in Their Back Yard

When kids are growing up in suburbia, they will need some activities in the back yard to burn off their unending energy. Most children, in fact, are pretty predictable when it comes to the toys they want in their backyards. Here are the five things every kid would love to have in their backyards.


Bouncing around on a trampoline can be a lot of fun. Though simple jumping motions can be easily mastered, some kids will eventually branch out into other domains. Kids can get off the couch and get out in the sun to get a workout while having fun. As long as excessive weight is not placed on the trampoline, it should provide exciting outdoor fun for years.

Basketball Court

Basketball courts can be used for individuals who want to practice shooting, dribbling, or any number of other skills. In most cases, a full-sized court does not need to be installed. A portable basketball hoop can be placed at one end of the driveway. As long as there is some asphalt or concrete to play on, a game of hoops will always be waiting.

Swimming Pools

During the hotter months of the year, swimming pools are loved by children all around the country. With a water slide added for a little extra fun, the neighborhood kids should have a blast as they splash around in the water. In-ground pools are generally the better way to go. Pumps and filters should be cleaned on a regular basis so that no mechanical problems occur. In some cases, might even be considered as a great addition for kids and the whole family items.


A playground is the height of childhood grandeur. As kids roam through the jungle gym, they should have a wonderful time, especially if they are on the younger side. Any good playground should have a slide, a set of monkey bars, and some swings. If parents have built a playground from scratch, they should make sure that the anchor poles are pounded into the ground to a safe depth.

Tree Houses

Tree houses are a great escape for your kids. They take some degree of skill to construct, so builders should be sure that they have the right tools. A decent supply of wooden beams and planks should be used. The best tree houses will also have roofs so that children can stay out of the rain. They can then play in the tree house whenever they feel like it.

What do your kids want in their backyard?

Author Bio

This article was written by Dixie Somers on behalf of They provide hot tubs for the family.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Talking to Your Teens About Medicine Abuse: Becky’s Top 3 Tips

By Becky Dyer

Becky Dyer is a police officer with experience as a former D.A.R.E and school resource officer in Reno County, Kansas. She is working with Stop Medicine Abuse’s Five Moms to raise awareness about cough medicine among teens in her community and across the country.

Did you know that approximately 5 percent of teens abuse over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high? Or that 37 percent of teens do not consider regular marijuana use to be harmful? Recently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released its 2012 Monitoring the Future report. This report surveyed teens across the country about their attitudes and behaviors when it comes to drug, alcohol, and medicine abuse, and it is an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, and health professionals because it lets us know exactly what is going on in their world.

But being informed isn’t enough. As parents, we need to talk to our children about dangerous or risky behaviors. It isn’t always easy to know where to start, so I wanted to share my top 3 tips for talking to your teens about drug and medicine abuse:

  1. Use information as a starting point:  Monitoring the Future shows that approximately 5percent of teens abuse over-the-counter cough medicine to get high, so ask your children what they think about that statistic. Have they heard their friends talking about “robo-tripping” or “dexxing?” – slang terms for abusing OTC medicine containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. Do they understand the risks and dangers?
  2. Ask your teens what they would do if they were at a gathering where prescription, OTC, or street drugs were being abused. Assess their answer and give them more ideas, such as attending parties with friends who they know will not abuse drugs and who will leave the party if things get out of hand, or even calling a parent, if needed.  Make sure your suggestions do not make them feel as if their answer is wrong because any step they take to avoid drugs is the right one.
  3. Encourage, encourage, encourage your teens to be proud of themselves, love who they are, and appreciate their gifts. The biggest gift you can give them is by being a supportive, interested parent. We must make our kids our first priority, and give them the security of knowing that they are always our first concern.  Once they know that, they will make you their first priority or resource in a crisis situation.
This report surveyed over 45,000 teens in 400 schools across the country – so odds are you might know one of them. That’s why it’s so important to start an honest conversation about these topics. Visit our Stop Medicine Abuse Facebook page to share your best strategies for talking to teens! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Preparing for Your Newborn

There’s no hard and fast set of rules when it comes to preparing for the birth of your child. Aside from the obvious – feeding, burping, not sleeping for days on end, etc. – each parent’s experience of coping with a newborn will be entirely unique and incomparable to anyone else’s. 

There are, however, a few things which will be the same for every parent, and these usually fall under the heading of ‘what to buy before the birth’. Like it or not, part of preparing for a newborn involves stocking up on the essentials, usually as far in advance of your special day as is both possible and sensible. Of course it’s probably not necessary to buy a million nappies and hoard them covetously before you’ve even found a partner, but sensible baby shopping in the months and weeks leading up to the birth of your child can save on a lot of fuss and trouble later on.

With that in mind, here are some of the key essentials you should be picking up before your new baby arrives!

A Travel System

These days it’s all about having a system for travelling, rather than separate, unwieldy travel items. Your buggy, carrycot and car seat should all fit snugly into each other and should combine total security for your baby with totally on trend style for yourself. Britax travel systems are the perfect example of how parents-to-be can maximise their budget and cut out unnecessary purchases by combining all of the necessary elements. Click here for Britax pushchairs and travel systems, and to find more about Britax’s child safety technology.

Sleeping Arrangements

Sorting out your newborn’s sleeping arrangements can be one of the best things you do before the birth, but is also one of the things which ends up being the most subject to change. Some parents prepare fully by equipping themselves with a carry cot, Moses basket and cot bed, just to be on the safe side.

Baby Clothing

There’s absolutely no reason why you should spend a fortune on your baby’s clothing. Hand me downs are a great way of getting a hold of essential garments without having to empty your wallet and, if you simply have to buy new items, remember that your newborn will grow out of them very quickly!

Non-Essential Essentials

As well as the important items, it’s also nice to indulge in a few non-essential things to mark the birth of your new baby. Stuffed animals are always cute, a sling is great for carrying baby when you’re out and about, and cards from Little One Prints are a great way to say thank you to friends and family for their gifts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Health Insurance: A Family Affair


Families don’t buy health insurance for just certain members like the son who plays Pop Warner football or the daughter that’s a soccer star. They buy it for everyone in the family which is why everyone’s needs should be taken into account. For instance, is Mom still having babies? Does dad like to go rock climbing? All these situations need to be taken into consideration before you sign on the dotted line.

Should You Reject Your Employer’s Health Benefits?

There is a growing trend among employees to reject the health benefits offered by their em-ployees and instead, take the funds they would need to pay to subsidize their work health insur-ance by forming their very own group: The Family. According to the National Association of Health Underwriters (HAHU), “Insurance is regulated in large measure by each state. Therefore, the laws regarding health insurance offered by the different types of employers can vary significantly from state to state.” It may sound unbelievable but some insurance companies such as Briggs & Butler UK are recognizing families as groups entitled to quality for group health insurance. Family groups ranging from parents, children and perhaps even grandparents are being accepted as legitimate groups for group in-surance rates. With employers reducing benefits and raising rates and increasing co-payments, it’s not such a far-fetched idea to insure your family privately.

The Benefits of Private Insurance

Private of insurance offers many benefits and one of the main ones is the ability to customize your insurance plan to match your lifestyle. It you’re an active family, perhaps ER or Quick Care should be a priority. If you have an elderly person in your family maybe in-home care is an im-portant addition. Policies offered by employers are based on the need of the many, not the spe-cial needs of the few like your family. All participants will receive member cards virtually ac-cepted at every healthcare facility, affordable monthly rates, and even the choice of private medical insurance coverage or individual health plans. While it’s a little after the fact, according to an article on, “Romney and his running-mate are planning to cut senior Medicare benefits. "How will this hurt families?" you ask. Many elderly people are exhausting their social security and pensions on their nursing care, and still yet it's not enough. They still need to use Medicare benefits to cover the other 40-60%.

The Cost of Peace of Mind

Groups (in this your case, your family) can chose between two kinds of insurance coverage. Making private care an affordable option. These are the two choices:

PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations)
HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations)

Most Americans who have health insurance through their employer (and many who are self-insured) are enrolled in some type of a managed care plan -- either an HMO or PPO. The most common types of managed care plans are health maintenance organiza-tions (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs). A careful analysis of both plans will make you alert to various pros and cons of each policy. Keep in mind that the process involves countless choices among various insurance companies. The choices are further complicated by a great variety of plans within each category to chose from with every plan offers traditional medicals insurance covering you and other family members at various rates.

Health insurance plans offer a second alternative for coverage, though these plans operate slight differently than traditional medical insurance. These highly affordable forms of supplemental insurance offer made-to-order solutions for specific health needs, reducing out-of-pocket ex-penses by offering coverage for routine treatment options and everyday health expenses. Some plans even offer cash back up to certain limits to reimburse families for the cash they routinely spend for health management.

A Better Bottom Line

By carefully shopping for the best coverage and rates for a group family plan, you can reduce your premiums drastically. And you can reduce your premiums by shopping for the best value and choosing your options carefully.

Author Karen Boyarsky is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @Boyarsky_kareni.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

EdenFantasys for Your Valentine!

It's that time of the year again where we have to come up with the perfect gift idea for the people that we LOVE. Or maybe you want to treat yourself to some well-deserved pampering for Valentine's Day. I'm going to save you some serious time looking around and tell you to head straight to

If you haven't heard about this site, let me tell you that they're always running some type of sale or promotion. Right now, the Valentine's Day sale is on! And, if you simply use the code HOT4YOU when you check out at, you'll get 25% off your entire order (until Feb 12th at 2 pm). Who doesn't love THAT?

Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

Yes, the banner above has the "s" word in it. We're all grown adults and if you're here, reading this, and you fit into the regular demographics of Mommy Rantings, you are a parent, and you are no stranger to the "s" word. So, get over it!

While you're shopping at EdenFantasys, do not forget that they are offering Free Next Day Shipping on orders over $120 and Free Standard Shipping for orders over $35 right now.

And, don't forget to check out the massage oils and massage candles - they are my favorite items! I've figured out the secret to these products...simply start GIVING the massage and you may just RECEIVE one! (It works for me!)

Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy Shopping!

Science Project - Discover Microscopic Creatures in Water!

Our eyesight is inherently limited. Through the years, we have evolved the ability to find predators and prey at great distances, and our eyes have evolved to help us define food and water. When it comes to seeing especially small objects, however, our eyes are not up to the task. Fortunately, student compound microscopes can open up a world that we cannot see with the unaided eye, and many of the findings in this world can be truly astounding. Here is an idea for an experiment teachers and parents can share with children that will open their eyes to the world of microscopic creatures living all around us.

First, those helping children perform this experiment want to ensure that they have a slide capable of holding water. Further, a dropper is needed to transfer water from a container to the slide. Once these tools been acquired, parents or teachers can go to various locations to collect water samples. If possible, it might be fun to bring children along for this part of the experiment. Tap water and bottled water should be used, but pond water, ocean water and water from a muddy area should be included if they are available. Place the samples into a container and label them.

After teaching the participants how to use a microscope, instruct them to place various water samples on to a slide and place it under the microphone. Upon focusing on the sample, most children will be amazed; there is an entire world of creatures that live in the water, and the sheer number of creatures can be staggering. We often think of water is a static, unchanging substance, but the reality is much more interesting. Have the children draw what they see, and perform some research after this is done to identify which creatures they of noted.

Euglenas are often found in water samples, and it is of interest that these creatures form a link between plains and animals. Algae is common as well, but algae can be difficult to distinguish from protozoa. Amoebas can also be found, and the children may be interested to hear that amoebas survived by eating other microscopic creatures found in the water. Especially lucky students may be able to see an amoeba eating some unfortunate creature. Identification can be a bit of a challenge, but the Internet has made it possible to establish which creatures students are seeing.

Author Bio

Hayley is an amateur scientist, author and blogger residing in Portland Oregon. She uses student compound microscopes  to tutor High School  science students in her free time. Interested in more fun and fascinating science projects you can perform at home? Visit

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trends in Bringing up Baby

Some parenting trends are influenced by friends or social situations, while others are influenced by the current environment. The recession was a big teacher, and parents are passing down budgeting lessons to their children. Real talks about life, work and future planning are picking up speed (thank goodness). Parents are realizing that they should prepare their children for the real world, and a few bubbles are getting popped.

Of course, some parents will also be looking to royalty for inspiration. Will and Kate’s bundle of lucky joy is sure to become center stage, even on our side of the pond. Just like when you're shopping for a new crib orsolid wood wall units for baby’s room, everyone will have an opinion on what’s best. Here’s a look at a few more recent trends in parenting.

Envy’s Next Move

For some reason, American parents have an addiction to picking other countries to envy. The French mommy was the latest fad. However, it’s about time a new region was picked. Given the unfortunate events in 2012, it’s likely that the country of choice will have strict gun policies (or no guns at all). 

The sale of bullet-proof backpacks went through the roof after the Newtown tragedy. Parents are seriously focusing on safety in a way never seen before. The number of home schooled children has increased in the past year, and it’s likely that parents will make a bigger commitment to volunteer in classrooms. 

Overly Permissive or Just Progressive?

Surprisingly, saying yes to children is simultaneously picking up steam. Everything from swearing to drinking at home is being permitted more so than in the past in an attempt to let kids do things in a safe environment (because they’ll do it anyway). What’s another big trend? Dad is getting a lot more involved.

Dads aren’t the only ones getting into the business of raising kids. More people are depending on outside help, such as nannies that specialize in certain areas (like teaching foreign languages) or sleep coaches. It seems that parents are going back to the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. The days of the nuclear family seem to be slowly slipping away.

Taking it Public

Some parents have resorted to publicly embarrassing their kids as a means of punishment. The usual MO is to have children hold up a sign in public declaring what they did wrong. Does it work? Just like anything else, it’s bound to work with some children and not with others.

Whether or not it’s bordering on abusive is up for debate. However, the overarching trend is to instill social protocol into children. If they’re embarrassed, that’s a sign that they are striving to fit into society. Parents will always be looking for magic pills and better solutions to problems, and the only way to find it is with trial and error.

Michelle is an aspiring writer who currently freelances for a company that sells solid wood wall units. When she’s not working she loves writing about anything and everything and blogs as much as she can. She loves that blogging allows her to share her writing with an unlimited audience.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Moving Day: How to Involve the Kids and Stay Organized

You've likely moved before, and you know that it can certainly be a stressful time. The stress can grow even greater when children are involved. How can you involve them in the process while still staying organize? Follow these five tips to help you and your kids stay sane on moving day.

Packing Their Belongings

When everyone wakes up on moving day, it's likely that there will still be some items to pack up. Give them their little suitcases and duffel bags, and leave them to pack up the rest of their rooms. They can do some work in the playroom too. You'll likely need to give them boxes to accomplish the task. You and your children are going to be very upset if valuables are left behind, so it's very important to double check.

Room Inspectors

Children love when they get a special title for the day, and this rules applies more so to your youngest little ones. Let them know that it is their job to check each room for any items that might be left behind. Once again, the depth of the project depends upon their ages. If you're going to have toddlers or early elementary school students engage in these practices, it's best for you or your spouse to check the room for valuable items.

Make It a Game

Try creating a game out of loading items into the truck. Tell your kids you will see who can pack up the most things in their boxes first. This would preferably be done with the smaller items that children can handle. When you have items that need to go into the storage unit they can be in charge of placing them there. Depending on your children's ages, some of the larger items will likely have to be moved into the unit by an adult, but allow the kids to have fun with the smaller items after the larger ones have been moved in.

Checking Items Off the List

You probably have a fairly detailed list in hand on moving day, and it's important that you have this out and ready to go. Older children can actually help you to ensure that everything on it is accomplished. Once an item has been moved into its proper space, ask your child or teenager to check it off the list.

Hiring a Babysitter

It might be hard for you to supervise the move in general and to supervise your children and their tasks. If you use a regular babysitter, ask her to come over on that day to help out. You can also ask a family member or friend to help monitor to the children. This is best for both stress reduction and safety purposes.

It's quite possible to involve the children in your moving day process and still remain organized. The key is to plan in advance.

Author Bio

This article was written by Dixie Somers on behalf of Check out more information about Extra Space Storage.

alt="YOUR TEXT HERE"rel="Facebook image"src="IMAGE URL HERE"style="display:none;">