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Mom and Baby

Marriage and Family Tips: Financial Involvement on Both Sides

In wedlock, there is usually one person who is responsible for managing the finances of the family: paying bills, savings accounts, budgeting, etc. Often, the other spouse even does not know very much about the financial state of their family. As long as he or she can shop as usual, there would seem to be no problem. However, this approach can backfire especially if some problems arise in the family’s finances. Blaming the problems on one party would not be fair. For better money management and family bonding, involvement of both the husband and wife is important. Here are some tips you can do to get your spouse involved in your family’s money management.
1. Hold regular financial meetings – Discuss your spending and saving activities with your spouse regularly. Once a week is an ideal periodic schedule. During the meeting, you both will review the budget, consider new purchases, expenditures and income, and adjust them to suit the balance report.
2. Decide the budget together – Once a month, it is important to agree on the family’s budget together. Generally, a family will have a fixed budget that is more or less the same every month. However, you or your spouse may have certain unusual needs he or she would like to plan to do in the next month. Taking input from both sides in this case is central for making financial decisions for your family.
3. Take turns in paying bills – If previously your husband or wife is the only one who handles the bill paying, sharing the responsibility is very beneficial. You can do it by taking turns paying the bills once in a month (e.g. you pay the bills this month, your spouse does then the next month) or you can delegate your spouse to pay some of the bills while you do the others, thus splitting the task.
4. Let your spouse manage some area of the budget – Although working together, one spouse will still be a “leader” in the family’s management. This means that he or she will have a larger responsibility in managing the budget. Sharing the burden won’t hurt at all. Let your spouse entirely manage one or more of the budget categories.
5. Be transparent in using financial software – Often, a husband or a wife use specific software to record the family’s financial records such as savings, spending, and budgeting. Sharing the password will permit the other spouse to log into the account and the resulting transparency is significant. Not only can he or she learn about the family’s financials, he or she can also determine the budget for the family.…

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General Article

Teach Without Preaching

Teach Without Preaching

We’ve all heard the saying — Practice what you preach.A� However, when it comes to teaching children it is best to do it without preaching.A� I’ve always said that children learn best with their eyes and I have yet to be proven wrong.A� Don’t believe me?A� Walk into a room of children and undoubtedly you will find one child merely watching and soaking it all in.A� Yes, children of all ages are like sponges.A� Many times they will simply watch and listen and then proceed to mimic what they have observed.

Our children love to hear stories, whether new from a book or from our own childhood experiences.A� My kids get a kick out of some of my awkward moments while growing up and it also reassures them that it is all part of the growing up process. Family adventures are also wonderful ways to teach your children.A� The adventures don’t have to involve leaving the home either.A� Consider planting an herb garden or merely playing in the yard and watch your children truly grow.A� Recently I played hopscotch with my children.A� They were amazed how I too, could draw with colored chalk and actually hop on the squares and play along with them.A� It’s funny how they forget or sometimes don’t understand that we were children once too.

Interacting with others is important as well.A� Children learn people skills by interacting with other children and adults.A� Consider inviting friends over for movie night or a slumber party.A� The children will enjoy the company of others and mom and dad will enjoy some quiet time alone as well.A� Learning can be accomplished in many different forms.A� Sure there is the traditional form as taught in a traditional school setting but our children are learning every minute and second of the day.A� Some will learn more with other children and some will learn by actually taking part in an activity or the decision making.

I recently came across this saying which explains it all quite nicely:

‘Tell me, and I will forgetShow me, and I may understandInvolve me, and I will experience it is mine forever.’

Once you have determined your child’s learning style, look for signs of what makes your child feel good about him or herself or their accomplishments.A� Don’t forget to ask the simple question:A� What would make my child want to know more? It’s the retro way of teaching without preaching.…

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Love Baby

Get Fit With Your Family and Save the Planet

There are many way to get fit, but what if I told you about one where you would be outside in the fresh air and you could take your child with you and at the same time you could be helping save the planet.
Yes there is a way to do all of this at the same time and its just perfect for stay at home mums or dads who work outside the home and don’t get to spend much time with their children. Even Grandmas and grand dads can get in on this one and get fitter at the same time.
What I am talking about is taking up biking. You may be wondering how on earth you can take your child or children with you and thats where the bicycle child trailer comes in. This is such a huge trend right now and there are lots of companies that manufacture these wonderful trailers. If you don’t have a child you can choose to take you pet with you instead, as they have trailers for them as well.
Of course, the older the child is, the more extra weight you will have to pull and that will help with your fitness levels even more. Imagine a bight sunny weekend day and you and your wife are out on your bikes with your children in their trailer or trailers seeing the sights, not using any fuel except your own body strength and getting fitter at the same time. A much healthier and family oriented option then going to the gym on your own leaving Mom at home with the kids on the weekend.
Kids just love these trailers, just make sure that you take a drink and some snacks for them and maybe some books as well. You could bike to a park then let the kids out for some playtime or even a picnic, then go visit some friends and then home again.
Another idea would be to bike to the nearest camping ground and then spend the night in a tent. This would be a great adventure for the whole family and is sure to be remembered for a lifetime.
This way you will end up with a happy family, who spends time together in the great outdoors.…

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General Article

Test Your Food Prejudices!

Test Your Food Prejudices!

Do you have food prejudices?

If you think about it, we all have foods we think or feel negatively about, and would not eat at all, or only unwillingly. What is often behind such a food prejudice?

1. Childhood Food Trauma

Often, a negative reaction to a type of food may stem from unpleasant childhood experiences with those food items. For example, many people have an aversion to vegetable types such as spinach, broccoli or pumpkin, perhaps because their parents made them eat large amounts of them, or made them eat them against their will.

Additionally, a food item or a dish may be associated with a specific traumatic or painful event such as choking as a child, or it may have been served when something negative and painful happened.

In parts of the world where food shortage is common, people may develop an aversion to foods that they have been forced to eat repeatedly due to lack of affordable alternatives.

2. Negative Associations

Sometimes, food prejudices may stem from negative visual, semantic, historical, social, personal or other associations attached to a food item or a dish. For example, some people who did not grow up near the sea find it difficult to eat shrimp, prawns and other delicacies because they may visually remind them of unsavoury creatures such as caterpillars.

Sometimes, food items are also associated with a social or historical stigma. In many places, for instance, there are foods which were called ‘poor peoples’ food’. Only later did such foods – including pizza and dumplings – climb out of this designation into the league of favourite foods of the world.

3. Lack of Familiarity

We often react negatively to foods whose acquaintance we have not yet made, or whose acquaintance we made late in life. Often, they do not belong to our circle of comfort foods, to which we have developed a strong positive emotional bond.

For example, many people who live in Europe or America many not be able to enjoy cooked banana the first time they try it, just as many Africans may need time before adopting radish, black bread or types of cheese.

Besides, we may feel that our taste circuitry is already wired for life. We may be unwilling to interrupt or modify this pattern of tastes.

4. Social Prejudice

The most disturbing form of food prejudice is when it is rooted in a prejudice towards a specific group of people. How often we hear phrases such as ‘these people are like this and that because they eat this and that’.

There are many people who extend their negative view of an ethnic group or other social group to the foods these peoples cherish as delicacies, such as snails, frog legs, sheep, sheep’s head, locusts, cassava leaf, dog meat, insects, caterpillars, as well as methods of eating, such as eating with the fingers.

Of course, choosing to consume certain food items or not is a purely personal choice. It is only unfortunate when our food prejudices betray a more dangerous prejudice towards other human beings, other cultures, or other ways of life.

Here is a short exercise to test your food prejudices:

1. Make a list of all the foods you plainly hate, dislike, or eat only unwillingly.

2. For each food item or dish, write a sentence about what comes to mind when you think of, smell or see the dish or food item.

3. Decide whether it is due to a childhood food trauma, negative social, visual or historical associations, or whether the food prejudice is related to other, deeper prejudices. Or you may have another reason not discussed here.

4. Write down one sentence about what you think would help to change the food prejudice, and whether this step is at all necessary.…

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Mom and Baby

The Power of Barbie

It’s likely not surprising to anyone today that Barbie dolls are one of the most popular toys for young girls. Watching the tv commercials as they announce new styles of Barbie and it even appears in movies, Barbies are a worldwide phenomenon. But honestly, is anyone surprised? Barbie fits the classic mold of letting children play house, using their dolls to imitate real life.
To mimic real life, not only are there tons of Barbie dolls available, but the amount of ways to tweak your dolls is countless. From Barbie clothes to Barbie accessories, there are tons of things that kids can use to make their Barbies unique. With different clothes, kids can make their Barbies pretend to be a nurse, a teacher, or firefighter. There are over one hundred different jobs the Barbie can do, allowing the kids to go wild. When you factor in the accessories, from homes, to cars, to pets, the Barbie can truly become an extension of the child.
Parents love the Barbie dolls as well as it allows the children to become more knowledgeable about everyday life. Barbie allows kids to use their imagination in ways that videogames do not, giving children the opportunity to build their own imaginary world in which their dolls live. Further, the Barbies help the kids learn about the world around them, from the jobs they have Barbie take on, to the difficulties of raising a family.
This notion of raising a family is actually what created the idea of Pregnant Barbie, a part of the line of Barbie Happy Family dolls. Pregnant Midge comes with a baby and an attachable belly so you can pretend the doll is pregnant. It was a great idea, one that would allow children to pretend their dolls were pregnant and really feel like they were mimicking the entire process of making a family. However, some people reacted with criticisms and accused the dolls of giving children bad thoughts. As a result, the doll was forced to be recalled.
The Pregnant Barbie recall is actually part of what makes the Barbie dolls so collectible. Some of the more uncommon dolls are now worth a good amount of money, selling for hundreds of dollars. The most rare dolls include some of the annual Holiday Barbie dolls and the Silkstone Barbie. These dolls get released in limited numbers as collector’s items and cause a flurry of demand once they disappear. Because of this, the dolls have become significantly more coveted by even older people as they try and make investments out of them.
Overall, it’s hard to say where Barbie will go from here. However, what is clear is that the Barbies are here to stay. Kids love them, and the demand never seems to fade.…

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General Article

Childhood Obesity – How to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity – How to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity is a serious dilemma affecting a troubling amount of our children today. It is an epidemic that can bring both physical and emotional problems into our children’s lives. They are way too young to have to worry about weight control issues at such a young age. I hope to give you, the parent, some insight on preventing this issue from exploding any further out of control.

What Problems Can Childhood Obesity Lead to?

Possible Major Problems:

1. Diabetes

2. Asthma

3. High Blood Pressure

4. Heart Problems

Does this list look like it even belongs in the same neighborhood when talking about children? We know it doesn’t.

So Now What? – How Can We Prevent Childhood Obesity?

Please take responsibility:

It is very easy to give in to our children’s demands. Nobody likes to say no to their kids.

But we have to say no.

No more donuts for breakfast. Make donuts and other sweets an occasional treat.

Get rid of the soda pop. Look at the calories and sugar information on one can of soda. Seriously, take a look: 100 to 200 calories per can! Ouch.

Remember when we used to go outside in the neighborhood and actually run, ride our bikes, or play a sport? Granted our Atari 2600 video game consoles are in no ways near as fun in comparison to today’s X-Box, PlayStation, and computer games.

Whatever you do, get your kids outside! Bring them to the park, zoo, or kids museum. Take action and stomp out childhood obesity. Your kids will not adopt good eating and exercising programs on their own.

So, I hope I scared you.

If I did scare you, good. The good news is that you can follow the few steps I have written in this article to make a big difference in both your children’s lives, as well as your own. It’s just about doing what is right.…

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Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Pesticides May Increase Likelihood of Childhood Leukemia

Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Pesticides May Increase Likelihood of Childhood Leukemia

In a study recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives entitled Residential Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Organochlorine Pesticides and Risk of Childhood Leukemia, scientists explain that exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides, two chemicals used commonly after World War II, may be responsible for increased numbers of childhood leukemia showing up in the population. These environmental contaminants are persistent in the environment and can bioaccumulate in the food chain, increasing their potency.

 

Though these chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners and the pesticides α- and γ-chlordane, p,p′-DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) , p,p′-DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene), methoxychlor, and pentachlorophenol, were largely banned from use in the US, because of their persistence they remain in nature and are commonly found indoor in carpets where they are protected from the elements that would otherwise break them down. Children can ingest these chemicals through inhalation.

 

Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer and is yet poorly understood, so these scientists were anxious to shed some light on why there has been such an increase in this disease. Eighty percent of all childhood leukemia cases are acute lymphocytic leukemia, with the greatest risk of contraction of the disease to children between the ages of 2 and 5. Incidences of this disease increased sharply between 1975 and 2004.

 

By testing the carpet dust in children’s homes against their age, sex, race, and maternal residence, they determined that there is a two-fold increased risk of all types of leukemia where PCB congeners were detected in the carpet dust.

 

This is perhaps yet another argument for being very careful with what chemicals we use indoors and outdoors. Choosing nontoxic personal care products [], foods, and cleaning products, and being careful to use chemical-free products in our gardens and on our lawns may just protect our children from deadly diseases such as these. Caution, not naïve optimism, is called for when considering new ways to dose the earth with toxins.…