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Are Your Kids Ready for a Dog?

kids and dogs

Being a parent can be a tough job. One issue that parents often face is to decide whether or not they should buy a pet for their children. Dogs can make a great pet for parents of both young and older children but there is a lot of responsibility involved. Here are some ways to know if your kids are ready for a dog.

Talk to Your Kids about Owning a Dog before Buying One

Many parents rush out and buy a dog because they see a little puppy with a cute face and then fall head over heels in love and buy the dog before thinking it through. Sit down and talk to your kids about owning a dog after you have researched a possible breed of dog that could work in your household. For example, smaller dogs that can run fast typically do not do well in homes with children who are under the age of six because the child can trip on them and fall.

Have a discussion with the children and ask them how they will care for the dog and what they will do to help out with the chores such as feeding it, combing its hair, giving it water, and walking it. If the kids refuse to take any part in caring for the dog then you will most likely get stuck with doing everything for the dog which can be a huge undertaking. Kids need to want to be involved because it is a family pet so refusing to take part is a problem.

Try a Dry Run at Pet Ownership

Ask a friend to allow you to pet sit for a week or two. Observe how your kids interact with the dog. If they aggravate the dog such as chasing it too much, pulling its tail, or teasing it then they probably are not mature enough yet to handle the responsibility of having a job.

Write down notes about each child’s behavior with the dog. If they do a good job and are consistently taking part in caring for it then they are probably ready for a dog. It is important to set out rules regarding behavior around the dog before buying one because many kids get hurt by aggressive dogs every year.

eco cupcakes

A child’s birthday party is the perfect venue for introducing children to green and eco-friendly topics and practices. Along with the paperless, electronic invitations and earth-oriented party games, an eco-friendly party must include eco-friendly food.

Eco-friendly cupcakes start with eco-friendly ingredients. Everybody loves carrot cake, so what could be more delicious than carrot-cake cupcakes? Using organic versions of whole wheat pastry flour, eggs, oil, carrots and walnuts make the cake healthy and eco-friendly. Organic versions of cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, lemons and lemon juice are used for the frosting.

Alternatively, the carrot flavor can be substituted with any fruit or flavoring for a different organic recipe. Natural colorings should be used to color the frosting if desired. Mixing crushed berries or other fruits can add a nice natural hue to the cake or frosting. Natural food colorings in various colors also can be found in health food stores.

Eco-friendly decorating ideas include green food coloring, earth colored cupcakes, or eco-friendly messages written on the cupcakes. Each cupcake could contain a letter or two to spell out an eco-friendly message. For a lesson about the solar system, each cupcake could be decorated to represent one of the planets. Animal-themed cupcakes depicting rainforest animals are a fun idea. Alternatively, the cupcakes can each have the face of a farm animal, such as a pig, on them. This is in keeping with the organic farm theme. Endangered species could also be depicted and used as a teaching moment about the environment.

Plates and eating utensils should also be eco-friendly. The typical plastic, paper and Styrofoam tableware used at parties only fill the landfills. Compostable tableware fits the eco-theme and can be taken to a composter afterward. Alternatively, investing in a set of reusable tableware is a good economical and eco-friendly choice.

Decorations are another consideration. Balloons are not good for the environment and can be disastrous to marine animals. Reusable Chinese lanterns and felt banners are a safe and festive choice. Paper bag piñatas are a fun decoration.

With a little planning, eco-friendly birthday parties are as fun and simple to assemble as traditional birthday parties. They can be fun and educational for the children as well.

kids backpacks

Although most people think about education more than anything else when it comes to children going to school, we should also think about their health during the day. Whether it is nasty school lunches or making sure that they get enough exercise during the day, there are a few different things that we can change to give our children a better school day. One of the most overlooked problems that face children today is the heavy backpack that they have to carry around from the time they wake up until they finally get home from school.

While most parents probably think that a little extra weight on their children’s back will not be a problem, the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of children who now have back problems that are directly related to all of the books they carried on their back during their school years. Textbooks seem to be getting larger on a yearly basis, so we need to start limiting the amount of weight that these children are carrying with them all day. We should try to setup a school curriculum where only two or three books and notepads are needed to be carried at a time, although the exact number of books will need to vary from child to child.

Some children have the option of using lockers to store some of their books during the day, and we need to make sure that our children are taking advantage of these lockers on a daily basis. There is no reason to carry around thirty pounds of books on your back all day when you have a perfectly good locker that you can use. By adding more lockers to our elementary and middle schools, we can make sure that our children are able to ease the stress on their backs.

Some children skip out on the lockers because they feel too rushed between classes, so it could be a good idea to extend the time between classes as well. At the end of the day, we need to remember that the health of our children is more important than shuttling them off to the next class right away.

thanksgiving kids

Thanksgiving is the holiday where we indulge our gluttonous side with heaping portions of comfort food. It’s also family-centered and a day we show gratitude for the relationships that we have with others by sharing a fabulous meal. This holiday meal doesn’t need to be a reason for days of dietary regret. Planning the menu ahead of time with your children with healthy options will encourage excitement about a Thanksgiving dinner everyone can feel good about.

Fresh is Best

The easiest way to making a healthier Thanksgiving is using fresh ingredients. Avoiding all the preservatives, additives, and unnecessary sweeteners can take some planning ahead. With kids, fruit and vegetables offer a colorful and fun way to add fresh ingredients. Many Thanksgiving menus involve seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin, yams, and apples. Shopping for these at a farmers market is a fun way to encourage kids to eat healthy and become involved in the entire meal process.

Portion Control

Skip the giant portions by serving dishes in smaller containers. Instead of a pie, serving the filling with a crumble top in a small mason jar or inside of a hollowed out apple is a great way to present the dessert and keep portions in check.

Substitute Ingredients

To cut back on sugar and fats in a meal, look for substitutions. Not necessarily artificial sweeteners, but things like fruit butters for a dinner roll instead of traditional butter. There are many substitutions that can be made that keep the sweet taste kids love in a healthier way.

Keep it Fun

Involving kids in the meal from planning to preparation is the best way to create an enjoyable holiday meal. Younger kids can help choose dishes by pictures in a cookbook, while older children may help with making the shopping list and preparing the ingredients. Recipes that include appetizers or desserts in fun shapes are easily found online and can be a great way to introduce kids to healthier ingredients.

Make Your Own Healthy Freezer Pops!

homemade freezer pops freezies

Why buy freeze pops from the store that are full of sugar, unwanted calories and they all carry a steep price tag. Popsicles are all the rage in the summer time heat for children and even adults but this summer homemade freezies have really broken out on the scene. What more could you want on a steamy day than to give your child a refreshing freezer pop especially when they are easy too make so any mom can make them, nutritious and of course the best part is you know exactly what you are putting inside your child’s belly. Homemade freeze pops are super simple and you can make any flavor sensation you want using all natural ingredients; some include yogurt, milk, fruit juice, even fresh fruit and for all those chocolate lovers there are many homemade freezie recipes too to satisfy that craving.

One very basic way to make homemade freezer pops uses only fruit and yogurt. To start off you are going to want to make sure you own a set of Popsicle molds. Because homemade Popsicle have become so popular you can find molds pretty much at any grocery store or of course a kitchen accessories store. Next you are going to want to pick out what flavors you want your freezie to be; whatever your child prefers. Whether that is strawberry-banana, lime-blueberry, orange-banana or just simply strawberry or raspberry. Once you have decided on a flavor you will need to buy the fruit and yogurt for your freezie. For example, a strawberry-banana freezer pop would require the purchase of strawberry yogurt and fresh bananas. You then need eight ounces of yogurt and about a third of a cup of banana; then throw it all in a blender to puree. Lastly, just fill your molds with the blended mixture and freeze. This is a very simple recipe but you can spice them up a bit by adding half a cup of frozen orange juice concentrate. A chocolate craving can be fulfilled by using chocolate pudding.

Homemade freezie pops are a great and easy recipe to try out because you can easily experiment with any flavors you or your child desires. They are also healthier because you know exactly what you are putting in the frozen treats so you can monitor how much sugar is used and substitute with healthier options.

toothbrush holder timer

If you’re teaching your toddlers to brush their teeth, now there is a great and fun way to teach your toddlers just that. Made of high quality design and from materials made of wood and vegetable-based paints. The little timer makes sure they brush for a right amount of time and makes a game out of brushing teeth. Makes a great gift to encourage good dental hygiene habits.

Waterless Vaporizer

waterless vaporizer

The waterless design of this vaporizer eliminates the inconvenience and mess of refills. No water is required and included are three settings which control the vapor level. The Evenflo Waterless Vaporizer dispenses soothing Menthol Eucalyptus vapors into the air to comfort your little one. A night light is also included in the design of the vaporizer.

Hippo Ice Pack and Warmer

hippo ice pack and  warmer

Let this sweet, comforting fun friend take care of your child when they fall ill, have a bruise or get an owie. Kids and babies alike can snuggle up to this fuzzy little guy, and have him ice cold or warm. The Hippo Ice Pack and Warmer is constructed of mixed cotton fabrics and can be used for ages three months and up.

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow

my brest friend nursing pillow

The wrap-around design of this Nursing pillow secures to the body, helping mom and baby maintain ideal positioning and latch on. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow helps you maintain good posture during feeding, preventing sore backs and necks. The arm and elbow rest eliminates shoulder stress, while the adjustable silent-release strap naturally adjusts to all different sizes.

Natural Hand Sanitizer

natural hand sanitizer

This Natural Hand Sanitizer for the whole family is safe for kids, recycled and recyclable, biodegradable, natural and animal friendly. Not to mention also naturally antibacterial and non-toxic & gentle on sensitive skin. It comes in two pleasant scents, Original and Orange Vanilla.