Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don’t Miss the Exciting Changes at the SFC: Families Matter Blog

September 2010 is almost behind us. Time certainly moves quickly, especially when Stories for Children Publishing, LLC brings on a new SFC Blog Team, schedules events in advance and opens the Families Matter blog to submissions. That's right! In an effort to keep new and exciting information at the forefront, Owner & Founder VS Grenier, along with the new Blog Editor, Terri Forehand and Blog Interviewer D.M. Cunningham, will continue to research and present wonderful events, feature guest interviews and instructional tips from the educational writers at Stories for Children Publishing, LLC.

Along with content written by members of the SFC blog editorial team and SFC publishing team, Grenier has announced she is opening some of the monthly columns of the SFC blog Families Matter to submissions. “We feel this is a great way for those seeking publication to build their writing resume and for parents, educators and those interested in helping families to submit material our readers would be interested in,” says Grenier.

The guidelines and topic list will be available after October 1, 2010 on the SFC blog Families Matter (http://FamiliesMatter2Us.blogspot.com) and at the Stories for Children Publishing website (http://storiesforchildrenpublishing.com).

Visit the SFC blog Families Matter at http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com throughout the month of October and be sure to follow along and participate with your comments and/or questions. Blog posts will be three times a week every week. There are some great interviews lined up, along with book reviews and educational and health tips.

Don’t see something you would like featured on the SFC blog Families Matter? Contact Terri Forehand at BlogEditor@storiesforchildrenpublishing.com. Interested in being interviewed for the SFC blog? Contact D.M. Cunningham at BlogInterviewer@storiesforchildrenpublishing.com. Have a book you would liked reviewed? Check out our submission process at http://FamiliesMatter2Us.blogspot.com or at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SFC Families Matter is Currently Undergoing an Upgrade

The SFC Families Matter Blog is currently going through some updates. Our goal with these updates is to increase our following to 100 subscribers by the end of the year. We hope you will help us do that by spreading the word about our blog and email us with any suggestions.

We have some exciting announcements to come. Please check back next week to see what we are up to and what changes we have made.

We thank you for your support!

The SFC Team


Monday, September 20, 2010

Cheap Airline Flights - 3 Bright Ideas to Try When Booking

By: John Anthony Vine

Finding the best price for a flight ticket can be a real challenge. It can also be a bit disappointing if you find that the person in the seat next to you has paid a lot less.

By trying one or more of these suggestions, you could very well save some money on your next booking.

When two airlines share a route, the travel business calls this 'code sharing'.

When you get the quote from the travel agent, ask whether it is a code-sharing route. If it is, then make sure to write down the code and check the price with the airline, which is flying the route for your particular flight.

This is usually cheaper than if it is booked through the code-sharing partner.

Secondly, whenever you use a travel agent to get a price quoted, before confirming the booking, check with the airline's website. There is sometimes a better deal for those booking directly with them.

When your flight route is one, which is regularly flown by airlines chartered to carry, package holiday passengers; do try to check with the charter airlines what seats are available.

They will often offer a great deal, particularly at the last minute, to 'flight only' passengers. This is a better alternative for them than flying with empty seats.

There are many other ways to gain advantages when trying to get the best deal, so it pays to get as much information to fuel your research as possible.

It is impossible to get all the details you need here, or in any other short article.

Simply use this to get started and find out as much as you can.

There are a number of specialist websites set up by people who used to work in the travel business.

These can provide tips and tricks not available to those of us not 'in-the-know'.

Try to find and take advantage of this valuable information.

Any cash you save travelling can improve your time spent there.

For more ideas and access to great tips and tricks, try http://www.yoursearchforflights.com.

About The Author

John writes on number of topics and is passionate about travel.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Healthy Tips for Flu Season

Autumn is one of the best times of the year. Cooler weather, beautiful fall colors, less humidity, and time to get outside to walk and enjoy the season. But along with the season comes back to school epidemics of cold and flu symptoms. Keeping children healthy during the school year increases their ability to learn. Here are a few tips to keep the bugs at bay in your family.
  • Consider getting the seasonal flu shots for your family. Research shows that vaccinations do ward off some of the most  severe forms of the flu. Flu shots are especially important for the very young and those over 50 or anyone who may have a weakened immune system. Keep in mind the flu shot does not prevent the stomach bug from being spread. It prevents the upper respiratory illnesses that can affect the lungs and breathing.
  • WASH your hands. Hand hygiene is the single most affective way to keep the bugs away. Good old soap and water after being in public places, after using the rest room, and before and after eating help to prevent the spread of illness. Children should be taught the importance of hand hygiene at a very young age. When soap and water are not available, using hand sanitizer is the next best thing.
  • Keep kitchen counters clean by using bleach wipes or other antibacterial spray. Areas where food is prepared are some of the ways bacteria can be spread causing those stomach bugs.
  • Keep your child home from school if they have a fever or are vomiting. No one wants their child to be absent from the learning environment, but this lowers the chances of spreading viruses if you limit contact with others during episodes of fever or vomiting. Usually it is considered safe if your child has been fever free for 24 hours, but check with your family doctor or nurse practitioner for specific guidelines.
Remember to eat fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water and juice, and exercise daily to keep healthy during flu season. For more information on the flu vaccines and preventing the spread of infection visit the Center for Disease Control website. It is vast source of information on all kinds of illnesses and diseases. The main web page can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/ . Specific information on the flu and vaccinating adults and children can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/ . Look for the free printable information sheets on Swine flu, H1N1, and influenza that the CDC provides. Here is to a healthy and happy autumn.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Climbing trees

By: Tash Hughes of Word Constructions (www.wordconstructions.com)

How many trees did you climb as a kid? Can you remember how much fun it was and what games you played in and around trees?

With the urban sprawl and different lifestyles, I would guess that kids don’t climb trees as much today as they did 5o years ago, or even 20 years ago. And I think it is a pity that kids are missing out on such a simple, fun activity.

Trees to climb

Obviously, children can only climb trees if there are trees to climb. And they should only be climbing if the trees are safe to climb and in safe environments.

But that just means that parents, schools and local councils need to think about trees when planning gardens and parks for children to play in. That is, trees should be part of these play areas and by selecting the right trees in the beginning, adults can make a safe tree climbing environment.

Good climbing trees have branches starting down low so little legs can reach far enough to start climbing. The best climbing trees also have long branches that extend out horizontally so there is room for children to sit and talk or lie in wait as Robin Hood or a panther or sleep for a hundred years or… whatever else their imagination desires.

Safe climbing trees are those with strong, rather than brittle, branches that will happily hold children in the air as they play. Strong trees include cumquats, loquats, oaks, woody wattles (e.g. Accacia elata & Aaccacia melanoxylon), old-fashioned apples and mulberries, whereas apricot, peaches and willows are somewhat brittle and therefore less useful in a children’s area.

Why climb trees?

Apart from the fact, it should be a lot of fun, why should any child be encouraged and allowed to climb safe trees?

· It brings them into direct contact with nature

· It means they are outside being active and getting some fresh air

· It can be a tactile experience touching different barks and leaves

· It develops coordination and strength

· It gives children a different perspective of their world

· Playing games in trees develops creativity

· Mastering a big tree or an adventure within the tree build confidence and self-esteem

· Children interact with others more in a tree than in from of a computer or TV

· It develops attention spans (compared to the rapid changes on electronic entertainments)

· It assists in problem solving skills

· They might find some yummy, healthy fruit to eat

And you know what? Climbing trees does not just have to be for kids... Why don't you climb a tree with them and have some fun, or climb up by yourself and take a different perspective on your life, too?

Tash Hughes is a Mum of two in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Teaching Ideas - Preschool Crafts

By: Kathryn Dawson

There is nothing more important to preschool teaching than the use of arts and crafts. Without such hands on activities, children of such a young age will invariable lose interest and therefore stop paying attention in the class. Crafts help children learn as well as help them develop important social skills that will set them up for life. Crafts for children must be completely safe, they must follow the theme of the class on that day and they must be simple to complete so the children can follow through with them and feel proud of their creations.

By keeping arts and crafts simple, the children will be able to see almost instant results, which is important to help boost confidence and keep motivation high. Long craft projects that take more than one day to complete will be too difficult for children who will lose interest. Long craft projects can be carried out occasionally, for example for a special occasion or celebration, but they should be done at the same time as other much smaller projects that take no longer than one craft session to finish.

Another key step in successful arts and crafts projects is simplicity. That means there should be very few set up tasks involved such as cutting, organizing and measuring. Few tools should be needed and the set up and clearing away should not take longer than a few minutes either side of the activity. With just one or two teachers in the class, the children must be able to work for the majority of the time on their own which means there should be minimal reliance on the teacher for carrying out the project. Again, this makes simplicity a crucial aspect of any craft activity.

Ideally, the project can be broken into bite-sized chunks, as this is the easiest way for children to understand and put the instructions into practice. Instructions should really be kept to one or two sentences as lengthy explanations will allow minds to start wandering. Also breaking the instructions down will help teachers keep everyone at more or less the same stage, which provides them with much more control over the class and helps everyone complete the task.

If on occasion the craft project is a little more complex than usual, it is a good idea for the teacher to have a practice run through beforehand. Not only does this make it clearer in the teacher's mind but it will also help them find ways to explain it to the children in language they are going to understand. Teachers will always find it easier to teach a complicated or multi-step craft session if there has been a preliminary practice beforehand. As will all classroom activities related to preschoolers, the activity must be completely safe. Scissors and small objects such as buttons and sequins have been known to cause accidents so it is very important that an adequate assessment is carried out to see if the project will be suitable for the class in question. If the maturity level of the class is too low for a particular craft idea then it should be dropped immediately and an alternative project found.

All preschool crafts should be carefully supervised, and if any activity such as hot glueing is required, then it should be done so only by an adult can prevent burning and the piece is not handed back to the child until it is thoroughly dry. All arts and crafts materials should be non-toxic and washable as parents will not be pleased to find clothes splattered with paint that does not come out! Plenty of teaching ideas and literacy resources for helping teachers plan ways to keep children interested can be found online. The internet is a very helpful resource for preschool teachers looking for new and innovative ways to teach young children and keep them enthralled with arts and craft projects.

About The Author

Kathryn Dawson writes articles for Cost Cutters, an educational supplier offering teaching ideas and literacy resources. Check out their selection of preschool crafts supplies, from aprons, easels, Christmas crafts, to paints, coloring and drying racks.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Little money savers-School Lunches

By: Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Making lunches to take to school, work or play can become a chore, especially if you want something more than a vegemite sandwich everyday.

One option is to go to the supermarket and stock up on small food serves that are easy to pack. Of course, hat can become an expensive option, and not everyone is happy with the additives in many convenient lunch items.

So how can you have convenience, low cost and interesting packed lunches?

To start with, you need to set yourself up to make it possible:

  • Invest in some small containers that can be washed and reused over and over
  • Find some containers that snugly fit a sandwich – it saves on using cling wrap every day
  • Have lunch boxes available that are tall enough to hold an orange
  • Label all containers likely to be used for lunches – ok, maybe not so necessary for work lunches unless you share workspaces, but very important for school lunches!

Then, start thinking about what lunch ingredients suit you and your family and try out the following ideas:

  • Buy bulk dried fruit, such a 2kg of sultanas or mixed fruit, and place in a large container you keep somewhere handy. Each day, fill a small container with fruit and you’ll save a fortune compared to buying those small boxes of fruit. You can do the same with large packets of biscuits and chips, too
  • Divide a large tin of fruit or a bowl of home-made fruit salad into small containers – again, his is much cheaper than buying the single serve fruit packs
  • Spend a few hours once a month doing a lot of baking. Make muffins, slices, mini-quiches, mini pies, sausage rolls and even toasted sandwiches, then wrap/pack then ready for lunches and place them in the freezer. Then you simply pull out something to pack each day
  • Buy heaps of fruit and add a couple of different fruits to each lunch box
  • If you eat a lot of dried fruit, consider getting a system for drying fruit yourself – not only will it be cheaper than buying the packets, you will avoid the additives in commercially dried fruit and will save the planet from more packaging
  • When cooking each night, make enough to fill containers for lunches – left overs often taste better anyway! You can also freeze lunch size serves if you make a really big batch of soup, bolognaise sauce or similar
  • Grab packets of cup-soup when they’re on special if you can boil water to make your lunch. Add a fresh roll from a bakery for a cheap, warming lunch
  • Put salad vegetables into a container and take bread separately so you can have a fresh salad sandwich (because who wants a salad sandwich hours after it’s made?)
  • An easy to carry lunch is a hard boiled egg and slices of bread. If this appeals, boil up a few eggs at once to cover a couple of lunches
  • Buy big containers of dips and spoon some into smaller containers to take for lunch with some dried biscuits, carrot sticks, bread, etc. Even better – make up your own dips at home! Add interest by adding home-grilled capsicum and eggplant, along with some sliced cheese and tomatoes
  • Instead of packet cheese and biscuits, buy larger sizes and prepare your own snack serves

Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Three Starter Tips for Aspiring Owners of Home Aquariums

By: Alfred Whitney

Home aquariums can be difficult to setup if you do not have enough information about them. If you want to start a new home aquarium for yourself, this article has some of the useful tips for you.

There are many fish that can go well with each other. However, there are certain fish types that are not meant to be kept together. You can keep the fish according to their activity level. Some of the fish are very aggressive while others are tamed. Fish are aggressive because they are territorial. You should take care not to let the carnivorous fish to hang with your guppies.

It is best to take the advice of your supplier. Suppliers have the basic information about all types of fish and they can tell you what sort of fish will be best suited for your home aquariums.

Take care to keep your aquarium clean. Buy a filter for your home aquarium and plan a cleaning routine for it. This will keep your fish look great and healthy in the real sense. Your aquarium will be good to look at.

You can have the best aquarium once you put in a very solid effort for it. The best of aquariums require regular maintenance. Proper and timely cleaning and feeding routines can do the best for your home aquariums.

You can visit various websites over the internet to learn more about your hobby and get to know how you can improve your aquarium. A lot of research about the subject will get you very good insight about starting, improvement and later stage care for your aquarium and fish. Along with the content on these websites, you can also join various forums for fish keeping. You will get many good ideas from members who have relatively more experience than you do.

About The Author

Do you really know how to make a great home aquarium?

Then First, you need to check out some honest reviews on home freshwater aquarium.

Next...TRY one of them. Third...enjoy the site http://www.aquariumhow2.com/89/home-aquariums/home-aquariums. Pick up some tips.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stanley and Tyke Reading Tips for September

Between 0-5 months a baby's development is mostly based on language and social interaction. She will respond to voices, may start to laugh, mimic sounds, enjoy eye contact, study faces, turn his he's head to who's talking, and watch your mouth's movements. However, this doesn't mean it is too early to read to your new born baby. At this age, try these literacy activities:

* Rad aloud to her everyday
* Hold your infant close and talk or sing to him softly
* When she coos or babbles, repeat the sounds she makes
* Play classical music for him to listen to
* Show your baby high contrast pictures (black & white)
* Read board books with simple bright colors. Photos of babies are also a favorite

By 6-9 months your baby's development will include different volumes of sound and pitches as they imitate speech. You may even notice her exhibiting moods with varied sounds or trying to form words such as dada and mama. At this age, trying these literacy activities will help your baby's every growing social interaction and language skills:

* When he coos or babbles, make a different sound to see if your baby tries to mimic you
* Read nursery rhymes
* "Ham it up" when you read to her and very the volume and tone of your voice

Live is always interesting with a baby around and by 10-12 months your baby will be doing all sorts of things. You may notice he jabbers word-like sounds while sitting in his car seat, most likely she is saying dada and mama to the right parent instead of anyone, she may even say simple words like dog and bye-bye, play patty-cake, he may wave to people, and even point to things she wants. At this age, try these literacy activities to help instill the love a reading for lifetime:

* Always read everyday to your baby even for 10 minutes
* Talk to your child when you're playing together
* Have fun with nursery rhymes and songs, especially those with actions (I'm a Little Tea Pot is a favorite)
* Always respond in some way when he says something
* Have books she loves to read with you on long trips or at doctor appointments
* Try to limit TV time

There is no country in the world which has successfully educated its children without involving its homes. Making the parents a child's first and best teacher much become a reality. The earlier you begin reading to your child, the more skilled they will be as they become readers themselves. No matter what your baby or child's age, reading aloud to him is the most important thing you can do to help improve his literacy development.

You are your baby's first teacher! You will be the one who will make the difference in your child's life.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Just What Should the Best Car Seats Feature?

By: Gariant Twig

My wife and I are expecting our fourth child, therefore we have come to realize on a rather deep emotional level just how vital it is for our children to remain as safe as humanly possible, and buying the best car seats on offer is exactly what the doctor ordered! That is all well and good, but what are the important things that parents need to watch out for in child car seats, in order to find out if they will be well suited for their young children? That, my dear Watson, is the question...

The one thing my wife and I generally look for is if the car seat has been padded with Luxury Foam. This specific foam is pretty new, and able to do things that I never knew foam could do before! As an example, did you know that Luxury Foam can in fact formulate its structure to the infant's body outline? Fantastic! This gives extra comfort in parts that no other child car seat can, making any child car seats that have this specific groundbreaking foam the best car seats in my opinion!

Luxury Foam also is actually able to hold in your child's very own body warmth in order for it to be reused for natural comfort and ease. It was a key factor for us, since our child kept on getting a severe dried throat when we turned on the car heater, which is easily understood: so did I when I was a child. This new foam allows us to put the heat on low (merely so my wife and I may benefit from it) but leave the back seat entirely up to the foam included in the car seats we just bought. The vehicle felt like it was in the 50s when we got to our destination, but our toddler was warm and comfortable, and, if he could have spoken, he would have most certainly asked us to put shorts on him!

One more amazing feature that some will want to look for is what's known as a Cozi ' Dozi, an insert that allows smaller newborns which were delivered either too soon or, through natural means, have less body weight compared to the average baby, to fit inside any one of the best car seats available for you. It is extremely well cushioned and in a position to control the more strenuous jolts without inflicting any bodily harm to the youngster itself.

These are merely a handful of the factors that any parent will want to look for before they are able to state that their child seats are the best car seats in the universe!

About The Author

All the things described within this piece of writing has been taken from the writer's personal experience. If you wish to browse through reviews on the best car seats then go to http://www.childcarseatfacts.com

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sully’s Topsy Tale-Book Review

Sully’s Topsy Tale

By: Donna J. Shepherd

Illustrations by: Kevin Scott Collier

Published by: Guardian Angel Publishing, 2010

ISBN: 978-1616330477

Ages: 4 to 8

5 stars

Reviewed by: Stories for Children Magazine editor-in-chief, VS Grenier

Donna J. Shepherd and Kevin Collier have done it again with their final picture book in the Topsy Tales Trilogy, Sully’s Topsy Tale. This music loving, jazz singing, bebopping snake learns to appreciate the talents of his friends in the Topsy Turvy jungle when he comes down with laryngitis. Sully, whose beautiful music brings fun, comfort, and harmony to the jungle, learns true friendship goes beyond lemon tea and honey remedies to help cure his sore throat. How? His friends decide it’s their turn to sing for Sully in the first Topsy Turvy Music Idol.

I really can’t tell you what I loved most about this book from its simple messages on true friendship and patience to the fun hidden hearts for kids to find as they follow along. Donna with her musical background does a great job in introducing children to the art of music as Sully sings solos, arias, and even a scat or two before his sore throat. Need a reminder on each musical term? Then turn to the glossary on the back cover.

Sully also can help children who have speech problems with ‘s’ sounds! Which I happen to know a lot about with my five-year-old daughter. She loves practicing her ‘s’ sounds with Sully. However, the best part is, this book has a recommendation from a licensed and certified speech pathologist, Victoria Ryan, MS/CCC-SLP.

If you are looking for a bright, colorful, humorous, engaging book with charming characters that’s a simple rhyming story with lively illustrations? Then join Sully and his familiar friends, Chizzy and Dotty in the Topsy Turvy Jungle in Sully’s Topsy Tale!


*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.