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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Preschoolers' extra pounds linked to sugar drinks

Preschool children who have sugary drinks on a regular basis tend to put on more weight than their peers, a US study suggests. Researchers discovered that in the group of two to five year old children that they followed, those who routinely had sugary drinks were 43 percent more likely to become obese.


While the study could not definitely prove the connection between obesity and the beverages concerned, experts recommend that parents choose water and milk for their children to drink instead, noting that there are no additional nutritional benefits with sugar sweetened drinks.  Since water is free of sugar and milk provides calcium, protein and Vitamin D, these drinks help children feel fuller than they do when consuming sugary drinks.


Although childhood obesity is also influenced by factors such as genes, physical activity and overall diet, sugary drinks nonetheless stand out as one of the primary causes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

How to spot ADHD in your children

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may affect 3 to 5 percent of children, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Experts are uncertain whether it fades away as children grow older, meaning that many adults may also be grappling with this frustrating and perplexing condition without realizing it.


How do you know if your child really has ADHD or is simply going through a phase? Here are some symptoms to watch for:


• Inattention. Your child seems unable to listen patiently, makes careless mistakes, and fails to give attention to details; fails to follow through on directions; is forgetful in daily activities; and avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, like homework.


• Hyperactivity. Your child fidgets often; gets up from the seat in the classroom when he or she should be sitting down; and talks excessively.


• Impulsiveness. Your child often has difficulty waiting for his or her turn, and butts into conversations or games.


If you spot any of these symptoms, don’t jump to conclusions. Visit your pediatrician to talk things over. Here’s what your child’s doctor will look for:


• Environment. The symptoms should be present in at least two settings, like home and school, and should have persisted for at least six months.


• Symptoms. Doctors should look for the specific symptoms outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association.


• Interviews. Doctors should talk extensively with parents and teachers.


• Additional disorders. Doctors should also investigate other conditions. Many children with ADHD may also have anxiety or depression disorders.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tips for Newlyweds

Because so few people these days have much in the way of money, many divorces are driven by financial disputes. Too many couples are beginning their lives together when they hold seemingly overwhelming debts such as car loans, credit card debts and student loans. When the honeymoon is over, that is when the quarrels over finances start.


Experts advise that couples who are about to tie the knot should sit down and come up with a joint financial dream list. How many children do you intend to have? Where do you intend to go on vacation, and how often? Can you deal with the fact that one person has no savings while the other has enough to put a small down payment on your first home?


One good tip is to set up different accounts – a joint account for paying for the house, the car, children, taxes and the college fund, and two separate accounts, into which a small monthly allowance can be transferred and can be used as desired. This method may seem hard work to start with, but will pay dividends in terms of avoiding arguments over finances down the line.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Healthy Living

How to form healthy habits

When you want to start eating better or exercising more, it can be sometimes tough to get started and difficult to keep going at other times. Fortunately there are some helpful tips that can assist you with forming and keeping healthy habits.

Focusing on pleasure is a very helpful tip. We often try to form healthier habits with a somewhat grudging and reluctant attitude but this is never a good idea. Rather than subjecting yourself to foods you may not like such as cottage cheese or rice cakes, try to find foods that you actually enjoy eating that also happen to be healthy. Having a moderate amount of the food that you normally enjoy is also a better way to try to lose weight than cutting it out altogether, which tends to be doomed to failure.
You also need to associate the small decisions you make with the long-term view. When we try to form healthy habits we often ignore the small choices that have to be made to achieve our goals, such as refusing to sacrifice a small bag of chips or a morning cup of coffee. Ignoring small choices allows us to give into temptation.

Heart health tips

Even if heart disease runs in your family it is still surprisingly easy to dramatically reduce the risks by pursuing a heart healthy lifestyle. More than 800,000 Americans died as a result of heart attacks and other cardiac illnesses in 2012 but the great majority was preventable.


Eating a heart healthy diet is not as complicated as you might think. You should pursue a diet that is rich in vegetables, whole grains, fiber and fruits, eat fish at least twice a week and put a limit on the amount of cholesterol, trans fat and saturated fat that you consume. Choose low-fat, one percent or no-fat dairy products and reduce your intake of foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in order to reduce the amount of trans fat you eat. You should also limit your salt intake.


You should also avoid fad diets, as studies have shown that almost all of them will actually see you gain weight after a year or so.

Start losing weight now with these simple tips

For most of us, losing weight is a struggle. The good news is that now is always a good time to start. Here are some tips for getting rid of a few (or more) unwanted pounds:


• Analyze your eating habits. Pay attention to what you eat, and try to identify habits that are undercutting your efforts to lose weight. Do you overindulge on junk food? Eat more when you’re depressed? Target the negative food behaviors that cause unwanted weight gain. Plan meals and snacks ahead of time so you’re less likely to grab something unhealthy when you’re hungry.


• Rely on fruits and vegetables. Nutritious food can fill you up just as well as French fries and cupcakes. Keep them handy for snacks, and try to fill at least half your plate with fruits and/or vegetables at every meal to avoid overdoing it on unhealthy fare.


• Watch what you drink. Sodas and sugary drinks can pack a lot of calories. Stick to unsweetened coffee or tea and plain water. They’ll quench your thirst, keep you hydrated, and won’t add unwanted sugar and calories to your daily intake.


Stay in balance all life long

Staying in shape as you grow older is important to your overall good health. One area that’s sometimes overlooked is balance. You don’t want to injure yourself by falling over at any age, but as you grow older, your risk of a broken or fractured bone becomes greater, with more serious consequences.


Start working on maintaining your balance now with these simple exercises:


• Stand on one foot. Holding on to a chair or nearby wall if necessary, stand on one foot for 10 seconds. Then switch to the other foot. Do this 10 times.


• Walk heel to toe. Stride in a straight line for 20 steps, heel to toe, as if you’re taking a sobriety test.


• Swing your legs. Standing with your arms at your sides, lift one leg to about 45 degrees in front of you and then slowly swing it back. Try this 10 times, then switch to your other leg.


Important: Check with your doctor if you find that your balance is severely impaired. It could be the result of an ear infection or some other medical condition.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Children and business travel will mix - with this advice

When working parents travel, they don’t always leave their children behind. You can sometimes take your kids along on business trips if you make the right preparations. Before you start packing, think the trip through with these points in mind:


• Pick the right kind of trip. A high-pressure trip where you’ll be working 16-plus hours a day may become even more exhausting with a child or two in tow. Bring your kids to events where you’ll have the flexibility to work and also take time off to be with your young companions.


• Bring another adult. If your spouse can come along, so much the better. But set up a plan so everyone knows what’s expected and neither parent feels dumped on during the trip.


• Choose a child-friendly hotel. Many hotels have concierges who provide information on child-related events and frequently provide babysitting services. Call around to find one that best suits your needs.


• Examine your motives. Don’t drag your child halfway across the country just because you feel guilty about leaving. Focus on how the experience will benefit you and your child, not on making yourself feel better.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Protect your skin!

Pay attention to the risk factors associated with skin cancer

Skin cancer most often develops on areas exposed to the sun, but it can occur anywhere on your body. Understanding the risk factors is crucial—you don’t want to let a skin cancer go untreated because you’re not aware of the potential for a serious illness.


Even before you have any reason to worry about that blemish on your shoulder, study this list of factors that can increase your chances of getting skin cancer:


• Fair skin. The pigment melanin in your skin provides some protection from damaging UV radiation. The fairer your skin, the less you have, thus raising your risk.


• A history of sunburns. Just one or two blistering sunburns, especially when you’re young, can dramatically increase your chances of developing skin cancer as you age.


• Excessive exposure to the sun. If your job or your recreational activities take you outdoors for long periods of time, sunscreen is vital.


• Family history. Find out if your parents, grandparents, and other family members have ever had skin cancer. This can add to your risk.


• Living conditions. If you live in a tropical climate, or in a high altitude area, your chances of developing skin cancer are greater.


• Moles and lesions. Moles that are large and irregular are more likely to become cancerous. Watch also for growths that show up as rough, scaly skin patches that appear to be brown or dark pink.

Dealing with sunburn

Everyone has, from time to time, spent too much time under the sun without sunscreen or some other form or protection and as it takes time for the skin’s reaction to develop, we rarely realize we have been sunburned until it is too late, after which comes days of pain.


The first thing to do when you have been sunburned is to apply the same basic first aid principles as you would if you were hurt by hot water. Make use of cool compresses, but do not use ice. This will make you feel better and lessen the damage caused by the burn by reducing the temperature a few layers under the skin. Drinking lots of water is also a good idea as sunburn causes dehydration.


Chilled aloe gel or ibuprofen early on can also help by lessening the damage and inflammation done to the skin cells and the layers beneath.


If you run a fever, get skin blisters, or feel nauseous or have flu-like symptoms, you should immediately seek out medical assistance.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Analgesic gel cuts down pain from skin glue that repair children's cuts

Skin glue has become the accepted method for stitching together kid’s cuts at hospital emergency rooms.  While they are considerably less painful than sutures, they can still cause a significant amount of discomfort to children, doctors say.


Researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario tried to find out if the process would be less painful if the area was first covered with a painkilling gel or topical analgesic and undertook a study using 221 children from the ages of three months to 17, with the affected area in 50 percent of the youngsters being applied with a preparation of lidocaine-epinephrine-tetracaine.


On average the preparation reduced the pain caused by the skin glue quite considerably, with 51 percent feeling no pain whatsoever. Given the evidence that suggests that children who undergo medical procedures that cause them pain become adults who are fearful of hospitals and doctors, the move toward reducing pain in treatments such as these is being widely recognized as important.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to share a summer home

If you have a good relationship with your family then you can vacation at a much cheaper price by sharing a summer home. However the changes in personal circumstances can also make things a little tricky.

A family is more likely to enjoy sharing vacation time if they have common interests, while at the same time respect for one another’s space is vital. You do not always have to take part in every activity together, and having some vacation adventures individually is encouraged.


You also need to be flexible on scheduling and be ready to share any concerns freely and openly. A decision also needs to be made as to whether or not the summer home is to be used solely for family members, or whether it should be rented out in the times when it is not being used by the family. Having property affairs overseen by a concierge or rental company can also reduce conflict over whose turn it is to get the home ready for the next visit or to cut the grass.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Looking for good career advice? Then avoid these stale cliches.

Books, blogs, and motivational gurus are full of career advice for beginners and veterans alike. Much of it can be useful, but you’ve got to be careful to separate the good from the misguided and obsolete. Don’t blindly follow these “words of wisdom” without a healthy dose of skepticism:


• “Any job is better than no job.” Working at a job you hate can sap your morale and make any change harder to accomplish. You probably won’t be motivated to do good work, and if you quit out of frustration, you could be labeled an undependable job-hopper. No job is fun all the time, but you’ll generally do better at a job you can find some enjoyment in, even if that takes longer to find.


• “Follow your passion.” On the other hand, don’t wait forever for your dream job to present itself. You need to know what you’re good at, and what you like doing, but chances are you can do well in a job that satisfies less than 100 percent of your ambitions. You don’t want to give up worthwhile career opportunities because they don’t fit with an unrealistic dream of success.


• “You need an advanced degree to get anywhere.” Education is always a good thing, but without a clear purpose, you could waste years and thousands of dollars on studies that don’t necessarily translate to career success. Decide on what you want to learn, be clear on how it will help you, and make sure the investment will really pay off in terms of increased opportunities and career satisfaction.


• “Never quit a job.” You shouldn’t jump ship at the first sign of trouble, but staying at a dead-end job with no hope of advancement and little chance of learning anything doesn’t help your career. Look for opportunities to improve your situation wherever you’re at, but keep an eye on the job market so you’re never trapped.


• “The one thing you need to do is ...” Be wary of any advice that offers a quick fix. Managing a career is complicated. You don’t know what’s coming up, and you won’t always know the right decision to make. You’ll make mistakes and encounter bad luck. Commit to learning and moving forward, and don’t waste time following short-lived trends or depending on gimmicks to land your dream job.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

How to Survive with a Large Family

Having a large family can be tough, but there are some good methods to make sure that you can survive the strain!


One good tip is to make children share a bedroom. Children are not automatically entitled to have a room of their own and the fact is that sharing a bedroom with their siblings can actually help to increase their familiar bond as well as provide some humorous memories for them when they are older!

Something else to remember is that it is perfectly fine to keep driving an old car for as long as you want providing it’s still roadworthy. It may not look as pretty as it once did, but so long as it remains functional, gets everyone in and is able to get from place to place, that is really all that matters.

Cooking your own food rather than eating out is also excellent advice. Not only is it a good deal less expensive but home cooking is also likely to be a good deal healthier.

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to beat burnout

If you are finding it more and more difficult to cope with the demands of your job in addition to the rest of your life, you are definitely not alone. More and more people are putting in additional hours at work or being on call even when they should be at home relaxing.


The good news is there are ways to make your daily routine a little more balanced. One of the best is to actually build downtime into your schedule. As you plan your week you should make a point of including time with friends and family as well as activities that will allow you to recharge such as a sport of some kind.


Being proactive about scheduling can be very helpful and also prevent free time from being wasted.  Another good idea is to drop activities that are sapping your energy or time, including online activities. Making time for exercise can also assist you with becoming more alert and boosting your concentration and overall energy level.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to Teach Kids to Set and Achieve Goals at a Young Age

As parents, one time or another we have all experienced the frustration of knowing our children aren’t trying hard enough to accomplish we know they are more than able to do. While the initial reaction would be to harp and push, it’s important not to get overly excited about their lack of ambition and instead turn your efforts into teaching them how to set and reach goals – even at a young age.


It’s not as difficult as you may think to instill the importance of goal setting in your children. With a few simple steps you can plant the seed:


  • Start by looking for ways your child already sets goals, even though they may not realize that’s what they’re doing. For example, if they are trying get their favorite video game and saving up any extra money he or she gets. Take this opportunity to discuss the steps that will need to be taken in order to get the rest of the money for the game. Explain how good it feels to work toward something and actually make it happen.
  • Start small – Help your child pick a small, fun goal that can be reached in a relatively short amount of time – maybe a craft project or finishing a short book. Starting with small goals is a great way to teach children to work toward bigger goals.
  • Let them be involved in choosing the goals they want to reach. Sure we want them to have straight A’s or make the honor roll each grading period or make the sports team but these may be more YOUR goals than theirs. Letting them choose what they want to achieve is often better because it allows them to take ownership of the steps needed to reach them, as well as the actual accomplishment.
  • Be supportive – as your child begins to work toward setting and reaching their goals, be the biggest cheerleader you can be for them. Applaud their efforts no matter how big or small and let them know you see how hard they are trying.

It’s never too early to start instilling the importance of setting and reaching goals in your children. And while these steps are a great way to get the ball rolling, remember that we are our children’s biggest teachers so be prepared to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fun and Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids

With summer already coming to an end and fall just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the favorite holiday of many children – Halloween. What kind of costume does your little one want? Scary? Fun? Will you buy the costume or take the creative route and make it? If you’re handy with a needle and thread or have a creative side, maybe one of the following ideas will be a winner with your kiddos:


  • Gumball machine: Get a bag of colored balloons, a clear trash bag and a ball cap and you can create this costume fairly quickly. Blow up all of the balloons and don’t forget to cut holes in the trash bag bottom for your legs and two on side for your arms.. Make sure the holes aren’t big enough that the balloons can get out. Have your little one step into the bag and secure the top of the bag at the neck with a ribbon or pin it to their shirt. Add the blown up balloons. Get a piece of paper or thin cardboard and write “5 cents” and attach to the ball cap. There you have it  - a gumball machine!
  • Zombie: Zombies are all the rage thanks to the variety of television shows and movies on this very topic. Don’t be surprised if this is one of the ideas your child throws at you for a Halloween costume. It’s easy to turn your child into a zombie – grab some old clothes that you were getting rid of anyway and shred them. Now, add green, brown and red paint to the clothing, dark makeup under his or her eyes, a little red lipstick or makeup for blood and you’re all set!
  • Ghost : A Halloween favorite that never goes out of style. Take a bed sheet, cut holes for the eyes and you’re done. Does it get any easier than that?
  • Military person: Live near an Army/Navy store? You’ll find all you need to make your little guy or gal a GI.
  • Painter: A pair of overalls, a painter’s cap, splatter a little paint, add a paintbrush to the pocket or carry a roller and you’ve got yourself a little painter.

These ideas can really done by anyone with little cost but tons of value when it comes to entertainment and memories. Be creative and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 4, 2013

How Children Can Deal with Bullies - Especially in Day Care

When we think of bullies we tend to think of bigger kids picking on littler kids, older kids taking milk money from younger kids – all when our children are a little older. But bullies in day care? Sadly, it’s never too young to start dealing with them. Bullying – no matter what age – is NOT just kids being kids and as soon as everyone gets that out of their mindset, we can be on the way to helping the problem disappear.


Children become bullies for different reasons – maybe they are acting out behavior that they’ve seen somewhere before, maybe they are doing it for attention from adults or the other children. In extreme cases, children may bully because they enjoy seeing others in pain, fearful, miserable or even injured. If bullying gets to this point, it can be very difficult to stop.

Regardless of the underlying cause a child bullies another child, as parents we need to teach our children how to deal with it if they become a victim of a bully.


  • First, you’ll need to find out just what is going on. If you suspect your child is being bullied, you can ask questions like “Has someone hurt you?” Even at a young age, children are able to tell you something that happened that made them feel bad or hurt. Let your child explain what happened – let them talk until they are finished – and no matter how upset you are, keep your emotions under control so that you can reassure your child that they have done nothing wrong and you will help take care of this.
  • Once you know what is going on, you’ll want to figure out how to help your child respond if it happens again. You can play out different scenarios to help your child find the best way to deal with the situation if an adult happens to not be close by – ignore the bully, stick with friends (think safety in numbers), act brave and finally tell an adult.
  • As the parent – you will need to take action. Talk to the daycare director, teachers and/or caregivers who are in contact with your child and the bully. There is a very good chance that they may not be aware of the situation because your child has been afraid to say anything. Many times talking to those in charge will help stop the harassment. But if it doesn’t, keep working at it with those in charge until it does.

It’s difficult to fight our protective impulses when our child tells us he or she is being bullied, but fight it we must. Let you child know that you are there for them and the lines of communication are open and that you are there for them to make the situation right.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Help with Math

If you are worried that your child’s math skills could be in need of improvement, then investing a little energy and time over the holidays can help a great deal. To be successful at math a child needs to spend time practicing their skills, which in turn gives them greater confidence and helps to establish a firm foundation for success. If there is a problem then perhaps talking to your child’s teacher is a good idea in order to find out about getting additional help and learning what other resources may be available at school.

Using technology can also help to engage with today’s youngsters. ‘How to’ videos and math technology lets students reach an understanding of the subject by virtue of their own skills of critical thinking instead of just memorizing facts and figures.

A tried and true method of helping children with math is to keep relating to their everyday world be it getting gas for the family car or slicing up a pizza. It is also crucial to praise a child’s academic progress; the more confidence in their abilities they have, the more they will enjoy the subject.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Surviving a Road Trip

A road trip sounds like a good idea
but can often turn into an ordeal for
the family, especially when the little
ones get bored. Fortunately there
are ways to reduce the stress of a
road trip and make it enjoyable for
the whole family.


Keeping the kids busy is one of the
most important tips for surviving a
road trip. Load up a car caddy or small bin with activities that will enable the children to stay occupied during the trip. 


You should bring along crayons, coloring books, markers, games and toys.


Keeping the car clean can also make the trip less of a strain. Wet wipes should be kept on hand at all times for use after meals or snacks. 


If the family dog is coming on vacation with you as well then it is a good idea to bring a bath mat to make sure that the car seats don’t get damaged by muddy paws.

Are these items in your calendar?

Italian-American Heritage Month, October. Celebrate the contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans to the arts, the humanities, and the sciences, as well as the impact of Italian culture and language on the U.S. and the world.


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October. Public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies work together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information, and provide greater access to services during the month of October and throughout the year.


National Cyber Security Awareness Month, October. We rely on the Internet for filing tax returns, applying for student loans, following traffic signals, powering our homes, and much more. NCSAM is designed to raise awareness about cyber security and strengthen the resiliency of the nation in the event of a “cyber incident.”


National Work and Family Month, October. Strive to create a healthier work/life balance for everyone, with more flexibility in workplace arrangements and clear support of family needs.


World Space Week, Oct. 4-10. This United Nations effort explores and supports the peaceful uses of outer space and space-related sciences. The theme for 2013: “Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth.”


Financial Planning Week, Oct. 7-13. The goal: Help individuals discover the value of financial planning and make smart financial decisions to achieve their life goals and dreams.


Earth Science Week, Oct. 13-19. This year’s theme, “Mapping Our World,” engages young people and the public in learning how scientists, geographers, and other professionals use maps to represent land formations, natural resource deposits, bodies of water, fault lines, and more.


Free Speech Week, Oct. 21-27. Raise free speech awareness by talking to your friends and your kids about freedom of speech and how it affects their lives. Exercise your free speech rights by posting a message online, composing a poem, writing a letter to the editor, and letting your voice be heard.


World Vegetarian Day, Oct. 1. Established by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 “to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism.”


World Animal Day, Oct. 4. Celebrate the wonders of the animal kingdom on this day, observed by animal lovers of all beliefs, nationalities, and backgrounds. Columbus Day, Oct. 12. The annual observance of the date Christopher Columbus reached the Americas in 1492.


National Boss Day, Oct. 16. Show some appreciation for the hardworking managers who keep businesses and offices running smoothly.


National Candy Corn Day, Oct. 30. Get ready for Halloween, which accounts for 75 percent of all the candy corn sold during the year.


Halloween, Oct. 31. Trick or treat!