Archive for July, 2012

How to Tie Dye a Shirt

July 29th, 2012 by admin

Have a comfy shirt with a small stain? Looking to refresh a faded favorite? With tie dye an old shirt is easily made new again.  Follow these steps to create a heart tie dye shirt design.

  1. Start by mixing up some fabric dye.  Use any colors you like or different shades of the same color.  Pour the dye into clear squirt bottles, (like the kind that ketchup and mustard come in at a diner).  You can find squirt bottles at most craft stores.  Label each one with some tape so that you know which color each bottle holds.
  2. Lay out a damp, prewashed, old or new shirt that is either white or light-colored flat on a plastic covered surface.  You can use an old picnic table cloth, a garbage bag, or the plastic that you would use to protect your furniture when painting.
  3. Fold the shirt in half lengthwise and smooth out all of the wrinkles.  Take a water soluble fabric marker and draw half a heart in the middle of the shirt.  The size of the heart will depend on the size of the shirt.  Keep in mind that you want to have room for other colors around the heart so don’t make it too big.
  4. Start from the center fold and gather the T-shirt along the heart line that you just drew.  Make sure to keep the line straight and on top of your gathers.  Tie a rubber band right where the line is.
  5. Gather the rest of the shirt into a snake and continue to rubber band sections of the shirt.  These segments will be the surrounding stripes so keep that in mind when you are banding the shirt.  You’ll want to space the bands about 3 to 4” apart.
  6. Now you are ready to dye the shirt.  Choose what color you want the heart to be.  Add the dye to the first section of shirt.  If you’d like the heart to be outlined you can add a line of black dye right at the rubber band.  Keep in mind when you are choosing your colors that the shirt is wet so there will be some bleeding.  If you dye one section yellow and you want the next section to be red then there will end up being a section of orange in between as both sections will bleed together.
  7. Continue adding different colors down the rest of the snake.  You can make each segment a different color, or alternate a few different colors.  One good choice is dying the shirt in rainbow order.  Red, (orange), yellow, (green), blue, and purple.  The colors in the parentheses will be the mixed colors that you don’t need to add.
  8. Once the first side is done, flip the shirt over and do the same thing to the other side.  Use the same colors in the same order.
  9. Now that all of the dye is on you need to leave the shirt for about 6 to 8 hours so that the dye can set.
  10. After the shirt has set for 6 to 8 hours you can rinse out the remaining dye.  Leave the rubber bands on for this step.  Once most of the dye is out of the shirt you can remove the rubber bands and check out your masterpiece.  Wash and line dry the shirt for the most intense colors.

10 Ways to Spark the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Your Child

July 16th, 2012 by admin

The world is filled with entrepreneurs, and it’s a good thing too! After all, where would we be without things like Velcro and disposable diapers?  According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, of the over half a million requests for patents that were filed in 2010, over 244,000 were issued. Because entrepreneurs are how we continue to invent new products and services, it’s important to help create an environment that encourages our children to carry on in the same entrepreneurial spirit.

Check out 10 ways to spark the entrepreneurial spirit and fan the flame of creativity in your own child.

  1. Encourage her ideas.  Build up her confidence.  Brainstorm with her if she comes to you with an idea for something she could do.  Ask her questions and help her to come up with her own answers.
  2. Never tell him something won’t work.  Instead of telling him that there’s no way a lemonade stand will work in front of your house because there’s no traffic, help him come to his own conclusion.  By responding negatively to his ideas he could feel defeated and like his ideas are unworthy.  According to Mimi Doe, parenting expert and author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting, parents need to be careful with what they say because words have the ability to lift a child’s spirit or crush it.
  3. Expose your child to other entrepreneurial kids.  Head to the library and look up books that contain information about kids who have started their own business and been successful.  Ask around and see if there are any entrepreneurial kids in your area that she could speak with.
  4. Help with a lemonade stand.  He has seen other kids on TV having lemonade stands and making money, and he wants in on the action.  If he comes to you with the idea of a lemonade stand go with it.  Don’t squash his excitement.  Help him make the lemonade and devise his pricing and marketing model to show your support.
  5. Let your child make mistakes.  Parents often want to save kids from making mistakes, but mistakes are how everyone learns.  You can’t protect your children from everything.  If she sits at lemonade stand for a while and doesn’t sell anything, she will wonder why.  When she asks, don’t just answer directly.  Again, ask her questions like, “Do you see very many people walking past your stand?  How do people know you are here?”  She will figure out that she either needs to move or put up a sign directing people to her.
  6. Teach your child about cost versus profit.  Once he has had a taste of success and made some money, now comes the challenging part.  Explain to him how much it costs to make lemonade and serve it to the public in a cup with ice.  Help him do the math, if necessary, and ask him if he made enough money to pay for the ingredients that went into his lemonade.  If not then you can talk about why that is and what he can do to change that.  Alyson Schafer, parenting expert and psychotherapist, says that parents should take any opportunity to teach their children about the value of money. 
  7. Figure out what she is good at.  After her initial foray into having a lemonade stand she may be interested in making more money.  Ask her what she thinks she is good at.  Can she make and sell bracelets or necklaces?  Can she knit?  Does she like to make cookies? According to Schafer, jobs like these show children that work can be fun and engaging.
  8. Challenge him to make something.  Once you have brainstormed with him on different things he could make or do then challenge him to make up a bunch of whatever product he’s decided on. Coming up with the idea is only half the battle; you have to be able to actually produce a product to succeed.
  9. Allow her to sell what she has made.  Maybe she takes friendship bracelets to school and tries to sell them to her friends.  Or maybe she can sit at a table at her brother’s soccer practice and sell granola bars.  Whatever the product is, support her vision and help her to thrive. 
  10. Let him enjoy the extra spending money he makes.  One of the most important things to do is let him enjoy the fruits of his labor.  Money is a strong motivator and it could motivate him to keep going with his business.  

How to Keep Your Babysitting Schedule Straight

July 10th, 2012 by admin

Keeping a schedule straight when you have multiple babysitting clients can be tricky, and it’s important to make sure that you take the time to keep accurate records on who you will be sitting for, and when.  Keeping a pad of paper and a pocket calendar with you can help ensure you gather the information needed to book a babysitting job without worry that it conflicts with another.

When you take a phone call from a new client, make sure that you get all of their information. Creating a client form template with space for the family’s name, contact information, and information about the children can be helpful.

Before committing to a gig, check your calendar for your availability. As soon as you book a babysitting job, update your calendar.  Ask if the time they’ll be home is firm or flexible. If they are unsure about the time they’ll return home and it could be later you don’t book jobs back to back.

Keep the client sheets filed alphabetically so that you can find them in a hurry if you need to reference the family’s information.  Make sure to note on the client sheet if anything noteworthy happens during the time you are babysitting.  If the client comes home hours after when they told you, note that on the sheet.  If there’s anything you want to note about the child or children that will help you the next time you provide care, do it on the sheet.  Be sure to make a special note if the child has allergies.

Mark your calendar when you have a babysitting job lined up.  Make sure to confirm the job a few days before it is scheduled, to ensure that there has been no change in plans.  Once a job is confirmed, highlight it or write “confirmed” next to it to indicate that that you have confirmed the job.

If you are keeping a hard copy of your calendar at home or an electronic copy on your computer, make sure to transfer that information to your phone’s calendar so that you always have access to your schedule.


There are many different types of calendars on the market.  Make sure to pick one that fits your lifestyle and needs. If all of your information is on your phone, but you forget to charge the phone and you need the information, you will be in trouble.  Try to keep your dates in two places, one electronic and one physical, just in case you need a backup.

If you have reoccurring jobs, you can write each client on your calendar in a different color.  Make sure to write your own appointments and scheduled events in black so that you don’t mistakenly schedule yourself to babysit when you have a personal commitment.

Taking on multiple babysitting jobs is a great way to earn extra money. Be sure to manage your babysitting jobs properly so that you are prepared to arrive at the right place, at the right time.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

July 3rd, 2012 by admin

Starting to attend school is a milestone for both kids and parents alike. It’s simultaneously an exciting and scary time when your child first goes off to kindergarten, and you both will probably be a little overwhelmed.  Teaching your child about what to expect will make going off to kindergarten a whole lot easier for both of you.

As you prepare your child for kindergarten, consider these 10 tips:

  1. Teach him the alphabet. The building blocks of reading are the letters with which all words are built.  Kids start learning the alphabet song when they are 2 or 3 years old, and make sure that they can say the alphabet without singing the song as well.  Ask them questions such as: what letter comes after “P” or before “Z”? This will help ensure that they truly learn the alphabet, and haven’t just memorized the song.
  2. Help him recognize his letters. Once he learns to say his alphabet now he needs to learn what those letters look like.  Show him letters in a book and write letters on a big piece of paper for him to see.  By hanging the letters on the wall in his room he will be able to look at them whenever he wants and he will start to recognize them.  Work on only a few letters at a time as it can be overwhelming.
  3. Teach him to print his name. It’s very important that your child can print his name before school starts.  On the first day of school, the teachers will ask everyone to label their items with their name. They will be taught early on that the first thing they do with any worksheets that they complete or projects they finish is write their name on the paper.
  4. Read to him every day. Children love being read to and they learn while they listen.  There’s a rhythm that is used when reading; the varying inflections of your voice help a child understand sentence structure without him even realizing it.  For example, your voice drops at the end of every sentence, or, if the sentence ends in an exclamation point, your voice might get louder or more excited.
  5. Work on increasing his attention span. Children who have not attended preschool or daycare may not have the attention span of their peers who have.  Paying attention when the teacher is giving directions or teaching a concept is very important.  By playing games with your child you can help increase his attention span.  When you read to him he is using his attention span as well, so start reading stories that are a little longer.  Knowing what is expected of him at school will make going less scary.
  6. Show him how to tie his shoes. Now that there are slip on shoes and Velcro shoes it may not seem as important to teach your child to tie his shoes, but if you ever plan on putting your child into tennis shoes for gym class, he will have to know how to tie his shoes at some point.  The teachers will help, but they don’t have time to tie 22 pairs of shoes every day.
  7. Make sure he knows his parents full names. This seems like a no brainer, but it’s amazing the number of children that don’t know their dad’s name isn’t Dad.  It will come in handy for your child to know what his parents’ names are.
  8. Practice learning left from right. Many times a day teachers will reference a child’s left or right.  It will make his life a lot easier if he can differentiate between the two.  When teachers are moving the kids from one classroom to another, they will have times when they will direct them to turn to the right or to the left.
  9. Help them learn the sounds that letters make. There are MP3’s and CD’s available with little songs that make it easier to remember what a letter sounds like.  There’s even a video called the Letter Factory that works through the sounds that letters make in a song. 
  10. Work on counting and number recognition. Letters are not the only thing that kids will need to know.  Play games with your child where you count things everywhere you go.  How many steps are there from the kitchen to the bedroom?  Have him help you at the grocery store by putting 5 oranges in a bag.  Once he’s comfortable counting things then you can show him what numbers look like.  Teaching him his address is also an important lesson and it uses both numbers and letters.