Archive for the ‘News & Updates’ Category

30 of the Best Bloggers on Preventing Teen Pregnancy

April 4th, 2013 by admin

Without adequate education on sexual health, contraception, birth control, empowerment or adequate, realistic abstinence education, teens will continue to have unwanted pregnancies. However, the issue requires sensitivity to teen issues, developing bodies and emotions. Every parenting style is different, too, so each family will take a different approach to preventing pregnancies in teenage children. In order to find a method that is comfortable for both you and your teenage children, you need to draw from a number of sources. These thirty blogs and bloggers deal with every aspect of teenage life, with tips and advice on empowering teens to make the right choices.

Contraception and Birth Control

Abstinence is the only sure method of preventing teenage pregnancies, so many parents will naturally want to discourage their teens from becoming sexually active in the first place. There are a number of effective methods for promoting abstinence, which will work for both boys and girls. However, while you may want your teenagers to stay sexually inactive into adulthood, you cannot guarantee that they will. If you suspect that your teen is sexually active, it is time to considering talking to her about contraception or birth control.  These five blogs talk about contraception, birth control and abstinence.

Empowering Parents, Teen Boys and Girls

Sexual activity is not always about physical wants or needs. Sometimes teens become sexually active because of peer-pressure, lack of confidence or because of disinformation. Parents can often find discussing sex embarrassing or inappropriate, which adds to the taboo and encourages curiosity in teenage children. When parents and teens become empowered in their roles, these conversations become easier. An empowered teen is confident, world-aware and responsible; as illustrated by these five blogs.

Mommy Bloggers on Teens

When your children reach her teenage years, the real fun of parenting truly begins. With the best intentions, most parents will make mistakes along the way. When it comes to teenage pregnancy, however, every parent wants to make sure their teenager does not make choices they will regret. Mommy bloggers are a great resource for parents everywhere. They have already been where you are now; making the tough choices and addressing important teen issues. These give mommy bloggers offer advice on all things teen.

Sex Education Bloggers

One of the best methods of preventing teenage pregnancies is to provide them with sexual education that’s based in reality. Taking away the taboos about sex also dispels a lot of your teenager’s curiosity, which make make her less likely to experiment as a means of learning more. Educating teens on the changes in their body and emotions, helps empower them to make the right choices, too. Sex education is not just about the act but the emotional, physical and societal effects of becoming sexually active. With more education, teens can make better, informed choices about sex. These five blogs aim to inform teens and parents of teens on various sex education subjects.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood services cater to parents, teachers, teens and support groups, offering invaluable education and advice. Parents can find out about contraception and birth control, sexual health, and gain education on problems faced by teenage parents. Knowing the impact of having a child, while still being effectively a child herself, will make your teen think twice about her future choices. These five blogs combine information from a number of national and international initiatives, aimed at keeping parents and families supported and informed on Planned Parenthood.

Sexual Health and Wellbeing

Part of preventing teenage pregnancies involves a solid knowledge of sexual health hand wellbeing, for both boys and girls. As well as the risk of unwanted pregnancies, sexually active teens leave themselves open to STDs and other sex-related health problems. Educating your teens on sexual health is a natural partner to preventing teenage pregnancy. Teens that are aware of the risks associated with unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, STDs and STIs, make better decisions and are more likely to abstain from sex or use contraceptives. As a parent, if you are well informed and can speak confidently to your teen about sexual health, it will build trust and respect. These five blogs discuss matters relating to sexual health.

10 iPhone Apps to Use for Christmas Shopping

November 14th, 2012 by admin

Traditional wisdom may state that it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it can actually be one of the most stressful when it comes to shopping for gifts. Making sure that everyone on your list receives just what they’re looking for isn’t always easy, especially when the crowds descend simultaneously in search of big markdowns and the hot, limited-supply toys of the season. These 10 iPhone apps can help you manage the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping with a minimal amount of stress.

  1. TGI Black Friday – By far the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday requires a serious battle plan before you leave the house. With this free app you can begin drafting that plan weeks before the stores open, accessing ads and sale information from major retailers long before it’s released in the papers.
  2. Better Christmas List – Scoring all the gifts you’re looking for before the holidays is much easier when you plan in advance by building a comprehensive shopping list before you begin shopping. This $0.99 app will keep track of every hint your loved ones drop so that you can make Christmas wishes come true.
  3. Santa’s Bag – Christmas Gift List – Manage not only your Christmas gift shopping lists, but also planning and keeping track of your budget, with the $1.99 Santa’s Bag app. Save gift preference information, like sizes, interests and favorite stores, so that you’ll never find yourself without that pertinent information again.
  4. Delivery Status – If you’re the type that would rather handle your holiday shopping from the comfort of your home via online merchants, the $4.99 Delivery Status app will allow you to quickly and easily track the location of your purchases. Know when they’ll arrive so that you can plan accordingly, especially when you need to intercept certain gifts before curious family members are tempted to snoop.
  5. Amazon Mobile – As one of the largest online retailers, Amazon is likely to have most, if not all, of the items on your holiday shopping list. Browsing product information and making purchases during any downtime you have throughout the day is easy to do, and the app is free.
  6. Black Friday – Finding the best Black Friday deals with the free Black Friday app from FatWallet is as easy as swiping and tapping your iPhone’s screen. Shop, save, and compare deals from various retailers with the power of your mobile device in order to make braving rabid shopping crowds a bit more efficient.
  7. Shopping by The Find – Comparison shopping can net significant savings during the busy Christmas shopping season, both online and at brick-and-mortar retail stores. Scan barcodes of the items you’re considering, and this free app will search for the best deals while creating a shopping list. There’s no advertising clutter, and the app will detect your location in order to find stores close to you at any given time.
  8. Lemon Wallet – Minimizing the number of things you’re forced to carry during the chaotic Black Friday shopping day is essential, and also as easy as snapping a picture with your iPhone’s camera if you have this free app installed. Take pictures of your loyalty cards, credit and debit cards, and your ID, gaining merchant rewards and keeping track of expenditures.
  9. Gift Plan – Plan not only Christmas gifts, but also those for every gift-giving occasion, with this $2.99 app that stores clothing sizes and preferences while sending alerts when a loved one’s anniversary or birthday is approaching. Manage a full shopping profile for those closest to you and Gift Plan will make purchasing their Christmas gifts a snap.
  10. shopkick – Simply entering major stores like Macy’s, Old Navy and Target earns you reward points, which increase when you scan items and make purchases. Use your Christmas purchases to earn rewards from Starbucks, iTunes and gift cards, offsetting some of your expenses and maximizing the amount of gifts you’re able to purchase with your existing budget.

In addition to these apps, there are a variety on the market that offer users access to a number of specialty items, local deals and bargains. Be sure that you look for any shopping apps relevant to your city or region as well so that you don’t miss out on savings from retailers you might ordinarily overlook.

9 Reasons Young Kids Need to Be Careful with Lifting Weights in a Gym

May 28th, 2012 by admin

Getting in a good workout provides plenty of health benefits, and lifting weights is an integral part of any good exercise regimen. Recent studies have shown that kids that enjoy a regular, low-weight lifting routine enjoy a bounty of benefits. However despite these benefits, there are concerns to have as a parent, and there are plenty of reasons why kids need to be careful when they’re weight-lifting.

  1. Strains, pulls, & breaks – It’s easy to push yourself too fast and too soon, and that can lead to strains, pulls and breaks on the muscle. Children’s bodies aren’t fully developed until later in life, and putting strain on their young muscles could lead to injury.
  2. Broken bones – Working out in a gym environment means that lifters are expected to be able to lift the weights without fear of dropping them. The thought of broken bones in one’s foot due to a dropped weight can send shivers down a spine. If kids are going to be transferring weights to and from their work station, make sure they can carry that weight.
  3. Improper form could lead to injuries – While it is suggested that kids spend more time on strength training as opposed to actual weight lifting, if your kid is interested in being in the gym, make sure the proper technique is used. Gyms typically have a trainer on the floor at all times, aiding in the proper techniques for lifting. (
  4. Kids could hurt someone other than themselves – Much like the dropping of weights can lead to your own broken foot, it can just as well lead to injuries for other people. Kids need to be careful and mind their surroundings. When lifting weights make sure you and your spotter can handle the weights and avoid injuries to you and your spotter.
  5. Weight room equipment is expensive – Improper use of weight room equipment might not only hurt your child, but also the equipment itself. Respect the equipment in the gym and use it properly; many of the pieces in the gym are worth more than $1,000.
  6. A trainer could potentially push you too hard – While the large majority of trainers will work with the kids on their limits, there is always cause for concern that a trainer might push too hard. One of the ways to battle this potential problem is to supervise your child as they work out with the trainers. Watching your child train will keep you in the loop about the process and let you keep an eye on your child as they train with a professional.
  7. Overtraining can be harmful too – Rest days can be just as important as lift days. Your body needs a chance to recover and rebuild muscle, so make sure there is a set regimen of rest at least once a week, maybe twice a week for children. (
  8. Showing off for friends could lead to injury – When training with weights it’s important not to do too much. That is especially the case when working out with friends. Some kids might want to show off and show their friends that they can do it all, but that could lead to injury. Make sure you are out there for the right reasons, and not just to puff out your chest in front of others.
  9. Make sure your child is healthy enough to start lifting – If your child is serious about lifting weights, it is wise to get a check-up before beginning. No parent would want their kids to enter a strenuous activity without first knowing that their children can complete the task. Visit a doctor before visiting a gym.

Weight lifting is a great way for kids to get in shape, but it can be dangerously when it’s done incorrectly or when they try to lift too much too soon. If your kids do decide they want to start lifting weights then keep an eye on them while they’re doing so to help keep them injury free and safe.

10 Reasons to Order Pizza for the Sitter

December 31st, 2011 by admin

In tough economic times, justifying the cost of a babysitter, the cost of a night out and ordering a pizza for the sitter and kids at home can be difficult. It’s tempting to ask a babysitter to prepare an easy meal for themselves and your children, but here are some of the reasons you might want to consider forking over the extra cash and opting for delivery.

  1. Convenience – Some babysitters, especially teens, can find it a little bit difficult to prepare a meal while keeping an eye on active children. Opting for pizza means one less task, which could make all the difference if your kids are on the rambunctious side.
  2. Safety – Aside from the potential risk of kitchen fires that accompanies an inexperienced attempt at cooking dinner, avoiding heat sources and sharp knives might be a good idea. Small children will need to be in the kitchen while the sitter’s cooking so she can keep an eye on them, and it might not be the safest environment if she’s inexperienced.
  3. To Avoid “Picky Eater” Problems – Even finicky kids love pizza, which can be a blessing for your sitter. Children that refuse to eat anything that isn’t prepared to their exact specifications can drive a sitter to distraction; ordering a pizza is surefire way to make sure your kids don’t go to bed with empty bellies because the sitter doesn’t know how to cut a sandwich into the right shape.
  4. Easy Clean Up – Instead of a sink full of dishes, a pizza night will only leave a few plates to be washed and leftovers to put away. Despite a good sitter’s best efforts, they’re unlikely to put kitchen implements in their proper places because your home isn’t familiar to them.
  5. To Make Sure the Sitter Eats – Sometimes a babysitter can be uncomfortable eating your food, especially if she’s on the shy side. Leaving money for pizza is the best way to ensure that you don’t have a hungry sitter on your hands.
  6. Easing Separation Anxiety – Some kids have a hard time with separation anxiety, especially if the sitter is new to them. Leaving your children with a hug and the promise of a pizza party can go a long way towards soothing the pains of being left behind.
  7. An Incentive For Good Behavior – Letting your kids know that the sitter will order pizza if they behave is a great reward for their good behavior. Instruct the sitter to only order if the kids follow instructions in front of your children, and they’ll be on their best behavior.
  8. To Keep the Focus on Your Kids – If you expect the sitter to give your children their undivided attention, don’t set her up for failure by expecting her to prepare a meal in the other room. Putting slices of pizza on plates and pouring drinks will require very little of her time to be spent on tasks other than watching your kids and keeping them entertained.
  9. Giving Your Children Their Own Special Night – When you go out for the evening, plan a special night for your kids, too. A pizza party and a DVD rental is the equivalent of a night on the town for kids; they’ll appreciate being able to enjoy their idea of a party while you’re gone.
  10. Leftovers – That leftover pizza is sure to look good tomorrow, especially if a late night leaves you less-than-fully-rested.

A great sitter is worth her weight in gold, and are typically in pretty high demand. If she has to choose between you and the family down the street that expects her to cook an elaborate meal the next time you call her, she’ll probably choose the family that makes her job as painless as possible. Leaving money for pizza might stretch your budget a bit, but it’s a worthwhile investment if it helps you hold on to the best babysitter in the neighborhood.

10 Reasons Every Sitter Should Be Able to Drive

December 26th, 2011 by admin

The average sitter seems to be between 12 and 15 years old, well below the age for driving and for jobs lasting only a few hours that’s fine. However older sitters who also drive can be a boon to parents for many reasons of convenience.

  1. Responsibility – Just by the fact that she is old enough to drive and assuming you have done your homework in background checks and references, if you trust her that means she has what it takes to be responsible. Whether the car is hers or borrowed from her parents, she has shown enough maturity to be able to handle the task of being a driver.
  2. Convenience – If you have very small children it can really be a hassle to get them ready for a car ride to pick up the sitter who will be coming back to the house to watch them. An older sitter can drive to and from the job which makes it easier on parents and children.
  3. Emergencies – In the event of an emergency it’s comforting to know that your sitter will be able to drive your child to the doctor or hospital if necessary. Discuss with your sitter any health related issues she should know about that may necessitate such an urgent trip. Some emergencies are best handled by making a 911 call. Make sure your sitter knows the difference.
  4. Errands – Sometimes things come up and having a sitter who can run a quick errand can be a real timesaver for you. Even though your sitter may be willing to go the extra mile for you, make sure to show your appreciation in a tangible way and never take your sitters thoughtfulness for granted.
  5. Chauffer the kids – Being able to let go of some of your chauffeuring duties can free up some extra time for you. It’s handy to have a sitter who is able to take the kids to and from their activities with no worries on your part.
  6. Drive to the park – In many cities the nearest park is not necessarily within walking distance from home. A sitter who drives will be able to take the kids to the park so they can socialize with other children and get some exercise and fresh air.
  7. Picking the kids up from school – There will be days when your schedule will conflict with that of your children. Instead of scrambling to make it work having the option of calling the sitter and asking her to get the kids means less stress for you.
  8. Outings – Sometimes events come up that the kids would like to attend but you may not be able to take them. If you have a sitter that is willing and able to drive, your children will not have to miss any of those events.
  9. The comfort ride – Okay this may be a bit of a stretch, but face it, some kids only settle down when they ride in the car. If you have such a fussy little tyke, you and your sitter will be glad she can drive. Why spoil a great night out with your spouse when a ride around the block a couple of times with your trusty sitter will put your little sweetie right to sleep.
  10. Change of plans – Not very often, but once in a great while a major change of plans comes along. When that happens it’s a comfort to have a sitter who can drive the kids where they need to go, whether it’s to your parents’ home, your office, or someplace else.

Younger sitters are nice to have and certainly need the experience. At the same time a trusted older sitter with driving capabilities and a clean driving record can be a real asset especially when times get hectic. Ground rules for driving your kids are a must. It’s your responsibility to make sure the sitter is clear on what is and is not allowed including cell phone usage when your kids are in the car. Make sure you reimburse her for gas costs and let her know this extra service is appreciated.

10 Ways to Use Sports to Teach Math

December 15th, 2011 by admin

All kids are different and some may excel in math naturally while others may get confused by all of the concepts.  Sometimes switching the way a child looks at math is all it takes to get the concept to “click” for them.  For the child who is interested in sports, it may be more fun for them to use sports in order to learn math concepts.  Check out 10 ways to use sports to teach math.

  1. Bowling to teach addition: When you roll the ball and knock over pins you write down how many pins you knocked down.  Then you roll your second ball down the lane and knock over more pins, you add those to what you knocked over with your first ball.  Then a total is created in the big part of the frame on the score sheet.  When the next frame is bowled the student will not only get to add up how many pins they knocked over in that frame, but then they get to add them to what they knocked over in previous frames.
  2. Baseball to learn batting averages: The number of times a player hits the ball and gets on base versus the number of times at bat will give their batting average.  That could be a way to teach percentages to a child.  For example, if a batter is up to bat 10 times, but only gets on base 5 times then their batting average would be .500.  This could be converted to 50%.
  3. Pool to teach trigonometry: A child can use trigonometry when they play pool.  Figuring out what angle needs to be created in order to sink the ball into the pocket can be mathematically figured out.  Using an Isosceles triangle of 3 by 4 by 5 will determine where the cue needs to be to make the shot.
  4. Football to use subtraction: If a player kicked a ball from their 20 yard line and it made it to the 50 yard line how far was the kick?  50-20=30 so the kick was 30 yards.  If team X needs to make it to their 40 yard line to make a first down and they are now at their own 12 yard line because of penalties and such how many yards does a player have to run to make the first down?  40-12=28 yards.
  5. Using soccer to learn statistics: Based on how a player does during the season is a good predictor on how they will do in the future.  If a player has made a goal in 5 out of their last 8 games the odds of them making a goal in future games is very good.  The exact chance can be determined using a formula.
  6. Basketball to teach Mean, Median, Mode and Range:  Open the sports section of any paper and pull up the details from a basketball game from the night before.  Ask the child to write down how many points each player scored on Team X.  The players scored 2, 4, 6, 6, 8, 10 and 12.  After explaining what the above terms mean the student can determine that the mean score is 6.9.  The median is 6.  The range is 10 and the mode is 6.
  7. Car racing to learn velocity: Sprint cars go so many feet in a certain amount of time and a formula can be used to determine the velocity that the car was going. 
  8. Skateboarding and Algebra: If a child is building a half-pipe ramp they will need to determine how long the ramp needs to be and at what angle they need to make it in order to achieve the distance that they want.  They will use algebra to find these measurements.
  9. Basketball can help teach range function: Graphing the angle at which a basketball is shot from and the distance from where it is shot you can determine how fast the ball has to be thrown in order to make the basket.
  10. Using golf to learn probability: There are many sites that contain tons of data regarding sports figures.  So if you don’t like golf you can use many other types of sports for this exercise, but if you look up all of the times that a golfer has made a hole in one and then look at how many holes of golf they have played using probability you can determine how high the chance is that a golfer will get a hole in one.  The chances are pretty small.

10 Famous People that Appear to Need a Babysitter

November 5th, 2011 by admin

One of America’s favorite pastimes is “Celebrity Bashing”, and within that select group some favorite targets are celebrities who have children. The way they care (or allegedly don’t care) for their children is common fodder for rumor mills and tabloids. Some celebrity behavior seems to invite the scrutiny and derision, but by-and-large, famous people seem to cherish their off-spring just like everyone else.

Lifestyles and business careers that demand long hours and frequent travel give rise to a great need for competent temporary child-care. Some celebs pack a nanny along with the children, and the whole family goes to work, while others use home-help while they are away. The following is a look at some well-known personalities, and how they deal with their child-care situations.

  1. Brangelina – Whenever Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie appear in public with all their children, the kids themselves often look like they’d rather be somewhere else, perhaps with a sitter. Actually, the children are often cared for by nannies, when both parents are working. Legendary are the stories about the strict requirements the couple had for prospective nannies, including a college degree in child development.
  2. Kevin Costner – He has 7 children, ranging from toddler to adult, and he really looks like he could use a night to himself once in a while. A good sitter might benefit him greatly.
  3. Britney Spears – Her personal tribulations have long been documented, but Britney Spears appears to have overcome much of her difficulty. She has regained visitation rights to be with children she had with Kevin Federline. Their public scenes always seem so frenzied that it looks as if the kids might be better off at home with a babysitter.
  4. President and Mrs. Obama – Mrs. Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama’s mother, moved into the White House and is often seen taking care of the the Obama girls, Malia and Sasha. With as much pressure as they are all under, it seems like all the adults could use a break, and maybe leave the kids with a sitter from the Secret Service for an evening.
  5. Chris O’Donnell and Carolina Fentress – With five children and two busy acting careers, this couple always looks like they could do with a bit of help.
  6. Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso – As often as this couple is on the road, whether for filming, or a World Series of Poker event or at a Boston Red Sox game, they appear to be in need of at-least occasional child-care help.
  7. Heidi Klum and Seal – The German-born super-model and the British musician have four children. Both parents are on the go for much of the year, and certainly need help with the children. They utilize nannies to a great extent.
  8. Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham – The entire family, including four children and a nanny, is often spotted strolling together. Nannies have become extremely popular with celebrities as trusted child-care professionals.
  9. Sarah and Todd Palin – The Palin family includes a child with special needs, son Trig who has Down Syndrome. The children usually stay with Todd, when Sarah is traveling, but they also hire professional help for their child-care needs.
  10. Special Needs – Many celebrities, as with the general population, have children with special needs. Toni Braxton, Steven Stills, John Travolta and Kelly Preston are just a few of the celebrities who have autistic children, and they require specially trained child-care help.

The celebrity world has revitalized the child-care industry. Nannies have become the go-to people for children of the famous. As such, the industry, which includes nannies, babysitters and aux pairs, has benefited through a much higher standard of professionalism.

Why Parents Should Support Their Local PTA

October 31st, 2011 by admin

Concerns about public schools are much in the news, in recent times. Politicians, business leaders, college admissions officials, and academic researchers, have much to say about the quality, or lack thereof, of teaching methods and subject matter. How can a concerned parent make sense of it all and judge whether their child is receiving a proper education?

In the middle of it all, ignored by many and supported by not nearly enough, are local Parent-Teacher Associations. Local PTAs can and should be a valuable resource for any parent with questions, concerns, or ideas about how their children should be taught and cared for by schools.

Got Questions?

If you want to know how your school compares academically with local, state, and national standards, your local PTA can provide that information for you. If you have specific questions about how your child’s classroom operates, and what teaching resources your child’s teachers have available to them, your local PTA can help you obtain the answers you are looking for.

Your local PTA will be happy to provide informational materials, as well as offering you an ear for specific questions about curriculum and available services that you feel are not being addressed adequately by school administrators.

Got Complaints?

All local Parent-Teacher Associations have members that focus on parent concerns about teachers and/or classroom activities. Quite often, these concerns turn out to be based on misconceptions about classroom activities or one-sided reports from students to parents. If, after attempting to raise an issue with a teacher or administrator, a parent still feels the issue is not being properly dealt with, the local PTA can act as arbitrator or information collector in helping to find solutions.

Got Ideas?

If you think that you have ideas that would benefit your school’s ability to educate the kids in your community, the local PTA is a great place to bring your ideas for discussion. As a group, teachers are eager to hear any ideas you may have about helping them work better with your children. A local PTA gives you direct access to teachers ears, whether your ideas are about general teaching or specific issues with teaching your child.

This is, in fact, the major reasons that PTAs were created; to help teachers and parents work together in answering each other’s questions and addressing the education needs of students.

Got Time?

If you have even a few hours per month that you can devote to increasing the quality and responsiveness of your community’s schools, consider volunteering with the local PTA. I’ve heard other parents speak of Parent-Teacher Associations as if they are purely teacher’s advocacy organizations. That’s not the case. Teachers have unions for that sort of thing. PTAs are set up to foster connections between teachers and parents, to address issues of concern and improve the ability of both parents and teachers to help students achieve and grow.

As a parent, you have the opportunity and ability to get in there and be part of the solutions that help both teachers and other parents understand, improve, and grow in their ability to give students the best possible education. Don’t ignore your local PTA. Support it, join it, help it grow and be as effective as possible in this critical and difficult endeavor.

10 Things From My Childhood My Kids Will Never See

October 11th, 2011 by admin

As each generation comes along and technology changes, items that were once common become obsolete. Changes in fashion and customs have also relegated things from our childhood to memories and pictures. I recall asking my parents about what some strange device was originally used for and my children have done the same. Although we have many antiques around the house, there are still some things from my childhood even my kids will probably never see.

  1. Thigh-high stockings – When I was a young girl we were required to wear dresses to school and only allowed to wear pants on Fridays. You can imagine how impractical this was in the winter time, but we had long, thick, thigh-high stockings to keep our legs warm. We wore garter belts to hold them up that were very uncomfortable, so I’m glad those days are long gone.
  2. Breadbox – A common saying used to be “As big as a breadbox”, but that wouldn’t make sense to most people today. Since they’ve never seen one, my children would have no idea what size a breadbox is supposed to be. When I was a child most mothers made their own bread and kept it in a specially made box in the kitchen or pantry.
  3. Bamboo cane poles – I have fond memories of going fishing with my grandfather and siblings in a row boat. We always had to dig 100 earthworms for bait and used bamboo cane poles to catch a mess of sunfish. The modern “cane poles” are made out of fiberglass and telescope out instead of coming apart in sections like the ones I remember.
  4. Grinding wheel – Of course people still use grinding wheels, but the modern versions are powered by an electric motor. My father had one that consisted of a large stone wheel mounted on a stand with a bicycle seat and pedals to make the grinding stone spin. It was used to sharpen knives or grind things smooth and we used to play on it when we were children.
  5. Ice box – Modern refrigeration is taken for granted these days, but before that people kept things cold in an ice box. Big blocks of ice were harvested during the winter and kept in an ice house insulated with sawdust. People would put a chunk of ice in their ice box made of wood and lined with metal.
  6. Ringer washer – Most kids will never see a ringer washer like my mother used to use. Clothes were washed similar to how they are now in an automatic washing machine, but there wasn’t a spin cycle. Instead, clothes were run through two rollers mounted above the washtub to ring out the excess water. These rollers would be tough on buttons and zippers which would sometimes break.
  7. Washboards – I don’t remember her using them, but my mother also had many sizes of washboards. These were made out of corrugated metal with wooden frames and were what my grandmother used to wash clothes before washing machines were invented. If my children saw one today, I doubt they would know what they were.
  8. Flashbulbs and cubes – Cameras are now all made with built in flash, but I remember having to buy special flash bulbs or flash cubes for our cameras. The flash bulbs would work only once and were soon replaced by the cubes that rotated and flashed four times. If you didn’t keep plenty of these on hand, you couldn’t take any pictures after dark.
  9. Wooden spools – Sewing thread always used to come on wooden spools when I was a kid, and I remember my grandmother warning that they soon would be obsolete. She was right, and I don’t think my children have ever seen wooden spools because nobody ever bothered to save them. Thread is now sold with Styrofoam or plastic spools.
  10. Mimeograph – Thanks to Xerox, modern copiers have made the old mimeograph machines obsolete. When I was in school, they still used them to make copies of programs and handouts. The original to be copied was placed on a drum that went round and round. I remember the unique smell of the ink on freshly mimeographed papers.

Even though many things are now obsolete, there are some that have stayed relatively unchanged for ages. You still see people playing chess, checkers or cards, but these games have been computerized, so they may also fall by the wayside. As my children grow older I’m sure they’ll reminisce about the days before there were cell phones or internet. The good old days when people had home phones with long cords and TV’s were two feet thick instead of two inches.

10 Advantages to Babysitting Exchanges

September 14th, 2011 by admin

Babysitting exchanges have been around for many years. The idea is that you get a group of friends together and swap babysitting duties with them, so that you do not have to hire a babysitter. One night you watch your friend’s kids for them, and on another night, they watch yours. Listed below are ten advantages to babysitting exchanges.

  1. It’s Free. Probably the number one reason people participate in a babysitting exchange is because it is free. By trading services with other parents, you are saving money by not having to hire a sitter.
  2. Builds Relationships. You can really strengthen your relationships with your friends by getting involved in a babysitting exchange. You first have to start by finding someone you trust, but that will grow even deeper as you begin to rely on each other to help out.
  3. Social Interaction. Your child will get plenty of social interaction with other adults, which can prepare them for attending school and having another adult in charge.
  4. Bartering. Kids can learn the fine art of bartering, while their parents are involved in a babysitting exchange. This can be an important lesson for them to use throughout their lives.
  5. New Friends. Along with meeting new adults, your children will also have the opportunity to meet new friends, as well. By getting involved in a babysitting exchange, your children will get the opportunity to widen their base of friends.
  6. Social Life. You will be more likely to get out of the house and socialize when using an exchange, then you would if you were hiring a sitter. This is very beneficial to your marriage, and even your mental health, to get some much needed adult time.
  7. Adult Care. Some parents may be apprehensive about hiring a teenager to watch their children. With a babysitting exchange, you can feel better knowing that your children are in the hands of a responsible adult.
  8. No Kids, No Problem. You do not have to limit your babysitting exchange to friends with kids. You can trade services with other people as well. Maybe your neighbor would be willing to watch your children for a few hours a week in exchange for having you mow their lawn.
  9. Family Bonding. If you set up the exchange with family members, like brothers and sisters or cousins, it is a great opportunity to get to know and bond with your nieces and nephews or cousin’s children.
  10. No Limits. You are only limited to what the other members of your babysitting exchange agree to. You may only want to have a couple of hours a week out, or you may decide to set it up for overnight sleepovers to give you a larger break.

There are many ways to set up an exchange with your friends. Get your group together and see what works best for everyone. You may decide to start out with a certain amount of tokens to exchange with each other. You may decide to have a group night, where you watch everyone else’s kids, and on the other nights, someone else takes them. Whatever your group decides on, remember to be flexible and open minded, as the needs of the group may change with time.