Thursday, June 29, 2006


Here's a great article on how to spiff up your wardrobe by my friend Shari Cabra. Her great ideas, on how to transform pieces of clothing and accessories, would be fun to do with your kids this summer. Her article is available for free reprint at


Flip through the pages of that fashion catalogue you just received and you'll find summer blouses embroidered with beads, sequins, and rhinestones. Skim through the pages with sandals displayed and you'll discover many are adorned with chunky glass and metal bobbles. Even ladies accessories - everything from watches to sparkly bracelets, earrings, and necklaces - are decorated with shiny crystals.

This season it seems everything is embellished with beads, bobbles, rhinestones, and crystals. Unfortunately, most of us don't have the financial means to purchase an entirely new wardrobe every year to reflect the newest fashion craze. But that's okay.

Do you have a favorite item of clothing, or an accessory, you love but think is out-of-date? Rather than give away this item, or throw it out, why not revamp it with embellishments? It's fun and easy. Here's how:

A jeans jacket is timeless and can easily take on a new look with a few changes. Even if your jacket is faded, embroider a simple pattern of beads along the collar and cuffs to get new mileage out of it. If you prefer rhinestones, Swarovski Crystals offers sew-on products. These crystals are enclosed in a setting that allows a needle and thread through the back. Just sew them on as you would a button. Don't sew? Both beads and rhinestones can be attached to your garment using special glues available for these kinds of projects.

Give your old sandals a new look with metal studs or add a splash of color with rhinestones. Using gem setting devices (found at your local crafts store) you can clamp both metal studs and rhinestones through tough materials like leather. If your sandals are plastic, glue the embellishments onto them.

Nothing is easier to make over than a purse. It doesn't matter if it's fabric or leather, you can quickly modify purses made of either material. Spiff up a purse by tacking a few studs onto the handle or gluing a pattern of beads or rhinestones onto the bag itself. Or, just hang a few bobbles from the strap. Do an online search for the words "beads" or "crystals" and see numerous sites pop up that offer these items for purchase. With such a variety of trimmings available, it's simple to give a face-lift to an old, yet beloved, purse.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to revamping pieces of your wardrobe. And, with so many handy tools and fantastic embellishments available and reasonably priced, anyone can do it.

Now...just flip through the pages of that latest fashion catalogue for ideas, get your supplies, and have fun.

Shari Cabra is owner of Created by Shari, a line of custom jewelry she designs and fashions herself from vintage silverware patterns. Cabra's collection varies from ornate Victorian pieces to the more sleek and simple contemporary designs. Her line is represented by Debra Steiner of Beyond the Expected Marketing. Find out more about the Created by Shari line by visiting Beyond the Expected Marketing or call Debra Steiner at 913-963-1733 for a catalogue.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Replace Sugary Snacks With the Three C's

With so many tasty sugary foods available it’s no wonder kids reach for them instead of healthy snacks.


Here's a list of healthy alternatives:

-Calcium Boosters: Reinforce healthy eating habits by providing assorted flavors of low-fat yogurt and making smoothies from 2% milk and fruit.

-Crunchy Munchies: If your child is craving something sweet or salty have granola bars, popcorn, and whole wheat crackers on hand.

-Crammed with Vitamins: Kids love fruit for a snack. Strawberries, grapes and raisins are favorites. And, many kids will eat apples if the skins are removed. Peel them and they’ll eat more. Vegetables, like carrots and celery, make a quick, enjoyable snack, too.

These are all good alternatives for sugary foods. Remember to check product labels to be sure products that claim to be low calorie aren’t full of fructose syrups.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Teaching Children Manners

We all want our children to behave politely and display proper etiquette. No matter what their age, there’s no time like the present to teach your children good manners.


Here are some topics to keep in mind when teaching children manners:

-Addressing adults: Children should be taught adults are addressed as Miss, Misses or Mister. And, how we show respect to authority figures such as, doctors or policepersons when we talk to them as officers or sirs or madams.

-Table manners: Explain it is impolite to chew with your mouth open, show how foods are passed to one another and teach the proper way to set a table.

-Phone Etiquette: Show the proper way to receive a phone call, take messages and the polite way to make a phone call.

-Guest Skills: Explain the proper way a guest should behave in someone else’s home. Asking permission to use the phone, getting drinks and picking up after themselves. Also, teach your children how to treat guests in your home.

-Please and Thank you: Teach your children to be gracious by teaching them to always say "please" and "thank you" when they ask for or receive something. When they begin to write, help them compose thank you notes.

Summer is the perfect time to fit in lessons on manners. In the end, you’ll have well behaved, polite children everyone will enjoy being around.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A List to Live By

Today is Sunday, usually a quiet day. A good day to think about this list everyone should consider living by.

The most destructive habit...................Worry
The greatest joy....................................Giving
The greatest loss...................................Self-respect
The most satisfying work......................Helping Others
The ugliest personality trait..................Selfishness
The most endangered species................Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource................Our youth
The Greatest shot in the arm.................Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome........Fear
The most effective sleeping pill.............Peace of Mind
The most crippling failure disease.........Excuses
The most powerful force in life..............LOVE
THe most dangerous pariah...................A gossiper
The world's most incredible CPU...........The Brain
The worst thing to be without.................Hope
The deadliest weapon.............................The tongue
The two most power-filled words............I can
The greatest asset...................................Faith
The most worthless emotion...................Self-pity
The most beautiful attire...................SMILE
The most prized possession...................Integrity
The most powerful communication.............Prayer
The most contagious spirit..................Enthusiasm
The most important thing in life..........GOD

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Safety Tips For Single Moms Traveling With Kids


Everytime you turn on the news you hear about a violent crime. No wonder so many single mothers are hesitant to travel alone with their children. They fear for their safety.

I'm a single mom. Yet I love to take long road trips across the United States with my son. And having traveled so often over the past few years, I've developed a few safety tips that my son and I always follow. If you're a single mom, these tips should work for you and your family, too. Here they are:


Prior to leaving on your trip, join an auto club. Get on line and type in "Auto Clubs" at a good search engine, like, to find one.

Auto Club memberships offer tow service, gas delivery, jump starts, and assistance with mechanical problems, plus other services a single mom on the road might need. Also, many auto clubs have discount agreements with hotels and will send you free maps and vacation brochures.


Before you pull out of the driveway and onto the highway, make sure your car is in good working order. Take your car to a reputable auto service station. Have your oil and air filter changed. You will get better gas mileage. While you're there, have them check your windshield wiper fluid and the freon level in your air conditioner. Check the air pressure in your tires. Make sure your tires are in good shape and the treads aren't worn.

Make sure all your car door locks work. Also, because you don't want to advertise that you're traveling alone with your children, think about having your windows tinted for privacy, if they aren't already. Window tinting for an average size SUV will cost about $200.00 dollars.


Instead of bringing large amounts of cash with you, always pay for gas, hotel rooms, and souvenirs with a credit card and get a receipt. Keep your receipts and check them against your monthly statement. It's good to take at least two credit cards, in case one credit card company doesn't approve a purchase, Many times, for your protection, your credit card company will deny a purchase if you try to use the card outside of the area where you usually make purchases.

Carry cash for small purchases. Buy travelers' checks for backup cash. However, be prepared to pay a fee for cashing them at a bank.


Make sure to take your cell phone and its charger. Call family members periodically. Let them know your itinerary, where you are each day, and which hotels you are staying in. Collect all your state maps, your US almanac and vacation brochures and store them in a canvas bag for easy access. Even if your car has ON-Star capability, have maps for a backup.

Purchase a small portable air bubble and jump pack. An air bubble holds about 120lbs. of air. If you have a flat and are unable to get help, hopefully your tire will hold air long enough to limp into the next town. The jump pack will come in handy should your car battery die. Just remember to charge it before you leave home. If you're traveling during the winter months, it's good to pack a flashlight, candles, blankets and a first aid kit.


Inevitably you will end up eating in your car. Pack baby wipes and trash bags to keep your car clean. Pack snacks and water and plastic bins for souvenirs. A clean, organized car is much more pleasant for traveling. It's also safer since you won't be rummaging around trying to find something while your driving.


Take along CDs, books on tape, crayons, coloring books, and activity books to keep the kids entertained so you can give your full attention to driving.


Stay at hotels where your door does not lead directly to the outside. Most hotels now require a room key to access the hotel from exterior doors.

Every evening, check the weather conditions along your driving route. Join a hotel points program. They will give you phone numbers and the location of their hotels at your next destination. Many give discounts on room rates and you can earn points towards a free stay.


Don't take back roads. Always stay on main highways. Go to gas stations that are busy. Watch your surroundings as you drive along and be aware of cars behind you. If someone stops you, make sure they are authorized to do so. Of course, never leave your car and get in a stranger's car, for any reason.


Before you leave on your trip, teach or review with your children how to be safe around strangers. DANGER STRANGER! Never let your small children go into a rest stop restroom alone. Always escort them.


Buy a can of mace to keep in your car, and don't be afraid to use it if you must. Anyone's car can break down in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared if you find yourself in a seemingly dangerous location.

You may think of other safety tips for yourself and your children. The point is, make safety a part of planning a road trip with your kids, then get out there and see the country! There's no reason to hesitate.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The First Day of Summer


Today is the first day of summer. This evening take a long walk or stroll along the beach and enjoy the longest day of the year.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Raising Children Who Love to Read

When parents send strong messages that particular aspects of education are important and commit to participating, children more often than not experience success.


If you’re wondering, why some children grow up to become successful readers and possess a love for reading, the answer is simple. Their parents have made a commitment to their reading development.

Children can begin a journey to reading success and enjoyment when parents commit to:

- reading to children as young as six months old. Begin reading when they are barely sitting up and their eyes are beginning to focus. Select simple, colorful board books and read them with expression. Point to pictures, identify characters or animals and talk about the story.

- a schedule for reading aloud until children are independent readers. Modeling good reading allows children to hear reading that is fluid and full of expression. Parents should allow children to select books, as well as select books themselves. Introducing new books helps children develop a sense of the kinds of books they like.

- to making visits to the library until children are old enough to go there on their own. Show children visiting the library will become a part of their lives. Help them choose books to read or have read aloud. If children are older talk about the books they’ve chosen. Parents should select books themselves and talk about what they’re reading as well.

- to taking their children to books stores in their strollers, through the elementary, middle and high school years. Buy them a drink or snack, and browse the colorful displays and shelves full of books. Both parents and children should leave with a book.

- to reading themselves. Children naturally emulate their parent’s behavior. When parents possess a love for reading their children usually do as well. Parent should always have a novel they’re reading and set aside time for “read ins” with their children.

When parents commit to their children’s reading education this nurtures reading development and an enjoyment of books. And, all the while those parents have had a great time enjoying great books themselves.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

It is a wise father that knows his own child -William Shakespear


Spend the day with your father. Take a long walk, chat under a shady tree or enjoy a good meal while you celebrate the love he gave you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Choosing Personalized Gifts

With Father's Day coming up this Sunday and June weddings taking place all month, here are some tips from jewelry artist, Shari Cabra, for choosing personalized gifts.


by Shari Cabra

There’s nothing that says, “I care about you,” more than a personalized gift. Often one-of-a-kind objects, personalized gifts are usually cherished forever and many times handed down from generation to generation.

Today there are dozens of personalized gifts available, everything from the simple, inexpensive coffee mug to the more sophisticated sterling-silver letter opener.

The next time you're choosing a gift for someone special in your life, show how much you care by personalizing it. There are several ways to do that.

1. Have the Gift Engraved. Adding an engraved date, initial or name gives the gift your personal touch and makes it more meaningful to the receiver. Pen and pencil sets, letter openers, watches or pendants can be easily engraved. Or, choose an item that is already monogrammed with the receiver’s first or last initial.

2. Help Design the Gift. Add a part of yourself to a personalized gift by participating in its design. Working with a jeweler to create a unique piece of jewelry or simply selecting the ornaments for a charm bracelet will add your special touch.

3. Select Something You know The Recipient Wants or Needs. Having a quilt made in colors to match a nursery for a new baby, or ordering a frame with the bride and groom’s names on it is not only personal but practical in a special way.

4. Choose a Gift You Know Will Become a Personal Favorite. How do you know what will become a personal favorite? By being familiar with the kinds of items your friend or family members loves, collects, wishes for, etc. Select a gift similar to items he or she already has or choose a gift that can be added to an existing collection.

5. Choose a Gift That Will Complement the Receiver’s Home’s Décor. Personalized gifts are available in so many styles. Whether your special friend's home is decorated in modern contemporary or country style, a gift can be found to fit that décor.

Imagine the thrill your special someone will feel when presented with a unique and personalized gift. You’ve selected the perfect present because you care.

NOTE: This article is available for free reprint at

Shari Cabra is owner of Created by Shari, a line of custom jewelry she designs and fashions herself from vintage silverware patterns. Cabra's collection varies from ornate Victorian pieces to the more sleek and simple contemporary designs. Her line is represented by Debra Steiner of Beyond the Expected Marketing. Find out more about the Created by Shari line by visiting Beyond the Expected or by calling Debra Steiner at 913-963-1733 for a catalogue.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Are you’re Kids Saying, “I’m Bored?” Teach Them Basic Sewing Skills


I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager and still do. Over the years I’ve made everything from curtains to quilts - even the purses I carry. Summer has barely begun, even so you’ve probably already heard, “I’m bored.” So, why not introduce your older children to sewing while teaching them a skill they will use the rest of their lives.

I encourage parents to not only teach their daughters but also include their sons in sewing lessons. My son used to ask, “Why don’t you show me how to use the sewing machine?” He’s always interested in what I’m sewing and eager to participate. Really, he’s not particularly unusual, since so many famous fashion designers are men.

Here are a few reasons I think sewing skills are important for children to learn:

Sewing teaches children about different kinds of fabrics. As your children learn about fabrics they will naturally learn how different fabrics are laundered. This naturally leads them into lessons on how to operate the washer and dryer and how to take care of their clothing.

Ironing is a companion skill to sewing. As your children learn to sew a garment or craft project they will be introduced to ironing because it is usually required during and after construction.

Assembling any kind of garment or completing a sewing craft project requires reading instructions. Learning to read a pattern and it’s accompanying directions teaches children how to read sequential instructions.

Sewing involves math. Children will learn how to figure the amount of yards (of material) needed for a particular project and then accurately measure them out using either a ruler or tape measure.

As your children become proficient at sewing they will be able repair pieces of their clothing. They will be able sew up torn seams and hem garments on perfectly good pieces of clothing which otherwise might have been thrown out or given away.

Don’t worry if you don’t sew or own a sewing machine. Many fabric and quilt shops offer summer sewing camps for boys and girls. Classes are held once a week, for several weeks, where children are taught basic skills and complete a simple sewing project.

Break the summer boredom blues and teach your children a skill they can use the rest of their lives. They're going to be so proud of their finished products, and the best part, you’re spending quality time with your children.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Nothing is more calming than the sound of trickling water from a fountain.


This summer think about installing a fountain on your deck or terrace. With so many styles to choose from you can easily install a small one in minutes. All you need is an electrical outlet.

While you read your latest book and enjoy a cool breeze listen to the sound of trickling water. Another one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Develop a Summer Reading Routine

286796_reading_a_storySummer is often a time when we let things slide and neglect maintaining any sort of schedule. But this year, try to establish a summer reading routine. It will help maintain the reading growth your children have made throughout the year. Here are a few ways to make reading part of your children's summer:

Commit to setting aside fifteen minutes each evening to reading. Turn the television off and have the whole family sit down and read. Even if it's reading a newspaper, you’re sending the message that reading is an important skill to develop. This is also a good time to read aloud to small children who are learning to read themselves.

Visit the library periodically. Help your children select books to read or want read aloud to them. This is also an excellent opportunity to teach your children how the library is organized. If your children are older, teach them how to use the computerized card catalogue as well. If you need help, ask the librarian.

From time to time, take excursions to the bookstore. Help your children choose books from the vast selection in the “great summer reads” displays. While you're there, set a good example and pick up a book for yourself.

Take an interest in the books your children are reading. Ask questions such as: why did you choose that book, what do you like best so far, where does it take place, who are the main characters, what's the problem in the story, will you read more stories by this author?

There's nothing more boring for kids than long road trips. Make sure you pack books. If your children are small, read aloud to them in the car on the way to your summer vacation spot. If you have older children, have them read to the younger ones. Everyone needs to pack a book, including Mom and Dad.

Summer is often hectic with summer camps, sports and family vacations. But you can still establish a daily reading time, and it will be well worth it. Chances are, with daily reading, your children won't just maintain their current reading levels, they will improve their overall reading proficiency. And won't that be a terrific way to start the school year next fall?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Summer Craft Time

Fleece Pin

This summer you may find the kids underfoot. Here's a simple craft to keep them busy.


Fleece in Two Colors
Pom Pom in a Third Color
Low Temperature Glue Sticks
Glue Gun
1- Craft (Brooch) Pin


-Take a piece of fleece and draw a flower with five petals. Take the second color and draw another flower only slightly smaller.

-Cut flowers out with scissors.

-Glue the smaller flower on the larger one with hot glue.

-Glue the Pom Pom in the center.

-Glue the craft pin on the back.

Keep logging onto The Teacher's Pet Place this summer. I'll have more easy craft projects.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Hop on your bike today.


Today as you peddle down the sidewalk, through a park or along the lake think back to a simpler time in your life. The only thing you had on your mind was peddling as fast as you could to your best friend's house.

Remember! Stretch out before you throw your leg over that bike, or you'll feel it later.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tips for Cooking with Kids

Time spent in the kitchen cooking with your children is time well spent. You can share the importance of preparing nutritious meals, while teaching your children cooking skills they will need, to prepare foods, in the future.


Here are a few tips:

* Always make sure children are well supervised in the kitchen.

* Only adults should use sharp utensils, plug in or turn on electric appliances or handle hot foods.

* Only assign tasks that children will have success with.

Even small children can participate in meal preparation - remember, make it fun and safe.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Summer Fun

If you're not teaching summer school and you're looking for summer fun on the beach, here are a few of my favorite places to visit.


Galveston, Texas: Warm sunsets will wake you up then lull you to sleep in this coastal town in Texas. Hunt for sand dollars while you watch sailboats.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Enjoy Southern hospitality as you listen to the roar of the Atlantic and the cry of gulls.

Destin,Florida: White beaches greet you as drive through this gulf town. Spread out your towels and enjoy the sun and surf.

Build a sand castle, catch a wave and don't forget the sunscreen!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

End of the Year Clean Up

If anyone has "STUFF" to organize and throw out, it's a teacher.


The school year is finally over and your classroom is not the tidy, organized room it was at the beginning of the year.

These last couple of days of school clean out your classroom. Throw away forgotten papers, knobby crayons, and stubby colored pencils. Reorganize files, bookcases and cupboards.

Planning and getting your classroom ready, next year, will be much easier when everything is clean and already organized.