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parenting tips

How to find a talent rep for your budding actor kid

guest post by Jessica Rofé
I can’t visit my brother’s house without his ten-year-old daughter hounding me about getting her an agent! It’s all she thinks about, talks about and dreams about! I long for the days when the two of us could just have a normal conversation about her friends, what’s going on in school and her favorite movie but she knows that her aunt Jessica is connected to youth talent agents and managers and believes I can make her dreams of appearing on the Disney channel a reality! If only it were that easy! 
In 2005, I founded A Class Act NY, Manhattan’s award-winning acting studio for kids and teens, after having worked in casting and on the talent agency side of the business. I was once a wannabe child actor myself but my parents weren’t supportive of me working professionally. If a job landed in my lap, they allowed me to work and they certainly delighted in seeing me star in my school and camp productions but the fact was that they wouldn’t allow me to pursue a serious acting career as a child. So now, I help young performers achieve their dreams of becoming professional, working actors!  
The question I often get is, “How do I find an Agent or Manager? It almost seems impossible!” Well, here are five ways to find your budding thespian an agent or manager:
The old fashioned way. Get pictures taken, create a resume and do a mass mailer to all the agents and managers in town, hoping that someone will flag your picture and call you in for an audition. This, however, is not ideal. Firstly, it’s very costly. After spending money on a photographer, photo re-touching and printing, large-sized envelopes and stamps you’ll have quite a large dent in your wallet! Secondly, from my days on the talent agency side of the business, I know there just isn’t enough time for an agency to go through every piece of mail and call actors in for an audition. Auditions may only be held once a year and every person who submits a head shot and resume isn’t going to be seen. 
Get out there and perform. Another way for kids and teens to find representation is to perform in productions that are guaranteed to have actively scouting industry reps in attendance. If a child has a good-sized role, agents and managers will have a front row seat for evaluating their abilities and may call them in for a follow-up meeting. 
Have a connection. You may even find representation for your child through friends who are already established in the industry. Ask them to recommend you to their agent. However, if your child is the same age, gender and type as the child who already has representation, the friend may hesitate in making the introduction because it would increase the competition their child faces in an already competitive business. 
Workshops and Classes. One of the more productive ways of finding representation is to enroll your child in a workshop where they work one-on-one with industry reps. This gives kids an amazing opportunity to work in an intimate class setting with the people who hold the key to their success. In addition to providing exposure, these classes are incredibly educational. Kids are taught proper audition technique, lingo and performance skills that help lay a solid foundation for furthering their acting career.
Agent and Manager Showcases. Perhaps the very best way to find representation is to participate in a by-audition-only agent and manager showcase. If cast, agent and manager showcase participants have the chance to perform for a large group of agents, managers and casting directors. Before auditioning your child for a showcase, a parent should do their research, ask questions about the success rate of prior showcase participants and be wary about false promises. If a young actor participates in a showcase before they are ready to go to the next level, it will only hurt their chances of finding representation in the long run. The most reputable showcases only position aspiring actors who have the best chance of success in front of the very people that can help them realize their dreams.
Jessica Rofé is the Founder and Artistic Director of A Class Act NY, Manhattan’s award-winning acting studio for kids and teens. Jessica has successfully coached students that have booked roles in feature films, Broadway productions and prime-time TV series. Her students have had starring roles in Broadway’s The Lion King, NBC’s The New Normal and The Sound of Music Live! and the upcoming feature film The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Jessica was recently featured on the television show, Extreme Moms for the Lifetime Channel as an expert talent judge. She is a Backstage Expert contributor to Backstage, the industry’s most trusted resource. Jessica can also be seen in the feature film The Zodiac, numerous commercials and print ads. Visit A Class Act NY’s website for more information about their agent and manager showcases, one-day workshops with industry guests, full-scale productions and private coaching at .

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7 ways to get your children to develop healthy eating habits

With the childhood obesity crisis making the news just about every week, it’s important for parents and nannies to encourage healthy eating habits in kids. The habits they learn now will influence how they eat throughout their lifetime. Here are some tips that will help you keep your child’s diet on the right track and give him the knowledge and skills he needs to make life long healthy eating choices.
  1. Introduce a variety of foods at a young age. It’s easy for toddlers to get stuck in a chicken nugget (or other favorite food) rut. While you shouldn’t try and force your child to eat a particular food, you can limit the amount you offer of an unhealthy but favorite food choice, and instead offer a wide variety of other healthy options. By giving your child lots of choices and letting him decide which foods he’ll have and how much he’ll eat, you’ll avoid the power struggles this age is known for.
  2. Keep lots of healthy snacks on hand. Kids of all ages snack several times throughout the day. This intermittent eating is actually a healthy way to consume the daily calories they need, however, children can get into nutritional trouble when snack time is seen as an excuse to have sugary foods. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with lots of healthy choices, such as fruit, bite sized vegetables, low fat yogurt, nuts and cheese. A quick online search will turn up literally hundreds of healthy snack ideas. Having these types of snacks available will help kids make tasty, nutritious choices.
  3. Don’t try to keep your child completely away from sweets. Sweets are not bad when eaten with awareness and in moderation. Helping your child make good choices about sweets is an important part of preparing him to maintain a healthy diet outside of your home. Let’s face it, when your child gets older he will have to make food choices at school, at friends’ homes, and in many other situations. By not making sweets taboo, you make it much more likely that he’ll eat them in smart moderation when they’re offered.
  4. Avoid high sugar processed foods, soda and energy drinks. The American Heart Association found children as young as 1 to 3 years typically consume around 12 teaspoons of sugar per day. By the time a child is 4 to 8 years old, he consumes an average of 21 teaspoons of sugar per day. This problem only gets worse with age, with children who are in the 14 to 18 year age range averaging about 34.3 teaspoons every day. Those amounts are more than 3 times the recommended amount for a healthy diet. Avoiding a lot of processed foods and sugary drinks is one of the easiest ways to curb your child’s sugar consumption. There are plenty of foods like fruit and milk that contain natural sugar to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth.
  5. Don’t make fast food a habit. Going through the drive through on the way home from ballet class or a soccer game is a quick and easy way to solve the question, “What’s For Dinner?” However, fast food is filled with fat, sugar, preservatives and lots of calories. It’s one of the leading contributors to obesity, heart disease and many other health complications. Do meal planning and grocery shopping in advance when your days or nights are going to allow you little time to make a healthy dinner. With a little planning and advance preparation, healthy can also be quick.
  6. Get kids involved in cooking. Kids love to help out in the kitchen. When they’re involved in meal planning and cooking, they’re more likely to eat healthy options without a lot of pushing back. Learning to cook at a young age will also help them develop the skills they’ll need as young adults, when they’ll need to prepare healthy choices for themselves. Even the youngest child can help pour ingredients, stir and mix. Cooking together is also a great way to connect as a family.
  7. Grow a garden. Gardening is a wonderful family activity. Allowing your child to participate in the food cycle from the very beginning gives him a real understanding of where the food on the table comes from. This helps him learn to appreciate fresh and organic choices and turn away from highly processed foods. It also helps him to understand the importance of protecting the environment, gives him first-hand experience with sustainability issues, and connects him to the earth in a meaningful way.

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New Trend? Twitter employee live tweets her labor and delivery

After giving birth to my third and last kid back in 2007, many people called me crazy for posting about it on this blog shortly after. It’s 6 years later and people are actually live tweeting their labor and delivery in 140 character increments! Wowza!
That is what Twitter employee Claire Diaz-Ortiz started updating her followers as soon as she started feeling labor pangs and ended her #InLabor sharing with a photo of her daughter,  Lucía Paz Díaz-Ortiz!
She isn’t the first to carry this off, but being an employee of Twitter helps get her more notice. Designer, former star of a BravoTV show and mom to three, Rosie Pope sort of live-tweeted her last kid’s birth in 2012.

Ingenious or the ultimate overshare. What are your thoughts?

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Teacher Appreciation Week: 30 websites with ideas on what to get for your kids’ teacher

Teacher Appreciation  week is in May and it is never too early to start preparing. FindABabysitter assembled an impressive list of 30 sites for you to check out in search of ideas. 
Theme Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week Coming up with a theme for teacher appreciation week might make it easier to tie all of your plans together.  The theme may even inspire new ideas that you may not have thought of had you not come up with a theme.  These five blog entries can help you come up with a theme for your teacher appreciation week festivities.
Ways to Celebrate Teachers  There are many different things you can do for your teachers during teacher appreciation week without spending a lot of money.  Maybe you can wash all of the teacher’s cars.  Or you can have parents donate food for a potluck.  If you ask, maybe you could get a local business to donate food for a special treat day.  The kids can make cards or bring flowers for the teacher on a different day.  Little things can add up and mean a lot to your teachers.  Take a look at these five blog posts and see if you can find any ideas that appeal to you.

Gifts to Make for Teachers

When you make gifts for your child’s teachers you will be putting a little bit of yourself into each gift.  It will be personalized for her and not something that she will receive from 10 other students.  Try to make the gifts useful, like making her a grocery bag.  She would think of you every time she used the bag to carry home groceries.  Think how many years it would last.  Now that many teachers are getting an iPad and other types of tablets, they might need to have a sleeve to protect it.  These ideas and others can be found in these five blog posts.

Ways to Recognize Teachers For a special touch to your teacher appreciation week, find a way to publicly recognize your teachers.  Maybe you put an ad in the paper thanking all of the teachers at your school.  You can also recognize them in other ways, like plaques or awards.  Check out these five blog entries for more ideas.

Gifts to Buy for Teachers

Sometimes teachers receive a lot of gifts that they can’t really use.  How many candles do you really need?  When asked, teachers will most likely say that it’s the thought that counts, but if they are honest they would tell you that gift cards are always appreciated.  These five blog entries share ideas for gifts using store bought items put together in a creative way.

Ideas on a Budget In this economy, the budget to celebrate might be on the small side.  You can find things to do for the teachers that will pamper them without breaking the bank.  Instead of catering a lunch in, see if you can get parents to bring in a covered dish.  For other ideas on how to celebrate teacher appreciation week on budget check out these five blog articles.

Trying to Conceive: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Congratulations! You’ve decided to have a baby and that’s a very exciting time of your life. But remember, making a baby can take time. So be patient, especially when your friends seem to constantly be sharing their good news and the in-laws are asking, ‘Are you pregnant yet?’ every time they see you. Often, after years of painstaking birth control, it can be a tough realization that getting pregnant when you finally want to isn’t as easy as you thought it would be. Here are a few questions to ask your doctor when you are ready to conceive:           
1.      How long should it take for me to get pregnant? This depends on a great number of factors. But realize that making a baby takes time, often up to 12 months. If you’ve been trying for longer than a year, see your doctor to begin an infertility evaluation. If you’re older than 35, it can take longer because of aging impact on your eggs, so start your evaluation after 6 months if you have not conceived . Don’t panic, try to be patient and have fun in the process. After all, stress will only exacerbate the challenge.
2.      How much will my age really affect my chances? The chances of a woman naturally having a baby after age 35 decline by about 50 percent, and they decline by about 90 percent after age 40. So if having a baby is in your future plans, get started sooner rather than later. If you’re under 35, see an infertility expert after one year of trying without success. If you’re 35 or more, see an infertility expert if you don’t conceive naturally within six months. If you’re over 38, be seen after 3 months of unsuccessful trying. Though conceiving after 40 may be difficult, it’s not impossible, so ask your doctor what else you can do.
3.      Should I take prenatal vitamins? What kind? Yes. Eating healthy will raise your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy (that means cutting out the junk food and loading up on greens), and prenatal vitamins help fill in any holes in the mother’s diet. Ask your doctor to recommend a good prenatal vitamin with calcium and lots of B6 when you first start thinking about having a baby. Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System is one of the few prenatals that has enough vitamin B6, which has been shown to increase fertility. Also, take an Omega-3 fish oil. Look for those with a higher mg of DHA and EPA.
4.      Does timing matter? You’re best bet is try to conceive just before and during ovulation, which happens anywhere from 13 to 20 days before your period. I recommend using an ovulation predictor kit to time intercourse. Then, have sex a few days leading up to and on the day of ovulation. Remember that sperm can live up to 6 days in your body, but your egg can only survive 12 to 24 hours. This timing gives you the best odds of the sperm and egg meeting. To be sure you’re getting the timing right, pick up a ClearBlue fertility monitor to help you map your fertility calendar. Use a digital thermometer, which is much faster and easier to use than a standard one, for basal temperature measurements. And to keep you on track, use a journal to keep track as a personal conception and pregnancy organizer. 

5. Can I use a lubricant? If having timed relations is affecting your ability to be intimate, a lubricant is a great option. But many lubricants may actually negatively affect sperm motility. Try Pre-Seed. It’s the only FDA-cleared, clinically shown ‘Fertility-Friendly’ Lubricant developed by doctors and used by fertility clinics. Use the applicator to apply it near the cervix. Its pH balanced to match fertile cervical mucus as well as the pH of sperm, so it won’t harm your chances of conceiving.
6. When should I take a pregnancy test? And which one should I use? Home pregnancy tests work by detecting levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), that is produced during pregnancy. These tests can only detect hCG after implantation occurs, which is generally 10 days post-ovulation (dpo). But don’t freak out if a test comes up negative at 10 dpo, since it’s not an exact science and you may still get pregnant up to 15 dpo. 15 dpo is when a woman who is not pregnant will typically get her period, so it’s the ‘first day of a missed period.’


First Response Early Result is the only pregnancy test that can detect pregnancy up to 6 days before your missed period (9 dpo). That’s one day sooner than any other home pregnancy test in the market.
Gloria Richard-Davis, MD, from the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is an educator and Educator author of Planning Parenthood.
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6 Things to consider when buying your baby’s crib

For many expecting parents, visions of pastel, color-coordinated nurseries dance alongside mounds of fluffy pillows and luxurious baby bedding. Unfortunately, these bedding sets are almost always more stylish than safe, and in some cases they can be downright dangerous. There are some guidelines that new parents should adhere to when choosing a crib and bedding for their upcoming bundle of joy, making sure that certain requirements are met and dangers avoided before Baby’s first slumber in her new nursery.

  1.     Avoid SIDS by Eschewing Soft Bedding – The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that new parents eschew all crib bedding apart from a fitted sheet for the first twelve months of their baby’s life. Opting for wearable blankets rather than loose blankets and placing babies on their backs to sleep with no pillows or plush toys can prevent the risk of suffocation. If you do choose to use a blanket in your infant’s crib, the Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests positioning your baby so that her feet are touching the bottom rails of her crib, tucking the blanket in at the bottom and sides of the mattress, and only pulling the blanket up to her chest. Keep in mind that babies can overheat much more easily than adults, and you should use only lightweight blankets to ensure that she stays warm.
  2.     Make Sure Your Mattress Fits Tightly in the Crib – Your baby’s crib mattress should be firm, not soft, to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and suffocation. It should also fit tightly into the crib to prevent suffocation or entrapment between the mattress and the crib’s sides. Ideally, you should be able to fit no more than two fingers between the side of the mattress and the frame of the crib. The surface of the mattress shouldn’t conform to an adult hand when pressed into the mattress, and it should snap back into place as soon as the hand is removed.
  3.     Forgo the Antiques – The ornate, antique crib used by three generations of your family might be a beautiful piece of furniture, and every child that used it may have survived their infancy, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a safe choice. In addition to the unlikelihood of slats and bars being properly spaced on very old cribs, they may also feature drop sides, which have been banned, and even a layer or two of lead-based paint. Let good sense trump sentimentality, and choose a new crib that adheres to modern safety standards.
  4.     If You Do Choose Decorative Bedding, Play it Smart – If you simply can’t bear the idea of skipping the magazine layout-worthy crib bedding to show off Baby’s nursery to the fullest, be smart about your decision and make sure that the fitted sheet is snug, thin, and breathable. When it’s time to put your baby down, be sure to pull every pillow, stuffed toy, comforter and any other soft objects out of the crib first. Parents determined to have a nursery ready for photographs as well as a lowered risk of their baby suffering from SIDS, suffocation, or injury are forced to compromise in just such a manner, but can have the best of both worlds by playing it safe and smart.
  5.     Do Your Homework About Crib Bumpers – The city of Chicago has banned the sale of crib bumpers altogether, with advocacy groups across the country crying out for similar bans on a national level. Parents are largely divided into two camps these days: pro-bumper and anti-bumper. If you fall into the former, be sure to research the subject thoroughly and apprise yourself of all the risks before tying those bumpers onto Baby’s crib; namely, the risk of suffocation and the impediment of air flow in the crucial area at your baby’s face level on all four sides of her crib. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that bumpers are safe once the threat of SIDS has largely passed; older babies and young toddlers have been known to use bumpers as a means of climbing out of their cribs, leading to messy falls and giving them access to dangerous situations. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have given crib bumpers a thumbs-down, so it might be wise to think twice before springing for those adorable but potentially-deadly accessories.
  6.     Do a Recall Check – Before purchasing nursery furniture or bedding, make sure that you check for any recalls; repeat these checks regularly after you’ve made your purchase as well to ensure that safety hazards haven’t been discovered since the last time you looked. The Consumer Product Safety Commission website is a great resource for recall information.
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Mommy Makeovers: The Poor Woman’s Guide to Safe Plastic Surgery

Recently, stories about women jetting off to South and Central American countries to get low cost plastic surgeries and “mommy makeovers” have circulated widely. Budget conscious women looking to nip and tuck, some after having a baby, are looking for as many alternatives out there and taking risks traveling to nations that do not have the same safety regulations we have here in the US.  Not all women recover and many come back to the US and develop a host of post-operation complications. 
Top leading plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory H. Croll offers some other alternatives:
It’s no longer necessary to empty out your life savings to

get the plastic surgery of your dreams. There are many surgeries that you can

get that won’t break the bank. One option many people do when they don’t have a

lot of money for plastic surgery is to travel out of the country or to

somewhere else where plastic surgeries are a bit cheaper. While many people do

decide to do this it can be somewhat risky and can end up costing you a lot in

travel fees, as well. Plus it is always nice to just recuperate after a surgery

in the comfort of your own home, rather a foreign country.
If you just can’t

resist, though…
If you do decide that going out of the county is the route

you want to take, the best countries to do so are South Korea, or Greece and

Italy if you don’t want to go quite as far. The United States is the fourth best

country for plastic surgery, so if you aren’t going to one of the other three,

the US is the best bet for getting the best quality procedure for your dollar.

South Korea is the best place for plastic surgery because of the number of

skilled plastic surgeons that charge reasonable prices. Plastic surgeries are

also quite popular in South Korea, with the most popular surgery being double eyelid

surgery for people who want more Western-looking eyes. If you’re unable to

travel, or would rather get a plastic surgery at home in the US, there are

other options for cheap plastic surgeries.
Don’t Forget to Ask

for Discounts
Another thing you should try if you are getting a plastic

surgery is to ask your surgeon if there are any discounts. Many physicians in

the field are offering specials and price negotiation for popular procedures. The

most popular time to get plastic surgery is during the school year, when

parents can send kids to school, so if you can plan to get your surgery done

during the summer there are much better chances of getting a discount. Most

people don’t want to have to recover during the summer, but if you aren’t

worried about that you can save a lot of money by getting your surgery done

Consolidate Surgeries

If you want to get more than one surgery done, you can also

save money by getting them done simultaneously. This not only saves you and the

surgeon money, but it can really work better for you as well. That way if you

have to ask off work for recuperating time, you are recuperating from both

surgeries instead of having to ask off for days for two separate surgeries. It

can also save money and time for both you and the surgeon because you only have

to go under the knife once.
Surgery Payment Plans

May Be Available
Sometimes you might make enough money for the surgery, not

have it right at the time that you need it. In this case, many surgeons offer

surgery payment plans, so you don’t have to pay a surgery off right away. Try

other options for reducing price first, though, because this option can easily

get you into debt if you’re not careful and then you have a whole other set of

Don’t Let Cheap

Interfere with Quality
These are just a few ways you might be able to save on

plastic surgery. But always remember that you want to make sure you are getting

a quality surgery. Ask around and make sure you know all the details about your

surgery before you get one. Especially if the procedure is abnormally

underpriced, you might want to listen to your gut if you are getting a bad

feeling about a plastic surgeon, because plastic surgeries aren’t easily

reversed. It will cost a lot of money to fix a botched surgery, which will

completely erase any savings you might have gotten original. Always listen to

your instinct and make sure you are talking to a certified surgeon. You can

find that out on this


Dr. Gregory H. Croll is one of the top plastic surgeons

Columbia MO
has to offer. He performs

procedures including breast, facial, body and hand procedures.

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Passover: Ways to get your children involved in The Seder

This is no April Fool’s Joke!  Passover is just around the corner, April 14th,  and it’s time to start planning The Seder, the traditional meal commemorating the Jewish holiday.
For kids, The Seder can be extremely long dinner service and often times, children have no clue what is going on. But there are ways to incorporate your children into the holiday so they too can at least know about the traditions and have a deeper understanding. 
Consider creating a Haggada and have your child draw pictures of the different aspects of Passover before hand. 
They can use crayons and draw themselves reading the 4 Questions, create a picture of the Seder plate that has them looking for the Afikomen
The afikomen (or half of a piece of matzah) is hidden by the head of the household, and when it’s time for dessert it’s tradition that the children hunt for the afikomen and return it in exchange for money or a small prize. The afikomen helps children stay involved (and awake!) during the meal, knowing that their part in finding the afikomen is coming soon and that there is a reward for it once found – a prize and dessert!
The kids can then put the pictures of their visual interpretation of  4 questions in order together and bind with rings or string. During the actual dinner, kids can use their own Haggadah at the Seder to help them be involved on a level that they understand.
Finally, another way to get your children involved is to have them help create some aspects of the Seder meal. From our friends at Carrington Farms, an organic and healthy foods company, enjoy this is a Fried Matzoh recipe which is a twist on a traditional omelet.
2 sheets of Matzoh, broken into pieces soaked in milk
2 eggs, beaten
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon Carrington Farms coconut oil 
Soak matzoh in milk, drain milk and add eggs and mix well.
Melt Carrington Farms coconut oil in pan
Add matzoh and egg mixture and fry like an omelet, turn and fry each side 5 minutes
Garnish with Carrington Farms flax, jelly, cinnamon, etc

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10 Spring Gardening Safety Tips for the Family

It’s lawn and gardening season nce again. Every year 600,000 Americans are injured riding lawn mowers while doing yard work. Often times, your children also want to join in and “help” doing yard work. They can but while exercising proper supervision and following some safety tips. 
SummerNannyJobs lists 10 tips for keeping the children safe.

As the temperature rises and the days get longer, the amount of attention that your lawn requires also increases. For parents who are considering outdoor chores for their brood, there are some safety rules that should be taken into account before sending them outside. Here are 10 of the most important guidelines that should be instituted when kids help out with yard work.

  1. Teach Proper Tool Use – It’s easy to assume that older kids have a handle on the use of basic lawn tools, but those without hands-on experience may be a bit confused. This can lead to serious injury if tools are mishandled, so it’s a good idea to outline the basics.
  2. Supervision is Key – For younger children, it’s absolutely essential that they be supervised at all times. Work alongside them or even on another task nearby, but never let them work while you’re inside or on the other side of your property.
  3. Keep Little Ones Inside During Mowing – Kids are fascinated with riding lawnmowers, so it might be difficult to keep them indoors while an adult cuts the grass. Still, the potential for flying debris and injury from the blades is too great to allow for close observation.
  4. More On Mowers – In addition to keeping smaller kids indoors while an adult is mowing the lawn, it’s a good rule of thumb that those under the age of 13 be deemed too young to operate a mower. This rule can be flexible; you know your child’s abilities and level of responsibility best. However, be sure that they are well-informed about safety measures and instructed on proper operation.
  5. Insist On Proper Footwear – Summertime might be flip-flop weather, but kids and adults alike should wear shoes that cover the entire foot and lace securely during lawn work. In addition to the chance of injury due to mishandled equipment, there are also a myriad of other things that can cause injury if stepped on.
  6. Keep Kids Away From Chemicals – Though more and more parents are opting for organic or “green” lawn and garden solutions, it’s still important to treat all additives as if they’re potentially harmful and to keep kids entirely clear of traditional, chemical-based solutions.
  7. Store Everything Properly – At the end of a yard work session, kids should be instructed to return everything to its proper storage space. Rakes, hoes and shovels left lying in the lawn can be obscured and cause injury if stepped on.
  8. Wear Proper Protective Clothing – Kids should wear protective gear to shield their eyes, close-fitting clothing that is less likely to be caught in any mechanical equipment, and plenty of sunscreen.
  9. Stay Hydrated – Summer heat can be downright brutal in some places, so it’s important that kids know to stay well hydrated and to come inside if they feel overheated. These rules can also be applied to outdoor play.
  10. No Horseplay Allowed – Kids are, by nature, prone to rough-housing and horseplay. They need to understand, however, that it isn’t allowed during lawn work. There are too many potentially-dangerous situations that arise from this sort of behavior when tools are involved.

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6 Personalized Mother’s Day Gifts you need to Start planning for NOW

Mother’s Day isn’t until May, but it’s just around the corner and time is ticking if you are thinking of getting a personalized gift for mom this year.  Now is the time to start planning. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Hand-sketched portrait of the family – Recall a while back malls would have artists at kiosks doing hand-sketched portraits in charcoal or pencil of a family or a photo brought to them? These days, these artists and companies have gone online but you need to get in line early. You send them a digital image and they sketch it for you and send you a high resolution image that you then print out and frame. Some companies will do the printing and framing for you, depending on how much advanced notice you give them. That is why you need to hurry and get on it now! This is one of the best personal gifts that can be given.

2. Family Tree Artwork – Artwork that incorporates genealogical information can range from minimalist and sparse to very ornate, so there’s a style to suit any décor. Moms are sure to love a family tree painting or print, and there are several retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, that specialize in them. To create this however, you will have to get a headstart on pinpointing who to put on them and start doing  your homework. Get on it now!

3. Personalized Gifts –  Many personalized gifts sites offer options to purchase a gift item and to decide what image, words or phrasings to put on them. Coffee mugs with mom’s favorite poem or a T-Shirt with the kids in a crazy pose would go off well. But since these are personalized and will take more time, it’s key to start checking out the offerings as soon as possible. Zazzle has a great selection of Mother’s Day gifts at www.zazzle.com/mothers+day+gifts.

4. Homemade Gift Baskets – Sure you can order a pre-made gift basket from a flower shop or gift shop, but mom would really enjoy getting a basket full of the stuff she loves personally. Pick up a wooden box or basket from a craft store and some stuffing for the bottom. Add mugs, her favorite candy or nuts, a personalized necklace, her favorite magazines etc then use one of the cellophane wrapping that shrinkwraps to cinch the basket together. Tie a pretty bow and voila! Personalized gift basket! Easy Breezy, but you need to start thinking of,  listing and chasing down mom’s favorite things to go in the basket now. 

5. Personalized Jewelry –  Many jewelry stores offer items that can be personalized with a scripture or quote that is personal to mom or the family, a unique name that never can be found in stores or photos but to get them made in time for Mother’s day, gift-givers have to start early.  From necklaces with charms to symbolize each of her children to bracelets with each child’s birthstone, there’s definitely no shortage of precious adornments that can be created with Mom in mind.

6. Handmade Gifts – Moms of small children are sure to be moved to tears by a gift they helped to make, so giving little ones a hand in creating her gift can be a big hit.  You want to leave plenty of time for misses and mistakes so if you are thinking of creating a quality and functional handmade gift for mom this year, start planning it now. 

Any mom will appreciate a gift that wasn’t picked up from the local drug store the night before Mother’s Day for once. If you want to get all that gushy love for doing a personalized gift this year, you better get on the ball now! 

Good luck!

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