December 11, 2009

Homeschooling 101

805 words, including sidebar of homeschooler myths. I also have a longer version, which is about 1,000 words.

The decision to homeschool can lead to some overwhelming questions like: How do you get started? What does a typical day look like? How do you keep toddlers from emptying the cabinets on a daily basis while you teach your older kids? What about socialization?

After researching the homeschool laws in your state, the first thing you need to know is that there is no “perfect” or “right” way to homeschool. Teaching supplies and methods are as different as the families actually doing the homeschooling. Homeschooling can range from super-structured to complete freedom.

To get started, some homeschoolers buy a packaged curriculum with lesson plans, which works well for parents who are unsure about what needs to be taught or where their child is on the academic spectrum. The choices can be overwhelming, so do Internet research, join online groups and find local homeschoolers to discuss what programs they are using and what they think of their packaged curriculum.

This piece contains quotes from real homeschoolers in the Kansas City area. Obviously, you can take out the city and leave the name and quote if you like.

Contact me at for the rest of the article for your review and/or purchase.

December 10, 2009

Pregnancy Sleep Disruption Solutions

764 words, including sidebar of relaxation exercises to try before bed

What pregnant woman doesn’t enjoy her sleep being interrupted 12 times a night while she goes to the bathroom, sniffles through a stuffy nose and rubs out a few leg cramps? (yeah, right) While you may theoretically get 8 hours of sleep at night, the sleep disturbances of pregnancy (a good way to prepare you for caring for a newborn in the middle of the night) can leave you feeling quite groggy the next morning. Below is a problem-solving guide to hopefully gain you some longer stretches of sleep.

Problem: Insomnia
Solutions: Take a warm bath and do some relaxation exercises before bed. Try to stop worrying about things like what color to paint the nursery or who to invite to the baby shower. White noise from something like a fan may help. If your baby is squirming and kicking, try rocking back and forth in bed or rubbing your belly to get him to sleep. If you can’t sleep because you’re worried about labor, arm yourself during the day with information from books and the Internet (take a pass on any negative stories you may come across). Try listening to Dr. Frank Lawlis’s “Positive Birthing” CD. If insomnia becomes a chronic problem, speak to your doctor about taking Ambien or Tylenol P.M.

Contact me at for the rest of the article for your review and/or purchase.

December 9, 2009

8 Tips to Combat Birthday Party Excess

It seems like kids’ birthday parties are getting out of hand these days, with parents trying to top each other for some non-existent “Most Elaborate Party” award! It can be difficult – if not impossible – to keep up with the intricate, expensive and often highly structured parties that are thrown by our child’s friends and classmates. Whether your child is in school, is homeschooled or is not yet even in preschool, the politics of birthday parties affect everyone. Save your sanity and stay out of the Poor House instead by considering some of the [eight] options and tips in my article.

643 words

December 7, 2009

Dreaming of a Peaceful Christmas (a.k.a. 8 Ways to Holiday Peace)

744 words
I'm happy to research a sidebar of local volunteer opportunities for no extra fee

As children, the dilemma of where to spend the holidays seemed to be easily worked out by our parents. However, as more family members were added through marriages and births, though, the more diverse the personalities and distances our parents had to manage. Commonly when a couple gets married, they attempt to make everyone happy and see as many people as they can over the holidays. Invariably, by the time the new year rolls around, newlyweds end up totally frazzled from celebrating Christmas several times with many sets of relatives. Once couples add a few of their own kids to the mix, Christmas Day can get even more crazy, leaving them feeling like the rope in a game of Human Tug-of-War. Following are some quick fixes that will help you and your family fully enjoy Christmas this year.

1. Combine family events. Instead of running to your parents’ house and THEN to see each of your siblings separately, consider having just one shin-dig at one location when most everyone can attend. A sit-down dinner isn’t necessary. In fact, make it a potluck! Some choose to throw a party like this at their house every year the Friday evening before Christmas, for example, and have crafts for the kids (like building a gingerbread house or painting ornaments).

2. Consider an Open House. Choose a location (like your uncle’s house), a date and a convenient time frame when family members can come and go as they please without the pressure of being on time for a meal. Serve finger foods and other easy fare to make it easy on the hostess.

Contact me at for the rest of the article for your review and/or purchase.

December 6, 2009

Birthday Parties on a Budget

It seems like kids’ birthday parties are getting out of hand these days, with parents trying to top each other for the Most Elaborate Party award! Why break the bank for an off-site birthday party for your child when you can do it yourself on the cheap? This year, consider giving your child the Ultimate Birthday Party, one where he can play, have fun and just be a kid. The added bonus is that you get to keep your sanity and money. Follow these steps (some of which go against everything you’ve ever read about birthday parties!), and you’ll have a stress-free celebration everyone can enjoy.

This article includes ideas such as using to save the cost of stamps, baking your own birthday cake, forgetting about goodie bags (do a used book exchange instead!), making simple decorations, having the party at a park to forego the mess at your house and considering having guests bring canned goods for charity instead of gifts. This article also includes a sidebar of a Party Shopping List so busy parents can tear it out.

755 words

December 4, 2009

Moms Making Money From Home

Subtitle: 5 flexible jobs you can do without hiring a sitter

1,198 words including sidebar
1,124 words without sidebar

Do you have a kid stuck on your hip, but you are desperate to get out of the house? Or do you just need some cash and don’t want to have to hire a babysitter to get it? Are you interested in a different kind of challenge? This piece includes five varied and flexible options complete with the positive aspects and ideas on how to get started then, depending on your interests, you can check out the sidebar for even more ideas.

Flexible options include: freelance writer, babysitting at your own home, babysitting outside the home (churches, health clubs and daycares), medical transcription and mystery shopping.

The sidebar includes 11 more jobs you may be able to do from home (complete with web site addresses), including e-juror, online tutor and virtual assistant.

Contact me at for the rest of the article for your review and/or purchase.

December 2, 2009

Raising a Good Listener

683 words, including sidebar of listening games

Ask moms how to raise a good listener, and you’ll be met with a variety of responses. Some, like Eva Gavin, will laugh out loud and say, “If you write about kids who ignore their parents all the time, I’m your woman.” Others may tell you they have it all together and that their children always listen to them and do everything they say (don’t trust these women!).

So many of us are at a loss when it comes to teaching listening skills. Parents are busier than ever, and that can sometimes make it difficult to just stop and listen to our children. Yet making sure you raise your child to be a good listener is crucial for many reasons. For example, he needs to be able to follow directions at school, in college and at a job. He also needs the practiced skill of listening to make and keep friends, snag a spouse and deal with a variety of people in everyday life.

So how do you become one of those moms whose children don’t tune her out?

1. Humor works wonders. Tresa Cope says, “When I want to get my 4-year-old’s attention, I randomly insert the word ‘chocolate’ into whatever I’m saying. As in, ‘put your chocolate shoes on, NOW, please’. Sometimes he giggles at my misuse of the word; sometimes he makes me pay up with chocolate-covered raisins.”

Contact me at for the rest of the article (6 tips total plus sidebar of listening games) for your review and/or purchase.

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