Expert Q&As About Safer Pest Control Around Your Children

There is nothing more than any parent wants to do more than protect their children. And for their young ones to feel secure. Whether this is from the Boogey Man or something more realistic like the dangers from household pests. It’s also important to keep your children safe from the effects of the methods you use to control pests.

When protective parents are concerned, pest control technicians often have to answer the same frequently asked questions, because, as caregivers, we all want to make sure our children aren’t being exposed to dangerous pest control methods.

We know you all have a lot of concerns about this topic, so we asked London experts Empire Pest Control what their most frequently asked question were, in particular, those questions coming from parents of young children. Listed below are a handful of questions that are heard most often…

 

Do professionals always use pesticides? I’ve heard that they are dangerous.

Pest killing chemicals are strong and do have the potential to be dangerous if they are used incorrectly and misapplied. If you absolutely need them, your technician will advise you on when it is safe to enter your home after treatment, and what precautions to take.

However, pest controllers aren’t always as eager to use these chemicals as most people are led to believe. There are lots of different techniques available to them that involve little to no pesticide use at all.

I don’t want to use dangerous traps or poisons with young children around. What do I do?

The riskiest traps around children are spring trap and snap traps, where little fingers might get hurt if accessed. There is also potential harm from baiting traps with poison or leaving down food laced with rodenticides. In terms of traps, live capture traps baited with peanut butter present little harm to children. If you must use poison, you can also get traps that lock and the bait inside is only accessible with a key.

What are other chemical-free options available for a pest infestation?

The method that has proven safest yet effective for rodent control is to deter them with ultrasonic plug-in devices and strong scents. An essential oil can be used or fabric softener sheets, as mice are very sensitive to strong smells. Bed bugs can be eradicated completely with a high enough temperature.

A completely non-toxic program for bed bugs combines the use of your washing machine’s high setting and professional heat treatments for the whole house. Most pest companies aim at providing the most environmentally friendly solution possible nowadays.

Do I need to be careful around some home pest control remedies?

Be mindful when using some essential oils around children and pets, as the oil can be a health hazard if ingested internally or when it makes contact with their skin or eyes.

To some pets, some homemade solutions and essential oils can also pose a serious health risk, so check with a vet before using them in the environment.

I’ve heard about prevention but I’m not sure what that involves. What can I do?

The best way to put a stop to a pest infestation is to start with exclusion and prevention. Find all the access points pests can use around your home and seal them up.

This will solve a huge part of the problem without needing to use any chemicals. Keeping things clutter free and spotlessly clean is also paramount. Eliminating the attraction for pests of food goes a long way. You can always hire a pest control service like Averse Pest Control and make sure to leave this job to professionals in order to have a clean home.

What steps can I take to limit my child’s exposure to my pets’ pests?

You can purchase pet collars that prevent fleas and ticks. Keeping your garden well maintained also helps the fight against pests like ticks, fleas that pets bring in. Following a great pest prevention routine coupled with a professional pest management program will keep you pests pets at bay. Treating your pets for fleas before the fleas become an infestation in your home is crucial.

We hope that answering some of these questions has helped you begin to learn about ways to manage pest control situations in the most effective way without worrying about the health and safety of your children.

The Value of Physical Therapy For Your Kids

Many fall into the pit of thinking that physical therapy is only for the elderly, in order to help them regain lost function and retain some degree of independence. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone who is dealing with an injury or health issue may require some degree of physical therapy. As explained by chiropractoratlanta.com, “Pre-surgical physical therapy is a necessary component of car accident recovery programs, helping patients undergo surgical operations without the risk of suffering physical complications.

In some cases, following through with physical therapy before a surgical operation can help prevent this procedure from happening, depending on how soon you are able to receive treatment.” The same applies to children, though your approach may be different considering that their bodies are still growing. Here is how physical therapy is important for children and the best way to go about getting it.

Physical Therapy: Why?

Physical therapists, on top of treating many different people, treat many conditions as well. When it comes to children, generally any situation where movement is limited in daily activities may cause a doctor to recommend a  physical therapist. Some examples include:

  • sports injuries
  • developmental delays
  • cerebral palsy
  • genetic disorders
  • orthopedic disabilities/injuries
  • heart and lung conditions
  • birth defects (such as spina bifida)
  • effects of in-utero drug or alcohol exposure
  • acute trauma
  • head injury
  • limb deficiencies
  • muscle diseases

How long your child actually needs physical therapy will depend on the nature of their condition and what the end goal is. For example, when dealing with a sports injury or even an infant having some trouble beginning to walk, you may only need a few sessions in conjunction with some other support. However, if you are grappling with disabilities or severe developmental delays, you may require both more time and more frequent visits. Your therapist will help set out a plan for you to figure this out early on. Of course, if things go a certain way during the progression of said plan, they will be able to help you adapt.

There are many different ways that your child can get physical therapy treatment, and in many cases, it will be a combination of different techniques and practices that help your child reach their goals. A therapist may help them to train to build strength in an injured area, or use flexibility exercises to increase their range of motion. In some cases, there may be room for different types of therapy like aquatic therapy or improving circulation around injured areas. There is no one single type of therapy you have to choose.

On top of this, there may be a teaching component as well. A physical therapist will generally provide some exercises your child can work on at home, as well as safety and prevention guidance if needed. Physical therapists also regularly interact with medical, psychiatric, and school personnel if this is one part of a more comprehensive treatment plan for your child.

Finding The Best Physical Therapy

Now, with all these benefits in mind, it begs how exactly you find the best possible option when it comes to your physical therapist. Part of the good news is that you have plenty of places to choose from. Physical therapists work in a variety of different places, including hospitals, private practices, fitness centers, and research facilities. Neither one of these are any better than the others, but when it comes to your children, you may want to go somewhere familiar. If this means somewhere you have had therapy done before or can get a recommendation from with someone that you trust, that’s great. If not, you may need to do a bit of research on your own.

As a start, you may want to take a closer look at the education your therapist has. Recently, the field has evolved to the point that all therapists have a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. There will also be some degree of post-degree education, such as continuing education, certifications, specializations, and/or residency programs. Does your therapist have a specialization in a certain area? This may be worth noting as well.

When it comes to the actual search, you have several resources to choose from, including your medical insurance provider or the American Physical Therapy Association’s website

Protecting Your Home With The Right Front Door Lock

Many years ago, people did not have to worry about locking their doors as much as we do now. Now, it is simply not safe to leave your doors unlocked. Leaving your doors unlocked will only end with you coming home, and many of your belongings gone. This is why it is so important to make sure that you purchase a quality front door lock. Your security depends on finding the best door locks out there, but with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to ensure that you are getting the best type of front door lock. 

Types Of Locks 

Front door locks will come in all different styles, shapes, and sizes. You can choose between mechanical locks and electronic locks. 

Mechanical Locks 

Mechanical locks keep the door from being opened until the mechanism inside is released by a key. You will find these locks in several different types including the doorknob, and lever. Locksmiths recommend deadbolt locks, as these are offered at an affordable price, and are not easy to get into or break. 

Multipoint Systems 

multipoint system is where the lock has multiple locking points. This type of door lock only has one key to open all the locks. These locks are known to be very secure, and can even protect sliding doors. 

Electric Door Locks 

Electric door locks will come in a variety of different types. Some will have keypad entry, while others you can access by a remote. These doors can be very secure if used correctly. 

Choosing the Right One for your Door 

In order to choose the right door lock for your door, you will need to take into consideration things like how much money you want to spend, and the size of your door. You will also want to consider if you live in an area where someone might try to break into your home all the time. If you live in an area like this, you will want to purchase a more secure door lock. 

There are many options out there when it comes to purchasing door locks. Contact your local locksmith to make sure that the one you purchase matches what you need for the security of your home. Purchasing a door lock that is cheap, is not a wise move. You will want one sturdy enough to keep anyone from breaking into your home. Make sure that you feel safe, and secure with your new front door lock. Go through all of your options before making your final decision.

How to successfully manage your school’s enrichment programs with ease and no cost

A Guide for After-School Enrichment Coordinators

It is a great practice to bring wonderful before- and after-school enrichment programs to our children right at our schools. School is the most convenient place for such programs for both children and parents, removing the need for transportation. Many enrichment programs today (whether from third-party providers or from school teachers or parent volunteers) can be extremely fun, creative, inspirational, and eye-opening for kids. For example, we’ve seen programs on robotics, sewing, ceramics, programming, chess, public speaking, cooking, sports, carpentry, and foreign languages. These are precious opportunities for children to be exposed to a wide variety of topics and to learn through fun.

However, managing after-school programs is a complex operation including selecting providers and programs, coordinating with enrichment providers on programs and locations, interacting with parents for registration, managing class volunteers and granting scholarships, maintaining up-to-date rosters to be on top of our children’s whereabouts after school hours, and managing payment to enrichment providers. To significantly reduce this complexity and to contribute to our school communities, 6crickets donates its online enrichment registration and management platform to schools/PTAs, third-party enrichment providers, and parents at no cost (6crickets.com/afterschool). 6crickets has now worked with dozens of schools to manage their after-school enrichment programs and registrations. In this guide, we share with you the collective experience from working with these schools and give enrichment coordinators like you a roadmap and tools that you can leverage to significantly simplify the enrichment management process.

For the rest of this guide, we break down the enrichment management process into seven steps and describe what you need to do for each step in subsequent sections: (1) determine room and time availability for your school’s enrichment classes, (2) select enrichment providers and programs, (3) vet third-party enrichment providers, (4) finalize class details, (5) provide class listing and registration to parents, (6) organize parents volunteers for enrichment classes, (7) manage scholarships.

1. Determine room and time availabilities

First, you need to determine when and where enrichment classes could take place in your school. You will need to discuss with your school’s office managers who may in turn need to discuss with the principals or teachers on which class rooms can be made available for enrichment classes. After this discussion, you should know (1) the maximum number of classes that can be offered at your school, (2) the time period for each class, (3) the maximum number of students allowed for each class. With this information, you can now set off to look for suitable enrichment providers or teacher/parent volunteers to offer the classes.

2. Select enrichment providers and programs

It is often desirable to choose programs that are not taught in a regular school setting. Some key criteria are diversity, novelty, and learning through fun. Popular enrichment topics we have seen include sports, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), board games, foreign languages, and public speaking/drama. Sometimes, school teachers or parent volunteers may want to offer after-school enrichment classes. There are also many third-party enrichment providers near you. Here are some ways for you to gather enrichment provider candidates:

1. Do a Google (or Bing) search as well as Google Maps search on “after school enrichment”. Many choices should show up for your area. When searching on Maps, you can even see some review ratings.

2. Search on Yelp to also get provider ideas along with reviews.

3. You can look up a provider in Facebook to learn more about them including their reviews.

4. You can also outsource this part to 6crickets. 6crickets’s main service is 6crickets.com, a one-stop shop for children’s camps and classes. So, we have worked with hundreds of local providers, many of which have had reviews. 6crickets can help you compile a set of providers for your school based on your interests. For more details, please visit 6crickets.com/afterschool and email support@6crickets.com.

3. Vet third-party providers

It is common for school districts, schools or PTAs to vet a third-party provider candidate. Here is a list of forms that you may consider to ask them to submit to you, your school, or your school district for vetting and approval: state business license, city licenses, general liability insurance, certificate liability insurance for your school (they should be able to easily add a school to their liability insurance for free), each instructor’s driver’s license, state background check, fingerprint, adult sexual misconduct prevention certificate, volunteer agreement for your school, CPR first aid certificate, blood-borne pathogen certificate.

This can be a lot of tedious paper work. Nevertheless, you can leverage 6crickets’ free enrichment management platform to ask a provider to submit their vendor forms at 6crickets and grant you the permission to view and approve the forms online. This way, you can review all the forms of every provider online all on a single web page. No more paper waste and losing track of all this paperwork!

4. Finalize class details

Once you’ve vetted and approved a set of providers or lined up teacher or parent volunteers, you now need to work with them to finalize the class sessions to be offered at your school and assign time, day, and a room location for each session. At the end of this process, for each provider, you will obtain the following information (1) provider name and description (2) for each program this provider offers at your school, you should have program name and description, age or grade range. (3) the provider may offer the program for multiple sessions at different times and rooms; for each session, you should have the room number, days of the week, start and end time, start and end date, the minimum number of students required for the session to take place, and the maximum number of students allowed for the session.

If your school requires parent volunteers for enrichment classes or offers scholarships to low-income families, you will need to communicate your policies and practices with providers as well. Section 6 and 7 below present how you should handle these cases.

Now that you’ve finalized your after-school classes at our school, it is time to let the parents know and register for the classes.

5. Provide class listing and registration to parents

For this critical step, you should keep these important goals in mind for a smooth and efficient operation: (1) All classes should be listed clearly at one place for parents to find and choose. (2) Make it easy for parents to register any classes across different providers with just one registration form. The less paperwork, the more efficient it is for everyone. (3) Make payment distribution to providers as simple as possible to minimize your time spent here. (4) Efficiently maintain an up-to-date roster for all classes across different providers even in the face of cancellations and last minute registrations so that you as enrichment coordinators and school administrators will always know which student goes to which class.

The good news is that you can achieve all of these goals easily with 6crickets’ free, one-stop enrichment online registration platform (6crickets.com/afterschool).

You can email the class information you gathered from Step 4 to 6crickets’ support staff. They will then work with your providers and teacher/parent volunteers to set up their classes and create a one-stop online registration website portal dedicated for your school. You can then include a “Register After School Classes” hyperlink pointing to this portal in your school’s or PTA’s website or in your school’s newsletter to parents.

In more detail, here are the key time-saving features that this service offers:

1. One-stop enrichment online registration portal for the parents of your school: parents can come to a central page to see all the programs offered, free or not, and register for classes with a single login and registration form.

Parents no longer need to worry about scattering their logins and children’s information all over the place, but keep it centrally and safely at 6crickets. (Helen Wang, the founder of 6crickets, is a security and privacy expert and 6crickets gives the state-of-the-art protection for its users’ information.)

When a class fills up, parents will be able to sign up to receive notifications of new spots opening.

If a parent does not have a credit card, (s)he can pay the provider by check and be issued a discount code to register online at the school registration portal. If a parent has no online access, the student can also be added to the class roster online.

2. Automatic, instant payment to providers:When parents pay, 6crickets sends payment to enrichment providers instantly and automatically. So, you no longer need to deal with payment or manual invoicing with enrichment providers.

3. Central roster management: 6crickets offers a central page for enrichment coordinators or school administrators to view all the rosters from different providers in real-time. So, even if there are new last minute enrollment or cancellations, you will always have the up-to-date, accurate roster information for each class from every enrichment provider. The roster contains all the essential information about a student including parents’ contacts, emergency contacts, pick up contacts, medical information, etc. (you can find the registration form at 6crickets.com/kids). When a student needs to cancel a class, providers can issue a refund from their rosters online.

4. Flexible configurations: You can configure registration start and end time, waiver forms, custom questions for parents to answer during checkout.

5. Fund raising: You can configure to collect fees and donations in the enrichment registration process to raise funds for your school or PTA.

6. Live tech support: 6crickets has a full-time support team that can assist you with anything you need along the way. You can either chat with them online during work hours or email them at support@6crickets.com.

This service is part of 6crickets’ donation program to schools and the education community. So, it is completely free for parents, schools/PTAs, and providers. There is a standard credit card fee charged by the credit card payment processing company Stripe (2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction); typically such credit card fees are already included in the class pricing.

6. Organize parent volunteers for enrichment classes

Some schools have required or encouraged parent volunteers to chaperone at each enrichment class. We have seen schools do this in one of two ways.

In the first way, one parent signs up to chaperone every date of a program. This parent gets the class for free or at a highly discounted price for his/her child. In this case, you will send parents an email in advance seeking volunteers. You can then create a discount code at 6crickets for the parent volunteer to use at the checkout. You also need to inform the provider about this practice. Some schools require the provider to shoulder the cost of the volunteer. Other schools pay the remaining cost to the provider for the volunteer’s child. Please inform providers which volunteer will be present at the class.

The second way of organizing parent volunteers is to require every parent with a student in class to chaperone at least one date of the program in order for his/her child to participate.You can configure 6crickets to ask a question during checkout about which date the parent can volunteer and ask him/her to input the date in a parent volunteer Google Sheet collectively maintained by all the parents of the students of the class. Then, you can share the volunteer schedule spreadsheet with the provider. 6crickets Tech Support can easily assist with this process.

7. Manage scholarships

We highly recommend that you provide scholarship support to students from low-income families. Giving these students equal access to wonderful enrichment programming can change their lives. You can raise funds for scholarship purposes through the 6crickets registration process by charging parents fees or collecting donations (see Section 5 above).

To determine which families need help, you can leverage Google Forms to create a scholarship application form and distribute to your families. 6crickets can serve as the intermediary to approve applications based on your criteria so that family financial data is kept private from other school families including enrichment coordinators. 6crickets can then issue discount codes for low income families to register for enrichment classes for free or at a highly discounted rate.

Please be sure to coordinate with enrichment providers about payment for scholarship students and how many spots to allocate for these students in each class. You can open registrations for scholarship students first before announcing registrations to the rest of the families. You will need to send checks to providers to cover scholarships.

Concluding Remarks

You are doing your school’s children a great service by bringing wonderful enrichment programming to your school. The children will be exposed to a wide diversity of topics and learn through fun. It is a complex operation to manage after-school enrichment. Nevertheless, we hope this guide provides a clear roadmap for you. With the right process and the right set of tools, you can bring the best enrichment to your school with ease and at no additional cost.

6crickets’ mission is to bring the best enrichment programs to children through the best tools for parents, providers and schools. You can count on 6crickets to help you manage your school’s enrichment easily. Please email 6crickets’ Tech Support Team with any questions at support@6crickets.com.

The Author’s Biography:

Helen J. Wang Ph.D. is the CEO and cofounder of 6crickets which offers a one-stop shop for children’s camps and classes and supports enrichment providers and schools with free online registration platforms. Helen oversees the company’s strategic directions, product management, sales, marketing, and advanced research. 6crickets.com has supported more than 800 enrichment education businesses and served hundreds of thousands of parents. Prior to creating 6crickets, Helen was a world-renowned computer scientist conducting pioneering research in security, privacy and systems and transferring her inventions into real-world products impacting all Internet users. She published more than sixty research articles and spoke at numerous computer science conferences. She mentored more than thirty Ph.D. candidates for their research or dissertation, many of whom became professors at top universities and key leaders at high-tech companies. Helen received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 2001 and her Bachelors from UT Austin in 1994. Helen is the mom of Corlan (born in 2007) and Quincy (born in 2009) who gave her inspiration for her 6crickets endeavor. She is also an active PTA member at her sons’ school.

This article has originally been posted on 6crickets.com.

Featured image copyright: jovannig / 123RF Stock Photo

7 Coolest Gifts for All Your Kids’ Easter Baskets

Image 1  – Source Pixabay

With Easter coming up, once again parents around the globe start thinking about the presents for their little (or not so little) ones. Traditionally, these presents should in some way be Easter-themed, meaning that they contain various types of bunnies, colorful eggs and, most importantly, a basket to put the present in. However, if you want to buy something your child something they’ll really like, use or play with, you might need to take a tiny step away from the tradition. Here are some cool ideas for you.

Coloring books

These are great for any child, no matter how old. This present can actually work even if you have a teenager since they are made to be appropriate for any age, even for adults. They come in every imaginable theme, so you just need to pick one that suits your child’s interests. Add a box of crayons, so that they can start coloring straight away, and there you have it, a cool gift for a cool kid.

Image 2 – Source Pixabay

An interesting toy

Again something that could be given to a child of any age, since we don’t just mean any toy, but the collectible ones. No matter what your kid’s favorite cartoon, TV show, film, or even computer game is, you can find the perfect Pop Vinyl collectible toy for them. You can get an actual figure for your kid, but also a keychain for yourself that matches your kid’s toy.

A backpack

This is another cool idea since your child can take it to school, soccer practice, a picnic or a school field trip. Choose the size that’s right for your child and the color or motifs they like. There are super cool kids’ animal-shaped backpacks, and even some dinosaur-looking ones with spikes, that your kids will love for their fun appearance. Plus, there are super modern anti-theft backpacks with a USB charging port for teenagers, so that they can charge their phones or tablet computers as they go.

Image 3 – Source Pixabay

A DIY kit

Whatever your kid may be interested in, there’s an ideal kit for them somewhere out there. You just need to find it. From making their own jewelry, model planes, cars or buildings to various science kits available, you’re bound to find something that your child will love. Bird watching kits, playdough kits, or even spy and detective kits, there’s no limit to what you can get nowadays. And let’s not forget the various Easter egg paint sets. So, inspire creativity in your child with this cool gift idea, they’ll be grateful.

A book

Some kids might say that this isn’t a very cool gift, but that’s not really true. It all comes down to picking the right book. So, if your child hasn’t read any of the Harry Potter books, now’s the time. Another good option is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy. If not one of these, find out what your kid enjoys reading and go for that. There are the great detective and mystery novels for children and young adults, so learn what children are into these days and buy a cool book to get your child reading with pleasure.

Image 4 – Source Pixabay

A board game

Here’s a gift that can be a lot of fun for the whole family. There are many board games to choose from. Some of them are strategy games, others are educational, but whichever you opt for, you’ll encourage your kid to spend more time playing with their siblings and other kids. From classic games like Scrabble, Monopoly, and Risk, to some more modern ones, like Carcassonne, or even A Game of Thrones, you’ll find one suitable for your kid. Besides, if you don’t like any of these, you can always buy Uno cards or other card games, like Saboteur.

Anything with bunnies

Let’s not skip the obvious. Whatever you find that has a bunny on it, it’s good for your kid’s Easter basket. From lovely bunny mugs, various pouches and purses, to shirts and pajamas with bunnies, there’s no going wrong here. And if your kid loves playing, there are cute plush bunnies and bunny-shaped stacked toys you can get them.

So, find a lovely Easter basket and fill it with joy for your kid. Basically, you can buy almost anything if you put it in an Easter basket, throw in some candy eggs and a chocolate bunny or two. You just need to know what your child preferences are and you’re all set.

Two is Better than One: 6 Essential Things for Your Twins

If you are expecting or preparing for twins, you may already know that the stuff that you may need will be different than what you would purchase for a single child.

For moms of multiple soon-to-be children, preparing for some essential products is significant. The items below might be the most useful accessories for twins, and will surely make your life as a mom as well as a dad a bit easier.

Double Frame Strollers

Frame strollers are essential for the first year, and it is lightweight and easy to manage. But for your twins, a double stroller may suit perfectly. If you want to go outside for grocery or exercise with your newborn, you will naturally need one car seat for each.

Double frame stroller lets you carry your twins with ease. These strollers come with an umbrella or peekaboo windows. Before purchasing, check first its size, adjustments and other features for your comfort. Some of its features may include non-flat tires, removable car seats, or quick fold systems.

Two Bouncy Chairs

Bouncy chairs can be a lifesaver for parents who need to get the chores done around the house. Babies will love the calming feeling of the bouncy chair and will make your babies satisfied with enough time. Ensure that you get two bouncy chairs, arrange them up the angle where twins can see each other, and don’t forget to keep your sight in them too.

Twin Carrier

Twin carrier is another invention dedicated to the mom of twins, which lets you carry two children together and designed to minimize discomfort while carrying in back and front position.

Some carriers can easily disconnect into separate carriers for situations when each parent wants to bring a twin on their own. Make sure to choose a carrier with pockets that are spacious enough to suit their diapers and other essentials.

Table for Two Feeding Pillow

Table for two feeding pillows might also be a lifesaver for parents of twins. This durable and secured twin feeder will save your time, energy, and makes every mealtime more convenient for you and your twins.

Say goodbye to struggles on how to position your twins when bottle-feeding them. These baby accessories usually come with a safety harness to hold your infants in place securely, and armrests to prevent strain from your arms, neck, and back when feeding your twins.

Comfortable Swaddles

Swaddling is a way of comfortably wrapping your baby in a blanket for security and warmth. It keeps your babies from other disturbance such as their startle reflex, helps your babies stay toasty and warm and even helps to calm your babies.

In preparing a swaddle, make sure to know how to perform it correctly. Wrapping your babies tightly or doing other improper swaddling strategies may cause damage to joints and soft cartilage of your infant’s hip sockets.

Crib for Twins

Traditional and most common cribs are usually measured around 52 by 28 inches, which can accommodate your twins for the first few months. But some parents might want to separate their twins to different cribs from the beginning.

However, if you want to put your twins in one crib, make sure not to lose your sight from them. When your twins start rolling over a lot and often kicking each other, you can put a separator between your twins, to avoid chances of injury for both of them.

If you think that you should not separate your twins, consider those cribs specially created for twins, though this crib may be hard to find.

Takeaway

Having twin children can be a combination of both fun and challenging work. If you are a soon-to-be parent of twins, prepare all the things and stuff you will need to raise your children comfortably. A lot of accessories are available online on sites such as Deal Wiki where they offer a lot of toys and other accessories.

7 Unique Spices to Spice Up Your Culinary Skills

Although common spices like cinnamon, oregano, cumin, parsley, and thyme are versatile and flavorful, there are only so many ways to combine them, and eventually, you may feel stuck in a rut.

With hundreds of culinary spices all over the world, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to adding zest to your cooking.

If you’re tired of using the same herbs and spices in every dish, or if you are simply feeling creative, pick up a new spice or two the next time you go to the grocery store and experiment with some new flavors in your favorite cookware.

Here are a few ideas to get you started in spicing up your culinary skills.

1. Sumac

With its tart, fruity flavor, the powder from dried sumac berries can be used in any dish that you might add a fresh squeeze of lemon too. Try sprinkling this flavorful, reddish-purple spice on hummus or adding it to your favorite type of fish or red meat. Sumac is commonly used in North African, Middle Eastern, and Southern Mediterranean cuisine and was used as the tart, acidic element in cooking before the Romans introduced lemons. However, one variety of edible sumac—North American Sumac, or Rhus aromatica—grows in the U.S.

2. Juniper Berries

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/food-healthy-red-blue-70862/

Like sumac, juniper also grows in North America. Perhaps the only spice that comes from a conifer, juniper berries grow on small shrubs that are common in the Northern Hemisphere. Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest historically cooked crushed juniper berries with bison meat. Juniper berries are also popular in European cuisine. Try them in sauerkraut or in marinades, stuffing, sauces, or stews for wild game or pork. Their tart flavor especially helps balance the gaminess of venison.

3. Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir lime leaves grow on the makrut shrub, or Citrus hystrix, which is native to Southeast Asia and is also grown in California, Florida, and Australia. Although best used fresh, they are more commonly found dried or frozen for purchase in Asian grocery stores in the U.S. They have a citrusy pine scent that is similar to lemon verbena. Popular in Cambodian, Malaysian, Balinese, and Thai cuisine, kaffir lime leaves are often used in curries, stir-fries, soups, and salads. If you enjoy the Southeast Asian cuisine, this is an excellent spice to add to your pantry!

4. Pasilla de Oaxaca Chile

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-chili-lot-photo-823057/

A unique spice for true chili fans, this lesser-known smoked chili is grown only in the hilly Oaxacan region of southern Mexico. With a pungent fruit flavor, the dark red pasilla de Oaxaca chile is similar to a chipotle but with less heat and a richer smoky flavor that brings out notes of ham and bacon even in meatless dishes. They are excellent in posole, mole negro, bean dishes, soups, sauces, and Rellenos.

 5. Grains of Paradise

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-wooden-mortar-teasle-51384/

These seeds from the Amomum melegueta tree in West Africa were once used as a pepper substitute when pepper itself became too expensive. It is commonly used in both African and Caribbean cuisine. The unique name comes from spice traders in the middle ages who claimed the glossy brown seeds grew only in Eden and were collected from the rivers that flowed out of the garden. With zesty notes of butter, cardamom, coriander, flowers, and pepper, grains of paradise can be used to enhance the flavor of okra, steak, or anything you would use black pepper on.

6. Fenugreek

Used primarily in Egyptian, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisine, fenugreek seeds are common in curry and chutney. Purchase ground seeds for general cooking—they are dense and difficult to grind at home—and whole seeds for use in pickling blends and teas. Fenugreek was traditionally grown for its healing properties and for use in Egyptian embalming rituals. It has a sweet, nutty flavor with a maple aroma. Roasted fenugreek seeds are sweeter than those that are ground when raw.

7. Calabrian Chili

Here is another great spice for chili lovers. The Calabrian chili often referred to as pepperoncini, originates from the Calabrian region of Italy and is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine. With notes of salt, smoke, and fruit, this small, spicy chili goes well with pizza, sandwiches, and salami. Calabrian chili paste is excellent with meat and pasta dishes, and Calabrian chili oil is delicious on just about anything, from fish to salads.

From an exotic black pepper substitute to traditional curry ingredients, there are many unique spices available for you to add to your pantry and spice up your culinary skills. Instead of turning to the same herbs over and over again, try experimenting with American-grown juniper berries next time you make pork, or liven up a Mexican-inspired dish with the unusual pasilla de Oaxaca chile. Whether your preference is for exotic flavors or traditional comfort food, there are plenty of unique spices to choose from when you feel stuck in a cooking rut.

Author’s Bio:

Melissa is a freelance writer and food blogger at recipe-barn.com. She is very passionate about cooking, creating and sharing unique recipes or just simply cooking good food. Melissa has also developed an interest in a variety of other things including healthy diet and traveling in new places around the globe to experience different cuisines and learning different cultures.

Sources:

https://www.spicesinc.com/p-469-exotic-spices.aspx

https://www.thespicehouse.com/spices-a-to-z

http://www.culinarylore.com/substitutions:what-can-i-substitute-for-kaffir-lime-leaves

https://shop.nativeseeds.org/products/fd088

https://www.nonnabox.com/calabrian-chili/

How Reliable Child Care Helps Mothers Improve Their Career

The female fight for emancipation and equal employment rights has brought on many great things that our generations are deeply grateful for, but it has pushed new issues to the fore. As everything in life is about balance, women today (seems like more than ever) are struggling to balance their much desired successful careers and motherhood.

It’s a sad and slightly disturbing fact that in these modern times having a child can be a real career killer and over two thirds of employed women claim that having children hindered their career progress and that after returning to work, they were deemed “less employable”, or even felt their job was under threat.

For many families, being a stay-at-home mom simply isn’t feasible. There has been an enormous rise in “maternal breadwinning” as families today struggle to survive on a single income. However, women can only be competitive as well as productive and successful if they can have proper and reliable childcare in place.

Parental guilt 101

One of the biggest challenges that parents face when deciding to put their child into care is guilt. Naturally, there is the worry about whether you made the best choice regarding the care center and the fact that you will be separated from your child for a longer period of time. In addition, lots of mothers also feel guilty about putting their own professional ambitions before their child. However, this is all normal and just indicative of your deep emotional attachment and responsibility towards your child.

Handling that guilt is what will help you and your child successfully adapt to the change. You as a mother, need to learn to be happy and at peace with the choices you make and focus more on the positive outcomes: your child will be well taken care of and have many opportunities to learn and develop, and you will be able to focus more on your professional fulfillment.

If the mother guilt still continues, try to focus on the positive aspects and do your best to be proactive in the time that you do have to spend with your child, such as the weekends when you can ease up on the chores and do things with your child that you all love. Alternatively, create a more flexible working schedule and pick your child up earlier if possible and spend quality time together.

Source: Pixabay

Finding high-quality child care

Dealing with parental guilt is not an easy task, but child care centres take pride in the fact that they are able to create an environment that is nurturing to a child’s physical, emotional and intellectual growth, so leaving your child in such a place should be considered a positive choice, not a source of worry and guilt.

Finding a reliable and high-quality care center gives your child an opportunity to grow and thrive. Therefore, your final choice should be a facility that offers excellent programmes and activities, such as enrolling your child in Young Explorers Early Learning Centre. In this way, you’ll be able to take a sigh of relief knowing your child is in the right place.

Understandably, all this comes with a price. Besides the mortgage that most people pay first each month, child care payments come second on the list. If the price is too high, it means you’ll be forced to stay at home.

Losing affordable and reliable childcare is a loss in all aspects of life: you are denied the opportunity to finish your education, get a degree and work, your child misses out on the chance to develop in a stimulating environment, and if you’re in a two-income household, you may have to give up on one in order for one of you to stay at home and take care of the kids.

Source: Pixabay

The benefits

The benefits of investing in children and women go far beyond just societal benefits. When you take into consideration the possible future costs of crime, unemployment and poor health to the society, initial costs of child care per each child give a clear return on investment of about eight dollars.

In addition, studies show multiple benefits from having access to affordable child care: kids in high-quality programmes stayed in education longer and had better health and a slightly longer lifespan.

Benefits are even more obvious in poor families where high-quality child care programmes help both the children and mothers lead more successful and fulfilled lives. They all become active participants and contributors to the society, are more educated and have better skills, so what we can see here is a promotion of mobility across generations.

The time has definitely come to remove the negative connotations from the phrase “working mom”. We need to join forces and, as a society, find the best way to help them out. The corporate world needs to implement better and clearer maternity policies, with well-thought-out plans for returning to work, and society itself needs to stop frowning at people’s different choices when it comes to raising children. The most practical solution is to invest wisely into good quality early child care, affordable for all. It may be costly initially, but the long-term benefits to the overall well-being of the whole society will outweigh the short-term hits to the budget.

About the author:

Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into a lifestyle, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.

10 Easy Ways How to Help Your Child Love Studying

Children are naturally curious; they want to know about stuff. However, when you’re trying to teach them in detail, they soon often lose their attention. Traditional education, in particular, is not doing any good to spark their desire for studying. Everything revolves around testing and grades, and that’s scary for the child.

How can you inspire your child to discover the true joy of studying? We’ll present 10 easy ways that help you do that.

 

1. Give Them Compliments

Whenever they tell you something they learned, a sincere and simple compliment like “Awesome!” or “Great job!” will be enough to keep them going.

You don’t want to praise your kid too much since that can make them overly focused on the results. Just give a simple compliment and don’t keep talking about how smart your kid is.

 

2. Show Them That Knowledge Is Relevant

Your kid might not be inspired to learn math because they are not aware of its applications. Saying “you’ll need this when you grow up” is not enough. Show them how math and all other things they learn surround them every single day.

When they are aware of the relevance of the things they learn, the information will stay with them longer. They will be more interested to know about the world around them.

 

3. Sign Them Up for Extracurriculars

It’s no wonder why extracurricular activities are so popular in education. Although these activities are not a necessary part of the curriculum, they are still an integral aspect of the overall education.

The extracurriculars should never seem like punishment. Just figure out what they would like to do most and sign them up for a fun activity related to music, sports, art, drama, social service, or anything else that gets their attention. With these activities, your child will develop multidimensional intelligence.

 

4. Help Them Edit Their Writing

When teachers ask students to write essays, the challenge is real. At this point, you should definitely provide some help. Of course, you want to inspire them to write their own essays. However, you should ask them to read it aloud and help make improvements where necessary.

You’ll get them even more inspired if you connect them with a professional editor, tutor or proofreading services, such as Grammarly or Essay On Time. Typically, proofreading companies employ professional editors and teachers having a friendly approach to children. Thus, when kids see their mistakes corrected, they improve their writing style.

 

5. Set Long-Term Goals

“If we learn this biology lesson and we continue learning, we’ll know how our bodies work in less than a year.”

With this approach, you’re giving your child a very specific goal and a sense of accomplishment without the study stress. That’s a great way to motivate!

 

6. Take Learning Outside

The school is exciting, but it’s also an overwhelming environment. When you take the learning outside the classroom, you make the process more fun. Take your kid out in nature. Show how the things they learn at school are everywhere around. Teach them how to bake, and throw in a little math along the way. Get them a comic book, so they will be inspired to read more.

 

7. Find Out What Gets Their Interest

Your child is certainly asking questions, right?

“Mom, why is the sea blue?”

“Mom, who made the first TV?”

“Mom, why do we sneeze?”

The Internet is an immense knowledge base, so you can both learn something new. Don’t let the learning process revolve solely around the curriculum. Enable them to learn whatever they want.

 

8. Get the Distractions Away

If the tablet or smartphone is anywhere near when your kid is trying to study, the devices will distract their attention. If you’re talking with someone on the phone, you’ll be distracting them. If the TV is on, it will distract them.

You have to eliminate the distractions when your kid is learning. Make sure the studying environment is clean and enables them to focus.

 

9. Read Something Fun Every Day

Your little one loves a cartoon character? Why don’t you find a book that features that character? Stock up on the interesting fiction and read a little every single day. If your child already knows how to read, you can have family reading time every day. You’ll read your own books, so you’ll inspire them to focus on their reading.

 

10. Reward the Good Results

If your child gets a good grade, get them a chocolate. Bribes may be tricky, which is why you should make the rewards simple. 15-minute tablet time after they learn the history lesson will work.

Your kid will love studying when they get the purpose. As a parent, you have a responsibility to inspire them. Hopefully, the 10 tips we listed above will help you do that.

 

About the author:

Steven Wesley is an ESL Online teacher and education blogger. He is interested in psychology, journalism as well as educational, technological, and political issues. Besides, Steven believes in the mighty power of the pen to change the modern world. Meet him on Twitter  and Facebook!

Here’s What You Should Know: How to Select the Right Mattress for your Child

Having the right kind of bedding is quintessential to having a good night’s sleep, and this is most likely relevant for young children. They need it more than older people do. However, it is often a challenge for some parents to select the right one for their child.

There are tons of factors to consider when purchasing a mattress for your little one. Like the build-up, size, colors, comfort, safety, and many more. Since the bones of a child are still expanding and growing, their bed should be able to give enough support to prevent any spine problems in the course of time.

Buying a mattress for your kids is a very crucial decision since it can greatly affect them. For a little help, read the list below to be able to choose the right mattress for your little ones.

Choosing the Proper Type of Support

Mattresses such as memory foams and innerspring coils are two of the most well-known kind of foams. They feature a system of connected coils that let all the pressure points to subside. However, they give the maximum support to keep the spine from hunching.

Indeed, innerspring coils cost more than the other standard type of beddings, but they are very excellent at getting rid of the motion transfer. This type of mattress is especially perfect for kids. Since their weight is not enough to create constant strain or pressure to the coils, which can eventually impair and shorten its life.

On the other hand, memory foam beddings outline the form of the body. They are certainly hypoallergenic and can stand the test of time. Thus, making them also a great choice for kids. But whatever type of mattress you choose, make sure that it is suitable for your child.

Pick the Right Size

Most of the time, kids aged two and three can already make a transition from a baby crib mattress to a large bed. And if you are thinking about durability and long life, then it is best to go for a twin-sized bed or a full-sized one.

These beddings are perfect when you are studying to save lots of space. Plus they will work well if you have more kids sharing a bedroom. Furthermore, it will certainly last until your child becomes an adult.

Check the Comfortability

It is crucial to go for high-quality bedding to prevent having bad sleeping habits, soreness, aches and pains, and many more. Know that all type of beddings come in either firm, extra firm, ultra plush, and plush.

The most excellent mattress for your children is the one that provides support while giving comfort. If let your kids endure the pain from sleeping in a bad quality mattress, they might feel exhausted, experience soreness, become moody, and might not even do well in school.

Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com CEO recommends looking into custom-made bedding as that allows you to control exactly what and how you get for your child.

Though high-quality beddings are a bit expensive, they are certainly worthy in the long run. Do not force your kids to sleep in a very distressing mattress because they might develop lousy sleeping habits which, for the most part, they will carry for life.

Assess the Foundation

A simple and plain platform certainly works well in every child’s bedroom. As such, it allows you to refrain utilizing box spring, and as a return you save money. But if you are thinking about buying a traditional bed frame, you will also need to buy a durable box spring.

Most first-rate beddings come with its corresponding box springs. Thus you can buy them as a set. Remember, when selecting a box spring, choose a mattress that is with the same size as your mattress and fits adequately in your bed frame.

Takeaway

To be able to pick the perfect mattress for your kiddos, you need to think like you are purchasing a mattress for yourself. Choosing the perfect mattress is quintessential because it can help your kids have proper posture and bone strength. It may be challenging, but they are a must. Read the above tips to be able to buy the perfect mattress for your children.