Kids And Pets

November 5, 2014

If you’re a parent, you might already know the sounds of a child or children asking for a pet or to add just one more to the family. I know I pestered the living daylights out of my mom for a cat. I’m a pet lover but I don’t recommend a family having a pet until they are ready for many reasons.  Here are some tips if you are thinking about adding a pet to the family:

pets and cats and adding oneMake sure you are financially ready to be responsible. Of course, this is more on the part of the adult than it is a child.

– Consider if your child or children are old enough for a pet to be around especially one that may be rambunctious. A fish tank may be another story but then again you want to keep it out of reach for certain ages.

– If your child promises to ‘walk the dog every day’, cover with your child before agreeing to the dog, what happens when they don’t walk the dog. Talk to them about why the dogs need to go out for a walk. Have a plan in place if your child cannot walk the dog by themselves.  This goes for the promises of feeding the pet, cleaning a litter box or cage.

– As part of your planning, see if you can enroll with your child as part of a pet training program.

– Have your child read books first (if they are old enough) on taking care of a particular kind of pet.

– You can go to www.thebestcatlitterbox.com to learn more on cats and find cat facts.

– Involve your child in selecting the accessories that you need to have on hand. Being fully invested and interactive before the pet arrives may help later on down the road when it comes time to question the responsibility.

– Help your child understand that it’s not so easy to take the pet ‘back to the store’ if they just don’t want to be responsible.

Planning is key to adding a pet to any family, children or not children or just one child. Make sure you as the adult have time to add a pet to the mix. No one wants to regret adding a pet and not being able to take care of them.

Make Breakfast A Mission

You can remember your parents making sure that you eat breakfast. What if your kids don’t want to eat what you serve? How can you make it easier on everyone? The search for a healthy breakfast for kids starts to be one of our main goals as a loving and caring parent. We must also remember that a decent sleep the night before has everything to do with how the next morning turns out.

 

Starting With Breakfast

Experts can show that a healthy breakfast is essential to our growing kids, it fuels their bodies to start the day right. A decent breakfast should contain essential nutrients all kids really needs. Food that is high in calories, sugar and fats are not your best choice.  Encourage your child to eat a variety of food that might be fruit, whole grains, foods rich in protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dry beans, nuts and seeds) dairy, (low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt). Easier said than done, right? Especially if it involves words like healthy and grainy.

Healthy Breakfast for Kids

Some ideas that are also considered to be a healthier breakfast for kids are waffles or pancakes (a variety of whole grain or wheat), fruit smoothie, whole grain toast, English muffins with cheese or bagel, hot cereal, such as oatmeal or cream of wheat.  You can make a variety by adding fruit to cereal or nuts which also adds color.

Why do kids want to skip breakfast? Some just don’t want to or they think they will be late so breakfast is an easy short cut.  Some kids might have the impression skipping it will help them to be skinny and not the fat kid at school. We can help our kids by understanding making better choices with what they eat in the morning will give them the energy for gym class, recess and the fun stuff they want to do.

Some children who don’t eat breakfast will slow down with their learning ability. They sometimes get less iron (an essential nutrient) in their diets. Kids who religiously eat their breakfast every morning tend to perform better and are more active in physical activity. If breakfast at home is a challenge, perhaps your school district or another community program will help you with providing breakfast.

What To Do

Involving a child may help.  Most kids are anxious with the result of their works and there are a number of easy to prepare breakfast meals that you and your kids would love to make. We realize this is an opportunity when you have an ample amount of time. Just providing variety will go a long way. Your child can choose based on the options you provide and then you may have less to worry because you’re not the one forcing a single option.

 

Try This

1. Whole Wheat Pancakes

2. Banana Cocoa Soy Smoothies

3. Bananas and Whole Grain bagel

4. Pineapple upside down muffins

5.  Breakfast parfait with fruit and yogurt

child eating breakfast

There are other easy to prepare healthy breakfast for kids that you could choose from. But there is only one ingredient that makes these meals so special, and that is the time you spent with your kids preparing them.

Top Tips for Recycling Beauty Products

Whether it is a simple shower gel, perfume or aftershave bottle or some other type of beauty and shower product, when they have served their purpose, you want to recycle wherever possible. Or sometimes you may have leftover products that you don’t want to use for their original purpose so have they another use rather than just throwing them out? Here are a few tips and pointers about recycling beauty products.

“U+2674 DejaVu Sans” by Various Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Basics of recycling

Most plastic bottles have a recycling code on them that lets you know if the bottle can be recycled so this is always the best way to be guided about what to do with your empties.

If the bottle has a number 1 inside a triangle of arrows, this means it is made from PET or PETE and is usually things such as water bottles, mouthwash bottles and bottles of the best sunscreen for face and body as well as kitchen items such as vegetable oil contained and ovenable food trays. It is the most common substance used for single-use bottled and is in high demand for its recyclable properties as it is used for everything from furniture, carpets, polar fleece and obviously, new containers.

Category 2 are made from HDPE and are usually shampoo and condition bottles as well as milk jugs, bleach and detergent bottles and some trash and shopping bags. It is transformed back into detergent bottles, recycling containers, benches, fencing and even floor tiles.

Category 3 bottles contain vinyl or PVC and is known for its toughness so it often used for medical equipment and windows but some shampoo bottles are made from it. It can be reused as panelling, mud flaps, guttering for roadways and cables.

There are a further four levels beyond these, but aren’t usually used on beauty products, so we’ll save those for another discussion.

Saving waste

There are also some great tips about what to do with beauty products that you would perhaps not think about.

We almost all use shampoo and body wash of varying different types and scents and while they do a fantastic job on your hair and body, did you realise that they are also great for washing delicate hand washing items? As long as the shampoo doesn’t contain conditioner, which can leave a film on things, it makes an idea washing liquid for silk and woollen items as well as lingerie and other hand washing.

Lip balm is great for protecting your lips in the extremes of the seasons but during winter, it can make a great balm against windburn. Using it your cheeks can help protect against the cold but if you have sensitive skin, don’t use ones with menthol or mint in them, as this can be an irritant on the skin.

Conclusion

If you have half-full bottles of shampoo, body wash and even sunscreen lying around gathering dust, try a new use for them. Or alternatively, drop them off at your local homeless shelter who are always desperate for the basics that we can often take for granted for those less well off than we are.

Different Kinds of Educational Toys

Educational toys are great. They encourage our kids to start learning from an early age. They pretty much cover everything. Starting with letters and numbers when they are infants and then moving right along to shapes, colors, and writing for preschool kids. These toys provide repetitive information to help young children learn, which is necessary since it is one way they learn.

Have you ever thought that kids should be able to play more like the good old days though? It is kind of a dilemma when you go to buy toys. Do I want my kids to be learning or just playing with a toy? It no longer has to be a dilemma. Research shows that pretend play actually helps a child’s development. It helps with their reasoning skills, creativity, and cognitive development. Pretend play as children has been shown to make adults more creative. Overall pretend play is good for your child.

If pretend play is good then what toys should you buy for your child? Some neutral pretend play toy that makes it easy for any child to pretend with is dress up clothes. For any child preschool and even elementary school age, dress up clothes are fun and make pretending seem even more real. Dress up clothes do not have to be expensive either. I always thought that the best dress up clothes were real adult clothes, especially the fancy dresses. You probably don’t want to give your kids your wedding dress and tuxedo. One place to find dress up clothes your kids will love is Goodwill. There are suits, prom dresses, ties, and high heels. You can also buy kids dress up that looks like police, doctor, cook, firefighter, and more. Another dress up idea for boys is to go to a military surplus store and get some uniforms. An idea for girls is to get some play makeup kits. All natural makeup kits are really better for the skin. For more information on natural makeup kits, see http://www.makeupchalet.com/favorite-natural-makeup/. Luna Star makes the best line of all natural makeup for little girls. There are different themes to each set. Some of themes include superstar, rock star, and princess.

Another way to make pretend play fun is with toys that resemble everyday home and work items, like having a play kitchen with plates, utensils, and food. Fake tools are good for the toy box or the garage to work with dad. Outdoor toys, like a rake, lawnmower, or garden tools, are good for any age too.

So next time you go in a store and want to get a fun toy that is not educational, go ahead and get it. Don’t feel bad about it; remember they are actually helping their development. I don’t think leaving out all of the educational toys would be a good idea, but there is a happy medium of having enough pretend play time and educational play time. Have a stress free toy shopping day and encourage your child’s imaginations and creativity.

What Makeup Is Safe for Kids?

Children love to copy what adults do, from speech to dress and an obvious area for this is for little girls to copy their mum or big sister and wear makeup. As they get a little older, this won’t be so much as the clown impression with makeup smeared everywhere but the serious ‘do I look pretty?’ variety. One good way to protect your expensive makeup is to buy them some of their own but the question is what makeup is safe for kids?

“Brown eye shadow palette” by User:Editor at Large – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Trendy

Most young ladies seeking out makeup are only interested in what their favourite actress or singer or other celebrity is wearing. But you as their parent will be more interested in what is good for their skin.

Firstly, you probably aren’t going to let them go for the 80s makeup styles with layers of heavy foundation and eye shadow all the way up the face. If they want to use a little foundation, perhaps go with a light, tinted moisturizer.  This can give them a hint of colour to their face but isn’t layering on heavy chemicals that can be in some foundations and blocking the pores of their developing skin.  Click Here for more information.

Natural?

Remember when looking at makeup, natural and organic products sound like the best option for your skin but may not be as straight forward as it sounds. A recent study by the Cosmetics Ingredients Review, an independent group that evaluates the safety of makeup, showed that makeup labelled as natural did not necessarily mean it was free from chemicals.

However, when you do get a good quality organic product from a range such as 100% Pure or Physicians Formula, then you know there are no harmful chemicals involved. In fact, the 100% Pure brand use a lot of fruit flavourings and colourings in their products as well as natural substances such as black tea and coffee bean.

Mineral makeup

Another area that people automatically see as a safer option for kids’ makeup is mineral products because they don’t have artificial preservatives and fragrances in them. This means if you skin is sensitive to these kinds of ingredients, the makeup will be better suited.
Mineral makeup can be great for young people who are showing signs of problems with acne or other skin conditions. This is because the very fine nature of the mineral components of the makeup is less likely to clog up pores and cause breakout on their skin. In fact, some of the minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can give a touch of benefits such as sun screening.

Of course, this isn’t full proof. Some people do get reactions to some of the components of mineral makeup, such as bismuth oxychloride, which is a by-product of copper, and lead processing that can cause rashes. The very fine particles can also aggravate people within respiratory conditions so the products should be tested carefully on a small area before using across the entire face, to be safe.

Conclusion

The basics, most dermatologists say, are the most important thing: wash the face every day, don’t use antibacterial soap on the face or scrub too hard and remove all makeup before bed. Apply to these rules and there is no reason why your kids can’t enjoy a little glamour.

Summertime Games


The politicos are gearing up for elections, and once again, immigration reform news is a hot topic. Adding to the heated discussion are reports of record numbers of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico crossing the border into the United States and being detained. Politics aside, these children need to be cared for, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been charged with the task until they can be reunited with families in their home countries or placed with relatives or sponsoring families in the United States. In addition to housing, feeding and clothing the kids, HHS officials are making sure they get physical playtime. After all, they are still children, it’s summer and that means playing outside…or at least it used to.

Oldies but Goodies
Of course, it’s great these kids can burn off energy while detained, but they’re not the only ones who need to get out and move. On average, American children spend seven hours a day with entertainment media in their hands, which include video games, computers and phones. Sure there are various campaigns out there promoting physical activity—from the NFL’s Play 60 to the first lady’s Let’s Move—but simply telling them to “go outside and play” doesn’t surpass the lure of electronics. Maybe it’s time for adults to put down their own cell phones and introduce today’s children to the games of our childhoods.

Red Rover
“Red rover, red rover, send Johnny on over.”
The rules: Two teams form facing lines with individuals interlocking arms. One team calls out a player from the other line to “come on over.” He then tries to run through the human chain. If the player breaks it, he returns to his original team. If not, then that person becomes part of the opposing team. The winner is declared when the last person is blocked from breaking the chain.

Kick the Can
A twist on hide-n-seek that gives players a second (or third or fourth) chance.
The rules: The designated seeker closes his eyes and counts while everyone else hides. Anyone found by the seeker is sent to “jail” while the seeker continues searching for others. The still-free players may come out of hiding to kick the can (a item placed in a centrally located spot), which signals the release of all jailed players, who are then free to hide again. The game concludes when the seeker has jailed everyone.

Red Light, Green Light
This is not a racing video game.
The rules: The person who is “it” stands at one end of the yard with her back to everyone else. When she yells, “green light,” everyone else tries to sneak up as quickly as possible. When she yells, “red light,” everyone must stop before she turns around. Whomever she sees moving must go back to the start line. The first person to reach her wins. Bonus: This can be adapted for the pool.

Some summer games never go out of vogue with kids who just want to have fun.

Best Hiking Spots With Kids

Find the best hiking spots for your kids' next adventureHiking, or walking of any kind, is as great for kids as for adults and by hiking out of town, it shows them the variety of the country we live in and gets them close to nature. National parks are often advised as an ideal place to take kids hiking because there are trails, which are safe and not too strenuous but have plenty to keep them interested.

Before you leave, don’t forget to pack the essentials; hiking boots, backpack, trekking poles and water and food supplies to keep energy levels up. This goes for the kids too, as there are range of both hiking boots and trekking poles specifically designed for them.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

The Sourdough Ridge Trail is one the National Geographic’s list of ideal hikes to take the kids on. It is a one-mile loop with a gentle elevation that covers meadows filled with wild flowers and amazing views of the snow-capped mountains around the park, including Mount Rainier itself. This is one for the summer or early fall as it can be blocked off by snow and often doesn’t even open until July.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Most people will have heard of the Petrified Forest and the Giant Logs Trail in the park is less than half a mile in length. It starts at the Rainbow Forest Museum and heads around the largest petrified log in the park, Old Faithful. Along its course are plenty of rock trees for them to clamber around as well as showing them how the formations were created and learning about tree rings and what they mean.

Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

The Devils Tower was a significant sacred place to the Native Americans of the area and was designated as the first national monument in 1906. It features the solidified magma from the ancient volcano that rises 867 feet into the air. Around the base is the Base Loop Trail that is 1.3miles long and allows you to see the monument from all angles. You can often watch daredevil climbers scaling its heights as well.

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland-Virginia

Girls in particular can rarely resist ponies and this park has plenty of them. The island is a 37 miles long barrier between Maryland and Virginia and is home to the famous wild horses, which have lived there since the 1600s. They are small in size, due to their restrictive diet and conditions and charm everyone who sees them. The Life of the Marsh and Woodland Trails is a 1.5 miles loop, which takes in the ponies as well as the salt marsh on the island, with its variety of plants and wildlife.

When you plan a trip to hike with the kids, keeping them interested is one of the most important things. We can all walk a lot further if there is something to hold our attention and with the various National Parks and Monuments across the country, there is never a shortage of things to see.

 

 

 

Best Drinks For Kids

Milk is For KidsLike many things these days, a trip to the supermarket has a load of items which visually appeal to kids and get them to want to have it.  Drinks are the same, with their bright coloured bottles and fun names.  But what is the reality behind the attraction?  What are the best drinks for kids?

Great stuff

Milk is a traditional kids drink and nothing has changed.  Particularly at night, when you send your child to their bedroom with their best pillow and best bedding and favorite toys, you can give them their best drink.  Milk is high in calcium and vitamin D, which are both crucial for child’s teeth and bones.  If for some reason, your little one isn’t keen on the taste of milk, there are flavourings which can be added, say chocolate or strawberry, but watch the extras in these and avoid them at night.  Another option may be to try soy milk, which has the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk but is actually sweeter.

Water is the other drink which needs no introduction.  There’s nothing in water, no sugar or fat or additives and if it comes from the tap, it can have fluoride in it which helps stop cavities in teeth.  If your family don’t go for the taste of the tap water, add a slice of lemon or orange to it to help with the taste, or try bottled water.

Good Stuff

Fruit juices are a bit of a balancing act.  There are huge amounts of goodness in fruit juice but there is also quite a bit of natural sugar.  So, it is a case of better the best of both.  Research has shown that a toddler who drinks 4-6 ounces of pure fruit juice each day will get all the nutrients but will not gain any weight.  Depending on the fruit in it, juices can provide iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins B6 and C but having too much can actually stop their appetite for other foods.

Making fruit into smoothies with other ingredients can be another option for the kids.  Watch the balance again with how much you let them drink and what you add to the fruit, so consider things such as soy milk or ice.  It can even be a way to get vegetables into a child who is otherwise not a fan but masking them in with strong flavoured fruits.

Drinks to avoid

While they look colourful and inviting, many fruit drinks and fizzy drinks can be high in fat or sugar or both so are generally avoided for children, especially on an evening.  Sports and energy drinks can be astonishingly high and can cause obesity as well as tooth decay.

Anything which contains caffeine is another think to avoid, and sometimes we forget just how many things have caffeine in it.  Caffeine is a stimulant so can send kids a bit hyperactive during the day, let along at night so keep away from coffee, iced tea, vitamin waters and sodas, even such as orange.  Caffeine in children has been shown to cause headaches and difficulty in concentrating as well as the effects on adults, so check the content of a drink before giving it to the kids, as it is surprising just what has caffeine in.

Conclusion

These are just a few basic ideas about what drinks may be good or not so good for the children in your household.  There are exceptions to every rule so always read the labels on the drinks as a good drink may be bad and a bad drink may be good.  But keep an eye out for hidden caffeine, especially at bedtime!

 

Camping and Cooking

Camping and cooking with the best camping stoveThere are so many wonderful things to say about camping. It’s an escape from the hectic everyday life that gets consumed by work, school, sports, honey-do lists, and so on. It’s an opportunity to get our children fascinated by Mother’s Nature’s magnificence instead of the flashing images of computers, smart phones, video games, and televisions.

 

Then there are the less obvious benefits of camping, not the least of which is eating food that’s been cooked outdoors. There’s a whole different flavor sense that comes from eating meals cooked on one of the best camping stoves. For example, waking up to the waft of bacon frying somehow makes it taste better. Spending the day fishing, swimming, or hiking amps up appetites, which enhances the taste of hot dogs and baked beans.

 

Preparation Counts

 

Depending on your children’s ages, camping can be a great opportunity to get them involved with preparing meals. These are different than your ordinary meals in many regards, and not just the environment in which they are cooked and eaten.

 

The camping experience begins before you leave home. It involves a lot of planning, including figuring out what to fix for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Ask your kids to pitch some meal ideas. If they don’t particularly enjoy grocery shopping, then delegate the packing duties to them, advising on what foods need to be kept cold and what should be kept dry.

 

Practice First

 

Also before you head out to the campground, instruct everyone on how to use the equipment. The best camping stoves will use propane tanks, which eliminate the need for charcoal and lighter fluid, and that makes it easier to learn how to operate them.

 

However, these stoves still heat up and everyone should learn how to properly handle them as well as what to do in case of emergencies. For example, teach children about the differences between a “regular” fire and a grease fire, and how each should be extinguished. Also, use the moment to review basic first-aid procedures for treating burns (and make sure your camping first-aid kit is fully stocked).

 

Cooking as a Family

 

When it comes to mealtime while in the great outdoors, invite the kids to get involved. Younger ones can gather the supplies from their storage chests or coolers. Others can cut vegetables or assemble ingredients, and the older kids can man the stove.

 

Not only will it be a nice break for parents to be relieved of some of the cooking duties, but when children are more involved with meal preparation, they are more likely to eat the food, and without complaining. Who knows, you might have a future chef on your hands.

 

Get Creative

 

Getting away from the city to enjoy the rustic beauty of the woods, lakes or deserts doesn’t necessarily mean your food choices have to be the basic hamburgers and hot dogs. Get creative with your camping cooking.

 

Depending on the size of your camping stove, you can pretty much fix anything on it that you would cook on the stove in your kitchen. For example, Dutch oven pans are great for one-pot dinners, like stew or chili. Use a skillet to make quesadillas for a quick lunch. Or, prepare certain dishes ahead of time, such as meatballs, so you can still have your favorite spaghetti and meatballs while away from home.

 

Of course, your kids will want desserts, and you don’t have to stick with S’mores. Pop popcorn on the stove in a saucepan with a dollop of vegetable oil or use the Dutch oven to cook a fruit cobbler. As a family, have fun experimenting with different camping cuisines.

Bicycle Helmets

During our childhood days we are so eager to learn many things, and learning how to ride a bike is on our list. The bicycle is also another form of transportation not only for adults, but also with kids. But as a parent, we are always mindful with the safety of our kids. With the help of kid’s bike helmets, kids will be able to freely enjoy riding bikes while parents are not worried.

For Protection

kid with bike helmet funLet us remind our kids that using kid bike helmets does not necessarily mean that they are reckless, but is used as an important means to protect them. Wearing kids bike helmets will surely protect them from head injury, an injury which might lead to a serious brain injury. It is important to remember that no matter how long or short the distance of travel, kid’s bike helmet should be worn all the time.

Helmet Standards

For the safety of children, parents should know the standard of a proper bike helmet. The bike helmet should have a sticker which meant that the proper standard was met by the product. This sticker was issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC.

The bike helmet should also fit properly; it should not be too tight or too loose. In terms of wearing the bike helmet, it should be worn level and should cover the kid’s forehead. The straps should always be fastened. Otherwise, it will just fall off the kid’s head. The straps should be adjusted in a way that the helmet is steady at the top of the head.

After purchasing a bike helmet, it is important to take care of it. It should not be thrown around because it might cause a damage that will render it useless in serving its purpose. And after a major crash or fall, be certain to replace your bike helmet.

Helmets Are Light And Easy To Use

Parents should not worry about the weight of bike helmets because they are very light. Kids’ bike helmets come in different colors and designs. Toys R Us offers a large variety of bike helmets that comes in different shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Kids will definitely be persuaded to use bike helmets. But there is also a chance for your kid to show their creativity. If they were not able to find a bike helmet that they want, you can buy them a simple one and let them put some design on it. For example, use stickers to personalize it.

shark helmet for kid bikeBike Helmet Laws

In one of the articles on MedicineNet.com, research showed that few kids in Los Angeles County wear bike helmets in bicycle-related accidents even with the Bike Helmet Laws. This law states that bicycle rider under eighteen years old should use helmets. Most of the children not wearing a bike helmet were under the age of twelve years old. Check with your local and state government to find out what the laws are in your community.