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Tips for Parents of Mulitples: Chore Time!

As kids get older it is important for them to learn about responsibility. One of the easiest ways to teach kids about responsibility is to give them chores to complete. The purpose of the chores is not to provide parents with free labor, although that is a pleasant side effect, but instead it is to make kids feel like they are an important part of the family. As the parents of multiples you face a challenge, figuring out how to assign chores that will seem fair and that will provide each multiple with the opportunity to learn new skills and to develop their own interests.

Assigning Chores Option No. 1: Chore Rotation
You have a few options when it comes to assigning chores. The first option is to create a list of chores and to rotate who does what. When you first assign chores you need to be realistic about what your kids can handle, and the chores need to be age appropriate. For example, great starter chores for young kids can be putting their toys away, putting their clothes in the hamper and filling the dog’s water and food dishes. As your multiples get older you can assign more complicated chores like folding clothes, taking out the garbage and doing the dishes. The rotation of chores option allows your multiples to try each chore out at least once.

Assigning Chores Option No. 2: Interest Based Assignments
After your multiples have tried out the various chores that are available in your household, you can ask each one which chores they like and which ones they don’t like. Hopefully, their like/dislike lists will not overlap and you will be able to divvy up the chores based on what each multiple likes to do. This will not only make doing chores more enjoyable, but it will also encourage your multiples to develop individual interests. Another option that you have is to ask each of your multiples what they like to do and then find a chore that will allow them to explore that interest.

Assigning Chores Option No. 3: The Wheel of Chores
The third option that you have is to make the chore selection into a weekly game. At the beginning of each week have each multiple spin a wheel labeled with different chores, or have them draw a chore from a hat. This will make the assignment of chores fun and by putting a one week limit on the chore they are assigned, if they have a chore they don’t like to do, they only have to do it for a week.

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Survival Gear: Lets Talk Layers

As the days of summer fizzle away to give way to cooler temperatures and sub-zero days, heading outdoors for a cold-weather hike can be a great way to jumpstart your winter weather fitness routine. Still, hiking in sub-zero temperatures is a test of survival; if you’re not clad in layers of clothing and well-protected from the elements, it’s easy to get a severe case of the winter blues and miss out on the thrills of the adventure. When the forecast calls for rain, sleet and snow, make sure you’re well-equipped with the right survival gear.

Layers that help get rid of moisture and dampness will keep you warm and toasty in even the most brutal temperatures. The key to layering successfully is to start with a basic non-cotton tee and then layer it up with thermally efficient fleece. The North Face TKA 100 fleece jackets are a good match for the avid hiking enthusiast. Just pack on those layers and you’ll be fit for the adventure ahead.

It’s easy to forget you need to stay hydrated when temperatures drop, but it’s even more important to drink up when your body temperature is constantly shifting and adjusting. Load up on water! You’ll need at least four liters of water for the day to keep your body in balance, and if you’ll be out on the trails for more than a day, a mini water filter can help you keep up with your daily quota.

Thick socks, a padded pair of mittens and an insulated hat can ensure the extremities are well-protected against the elements. Your hands, feet and head need extra protection in that super-cold climate, and keeping them warm will keep your circulation going as you forge ahead on the trail. Just make sure you have a few extra pairs of socks in that backpack so you can layer up at night; wool socks are ideal for keeping you warm and toasty no matter what the forecast may be.

Whether you’re heading to the Rocky Mountains or escaping to a ski resort with trails, packing the right gear will ward off those winter blues. When it’s time to hit the hiking trails and battle those sub-zero temperatures ahead, prepare for a thrilling adventure with these survival essentials.

Green Movement in Clothing: Organic Cotton

One of the trends picking up steam in the green clothing movement is the use of organic cotton. Organic cotton provides a more environmentally friendly clothing product, while at the same time increasing your health by decreasing your exposure to the harsh chemicals found in pesticides.

Conventional Cotton vs. Organic Cotton
Conventional cotton is grown using vast amounts of pesticides. Indeed, among crops, cotton is one of the most pesticide-dependent. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown naturally, using practices that are earth friendly. Pesticides can cause all sorts of problems. They are toxic, and some people with sensitive skin find that conventional cotton is uncomfortable because of these chemicals. Organic cotton, though, does not have allergens or toxins. (You still have to be wary of dyes, however. Try to find organic cotton products that use natural dyes for color.)

Organic cotton feels soft on the skin, and many companies now make tag-less articles of clothing so that there is no itching or scratching. Additionally, you have the good feeling that comes with knowing that your clothing choices are fairly sustainable.

Clothing Made from Organic Cotton
Several companies, including Faerie’s Dance, Butterfly Maidens, Lotus Organics, Nubius Organics, Go Natural Baby and more offer clothing, towels, bathrobes and other products made from organic cotton. For babies, organic cotton is becoming especially popular, since crib sheets, onesies and more can be made from organic cotton — creating an ideal textile environment for newborns.

It is possible to buy organic cotton jeans , a variety of shirts made from organic cotton , as well as accessories like handbags and organic cotton totes. All of these products are a little more earth friendly. It is true that in some cases participating in the green movement in clothing means that you may have to pay a little more for your clothes. However, prices for organic cotton clothing are coming down as it becomes more popular.

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Scissors, Glue, Erasers...Oh My! (Part 3)

Zappos Moms confess their Stress, fustrations, and excitments for “Back to School” time!

Interview with Heather C (Parent of Jakob)

As a parent, what are the biggest challenges you encounter when preparing for back to school?
Trying to get my son to go to sleep earlier. He still wants to stay up to 11 to watch the end of wrestling!

What are the kids most excited about when it comes to returning back to school?
Wearing all their cool new school clothes & shoes. Purchased from zappos.com of course! Check out Jakob’s fave shirt!

What are the most predominant kids trends for the season?
Bright colors, skate shoes, skinny jeans

What are the top 5 most important items to equip your child with for back to school?
Cool shoes, book bag, shirts that no one else has, plenty of supplies & trying to get them pumped to learn!

What is your favorite part about back to school?
The first day. It always makes me cry!

What is your fondest back to school memory?
Well it’s only been 2 years for me, but the stories of how his day went are priceless. The other day I asked how his day went and his reply was “Wow, I had a rough day”. It’s like “Really dude, you’re in first grade!”

Celebrity Gossip: Christina Applegate Fights Cancer, Adoption Agencies Fight Heidi Montag

I’m sure you’ve heard the sad news about Christina Applegate being recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The famous blonde underwent a double mastectomy, which is a hard choice for any woman to make, but ultimately the best choice for her since she didn’t want to take the chance of the disease coming back. Christina’s own mother battled with two serious bouts of cancer, so she definitely knew what she was in for. She will be having reconstructive surgery and is looking forward to having a baby sometime in the near future as well with boyfriend, Martyn Lenoble. Let’s hope this is the end of the cancer scare for Christina!

At this point, I’m not really surprised by much of anything that comes out of the mouth of Heidi Montag and her slimy boyfriend, Spencer Pratt. I know that the two will say just about anything for publicity. But the latest verbal fallout to spew from Speidi is that the clueless blonde couple actually wants to adopt children just like their A-list role models, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Can you imagine bikini-wearing Heidi Montag with a child from a Third World country? You know that orphaned children all over the world just went into hiding to save themselves from the fate of having Heidi and Spencer as their parents.

And finally, former model/talk show host, Tyra Banks, has been showing signs of diva behavior recently and even her Tyra Banks show studio audience is seeing it. Now I’ve personally never like Tyra Banks very much because she seemed incredibly self-obsessed. In fact, one of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching The Soup’s Joel McHale mercilessly make fun of her on a weekly basis. But the latest story is that she actually went as far as keeping her studio audience waiting for over two hours while she chatted with the crew backstage. Then when she finally did head over to the stage, she didn’t even bother to apologize to the audience for the long delay – she just started the show as if nothing had happened.

Sources: Celebitchy – http://celebitchy.com, TMZhttp://tmz.com, E! – http://eonline.com

Vacations for the Outdoorsy Type: Now Here's a Grand Idea

When writing this blog, I usually try to find obscure outdoor vacations that people wouldn’t usually consider, but this week I’m going with an old favorite: The Grand Canyon. What would a blog about vacations be without mentioning this famous site?

This is one of my favorite places to go because, no matter my mood when I arrive, I always leave feeling humbled. It’s nearly impossible to stand in front of a natural formation so massive and not feel inspired to greatness, and it’s also a prime opportunity to get some physical exercise and commune with nature.

Before you go, make sure you pack a backpack large enough to carry at least three liters of water, such as the Oakley Flak backpack. You’ll want to stay hydrated for your entire trip, and this backpack will leave you enough room for a camera, some snacks and maybe a spare pair of socks.

While you’re there, make sure you check out some of the amazing programs offered by the Grand Canyon National Park rangers, such as the geological talks and the nature walks through the North Rim Visitor’s Center. They even have ranger introduction programs for kids, which makes the Grand Canyon a perfect outdoor vacation for families.

For the more adventurous vacationers, you might also want to sign up for one of the three major river trips offered at the Grand Canyon. You’ll get to see a few whitewater rapids while you observe some really amazing wildlife, and they usually last the full day.

If you plan to stay for a few days, and I recommend you do, there are plenty of places to stay at the Grand Canyon that won’t break the bank. The Bright Angel Lodge, for example, is located on the South Rim, and is very affordable for the level of accommodations provided. Rooms start around $49, and private cabins will only cost you a little more than $100 per night.

The Grand Canyon might sound like a cliché, a boring way to spend your outdoor vacation, but I’ve been more times than I can count, and each trip is a new experience. So grab a few friends or pack up the minivan and head to Arizona.

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Big Game Hunting and Fishing: Cocoa Beach

During the 1960s and ’70s, Cocoa Beach became permanently associated with NASA and the United States Space Program, both in real life and fiction. The John F. Kennedy Space Center is just miles away from this Florida town, which also served as the television home for Astronaut Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) on “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Located on a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean that has become known as the “Space Coast,” Cocoa Beach may not have beautiful blondes in harem pants, but it does offer plenty of fishing opportunities for mere mortals, many of which can be challenging.

Take, for instance, the redfish that like to hang out in the shallow water off the coast. For an inshore fish, these beauties do have plenty of fight in them and landing one is a real accomplishment.

If you love trout, Cocoa Beach has plenty to choose from, including the spotted and speckled trout. The appropriately named Gator Trout also has a mouth and teeth that make it resemble a small alligator. It definitely is not a real beauty, but the Gator Trout is a fun fish to find.

Though inshore fishing offers some real thrills, if you are in the mood for some serious fighting, head offshore in search of the amberjack. With an average weight of 142 pounds, you may want to strap yourself into the fighting chair before dropping a line, though.

With its ideal location on the Space Coast, Cocoa Beach also lets you combine your love for fishing with a family vacation. Some of Florida’s most notable attractions, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, are within easy driving distance, but they also are far enough away from the good fishing spots.

Because this is a popular tourist destination, Cocoa Beach does have plenty of resorts and chain motels plus restaurants of all shapes and sizes. If you can’t land the fish of your choice, you can take revenge by having one cooked up for dinner at a local eatery.

No matter if you head down to Florida to watch a space shuttle launch, hang out with Mickey Mouse or go man-to-fish with an aggressive amberjack, Cocoa Beach has plenty to keep you happy.

Resources:
http://www.cocoa-beach-fishing.com/fish-species.php
City of Cocoa Beach: http://www.cityofcocoabeach.com/FlashHomePages/visitors_home.html
Florida’s Space Coast: http://www.space-coast.com/

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Scissors, Glue, Erasers...Oh My! (Part 2)

Zappos Moms confess their Stress, fustrations, and excitments for “Back to School” time!

Interview with Dee C. (Parent of Alyssa & Chris)

As a parent, what are the biggest challenges you encounter when preparing for back to school?
One of the biggest challenges for me this year was timing. With a daughter starting 6th grade and a son starting Kindergarten, it was tough. Running around and trying to buy the right thing for each. With a busy work schedule that is not always possible. I must admit, I did do a lot more shopping online than I have ever before. It is so convenient and it doesn’t hurt that I work at Zappos. We really do have some great choices.

What are the kids most excited about when it comes to returning back to school?
The kids??? What about the parents? This question should read….What are the parents most excited about when it comes to Back to School!

What are the most predominant kids trends for the season?
For my 4 year old….skate. For my 10 year old daughter….fashion. The trends for kids in my neighborhood is mixed. We have such a array of fashion trends happening and it is great to see. Girls are very trendy with bling and denim skirts and printed leggings or more casual with cargo pants, converse and tees. Some boys are wearing more rocker style jeans with a very slim fit, tees and sneakers. The trend has definitely gone away from the bagger jean, and that is great! Can’t forget your ever so faithful athletic style. This will always be strong no matter where you go. It is comfortable and yet fashionable.

What are the top 5 most important items to equip your child with for back to school?
Folder with a strap, water, money, trendy backpack and a watch…..For my daughter, she insisted on getting a folder with a strap so she didn’t have to carry it all across the school. A trendy backpack to carry her stuff home in…because backpacks are not allowed during school hours anymore. Money is very important because Junior High snacks and food are so expensive now….or I am just getting old. I’m sorry but $5 a day really takes a hit in Mom’s purse buying budget. hahaha Oh and I can’t forget the watch. Now she has no excuse to call and check in late.

What is your favorite part about back to school?
I save on childcare!!! It really brings a tear to my eye…..childcare costs are ridiculous!!! (Worth it…but ridiculous!)

What is your fondest back to school memory?
My little boy started what he calls “Big Boy School.” It was great to walk him into his new class and find his name on the little short table with the little chair. All you saw was flash after flash in the room. Mothers and fathers snapping away as they watched their little man or little lady coloring. His teacher ever so nicely kept saying….“Ok Mom and Dad, it’s probably time for you to say your good-bye’s…..bye….” as she gestured for us to leave with her hand. You know we stayed! hahaha… End Scene….roll out the tears.