October 25, 2014

10 tips for a safe and healthy Halloween from California Poison Control

  1. Many parents purchase glow-in-the-dark jewelry and glow sticks to keep their children visible while trick-or-treating in the dark.  Children may break open these glow sticks and get the liquid on their hands and in their mouths.  The liquid can be mildly irritating to the skin or eyes but is not likely to cause harm if a small amount is ingested. 
  2. Tell children not to eat treats until they return home and all items have been inspected by an adult. 
  3. Limit the amount of candy ingested at one time.  Too much candy can cause stomach discomfort, and sugars and other sweeteners can act as laxatives when consumed in large amounts.
  4. If your child brings home a brand of candy that you are unfamiliar with, throw it away.  Some imported candies have high levels of lead that can be harmful.
  5. Candy that is unwrapped should be discarded immediately.
  6. Fruit treats should be washed and cut open before being eaten.
  7. Homemade treats should be discarded unless you know and trust the individuals who prepared them.
  8. Little pieces of candy are potential choking hazards for small children.
  9. Torn, loose, or punctured wrapping may be a sign of tampering. If you suspect tampering, this should be reported to local police.
  10. Some Halloween makeup contains lead as do many regular cosmetics.  Make sure you check Campaign for Safe Makeup for safe makeup to use on your children.

About CPCS
Call California Poison Control System at 1-800-222-1222 for more information or any questions about poisons.  Trained certified pharmacists, nurses and poison information providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The service is free, confidential and interpreters are always available.  Follow CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter @poisoninfo.  For more free home and family safety tips, text the word TIPS or AVISOS for Spanish to 69866.  AChoose Your Poison game is available online at www.pillsvscandy.com.

July 25, 2014

New Crowdfunding Campaign Helps Those Grieving Pregnancy And Infant Loss

Pregnancy and Infant Loss is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, since I've suffered losses myself, so when news of this campaign came across my doorstep I HAD TO post about it.

Reconceiving Loss, an online resource center for pregnancy and infant loss and healing is working to develop a digital archive to document the experience of loss from miscarriage through to neonatal death. The project is being put together in partnership with the film Return To Zero, starring Minnie Driver (in July 2014 Minnie was nominated for Emmy as the best actress in this film).
The genesis of the project was the stillbirth of the co-founder’s second child in 2005.  1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. 1 in 160 children are stillborn, and 25,000 die within thirty days of their birth in the US alone. As Co-Founder Tara Shafer explains, “We were fortunate to be able to access resources that helped us navigate this bewildering and lonely loss. Many families are not as fortunate.”
Reconceiving Loss invites individuals to participate in a public project to document pregnancy and infant loss. Anyone who has suffered the fear, guilt, loneliness and trauma of losing a child either in the womb or stillborn knows how far-reaching the psychological impact can be. This is a chance to heal through telling your story. Your participation both as a reader and creator is crucial for others.  Reconceiving Loss has a number of digital resources to support healing from baby loss.  With a goal of just $10,000 USD all donations will help them to provide supportive tools to individuals as they work to develop their own healing narrative. “We hope that in building this archive (growing, publicizing, curating) we will also be able to develop additional supportive materials so that people who participate can receive high levels of care and support as they work through traumatic events.”, explains Shafer.
Speaking in such a public way about something that is almost never discussed and considered ‘socially taboo’ shifts the way in which individuals, and families address and understand those who have experienced baby loss.  This crowd sourced Indiegogo campaign is a meaningful and healing way to show support and solidarity anyone impacted (husbands, siblings, and mothers). Donations of any size are welcome and rewards include books, DVDs and even tea.  The first 25 people to donate $50 will receive a copy of graphic novel, “Goodbye, Au Revoir, and Slan.” This novel describes the experience of stillbirth through the eyes of a young sibling. For $100 you can get the Return to Zero DVD complete with all bonus materials. This DVD features an extra on the Reconceiving Loss digital archive. Help break the silence and enable everyone to connect through their shared loss.
This project is making a difference for those following a difficult path. “The long-term psychological impact is profound and is still not talked about. …Since we launched the archive, we have received submissions from people who suffered loss decades ago. They have carried it with them in silence they have longed to break.”This project will help many individuals to share their own stories while learning about others. Donate what you can and help break the silence.  The biggest perk of all is knowing that you are helping many people now and in the future. Even if you can’t donate – share the links widely. See the links below for more information.

For more on this topic check out the articles by Reconceiving Loss Co-Founder Tara Shafer in Psychology Today (Begin Again) and in the Huffington Post

July 11, 2014

The Long & Lovely Road

So, since my last post we've had quite a crazy ride!

We moved into a new house.  Our third since moving to Texas, but our last...for a very long time.  I also got settled into my new (and awesome) position as a Second Grade Teacher.  It's the most rewarding job I've ever had, and i love my students.  I already miss them, in fact!

On top of all that we paid off our student loans (all of them, almost 70k) thanks to my amazing new fun side job selling It Works! products.  One of the best decisions I've ever made.

On the New York side, Kristen has officially opened our center and is seeing clients! She's also offering therapeutic Essential Oils and therapy services.

We both have so much going on and are having so much fun!  What a beautiful life!

~ KC

December 1, 2013

Cute Gifts for Your Little Snuggler

Out of Print is proud to introduce a new collection of bodysuits for babies! All bodysuits will feature original cover art from favorite classics and fun literary books. These bodysuits will provide comfort and flare to babies with storybook style.

Purchase of this bodysuit sends one book to a community in need!

Bodysuit Details
- 100% cotton bodysuit
- Distressed, softened print
- Sizes (6M, 12M, 18M, 24M)
Out of Print bodysuits retail for $22 and are available for purchase at www.outofprintclothing.com.

November 18, 2013

4 No-Fail Tips for Successful 21st Century Parenting

Raising Well-Adjusted Children is not a Game of Chance, 
Says School Board Member and Dad

For many parents, having children is the most significant reckoning in one’s lifetime.
The birth of Anthony Sposato’s first child made him realize he had not taken full advantage of the opportunities presented to him in life. He had not been raised with the all of the tools for turning opportunity into success, and he and his wife, Carol, determined to give their children a better chance to succeed.
“I have heard it said that how your children turn out is a crap shoot. It’s a sad thing to believe that you have nothing to do with how successful your children will be as adults,” says Sposato, whose three sons are now happy, productive professionals.
“Like just about all new parents, we had no formal training on how to raise children when our first was born. As a manager and later owner of my own business, I recognized a tragic lack of work ethic in the 20-somethings I worked with. I put much of the culpability on the parents and I used my management skills to help raise my kids.”
Sposato, author of “Successful Parenting,” (http://tinyurl.com/ou392jh) offers four tips for raising well-adjusted children:
• Start making necessary changes ASAP. It all starts in the womb; as soon as you know you’re pregnant, it’s time for both Mom and Dad to start adjusting their lifestyle for the baby. That means implementing a consistent routine and forming better habits. If you know you eat poorly, or if you smoke, change those bad habits. They can not only hurt the child while it’s in the womb, he or she will grow up modeling them.

• Create a healthy routine for your child. Children crave structure and therefore, routine. A consistent routine also takes the guesswork out of parents with busy schedules. This includes bathing, brushing teeth and talking or reading to your son or daughter. Don’t put a television in their room, and do not let them watch excitable programs before bed elsewhere in the house. Consistently eat dinner together at the table with no distractions.

• Get control of yourself or you’ll never be able to control your children. The old joke, “Do as I say, not as I do,” simply doesn’t fly when trying to raise well-adjusted children. Children often pick up on what they see and not what we tell them. They are very sensitive to hypocrisy; if you use profanity in front of them, how will they feel when you scold them for repeating what you’ve said? When telling them what is right and wrong, explain to them why that is so.

• Teach your children to question and reason for themselves. Smart adults don’t simply accept the claims of others; they need reason and evidence to agree with any statement. Parents should emphasize to their children the importance of questioning claims and to reason for themselves. This will protect them from manipulation by others and help them better manage other aspects of their lives, including money.
“If you have kids, then parenting is your most important job,” Sposato says. “It’s worth going the extra mile to be a better parent, for your child’s sake.”

About Anthony Sposato
When Anthony Sposato had children, he was determined to provide them with opportunities that he did not have as a child. His three grown sons are among his proudest achievements; one is a software designer, another is an attorney and the third is a senior analyst for Merrill Lynch. Sposato has worked in management for more than 30 years and currently owns a Jan-Pro franchise. He is on the school board of his community and is running for state representative for Pennsylvania in 2014. 

November 16, 2013

Dad of Quadruplets Shares What He Learned Juggling Family Life and Successful Business Career

Larry Katzen forged an ambitious career as a leader at one of the world’s most prestigious accounting firms.
But he has been equally ambitious with his family life; he’s the father of quadruplets—three sons and a daughter. And he felt it was important to serve his community, sitting on more than 10 boards of directors.
“It was an incredible challenge and I don’t regret one minute of it!” says Katzen, author of “And You Thought Accountants Were Boring - My Life Inside Arthur Andersen,” (Larryrkatzen.com), a look at working in one of the world’s most historically important accounting firms while nurturing bonds with his wife and children.
“The quadruplets were born April 22, 1974, before multiple births became fairly common, so we were front-page news and featured on all the national TV news shows,” Katzen says. “But that also tells you there weren’t many other parents who could give us advice, and certainly no internet forums to turn to!”
At the time, Katzen was also working his way up the ladder and taking on new challenges at Arthur Andersen, one of the “Big 8” accounting firms. How did he and his wife, Susan, manage?
“It comes down to sticking to some basic principles: doing the right thing, for one, and listening to your heart,” Katzen says.
He draws on his 35-year career and family life to offer these tips for working parents with multiple children:
• Cultivate support systems! One of the wonderful things about Arthur Andersen was the people who worked there, including his bosses, Katzen says. “They knew the physical and financial struggles Susan and I faced caring for four babies and, because I never gave less than my all at work, they did what they could to work around my situation,” he says. That included a heftier-than-usual annual pay raise that Katzen learned only years later was approved because the firm’s partners knew he would need the extra money.
Susan reached out to moms of multiples to develop her own support system, and the couple hired a recent high school graduate to help care for their rambunctious brood a couple days a week.
“There’s no glory in not asking for support and help,” Katzen says.

• Combine business and family. Katzen traveled frequently for his job and, when his children were 9 years old, a business friend suggested he bring them along, one at a time, on his trips.
“The first was my daughter, Laurie. We flew to New York on a Friday and spent the weekend shopping, dining, taking in a show. For the first time ever, we were alone together without any disruptions,” Katzen says. “Neither of us ever forgot that weekend.”

• Consider buying a small vacation home. Traveling with four young children was extremely difficult, especially nights in motels, where the family would split up into two rooms – one parent and two children in each.
“When we discovered Sun Valley, Idaho, the children were 6. On our first trip there, they quickly learned to ski, and they clearly loved the snow – we could hardly get them to come inside,” Katzen says.
The family so enjoyed the vacation, they looked into the prices of condos.
“We found a furnished condo at a very affordable price and for the next 13 years, we enjoyed summers and winters in Sun Valley,” Katzen says. “It may sound like a big investment, but when you consider the costs of motels and dining out for a family of six, it works out well – and it’s a lot more comfortable.”

 About Larry Katzen
After graduating from Drake University in 1967, Larry Katzen started working at Arthur Andersen and quickly rose through the ranks to become the Great Plains Regional Managing Partner. An honorable, hard-working man who devoted his life to Arthur Andersen, Larry was there from the company’s meteoric rise to its unjust demise. He stayed with the firm for 35 years, serving clients globally until 2002. In his new memoir, And You Thought Accountants Were Boring - My Life Inside Arthur Andersen, Katzen details the political fodder in the government’s prosecution of Enron; how the company was unjustly dismantled for its supposed connections to the corruption; its vindication and why it came too late, and the devastating impact it had on 85,000 employees.

November 14, 2013

What Can Adults Learn from Child Heroes?

Wisdom does not always come with age – but it’s never too late to try, says Judy Colella.

“On so many levels of our society today, from social media, reality TV and even in our political discourse, children are seeing adults acting reprehensibly,” says Colella, a musician and author of a young adult fantasy, “Overcomer-The Journey,” (www.themacdarachronicles.weebly.com), Book I of The MacDara Chronicles.

“In fact, there are many examples in which children are taking the lead in being leaders and setting the better example.”

They include kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, children with disabilities and youngsters with few positive role models.

“I was able to overcome my childhood obstacles, and I want kids to know that they can, too,” she says. “No one determines what you do in life but you.”

Colella offers some shining examples of children’s actions that can be a lesson for both other children and adults.

  • 15-year-old speaks out for education for all: In one of the scariest places on Earth,Malala Yousafzai demonstrated bravery by standing up for her right to an education. She took a Taliban bullet, shot into her skull after her bus was stopped en route home from school, and boomeranged it into one of the group's worst PR moves. In Pakistan’s Swat Valley, the international terrorist group had intermittently banned girls from school and had targeted Yousafzai for speaking out against the ban. She continues to proactively support education for all children, and was recently listed in Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”

  • 12-year-old wanted to honor his uncle: After Sam Maden’s uncle died in the winter of 2010, Maden wanted to honor his support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. So, posted an online petition asking the Boston Red Sox to get in the game by producing an “It Gets Better” video. The videos are the result of a national movement that began in response to a wave of suicides among bullied teens, especially LGBT youth. In less than a week, Maden had 9,000 signatures, and Red Sox became the third professional sports team to produce a video for the campaign.

  • A birthday wish from 9-year-old Rachel Beckwith: Rachel Beckwith’s birthday wish wasn’t for herself; it was to raise $300 to build wells in Africa. Tragically, Beckwith never had a chance to experience the benefit of her altruism – she died before her 10th birthday. News of the story went viral, inspiring donors to raise more than $1 million for the nonprofit charity. The little girl’s mom was able to visit Africa to witness firsthand how her daughter contributed to saving lives.

“Now these are touching and inspirational stories! While there sometimes seems to be obsessive coverage involving bad-behaving kids – or bad-behaving adults – it’s wonderful to know that there are so many amazing stories of children supporting the most vulnerable in society,” Colella says.

About Judy Colella: Judy Colella is a musician, singer and author of a young adult fantasy series about a boy from 6th century Ireland who finds himself in an abusive modern-day American foster home. As a child, Cian MacDara must travel across time and continents to fulfill his destiny. Judy, who lived in foster care as a child and was adopted by a loving family, says children and teenagers need to learn the power of the choices they make.

November 12, 2013

Tips for Caregivers to Help Prepare Kids for Kindergarten

Kindergarten can be a wonderful and exciting experience. However, for many working parents, preparing young children for school can be daunting, especially considering that the average US child spends 33 hours each week being looked after by a grandparent, friend or parent.

That is why nearly 40 YMCAs across the country have launched the FREE Early Learning Readiness Program for Informal Family, Friend and Neighbor Caregivers to provide those who care for young children a stimulating, preschool-like experience through learning centers that foster development, improve school readiness, support the skills and confidence of caregivers, and make the transition to school easier for children.

Parents, please feel free to share these tips with your caregivers to ensure your child is ready for Kindergarten:

  1. Play games that encourage alphabet recognition - like alphabet go-fish, or play with the letter refrigerator magnets.
  2. Help your child with number recognition and count items throughout the day like crackers, grapes, or carrots out loud together.
  3. Help children recognize their colors and talk about the colors in their cookies, toys or clothes.
  4. Develop shape recognition and motor skills when you practice writing, drawing or cutting out (child-safe scissors please) shapes like rectangles, squares or stars.
  5. Talk about sounds that letters make and how they sound so they can begin to recognize words. Overemphasize the first sound in words to help your child hear the individual sounds.
  6. Practice writing and drawing with colored pencils, crayons or markers for improved motor skills.
  7. Read lots of stories and work up to longer books to develop good focus and attention skills.
  8. Give children the opportunity to interact with other children in diverse settings and groups such as preschool, church, social groups, or play dates.
  9. Teach children how to express their feelings if she/he doesn't like something and role-play different situations she/he might expect.
  10. Teach children to write his/her name. You can make it fun with finger paint, sugar or salt in a pan, shaving cream or frosting.

Preparing children for kindergarten should be fun and not stressful. The Early Learning Readiness Program uses an innovative approach to provide informal caregivers with the tools and support to provide children in their care better learning and development experiences for low-income, new or immigrant families.

The Early Learning Readiness Program offers high-quality physical, emotional and cognitive experiences for kids. Caregivers and children attend bi-weekly meetings together at neighborhood locations such as local Ys, community centers, libraries, schools and places of worship.

For more information about enrolling in the Early Learning Readiness Program or general information about the Y's commitment to families, please visit ymca.net.

September 13, 2013

4 Ways to Give Your Teen Some Freedom Without Destroying Your Peace of Mind

Teenagers pose many dilemmas for parents, and one of the biggest is determining how much freedom to allow.
“There’s such a fine line – they have one foot in childhood and the other in adulthood, so you can’t completely trust their decision-making. And yet, you need to allow them some independence because in a very short time, they will be adults,” says George Karonis, a location-based services specialist.
“And, let’s be honest, life is better when your teen is happy. It’s nice to see them looking forward to something like a friend’s party or a weekend camping trip.”
Figuring out how to balance their need for a measure of freedom and independence against a parent’s concern for safety can be difficult.

“It is important for teens to be social, but as teenagers, they have a tendency to test their boundaries, which can lead to trouble. The good news is, there are ways to give your teen the freedom that he or she needs, and the peace of mind you require,” Karonis says.

He offers the following solutions for parents:

• LiveViewGPS, Inc.: This new service temporarily turns any cell phone into a location device. It’s an economical solution for families that occasionally need to be able to pinpoint someone’s location but don’t want to download software to their phone or spend a lot of money on hardware, says Karonis, who is the founder and CEO of the company. The service requires the permission of the son or daughter whose phone would be tracked, which adds an element of honesty and transparency. Users pay a minimum of $19.95 for 30 locates and when they need to find the phone – and the person to whom it’s attached – they simply log into the website, where tracking is instantaneous and displayed on a satellite-view map.

• Reward Responsibility: If your teen has already proven himself or herself to be reliable and punctual with multiple responsibilities – completing schoolwork in a timely manner; diligent with extracurricular activities like sports, band or theater; or has responded well to after-school employment – it’s time to give him or her the benefit of the doubt when it comes to fun. Make it clear, you trusting them to use good judgment because they’ve earned that trust. But trust can also be lost.

• Set the example of consistency: Predictability is good when it comes to raising children, especially in terms of personifying virtues like honesty, punctuality and reliability. Teenagers are keenly aware of hypocrisy and are liable to use a parent’s contradictions against them in rationalizing bad behavior. The “do as I say, not as I do” rule may be convenient, but teens see through it. Use a calendar, perhaps on your refrigerator or synch schedules on your family’s smartphones, to encourage everyone to show up at expected times. If someone is going to be late, have a system in place for sending appropriate notification.

• Don’t be strangers: Most parents assume they know who their child is, but teens are our most rapidly changing family members. They’re eager to establish their own identities and try new experiences in their run-up to adulthood. Who are the most relevant people in their lives, and do you know his or her friends? The more a group of friends knows the teen friend’s parents, the more responsibility those friends will feel in honoring the parent’s rules.   

About George Karonis George Karonis has a background in security and surveillance, and has specialized in location services since 2005. A self-professed computer geek, one of his chief concerns is balancing the usefulness of tracking with the protection of individuals’ privacy. He is founder and CEO of LiveViewGPS, Inc. (www.mobilephonelocate.com)

September 12, 2013

Don't Spend Too Much on Back-To-School Clothing...

Parents plan to spend an average of $428 on back-to-school, down from about $600 last year – and an increasingly popular way to save on back-to-school among parents is shopping resale. With school just around the corner, I wanted to share a few tips from Children’s Orchard on the dos and don’ts of resale shopping for your children’s back-to-school wardrobe.

  • DO Inspect: When shopping at thrift or consignment stores, make sure you inspect clothing for holes and stains. Upscale resale stores are very selective about the products they take in and will typically use a special light to check clothing for imperfections.
  • DON’T Overlook Deals: Despite already deeply discounted prices, resale and consignment stores often hold generous promotions during the summer season. For example, Children’s Orchard locations will host a Dress For Less back to school sale on August 16 – August 18, 2013, where shoppers can get name brands for less! These will include Gap jeans for $6.99, Ralph Lauren polo shirts for $4.99, Baby Lulu dresses for $7.99 and many more.
  • DO Check for Recalled Items: Talk to the seller about how they stay up-to-date on recalls. You can also look up recalled items on the Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC) website: www.cspsc.gov/en/Recalls
  • DON’T Forget about Selling! Some stores will actually give you cash for your kids’ gently-used clothing, toys, furniture, and accessories. Call ahead for information on what your local resale store is buying.  
  • DO Consider Current Styles: Bring a recent department store catalog with you as you shop to compare items to the latest fashions.

  • Boutique Brands - IKKS, Heart Strings, Luck Brand - for 40-80% less than retails stores.
  • GAPKIDS, Abercrombie, Tommy Hilfiger Kids separates that cost upwards of $70 at most stores cost closer to $12-$15 at Children’s Orchard.