The 8 Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Child’s Healthcare Costs

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Health care costs are soaring higher every year, and as they do many American workers are watching their health insurance coverage simultaneously diminish. In this economic environment, many families are forced to find ways to cut medical costs wherever and however they can. Consider these eight ways to reduce the cost of their kids’ medications.

  1. Generic Alternatives – Any medication that your child might need will almost always have a generic equivalent that can be substituted for the name brand version at a cheaper cost. Ask your child’s doctor or pharmacist if going generic is an option.
  2. Start with Samples – You don’t necessarily have to buy an entire month’s worth of medication that’s been prescribed for your child all at once, especially if there isn’t a specific medical need for that much. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if they have any free sample packs.
  3. Buy in Bulk – On the flip side, if you’ve been prescribed a medication for your child that you expect she will need for an extended period of time, try buying a 3-month vs. a 1-month supply. Medications are often cheaper per dose in larger quantities.
  4. Larger Dosage Sizes – Another way of reducing your per-dose expenses is to buy a larger dosage size than the prescription and then split the pills to match the prescribed dosage. Here again, the larger pills are often cheaper per milligram than the smaller versions. You’ll need your doctor’s permission before going that route and the medication needs to be conducive to easy splitting.
  5. Shop Around – Like everything else, prices vary for medications. For instance, Wal-Mart pharmacies have a $4 prescription plan for 30-day supplies, and $10 for 90 days’ worth. Sometimes referred to as a 4/10 plan, this doesn’t require insurance. You can find a list of medications and available doses here. Ask your pharmacist if they’ve got a 4/10 plan.
  6. Mail Order – This is rapidly increasing in popularity as a means for purchasing prescription drugs at a discount. You can find deals for a 3-month supply of a prescription that for the cost of only one co-pay.
  7. Coupons – Yes, drugs have them too. You may be able to get them from your doctor or find them online. Check the website of the drug’s manufacturer too. You can save a bundle with coupons.
  8. Discount Cards – Certain groups and organizations offer memberships which afford their members discounts on certain products. You may already have a means to save on your child’s medications right there in your wallet, next to your hard-earned cash.

You don’t have to resign yourself to high medication costs. Instead, try to find different ways where you can reduce the price. Health care coverage may be diminishing, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to stay healthy.


reprinted with permission

Origins of Baby New Year & Happy New Year in All Languages

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Happy New Year!

One of the symbols of a new year is “Baby New Year“!


The Baby New Year is an American personification of the start of a new year, commonly seen in various New Year’s customs, especially holiday cards and illustrations for store window displays.
The stereotypical representation of Baby New Year is as a male baby wearing nothing more than a diaper, a top hat and a sash across his torso that shows the year he is representing. Sometimes he is holding an hourglass or is otherwise associated with one. Often, he is not a complete newborn but is slightly older, because he is frequently shown standing on his own, barely walking, or having a small amount of head hair.

The myth associated with him is that he is a baby at the beginning of his year, but Baby New Year quickly grows up until he is an elderly bearded man like Father Time at the end of his year. At this point, he hands over his duties to the next Baby New Year.

In addition to being a mythical figure, the Baby New Year is sometimes a real person. The first baby born in any village or city in a certain year may be honored by being labeled as the official Baby New Year for that year. The official Baby New Year can be male or female, even though the mythical Baby New Year is nearly always male. Attempts to name an official Baby New Year for an entire country have sometimes been made, but generally there are multiple contenders and no single Baby New Year can be confirmed.
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The custom of using a baby to symbolize the New Year began in Greece around 600 B.C. The Greeks celebrated their God of Wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket to represent the annual rebirth of Dionysus as the spirit of fertility. The early Egyptians also used the baby as a symbol of rebirth.

Although the early Christians denounced the practice of using a baby as being pagan in nature, its significance as a personification of rebirth later forced the Church to reevaluate its position. Eventually, it was decreed that Church members would be permitted to celebrate the New Year using a symbolic baby, provided it illustrated the birth of the baby Jesus.

The use of a baby’s image as a banner for New Year celebrations was brought to America by the Germans, who had used the effigy since the Fourteenth Century.

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Get the Kids to Bed Early With Netflix New Year’s Eve Countdown Clock for Kids

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Once again this year, Netflix is making it easier for parents to let their kids celebrate the countdown to the New Year without actually having them stay up that late.

It is offering a streaming service with special programs designed for kids to watch on New Year’s Eve that will count down to “midnight” for them.


Parents can set whatever hour in the day to make “midnight” happen. :

Last year’s shows included Care Bears & Cousins, Inspector Gadget and Puffin Rock. This year, viewers can now enjoy Word Party, Beat Bugs, Puffin Rock and even Fuller House way before the clock officially strikes 12:00 a.m.

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“Netflix is all about giving members the freedom to decide when and how to watch, and the New Year’s Eve Countdowns do just that,” said Andy Yeatman, Director of Kids Content for Netflix. “They put families in charge of the holiday, whether that means celebrating at 9 and then lights out, or ringing in the New Year over and over again.”

He added, “I have three young daughters, so for us, that means celebrating three times with three different countdowns they each get to choose.”

According to Netflix data, last year’s peak viewing hour of the countdown on New Year’s Eve was 8 p.m. local time in the United States.

How to Dress Your Kids for Winter Weather

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As cooler weather starts to roll around, new parents or those that have recently relocated to a more wintry climate often find themselves struggling to determine the best methods for dressing their youngsters in weather-appropriate attire. While opinions on the subject can be quite varied on the topic, there are a few truths that parents forced with their first real winter weather should consider before the chill sets in.

Layering is Key


Frigid weather can send even the most laid-back parent into overdrive, but it’s important to remember that kids are usually only outside for brief stretches throughout the day. As such, it’s best to dress them in layers that are easily shed in warm classrooms and stores, rather than one or two very bulky items that leave them sweating. For younger kids that attend daycare or elementary school, it’s also wise to attach labels to coats, gloves and hats. It’s easy for cold-weather items to get misplaced, sent home with the wrong child or left behind when little ones are in a rush at the end of the day, but replacing them can also become quite expensive very quickly.

Skip Traditional Scarves

Scarves are a winter-weather staple, but they may also be less than safe for younger children, as they can easily be snagged, slammed in a door or stepped on to present a strangulation hazard. Rather than protecting your little one’s face and neck from icy winds with a standard scarf, it may be better to opt for cowl styles or neck warmers, which have no trailing ends to put him in danger when he’s out of your sight.

Dress for the Occasion

There’s a difference between cold, snowy weather and just plain cold. During periods of snowfall, your child will need to be protected from the dampness of melting snow as well as frosty temperatures, while the drier cold of a day with no winter precipitation may require stronger wind protection to prevent chapping and windburn. Familiarizing yourself with the various articles of winter clothing and their best uses while keeping an eye on the weather forecast is the best way to ensure that your little one is dressed appropriately for every winter occasion.

Opt for Water-Resistant Materials

When the thermometer mercury edges just slightly past 32º, all of the accumulated ice and snow becomes a series of very cold puddles along walkways and across parking lots. Protecting your child from the dampness that can accompany walking across those puddles and dripping from overhanging surfaces is important, but it’s also very difficult if his winter gear isn’t waterproof or, at the very lease, water-resistant. It may be cheaper at the outside to spring for a lower-priced jacket that doesn’t have waterproof construction, well-made products that repel water will keep him warm and dry throughout the winter season.

Know Your Boots

At first glance, most boots are created equal. Upon closer examination, you’ll learn that some boots are more suited to cold temperatures that others. While galoshes seem to be a good choice, due to their waterproof exteriors, they offer absolutely no insulation from cold and can be easily filled with snow if it’s high enough to fall over the wide openings at your child’s calf. Honest-to-goodness snow boots, on the other hand, will have both inner insulation and a top that prevents snow from falling inside.

Hats and Hoods are Your Friend

Though the old adage about your body heat escaping through your head is little more than an old wive’s tale, it is still important to keep your child’s head warm and protected from chapping winds, falling sleet or snow, and simple low temperatures. Look for those without drawstrings that can present a strangulation hazard, with waterproof liners and a snug enough fit to block most of the wind’s chilling power.

While you’re fighting the battle against winter’s chill, don’t forget the sunscreen. Though it seems incongruous to slather your little one with the same sunscreen he uses on the beach to go outside for a snowman-building session, it’s actually an integral part of protecting his skin. Snow reflects up to 75% of ultraviolet rays, which can still be damaging even at winter’s low temperatures.

Reprinted with permission

10 Things to Do While Waiting for Your Kid’s Practice to End

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Do you ever feel like all you do is sit around waiting for your kids to get out of one practice or another?  It’s like you’re constantly stuck wasting precious time that could be spent more productively otherwise. You’re not part of the coaching team, so you’re not participating in the practice, but you also don’t have enough time to go home and get anything done, making it feel like you’re just wasting time. This catch-22 pretty much leaves you forced to wait it out and do nothing. Or does it?

The next time you are cooling your heels waiting for practice to end, consider some of these practical ways to spend your time.

  1. Get some exercise.  Put on some tennis shoes and go for a walk.  You can easily get in a 30 minute walk during most practices – if not longer.  Make sure you warm up and stretch a little before you start walking.  Your heart and waistline will thank you for the extra exercise.
  2. Run some errands.  Busy parents frequently feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, so why not take advantage of the hour or so that your child will be at practice and use that time to run a few errands?  Switch to a dry cleaner that is close to the practice location so you are able to drop it off and pick it up conveniently.  Visit a nearby store where you can look for gift items on sale that you can put in your gift closet, that way the next time you need to grab a gift for a birthday party in a hurry you have plenty of options on hand.  Take this time to read some greeting cards and stock up on what you will need for any upcoming birthdays or holidays.
  3. Catch up on the news.  Buy a newspaper and actually take the time to read it.  If you get bored reading the news you can probably find a crossword puzzle or a jumble to solve.  There may even be sale ads that you can use to plan your next shopping trip.
  4. Read a good book.  Have you been hearing about the latest best seller and thought to yourself that you’ll never have the time to sit down and read it?  You actually do have the time to read a few chapters if you utilize the time spent at practices to read. Keep the book in your bag or car and the next time you have a few minutes during practice you can pull out the book and see if it lives up to the hype that everyone has built it up to be.
  5. Start a new hobby.  There are many different hobbies that can be done with minimal supplies while you are sitting at a practice.  For instance, if you want to preserve your photos you can take up scrapbooking.  While waiting on the side of the field or sitting in the car you can crop pictures, decide which pictures will go into what spread, decide on the layout etc.  You could also take up knitting or crocheting.
  6. Sharpen your mind.  There are a lot of handheld video games that will challenge your brain.  If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying a video game, you can also buy a paperback puzzle book with brain teasers, word jumbles, crossword puzzles or Sudoku.
  7. Catch up with a friend.  According to WebMD, talking to friends is a great way to relieve stress.  Many mobile phone plans have unlimited minutes or rollover minutes that will allow you to chat without worrying about if you’re going over your minutes.
  8. Meditate.  Finding time to meditate in a quiet place is often difficult when you have kids.  The car would be a suitable place to meditate if you’re going to be sitting in there by yourself anyway.  You can use this alone time to center yourself and find a deeper calm through different visualization techniques or by doing some deep breathing exercises while you wait.  If you are afraid you will fall asleep, set the alarm on your phone.
  9. Do homework with a sibling.  If you have a younger sibling with you, this is the perfect time to get in some one on one time with them to go over reading, spelling or math facts.  She can bring along whatever homework she has to a practice with a clipboard and pencil, and she can have your undivided attention for the duration of the practice.
  10. Write in a journal.  Either write down your thoughts from the day or keep a specialized journal.  Some people like to keep a prayer journal, others keep a food journal, and some people like to keep a gratitude journal, just to name a few.  If you have any interest in writing stories, this could be the perfect time to spend some time writing out some story ideas or working on the actual story.

The main thing to remember is that the time spent waiting for practice to be over doesn’t have to be wasted time; it can be put to good use.  Imagine how much healthier you could be, both physically and mentally, if you spent 30 minutes taking a brisk walk, 30 minutes meditating, and 30 minutes journaling each week.

4 Ways to Encourage Siblings to Share

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From siblings to best friends, children have a difficult time learning to share. It is a concept that may not fully develop until late into grade school, if then.  However, there are a few ways you can help your child develop an attitude of sharing.

Model sharing the things that are important to you with others.  Often, parents expect their child to share toys, games and even attention with other children.  This is usually expected because it was expected of them when they were children.  However, adults rarely share the things that are really important to them.  Do most adults go around loaning their cars, jewelry, clothes, homes, electronics and even their time to others?  Your child sees that when an adult owns something it belongs to her, and she gets to decide when she feels like sharing it and when she does not feel like sharing it.  This mindset then transfers into your child’s life.  He rightfully feels that when something belongs to him because it was given as a gift or purchased with his own money, that it belongs to him.  When he sees his parent being generous with what she has, he will think that sharing is a part of life.  If he sees his parent unwilling to share the things she owns, big and little, then he is going to be less willing to share his own things.


Don’t make him share everything.  When parents tell their child that they “must” share the toy with someone else, it stimulates a primal instinct everyone has.  Instead of helping the child to learn to share, making a child share his toys actually causes him to want to share it and other toys less.  He becomes afraid that at any moment you will come in and make him give up the thing that (at least right now) means everything to him.  Instead, allow there to be at least a few toys that he has the right to choose when and with whom he will share.  This gives the child just enough control over the situation to loosen his grip on the toy.  When he has the independence to share it or not, he will eventually be willing to share with others.

Keep a set of toys that belong to you and share those with him and friends he has over.  The big problem with not making your child share his toys is that it means that his friends or siblings do not have toys to play with together.  To solve this problem you can create a family toy box.  Everything in that toy box belongs to you – the adult.  Because of this, you get to decide who the toys are shared with and when the toys are shared.  You, of course, are very generous with the sharing of this toy box, and let not only your child but any other child that comes over to play use the toys.  This will help in a few ways. It will help your child not feel so tense about sharing his own toys, which can actually help him want to share his.  It will also provide a great example of sharing for your child.  He will begin to learn that sharing can make play more fun.

Help him to see that when he shares with others, others are more willing to share with him and that it is more fun to share.  There are a lot of ways you can help your child see this.  Utilize moments when you see him sharing with siblings or with other children. Tell him that you see how well he is sharing and that you are glad he is able to have fun with someone else.  Positive reinforcement is the best way to help your child learn a new life lesson. When playing with your child, talk about how much fun it is when you have people to play with instead of having to play by yourself.  Make mention of sharing every time you see it in the world, whether in books, on the playground, on the TV or in your house.

Sharing is a very difficult habit to form in children.  The truth is that most adults have not perfected this either.  But life is much better when children learn to share what belongs to them, and it is incredibly rewarding as a parent to watch your child engage and play well with other children.

Watching ‘A Christmas Story’ is Everyone’s Cult Christmas Eve Tradition

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Christmas is about traditions.

Each family that celebrates the Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus Christ has its own tradition that make the holiday extra special.  These are the ones you look forward to each year because they essentially are symbolic. You get  feelings of nostalgia just thinking about them.


Christmas eve has its own tradition. Watching TBS’s 24 hour marathon showing of the cult classic film, A Christmas Story, is a tradition for many.

It is for me and my younger sister Adama. We both have a habit of procrastinating on wrapping gifts until the very last minute. Personally, I have every intention each year to get my gift wrapping done way before Christmas eve. Yet, inevitably, the 24th of December will roll around and there will be at least a dozen unwrapped gifts hidden or stashed away in some back closet somewhere in my house.

Each year, my sister comes to my house and we head down to the basement and wrap gifts while watching  A Christmas Story until the wee hours of the morning.

In recent  modern times, there is also a gathering of large cult of people in social media, Facebook and Twitter, especially who are usually up, doing last minute wrapping, baking or prepping for Christmas meal the next day or just hanging around with family who came to visit.

There we tweet famous and popular quotes from the movie, share memes and photos and bond over the Interwebs with other fans of the movie.

There is a convention and the Ralphie’s home is actually a museum now.  For those of you who are clueless as to what I’m talking about, I love the museum’s summary here:

Set during a snowy Christmas season in 1940’s Indiana, nine-year-old Ralphie longs for the ideal Christmas gift, a 200-Shot, Range-Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.” But when gruff dad and doting mom, and even a stressed-out Santa quote the usual BB gun warning, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Ralphie mounts a full-scale, hint dropping campaign that is a sly combination of innocence and calculation. The movie is not only about Christmas and BB guns, but also about childhood and a semi-dysfunctional family life.

Ralphie endures endless kid-sized trials and classic moments: A bully with “yellow eyes” and a rancid coonskin cap terrorizes him. There is a sequence where a kid is not merely dared but Triple-Dog-Dared to stick his tongue onto a frozen lamp post, and the fire department has to be called to remove him from the pole. Ralphie’s Old Man winning the “Major Award” of a garish lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg. Ralphie blurts out the Queen Mother of swear words and gets his mouth washed out with Lifebuoy soap. His long-awaited Little Orphan Annie Secret Society Decoder Pin translates a radio program’s top-secret message that turns out to be a crummy commercial. Even Santa is a scary fraud.

But Ralphie hangs tough and ends up getting his BB gun

THE END!

This year, I’m spending the holidays with family abroad and sadly, am missing the wrapping tradition with my sis, but I’m thinking about it hence this post.

What are some of your family Christmas traditions?

Bellyitch’s Favorite Thing Winners Announced

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Thanks you for entering our annual Holiday Giveaway! We got over 5,000 entries for 10 items worth over $800! Using our giveaway interface over at Gleam.io, we randomly selected winners who are all announced on the widgets below.

We did not however confirm the winner of the abiie High chair so that one isn’t listed because we may pull a new winner if the winner does not respond. Also, because the KoalaSafe Router was late entry, we’re extended that contest into the new year!

See you at the next big giveaway!


abiie High Chair ($189)
 

Easy-DoksTechDevice Dock ($79.99)
 

GameSir G3s Bluetooth Wireless Controller ($99)
The Shower Saver ($29.99)

Jillian Michaels and 13 Piece Super Slicer ($39.98)

Kidz Gear Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Headphones ($59.99)
NewerTech NuGuard KXs Military Grade iPhone/iPad Case ($59.99)
 

Put Me In The Story Personalized Storybook ($34.98)
 

KoalaSafe Family Friendly Router with Parental Controls ($99)

Eliminate Fights with Your Kid w/this Router Controls all Devices, WIN IT (Bellyitch’s Fave Thing $99)

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The last and final item in our Bellyitch’s Favorite Things Giveaway  is a router and app to help parents monitor their children’s devices.

If you are planning to get your child a new screen – tablet, phone, gaming system, laptop or computer- for Christmas, you could eliminate the need to be nagging them to turn off their device but using  KoalaSafe, a wireless router which is its own network that can schedule a time to turn off the devices, thus turning the internet off.


The Australia-based company recently announced their partnership with curbi,  an app which regulates screen time on handheld devices outside the home.

KoalaSafe Family Friendly Router with Parental Controls to easily protect and manage their screen time all year long – at home and on the road.

It has a family-friendly WIFI access point that’s easy to use. Through a simple smartphone interface, parents can set time-limits, site blocking and monitoring of youngsters’ mobile devices, laptops, PlayStations and more, which are connected through KoalaSafe.

Then when a child heads outside to school or a friend’s place, curbi takes over the care with content filtering and app blocking. With just a couple of clicks parent can lock apps, block inappropriate sites and limit screen time.

Together KoalaSafe and curbi are simple to use, giving parents total control over the content their children access from smartphones and tablets at home and on the road. Parents can:

  • Monitor, control and set limits for use inside or outside of the home
  • Get detailed information about what kids are doing when connected
  • Stop offline apps from being used

We Love love these parings and lucky for one Bellyitch reader, they’ll get to get their very own device retail value of $99! Enter below but you only have a few hours!

KoalaSafe Family Friendly Router with Parental Controls ($99)

Your Child will be Amazed Seeing Her Name in a Personalized Story Book; Win It (Bellyitch’s Fave Things $34.98)

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Next up on our list of favorite items is a gift that would certainly surprise and put a smile on the face on any child that receives it!

Put Me In The Story is an innovative children’s platform that takes nationally bestselling children’s picture books by celebrated and award-winning authors, and integrates personalization—creating personalized books that make your child the star of beloved children’s stories.


This is a great trend in storybooks because it brings the experience of reading a book even more alive for a child. I think it creates a love of reading and getting lost in a good book if a child can see his or her name in it and can further imagine herself or himself as the characters in the book.

With Put Me In The Story, authors are allowing readers to personalize their copyrighted, bestselling books to create the ultimate gift.

The guys at Put Me In The Story will gift one fortunate Bellyitch reader with their own book, “Ginger, Can you Help an Elf“, one of the newest titles, which would be PERFECT for the holidays!

Enter below thru midnight!

Put Me In The Story Personalized Storybook ($34.98)