Monthly Archive for "January 2011"

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 31 Jan 2011

Reading and Sleep

Reading is a fun hobby for many, and also a necessary component of learning – especially while attending School, a College, or a University. This being said, sometimes we find that time may seem to slow down while reading, and even get sleepy. On the other hand, at times it may appear to speed time up significantly!

When we read books that genuinely has our interest, time seems to go faster than normal. It may be an interesting novel, a series of enjoyable books, or perhaps on topics that can capture our imagination. Another thing noticeable, is the amount of information we absorb, and the faster speed of reading. It’s usually said that time flies when you have fun.

As for books that don’t quite have our interest it can go a bit different. Sometimes we may read, and end up having to re-read certain parts – which can be partially due to getting sleepy and missing out on parts of information. Time can go both ways, it may seem faster or slower – I’ve found usually slower in this case. Unless of course we end up having mini naps in-between; then time may fly.

Perhaps it has been read before, that a good way to get to sleep is to read about something uninteresting! For most people, it may be boring – but as you do this, sleep may start to gradually set in. However, if you have other things to do before sleeping, it’s a good idea to take care of those things first – this way once the sleep sets in, you can have a peaceful nights rest without interruption.

Holidays Vivian | 31 Jan 2011

Fun Halloween Group Activities – Part 1

The month of October brings class parties, Boy and Girl Scout get-togethers, community gatherings, hayrides, Fall Festivals and Halloween celebrations.

Where kids gather to celebrate Halloween, parents and leaders frantically search for unique, fun and creative activities that can be done in a group setting.

Here are some ideas for Halloween Group Activities to get your creative juices flowing.

“Pin The Face On The Great Pumpkin” ?Cut a large pumpkin shape from orange poster board. Cut three triangle shapes from black construction paper as well as a jack-o-lantern type mouth from the black construction paper. Place on piece of double sided tape on each triangle and mouth shape.

Blindfold the child, spin them around three times and allow them to place the facial features on the great pumpkin.

An alternative to this for younger kids is to simply cut a stem shape from green construction paper and allow the children to “Pin The Stem On The Great Pumpkin.” For this game, tape the facial features to the pumpkin before the game begins.

“Guess The Ghost” ?This is a great activity for a classroom party where there are many activities happening at the same time. Using one white sheet, a parent or teacher randomly (and discreetly) selects one student and takes them to the hallway to put the sheet over him or her. The parent brings the student back into the room and the remaining children must guess who the ghost is.

To really stump the children, occasionally place the sheet over the principal, school nurse, librarian or other fun loving individual.

“Bobbing For Apples” ?Cut a large apple shape from red construction paper. Place it on the floor. Place a paperclip on a number of stickers, “no homework” coupons or other lightweight objects. Scatter the paper clipped items all around the apple. Tie a string to a stick and at the end of the string tie a small magnet.

The object of the game is to “bob for apples,” or touch the magnet to a paperclip. Whatever the child picks up with the magnet is theirs to keep.

“Halloween Treat Ring Toss” – Again, cut a large pumpkin shape from orange poster board. Place it on the ground and scatter candies and small items (i.e. eight pack of crayons, play-doh, fruit snacks, etc.) all around the pumpkin.

Using diving rings or another type of ring (even doughnuts if you really want to be silly), the child tosses the rings and gets to keep the items that are inside of the ring.

Babies-Toddler Vivian | 31 Jan 2011

Are You Going A Little Potty with Potty Training?

Baby Advice on potty training what a subject to be discussing across the internet eh! It just goes to show how times have changed and there are not too many taboos left that we can’t discuss, thank goodness!

However potty training is still a strange subject to covering for most people; that is unless its your little bundle of pleasure seated on their little 憈hrone?looking as just as cute as a button. Then it is a different matter all together. Then I抣l take all the baby advice I can get

Well it can be a stressful time but it shouldn抰 be really now should it? Actually nature intended that the whole process was supposed to be a pleasurable experience so why does it become so difficult?

One thing we need to realize in the first place is that no two children act the same way about anything. They all seem to be different because each person is unique; they are unique both biologically and emotionally and in every other possible way so don抰 expect that because you haven抰 had any trouble with one of your little ones that you won抰 have trouble with the other. Now that抯 a good piece of baby advice.

It is not unusual for progress to be made in this important area then only to find your little precious has 憇lipped back?or regressed as it is sometimes called.

I think one of the key reasons that the young ones can have difficulties in this area is because of our expectations! How we feel they should perform. Then of course we tend to transmit our feelings and anxieties to the youngsters and next thing you know they have picked up the vibes and are starting to feel stressful about the whole process. The whole natural process starts to break down at this point and when you want them to perform they can抰.

So for a start don抰 pressure them. Give them plenty of breathing space and don抰 stand over them watching. Would you be able to go if someone was watching you? No of course not so give them at least a bit of privacy. Treat the whole process like it is supposed to be; the most natural thing in the world. Now there is another excellent piece of baby advice.

Check for the obvious of course, talk to your child to see whether or not there is genuine worry about something and make sure that you are not feeding them the kind of food that just binds them up. When we encourage them we are respecting them and helping them to understand that they are liked for who they are not for just what they do.

Our children varied quite a bit but we were just cool about the whole thing and we found it all fell neatly into place. I抦 sure it will do for you too and that抯 our final piece of baby advice!

Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 31 Jan 2011

Model Train Scales – Which is Right For You?

Probably the most important decision you need to make when beginning any model train layout is deciding the scale that you are going to use. There are six basic model railway scales that you can select from, with each having its enthusiasts who will tell you that theirs is the best. Once you select your scale, you will find there are a wide variety of clubs, shows and publications dedicated to that model you have chosen.

A model train scale is the ratio of what the train is in model form compared to what it would be like in real life. The smallest is the “Z” scale, which is a 1:220 ratio, meaning the model train is 1/220th of the size of a real life train. Next smallest is the “N”, with a 1:160 ratio. Probably the most popular size for model train enthusiasts is the “HO” scale, which has a ratio of 1:87. Slightly larger, the “S” scale has a 1:64 ratio, and the “O” has a 1:48 ratio. The largest model train scale is the “G” scale, which has a 1:22 ratio (and is quite large!).

So which is the right one for you? This decision will depend on several different factors. To start, you will need to consider the size of your bench-work (the platform your model railway will be set upon), and the general space limitations you will be facing. For very small spaces, the “N” ratio is probably the best choice, as a 4 by 8 foot bench-work table will provide ample space for a nicely developed model train layout.

You also want to consider what kinds of model railroad elements and scenery you want to purchase for your layout, and the selection of items for sale in that model size. For example, because the “HO” size is so popular, there is a wide variety of scenery and trains to choose from and the competition keeps the prices fairly affordable. You may find the selection for the very large and small sizes a bit more limited. You also are more likely to find used model railroad and scenery elements for HO and N sizes for sale on eBay and in classified ads, if that is an important consideration for you.

If you are considering building a outdoor exhibit, you may want to consider the largest size (“G”) as the trains and scenery elements will generally be made for outdoor use and be suitable for use in nearly all weather conditions.

A final step you may also want to take to help make your decision is visiting a model train exhibit which has these different sizes illustrated. You then will be able to see up close which size you prefer and is the right one for you.

In conclusion, to make the right decision when it comes to the right model train scale, you need to take into consideration factors such as the space you have for your model railroad layout, the selection of trains and scenery elements you will want to purchase and where you will be purchasing them, and whether your model trains will be exposed to the elements outdoors or not.

Parties Vivian | 30 Jan 2011

Littlest Pet Shop Themed Birthday Party Ideas

What a perfect party for your little animal lover! Kittens, Puppies, Turtles, Birds, Frogs and Butterflies! The toys are are Precious and the co-ordinating party supplies are equally adorable. Be sure to stock up on plenty of the themed partyware to start the party off! Invitations: Fur Paw Print Invites – Using card stock print all the party details like Time, Place, Location & Contact Information on the inside of the invite. For this you can use one of the hundreds of “free printable invites” websites that are available. First, Make a paw print template out of cardboard or some really thick card stock. Then, using fake fur (or any furry material) trace and cut out paw prints from the flat unfurry side.

Attach the furry pieces to the front cover in the original paw print shape withe the caption “You are invite to a Paw-ty!” Another unique and crafty idea is to purchase some fancy paper & ribbon from your local scrap booking place. Choose your child’s favourite colours, patterns and texture. Using a template of a bone shape cut out 3 shapes per regular sized sheet of paper. You want the shapes large enough to fit all the party info on the back. If your Handwriting is as terrible as mine, you can even print out the details in separate paragraphs, equal distances apart onto the paper and then cut the shapes out! On the front write the caption “I would PAWS-itively love for you to come to my Party” or “It would be PURR-fect if you would join me on my Special Day.” In the upper middle of the bone, punch out 2 holes 3cm apart, weave the ribbon through and tie a big perfect bow! Decorations: When the guests arrive, paint a little kitten or puppy nose on them with face paint. It would be wonderful to have a professional face painter attend and then your guest could choose whichever animal they wish! If not, a cute nose will do. At the same time have them choose a bracelet out of a bag. You can purchase LPS ones or simply make your own. The bracelets are very important later on – so keep reading.

I am partial to the co-ordinating pink and green colours for the decorations. Balloons and Streamers are so inexpensive but really liven up a room when added to the Littlest Pet Shop licensed party supplies like tablecovers and centerpieces. Have all your child’s stuffed animals and LPS toys out both for play and for decoration. If your feeling crafty, why not turn a refrigerator box or perhaps a few larger boxes into a Pet Shop Village. Take out your spray paint, sharpies, craft boxes and your imagination. Wouldn’t it be cute for the guests to play in the LPS Ice Cream Shop, Pet Store, Vet’s Office, The Pool or the LPS Playground. Let your imagination run wild for that one! Party Crafts: The guests could make their very own pet houses! Collect some square boxes with lids or purchase some kraft paper or wood boxes from your local craft store. They do not have to be large – perhaps 6 or 7 inches squared. Using craft foamies, beads, construction paper and paint have them create their pet’s very own home away from home. They will be adopting a new animal to keep in their home very soon but we will get to that in a minute! Another neat craft is to make a “dog tag” necklace or bracelet.

Check out your local dollar store for animal dog tags -preferably in the shape of a bone. Yes, actual dog ID tags. Now all you need is some fishing wire or thin leather, jewelery clasps and beads of your choice. Choose your desired length, string half the beads, then the dog tag and the continue stringing the other half in the design or pattern you choose. Activities: A younger group may enjoy “Frog, Frog, Turtle” – an rendition of duck, duck, goose. “Lily Pad Leap” is a rendition of musical chairs where the kids frog jump onto lily pads to music instead of walking around chairs.

The lily pads can be made of fabric, felt or paper-just make sure they are secured to the ground! Another game for the younger kids is “Turtle Pond. ” Simply fill a small pool or tub with water and plastic turtles(frogs/fish) and have each guest try to scoop out a turtle with a colander spoon. They turtles could have corresponding numbers and prizes! Now announce that it is time for the Pet Adoption ceremony to begin. Bring out a basket filled with LPS singles or small stuffed animals. Have everyone seated quietly and explain to them that the bracelet they choose at the beginning of the party has an animal match.

By choosing a bracelet, they also chose an animal. Have each child come up one by one and find their match. They can co-ordinate by colours or by little numbers written inside the bracelet. When everyone has their animal it is now time to name their new pet and fill out the Adoption Certificates. Free printable Certificates can be found online – just Google it. Now they have their very own animal and a hand crafted house to keep them in! Food: Hot dogs are the first thing that comes to mind but any of your child’s favourite’s will be great. Serve all your side dishes and snacks out of dog/cat bowls -Brand New ones of course that you can find in any $1.00 section. The cake can easily be decorated with brightly coloured icing and your child’s pet shop figures. You can also make a paw print cake by baking 1 round cake and three or four cupcakes for the claw pads. To make a paw print cupcake you can also use any colour or flavour you wish and make little paw prints using a peppermint patty and 4 upside down chocolate chips! Too Cute! Have Fun!

Holidays Vivian | 30 Jan 2011

Trees That Fit Anywhere – Tabletop Christmas Trees, Bringing Christmas Joy to Small Spaces

Not everyone has the room or budget for a large Christmas tree. They take a lot of space and seem to get more expensive every year. Many people do not have room for them, and even in rural New Hampshire a real tree will cost fifty dollars and up. I can just imagine what one costs in New York City or Los Angeles!

A Tabletop tree is a catch all phrase that means a smaller tree. It might be a 12 or 18″ bonsai that it decorated in the Christmas spirit, but more often is a pine of some type as most natural trees are. Most I’ve seen are artificial and can be reused year after year, but natural ones are common as well. With a decent artificial one, it will look so real that unless someone looks closely they will not be able to tell! They come in various styles imitating different trees like Monroe Pines and many others. The better ones will have variations in their colorings just like natural trees. Everything but the wonderful aroma and mess of falling needles.

Artificial ones that don’t remotely look natural are popular as well. They range from space age shiny aluminum trees, which originally became popular in the 1960, to red, blue, and other festive colors and styles.

We have a natural tree at home as well as a couple of tabletop ones. No way I could fit a full size one in my office, and the little one I’m enjoy here right now is awesome!

Parties Vivian | 30 Jan 2011

Space Birthday Party Ideas

There are currently astronauts and cosmonauts living in space together on the International Space Station.燬huttle and rocket launches are awesome things to watch.燬pace and space travel are very fascinating to us all, especially children.燝ive them a Space Birthday Party with these fun ideas to celebrate their big day.

You can create your own space party invitations.燛nlist your child to help.燭hey will love making them and being involved in the planning of their party.燙ut card stock into the shape of rocket ships.燚ecorate with a different colored cone on the top and fins at the bottom.燯se a colored marker to draw USA down the front.燱rite the party details on the back of the invitation.燬tart off with “Come spacewalk for Eric’s 7th Birthday Party.”?/p>

A Space Birthday would not be the same without rockets.燞ave some model rocket kits for the party guests to build.燜ind a nice clear spot near your party location, such as a field, to safely blast off from.燭here are also rocket balloon launchers available for a fun alternative.燗nother fun activity would be to show your guests how astronauts make repairs in space.燬imulate their motions by having them wear a pair of bulky gloves and try to put a screw into a board or assemble some tinker toys.?/p>

Serve your guests space inspired foods.燙ut sandwiches into star shapes with a star shaped cookie cutter.燞ave a package of freeze dried astronaut ice cream for each guest to enjoy.燤ake a space themed birthday cake using little rocket figures and create a colorful planet with colored icing.牋This Space Birthday Party will be out of this world!

Holidays Vivian | 30 Jan 2011

Looking For Christmas Printable Games to Use in These Days Before Vacation?

If your December is as busy as most people I know, then you will not have time to search high and low online for free Christmas printable games to use with your students. There are tons out there, some are better than others, but weeding through all that is available is a time killer. Finding some you can purchase that will not cost you an arm and a leg might be the time saver you need. The beauty is that once you have them, you never have to search again. This article will give you suggestions of the sorts of activities you should expect to find in one comprehensive package of kids educational Christmas activities.

Suggestion One:

Look to be sure the games and activities also include templates for bookmarks, rewards, gift cards, gift tags, brain teasers and things like that. These are not games, but you may end up using them more than the games! These make great teacher gifts. Print them out and laminate a holiday bookmark or homework pass and you have a simple gift for your students.

Suggestion Two:

A good Christmas printable games package will have a lot of pencil and paper activities. They can be mazes, or riddles, jokes, or strategy games two people can play. These work well as holiday homework in these last few days before vacation and as something to do in those moments they come into class, or the extra ten minutes before lunch. They also keep things quiet.

Suggestion Three:

If the product you are looking at claims they have writing prompts, take a look at them and make sure they are interesting enough for your grade level and not the same old ideas teacher tend to use year after year. You want to keep your students writing, and holidays should create some different themes or topics for you to use.

Suggestion Four:

Check to see if there are plenty of math games in the package as well as language base games. That gives you a chance to spread the activities over several subject areas. Again, make sure the difficulty levels match your needs.

Suggestion Five:

Look to see if there are any bonus materials being offered. Many of these materials that are sold and a downloadable ebook format offer a bonus book or two as an incentive. Make sure the bonus being offered is something you will be able to put to good use. One excellent bonus for a game package would be blank game templates so you can custom design some of your own games. Another good one is some group activity games that can be used with the entire class. Sometimes with holiday game packages there will be a bonus with the historical background information, or brain teasers.

These are just a few suggestions of things to look for when you save yourself some time and just flat out buy a holiday game package. Your students will enjoy the professional quality that these Christmas printable games have and you will enjoy how easy it is to just go to your computer and click on and activity and print it out!

Holidays Vivian | 29 Jan 2011

A Perfect Family Christmas Gift

There抯 no denying that Christmas time is fast approaching. Aside from Christmas decors, one of the most popular items purchased during this special season include a wide array of Christmas gifts. Being a major attraction for everyone, Christmas gifts are anticipated by everyone especially those by families and family members.


Christmas is indeed a very special time for families all over the world. Bringing the joy and excitement of Christmas time into its fullest form are family Christmas gifts and presents. Each and everyone of us would want to give our parents, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives a special family present.

Like finding that elusive gift for a girlfriend or a boyfriend, choosing the perfect family Christmas gift can be a strenuous and tedious task. To help you find the perfect gift for your family members, here are some gift ideas and presents that will surely make their Christmas season merrier.

Among the so many family Christmas gift ideas out there, handmade family Christmas presents always top the list. Aside from being unique, various selections of family Christmas presents also reflect the value of the recipient.

Hand-made Christmas gifts may include a special painting of a family, a sculpture that symbolizes family unity, or pieces of clothing that embody familial spirit. Family picture or a picture of a specific family member placed in a special hand-made frame is also an excellent choice.

If you抮e on a tight budget and would still want to provide something for your family members, worry no more because family Christmas gifts need not be expensive. All you have to do is to know the interests of each family member and personalized something for them.

Inexpensive family Christmas presents may include customized Christmas cards and home-made cookies, home-cooked meals and delights, a personal shopping spree for them or a day of special service. Remember, when giving gifts, the monetary value of the item of the present counts, it抯 the thought behind it that really matters.

But, if you really want to give something concrete for a present, here are some unique family Christmas gifts you can choose from:

1. One-year subscription of the family抯 favorite magazine or newspaper. If the whole family is into reading a specific magazine or a newspaper, why not surprise them a year of subscription? Aside from helping your parents out in cutting expenses caused by subscription, this is also a practical idea because all of the family members will benefit from it.

2. A new Bible. If your family is Catholic, a new Bible will definitely be a prized possession. You can buy a newest or latest version in hardbound or if you want to be somehow techy, an audio Bible is perfect for the whole family especially for those members who love to drive.

3. A music CD. If the family loves to listen to a certain artist or inclined to a specific music genre, a music cd will definitely be a hit.

4. Lots of video or DVD. If almost all of the family members are movie buffs, it would be a pleasant surprise for each and every one of them if you buy quality movies in DVD. Aside from being able to share it with everyone, copies of timeless movies can also be an investment in the future.

5. Fun stuff and games for the family. If you抮e family is into playing a specific game together for a bonding, then fun stuff and games such as board games, projects, and activities will be appreciated.

Babies-Toddler Vivian | 29 Jan 2011

Choosing a Twin Or Tandem Pushchair

It’s hard enough trying to pick and choose the right pushchair for a single child. You really are multiplying the problem by two when trying to decide on a double pushchair for two children. It’s even more important now to make sure you get the choice right and have all the special features you need especially if you have children of different ages.

Remember that twin pushchairs have your children sat side by side while a tandem pushchair they will be sat one in front of the other.

In order to help you narrow down the options there are some basic questions that you can pose which will help clarify what you need. In this article we will look at some of these questions in more detail and by the end you should be ahead of the game and on your way.

Hopefully top of the list of questions you should be asking is “how safe is this pushchair”? Make sure it meets all the latest safety standards and has five point harnesses to keep your children secure.

Next up is the size. What are the dimensions of the pushchair? Make sure it can fit easily in the places you need to go like your car, your front door and corridor or storage place.

How about storage space below or behind the pushchair? Your hands just got fuller with an extra child, you need all the help you can get. Do you need plenty of undercarriage shopping storage? I bet you do!

Do you need an all in one double travel system? With single buggies this is quite a popular and common feature whereas only a few double pushchairs offer this.

If you can make your mind up about the above options early on then it should be much easier to get a shortlist of products together which then means you can just focus on questions of style and price, which, let’s face it, is the fun part.