Monthly Archive for "August 2010"

Gardening Vivian | 31 Aug 2010

Create Some Garden Shade This Summer

Sun damage recently has become a hot topic in the press, especially with people gradually understanding just how dangerous being exposed in the sun can be. However, that should not mean that we stop enjoying the summer we have here in the UK, or the enjoyment you can have from sitting in your garden in glorious weather. It is important that within the garden there is plenty of garden shade to sit in when the weather is particularly hot or sunny.

You can create shade in your garden easily and in a way that is both modern and stylish, with sail shades. Sail shades are available in a range of colours and sizes; they are made from material that is fixed to poles to create an area of shade, away from the hot sun. They have trendy look about them and fit well in any garden environment. These are perfect to use if you have a young child in a pram out in the garden and want to keep them away from UV rays.

There are also many plants within the garden that benefit from an area of shade, obviously with a sail shade the shade will change as the day progresses so some plants might spend part of the afternoon out of the sun. The Japanese maples are species of maple trees that enjoy a bit of shade in the garden. They are renowned for their beautiful autumn leaves and quirky bark. They do well as pot plants and in the garden need to be placed in a sheltered area away from strong winds.

Creating an area of your garden that you can relax in without risking your skins health is very important; there is nothing better than enjoying summer, but in a safe way. You can still enjoy lovely warm weather with garden shade, but without the concern for burning or getting uncomfortably hot. By choosing a shade for the garden you can choose to cover a patio area, a pool or a play area. All of these places need protection from the hotter weather and shade can easily be organised.

The climate in Britain is changing considerably and adapting your surroundings to the hotter climate is a sensible move. Skin cancer is a big problem within the UK and younger skin is at risk. Over fifty per cent of skin cancers in the UK are caused by over exposure from the sun. So keep your family safe this summer and create yourself some garden shade.

Babies-Toddler Vivian | 31 Aug 2010

Make a Diaper Cake As Special Gift For Babies

Do you want to hear the compliments months after your baby shower party? Then make a diaper cake, which attracts the attention as well as which becomes a special gift to your newborn. If you are among those, who do not know the tips for making a diaper cake as a special gift, you can refer to several pictures, articles and recipes by logging onto Internet sites, which provide the systematic details about the same.

Essentially, for making a diaper cake as a special gift, you need to acquire numerous diapers. You may use cloth diapers or normal diapers too. However, the number of diapers depends on the size and tiers of the diaper cake. You have to tie the diapers in cylindrical pattern and then assemble them into various cake tiers. Pin those using safety pins, and tie colorful ribbons, satin fabric, lace, crocheted lace, cord and wool. Next, stack the tiers one over other.

Finally, you need to decorate the diaper cake with different gift items that are useful for baby or for expectant mom. For making a diaper cake, include baby items such as baby shampoos, soothers, bibs, stuffed toys, rattles, baby bottles and powders. You may even tuck each item in a nappy and then wrap it.

Use Creativity:

Use your imagination and creativity, when you think of making a diaper cake as a special gift. For instance, make your cake as a diaper wreath, purse shape, high-heeled boot, or teddy gear sake to make it as a special gift.

You can also make your theme-based diaper cake. If you are sport fanatic, opt for sport themed cake. If you like skiing, decorate the cake using miniature cozy items such woolen scarves, mittens, skis, and ski rods. You can also make these items from cardboard. Next, label the diaper cake.

Thus, diaper cakes are memorable and fun gifts. Moreover, they are healthy substitute to standard cakes. So, refer to the details as mentioned above and make a diaper cake as a special gift on your own.

Gardening Vivian | 31 Aug 2010

A Florist’s View – How to Keep Roses Fresh Easily

Are you wondering how to keep roses fresh? Have you tried all the regular methods and failed in keeping them fresh beyond a couple of days? If yes, then perhaps you need to look at some different types of tricks and tips on how to keep roses fresh. The tips mentioned here are easy to follow and also are very logical, so that you even understand how your roses are staying fresh for a longer time.

  • Ask anyone how to keep roses fresh and they will surely tell you that you have to put the roses in a very clean container. Sometimes putting the roses in even a clean vase cannot prevent it from going bad. This happens because sometimes the vase is not actually cleaned properly. Even after you clean it, some residue remains, which causes the water to get infested with bacteria. So make sure you have a clean vase without any sort of residue or dirt in it if you want to keep them fresh for a longer time.
  • Another tip to note is to soak them in lukewarm water first and then refrigerate them for about a couple of hours before you put them on display. Soaking them in lukewarm water will help them absorb better and so will keep the flowers moisturized. Refrigerating the flowers would help them remain fresh as the cool temperature helps preserve freshness.
  • A very important tip is to keep changing the water in which the roses are kept. It is important that you keep the water fresh. Old water can get smelly and insect invested which will definitely not allow the roses to remain fresh.
  • Finally, remember to keep the flowers in a cool place. The hotter the temperature, the lesser the time the roses will time fresh. If you want to know how to keep roses fresh, you must know that roses should be stored in a place that is moderately cool.

Follow these simple steps on how to keep roses fresh and you will have roses that remain fresh for weeks. We all love our roses and hate it when they whither away in a couple of days. If you too have faced the similar problem, stick to these easy how to keep roses fresh tips and you will surely manage to preserve those beautiful roses for a long time.

Babies-Toddler Vivian | 31 Aug 2010

When Teaching Baby to Read, Don’t Test Immediately

Babies can learn to read. Babies have been learning to read for longer than we know. In the last century there have been thousands upon thousands of babies that have learned to read. Perhaps you have decided to do a reading program with your baby. You may have seen video of other babies reading at 9 months. They couldn’t even speak, yet they were able to prove that they could read by demonstrating the actions to words being shown. You have seen babies just over one who could read the words as they were presented. Now you are ready to begin a program with your child. Just be sure to avoid this one major pitfall.

When babies are born, their brains are like an empty vessel waiting to be filled through their life experiences. Babies learn to speak by being spoken to. Babies similarly learn to read by being read to. One of the rules we follow in reading to babies, in order to teach them to read, is to make sure the words are large. The second rule we should be sure to follow is to give to them freely, without expectation.

In order to teach your baby to read, you must expose your baby to many words. By freely showing your baby words, without expecting your child to read them back to you, you are allowing them to learn the patterns of the language. Once you have done this for a period of about 6 months, you may ask your child to choose between two different words. This is not a necessary step in assuring that they are learning to read. When your child is ready they will prove to you that they can read.

Teaching babies to read requires faith in your child. You have faith that when you speak to your baby they will understand. You have faith that they will speak when they are ready. You have faith that they will crawl and walk. As parents, we must have faith that when we expose them to written language as babies, they will read, and they do.

Gardening Vivian | 31 Aug 2010

A Compost Tumbler is a Great Gift For a Gardener

Many gardeners love gift giving time as they get things that they normally either cannot afford or that they cannot justify spending money on. A great gift idea is a compost tumbler.

Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with the soilsaver compost bin, and this is what many use to make compost, for a really fast way then a rotating composter wins hands down.

Most gardeners will probably have heard of them but are unsure just how good they really are. Here are a few reasons why they are incredibly efficient at what they do. They can make compost in a matter of a few weeks. They do this because each time we add organic matter they are rotated. This evens out the heat making sure that all the contents turn in to a great crumbly mix at about the same time.

We are also chopping up the contents at the same time. The smaller it gets the quicker the material breaks down. This really does mean that much of what is added will turn in to a lovely friable mix in just a few short weeks. We are saving much physical labor with these machines and at the low prices that they are available for then they really area great gift idea for a gardener. Anyone who gets one will be extremely thankful and they will certainly find many hard chores an awful lot easier.

With no smell they keep the air a lot fresher. We also have the major advantage with a sealed unit that vermin are kept away. We will have no Cats or Dogs ripping apart eh heap like often happens and all this adds to the fact that we make a great mix in record time. They really do have to be seen to be believed, they are that good.

Gardening Vivian | 30 Aug 2010

Abatement With DDT Concept Needs Second Look

As you are probably aware DDT was banned in many countries. But DDT kills mosquitoes and in places like Africa where the death rate of children is 5 to one perhaps a little DDT in the water is not such a bad idea as it keeps the mosquito population down and keeps them from spreading things like malaria, yellow fever and other blood-borne diseases. There are many diseases and viruses that use mosquitoes as their vector to spread.

In Asia malaria is also a serious issue and the mosquitoes are quite prevalent there and therefore spread it fast. Many people were down on DDT for a number of years and yet studies and research shows that a little DDT could go a long way in preventing deaths. It therefore stands to reason that abatement with DDT is a concept, which needs a second look and a better evaluation.

Perhaps the lesser of two evils does make sense in this case and since there are no other viable alternatives at the presence it would seem that fewer deaths of children under the ages of 8 would be a worthy goal. Too much use of DDT we know is very bad for the environment and organic life. But small traces of DDT, might save lives and that means it would be a good thing. Too often we let environmental fiction trump scientific fact and this is just one more of those instances in my opinion. Consider this in 2006.

Parties Vivian | 30 Aug 2010

Birthday Party Games for Kids

Birthday partis are the most fun and is also the most challenging for kids between 6 to 10 years old. When organizing a birthday party game for 6 to 10 year old kids, it is important to remember that at that age they are full of energy (some parents said they are ‘nuclear-powered’!) and require something entertaining and well as something that will stimulate their minds.

A great way to supply fun and entertainment is to organize a treasure hunt in your garden or the backyard. A treasure hunt can be organized in many different ways. One way is to simply hide candy in the garden and the kids have to find it. The kid with the most candy at the end of the hunt wins a prize.

And, depending on how many kids are invited to the birthday party, decide whether the kids play singularly or as a team. For example, if you have twenty kids present at the party, then you could choose to have four teams, each containing five kids. If you decide upon having four teams, for example, then ensure that you have four matching treasures, so that each team can find a treasure to every question. The team that wins receives the overall prize.

So, to organize the birthday party game of treasure hunt, you firstly need to select some simple questions and answers, for example “who is red, fast and lost his way to Radiator Spring?” and of course the answer would be ‘Lighting McQueen’. The kid will then have to find an item that has a picture of Lighting McQueen on it, whether it is a plastic cup, a sticker, a cap, etc.

Another example would be “if you use a pencil and it is getting blunt, what do you use to make it sharp again?” and of course, the answer would be ‘an pencil sharpener’.

Whatever questions you decide to include on the question sheets, be sure that the treasure is safe for kids. Remember that they will be running around, so anything sharp or pointed could be potentially dangerous.

Do not go over the top with the amount of questions. Kids will get bored easily, so eight or ten questions will suffice.

At the start of the game, if having four teams, place 4 boxes on a table at one end of the garden. Let the teams select their own team names and write their team names on a box. Give each team their question sheets. They must solve the question while standing in front of their boxes, then off they go to find the treasure. When the team have successfully found the treasure, the entire team must return to the box with the treasure object and solve the next clue and so on and so forth.

The team that completes the birthday party game of treasure hunt in the shortest time wins the grand prize. The grand prize can be anything of your choice. But remember that if having teams, you will need to ensure that each member of the winning team receives a prize. Nothing to expensive is necessary. The kids will not look upon the gift as much as the fact that their team won the treasure hunt.

Remember that you also provide prizes to the teams that did not win. This is to make sure that every kid gets a prize at the end and they can be taught the concept of friendship over competition.

Parties Vivian | 30 Aug 2010

A Guide to Preparing Invitations

Preparing graduation invitations should not be a difficult project. Just follow a few easy rules to assist you through the project. There are certain formalities and rules that should be followed for graduation invitations. Always give your guest sufficient notice so they are sure to attend the graduation. Send out your graduation invitations at least 6 weeks in advance of the graduation. If the graduation invitations are for a more casual party then about four weeks should be more than enough notice. If the graduation invitations are for a themed party try to give even more notice to your guests so that they can prepare for the theme.

When it comes to birthday invitations the wording is a bit more loose. The birthday invitations can be whimsical, witty or more serious and formal. Always keep in mind who the birthday party is for. Take into consideration the age, interests, personality and if old enough the profession of the birthday person. Birthday invitations need to reflect the person who the birthday party is for.

If the person is under say 18 years old, you may want to consider making birthday invitations for the exact age of that person so the wording should be age appropriate. Be careful with jokes about a person’s age that can be a very sensitive subject. When sending birthday invitations you should think about the guests attending and how formal or informal the birthday party will be. If the birthday party is a formal dinner, say for a co-worker you may not want to be as light hearted as you would for a relative. Depending of course on how well you know the co-worker. Do not make jokes about ages unless you know for sure that person would make the same joke themselves.

People love invitations for the holidays. It is a time of togetherness that puts a smile on everyone’s faces. Holiday invitations are commonly used for Christmas party invitations, Halloween party invitations and even Mardi Gras invitations. There are always invitations that can be used from Autumn to Winter. Photo invitations are great to use not only as greeting cards but can also make great gift ideas. If you have friends and relatives out of state or overseas nothing makes them feel closer to you than receiving invitations of your family photo or even a talking Christmas card with your voice and voices of your family.

Gardening Vivian | 29 Aug 2010

Home Composting – Taking Charge of the Fall Bounty

In the midst of fall harvest and cleanup, even the organic gardener can find him or her self neglecting the compost pile. However, this is one of the great seasons to compost with a rich bounty of materials available. In fact, once the last of the finished compost is distributed around the garden, there is now both need and space for making compost once again.

Garden beds should be prepared for the spring to come. One of the first things to do is finish the harvest. Anything the frost has hit goes into the pile, bean plants, potato tops, annual flowers, perennial die back, tomato plants and so on. Cut corn stalks into about six inch lengths, preferably before uprooting them. It is is just easier to use a pair of cutters on them while they are still standing.

Gladioli and canna lily add a lot to a pile of compost. These too need to be cut up into six inch lengths prior to going in the pile. It makes the process faster but more to the point, it makes turning the compost pile a lot easier on the back. Make sure to save the corms for next season’s planting.

While stripping down the beds, do not forget all those weeds that were left in the busy last days of summer and the first of autumn because it was too late to hurt the garden anyway. Some call them weeds, we call them compost. Into the compost bin they go. They will add an amazing amount of micro nutrients to the mix.

By this time, one of the bins likely looks full or close to it. However, this is the green or nitrogen side side of composting. There is still the need for a good selection of brown matter to balance things off and get the compost pile cooking.

Autumn’s great contribution to the brown side of things is falling leaves. These are nutritional power houses created when the roots of the trees have reached deep into the earth to mine all sorts of minerals and bring them to the surface. Unfortunately, autumn is also the season for rains which wash away some of those nutrients if the leaves are down for too long so get out with a rake right away.

You might also want to drive around on garbage pick up day and look for helpful neighbours that have raked their own leaves and bagged them at the roadside for you. A few of these thrown in the trunk of the car can really build a pile quickly. Just put a layer on the bottom of the bin, add a layer of green material then a layer of brown and so on. The first turning will mix the materials well.

There is another sort of bounty from the fall composting station. A freshly turned pile in the morning cool will often give off a layer of steam as the pile works. Something profound seems to happen in watching it as you realize that the ages old system of composting is happening before your eyes with all of the promise of spring behind it.

Parenting Vivian | 29 Aug 2010

A Series on Principles for Successful Parent Advocacy – Principle Three – Be a Contributor

This is the third and final principle in this series on parent advocacy. Some of this comes from my past 25 years in education and some from interviews with parents that I have met through work, conferences, parent meetings, day care, and my sons school. I have been honored with the pleasure of meeting some wonderful parent advocates and our principle this time is one that I have observed being practiced by these folks more than ever being spoken.

Principle Three: Being a Contributor to the Process.

What is a contributor?

A contributor is someone who adds to the efforts of others towards a common goal. I see parents who expect all the effort to come from a school team to meet educational goals and criticize them if they are not met. If a parent is a contributor to the process, they are doing many things. Here are some examples I have seen through the actions of successful parent advocates:

  • Volunteering to spend time in the classroom as a helper once a week.
  • Attending team meetings and being available to be in the loop on decisions that happen at school.
  • Looking for grant and foundation money to obtain equipment and software needed in the classroom that support modifications of the curriculum for their child.
  • Looking for ways to contribute in the exploration of answers for treatment and special needs issues rather than criticize decisions that have been made without their input.
  • Demanding excellence but being willing to share ideas, time, and some personal expense if possible to see it attained.
  • A realization that they, as parents, are experts on their children’s needs and behaviors at home, but also respecting the fact that needs and behaviors can be different at school and the staff and specialists may have different reports that are still accurate.

The wonderful thing about advocating in this way is that through their efforts, these parents have earned the right to share in the processes at their schools. They have the right to be in the process anyway, whether they know it or not, but might be permitted by the school begrudgingly because of poor interpersonal relationships. If done right, the relationships at school can blossom so that the parent is seen as a positive influence in the process and their opinions are respected.

Think about these questions:

How do you think you are perceived by the staff at your child’s school?

Are you an antagonist and an interrogator when it comes to what is happening at school for your child’s services?

What could you do to improve the situation?

What actions of successful advocates listed above do you do well?

What areas could you possibly improve in?

Now I know there are those of you out there that are saying, “Yes, this might be true, but you don’t know what I go through. I have to deal with a principal that doesn’t get it when it comes to IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and the rights of disabled and special needs children.”

You might say, “The staff at my child’s school always get their defenses up when I come around and I can’t get through to them.” You could also be one saying, “I have been dealing with incompetency throughout the whole school career of my child’s life. I have been patient but I am about to the point where all I know to do is use the “S” word…sue.”

I am not an attorney and I am not about to start giving legal advice. I realize there are situations where being nice isn’t enough. Still…I would encourage you to take a deep breath and look at the principles above. Compare them to your relationship with your school. Look at where you do well and where you could do better. Putting some effort into these principles can go a long way to bring positive results that will be a win/win situation for everyone.