Saturday, April 30, 2011
May 1st, often called May Day. It's a celebration of Spring. It's also a day of political protests. In many countries, it is a national holiday.
In 2006, the United States saw widespread political action on May Day, centering on the subject of immigration reform. Various groups and communities, under the heading of "A Day Without Immigrants," held rallies, strikes, and consumer boycotts to support the rights of those working and living in the United States, and to protest a bill that would deport many illegal immigrants.
The Rainbow Tulip by Pat Mora is a wonderful children's book that combines a story about immigrants in the United States and May Day. While the book is about multiculturalism, it is during a May Day Celebration that young main character finally understands her mother's feelings of being different and that being different is okay.
A contrast between a little girl's home and the outside world is established. One of the differences is her name. At home, she is Estelita, but at school, her name is Stella. Another difference is the language she speaks. “My brothers and I speak English outside the house and Spanish inside the house. My father says, 'Hija, this house is a piece of Mexico.'” Their house is also “a quiet house” where their father likes to read and running and shouting is for outside. Even the pictures provide contrast. The illustrations of her home are in muted tones, like the brown clothes that her mother wears. Outside the home are the brighter tones of reds, pinks, yellows, purples, and greens.
Spanish words are scattered throughout, just like a bilingual child may speak. Because Estelita/Stella tells the story, the use of Spanish words in the English text adds to Estelita’s cultural background.
Stella loves colorful clothing and fits in well at her English school, unlike her shy, quiet mother who wears dull colors like brown, no makeup, and speaks only Spanish. Although Stella loves her mother, she is ashamed of her. Stella wishes her mother were more like the other mothers with their makeup and short dresses. She wishes her mother could speak English, too.
When Stella finds out that she gets to dress like a tulip for the upcoming May Day celebration, she decides that she wants to be a rainbow tulip. On the day of the celebration, Stella’s mother goes with her to school to watch the festivities. Stella nervously looks around at all the other girls in their dresses of one color, blues, pinks, and yellows. Stella is the only rainbow tulip. Although uncomfortable as people point at her, commenting on her dress, Stella remembers every step of the dance. When she sees her mother smile, she knows that her mother is proud of her. Later, her mother tells her it is hard to be different. Instead of being ashamed of her mother, Stella now understands and asks to know more about her grandparents.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
KEEP CHILDREN S.A.F.E.
Place this list in a prominent area of your home for quick reference. Then, before your children head out the door for the playground, check that:
Adult presence is needed to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede and facilitate play when necessary. Strings on clothing or ropes used for play can cause accidental strangulation if caught on equipment.
Preschoolers, ages two- to five, and children ages five - 12, are developmentally different and need different equipment located in separate areas to keep the playground safe and fun for all.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Would you accept a nanny position caring for six children which requires you to speak at least two languages, have a college degree, to travel between California, New Orleans, and France, as well as other film locations around the world for a hefty paycheck?
Last week, the Sun Online reported that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are advertising for a new full-time child caregiver who has the requirements listed above.
Do you possess all the skills they are looking for? Would this be a job you would consider?
Monday, April 25, 2011
Rumors about cell phone numbers going public, have been circulating around the Internet for years. In most scenarios users are sent an email informing them of an impending "cellular doomsday" and are advised to dial the National Do Not Call Registry at 888-382-1222 in order to have their cell phone number blocked for five-years. It’s high time to put this rumor to rest once and for all.
There was once an effort to make a 411 directory for cell phones by a company called Qsent. The cellular 411 directory that Qsent had intended to build would in fact make cell phone numbers available to the public, BUT on an opt in basis only. News of a cellular 411 directory quickly spread around the Internet creating concern that cellphone numbers would then be sold to telemarketers, hence the rumor that "cell phone numbers are going public…"
Just visit http://www.donotcall.gov/ and list the numbers you would like on the list.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Today is Earth Day. In honor of Earth Day this week we have been posting the best green products according to the the GoodGuide web site. GoodGuide, is a Web-based system that rates consumer products. Below is their list of best and worst diaper creams.
1. Miessence Baby Barrier Balm
2. Burt's Bees Baby Bee Diaper Ointment
3. Badger Diaper Cream
4. Nature's Baby Organics Diaper Ointment
5. Lavera Baby Neutral Diaper Cream
Worst Diaper Cream
1. CVS Diaper Rash Ointment
2. Balmex Extra Protective Clear Ointment
3. Gerber Diaper Rash Ointment with Oatmeal
4. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Diap Rash
5. Destin Diaper Rash Ointment Tube, Original
Thursday, April 21, 2011
1. Coppertone Dry Oil
2. Eraviva Chidren's Sunscreen SPF 15
3. California Baby SPF 30+ Citronella
4. Sunscreen Sweetsation Therapy Sun'n'berry Fun Organic
5. Earth Baby Organic Sun N' Fun Baby Sunscreen
Worst Baby Sunscreens
1. Banana Boat Ultra Mist Continuous Spray Sunblock Lotion, Tear Free, SPF 50
2. RxSuncare Kids Sunblock SPF 50
3. Hawaiin Tropic Baby Faces & Tender Places Sunblock Spray SPF 50
4. CVS Baby Sunscreen SPF 70
5. Coppertone Kids Sunblock Stick SPF 30
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
In honor of Earth Day, April 22nd, this week we will post the best green products. Identifying safe baby products can be a challenge, especially when there are so many products out there to choose from: clothing, diapers, bottles, shampoo, soap, baby wipes, toys.GoodGuide, is a Web-based system that rates consumer products — personal care, food, household cleaners, and toys, so far—on their health, environmental, and social impacts. Dara O’Rourke, a professor of environmental policy at the University of California, Berkeley got the help of some of his students in his lab to take academic-quality research and make it accessible to average people, empowering them to find healthier, greener products. Today the company provides ratings for more than 75,000 items.
Best Baby FoodsYou need to reference the actual guide since different products made by the same company listed below may rate higher than other foods made by the same company. You may also want to compare how they are rated. For example, all the foods listed below are rated highest as number 10 for health. They may rate lower due to packaging. Despite the GoodGuide ratings you must still read labels for ingredients you may or may not want to feed the baby.
3. Tastybaby Peas On Earth
9. Nature's Goodness
Worst Baby Foods
Specific foods by the same companies may rate much higher. For example, although Beech Nut multigrain cereal with bananas rates the lowest they have other foods that rate much better.
1. Beech Nut Cereal Multigrain with Bananas
2. Healthy Times Baby Sweet Peas, Organic
3. Nature's Goodness 2, Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
4. Gerber Mixed Grain Cereal
5. Earth's Best Yummy Tummy Instant Oatmeal
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Two class action lawsuits are currently pending in the U.S. District Court alleging that Babies "R" Us conspired with some manufacturers in violation of federal antitrust laws. If you purchased one or more of the listed Baby Products directly from Babies "R" Us or Toys "R" Us in the U.S. within the specific time stated, then you are a member of a Settlement Subclass.
BabyBjörn baby carrier 2/2/00 - 4/30/05
Kids Line products 1/1/99 - 12/31/06
Maclaren stroller 10/1/99 - 1/31/11
Medela Pump In Style breast pump 7/1/99 - 1/31/11
Peg Perego car seat 7/1/99 - 1/31/11
Peg Perego high chair 7/1/99 - 1/31/11
Peg Perego stroller 7/1/99 - 1/31/11
To receive benefits from the settlement, you must submit a valid, sworn Claim Form. The Claim Form must be postmarked, faxed, or submitted online by August 1, 2011. Any member of any Settlement Subclass that does not timely submit a valid, sworn Claim Form will not be entitled to settlement benefits. To obtain or file a Claim Form click here.
Click here to learn more about this claim.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Rabbi Zoë Klein is Rabbi of Temple Isaiah, a Reform-Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, California shares the most creative ideas for including children in Passover I've ever found.
Below are just a few of his ideas. To see the entire article please click here.
Preparing the Passover Table:
1. Use maps of Egypt, Israel, and the Sinai desert as place mats.
2. Put markers and crayons out on the table, and make them all the same color. Encourage people to draw or jot down questions, ideas, and thoughts in the Hagaddahs. Write the year on the inside cover of the Hagaddah in the color pen that was used that year. In later years you will be able to enjoy looking back and seeing what people thought or doodled in years past.
3. Decorate the table with frog bath-toys.
4. Put sand on the table.
5. Let the children sit near the leader instead of far away.
6. Get out your entire seder plate collection, and let everyone have their very own at the table!
7. For something totally different, sit on the floor in a circle with pillows, more like the Roman symposiums after which the seder was originally modeled.
Part 1: Kadesh - First Cup of Wine and Kiddush
1. Have an empty cup in the middle. Have everyone add a little form their own cups to the middle cup. This cup then will be Elijah's cup, and everyone will have shared with Elijah from their own.
2. Pour the wine or grape juice for each other, each person pouring for the person to their right, to give a sense of sharing and elegance.
3. Have the younger participants pour everyone's glasses, playacting as if the adults are the Egyptians and the children are the Israelites serving them. For the second cup of wine, have the adults serve the children!
Part 2: Urchatz - First Handwashing
1. Ask for two volunteers: one to carry a pitcher of water and to pour water over each guest's hands, and one to carry a basin and a towel.
2. Use ice water to remember people who do not have warm water.
Part 3: Karpas - First Dipping (Parsley)
1. Plant parsley in Chia Pets!
2. Tie bundles of parsley with ribbon for each guest.
Part 4: Yachatz - Breaking of the Middle Matzah
1. A Tunisian custom is to say "This is how God split the Red Sea" and then break the middle matzah.
2. Ask, has anyone ever felt broken?
Part 5: Maggid - Storytelling
1. Tell the story through a giant game of Jeopardy!
2. Have the kids get together to put on a puppet show about Moses and the escape from Egypt. While they are putting it together, the adults can have a deeper discussion of the meaning of freedom.
3. Have volunteers role-play Moses, Miriam, Aaron, Moses mother Yochevet, and Pharaoh, and have the rest of the table interview them and ask them about their experiences.
4. At the four questions, ask the children what is the best question they've ever asked in school.
5. Have the children draw the ten plagues. If done earlier, these can be laminated and wine can be placed on top of the plagues as each is recited.
6. Make a family tree of the Biblical characters to help with the telling of the story, from Abraham to Moses.
7. Make a family tree of your own family, as far back as you can go!
8. Let the children build a pyramid out of sugar cubes! They will love this!!
9. Play a memory game. Go around the table asking everyone to fill in the black, "When I left Egypt, I took with me my most treasured possession......" The participants in turn must repeat the objects mentioned and add their own!
Part 6: Rachtza - Second Handwashing
1. Ask for two volunteers: one to carry a pitcher of water and to pour water over each guest's hands, and one to carry a basin and a towel.
2. Wash feet instead of hands, just like in Biblical times!
Part 7: Motzi - First Blessing over Matzah
See how high you can build a matzah house.
Part 8: Matzah - Second blessing over Matzah
Once I attended a seder with a Yemenite family, and they had spray bottles of water on the table. They would spray the matzah with the water to make it softer, so they could wrap it around the charoset.
Part 9: Maror - Second Dipping (Maror and Charoset)
Irish fiddler Seamus Connoly once said, "We are never so happy as when we are crying." We never enjoy the horseradish so much as when it brings tears to our eyes.
Part 10: Korech - Hillel Sandwich
1. Everyone make a sandwich for the person sitting next to them.
2. Try to whistle while eating matzah.
Part 11: Shulchan Orech - Communal Meal
Have everyone put money into the tzedakka box before eating.
Part 12: Tzafun - Afikomen
Give the finder of the afikomen a five dollar bill. Explain that it is Abraham Lincoln on that bill, and what he did to end slavery in America.
Part 13: Barech - Blessing after Eating
Make plans to feed the hungry through money donations, helping in a food kitchen, donating food, or any other way.
Part 14: Psalms of Praise - Hallel
1. Go around the table and express what each is thankful for.
2. Give each other hugs and kisses!
Part 15: Nirtza - Conclusion
1. Make the song "Who Knows One?" into a trivia game. Try to name the three fathers of Israel (hint: A..., I..., J...), the 4 mothers (S..., R..., R..., L...) the five books of the Torah (G..., E..., L..., N..., D...), the twelve tribes?
2. With the song Chad Gadya, "Just One Kid," sing it like Old MacDonald, and make the appropriate sounds for each verse.
3. Next Year in Jerusalem! Sing the Israeli National Anthem, "Ha Tikvah" ("The Hope" in Hebrew). Kids can use kazoos.
To see the entire article please click here.
Rabbi Zoë Klein is Rabbi of Temple Isaiah, in Los Angeles, California.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
It is Spring and in many parts of the country it rains a lot in the Spring. Below we recommend some great children children's books about rain with corresponding activities to do with your charges with and/or in the rain. So, read these books and put on your rain slickers and boots and get outside and learn about rain!
Rainby Robert Kalan
In this book the blue sky, yellow sun, and white clouds suddenly become gray clouds, gray sky, and rain. Using bold graphics and few words, Rain explores concepts like weather, colors, and a changing landscape. It's a book for very young readers to enjoy and learn from, rain or shine.
Come On, Rainby Karen Hesse
Award-winning author Karen Hesse and artist Jon J. Muth capture the magnificence of a sudden rainstorm on a hot day. As the downpour approaches, a girl named Tessie gathers her friends to play in the raindrops. The rain shower so gigantic, it even makes their mothers run into the street.
Otto's Rainy Day by Pamela R. LevyThe mother in the book learns from her son about the fun of playing in the rain, and they end up having a most precious, beautiful, bonding, and wet day. Otto likes to listen to the rain, he likes to run through the puddles, splash little ants on the pavement, and best of all he likes to stick out his tongue and taste the rain! It's a feel-good book for both kids and their caregivers.
What Happens to the Rain? After it rains, take the children out to follow the path of the rain. Where does it go? Does it seep into the ground, down the sewer? What happens to the rain on the sidewalk or on the slide?
Weather Chart Each day for a month, chart the weather. Was it sunny, rainy, cold, or warm? Ask your child for as many descriptive words as they can think of about the day.
Measuring Rainfall On a rainy day, set out a container to measure the rainfall. Measure how much rain fell that day. Continue to measure the rain each day, and record for a few weeks. Ask your child to predict how much water will be collected. Ask at the beginning of the day and ask when it is raining. Did their answer change?
Evaporation Use two clear plastic glasses of the same size. Measure one cup of water and place in each cup. Mark the water level of each cup with a permanent marker. Place one in a sunny window and the other somewhere else in the room. Observe the glasses of water over the nest couple of days. Ask the children where the water is going. Which is evaporating more quickly? Evaporation occurs when the particles of water become warm enough that they turn into vapors and leave the cup and escape into the air. Why did the water in the sun evaporate faster?
Rain Sticks Seal off one end of a paper towel tube with tape or tape heavy construction paper or tag board over one hole. Poke holes in the side of the paper towel tube with either a small nail or an awl. The child then can insert toothpicks into the holes. Have the child fill with dried rice or lentils, then seal the other end of the tube. Cover the tube with construction paper, then have the child decorate as desired. To use the rain stick, simply turn it over and listen to the rain.
Sail Toy Boats in Rain Rivers As long as there isn't lightening and thunder, dress the kids up in their rain coats and rain boots. Let them sail their toy boats and other bath toys in puddles and rivers made by the rain.Stop by next week for another Weekly Trip to the Library for Nannies and Au Pairs.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
By Tom Breedlove
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Paying off-the-books is tax evasion which is subject to fines, back taxes, interest, and even prison time. The amount you owe to the IRS, if you don’t file, is penalized at 47.5% interest (22.5% for late filing and 25% of the total for not filing).
To collect monies owed, the IRS can levy your wages, your bank account, and/or put a federal tax lien against your social security number.
Since tax evasion is a felony, there are strict penalties of jail time and loss of professional license. For example, licensed professionals such as doctors, attorneys, and accountants can lose their licenses and ability to practice their profession if caught for tax evasion.
The more blatantly fraudulent your behavior has been, the more likely the IRS is to prosecute you.
In order to convict you of a tax crime, the IRS does not have to prove the exact amount you owe.
Here are some penalties listed in order of their severity:
Criminal fraud: This is tax evasion, which is illegal. If convicted of this penalty the tax payer will be subject to heavy court determined fines, imprisonment, or both .
Civil fraud: Tax payer fraud that does not rise to the level of criminal fraud. If imposed, the penalty is 75% of the portion of tax underpayment attributable to fraud.
Negligence: This is a penalty imposed if any part of the tax rules and regulations are neglected without the intent to defraud. The penalty is 20% of the portion of the underpayments attributable to the negligence.
Frivolous Return: A frivolous return is one that emits certain information necessary to determine the tax payer’s tax liability, such as her Social Security number. The penalty is $500 for each frivolous return filed.
Check out the IRS website for more answers to your nanny tax questions.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Now that you know the importance of tax compliance, be sure to let your employer know they can benefit by by paying their nanny legally as well.
Here are some benefits for families who pay their household employees legally:
Using a Nanny Payroll Company is Tax Deductible: Any parent, regardless of their income, can deduct the expensive of using a payroll company from their taxes.
Child Care Tax Credit: Regardless of a families combined income every family is eligible to receive a percentage in of the child care tax credit. A family who earns more than $43,000 per year can receive approximately 20% in a child care tax credit. On average tax savings are $600 per year for one child and $1,200 per year for families with two or more children.
Dependant Care Flexible Spending Account: Families can set aside tax free dollars in an account, in the range of $2,500 to $5,000- that is set up thru their employer. Only one parent can do this through their job and if they choose this option- they are not eligible for the Child Care Tax Credit.
Breedlove and Associates
GTM Payroll Services
Monday, April 4, 2011
No one likes paying taxes, and certainly many nannies don't. In fact, it is estimated that 80% to 90% of household employers may not be paying taxes. Nannygate has become the popular term for employers who don't pay their household employee's taxes. Nannygate is an epidemic in America in part due to the fact that nannies don't insist their employer's are tax compliant because they don't realize the benefits of being paid-on-the-books.Here are some of the benefits to being paid legally:
History of Employment: Payment history helps to develop credit which is needed when applying for any type of loan including a credit card, car, mortgage, and rent.
Unemployment Benefits: Employees who lose their jobs, through no fault of their own, are able to receive a portion of their salary after a lay-off. This benefit is essential in a difficult economy.Disability Benefits: If you have a non-work related illness or need to take maternity leave, you can collect Disability Insurance while you are unable to work.
Workers Compensation: Workers Compensations covers employees who become sick or injured while working. It is an insurance plan to help pay for necessary medical care.
Social Security and Medicare: Full retirement benefits for Social Security and general medical coverage via Medicare are put into an account where you can collect once you meet a certain age requirement to retire. The extra money when you retire, or in addition to paying your medical expenses, will be a benefit.
Breedlove and Associates
GTM Payroll Services
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Rain gear often contains polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a chemical in all sorts of flexible, waterproof items such as bibs, rain jackets, and rain boots. Unfortunately, PVC releases toxins over its lifespan.Some safer alternatives for rain coats, rain boots, and umbrellas include those made from polyurethane, polyester, or nylon. Polyurethane, polyester, and nylon are synthetic materials but they are more inert than PVC and usually contain fewer toxins. Make sure that rain gear choices are listed as PVC- and phthalate-free because these toxic materials can still show up in the manufacture of materials like polyurethane. Avoid rain coats and umbrellas made of shiny or colorful materials because they are the most likely to contain PVC.
Luckily, Puddle Gear, Calunaloves.com.au, CWDkids.com, Lands End, L.L. Bean, Hatley Raincoats, Hanna Anderson, and iPlayoffer some coats made of safer plastic. When shopping, look for the PVC-free tag in rain coats.Below are some of our favorite options for PVC-free children's rain gear:
Hatley Raincoats: Hatley Raincoats are my favorite for elementary school-aged children and little kids. They have super cute prints including horses, pirates, watermelons, apples, space aliens, purple flowers, and more. Take your pick of unlined or lined and pair it with matching rain boots and umbrellas for ultimate cuteness. Sizes range from 12M to 7. Prices typically range from $30 to $48 at Hatley.
Try to get them cheaper via our Amazon link below:
iPlay Raincoats: I love the preppy inspired prints (especially the whales) for the cotton-lined iPlay raincoat at Target. They are very affordable from $17 to $24. And it's just as PVC-free. Sizes range from 18M to 4. They cost about $17 at Target.
See if you can get them cheaper at the Amazon link below:
L.L. Bean: Lightweight and mesh-lined, the nylon Discovery Rain Jacket is a good fit for a spring rain and not just for little kids. Bigger boys won't be embarrassed to wear this nice jacket. When folded into its own pocket, it's easy to stow in the backpack for unexpected shower. Loose fitting to accommodate layers underneath, available in five bright solids and two prints. The sizes range from 12M to 10. They cost about $27 at L.L. Bean.
Hanna Andersson: The Wind at Your Back Anorak boasts sturdy nylon oxford cloth with a soft cotton lining, drawstring hood and easily adjusted sleeves. It's another jacket styled in a way that older kids will love too. Sizes range from 18M to 12. They cost approximately $58 at Hanna Andersson.
REI: The REI Cascade Rain Jacket is sturdy, yet light, PVC-free, and has a water repellent coating and the seams are sealed to block out rain and wind. Integrated hood features visor for added coverage and elastic sides for a snug fit. On-seam pockets shelter little hands. Reflective accents increase the child's visibility in low light. Elastic cuffs help seal out rain. Full-length front zipper with snap-closure storm flap helps prevent leakage. Sized from 12M to 18(XL) for girls and boys. Prices range from $25 to $40.
Puddle Gear: Puddle Gear makes PVC-free rain coats too. All their rain gear is totally PVC and Phthalate Free and instead coated with ATEK – a Polyurethane-coated stretch fabric. It’s a very light, soft, tear-resistant material and is wind and watertight. Their sizes range from 10M to 12 Teen. Their rain jackets range from $50-$60 but are virtually indestructible and last forever.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
1. What is the seed doing?
2. On which parts of the terrarium do you see water?
3. What new is happening in your terrarium today?
Friday, April 1, 2011
Food and Mood:
Do you get tired or nasty after you eat? Do you feel energized after a meal? Mark down how you feel physically and mentally about an hour after your meals and snacks. Modify your diet if your eating does not improve your mood and your energy.
What you Ate and Weight:
Same as above and "Save, Don't Rave." Keep a careful list of everything you eat and you will have the knowledge to change any poor habits, if necessary.
Stuff the Stuff:
Inventory everything you own. Do not be a hostage of useless possessions. If you do not use it and you do need it, discard, donate or sell. Simplify your life.
Embrace the Cloud:
Consider using online sites to declutter your computer and organize your records. The cloud is not the wave of the future, it is the tool of today. Knowledge and awareness should be the foundation for action. Understand yourself. Take control.