Friday, June 28, 2013

8 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Medications for Kids

Health care costs are soaring higher every year, and as they do many American workers are watching their health insurance coverage simultaneously diminish. In this economic environment, many families are forced to find ways to cut medical costs wherever and however they can. Consider these eight ways to reduce the cost of their kids’ medications.
  1. Generic Alternatives – Any medication that your child might need will almost always have a generic equivalent that can be substituted for the name brand version at a cheaper cost. Ask your child’s doctor or pharmacist if going generic is an option.
  2. Start with Samples – You don’t necessarily have to buy an entire month’s worth of medication that’s been prescribed for your child all at once, especially if there isn’t a specific medical need for that much. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if they have any free sample packs.
  3. Buy in Bulk – On the flip side, if you’ve been prescribed a medication for your child that you expect she will need for an extended period of time, try buying a 3-month vs. a 1-month supply. Medications are often cheaper per dose in larger quantities.
  4. Larger Dosage Sizes – Another way of reducing your per-dose expenses is to buy a larger dosage size than the prescription and then split the pills to match the prescribed dosage. Here again, the larger pills are often cheaper per milligram than the smaller versions. You’ll need your doctor’s permission before going that route and the medication needs to be conducive to easy splitting.
  5. Shop Around – Like everything else, prices vary for medications. For instance, Wal-Mart pharmacies have a $4 prescription plan for 30-day supplies, and $10 for 90 days’ worth. Sometimes referred to as a 4/10 plan, this doesn’t require insurance. You can find a list of medications and available doses here. Ask your pharmacist if they’ve got a 4/10 plan.
  6. Mail Order – This is rapidly increasing in popularity as a means for purchasing prescription drugs at a discount. You can find deals for a 3-month supply of a prescription that for the cost of only one co-pay.
  7. Coupons – Yes, drugs have them too. You may be able to get them from your doctor or find them online. Check the website of the drug’s manufacturer too. You can save a bundle with coupons.
  8. Discount Cards – Certain groups and organizations offer memberships which afford their members discounts on certain products. You may already have a means to save on your child’s medications right there in your wallet, next to your hard-earned cash.
You don’t have to resign yourself to high medication costs. Instead, try to find different ways where you can reduce the price. Health care coverage may be diminishing, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to stay healthy.


First published on http://www.aupair.org

Monday, June 24, 2013

10 Strategies for Teaching Your Child to Read

Learning to read is one of the first major educational milestones in a child’s life. The sense of pride and accomplishment that kids feel the first time they read a book all by themselves is something that neither you nor they will forget. Helping your child master the skills that lead up to learning to read will make the lesson an easier one for him to learn, instilling a love of reading and learning that can follow him throughout his life. While there are as many approaches to teaching a child to read as there are individual children, these 10 are some of the basic tips that can make the process less frustrating for you and your child.
  1. Start Early – Though you may not see results from waving flashcards in an infant’s face and repeating the alphabet as you prepare bottles, starting to read to your child while he’s still young can have a real difference in his eagerness to learn the skill for himself when he gets a bit older. Establishing a routine of reading naptime and bedtime stories together while your child is still young will ensure that reading and books are a part of his life from as far back as he can remember.
  2. Phonemic Activities – When your child acquires phonemic awareness, it means that he has learned that words are a combination of phonetic sounds. Working with your child to develop phonemic awareness will help him learn an essential building block of reading skills. Before you focus on letters or proper spelling, make sure that your little one has a basic grasp of phonemes.
  3. Work on Story Print Awareness – Helping kids develop print awareness gives them very basic knowledge about books and reading, that words are read from left to right, top to bottom and that books open on the right-hand side. These basic skills are some of the building blocks of learning to read confidently.
  4. Master the Alphabet – Before your little one can learn to read, he has to learn the alphabet. Whether you teach him to sing the iconic song learned by generations of children or find your own method, it’s important to make sure that he understands the alphabet is made up of 26 separate letters that all make their own sounds and, when they’re put together, form words.
  5. Talk About How Sounds and Letters Are Related – After your child learns that there are 26 letters that make up the alphabet, you can start working on the way those letters are related to the sounds used to make words.
  6. Adopt a Reasonable Screen Time Policy – As more parents begin to understand the potential dangers of allowing too much screen time, some are moved to cut off kids’ access to electronics altogether. While allowing a child to spend hours watching cartoons may not be the best idea, there are some electronic devices that can actually be quite helpful and educational. Kid-friendly versions of laptop computers and eReaders with pre-loaded books and reading lessons can keep kids engaged and entertained, as well as help them master some fundamental reading skills.
  7. Choose Books Carefully – Once your child starts mastering the basics of reading, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t getting ahead of yourselves. Books that are too simple may not hold his interest, but ones that are too advanced will only frustrate him and turn reading into a chore, rather than something enjoyable.
  8. The Phonics Method – The most popular method with most educators for teaching young children to read is the phonics method, which teaches children how to break words down and sound them out to decipher them on their own.
  9. Whole Word Learning – The whole word method of learning relies upon the Dolch sight word list, which teaches kids to memorize words on sight. Because some of these words cannot be sounded out using phonetic reading methods, whole word learning can be a great supplemental method to use alongside phonetic reading.
  10. Context Support – When you provide your child with context support, you’re creating an environment that supports reading. Reading together, making sure you set aside story time and even making lessons out of everyday situations are all ways of providing context support for your child as he learns to read.
It’s important to keep your child’s developmental age and abilities in mind before beginning reading lessons in earnest, in order to avoid setting you both up for failure and disappointment. While television commercials may show infants gleefully reading or acting out the words on flashcards before they can walk, this simply is not the norm for most children. Be sure to keep his abilities in mind as you begin teaching him to read so that you approach the process with realistic expectations.

First published on http://www.becomeananny.com

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Untraditional Familes - Gay Couples and Kids by Dennis Milam Bensie



I am an only child: no brothers or sisters. I have no spouse. I am single, but I am a gay uncle.
            How, you ask?
            Because gay people get to pick their own families and I was chosen.
            My eighteen month old nieces name is Eileen. I wanted a family, but wasnt in a position to raise a child on my own. I was looking to donate my sperm to a lesbian couple and met Joy and Stephanie in 2005 through a Yahoo sperm donor site.
            We tried to have a baby and it didnt work out (a long story you can read about in my book ONE GAY AMERICAN).
            The women eventually got pregnant using sperm from a sperm bank --on the first insemination-- and had Eileen. I am not biologically related to the baby girl. Neither is one of her mothers. But I still get to be the Wacky Uncle that I wanted to be.
            My nephew, Travis, is two years old. I have known his two daddies, JR and Troy-Skott for almost twenty years. They were licensed by the State of Washington to be foster parents and were selected to be Traviss family. (also featured in ONE GAY AMERICAN).
            I dont know that the way families are created has changed. I think Americans are just discussing it more openly. With the widening support of civil rights for gay people, there is no reason to not talk about it. Because gay people have to create a family for themselves, their enthusiasm is noted. Both sets of my gay parents went to a lot of trouble to get a child to call their own. Gay people dont accidentally become a mom or dad.
            What I see and feel when I spend time with Eileen and Travis is pure love. There isnt a person on earth who can tell me that those kids are not where they belong.
            I was adopted as a baby. When Travis and Eileen get older and start to ask questions about their roots, they can come to me. I will sit them down and tell them with 100% authenticity that they are loved and just because they are not biologically related to one or both of their parents, that makes no difference.
            As for having same-sex parents, Critics will be critics. Their parents are as solid as any heterosexual couples. We might just have a country where same-sex marriage is legal everywhere sooner than later. The law is already on Eileen and Travis side where they live.
            I wrote my book ONE GAY AMERICAN for these two kids. Since I dont have children of my own, I will pass my work to them. They are my heirs.


About the Author: 

Dennis Milam Bensie grew up in Robinson, Illinois where his interest in the arts began in high school participating in various community theatre productions. Bensie’s first book,  Shorn: Toys to Men was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award, sponsored by the American Library Association. It was also a pick in the International gay magazine The Advocate as “One of the Best Overlooked Books of 2011″. The author’s short stories have been published by Bay Laurel, Everyday Fiction, and This Zine Will Change Your Lifeand he has also been a feature contributor for The Good Men Project. One Gay Americanis his second book with Coffeetown Press and it was chosen as a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Book Awards. He was a presenter at the 2013 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. Dennis lives in Seattle with his three dogs.

You can find out more about Dennis Milam Bensie, his memoirs and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/lhtvxyt
 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Night Buddies Adventure series Wacky Words Contest



Hey there, buddies! This is me, Crosley, with an EXCELSIOR idea!

I’m lookin’ for some wacky new words to add t’ my wacky vocabulary, on account of the author of the Night Buddies Adventure series of books is into writin’ his third one. It’ll be featuring’ me an’ my good buddy John, of course.

All ya need t’ do is come up with a new word an’ say what it means! Want some help? Check out this list below to get your brain gears goin’.

An’ who knows? The winnin’ words could end up in BOOK THREE! See ya after bedtime in the Borough!


Enter to Win These Prizes!

Winner #1 will receive a $25 gift card to a bookstore of their choice & both titles signed by the author.
Winner #2 will receive both titles signed by the author.
Winner #3 will receive a copy of Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine.
Winner #4 will receive a copy of Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare.
Winner #5 will receive both titles as eBooks.

Contest Ends June 15, 2013!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you need some help with ideas on what Crosley Speak is? Check out this list of words to get your brain gears turning.


Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare
Written by Sands Hetherington
Illustrated by Jessica Love
ISBN-13: 978-0-9847417-1-7

Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine
Written by Sands Hetherington
Illustrated by Jessica Love
ISBN-13: 978-0-9847417-2-4

Juvenile Fiction/Chapter Books for Ages 7 and up.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Interview with Dennis Milam Bensie




Dennis Milam Bensie grew up in Robinson, Illinois where his interest in the arts began in high school participating in various community theatre productions. Bensie’s first book,  Shorn: Toys to Men was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award, sponsored by the American Library Association. It was also a pick in the International gay magazine The Advocate as “One of the Best Overlooked Books of 2011″. The author’s short stories have been published by Bay Laurel, Everyday Fiction, and This Zine Will Change Your Lifeand he has also been a feature contributor for The Good Men Project. One Gay Americanis his second book with Coffeetown Press and it was chosen as a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Book Awards. He was a presenter at the 2013 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. Dennis lives in Seattle with his three dogs.
 

Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary.
           
            ONE GAY AMERICAN is a coming of age story of my life as a gay man. I was born in 1965 and I have been lucky enough to see the rise of gay culture in American after the Stonewall riots. I grew up as America grew more aware of the LGBT community. Each chapter of the book begins with a few words about where America was with gay tolerance at the time of that chapter of my life.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in being published?
           
            This is an interesting story. I met my publisher through a friend at work. 

            I had written my first book, SHORN: TOYS TO MEN (which was called CAN I CUT YOUR HAIR? at the time) back in 2000. I tried for two years to get a literary agent and didnt have any luck. I put the manuscript away until 2008. 

            I decided, since I work in professional theatre, that maybe that book should be a play. I made an attempt to adapt my book for the stage, but decided it would be better left for an experienced playwright. I placed an ad on Craigslist (which wasnt a good idea) and got dozens and dozens of responses with lots of bad sample plays to shift through. I did find one guy who I thought had potential and gave him the book to adapt. I waited months and he disappeared.

            I contacted my playwright friend, Craig Lucas for help (who I was too afraid to approach in the beginning) and sent him three chapters of CICYH? He liked them and gave me the name of three students he had in a playwriting workshop.

            Student #1 was interested. I waited months and nothing happened.
            Student #2 was interested. I waited months and nothing happened.

            I was scared of Student #3 because I worked with him at Intiman Theatre. The book was very sexual and personal. I was still very nervous about the book. His name is Dustin Engstrom and I didnt really know him.  

            Dustin saw lots of potential in a play version of CICYH? And within a year, he finished the adaptation and even got it a slot at a fringe theatre in Seattle called Open Circle Theater.

            As Dustin was completing the play back in 2010, I decided to work on the book some more--update it and polish it. I changed the name to SHORN: TOYS TO MEN.

            Now for the getting published part. I was telling my friend and co-worker, Marta Olson about the play of my book and she said, Oh, my dad is dating the editor of a local publisher. I should hook you two up.

            Umm. YEAH.

            The next day, I emailed three chapters of SHORN to Catherine at Coffeetown Press and a few hours later she emailed me back. She was very interested. A week later, I had a contract for the book.

            We edited and put the book together in time for the run of adaptation of SHORN: TOYS TO MEN, which Dustin Engstrom titled THE CUT.

How did you get the idea for this book?

With the shift in LGBT civil rights, I wanted to make a contribution. I felt telling my story would help others. The timing was right for me to tell my story. ONE GAY AMERICAN came out right before the 2012 election.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

            Every day is different depending on the time I have available.
           
What do you enjoy most about writing?
           
            I like it when I surprise myself. I like when something clicks in my head and I can get it on the page correctly.

What is the most difficult part of writing?
           
            Finding the time is hard. It takes a lot of time to write.

How has publishing a book changed your life?
           
            I gained a lot of pride in my work.

What are your plans now?

            I have just been asked to be a staff writer for the marriage section for an online mens magazine called THE GOOD MEN PROJECT.  I write short stories and I am working on a third book.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Do it. Finish what you start. Even if it doesnt seem to be working---finish it. You can always go back and rewrite and fix it later.

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

They can visit my author blog at: http://dennismilambensie.com



PLEASE NOTE

*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. SFC does not review any samples sent without a request for review to the Blog Editor, VS Grenier. SFC's staff members will not return unauthorized samples to the senders, but will donate them without review.