Monthly Archive for "September 2010"

Holidays Vivian | 30 Sep 2010

Teach Youngsters the Meaning of Christmas With 5 Sensory Activities

Christmas is about family. Here is a collection of five crafts that you can make as a family to teach the true meaning and symbols of Christmas. Children will learn to identify Christmas using their five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Pick and choose the activities you think your family will best enjoy, and spread them throughout the season. Start new traditions. Most importantly, use the activities to talk as a family.

Sight Activities

Take a Christmas Lights Drive: Pile everyone in the van after dark and tour your city or a nicely decorated neighborhood. Some cities will have a town center that will be lit up. Ask your children which decorations are their favorites and why. Talk about how the twinkling lights resemble the stars. Remind them that on the night Jesus was born a new star shone in the sky, announcing his birth to the whole world. Even people in different countries knew the Christ-child was born, and some wise men traveled to find him.

Sound Activities

Christmas Caroling: Delight your neighbors by singing on their doorsteps, or just gather around the piano and sing as a family. You may even attend a community “sing-in,” or another recital, or watch one on TV. Christmas carols and caroling have a somewhat obscure history. Indeed, in many countries any jovial celebrating of the holiday was outlawed until the 1700s! Caroling can be traced back to England around this period, and it was a community event. Groups would go house to house, singing in exchange for eggnog or wassail. Caroling fosters a feeling of community as we reach out to others and spread joy. Some of the most popular carols to sing are Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and We Wish you a Merry Christmas.

Smell Activities

Trim the tree: Like holly, the evergreen reminds us that life will come again. The pine aroma fills our heart and mind with hopes of the year to come. If you use an artificial tree in your home, you can take your children on a walk through a Christmas tree lot. You can hang a swag, or even a branch with a fragrant pinecone.

Taste Activities

Peppermint Candy Canes: As you enjoy a candy cane with your family, point out the symbols of the shepherd’s crook, and the colors. Red represents Jesus’ sacrifice, and white is for his purity. When turned upside-down, the shape also becomes a “J,” which can also be a reminder that Christmas is a time to remember Jesus. The mint flavoring also has seasonal significance. Hyssop, a plant in the mint family, was used in Old Testament times to purify (or cleanse) oneself. Peppermint might now remind us of Jesus’ purity.

Touch Activities

Snow Angels: After a good snowfall, bundle everyone up and walk to the park or your own backyard. Demonstrate how to make snow angels by falling backward into a fresh bank. Sweep straightened arms and legs back and forth to create the wings and gown of the angel. Stand up carefully and admire everyone’s work. When the family is back indoors talk about the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, when she found out she would soon give birth to the baby Jesus. Also talk about the angel who visited the shepherds on the night Jesus was born. He said to them, “Fear not, for I bring good tidings of great joy!” Although Christ was not really born in December, it is the time chosen to celebrate his birth. During the winter all the plants seem dead, but after Christmas the world gets closer to spring when all the flowers come back to life. Jesus’ birth was a promise that everyone who followed him would also live after death.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 30 Sep 2010

In Love With Rare Coins

Are you fond of collecting old and historical coins? You can collect them from rare coin galleries. If you want heavy discounts in your purchasing you can find a number of schemes for doing this as well. Just accompany us through the rest of this article, and we will teach you about it.

An example of a rare coin is the 1886 50c seated liberty half dollar. That coin is the only “star” designated 1886 proof and can be found selling for as high as $5,200. An even older rare coin is the 1834 $2.50 classic that can be found selling for as high as $65,000! To give one more example, this time even older, the 1794 50c flowing hair half dollar can be found selling for near $47,000. Of course, these prices are approximate and can vary over time.

Many of us love to collect antique things. These things may include historical gift items, crystals and stones as well as early currencies. However, antique coins are somewhat easier to find and collect, and people often collect them in large quantities. In the United States, the business of antique coins is opening its feathers. Some years before, coin dealers provided collectors with antique coins, but now, rare coin galleries are available.

Many companies manage rare coin galleries through the internet as well. There are online coin galleries attracting customers in large scale. In fact, it might be possible that you do not get a wide variety in the retail antique showroom, but many varieties online.

Coins are available in a number of constituents. For instance, you can find antique coins of gold, silver, nickel and platinum as well. Search all the websites related to rare coin galleries and enter keywords for the qualities you want in the coins. Suppose you type silver, eagle, 18th century, for instance, if those are the types of coins you are looking for.

Rare coins can be divided into two categories. Some coins are obtainable to some extent, but other coins that are really antique have very high prices and may be hard to find. Online shopping makes it possible for us. They are offered online through auctions and lucky draws. Interested people have to register their names and other information on the website. In bidding, they also have to give a number to the site and if their number is selected, they can take possession of the rarest coins in the world.

So, now you have gotten to know about two different channels of rare coin galleries. We hope that you will try to take full advantage of both of them. Good luck with your coin search!

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 30 Sep 2010

Collecting Holiday Ornaments

Holiday Ornaments are probably one of the easiest and most popular items to collect. Even people who don’t normally collect things probably have collections of Christmas Ornaments. With all the new ones available and coming out each year, it is hard not to enjoy this great collectible.. There are many ways to collect ornaments and here are just a few.

  1. Start a collection for your kids. Adding a new ornament for each of your children each year is a great way to spend time with them and help them to learn what styles of things they like. The styles may change from year to year and that’s ok. It will be a fun record of the changes that have occurred as they have matured each year. This collection can then be given to the child when they are grown and will be a great start to their own Christmas collection.
  2. Collect ornaments that relate to other things you like to collect or that reflect your specific interests. Most are small, easy to store and often less expensive than larger items of the same style. For instance, if you collect dolls a collection of doll ornaments would be an additional way to enjoy that collection.
  3. Collect ornaments based on places you have visited. Buying ornaments as “souvenirs” when traveling is a great way to keep mementos of vacations or fun travel experiences. This would be another great place to involve your children by also adding to their Christmas collections.
  4. Make and collect your own handcrafted ornaments. There are always lots of new craft ideas and kits that come out every year for making your own tree decorations. Why not try to make a few new ones every year to add to your collection? I often find new ideas for handmade angel tree ornaments that I like to make and add to my angel collection every year.
  5. Collecting ornaments by the material they are made from would open a whole new category of collectibles. You can collect fabric ornaments, china, wooden, glass, or choose from any other type of material that you like.
  6. Collect ornaments for other holidays besides Christmas. A popular trend recently has been decorations for Easter Trees. There are many Easter Ornaments available to collect. Other holidays that are popular for collecting ornaments are Halloween and 4th of July.
  7. Collect ornaments for investment. There are many companies, such as Hallmark, Christopher Radko, and many others that specifically release new limited edition ornaments each year that are very collectible and will increase in value as time goes by. Also, collecting antique or vintage tree decorations can be a lot of fun and these types of decorations will also increase in value.

These are just a few ways to enjoy collecting ornaments. Think about your individual interests and your reasons for collecting and you’ll soon find many types of ornaments that will be fun for you to collect.

Pregnancy Vivian | 30 Sep 2010

7 Simple Tips For Getting Pregnant

Trying to conceive isn’t easy, in fact it can be something of a lottery but there are several tips for getting pregnant which can help to increase your chances of conception.


Eating foods which provide the right minerals and vitamins is of huge importance as it can greatly increase your levels of fertility. Supplements such as folic acid should also be taken, folic acid can help to prevent problems during pregnancy as well.


Smoking is bad for several reasons. Research has proven that smoking lowers the womans fertility levels and the males sperm count. It has also been shown that women that smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a premature birth which could lead to longer lasting health problems.


You should aim to really cut down on the levels of alcohol you drink or cut it out all together. In males alcohol effects the sperm count and in women it prevents the vital vitamins that you need for conception from working. During pregnancy it can also increase the risk of miscarriage.


A gentle exercise routine can have many benefits and one of those is that it can increase the stimulation of some of the hormones vital in conception, it is also a great stress relief. Be careful not to overdo things however as too much exercise can actually lower your fertility rate.


Many couples put too much stress on themselves when trying for a baby which only lowers the chances of getting pregnant. Try to stay relaxed and stress free, don’t become obsessed with the medical ins and outs, romance one another and simply enjoy yourselves because the moment you stop having fun your chances will fall.


One common cause of a low sperm count is down to the testes being overheated. One way of avoiding this is to wear lose fitting underwear as this will keep them cool. Also try to avoid hot baths and showers to prevent them overheating.


Knowing your menstrual cycle will help you to get pregnant as you will then know when your body will approximately release the egg and thus when will be the best time to make love.

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 29 Sep 2010

Cake Decorating DVD – Learn to Decorate a Cake Like a Pro

If you are one of the many people who are fascinated with the fine art of cake decoration, you will be happy to know that you can learn many advanced techniques by DVD. Whether you are experienced or just beginning, a cake decorating DVD can be extremely helpful to you by both showing and telling you about sophisticated cake decorating techniques. You can find cake decorating DVDs in a variety of places.

Of course you know that you can find anything on the internet, and these DVDs are no exception. Doing an online search will bring you a long list of possibilities. You will find that an investment in a good cake decorating DVD will truly improve the results you achieve, regardless of your previous level of expertise. It gives you the opportunity to take cake decorating classes with the masters without setting foot outside your kitchen.

You can also watch videos of cake decorating classes online. This is surely a good way to get started without cost or a lot of effort. You can get instructions on how to decorate a number of lovely cakes for many occasions. But if you really want to learn advanced, sophisticated techniques, you will want to invest in your own high-quality instructional DVD.

Craft stores are a good place to look for these DVDs as well as all the other supplies you will need to make fabulous cake creations. Look in the book section to find terrific cake decorating guides. You are sure to also find excellent DVDs on the subject. These can really help you to perfect your techniques and get professional results in your cake decorating.

Even if you are already a pro, you are sure to learn a trick or two by watching a good cake decorating DVD. In these DVDs some of the best cake decorators and bakers around will share their tips and secrets with you. Once you have seen them decorate cakes, you will have a real edge in producing high quality, beautifully decorated cakes. Remember that these folks have been decorating cakes professionally for quite a while. The ideas they can share with you will make a real difference in your abilities.

You may decide you want to attend a class on cake decorating, and that is a great idea. Make it even better by getting yourself a good DVD to reinforce your learning. Along with the text you are sure to have with your class, your instructional DVD can help you to truly understand and own the information you gain.

If you are devoted to becoming a truly skilled cake decorator, you will naturally want to give yourself every advantage to learn the tricks of the trade. With a cake decorating DVD, you will be able to get one-on-one lessons from a real professional. You will learn the newest and best ideas and techniques in cake decoration. It really allows you to make the most of the knowledge you already have and enhance any knowledge you may gain.

Parenting Vivian | 29 Sep 2010

Things to Do With Your Daughter

It is sometimes not easy to slow down from our busy lives to figure out what would be a fun day of activities with our kids. It may be particularly difficult for fathers to figure out what to do with their daughters. Well it is pretty easy to ask them but sometimes they don’t know either and you end up just hanging out, which by the way, is not bad at all either as long as they are getting your full attention. The goal is to build your relationship with your daughter and to build a bridge between the two of you at a young age. This “bridge” can stand for a long time and can be used as a foundation of support for her in later years.

Depending on the age of your daughter, there are several easy and inexpensive ways to have a great time with your daughter. You will be surprised at what a young age your daughter can have fun with many of these activities. They don’t have to last all day but only a couple of hours or so to be an effective relationship building experience.

One of the best days I have ever had with my daughter was to take her to the beach. One of our local beaches has a pier and an amusement park it was a great day full of many different activities. We have had other fun days, bowling, ice skating, snow skiing, playing soccer, swimming and riding bikes at the local park.

Sometimes different than boys, girls love to learn new things and they will concentrate for a long time trying to learn new things. I enjoy sitting down and teaching my daughters how to play a game like pool or chess. I have been teaching my youngest daughter to play chess. The lessons go on for months but each time we sit down we review the previous lesson and start with a new game and always naming the pieces and the way each of them can move before beginning our game. I always help them with their game and always let them win a few and save a few pieces as we play.

When teaching your young daughter to play a game, it is best to let her win some and lose some, don’t ever let her win every time, unless of course, she is really beating you.

How about bowling? An older pastime that is virtually non-existent in California, it is a lot of fun for kids to play this game. They have children’s “rails” that they can pull up so every ball they, or you, bowl does not go in the gutter. The rails allow the balls to bounce off and continue down the alley to eventually hit the pins. They knock some down with every single roll and they have a lot of fun doing it. It is inexpensive and requires you to get away from the house to do it, which is always an adventure for the younger kids.

Hiking in the mountains or even the local parks can also be a great adventure with your children. When I hike with my kids we like to talk about the animals and what it would be like to have to live in the wilderness with nothing. Their imaginations are so great that they can come up with a ton of interesting topics to discuss on their own while hiking. Hiking is great because it gives you a lot of time to talk and interact with your children. How about counting the rings on a tree or hugging a tree and talking about it being alive and how it grows. There are so many things that you can teach your children on a trip to the hills.

Whatever you decide to do with your daughter, or your son, be sure to give them your full attention. No cell phones or texting while you are with them. Try to think of looking at the world through their eyes while you are with them and you will have a lot more fun yourself.

Gardening Vivian | 29 Sep 2010

Using Herbs From a Home Herb Garden – The Agony and the Ecstasy

So, the agony has passed. You’ve nurtured the herbs in your home herb garden and now you are seeing results. But what do you do now??Don’t despair, using herbs from a home herb garden is the good part. This is the ecstasy.

Always remember that the harvesting of any produce is a two step process: gathering and storing. Storage needs planning, whilst gathering is usually arbitrary and depends on when you feel your plants to be ready.

One of the great benefits of herbs has always been their excellent storage capability without any great loss of their primary virtue. Using herbs from a home herb garden depends both on the type of herb and your intended usage; you need to prepare for one of several storage methods.?For aeons past herbs have been dried or pickled in salt or vinegar. Today we may add freezing to our storage arsenal. For instance, you can freeze culinary herbs in ice blocks for later use in stews and soups.

Using herbs from a home herb garden – rules of engagement – gathering.

There are some simple rules to follow when gathering or storing. The process is really not complicated. To gather effectively whilst preserving their virtues follow these rules:

1. In the week before gathering is to take place, avoid spraying any insecticide near plants.

2. A dry, balmy, moderate spell in June is your best option in Northern climes. (For Southern hemisphere gardeners this means around December)

3. Harvest in mid-morning to avoid excessive heat whilst harvesting.

4. Ensure target plants are insect-free.

5. Don’t be greedy. Remove 25% or less of any bushy plant to enable strong regrowth for later use. Discard damaged leaves or stems.

6. If possible, shelter the target plants with shade cloth the night before harvesting takes place. This should be placed over a frame to avoid contact with your plants.

Using herbs from a home herb garden – rules of engagement – storage and preservation.

We have already covered the choices here. (Drying, pickling or freezing) Let’s cover the how in broad terms. The most important thing when using herbs from a home herb garden is common sense; think about what you are about to do. If all went well with the harvesting, we now have a healthy batch of produce.

Storage method 1 – drying.

Preparation:?Obtain a packet of rubber bands, a ball of string and some “s” shaped wire hooks.

Method:?Take lengths of string and make ‘clotheslines’ in a shaded dry spot. Separate herbs to be dried into bunches comprising 5 to 10 stems. (Depending on type of herb – you will soon get a feel for quantities) Secure these together by twisting the rubber band around the base of the stems. Use the “s” wire hooks to hang the bunches on the ‘clotheslines’.

Storage method 2 – preserving.

Definitely my favourite way of using herbs from a home herb garden.

Preparation 1: Obtain several types of bottles with corks capable of a reasonably tight seal. (The following paragraphs will indicate what containers you will need) Steep clean fresh herbs in oil or vinegar. Rosemary, thyme, tarragon, mint, basil and sage all work well. Serve as a herb vinegar or use as a flavoured oil for cooking or salads. Create many similar ways of using herbs from a home herb garden by using your imagination.

Preparation 2: Obtain several types of containers with lids capable of a reasonably tight fit and a bag of coarse salt. Place herbs and salt in alternating layers in a container. (Old ice cream containers work for me) When all moisture is leeched out, remove herbs and use aromatic salt in table grinders.

Storage method 3 – freezing.?A modern but effective way of using herbs from a home herb garden.

Preparation:?Obtain a roll of wax paper and a wide flat container capable of use in a freezer.

Method:?Tear or slice herbs into convenient sizes and place on layers of waxed paper in the wide, flat container. Place in freezer overnight. Remove container, discard wax paper and repack frozen herbs into more convenient freezer storage containers.

There are many variations to the above methods of using herbs from a home herb garden, but the first 2 have been used successfully for centuries (sans rubber bands, of course) and the freezing method is a simple one. Try these before you buy dehydrators or ruin your oven or microwave.

Parenting Vivian | 29 Sep 2010

Getting Ready to Go Back to Work After Baby

Being a new mom has its own pressures especially when mom has to go back to work. Not only is there the heartache of leaving your baby all day, but there is also the added stress of returning to a working environment that you may have been out of touch with for quite some time. Do yourself a favor and be prepared for your return ahead of time to ease the transition. Here are some tips to make it a little easier:

Before Returning to Work
旵all the office from time to time during your maternity leave to keep abreast of what is going on there.

旵omplete your child-care arrangements. Talk to your caregiver about your baby’s routine and clear up any confusions or misunderstandings. Prepare the list of emergency numbers.

昅ake emergency sick-care arrangements.

昑ake stock of your wardrobe. If you gained weight, as most women do, don’t rely on squeezing into old clothes or wearing maternity clothes back to work. You want to look your best, so buy a few pieces that fit your post-baby body or borrow from a friend.

旽ave your hair done in a style that’s easy to maintain. You won’t have the time for elaborate preparations before work.

昐top in at the office by yourself. Straighten up your desk and go through papers that might have accumulated. You might take some paperwork home to give you a head start on resuming your duties.

昑ry a couple of trial runs away from your baby. These will prevent you from being emotionally overwhelmed on your first day at work. In addition, you’ll be able to test your child-care arrangement and make sure that your estimated travel time to work has been figured properly.

Your First Day Back
昐tart midweek. It’s preferable to return to work sometime in the middle of the week, rather than on Monday, because then your first week is shorter than usual, and you won’t be as tired.

旻eed your baby before leaving. This gives you some bonding time before work and your caregiver can concentrate on watching and playing with your baby.

旸on’t socialize at first. Don’t plan lunches or any social activity after work for the first few days in order to save energy. If there are social functions that don’t interfere with your getting home on time, be sure to attend, at least long enough to chat with coworkers.

昉lan a daily phone call to your baby’s caregiver to find out how your baby’s doing. Place a favorite photo of your baby on your desk or in your work area. Set aside time after work to reconnect with your baby.

昍eturning to work often poses emotional conflicts for new mothers. Remember that working outside the home doesn’t make you a bad mother. And it’s OK to look forward to the challenges and interactions of your job. Remind yourself that you’re doing what’s best for you and your family, and then move on.

Uncategorized Vivian | 28 Sep 2010

Retirement Transition Plan – Three Ways to Clear the Decks For Retirement

There’s so much to think about when planning for retirement — what you want to do, where you want to live, how to stay healthy, and how to cope with the changes that are bound to come your way. It’s easy to go into overwhelm. You wouldn’t think of building a beautiful, new house on a pile of rubble, so why hang on to the debris that will keep you from living the life you’re meant to be living?

Sometimes, in your eagerness to move on to the next thing, you might not realize there’s a pile of rubble in the way. Before you begin to create your future, take some time to:

1. Make peace with the past. You may think the past is past, but most likely it’s holding you back from what you really want. Releasing the power the past has over you is crucial to achieving the kind of freedom you yearn for in this next stage of life. Forgiveness is the key. Before you run screaming from the room, hear me out.

When I left my career as a television and special event producer behind, I was carrying a lot of anger at how I had been treated in my last position. I was making great money, had high visibility, and was really good at what I was doing. I had a wonderful relationship with my boss, until that final year when I became the scapegoat du jour. Every year I worked there, someone was the scapegoat. I never dreamed it could be me.

The abuse that came my way was truly crazy-making — no rhyme or reason. It just came out of nowhere over and over and over again, until I realized that I was a grown woman at choice about how I would be treated, and where I would share my gifts. I moved on; the anger came with me.

After bumping my head against the proverbial brick wall several times, I decided to deal with the past. It wasn’t easy, but over time I was able to get a 30,000 foot view of the situation. While my boss’s behavior was inexcusable, I could see that this powerful, brilliant man was riddled with insecurities. I was also able to see the incredible opportunity he had given me — to do work that I love with people I love working with. Once I let go of my anger, I could move into the life I really wanted.

2. Perfect the present. In the coaching world, there’s a saying, “the present is perfect, even when it’s not.” Like forgiveness, this isn’t an easy concept to grasp, but once you do, life gets so much easier.

My client, Doreen, was working in sales for a major financial institution, and was consistently producing in the bottom half of her division. She blamed the company, and was so vocal in her discontent, her boss would turn and run the other way when she saw Doreen coming.

With coaching, she realized if she left for another job, she’d still be the same person. Staying put for awhile gave her the opportunity to work on shifting her perspective, explore what was next while still getting a hefty paycheck, and try on some new ways of being. She made a game of changing her attitude, and within six months was #3 in sales. Her boss even began to come to her for advice on ways the company could improve.

Doreen recently left the company to start an online business. She’s excited about the future, and knows her new attitude, and ability to see the opportunity in every situation will be invaluable in growing her business.

3. Re-orient your life around your gifts. I’ll bet like many of us, you’ve spent a lot of years doing work that you’re good at, but it doesn’t fully use your gifts — those skills, abilities, passions that light you up from the inside out.

JoJo had a successful career in publishing, wanted to move on, but wanted to do it differently this time. She wanted to figure out what she really wanted to be doing and pursue that, rather than pursuing a career just for the sake of making money. With coaching, she began to explore her desire to paint. She set up a small easel, canvas and paints in a corner of her office and committed to painting just 15 minutes every day.

JoJo was surprised to discover that while she loved painting, she also loved making money to be able to take care of herself, as well as entertaining friends and family in her home. Before long, JoJo bought a lovely B&B in need of some TLC, painted every room a rich warm color, filled it with art (hers and others), and opened it to guests year round. That was five years ago, and JoJo loves her new life.

By taking stock of where you’ve been, where you are right now, and who you are at your core, you’ll ready yourself for the retirement you really want.

Parties Vivian | 28 Sep 2010

Kids Love Making Balloon Animals

Kids learn balloon twisting as a popular and artistic pursuit which entertains and delights children and adults alike. Balloon twisting or balloon modeling can be learned by studying a series of illustrations and video showing technique at various skill levels.

People who adopt balloon twisting or modeling are called Twisters and usually work in areas where they entertain children, visiting parties or as buskers, clowns or restaurant entertainers. There are two main types of balloon twisting. The first is where you make the entire model out of one balloon and the other is where you incorporate two or more balloons in a more intricate sculpture which can be quite multi-colored and dimensional.

Traditionally balloon twisters would inflate the balloons using their own breath. This can be rather hazardous for the balloon twister; balloons, can explode in their face, it is a challenge for older balloon twisters to keep blowing them up using their own breath and there is always the question of hygiene. Parents in particular do not like the idea of their children handling something that has been in the balloon twister抯 mouth and if the balloon bursts, there is a risk of germs being spread.

These days they use either a hand pump, a battery operated or electric pump or a compressed gas tank which contains either air or nitrogen. This type of balloon does not work with helium for two reasons. Firstly the designs are generally too heavy to float and the balloons designed for twisting are too porous for helium anyway.

Small balloons like this can present a choking hazard for small children and to this end, these balloons now carry warnings printed on them. The balloon twister will generally not want to be a bad role model for the child to put the balloon into their own mouths and copy the balloon twister, so this is another reason why most prefer to use pumps to inflate balloons now. Balloons come in a rainbow range of colors and to complete the equipment that you will need along with a pump is a non-toxic marker to draw on the balloons after you have made your creation.

There are many books, DVDs and websites you can visit that will give you step-by-step instructions as to how to create your balloon sculptures, some are better than others so choose carefully. Balloon twisting instructions are what is required, using the visual learning techniques offer by some online businesses will be all you need.