Family Recreation

Creating a Memory Book through Scrapbooking

Creating a Memory Book through Scrapbooking

By: Marcus Harbert

The art of Scrapbooking has become very popular. Scrapbooking allows you to create memory books that are so much more than the old standard, boring photo albums of yesterday. Using the immense supplies available for you to choose from in your Scrapbooking, you can create memory books that reflect not only your personality: but that also help you to capture the true "essence" of those special memories you want remembered forever.

You can begin making your memory scrapbook, sure to become a treasure to be shared from generation to generation with basic materials like patterned paper, rubber stamps, patterns, stencils, stickers, serrated- scissors, and the photos you already have. This is just a small example of the many supplies that are available for you to choose from in creating your memory book. You can find Scrapbooking supplies online and in many malls and outlet stores today. Software programs are also available to help you design the perfect memory book for your precious memories.

Begin by looking at a photo; recall the memories and feelings that arise by looking at this picture that has been captured on film. What does this picture represent to you? Maybe it is the love of family and friends, or the adventure you found on your last vacation. Whatever it is, consider how you might best represent these feelings, and memories so that someone else looking at this same photograph, even a few generations removed, will be able to understand the emotions and circumstances surrounding the images of the people, places, or things seen in this particular piece of film. Being able to know why a certain picture was taken, and what it meant to the one who took the shot, results in a 'bonding' between the original picture taker, the event captured, and the one who is now looking at these images.

Once you have started to think about what this picture means to you and how you would like to best represent that meaning, you can start to create a memory scrapbook that will keep these precious memories alive forever. The best memory books have pages that employ the use of many different types of materials. Don't be afraid to mix stickers with cut-outs (made by designed scissors), patterned papers, stencils, rubber stamp images, markers, crayons, and labels. Let your creative-side come out in the designing of your memory books.

With a little creativity it is easy to create memory scrapbooks that are a joy to share with family and friends. Family history can be captured in these books: to be recalled in your lifetime and as testimonials of relatives in the past, to be known and remembered by the generations to follow. You not only have a plethora of choices in materials already available to choose from in creating your memory book, new ideas, and materials are created every day for those who want to use scrapbooking as a way to create memory books that will last forever.

What should you use to hold your newly created memory pages? You can choose to use a standard photo album, one that you can decorate using the same materials used in making your memory pages. Or maybe you will want to complete your memory book by laminating a couple of special memory pages for the front and back covers, and then "binding" them together with all of your memory pages into a book. You can learn more about bookbinding through books and software programs. Scrapbook stores and the internet are also good sources of information about scrapbooking and bookbinding.

 

Author Bio
This article was produced for www.Lostcrafts.com, a site which is dedicated to preserving the crafts and trades of yesterday.

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10 Ways To Be a Terrific Parent!

10 Ways To Be a Terrific Parent!

10 Ways To Be a Terrific Parent!
By Troy Price

Every parent's hope and desire for their child is for him or her to be happy and successful in life. However, the reality is that despite the good intentions of parents, many of today's children are being neglected and not properly lead that will put them on that path to success. When there is no direction and no program in place, both the parent and child are left wandering aimlessly through a jungle of unknowns that often leads to misery and disaster.

Below is a road map that will give you hope and direction if you follow the guidelines set forth. It will help you to be not just a good parent but a terrific parent! Use it, apply it, and watch what happens. You will begin to see yourself in a different light and feel better about your parenting abilities.

So let's get you on the right road!

1. Have a discipline system in place and stick with it.

Whether or not children will admit to it, they desire discipline but more importantly direction on how to behave properly. When there is a lack of rules and inconsistency to enforce the rules, children quickly become confused as do the parents. This causes a lot of unnecessary frustration and tension that can easily be solved in two simple steps: One, have a simple system in place that clearly identifies the rules and consequences; and two, be consistent in enforcing the rules. It is important that both the child and parent understand how the system works and how it can benefit both.

When a parent neglects to consistently enforce the rules and carry out the system, he or she sets up false hopes and expectations that don't carry any value behind it. The child quickly learns that the system is weak, is not executed properly, and therefore begins to exploit those weak gaps. The child also learns how to manipulate to their advantage the inconsistency of both the system and parent and therefore gains more power over the parent. Meanwhile, the parent can't understand why they are losing the discipline battle with their child and becomes more frustrated and stressed out.

Whatever discipline system you create, make sure it is fair and that you firmly carry it out. Never give in or waiver from it and always be consistent. Once the child and parent understand the rules of the system and how to play by it, there will be less confusion, anxiety, and better communication. You will soon discover that your child's attitude and behavior will quickly turn around and your relationship with him or her will be happier and healthier.

2. Get Involved and Often.

It's been said that the greatest investment a parent can ever make in their child's life is spending quality time with them. When you are a part-time parent you get a part-time child. If you only put in 50 percent, you only get out 50 percent. If you want a strong and lasting relationship with your child, you have to be willing to make personal sacrifices and put in the time and effort with your child. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you do it together. Again, it's about the quality of time you spend together, not the quantity of activities.

Growing up, I played a lot of sports. The one thing I hated more that anything else was sitting on the bench and watching others in the heat of battle. I wanted more than anything to be in the middle of it all and when I wasn't it tore me up inside. No one likes to sit on the bench or "ride the pine" because it's lonely and boring. Everyone wants a piece of the action and maybe if their lucky enough, be the hero. When you sit on the bench as a parent, you miss out on some of the most precious moments of your child's life. Moments that you can never get back and ones that may never come again. Don't be a spectator parent. Get off the bench and into the middle of the fray. You'll be glad you did and so will your child.

When at all possible, try to be there for as many activities for your child as you can. And not just show up as I mentioned. Get involved by actively participating. My two oldest boys play baseball and so that I could spend more time with them, I help coach their little league team. It is a blast helping kids learn the great game of baseball but more importantly, I get to be directly involved in my children's lives while teaching and leading them. I know it makes a big difference to my boys when I am there cheering them on and supporting them at the field level. Even though they may not say it or fully appreciate me being there with them, I see it when my boys smile and high-five me once they round third. It is at that moment when I realize that this is where I need to be.

3. Set and Be a Great Example.

The role model that will have the greatest impact and influence on your child for either good or bad in their lifetime is you - the parent. For girls, that parent is the mother and for the boys, the father. That's not to say that both parents don't have a great influence on their child because they do, but studies have shown that same sex gender plays a greater role in how that child is influenced based upon the sex of that child. And from a logical stand point, that makes perfect sense. Females understand females better than a male and vice-versa and for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, both parents need to set and be a great example for their child.

When children are brought into this world, they learn from their parents and siblings within the home how to walk, speak, think, behave and acquire new knowledge and understanding. As time goes on and that child gets older, they begin to learn from others outside of their home environment. That's when they begin to simulate into society and learn new attitudes, feelings, and behaviors. Their mind and body are trying to formulate all this new knowledge and conceptualize how this information will be processed. In short, they are trying to find their identity and where they fit in the scheme of it all. It can be a very daunting and challenging task.

That's why it is so critical that your child gets off on the right foot to be better prepared and handle the difficult challenges that await him or her. You as a parent have a tremendous responsibility and duty to ensure that when your child leaves home on their own that they stand a fighting chance of surviving and thriving in a completely new environment that will shape who they are and who they will become. But before society teaches them, you have the distinct advantage to nurture and mold them into success so that when the gale force winds of life attack, their foundation will be strong enough to withstand it.

By setting a positive example right from the get-go, your child will know what pattern of behavior to follow. They will quickly learn what they should and should not do based on effective discipline. They will lean what is acceptable and is not acceptable based on your teachings.

The old saying, "Monkey see monkey do" is so applicable to parenting because children do exactly what their parents do. So, set the correct example from the beginning and then practice what you preach thereafter. Refuse to be the kind of parent who says, "Don't watch what I'm doing, only listen to what I say." What? Not only is that confusing but that's poor teaching. In essence, you are saying to your child, "Only learn the good and not the bad from me." I'm sorry but it doesn't work that way. You have to teach your child the good from the bad and then model the correct behavior in what is appropriate. When you do so, your child will understand much easier and quicker the next time he or she encounters a similar situation and know exactly what he or she must do to be successful.

4. Listen More, Talk Less.

Nobody likes to hear other people talk, especially when they drone on about themselves or have to hear an ear full for something they did wrong. Instead, take the more effective route and listen rather than talk. The rule of thumb is in any conversation, listen 80 percent and talk only 20 percent of the time. That can be especially tough for a parent since we always want to teach but here's the lesson: you can do more good by listening then you can by talking.

Stephen R. Covey coined the phrase: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." If you want people to really "hear" or understand you, you must first listen to them. Allow them to share their thoughts and feelings without interruption. In most cases when you do, you learn a few things:

1. You tend to be less judgmental

2. You become less selfish because you're not trying to impose your will

3. You learn that most people figure the answer out themselves

4. You gather more insight and information from that person's point of view that you would otherwise

5. You become more sympathetic and learn patience

6. You build trust and respect

7. You are open to other alternatives or solutions that are not possible if you are the one dominating the conversation

Through the act of listening, you gain a better perspective of the whole scenario and can more clearly communicate your thoughts that best connect with the receiver. So the next time you go to talk, don't. Listen, learn, and then listen some more.

5. Be Gentle yet Firm.

It's always a fine balance of having just the right amount of gentleness mixed with firmness. There are times when you need to be firm, especially when it comes to rules and reprimand but there are also times when you must be gentle and offer a warm hug and comforting words.

There is a time and place for everything and you will have to learn when the right time is to use either or both simultaneously. When you are firm, be consistent and don't waiver from it. Don't be afraid to be so as well as be afraid of how your child will react. Do not be belligerent, overbearing, or intimidating. Not only is this bullying and abusive but manipulative. You will never win any battle by behaving in this manner. Instead, be calm, think calmly, and speak calmly. If need be, step back from the situation, collect your thoughts, regain your composure, and try again. Never act out in aggression or have emotion involved. Always defuse the situation by first removing emotion or yourself from the equation. When you do, reasonable heads will prevail and a solution will be reached sooner with little to no damage.

6. One-On-One Time is Gold.

Everyone wants to feel valued and feel like they are the only ones in the world. This is so true particularly with children. When a parent goes out of their way to make their child feel like they are a king or queen and show it through actions and not just words alone, that is worth more than all the riches in the world and 10 trips to Disney land.

If you ask your child what their fondest memory is as a family or with you, they won't necessarily say the time we went to so- and- so but will say the time you spent with him or her listening, teaching, and helping them. He or she will remember the camping trips and how you taught them to chop wood or set up a tent or the campfire songs. He or she will remember you teaching them how to throw a curve ball or a spiral or the time you took off work to be at their music recital or ballet. He or she will remember you staying up late and helping them with math or a science project that's due the next morning. Those are the small big moments that last and make a difference. Those are the golden moments that define who you are as a parent and what kind of parent your child will be. Look and focus on the gold mine and you will reap bountifully.

7. Love and Lift Always.

Children crave attention and in particular their parent's attention. Even as adults, we want to always please our parent's and make them proud of us. By virtue of being born, everyone should automatically be loved without strings attached. Love is the single greatest power that can literally change lives.

Over the years, there have been numerous psychology studies on the effect that love has on a newborn. What psychologists learned is that babies, who were coddled, loved, given a lot of affection and tension from an early age grew up "normal" with little to know side effects. In contrast, babies who were given less coddling, attention, and affection developed severe mental, psychological, and social issues. And in rare cases, a few of the babies literally died of a broken heart.

Without love, there is no life. And when we withhold our love from our children or make it conditional, we are slowing killing the life out of those precious individuals. Always give and receive of your love freely and let it grow in your children. Love has and always will endure forever.

One of the primary characteristics of love is support. When we love others, we should lift them as well. We should never belittle or put others down, especially our children. If we want to lift someone up we have to be standing on higher ground. Much like lifting someone out of a ditch, we can't if they are leveled or below us.

To lift up our children, we should always say kind and encouraging words that are genuine. Phrases such as, "You're a great kid!" or "I'm proud of you!" or "I knew you could do it!" are simple yet powerful ways to build self-confidence and self-esteem in a child or adolescent struggling emotionally to survive. Always build up your children and never tear them down.

8. Be Forgiving and Less Critical.

It is so easy to "fly of the handle" by yelling and screaming then it is by using self-restraint and mannerisms. How many of us have been guilty (far too often I imagine) of tearing a strip off our child in the heat of the moment only to feel guilt and remorse afterwards? The sad thing is that in most cases, the incident that your child was involved in was insignificant but yet, as a parent, we want to "teach our child a lesson" and to "get our point across" so that he or she will never do it again. So what do you do? You holler in a loud voice and threaten the child with severe punishment hoping to scare fear into him or her so that they will never do it again. Guess what? The chances of them repeating that same act or behaving in a similar manner are great. Why? Because we as humans don't learn things just once. Otherwise, we would all be virtuosos and be fluent in 10 languages. Years later, the kid may not remember what exactly he did but he will remember how his Mom or Dad reacted and the feelings he felt as a result. As humans, we tend to forget certain events but rarely do we forget feelings.

I recall a story someone told me years ago that stuck in my head. He said, "If you want to teach a child not to touch the stove, put his or her hand on the stove and see what happens. I guarantee he or she will never touch the stove again."

I said to him, "How do you know this?"

He responded, "You see this scar (pointing to his hand). My Dad did that to me when I was a kid and I have never forgotten it."

I'm sorry but I don't need to "touch the stove" to know that it will burn me if I do. Just like I don't need to walk on the moon to know that it exists. I can learn from other people's mistakes and more importantly, from correct principles and teachings then by actually participating.

As a parent, you need to be less critical and more forgiving. You make mistakes as well and so why do you expect your child to be perfect? After all, they too are learning and trying to create their own identity and part of that learning comes through trial and error. That is a good thing, not bad. So don't belittle him or her for learning and not always knowing what the right thing is that he or she should do. Be patience, be supportive, and see these opportunities as teaching moments to expound the correct methods of carrying out an activity.

9. Be There.

One of my biggest pet peeves in life is people who say that will do something and then don't. Where I come from, we call it integrity - something that has been forgotten over the years.

Not too long ago, we needed our roof repaired. My wife and I had called around to a dozen roofing companies leaving voice mail and email messages. Only two out of the twelve actually called us back and of those two, one of them didn't email me until eight days later. If you have ever tried to hire tradespeople, you know what I am talking about.

So, we finally tracked down what seemed like the only roofing company in town and after pleading and prodding for them to come, they did after three weeks of our initial call. By then, the monsoons had come and were causing considerable damage to our home. When they showed up to our home, one of the tradesmen got his ladder out, climbed on top of the roof, went from one end to the other and then came back down and said, "Yep, it's damaged, we'll have to fix it." He then said, "We'll be back."

Oh he came back alright, four weeks later! And when he did, he only did a partial job and then left again. These shenanigans continued on for weeks. I wanted desperately to fire him but I had no one else who would come and the roof needed to be fixed. After being polite and patient the first few times (I didn't want to tick him off and have him leave for good) I finally had enough. I called him up and left a terse message. I even wrote him a flaming email that got his attention. Sure enough, he came the next day and finished the job. In the end, we got our roof completed. What should have only taken a day, took over ten long and painful weeks. When you say you are going to be there or do something, do it. Don't lie and don't procrastinate. If you can't do it, then be honest enough to say so and don't commit to it. And if you do commit to something and a situation arises, have the decency to let the other person know. They will understand and forgive you. Don't leave them hanging and coward off. It makes you look bad and puts a black mark on your good family name.

When you tell your child you will be there for his or her school play or sporting event or pick them up from work, be there! If you don't, your child quickly learns that your word doesn't mean anything and three things happen: one, your child loses trust and confidence in you; two, your child internalizes your "mishap" or "lie" as them not being important enough for you to be there; and three; your child learns from your poor example and pretty soon, guess what starts to happen? Instead of your child coming home on time, he or she begins to come home later and later and uses the excuse, "I forgot" or "I was busy." Hum... does this sound familiar? It should. You taught them this, remember? And you didn't even realize it! Be there and your kids will be there for you.

10. Teach and Lead.

Every single day presents new learning opportunities, not only for you as a parent but for your child. Always seek to teach and lead whether the situation is good or bad. As parents, we are quick to point out the bad and teach the right but seldom to we praise the good moments and reinforce good decisions that are children make.

As a parent, learn to have faith and trust in your child. Allow them to make mistakes and to learn on their own from those mistakes. Guide your children through situations and have them discover for themselves what the correct choices or decisions they should have made. Point out to your child what would have happened had they made a better choice or decision so that they can visualize the outcome at their own level.

As you teach, always remember to lead. Lead by example and through encouragement. Learn to walk-the-walk and talk-the -talk. Children would much rather follow your actions and behaviours than what you say. Talk is cheap but actions speak volume. Lead by good example and your children will follow the leader. Lead by bad example and your children will still follow the leader.

Always be thinking, "How can I better lead my children and be a better parent?" In most cases, your children will teach you without you even knowing it. The secret is to listen and observe, ask questions and take genuine interest in them and their lives. When you do so, you will grow as a parent and as a leader and so will your children. Learn from each other and you will learn to be better.

Troy

Parenting With Results

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Troy_Price/1207144
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8 Essential Life Skills to Teach Your Kids

8 Essential Life Skills to Teach Your Kids

8 Essential Life Skills to Teach Your Kids
By Kristen Wint

If you're like me, teaching your kids as you go, imparting wisdom to them as they make their way along the road of life, how often do you sit down and really think about the essential life skills you'd like them to have? Take a few minutes to brainstorm what's most important to you and your partner when it comes to the competencies that are integral to setting your kids up for success and start focusing on them today.

8 Essential Life Skills to Teach Your Kids:

1. Unconditional Love

By loving your children openly and wholeheartedly every day, you are showing them how to love themselves and others. Teaching kids to accept themselves for who they are will enable them to do the same with others. They must also be willing to forgive friends and family in order to love them unconditionally.

2. Social Awareness and Manners

Impart social and conversational skills from a young age by letting kids join in on adult gatherings from time to time. Don't make a habit of always segregating your children from the adults - they can learn a lot about etiquette, social cues and the art of conversation from watching grown-ups. These settings are also a good time to work on basic manners including the consistent use of "please," "thank you," "pardon me," as well as proper dining etiquette.

3. Respect for Others

Children learn respect from their family and it starts with family members caring for each other's physical space, thoughts, interests and needs. When kids feel that what's important to them is held in high regard by others, they will be able to emulate the same respect for their family and peers.

4. All Things Nature

Instill a lifelong love of the outdoors and of nature by spending plenty of time in the fresh air, in all kinds of weather. Let your kids climb trees at the park, plant seedlings in the garden, feed the birds in your backyard and jump in rain puddles on the street. All ages love summer camping, day hiking and picnics by the lake. When you give your kids a lot of exposure to our beautiful planet, it will make them appreciate it more and want to protect it for future generations.

5. Good Hygiene

Start early to create good hygiene habits that will stay with your kids forever - from teaching proper hand washing and teeth brushing techniques to tots, to encouraging daily bathing for sweaty teens. Make learning daily habits fun for young kids by singing, using props and giving out reward stickers. Good hygiene sets them up for good health and well-being in later life.

6. Food Preparation

Get your kids in the kitchen early, helping to select meals, prep food and cook with you. My son learned to prepare snacks with his classmates in preschool and loved it. He's been comfortable in our kitchen ever since and is not afraid to use a knife, stir a pot or get his hands dirty. Start by showing them how to make simple soups and pastas and work your way up to more complicated dishes.

7. Smart Shopping and Saving

Show your children the difference between whole foods and processed foods, how to eat in season and how to be savvy shoppers. Talk to them about brand versus non-brand, retail versus wholesale, and how to budget their money. Even young kids can save money in their piggy banks and learn how to bargain at a garage sale. Older children can open a bank account, start saving and help with shopping and errands.

8. Tidiness

With my recent goal of getting my house more organized, I've been reading "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. She highlights the fact that most of us have never been properly taught how to tidy! Start early by teaching your kids how to fold clothing neatly so they can find articles easier, and have them sort through their personal belongings to keep only things that "spark joy." A tidy room means a tidy mind, and ensures children can cut through the clutter to focus on what's important.

More Time Moms designs tools to make your busy life easier, so you can spend more time with your family. All of our bestselling titles, including the original and #1 bestselling Family Organizer and the Family Meals cookbook are designed by moms to help you manage your family schedule and are available online at http://www.moretimemoms.com. For more great parenting tips and tricks, check out our blog at http://musings.moretimemoms.com/ and join the Family Meals Challenge for free recipes, dinnertime tips and games.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kristen_Wint/1704739
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Traditional Southern Breakfast Recipes for Mother's Day

Traditional Southern Breakfast Recipes for Mother's Day

Traditional Southern Breakfast Recipes for Mother's Day

By: Nicola Kennedy


An Easy and Delicious Mother's Day Breakfast

Make this Mother's Day unforgettable with one of these breakfast menus, or use your imagination and substitute.

Quick and easy but delicious, the breakfast casserole is put together the night before. A delicious cantaloupe smoothie and easy muffins make this breakfast memorable.

Western Ham and Egg Casserole
Make this casserole the night before, then refrigerate and pop it in the oven in the morning.

Ingredients:
8 slices white bread, crust removed, cut into cubes
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups cubed, cooked ham (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk

Preparation:
Place bread cubes in a lightly greased 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese, ham, onion, and green pepper. Whisk together eggs and milk; pour over ham and cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator; let stand for 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40 minutes or until set.
Western ham and egg casserole serves 8.

An Extra-Special Mother's Day Breakfast

Here's an elegant breakfast for anyone who loves to cook. Perfect for Mother's day or any special occasion breakfast. For a touch of indulgence, serve this breakfast with champagne and orange juice Mimosas.

Eggs Benedict - Fruit Compote With Pears
Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls
Strawberry Smoothies or Mimosas
Hot Coffee or Tea

Southern Breakfast

Here's a traditional Southern breakfast, from grits to biscuits and gravy.

Grits
Scrambled Eggs Deluxe
Ham with Red Eye Gravy
Biscuits with Sausage Gravy or Pecan Pancakes
Orange Juice, Hot Coffee, or Tea

Always remember to add a bud vase with her favorite flower to give any breakfast in bed that special touch. Don't forget the cards and her other gifts too, she will start out the day with a HUGE smile on her face and go to work showing off what her family did for her.

 

Author Bio
Nicola Kennedy has enjoyed some great Mother's Days, both as a grateful mom and a loving daughter. She can help you find great Mother's Day gift ideas with tips and news, information and views at www.I-Love-My-Mom.com

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com - Free Website Content


Playing the Judge: The Who, What and Why behind the best known toy awards

Who, What and Why Behind the Best Known Toy Awards

Playing the Judge: The Who, What and Why behind the best known toy awards

By: Heather Rhoades

Parents today want toys that are both fun and educational for their children. Toy manufacturers want toys that are big hits with both kids and parents. Enter in the Toy Awards. There are several awards given each year for Best of Breed toys, but they all judge toys on different criteria. Some may judge from a kids point of view, while others may be from an educators point of view, while others judge toys based on an adults view of what a kid would like. We have listed some of the best known toy awards and how those awards judge toys.

Family Fun Toy Award
This toy award is given out by the Family Fun magazine, which is a magazine for parents with children. The Family Fun Toy Award is broken into categories for both age and style of toy, plus a Top Ten list which includes all the toys together. Family Fun Toy Award only judges toys that have been introduced by toy makers for the upcoming year.

Family Fun Toy Award is judged solely by children and goes through two rounds of voting. The first round is with a group of 100 - 200 children conducted at a research firm. The toys that are voted as the children's favorites then go onto round two. Round two consists of a group of 1000-1500 children at day-care centers trying and voting for their favorite toys.

All the votes are then tabulated and the results are published in the Family Fun magazine and on the Family Fun website.

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards is also referred to as the Oppenheim Awards. This award is given out by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio which is an independent consumer review company run by a mother and daughter team with a background in child development. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio not only gives out the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards but also releases their reviews of all the toys they have judged. The award is broken down into developmental stages as well as categories. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards only judge toys that have been introduced by toy makers for the upcoming year.

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Awards is judged by both adults and children. There are two rounds that determine the winners. The first round is done by a panel of Oppenheim experts who look at the quality and safety of a toy as well as the developmental appropriateness of a toy. If the toy passes the first round, it is then sent to the second round, which is tester families who then try the toy for several weeks. The toy is then rated by both the parents and the children.

All of the reviews are combined and the winners are determined. The results of the reviews are then published in the annual Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and are announced on the NBC's Today Show.

Dr. Toy Award
This awards is given out by the Dr. Toy website. Dr. Toy is actually Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, the director for Institute for Childhood Resources. The award is broken down into toy style categories with a Best of Best category. The Dr. Toy Awards judge toys that are submitted by toy manufacturers and are deemed suitable for possibly being a Dr. Toy Award winning toy.

Dr. Toy Award is judged by adults. If the toy is accepted to be judged, it is reviewed by members of the Institute for Childhood Resources and "Dr. Toy". The reviewers are looking for toys that will help develop a healthy play atmosphere for children.

The results are then re-reviewed and the final determination of who the winners are is made. The results are published on the Dr. Toy Website.

Great American Toy Test
This award is given out by KTVU, Channel 2 of San Francisco, CA. It is held annually. The award is broken down into toy style categories with a Best of Best category. The Great American Toy Test judges toys that are submitted by toy makers.

Great American Toy Test is judged by both children and adults. The toys are shipped to day-care and latchkey centers all over the United States where children play with the toys while being observed by their teachers and care takers. The toys are then reviewed by both children and adults for a wide range of standards including short- & long-term interest, quality and fun.

The results are combined and the results are announced on a KTVU news broadcast and published on the KTVU website.

T.O.T.Y. Award
T.O.T.Y. Award stands for, quite simply, the Toy of The Year Award. This award is given out by the Toy Industry Association. This award is broken down into toy style categories with a top award given to one toy. T.O.T.Y. Award judges all toys that are being sold in North America during that year's judging.

T.O.T.Y. Award is judged by adults. The adults are members of the Toy Industry Association. The toys can be nominated for final voting by either Toy Industry Association members without a fee or any non-member who is willing to pay the $50 nomination fee. The nominated toys are then voted on by all members of the Toy Industry Association.

The results of the final vote are tabulated and the winners are announced at the annual T.O.T.Y. Awards Ceremony, where the winners will be inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The results are also published on the Toy Industry Association website.

The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval is given out by The National Parenting Center. The award is broken down into toy style categories and by developmental stages. The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval judges all toys that have been introduced by toy makers for the upcoming year that are submitted to The National Parenting Center.

The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval is judged by both adults and children at a testing facility run by The National Parenting Center. Toys are judged on gathered information, observation of play interaction and playing with the toy. The results are created from both statistical data from surveys about the toy and tester comments.

The final results are published by The National Parenting Center in both publications and on their website.


Now that you know a little more about how different toy awards are given and judged, you will be better able to choose which of these awards will help you choose the right toy for your child.

 

Author Bio
Heather Rhoades is a mother of three boys and owner of the OneOnFun website. To help you search for the right toy for your child, visit OneOnFun.com and the OneOnFun Toy Search Engine

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Selecting Furniture for a Play Room

Selecting Furniture for a Play Room

Selecting Furniture for a Play Room

By: Bob Benson

The furniture you choose to put in your play room depends mostly on your family's definition of "play room." If your play room is for a toddler to have lots of running room, your furniture will differ greatly from the play room designed to give adults the feel of a sports bar atmosphere.

If your play room is designed with a mobile child in mind, you probably will not need much furniture. An appropriately sized table for the child to sit at while coloring or drawing, playing with puzzles or doing crafts is a must along with a sturdy chair. A good toy box that could double as a hope chest for the child later is another good furniture item to include in the room. Throw in a couple of chairs for the kids to wallow on and your furniture needs are met!

A play room for older kids will differ in its furniture needs. A table with sturdy chairs will still be vital. Older kids who like to watch television or movies and play video games will also need a solid entertainment center or tv stand on which to hold the tv set. You'll need more seating for older kids, too. They tend to have more friends visiting and will require more seating area.

If your play room is for adults, furnish it accordingly. In addition to any favorite games, like pool or billiards, you will want your play room to have quality furniture in it too. Select a nice sofa or sectional with plenty of seating. Select coffee and end tables that can move quickly to accommodate snack trays or your favorite board game. If you are going to have video games in your play room, make sure your seating is placed for good game play.

If your play room is going to be used for hobbies, make sure your furniture is suited for the hobby of your choice. If your hobby is scrap booking, you will need a good, comfortable desk and a nice chair. A hobby such as needle point would require a comfortable chair with good back support and good lighting. If writing is your hobby, your "play room" may take on the look of a home office instead. Invest in good furniture that includes a computer desk and a comfortable chair.

No matter what your family's definition of "play room" is, you can utilize it best and get the most enjoyment from it when you furnish it according to its intended use. Don't put a lavish sofa in your play room if it will be subjected to frequent spills and gooey drops of food. Likewise, don't expect to be comfortable on furniture that is way past its last legs. Know your space, know your needs, and know your budget. When you take those things into consideration, you will make good decisions regarding the furniture and accessories you select for your play room and you can concentrate on what the room was intended for - having fun!

 

Author Bio
Bob Benson is the founder of Furniture online. You can check out our website at www.doll-furniture.info

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Seventeen Reasons To Homeschool Your Kids

Reasons To Homeschool Your Kids

Seventeen Reasons To Homeschool Your Kids

By: Rudy Silva

Homeschooling was once a rare educational method. Today it is well known and an accepted way to education your kids.

Most parents thinking of homeschooling have a difficult time deciding whether to do it or not. The following is a list 17 reasons why other parents are homeschooling their kids. And, there is one important question you must answer correctly if you expect to succeed in homeschooling. This will be given to you at the end of this article.

  • Private school is to expensive

     

  • Their children have problems learning in school or have a hard time getting along with other kids

     

  • They have special health needs

     

  • They are unhappy with the public school curriculum

     

  • They want their kids to have a better education

     

  • They enjoy homeschooling and being with their children

     

  • They don't want their kids to be badly influenced by other kid and learn their bad behaviors

     

  • They want their kids to learn the skills they need to succeed in life

     

  • They want their kids to receive an education that caters to their interests, ability level and aspirations

     

  • They move around, following husbands work, and this is a way to keep the family together

     

  • Their kids would get the individual attention they really needed

     

  • It gives the kids a chance to become who they really are by giving them more freedom to express themselves than public schools would allow.

     

  • The want to see their kid grow and turn into wonderful, capable, loving person.

     

  • They want a way of life that allows the whole family to be together

     

  • They feel they are releasing their kids to strangers to raise them and this is not what they want to do

     

  • Their own educational philosophy greatly differs with the public school education.

     

So how do you decide whether to homeschool or not. Well, you're going to need a lot of information. You need to learn about,

  • academic research

     

  • legal homeschool rulings

     

  • homeschooling practicals

     

  • schooling materials

     

  • how much it will cost

     

  • how to evaluate what you are doing

     

One more important thing you will need to find out. You need to know what it feels like to homeschool your kids day in and day out.

Finally, the most important question you have to answer if you are planning to homeschool your kids is:

Do you really enjoy being and spending time with your kids? The question is, if you enjoy spending a lot of time with your kids every day. You must like being with your kids most of the time and if you don't then most likely, homeschooling is not for you.

 

Author Bio
For more tips and information about homeschooling and a special email course on homeschooling go to: www.for--you.com/homeschooling2
Rudy Silva has a BA Physics degree and is a Natural Nutritional trainer, teaching people how to gain good health.

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Picking Furniture for a Nursery

Picking Furniture for a Nursery

Picking Furniture for a Nursery

By: Bob Benson

Furnishing a nursery can be a wonderful time for an expectant mother. Not only is it fun to prepare for the birth of a baby, but it gives the expectant mother an outlet for those nesting instincts that will soon kick in. A lot of well-meaning people (i.e. parents and in-laws) will convince you that you simply must have certain furniture for your new baby's room.

Some of the furniture you will likely consider includes:

  • Bassinette
  • Crib
  • Changing table
  • Dresser
  • Rocking chair

Do you need it all? Only you can know for sure. Ask yourself, "What furniture am I really likely to use?"

A bassinette is handy for keeping the new baby very close. Most are portable so you can roll them throughout the house. If someone offers to loan you a bassinette, take them up on it as long as the mattress is clean and in good shape. You'll only use a bassinette for a short period of time, so why invest in it as a major piece of furniture?

A crib, however, is a different story. If you plan for your child to sleep on his or her own at all, you will want a crib. It's not as safe to borrow a crib from someone and while cribs are a type of baby furniture that have sentimental attachments, don't agree to use an old crib because it was the one your husband used when he was a baby. Safety standards have changed dramatically and what was once considered safe furniture, might not be now. Look online to find baby crib safety standards. Make sure any spindles on the bed are placed close enough so that the baby cannot get his or her head stuck between them. Also, make sure there's no lead paint on the bed. If you're like most mothers, you'll feel better about your baby's safety if you buy new or one that was just recently used by someone you know.

Do you need a changing table? Mothers went for years without this piece of furniture. But, they are nice to have and at a convenient height that saves some back strain. It's a matter of available space, available money and your willingness to bend over to change a diaper!

A dresser, if bought to last for years, would be a good furniture investment. Don't waste money on a cutesy theme dresser that the baby will only outgrow when he or she starts to develop personal tastes. Instead, think about the rest of your house. Do you have a lot of mahogany furniture or a lot of white painted furniture? Buy a dresser that you can move elsewhere in the house if your child decides he or she hates it down the road. Buy solid wood. The furniture will last longer and it will contain fewer chemicals than cheaper veneer furniture pieces often include in the processing stage or in the glue used to hold pieces together.

Everyone thinks you need a rocking chair if you have a baby. Is it a necessary piece of furniture for the nursery? Not if you have a rocking chair somewhere else in the house. No mother or baby wants to spend all their time in the nursery anyway. Use rocking time in another room to give you both a change of pace - unless you just want to buy a rocker.

 

Author Bio
Bob Benson is the founder of Furniture online. You can check out our website at www.my-wicker-furniture.info.

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Educating Your Children: The Home Schooling Option

Educating Your Children: The Home Schooling Option

Educating Your Children: The Home Schooling Option

By: Colin P

An ever growing number of thoughtful parents are concerned about the status of public schools in many cites across North America. At the same time, a good number of families are struggling to make ends meet. They simply do not have excess funds available to send their children to private schools. One solution that many families are embracing is home schooling. With each passing school year, more and more families in North America -- indeed, in many countries around the world -- are electing the home schooling for their children.

There are some definite benefits and specific drawbacks to choosing home schooling for your children. Turning to the positive elements of home schooling first, chief amongst them is the fact that parents have greater control over the education of their children.

One of the more significant complaints frequently expressed about both public and private schools is the lack of input and control a parent has over the education of his or her child or children. While there are certain educational standards that must be met when it comes to home schooling, a parent has a significant degree of discretion over how his or her child or children will be taught.

In addition to more control over the educational process, most parents who are involved in the home schooling of their children believe that their children are obtaining a far better course of education. Many of these parents simply believe that public schools are not up to muster and that home schooling ensures that their children will be properly educated.

Of course, when contrasting home schooling with the private school alternative, educating your children at home is significantly less expensive. The tuition costs and other fees associated with most private schools continue to increase each and every year. As a result, many families simply have been priced out of the private school market all together.

People who are involved in home schooling believe that educating children at home works to develop a stronger bond between parents and children. The very fact that children will be spending more time with their parents because of being schooled in the home enriches the relationship between the generations.

There are some drawbacks to home schooling as well. The primary complaint that some education experts have in regard to home schooling is based on the need for children to interact socially with other children. These experts maintain that one of the most important components of attending school -- be it in a public or private setting -- are the opportunities for children to interact with each other. These opportunities are more limited when a child is home schooled.

With that said, there are now different organizations and associations that have been formed that bring children who are home schooled together for different activities and events. Home schooling advocates assert that these activities and events allow children who are home schooled ample opportunity to interact with other children their own ages.

Most education analysts believe that the trend towards home schooling will continue onward into the immediate future. These experts believe that an ever growing number of parents are going to elect to educate their children at home as an alternative to problematic public schools and expensive private schools.

 

Author Bio
More information on Home Schooling

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The Bush Doctrine of Parenting

The Bush Doctrine of Parenting

The Bush Doctrine of Parenting

When George Bush announced the "Bush Doctrine" as a policy of preemptive attacks on terrorists and states that harbor them, citizens lined up both for and against his argument. When it comes to parenting and the dangers facing teens during adolescence, some parents have begun implementing their own version of the "Bush Doctrine" as critics try to make their voices heard as well.

Sexual predators targeting children in Internet chat rooms, temptations to drive recklessly and at high speeds, and substance abuse all threaten the lives and well-being of teens.
Most parents, whether they know it, or will admit it, have teens who have been at risk from these dangers.

Where should parents draw the line in their family's personal battle with these "terrorists of adolescence," you know... the people and activities that put a teen's life and well-being at stake? Are parents even in the fight? How committed are they and for how long?

The enemy is present and totally committed. Parents are woefully outnumbered and surrounded, and their enemy will never, ever give up. However, in parents' arsenal, they possess the most powerful weapon of all. If misused, this weapon could be ineffective and may even backfire. What is this weapon? It's the bond of trust between parents and their teens.

Why would parents object to putting a GPS system in their teen's car to alert them when their teens broke family rules (and often laws) by driving their car too far, too fast, or recklessly? Why would they scoff at the idea of putting software capable of retrieving their teen's email and Internet chat room discussions on their family computer? Knowing that substance abuse is illegal, addictive, and deadly, why would parents refuse to implement a home drug testing program that would allow them to know which, if any substances their teens were using? While parents as well as teens value the bond of trust, some choose to believe that merely suggesting that these tools may be necessary, makes them the first to break that bond.

Consequently, advances in technology that make these accurate, real-time tools available to parents often go unused until it's too late. Often parents unwilling to use such tools, or use them properly, will accept heavier losses if not outright defeat. Quality intelligence gathering is the cornerstone of an effective battle plan.

Ben Franklin once said, "Wise is the man who fixes his roof before it rains." If ol' Ben were alive today, I'm certain he would encourage parents to sit down with their kids long before such problems were likely to occur to explain their expectations, the tools at their disposal, and the rewards and consequences tied to the information they gathered.

Kids need to know that their parents are on their side and that they are united against common foes. Parents need to let their teens know they are providing them with a "socially acceptable" excuse to deter pushy peers. What could be a more potent response for teens than "I can't: my parents are checking"?

Ronald Reagan, in dealing with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, took a "trust and verify" approach that when applied by parents properly in this capacity can help parents and teens find a reasonable middle ground. Trust without verification removes the leverage and power the bond of trust has on teens. Many teens believe (and rightfully so) that their parents are easily duped and don't know what's going on. With this belief, teens doubt their mischief will ever be discovered and don't feel their parental bond of trust is in jeopardy. Little or no behavioral deterrent exists. Additionally, without verification, a window of opportunity exists for uninformed parents to cause damage to the bond of trust by falsely assuming that their kids aren't deserving of their trust and treating them accordingly.

If decisions are only as sound as the facts on which they are based, more information is better than less. Facts trump gut instinct, and it's better to get important information sooner rather than later. "Terrorists of adolescence" exist, and parents are equipped with the most powerful weapons in the battle. It's simply up to parents to use them wisely.

Author Bio
Mason Duchatschek has interviewed thousands of parents, teenagers, school board members, counselors, school principals and superintendents. He is the president of www.TestMyTeen.com (mason@testmyteen.com) based in Fenton, Missouri.

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