Browsing Category


Back-To-School: 10 Ways to Know If Your Child is Gifted

Bellyitch Rewind

Parents generally think all of their children are pretty special, but some kids really are uniquely gifted when it comes to learning and grasping schoolwork.

If you were a gifted student yourself, you might recognize the signs, but here’s some tips for those of you who aren’t sure what to look for.

1. Strong Vocabulary – What kinds of words and sentence structure does your child use? Do they use more multi-syllable words than their peers? Are they often asking about the meanings of new words they hear and do they quickly put new words to use? Gifted children often have advanced vocabularies and quickly pickup word meanings through their contextual use.

2. Quick on Completing Schoolwork – If your child’s teacher tells you that your child is always one of the first ones completed with their assignments, this is a strong clue that your child is more advanced than the other students in their classroom.

3. Understand Monetary Concepts – Use of money is one of the first mathematical concepts that kids are exposed to in their home environment. If your child quickly picks up the concepts of the monetary values of coins and how they relate to one another, this may be a sign that you have a mathematically gifted child.

4. Listen and Learn – Does your child seem to be able to pick up concepts and the words to songs as soon as they hear them, even if it is only once? Gifted children don’t need the same amount of repetition to learn as other children.

5. Enjoys a Mental Challenge – Are puzzles fun for your child, but they quickly get bored with them if they are too easy? This could be a sign of a gifted child. Gifted children enjoy a challenge but easily become bored if there isn’t enough challenge.

6. Mature Sense of Humor – A gifted child will be more likely to understand more complex humor such as is found in newspaper comic strips or jokes that other children their age may not be able to understand.

7. Advanced Reading Skills – Most gifted children have advanced reading skills and enjoy reading. You will find them breezing through large books quickly and yet still comprehending what they’ve read and being able to explain it to you.

8. Enjoys Learning New Things – For gifted children, learning new things is exciting and fun. They have a great curiosity about how things function, how things are made and learning about just about any subject.

9. Observatory Skills – If you have a gifted child, they will notice things and remember things that most other kids would not. They may notice simple details like a person wearing a different watch than they normally do or be able to remember the exact icons on your computer that you clicked on to get to the program that they like to play.

10. Grasps Relationships – Gifted children will grasp and understand relational concepts quicker than their peers. They will be able to pick out and replicate more complicated patterns. They will find it easier to fill in the missing piece from a sequence.

Hopefully, these clues will empower you to know whether your kid is gifted and what, if anything, to do about it.

5 Legit Money-Making Opps for Stay-at-Home moms

If you want to earn some money while staying home with the kids, you are in luck. There are plenty of legitimate jobs that can be done from the comfort of your home and around your kids’ school schedule, play dates and extracurricular activities. To find a work-at-home job that suits you, check out the following tips and ideas:

Turn Your Hobby Into an Income

Turn one of your talents or hobbies into a supplemental income. For example, if you’re routinely asked to bring your camera to parties because you take such amazing photos, consider dabbling in freelance photography. Start small with people you know and build up your portfolio. With some word-of-mouth referrals, you could transform this hobby into a profitable job.

Other ideas of hobbies include baking, catering, sewing custom kids outfits, ceramics and jewelry making.

Look Into Contractual Work

Another great option for work-at-home moms is contractual positions. These combine the security of working for an established company with the freedom to set your own hours and telecommute. To find a position that works for you, think about what you are passionate about and research available opportunities. For example, if you are into fashion and beauty, you could turn this interest into a contractual position with a well-established company like Amway. The company is known for being a leader in premium beauty products and it offers contractual jobs that can fit around your schedule.

Consider Being a Customer Service Representative

If you are the consummate people person, like talking on the phone and are pretty good on the computer, an at-home customer service representative job is a great option. These positions pay between $8 and $18 an hour, and there are typically part-time and full-time positions available that can be done from a quiet home office.

You might be surprised how many major companies hire at-home CSRs. Some of these include major hotel chains like Hilton and Best Western and retail companies like 1-800-FLOWERS and Spiegel. To find these positions, check out companies like Alpine Access and LiveOps to see what they have available.

Build up Your Resume

As you look for at-home positions, work on boosting your resume in as many ways as you can. If you routinely volunteer at your kids’ school or are a member of the PTO, put this on your resume. It shows potential employers that you are responsible, committed and organized. Consider taking some classes at a local community college that you could turn into an at-home work option, such as writing and computer courses.

Watch out for Scams

While there are plenty of legitimate and reasonably lucrative ways to make money at home, there are some scammers who are out to take your money. As you look for work, watch for red flags like companies or websites with no contact information. Some other signs of trouble are if a company asks you to pay them a fee to get started or if a position seems too good to be true. Once you find a company that you like, research them to see if anything pops up about scams or bad business practices.

Eco-Friday: 10 Books to Read if You’re having a Vegan Pregnancy


A few year ago, actress Emily Deschanel got some heat by continuing with her vegan diet while pregnant last year.

However, despite concerns, remaining vegan while pregnant can be done safely with the consultation of a doctor and nutritionist and maybe also by reading up on some recommended books on having a well-rounded vegan diet.

 She is not the only celebrity to stick with her vegan diet even while pregnant. Alicia Silverstone even wrote about her vegan pregnancy diet. Carrie Underwood, Natalie Portman and Allyson Hannigan  are vegans who softened up and switched to vegetarianism during pregancy.
The Happy Herbivore put together a post that includes a list of recommended books for having a safe vegan diet and pregnancy.
Check them out:

These are the Chores Most Moms Would Love to Outsource


I’ve always joked that if there was a mom lottery that the top prizes should be something like lifetime of laundry doing or a toy-pick up butler. Something, useful like that. But truthfully, there is a lot of multi-tasking involved with parenting and moms usually have way more roles and tasks than dads un mos households.

Our partners at Mode curated a few articles featuring those tasks that are painstaking and challenging for moms which they would love to outsource to someone else to do! check it:

Check out 7 Chores Every Parent Wants to Outsource

by Janssen at Mode

Back to School: 5 School/Life Balance Tips for Kids

bellyitch rewind

back to school


As many children go back to school this month, several struggle in class, lose assignment sheets and notes, miss assignments and  forget to bring home books needed to complete homework if he or she is not organized.  There are tremendous benefits to teaching children executive functioning skills. These are the type of skills top or mid level execs use to succeed in work but certainly can apply to kids as well.

Organization and focus are key qualities for many successful adults, but these skills do not come naturally to grown ups, imagine if you were taught it at a young age and grew with those skills.

The Glenholme School in Washington, Connecticut  actually has a program called “Executive Functioning Skills” which helps its students focus on tasks at hand, prioritize and organize in a way that will help them throughout their lives even after leaving school.

Here are 5 tips that Maryann Campbell, Executive Director of The Glenholme School, offers to assist all parents and children:

  1. Stash and trash– Prevent mountains of papers from accumulating by learning what to keep and what to toss. This is a very important skill, even for the most organized adults! Teach children at a young age what types of documents to keep and throw away as well as how to best organize the materials they are keeping. Your future storage bins will thank you! 
  1. Balancing work and fun – It is important to teach children that there is a time for work and a time for play, and that they are both important for a well-balanced life! Make time for studying, after school activities and dinner with the family.
  1. Manage the day – Parents have planners, and so should children! Teach your child to use a day planner or calendar, where they can record their school work, after-school activities, social events and family time.  Whether it is paper or digital, it doesn’t matter. The point is that the child learns to manage their time and sets realistic expectations for each day.
  1. Organize assignments –Parents can help their children stay organized with color-coded folders and a desk-top storage system for their school work.  Children also really enjoy label makers. Divide the folders and storage containers by subject, and teach children how to label accordingly.
  1. Lightening the backpack without losing the work – We’ve all witnessed the tiny child with the gigantic backpack that weighs nearly as much as they do, as well as the extreme opposite of the student who shows up to class without a pen or paper. Teaching children to carry what is important for the day will help them be better prepared for class. Go over the day’s activities the night before, make a list of what classes and activities the child has and pack accordingly.

This solid advice should help parents have a basis and foundation for passing on these critical skills to their children.

photos: courtesy Ikea, The Glenholme School

You Can Get Rid Of Pregnancy Strechmarks, kinda 

What is more amazing than Kerri Walsh Jenningsabs is the virtual absence of stretch marks after giving birth to 3 kids.

She may be among the small lucky group of women who have the elasticity in their skin naturally that is resistant to stretch marks.

A lot of women who do get them want to know if they can get rid of their post-pregnancy stretch marks or will they  have to live with them.

Dr. Rosemary Leonard, health expert at The UK Express explains:

Stretch marks are caused by tears in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. This allows the blood vessels in the deep layer to show through which is why stretch marks are often red or purple in color when they first appear.

They occur when the skin has to stretch and although they are most commonly associated with pregnancy they can also occur in the growth spurt that occurs in puberty or when a person suddenly gains weight.

Some skin types are more prone to stretch marks than others and if a close relative in your family has developed them you are more at risk.

Unfortunately despite the claims that you frequently see on very expensive creams, there is very little that you can do to prevent them occurring if you happen to be prone to getting them.

The good news though is that when the skin contracts after pregnancy the blood vessels are no longer visible and the marks will fade to a silvery white colour and will be much less noticeable, although this process can take several years.

Laser therapy can help stretch marks to fade although it can’t remove them completely and typically several treatments are required. Most insurers don’t pay the cost and is usually very expensive.

The answer is yes you can get rid of them but you need time and money to make it happen.

6 iPhone Apps to Get You Thru Bedrest

getty bedrest2

Nothing frees up your time like being told you have to stay on bed rest for the remainder of your pregnancy, and if you don’t have enough distractions you can quickly find yourself bored out of your mind. Of course you can play your favorite games like Words with Friends or Wheel of Fortune, but after a while even those will lose their luster, and you’ll need something else to occupy your hours.

Here are 6 iPhone applications that will help take up some time and answer any questions you may have regarding concerns about the baby that may pop into your head while you are lying in bed.  There’s an app for everything from saving for college to listening to the baby’s heartbeat:

1. CollegeSave This application allows you to do the calculations to determine how much per month you will need to save in order to pay for your child’s college tuition.  If you start early then you will have the advantage of compounding interest and you won’t have to put as much away each month versus starting when your child is 10.

2. Soundhound Ever been bored and start humming a song and wish you knew what the song was?  With this application you can hum a few bars and it will use its vast library of over a million tunes to identify the song.  Want to come up with a bunch of lullabies for your baby?  This application can help with that.

3. iPregnancy  Want to know what’s going on inside your body at this very moment?  iPregnancy tells you how big the baby should be, what’s going on physically with the baby, keeps track of appointments and has a great baby name function to help you figure out what you are going to name your little peanut when the time comes.

4. ZipList  You may be on bed rest, but the rest of the family still needs to eat.  Don’t feel like you have to rely on your partner to handle everything with this application.  Now you can look up recipes, create a grocery list, sort the items on the list by aisle in the store, and then text everything to someone else to run to the store for you.  If your family runs out of anything they can scan the barcode using this application and it will automatically be added to the list.

5. My Baby’s Beat With this application you can actually use the microphone on your iPhone to hear your baby’s heart beat and your own.  You can record the heart beat and e-mail it to

6. After Baby is born: BabyTimer  This application allows you to keep track of the number of wet and dirty diapers your baby has each day.  It also keeps track of feedings so that you can report all of this information back to your pediatrician.

Good luck moms!

getty bedrest

Back to School Review: Best Printer for Your College Kid


After several years working at various companies, institutions and government bodies, I struck it on my own about 10 years ago. I ran my own boutique media and tech law firm (and later a boutique public relations firm briefly). Now I have a digital publishing company.

Between then and now, I had always worked from a home office. Sometimes, I worked out of that space solely and other times, part time, splitting hours working in a shared-office suite I leased in the city.

Naturally, to complete my office space, I had to get a mult-functioning printer that also had fax, copying and scanning capabilities.

My first one was a very heavy bulky laser desktop version by Brother. It did the trick and lasted a long time.

As my business grew and I started doing more public relations work for clients, I decided to get a supplemental printer. This second one was an even larger multi-function printer, made by Dell. It too was laser and could do print jobs super fast. It lasted several years and still works though it no longer faxes.  Both came with printer cartridges that lasted pretty long before needing to be replaced.

Recently, I upgraded the home office and acquired a few more desktops so the kids could each have their own computer.  My eldest had several computer-based projects and my three school-aged kids were fighting too much over the two desktops we owned.  I decided to leave the Dell to the kids and get myself a small desktop.

So I set off one day specifically to search for a laser printing, assuming laser was mandatory for professional documents.

I headed to my local Staples store and saw an HP Office Jet  Pro 8610 desktop printer there on sale for about $79.00 after a manufacturer discount. It was a good size to fit on my new desk or underneath it on the floor. It was color so I was geeked as I had never had a color printer before.

I didn’t even realize that it was not a laser printer, though I should have known given the great price.

It isn’t until I set it up that I realized. However, when I did my first few print jobs, I saw the quality was precise and distinctive.

You couldn’t even tell it wasn’t a laser print job. I decided against returning it.

I really dug being able to print in color as well. The color was sharp and true. It was great for flyers, and other graphic design projects.   HP has a series of printables and templates  you can access too that would supplement or complement your design needs.  You could download a desktop app or use the ones offered through its Snapfish partner.

And the printables are not just for business documents, but also personal stuff like invitations, party printables, worksheets for the kids, greeting cards, family calendars, chore lists, grocery lists, meal planners, cupcake wrappers. The works!


Because I have been so busy, I never took the time to study the owner’s manual and learn of all the other functions.

Nonetheless, each month, I would discover a new one.

Like, one time, my son started printing from his computer and that is when  I discovered he had connected to the printer too via a wireless network connection option meaning, it could connect wirelessly to all the computers in the home and be used by each to print!


One day, I needed to scan a document and that is when I learned that I wasn’t limited to the scanned document being simply downloaded as an electronic document on the c: drive in the attached computer.  I also had the option to email the doc, send it to any of the other computers in the network, and to send it to a thumb drive I could connect to the printer. That last option could come in handy during rush time when you need to just pick up a doc and go!

Very neat!

Then today, I finally had the need to send a fax and that is when I discovered that I didn’t need to connect the fax to the telephone jack in my wall via a telephone cord. It sent the fax via the IP network. (and it could send using the DSL, and other fiber optic non traditional landline telephone connections in the home).

That was a great discovery for several reasons: 1.The wall jack was remotely located behind a bookshelf in my office and is very hard to access; and 2. I don’t even own a telephone cord long enough to reach.

I feared having to haul the entire printer to the next room to connect to the jack there because it was more accessible physically there, not blocked by anything like a massive bookshelf.

hp office jet

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to see the fax was sent off in no time and I was given a fax confirmation promptly after to alert me it was successful.

I got a call shortly after from the recipient to let me know the transmission was received. Perfect!

It was a God-send because the other alternative would have been to feed and scan in several pages of documents, then take a few extra steps to forward the document off. It would have been a slightly more time-consuming process.

I appreciated the quicker fax option. To think, so many young people these days don’t use and don’t really even remember the fax days.

I even learned that you can print to home from anywhere in the world and even when you are far away from the printer.

I imagine that this would be awesome if you had this printer at a remote location for an event, conference or convention you were running, for example.  You could have some secretary, clerk or assistant back in the home office send in print jobs for event registration lists, guest updates, or Powerpoint presentations that someone forgot in the office.

Other neat functions I learned about include:

  • It prints photos if you feed photo paper and it has a borderless option so the photos print like photos you get from the drug store or print shop without the trim.
  • You can print and fax at the same time. I discovered this on accident when my son sent something to print while the fax was sending a file.
  • It can hold up to 240 pages in the printer tray and prints as fast as 13 seconds per page and up to 19 pages per minute.
  • It has 2-sided printing for graphic jobs like printing brochures, menus and programs.
  • It has an automatic document feeder so you can scan multiple documents without having to lift the flat bed and insert each one separately which could take a lot of time for large scan jobs.
  • You can print from your desktop, tablet or phone, any device that connects to the printer wirelessly.
  • It has the standard one-year limited hardware warranty.

Overall, this is an awesome, highly recommended printer!

You can order it from Staples and they will ship it to you for free. Or if you have Amazon Prime, get it there too and get it shipped for free!

If you pick one up, do let me know how it works out for you!

Eco- Friday: 3 Steps to a Greener, Healthier Home



It’s easy being green. Follow these three steps to a greener and healthier home.

1. Prevent Pests

Pests are a nuisance and a hazard to human health in many cases. Cockroaches, for example, can trigger or worsen allergies and asthma. Mosquitoes are known carriers of disease like Zika and West Nile. Rodents can contaminate food and spread disease. Termites can eat away at the wood in your home’s structure.

There are hundreds of pests that can make your home unsafe. However, there are simple measures you can take to keep pests from making your home their home. Keep a clean and tidy home to eliminate food sources that attract many of these pests. Prevent moisture in the bathroom, kitchen and yard, too. Seal up access points such as cracks and crevices in your house’s foundation to keep pests like rodents out, keeping your family safe.

Even pests that are not known carriers of disease, like bed bugs, can still cause chaos in your home. And they aren’t just limited to hotels, either. Families can pick up these pests in any public space, from daycare and school to the gym and airport. Their bites can cause serious redness, itchiness and swelling, a nightmare for parents with small kids. To keep your family and home free of bed bugs, always wash your linens in hot water and dry them on the hottest setting when returning from trips and avoid purchasing items like furniture second-hand. This is especially important for families living in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, as these places fall within Orkin’s report of the top bed bug cities.

2. Buy Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Despite being marketed as “safe” or “green,” many cleaning products on the market contain harmful chemicals. Keeping a clean home is important to ensuring your family stays healthy. Bacteria and germs are lurking everywhere, from the kitchen to the bathroom. But green-minded experts suggest swapping standard cleaning agents for cleaning supplies that are natural and healthy, such as white vinegar and baking soda.

3. Invest in Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling

Automation is one of the biggest trends in home technology right now. For good reason, too. Not only is automation convenient for homeowners, it is also eco-friendly. Take Nest, for example. This automated, self-learning thermostat controls the heating and cooling when you’re home and when you’re out of the house, ensuring that no energy is wasted. Compatible with your smartphone, this self-learning “smart” thermostat also offers insight into how much energy you are consuming every single day with the Energy Report and every month with the Home Report.

Additionally, Nest’s leaf feature helps you keep the environment in mind when you’re adjusting your heating and cooling. When you change the temp to save energy, a small, green leaf appears on Nest’s display, showing that you are making an eco-conscious decision. Nest also alerts you on your phone when your home may be unsafe. It sends alerts if the temperature is too low, which means pipes could burst, and if your furnace is acting up.