Guest post by Pamela Ward
Ever found yourself jamming a device into your kids hands just for a bit of peace and quiet? Of course you have … we all have … anything to buy yourself a bit of time to do whatever it is we grown-ups need to do, right? Subsequently you find yourself squeezing feelings of guilt into the back of your mind as you admittedly have no idea what your little angels are viewing.
Parents’ stories of the funny things they’ve witnessed their preteens engaging in online never ceases to entertain me. However, the stories I hear about adolescent girls searching for their identity and acceptance online leaves me feeling significantly more concerned. Various apps and sites allow girls to post provocative pictures of themselves in order to gain the approval of an online community – a community whose motives are questionable and show little empathy for the person whose photo they’re commenting on (not to mention what they might reuse that photo for).
It’s hard for parents to keep up with the ever-changing apps and websites their kids use to communicate, and it’s near impossible to protect kids from viewing inappropriate content. With determination to make it easier for parents to keep up, I started KidsGoMobile. At KidsGoMobile we’re developing software that takes the guesswork out of digital parenting by keeping you informed about risky activity your kids engage in on their devices, with practical advice for mitigating these risks. To see how the software works check out our Kickstarter video.
Right now we’re using Kickstarter to raise money towards completing the development of this software. Parents who want to be among the first to experience the benefits should pledge to support the campaign and will receive the software package as soon as it’s complete. Our team are committed to influencing the new generation of kids to become safe and responsible digital citizens, and we believe this software is the first step!
By Pamela Ward
This post was written by Max Ballard
Birds are a very important part of the environment and we should all do as much as we can to conserve them. There are over 10,000 different species of birds, but the numbers of birds in many of these species are reducing, in fact some species are in danger of extinction.
If you love birds, then you will know of the delights that they can bring when they come to your garden, filling your open space with their birdsong. Birds also serve many other useful purposes, for instance they control insect populations, they help keep down rodents, and they play a vital role in the distribution of plant seeds, thus conserving woodland and meadows.
One way of helping conserve our birds is by providing them with a home in the form of a birdhouse. Not all bird species will nest in a birdhouse, but in the UK there are at least 50 that will. A birdhouse is also an excellent way in which we can learn about birds and their behaviour. They are particularly useful in urban settings where there is a shortage of natural nesting places. There are many different kinds of birdhouse, and some are more suitable for certain species that others.
If you are thinking of installing a birdhouse in your garden, then you could choose to build or buy a traditional one or you could chose to purchase one of the novelty birdhouses that have become popular. There is a big choice of alternative designs, but one that is a great deal of fun is the Jackpot City Birdhouse available at Amazon.
This is the ideal choice for bird lovers who enjoy a little action too, JackpotCity mobile casino as it is styled on an old fashioned American casino. It is manufactured in wood and is brightly coloured, it ticks all the boxes too and provides the perfect nesting environment for a large number of bird species. You can hang it from a tree or install it on a bird stand.
Whether it will improve your luck at roulette and blackjack is debatable, but according to some customer reviews some people are optimistic that it will. One thing of which is a sure bet is that the birds will love it.
By Max Ballard
Check this out – amazing what you can do with a bit of ingenuity, lots of LEGO bricks and strong determination. The modestly named “Super Awesome Micro Project” is a car made of Lego, that drives, has an engine made from Lego which runs on air. A fantastic concept, put together by a bunch of Lego enthusiasts and entrepreneurs that was crowd funded the project via Twitter. What an inspiring project for kids!
Guest post by Alex Summers
According to some people, you can never really be prepared for fatherhood – or parenthood, for that matter. You can mentally prepare for the joy and the new challenges that you will face. However, it’s not until you’re actually in the situation that the true preparation begins.
But although you can’t predict the future, there are steps you can take to prepare your finances for your new arrival. Whether you’re expecting your first child or second or third child, the cost of caring for a family has skyrocketed over the past decade or so. Some families are discovering that they have more expenses than income.
Realistically speaking, you cannot wave a magic wand and wish more money on your paycheck. But you can take steps to financially prepare for this new journey in your life.
1. Pay down your credit card debt
Caring for a new bundle of joy will increase your monthly expenditures. Therefore, the less credit card debt you owe, the better.
New expenses may include daycare, higher health insurance premiums, formula, diapers and other baby supplies. Additionally, you will deal with a variety of unexpected expenses. If you don’t have the money to care for your new financial obligations, this can place a heavy weight on your shoulders.
To reduce the likelihood of economic problems, devise a plan to pay down your consumer debt, including credit cards, personal loans and other loans. Even if you can’t payoff your balances in full, try and knock down these balances. This way, you can reduce how much you owe – which can free up money to cover you new expenses.
2. Scale back on expenses
Maybe the issue isn’t too much credit card debt but rather too many household expenditures. You may not be able to reduce your housing payment or your automobile payment, but you may be able to reduce how much you spend in other areas.
For example, if you’re currently spending a lot on groceries, could you clip coupons or buy generic to save money? Or if you and your wife currently eat out three or four times a week, could you scale back to once a week or once every other week. Likewise, you can reduce household expenditures by canceling unnecessary services, such as gym memberships or expensive cable packages.
3. Buy life insurance
If you haven’t already, now is as good a time as ever to think about purchasing life insurance. And the best part is: you can actually buy life insurance online. This eliminates the middleman and simplifies the buying process.
The benefits of life insurance are undeniable, especially for the breadwinner of a family. The death benefit can help loved ones maintain a certain standard of living and provide future income to spouses and children.
With a policy, your wife doesn’t have to worry about how she’ll pay the bills, clothe the children or pay for college tuition.
Fatherhood is a joyous, yet stressful time in your life. However, despite the challenges you may face, you can feel confident knowing that there’s a financial plan in place to care for your family.
By Alex Summers
And here’s the effort from the UK based Children’s Society to post an article every day.
Well it looks like the 90s of web design are back with the 2013 advent calendar from Project Britain - still great effort to get a calendar together for kids (and teachers). Check it out!
And it’s that wonderful time of the year again where we review the latest and greatest online advent calendars. To kick things off we’re excited to report that our hometown has finally got in on the tradition and has launched its very own advent calendar. So fittingly – here’s Wellington advent calendar for 2013!
Check it out with your kids at: advent.wellingtonnz.com
Guest post by Alex Summers
It seems like just yesterday you were explaining to your young children where babies come from (perhaps using this hilarious vintage illustrated guide). Now they’re a bit older and you have to tackle an even harder issue: how to avoid STDs.
Here’s how I handled the conversation with each of my two children. I have to admit, I kinda screwed up the first one.
The scene: My son’s bedroom in our Denver, Colo. home.
Me: Hi, Devon.
Devon, Age 15: Dad, you have to knock.
I knock, even though Devon can see me in the doorway. This is a bad start; I’m now beginning the conversation from a point of weakness.
Me: Um, so I wanted to tell you… you know you’re growing older, and…
Devon: Is this a sex thing? I already know about sex.
Me: Well, I actually wanted to talk about STDs.
Devon: I already know about STDs.
Devon looks at me as if realizing his dad is the biggest idiot on the planet, for assuming he doesn’t know about STDs. Humiliated, I leave.
That was the extent of my conversation with my son Devon about STDs. I wanted to tell him so much more; that we would love him no matter what happened to him, that we wanted him to make good choices, that sex was a huge responsibility that had to be handled appropriately — but not, of course, until he was much older! I wanted to tell him that he needed to get himself tested before every new relationship; that there were many STD clinics in the greater Denver area and that it wasn’t embarrassing to go get tested, it was actually part of being a real man and a good partner. It helped to know that our family lived less than a mile from a clinic offering the best STD testing Denver has to offer.
I never got to tell my son these things. I pulled a typical dad move and left the rest of his sex education to his mother.
Then Devon’s sister Abby entered her teenage years. As psychology studies note, a teenage girl’s relationship with her father is crucial to helping her navigate the road to adulthood. Without a positive, affirming, loving father in her life, my dear Abby would be more likely to look for that affirmation from other sources, including from boys that might not treat her like the special person I knew she was.
Here’s how the conversation went this time:
The scene: me driving Abby home from band practice. As many parents quickly learn, cars are often the best places for parents to talk to their children about important issues.
Me: Abby, I want to talk to you about something important, but I want to do it in a way where we don’t feel embarrassed.
Abby, Age 15: Okay.
Me: The teachers at school said that in your sophomore year, some kids start experimenting with sex.
Abby immediately gets a little uncomfortable.
Me: It’s okay, that’s kind of the age when everyone starts talking about sex. Including me. You’re becoming a sophomore, so I’m going to start talking about it too!
I accompany this statement with a huge grin. Abby begins to relax.
Me: Well, what I really want to talk to you about right now is STDs. I know I’m going to sound like an idiot, but you know that you can get diseases, right?
Me: You’re going to hear a lot of people say that wearing condoms is enough to protect you from disease, but there are some types of STDs that you can get even while wearing a condom. What I’m saying is that when you’re ready to start having sex — which I hope you’re going to be responsible about and wait for — you need to be really careful about spreading disease.
Abby: What do you mean?
Me: I mean that if someone asks you to have sex and doesn’t want to wear a condom, you have to say no. And even with condoms, you need to get yourself regularly tested for STDs. There are clinics all around the city, or you can go to your gynecologist. Or you can talk to your mom or me. We won’t be mad, I promise. We just want to help you stay safe and healthy. We’re all on the same team.
Then Abby smiled. She actually smiled! Score one for Dad.
Even the most trustworthy STD testing Denver teens have their disposal won’t matter if you don’t talk to them about it. Talking about sex and STDs can be awkward and embarrassing, but it’s something that all parents have to do. What I’ve found is that approaching the sex talk from a place of love, and not devaluing your child’s intelligence, is the best way to make this conversation a success.
How about you? How have you handled the big sex talk?
By Alex Summers
Guest post by Hari Apostolides
It has come, the announcement that so many of us have been waiting for – filming for series three of the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes has been completed and we can hardly wait for it (and Benedict Cumberbatch’s wistful looks) to hit our screens once more.
The televised masterpiece brings the traditional character conceived by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle into the 21st century, as he uses modern technology to solve crimes in modern-day London, in a critically acclaimed coupling of the old and the new.
What will people be doing, then, to celebrate the new series? Perhaps staging a marathon sit-in watching the first two back-to-back? Alternatively, the keener fans may want to recreate this melange of the old and the new by giving their home a Sherlock Holmes update. After all, interior design heralding from this era was – and is – very trendy indeed.
So how to do this? Well, the periods to consider are that of the Victorians – which straddles the turn of the century – and the Edwardians. In terms of styles, you will hear two movements being talked about: namely, Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau.
The Arts & Crafts period started in England towards the beginning of the 19th century, flourishing around the 1850s/60s and lasting up until Art Nouveau took over around the turn of the century, morphing into Art Deco as tassled flappers came out to play in the 1920s.
That said, it is worth mentioning that there is little point trying to define these artistic movements and periods between two set dates, as their influences were discernible long after the historians may have officially declared a movement over.
What is so perfect about Victorian style is that it can be so seamlessly brought up to the modern day – just like Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have done with our much-loved detective in their award-winning television series.
Combine influences from the Arts & Crafts movement and that of the Nouveau era – with some European flavours, most notably from Paris – and you’re already on the right lines.
Think mould detailing, beautiful cornices and fancy fireplaces – perhaps made to look all the more intricate with some delicate paintwork, should you choose.
As for colours, burgundy, navy and plum hues, rich rubies, and elegant emeralds and greens were all popular at the time and – if you want your room to look extra plush – then why not incorporate a touch of golden detailing?
With the design as much about the architecture as it is about the furnishings in the room itself, this affords you a little more flexibility when it comes to furniture. However, for true Sherlock chic, nothing can beat some solid mahogany furniture – from a retailer such as Woodlands Furniture - to give a room that sense of timeless grandeur.
Especially somewhere like a study (after all, isn’t that where we all sit and solve life’s little mysteries?) or – if you are lucky enough to have one – a library or snug reading room, a beautiful mahogany desk or coffee table will instantly lift the room. What’s more, you don’t even have to part with eye-watering sums of cash for such pieces, as replica furniture from a good retailer will cost a fraction of the price and still look absolutely fantastic.
By Hari Apostolides
It’s 4pm on Halloween and you’re down to the wire … no costume and cranky kids … what do you do? Fear not – DIYFather is here to help. Here are 3 ideas for costumes with stuff you already have in the house:
1. THE SUPER EASY & QUICK OPTION: Be a mummy – get some toilet paper and wrap your kid in it. Done.
2. THE 15 MINUTES OPTION WITH BALLOONS AND BAGS: Be a bag of Jelly Beans – wear white tights or skinny trousers, blow up a few balloons (small) in various colors. Attach the balloons to the body suit using tape. Take a clear trash bag, put the balloons inside, create arm holes in the bag and put your kids’ arms through. Gather up the top of the bag and tie some ribbon around the bag at the neck. Done.
3. THE SOMEWHAT INVOLVED 60 MINUTES OPTION THAT REQUIRES AN OLD BLACK UMBRELLA AND BLACK FELT: Be a bat – (you will need an umbrella, black felt, a needle and some thread for this costume). Dress in dark pants and a dark hooded sweatshirt. Remove the handle from a small umbrella and then cut the umbrella in half. These are your two wings. Sew the cut edge of each half of the umbrella to the back of the arms of the sweatshirt. Cut out tall pointy ears from the black felt and sew them to the hood of the sweatshirt. If you have some black face paint – use it and make a bat face. Done.
Alternatively just hunt around the house and see what else you can find that you can make into a costume … cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, etc. You can pretty much make a costume out of anything – after all it’s just for fun. Happy trick or treating!
By DIYFather.com with inspiration from liveinnanny