Feb 17

Keeping Tabs On All Your Gadgets: Organizing Your Devices

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Most houses are now full of digital gadgets from smartphones, to tablets, to PCs. Even refrigerators are starting to become computerized with smart technology. Having all these devices can start to get confusing – some devices even having knock-on negative effects on others. Here are a few ways to get all your devices organized and keep them running smoothly.

Sync up all your gadgets with the cloud

Storing information on different devices can get confusing. Documents, photographs and music files can end up getting spread over your phone, laptop and tablet. On top of this, many of us have multiple devices of different brands, which makes sharing information difficult without downloading extra software.

The solution to this problem is start storing everything on the cloud. All your information will then be stored on a remote cloud server which you can access from any of your devices. You could start a document on your PC and continue it on your phone on the train to work.

Cloud-powered digital security can meanwhile protect all your devices at the same time. You can even create a big music playlist on the cloud, which everyone can listen to at the same time from different locations from different devices, whether you’re inside or outside the house.

Improve your internet

Having multiple devices connected to the internet can be a struggle for your home network and cause devices to act slowly or not work whilst you’re downloading a movie or your kids are playing an online game. A way to get around this is to invest in a fiber optics provider such as Fios. This will increase your bandwidth and allow multiple people in your household to use the internet at the same time.

Get multi-device insurance

Insuring your sensitive digital files against attacks used to be easy, as all you needed to do was insure your computer. But now phones, tablets, TVs and even smart kettles can be hacked. Insuring these devices individually if expensive and some standard home insurance schemes may not include all these devices. Thankfully there are now multi-device insurance schemes that can help protect all these items. Having this may be useful to keep you covered.

Limit kids’ screen time

Having all these computerized items around the house can have its dangers. If you’re worried that your kids are spending too much time staring at a screen – whether it be on their phone, laptop or tablet – you can take measures to limit your kids’ connection to the internet, as well filtering certain things on the internet out. Some internet providers may allow you to alter the router settings, whilst some devices may have their individual settings. Devices such as Koala Safe meanwhile can manage multiple devices, blocking individual devices from specific content, limiting these individual devices’ internet time and even being able to monitor what they’re looking at. Such a device may be useful for keeping on top of your kids’ internet activity.

Feb 17

What You Need To Teach Your Kids About Safety

It is pretty easy to say that having children is the greatest responsibility of all. On paper, we care for them from the moment they born until they come of age – but in reality, many of us continue to care for our kids long after that day has passed! However, it is during their childhood years where we really have to be on the ball with them in terms of looking out for them. Children are not born with a detailed sense of the world – they have to learn things as they go, and learn lessons from the adults around them. On a similar note, you must also be prepared, as a parent, to teach them things that will also make them more independent. This will also take some of the pressure off you too, in your everyday life. Why is that? Well, quite simply because it is impossible to keep your eyes on your children at all times, especially if you have quite a few kids. With child safety being as paramount as ever in today’s society, here are some of the best ways you can keep your children safe and sound.

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Part of the reason why parenting in 2017 differs so much to parenting in, say, 1987, is due to the rise of the internet. Pretty much every modern home has an internet connection these days, along with a whole host of different consoles and gadgets on which to connect to that internet. This opens up a whole new world for the younger members of the family and exposes them to a lot of different types of platforms. Some can be beneficial and totally innocent; for example, your child might use the internet to help with their homework, or they might play a video game that needs an internet connection. But at the same time, the internet can be a dark and dangerous place too. Teach your child the basics of online safety – such as never to speak to someone they do not know in person, and to avoid giving out personal information (even when filling in forms). If you have any doubts regarding your child’s internet usage (for example, are they highly secretive about it?), gentle intervene just to check that everything is okay.

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In the home

You might wonder what danger can present itself to your children while in the home – but you would be surprised! There are plenty of hazards all around that could prove harmful to your kids if you and they are not careful. For example, a child’s curiosity can often get the better of them, and they will be tempted to reach and pull on various household items. For this reason, make sure you are taking a few precautions. Hide any wires or cables that your child may come into contact with. When cooking, make sure any pan handles are not within reach of your children, or you could have a potentially harmful spillage on your hands. Like on the internet, it is also worth teaching your children the importance of being (somewhat) wary about security. Make sure they never answer the door to anyone they don’t know, and install a security doorbell camera that all members of your family can work.

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Outside the home

For all this talk of danger, you do need to still allow you children out of your sight fairly regularly. It is all part of them growing up – after all, what kind of world would we live in if the local schoolchildren couldn’t play out in the street on a hot summer’s day? Before you let them run amok, however, teach them the basics of stranger danger. Make sure that all of your kids can remember your cell phone number off by heart, they know how to call 911 and what to say and they can recite their home address. Let them know the warning signs that a problematic ‘stranger’ might give off. Tell them that they should never go off with a stranger, even if that person offers them candy or some other kind of treat. You may also want to provide your child with a cell phone of sorts, just for extra peace of mind. Giving young children cell phones is a bit of a contentious issue, but some parents find that it works for both parties. Your children deserve to have an enjoyable childhood that’s full of freedom – and by covering your back with safety measures like this, you can rest assured that not one single member of your family is ever at risk.

Feb 11

Drapery Japery: Get Started with Making Your Own Curtains

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If you’re someone who likes to sew or you want to get started, there are many fun things you can make for your home. With the right skills and equipment, you can sew a variety of things to use around the home, from bedding to upholstery. One of the most interesting projects you can choose is a pair of curtains. Curtains give you lots of options to play with, from style to length, and you can create an entirely custom pair. You don’t have to be a sewing expert to make them. You just have to give it some thought before you begin your project and make sure you have everything prepared.

Plan Your Curtains

Before you can start sewing, you’re going to need to come up with a plan. Designing your curtains will help you ensure you know what steps you need to take to get them done. There are a few things to think about when you decide on your curtain design. Firstly, what sort of curtains are you making? Will they have eyelets, tab tops, or will they hang on a curtain track? Next, decide if you’re going to line your curtains. You might want to think about special lining material, such as thermal or blackout lining. Consider the length of your curtains too and, of course, the color and pattern of the material.

Measure and Collect Materials

You need to make sure that your curtains are going to fit the place where you want to hang them. So before you order any fabric, you need to take some measurements. Measure the width and height of where you want your curtains to go. But remember that you need some extra fabric for seams and hemming. Once you have your fabric, you need to make sure you have everything else. A sewing machine is essential, of course. If you’re using a heavy fabric for your curtains, consider something like a Singer high speed heavy duty sewing machine. You’ll need some other tools too, to measure and cut your fabric. Remember the basics, like pins and thread.

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Start Sewing

When you’ve cut your fabric to the right size, you can start sewing. The method you use will depend on the type of curtains you’re making. You need to know how to sew the top of your curtains, whether you’re using tabs or curtain tape. If you’re lining your curtains, you need to know how to do that too. Hemming your curtains is important too, of course, but make sure you get them the right length for where you want to hang them.

Finishing Off Your Curtains

When you’re sewing your curtains, you probably want to make sure that they look nice and neat at the end. It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re sewing and making decisions about how your curtains will look. For example, if you want the bottoms of your curtains to look extra neat, you might choose to do a blind stitch. This means you can’t see the stitches from the front of the curtains.

Making a pair of curtains is easier than you might think. It doesn’t take much to get started, even if you’re still a beginner at sewing.

Feb 11

How To Make Your Kid’s Birthday Party A Hit

Planning your kid’s birthday party can be a stressful event. There is a lot to think about and you will want to make sure everything runs as well as it can so your son or daughter has a day they can remember for their rest of their lives. With so many different aspects of the party to keep in mind, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here is some advice on how to plan everything so the event goes off with a bang.

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Two Months Before

Start planning with plenty of time ahead of you so you’re not totally stressed out at the last minute. Speak to your son or daughter to find out exactly what kind of party they would like to have and you can go from here. Once you have decided on the activity, start to put together a list of who to invite. The type of party will probably affect how many people can come (some activities are more expensive than others and are better with fewer people).

Start planning the entertainment and book the venue if you need to. Your child can speak to their friends to make sure everyone will be available on the day you are planning to host the party.

One Month Before

Design and send out the invitations. These can either be sent in the post or handed out at school. If you include RSVPs with them, it makes it easier to keep track of everyone who can make it. Start to plan the rough schedule of the party, but remember to keep things flexible as no one likes fun that has been too rigidly organized! Plan any supplies you need including decorations, games and party bags.

Plan out the menu. For your own peace of mind, it is a good idea to keep things simple and kids enjoy food like pizza which is easy to prepare. Also, think about what type of cake you would like. Take a look at http://www.allcakeprices.com/costco-cakes-and-prices to get some inspiration. Enlist any extra help you need from older siblings or other parents.

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One Week Before

Chase up anyone who has not yet responded to the invitations. Do any major cleaning around the house you need to and start to buy the supplies you need for the party. Confirm with the entertainment and finalize any time schedules.

One Day Before

Do a final clean of the house and organize the furniture in a social way, bringing in any extra seating you need. Put up your decorations and prepare all the food so that it is ready to be cooked. Also, think about any space that needs to be cleared for activities you have planned. Get the outdoor area ready too if you are planning to take the party out here.

All that’s left to do is run the party itself and then all the stresses are over…for one year at least!

Feb 10

Working Mom Guilt: Managing Your Child’s Sick Day

As a parent, worrying is the thing you do. We worry about their health, their education, their entertainment and their overall emotional state. It’s exhausting and wonderful and exhilarating all at once. It’s one thing for a parent to get sick, but when it’s the kids turn it’s awful. The smallest runny nose and sore throat can have us worrying so not only are we coping with the children being sick, it pushes anxiety through the roof. If your little one has a cold, it’s usually a far bigger deal for a child than it is for a grown up, mainly because we understand how to wipe our noses! Their sickness hurts your heart, but can also have the chance to hurt your income.

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All children want when they fall sick is to be comforted. They want cuddles from mum and dad and they just want to lay around and watch TV. Some kids love to go to bed and sleep it off, and others love to drag a pillow and a down filled comforter to the sofa to eat jelly and ice cream all day. When you’re a working parent, managing the sick day for a child can be difficult and not just because the mom guilt sets in if you can’t take the day off. It takes a village to raise kids and having reliable friends and family around you can really be of assistance when sickness hits your household. It’s one thing to take a day off when you are the one puking, but it’s a whole other situation when you have to ring in for your child. Don’t be afraid though; in this world of remote and virtual working, flexibility is popular among the working families now. It’s exciting and helpful all at the same time!

For parents who send their kids to nursery or school, you may find you’re in the position where you can’t take time off work and your little one has been sent home. Childcare is a total pain when you are stuck at your desk and can’t get away. You need to have a deeper bench when you’re a working parent, and having a back-up for your back-up childcare is important! A surprise illness can push a parent to panic and if you’re a mother, your instincts will be telling you to run away from work and stick to the couch with your baby; even if your baby is now ten!

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It’s important to know your rights as a working parent when it comes to managing a sick day for your kids. Kids are unpredictable and difficult – beautiful as they are – and how you go about managing a sick day is going to determine how you cope with not only your child, but your job. Your workplace may be fantastic and have a certain number of allocated unpaid days off that you can take throughout the year. You should also be entitled to annual leave that you can take last moment. Generally, employers can be pretty laid back when it comes to sick days but it really depends on the industry you work in. As a parent, it’s scary having to take unscheduled time off. Most people worry that their employer won’t understand what it’s like to have your child sick and won’t understand that sometimes you need to drop everything, just so your child can be held. It isn’t easy but when you go for a role, making it clear that you have children is key. Speak about the possible pitfalls of chicken pox or flu and what that could mean in terms of flexible working. Get the lowdown on remote working from the home and you could end up with the best of both worlds.

If you are in a job where you are unsure of the policies on sick days and parental leave, schedule the chat with your boss as early as you can. You may end up completely surprised and supported by your workplace because they value you as an employee and are willing to compromise as long as your level of output in the workplace doesn’t suffer. Obviously, this would be completely different if the illness your child has is more than a cold or a cough. More serious illnesses that see you more out of work than in will require back to work meetings and discussions with your department so you aren’t left out in the cold.

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However, not all jobs out there are family-friendly. It’s a fact of life that some businesses need to keep going and can’t afford to have staff that take time off regularly and unexpectedly. It’s not fair – but at the same time it makes sense. The workplace is a business and has to perform as such so what do you do in this case? You’re a parent, first and foremost, but you still have a mortgage and bills to pay and you need to understand where your employers lie in terms of their flexibility as early as humanly possible, if only to make life easy for you. Getting a phone call from your child’s school two hours after drop-off can be inconvenient and makes your work day guilt harder than usual. If you can’t drop work and run to the school, you should have a back-up relative or friends that maybe are parents who stay at home ready on speed dial. When your career is inflexible, your childcare has to be. A mother’s help, a childminder or a relative are the way to go when you need instant help. The only thing here is that as a mother or a father, you don’t want to have to call anyone else when your child is sick. You want to be the one who is there by their side, stroking their hair and doing their temperature every couple of hours to check their progress.

Your child is going to get ill at some point – there’s no real avoiding that one. But how you manage your time on their sick day is going to make the difference between keeping all the plates spinning and dropping it all and potentially jeopardising your career. Knowing the sick policies of the school your child is in will help you; as sometimes vomiting isn’t a 48-hour bug. Sometimes children vomit when they’re overheated or upset and there are things you should be asking the school when they ring you, such as the circumstances leading to vomit. You can’t run and collect a child for puking just because they’ve run around a playground after lunch hour. It’s making that judgement call for yourself and your child and rolling with it!

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If you do have to call your employer and call in sick, be professional and polite. There’s no need to tell them all the gory details of vomit and bogies, as no one wants to hear about that! But you do need to be straightforward and explain how you plan to cover the work, whether that’s calling a workmate to pick up the slack or working from home in the evening to cover yourself. Understand that your workplace is a business, and your child is your priority. That doesn’t mean you should feel guilty for running home to be with your child.

As long as you have a contingency plan for sick days and work alongside your boss to balance flexibility, your mum guilt is soothed on sick day.

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