Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Upcoming Events for Special Needs Children: One Place

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kids Can Do! Social Skills for Boys, Naperville, IL 
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I am Who I am Social Skills for Boys and Girls, Naperville, IL 
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Boys Council Social Skills Group, Naperville, IL 
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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Social Skills Groups for Boys and Girls - Noon, Plainfield, IL 
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Saturday Social Skills Groups for Boys and Girls - 1 p.m., Plainfield, IL 
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tips: How to Manage Your Holiday Debt

Before the holidays there was endless advice about setting a budget and sticking to a shopping list. Those who ignored the wisdom shared by experts will be in for a shock when credit card and bank statements arrive in the mail.
According to a Consumer Reports poll, six percent of us are still paying off holiday debts from 2010. That means any new purchases racked up over the past holiday season will inflate those interest charges and make paying down the old and new balances more difficult and expensive.
If the bottom line on your bills is looking ugly, it's time to get a financial-management makeover. Consider these tips for balancing your holiday debt:
1. Double and Triple Up
Multiply your credit card minimum payments two or three times to reduce the amount of interest you'll end up paying. Merely meeting the minimum means you'll never see bottom.
2. Now's the Time to Negotiate
Talk to your credit card company about negotiating a better rate on interest, fees and other expenses. If your interest rate is above 15 percent and they won't negotiate, it may be time to transfer much of the balance to a lower-cost card. Just make sure you pay off the debt before the interest rate climbs again.
3. Go On a No-spend Diet
Stick those credit cards in the freezer, if you have to, but do what it takes to avoid impulse shopping sprees. Better yet, give them to a trusted friend or family member for safekeeping.
4. Get Couponing
Using coupons for necessary purchases not only saves you money, but the practice helps you make more educated purchasing decisions. You can find online and printable coupons for thousands of stores on, or download their mobile app for instant access to coupons while you shop.
5. Stick to Cash
There's something about parting with greenbacks that makes us less likely to spend. Keep a budgeted amount on hand and stay away from the cards. Using the envelope system is expecially helpful in tracking your cash spending while working toward financial goals.
6. Cut Back on Luxuries
You've had your fun during the holidays; now it's time to get serious. Cut out the restaurants, nail salon and triple shot mocha latte until the bills are under control. Of course, too strict of an economic diet is as easy to break as a weight-loss regimen. So figure in an occasional, small splurge to keep you going.
7. Set Small Goals
Don't try to do everything at once. If paying off credit cards in three months means going hungry, you're biting off more than you can chew. Set smaller, obtainable goals and you'll appreciate the final results more. For those with multiple credit cards with high balances, try paying down one card at a time to feel that sense of accomplishment needed to push on to the next goal.
8. Meet With a Financial Planner
If you're barely treading financial water, it's time to get some assistance. A professional financial planner can help you establish a reasonable plan that won't leave you paying off debts until next Christmas. You can find a qualified guide through the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards website or you might check for non-profit assistance.

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert who has been featured among top news outlets such asGood Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.
For all media inquiries, please contact Andrea Woroch at 970-672-6085 or email

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

All of us here, at Family Time Magazine, wish you and your family Merry Christmas! We hope you have a blessed day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kid-Friendly Projects Fuel Winter Family Fun

Colder temperatures mean more indoor time, making it a challenge to find activities that will keep kids happy and engaged. The good news for parents is that even common household items can create hours of fun time. These child-friendly arts and crafts projects will allow you to spend quality, memorable time with your family this winter season with things you already have around the house.

Arts and Crafts Ideas
With the most soft cotton at the tip*, Q-tips cotton swabs are gentle and safe for baby care and pet care; great for cleaning nooks and crannies in the house and for fixing makeup mishaps. They can also be used in a variety of craft projects. Use them to:
·        Replace expensive paint brushes. Perfectly-sized for children's small hands, you can use a different cotton swab for each color and simply toss when finished.
·        Apply glue to small areas on models and crafts. Use one tip to apply the glue and the other to remove any excess glue before it dries.
·        Carve detailed designs into pottery. Moisten the tool to put the finishing touches on sculptures.
·        Touch-up hard-to-reach areas on freshly painted model airplanes and cars – or even dollhouses.

Have fun with your family making this adorable snowman that’s simple for children to create with a little help from mom or dad.

Cheery Snowman
Skill Level: Intermediate
Prep Time: 2 hours
Dry Time: 30 minutes
1          Standard pack (500-count) of Q-tips cotton swabs
3          Styrofoam balls; 1 large, 1 medium, 1 small, (no smaller than 2 inches in diameter)
1          brown pipe cleaner
1          sheet wax paper
1          Popsicle stick or floral stake
            Child-safe scissors
            Child-safe, non-toxic black paint
            Child-safe, non-toxic orange paint
Have an adult cut the bottom off the largest Styrofoam ball, so the piece can lay flat upon a table or surface.
Using a Popsicle stick or floral stake, stack all three Styrofoam balls from largest at the bottom, to smallest at the top to form one standing figure.
Fold and twist 5 cotton swabs in half; dip 9 halves into the black paint and 1 into the orange paint. Lay flat on wax paper to dry.

Cut pipe cleaner in half; insert into sides of middle Styrofoam ball as arms.
Begin folding cotton swabs; insert into foam balls until completely covered.
Insert black cotton swabs into top ball for coal eyes and mouth. Insert orange cotton swab as the carrot nose.
Find step-by-step photos for this project, additional kid-friendly crafting ideas and household tips at Or, share your own tips or craft ideas at

*From the end of the stick to the top of the swab.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spend New Year's Eve with the Blue Man Group!


Multiple Performances, Including a Matinee Performance Makes BMG the Perfect Option for the Entire Family to Celebrate the Holiday!

Blue Man Group, the critically hailed theatrical phenomenon on stage at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre (3133 N. Halsted Street), is wishing Chicago a Happy 2012 with three performances on New Year’s Eve. The day of performances kicks off with a matinee show at 4 p.m. for families to celebrate the holiday together and ends with the 7 and 10 p.m. performances featuring a complimentary champagne and sparkling cider toast and party favors. The final performance of 2011 will feature Blue Man Group counting down to the New Year and playing a special rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” on their custom made instruments including the Tubulum.

Blue Man Group’s production provides its audience with a unique and thrilling multi-sensory experience that blends innovative theatrical spectacle and dynamic original music with hilarious comedy, art, technology and science to create a performance experience unlike any other.

Chris Jones from the Chicago Tribune gave the show a Four Star rating and said the material was “brilliantly revamped” and “truly joyous.” After seeing the new material in a recent performance, Hedy Weiss for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “The show's creators have cleverly updated the production with new wizardry while retaining its essential mind-set.” Chicago Parent editor Tamara L. O'Shaughnessy said “the coolest blue guys in Chicago just got cooler.”

In the show, the Blue Men encounter a variety of environments to discover, engage with and explore of-the-moment situations with cutting-edge technology. Many of the signature scenes that have made Blue Man Group one of today’s best-loved theatrical productions have been in the show since its opening, though new material has been integrated. Newer passages include Blue Men interacting with “GiPads;” a funny and perceptive look at contemporary communication vehicles; and a pulsating new finale featuring an original Blue Man Group music score.

Currently, Blue Man Group theatrical shows can be seen in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Berlin, Tokyo, and on tour throughout the U.S. Blue Man Group can also be seen onboard the new Norwegian Epic by Norwegian Cruise Line – the Official Cruise Line of Blue Man Group.

The company’s music, featuring custom made instruments and signature, percussive sound, can be heard on five albums, including the Grammy-nominated “Audio,” as well as various film and television projects. As the company grows, it remains true to its vision of providing exciting experiences in a variety of media, appealing to a broad range of age groups and cultural backgrounds.

Blue Man Group’s appeal is multi-generational, with several projects specifically designed for young people, including “Making Waves,” a popular touring exhibit for children, and the recently launched national “Invent an Instrument” competition.

Tickets prices for the 4, 7, and 10 p.m. shows on New Year’s Eve are $55 - $75. Tickets may be purchased at the Briar Street Theatre by calling the box office at (773) 348-4000; by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787; at all Ticketmaster ticket centers or via the Internet at For more information, visit

8 Toddler Pitfalls to Avoid on Christmas Morning

Regardless of your nostalgic, Christmas-morning-frenzy memories, you'll quickly learn that a no-holds-barred approach doesn't go over well with your toddler -- especially on the most anticipated morning of the year. Don't wing it Christmas morning. Get a game plan together now so that your entire family can enjoy the holidays without going into meltdown mode.
1. Decide on a number of sweet treats allowed.
With the font of sucrose flowing throughout the holidays, be a sugar-monitor fiend and make sure other house visitors know your rules. If you have a struggle with, ahem, I-want-to-be-the-favorite grandmothers, get it out in the open first rather than commencing a power struggle on Christmas. According to the American Heart Association, children should limit their intake to about 4 teaspoons of added sugar each day.
2. Get to bed early the night before.
While establishing family traditions for Christmas takes precedence over toddler routine, make your plans reasonable for the younger crowd. Try to wrap up Christmas Eve activities early and give plenty of down time before going to sleep. Junior needs good rest to enjoy the following morning. He won't get it if he stays up until 10:00 with out-of-town visitors.
3. Limit gift opening to a small number.
Three is good. This will be the hardest part of your holiday experience. Regardless of your convictions, the gift-giving fever kicks in at Toys 'R Us and you go crazy buying, wrapping--and still more buying--several days ahead of Christmas. Even this late in the season you can nab holiday coupons from sites like for one or two special gifts -- open them earlier in the week rather than all at once on Christmas morning.
4. Wrap up the morning with quiet time and a nap.
After opening a few presents and enjoying time with visiting family, give your toddler plenty of time to decompress alone in a quiet space. Review the fun times of the morning with her and read a special book to help calm her down. Be on the lookout for overstimulation -- nasty meltdowns, hyperactivity, and avoiding eye contact should be a red flag to flee the scene and recover.
5. Plan a Christmas morning activity.
In the throngs of gift-wrap thrashing, laughing and emotion, kids with a typically predictable routine can become stressed out by the absence of normal. If your toddler is particularly sensitive to big events, make sure you have a small, soothing activity planned -- like watercolor Christmas trees or lacing boards of holiday characters -- to keep your little one anchored.
6. Space out opening gifts throughout the morning.
You'll probably feel enormous pressure for your kid to open every gift, respond with enthusiasm and then give a huge, grateful "thank you" to the recipient. It just won't happen if you rush through the gift opening. Some moms, like Mae at What To Expect, prefer to open one gift every other day for the week leading up to Christmas--a godsend when winter storms hit and the family is stuck indoors. Bare in mind that your preschooler will enjoy his offerings much more if he has time in between opening to play with the goodies.
7. Construct all disassembled toys the night before.
Most parents learn this the hard way after their first Christmas with kids. Kids don't want to open up a box, especially the preschool crowd. They will either get frustrated while you sweat over a screwdriver and instructions written in Mandarin or lose complete interest. Skip the $5.99 for wrapping paper and tie a simple bow on your ready-to-play toys. Start putting them together now so you aren't up past midnight, bleary eyed with a wrench, on Christmas Eve.
8. Don't barrage your kids with posed pictures.
Get candid with these fantastic tips from Photography Blog! A surefire way to send your toddler into defiance is demanding he smile in a picture with his hand-knitted sweater. Even though Aunt Jean may get a little ticked off that she can't see Junior with her woven creation Christmas morning, it's not worth the struggle. Opt instead for unposed, spontaneous smiles.

Photo by Joe Green
Ashley Grimaldo comes from a long line of penny pinchers and enjoys blogging on money-saving tips and advice for frugal-minded parents. She lives with her husband and three children in Bryan, Texas. Ashley has been featured among such media outlets as Redbook, The Chicago Tribune,, and CBS News-Houston.
For all media inquiries, please contact Ashley Grimaldo at

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Gifts for Caregivers Should Provide Much-Needed Respite, Make Caregiving Easier

With an estimated 65 million caregivers in the U.S., many Americans have at least one on their holiday gift list. Family members and friends can choose gifts that will make caregiving easier and provide a much-needed respite from the often overwhelming demands of caregiving, according to Michael Noe, MD, associate dean for community relations and clinical affairs in the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.
“The caregiver role is probably one of the most stressful roles that an individual can be involved in, particularly when it involves caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other causes of dementia,” says Noe. “Anything that a friend or family member can do to acknowledge that stress and help the caregiver deal with it, essentially caring for the caregiver, will make an enormous difference.”
Noe and Miriam R. Callahan, project coordinator, Caregiver Resource Center, Erie County Senior Services, and a clinical assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at UB, locally implemented Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a very popular and effective joint project of the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and the Erie County Caregiver Coalition that helps family caregivers deal with the stresses and challenges of caregiving.
Noe and Callahan say that it is critical that loved ones better understand and help ease the intense pressures with which caregivers struggle on a daily basis. They say that good holiday gifts for caregivers are:
1. The gift of time. Offer to stay with and care for the care recipient so that the caregiver can have some time alone to do anything he or she wants to do by themselves. “Don’t just say you’ll do it, make it a formal, specific promise,” advises Callahan. She suggests creating a personalized gift certificate that states the date(s) when you will take care of the loved one, and for how long.
2. A chance to be pampered. Because of the constant attention that many care recipients require, the caregiver typically puts all of the care recipients’ needs first. A gift certificate for a massage, a visit to a spa or salon and then offering to stay with the care recipient or arranging for someone else to stay with the care recipient provides the caregiver with a much-needed opportunity to relax and unwind.
3. Movie tickets or a dinner out. Make arrangements to have the care recipient taken care of while you treat the caregiver to dinner in a restaurant or to a show. “Often, the caregiver who is so involved with caregiving needs a nudge to get out and do something on their own and you can provide that gift,” says Callahan.
4. Housecleaning, snowplowing or landscaping service. Any type of service that allows a professional to take care of something that the caregiver would ordinarily do can ease the caregiver’s burden.
5. Attendance at the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program. This six-week educational program, which attendees have called “transformative,” provides caregivers with the tools they need to take care of themselves. The six, weekly 2.5 hour sessions help caregivers learn how to reduce their stress, improve self-confidence, better communicate feelings and locate helpful resources. “A great gift idea would be to arrange care for the care recipient so that a caregiver can attend the sessions,” says Callahan, who also is a master PTC trainer. The sessions are especially helpful when two siblings or a caregiver and adult child attend them together, she says. (Note: Contact the Illinois Family Caregiver Alliance for local options.)
Gifts that Ease Caregiving
1. Portable grab bars. These bars, which attach to any wall surface, can help a care recipient who has trouble with balance or walking, or just getting out of a chair. Some are also load-bearing grab bars, which can support a person’s weight, while some are primarily for balance.
2. Lazy Susan. The same type of device that makes getting spice jars out of a cabinet easier has been adapted to make getting into and out of a car easier for people who have mobility issues. This lightweight cushion has a swivel on its base so it can be put onto the car seat and when the person is seated on it, it easily swivels them into the proper position for sitting in the passenger seat.
3. Respite videos. These videos are specifically designed for the individual with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The videos engage the person who is watching, asking them simple questions and discussing pleasant subjects, such as schooltime or childhood memories. They are often engaging enough to allow the caregiver time to tend to another task. These videos are often available to borrow from the Alzheimer’s Association and similar organizations.
4. Baby monitors. For the caregiver, a baby monitor can become an extremely valuable item, allowing him or her to leave the care recipient in another room while he or she tends to another task or even goes outside to garden for a brief period. New versions of baby monitors have both audio and video functions, allowing the caregiver to see if their loved one is staying safe, while they are doing something else.
5. Identical copies of favorite items. Callahan and Noe suggest that care recipients can become preoccupied with a particular piece of clothing or a favorite item, such as keys or a wallet. When these items become lost or misplaced, or need to be washed, the care recipient can become agitated or nervous. It can make things much easier for the caregiver if there are extra copies of the exact same thing, so that the care recipient won’t notice when the item is washed or misplaced.
6. Adaptive clothing. For the disabled care recipient who cannot easily be dressed, adaptive clothing available online and through organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, can make it easier for the caregiver to accomplish daily dressing activities.
7. Activity aprons and Twiddle-Muffs. These items can help calm the care recipient who may require tactile stimulation. They include different textures, such as soft and hard, bumpy and smooth; they also may include zippers and large, easy to handle buttons that are easily done and undone.
8. Alzheimer’s-proofing the house. Erie County offers a free service, where skilled staff from the Erie County Dept. of Senior Services will provide a personalized assessment, including an extensive home visit, to see what needs to be done to make your home safe for the Alzheimer’s disease or dementia patient. The county program was developed in partnership with Mark Warner, co-author of the bestselling book, “The Complete Guide to Alzheimer’s-Proofing Your Home.” (Note: Contact the Illinois Family Caregiver Alliance for local options.)
9. Books by other caregivers. Since caregiving itself tends to be very isolating, buying a caregiver a book that describes how someone else got through it can be very helpful. Some of the most popular include “The 36-hour Day,” “And Thou Shalt Honor: The Caregiver’s Companion” and “Elder Rage,” but there are many such books and the local library or the local Alzheimer’s Association will allow people to borrow them for free.
In addition to these gifts, Noe and Callahan add that one of the best things family members and friends can do for caregivers is to listen, communicate and be honest. “Often, caregivers don’t get the kind of cooperation they need from family members or friends, so they can end up feeling isolated,” says Noe. “They also may lose their friendships because they are so busy caregiving; they often don’t get what they need from their siblings. Caregiving is much more difficult than it appears to be and friends and family can help the caregiver not to lose the sense of responsiblity that caregivers have to themselves, to take their of themselves and their health. They have to do things that will help relieve the stress.”
For more information on resources available in Erie County, and to sign up for the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program, please contact the Erie County Department of Senior Services at 716-858-2177 or email (Note: Contact the Illinois Family Caregiver Alliance for local options.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Avoid Weight Gain This Holiday Season

As we welcome friends and relatives to our homes this holiday season, so too do we invite the high-fat and high calorie snacks many will bring with them. Below are some tips that will help you check overindulgence and weight gain at the door.

1.Do all of your shopping at a large mall where lots of walking will be required. Park your car far away from the door to further increase the amount of walking you’ll do.
2.‘Tis the season for specialty drinks that are loaded with calories. At the coffee shop order a small one and inquire about skinny options. For just a taste, skip the syrupy drinks and try a low-fat latte dusted with a little cinnamon and cocoa powder for holiday cheer. At holiday parties don’t max out on the signature fruity or creamy cocktail. Try alternating between liquor mixed with soda or other sugar-free drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. At the grocery store be on the lookout for low-fat alternatives; even egg nog now comes in a light variety!
3.Pack healthy snacks to take with you when you go shopping. Malls have too many unhealthy options and chances are a shopping marathon will drain you of your energy and you’ll find yourself at the food court. A healthy snack that includes protein will make it easier to resist junk food cravings. For example:
•Part-skim cheese strings
•Baked tortilla chips with low-fat bean dip
•Dried fruit and nut mix
•Single serving of water-packed tuna with crackers
4.You don’t have to miss out on all the holiday goodies, just make better choices. Cider is better than egg nog; gingersnaps and sugar cookies are better than cakes, pies and bars; candy canes are better than chocolates; angel food cake is better than Yule log; and fresh fruit is better than fruit cake.
5.Plan ahead. If you know you are going out for a holiday meal or to a holiday party in the evening, make low-fat, low-calorie food choices all day long and fit in a workout if you can. But, don’t starve yourself. You may be so hungry that you end up overindulging later.
6.Plan quick, easy meals for the week and stock your fridge with the ingredients you will need. That way when you’re running around at night you won’t need to resort to last-minute convenience and fast foods.
7.The holiday season is very busy, and it may seem difficult to find time to exercise. Why not dust off your exercise videos so you can fit fitness in your own schedule, not the gym’s? Also, make sure to hit the dance floor at all those holiday parties to sneak in some cardio. You could even start a new family tradition: an afternoon of skating.
8.Manage your holiday stress to prevent stress eating:
•Break down your holiday to do list into manageable tasks.
•Remember you don’t have to say yes to every invitation. Be realistic about how much time you have.
•When you feel stress coming on, take a walk and/or breathe deeply while collecting your thoughts.
9.Volunteer to host the holiday party so you can control the fat and calorie content of the goodies. Search for lower fat low-cal treats like fresh fruit, air-popped popcorn and pretzels. If you can’t host, suggest a potluck so you know there will be something there that you can enjoy guilt-free.
10.During weeks where the parties and meals are numerous, make up for that extra food with more weight or resistance training. When the metabolic rate of your muscle tissue increases, your body will be better prepared to handle the extra calories.
11.All the rich meals you consume during the holidays are packed with sodium. Drink extra water to help flush out all that extra sodium.
12.When you’re at a holiday party, don’t hang out at the food table. Choose a small plate, rather than a large one, put two or three of your favourite selections on the plate and then walk away so you’re not tempted to keep picking at the food.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Great Holiday Gift Idea: Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits Tickets

In this long-running Off-Broadway hit musical revue, Broadway's greatest musical legends meet Broadway's greatest satirist in this hilarious, loving, and endlessly entertaining tribute to some of the theatre's greatest stars and songwriters.

Featuring SLATE powerhouse favorites:
  • Annie Litchfield
  • Nate Krug
  • Tyler McMahon
  • Meghan Hoyt
  • Michelle McKenzie-Voigt
  • Ron Bowden

For Tickets call the Governors State University Box Office at 708-235-2222, or visit to order tickets online!

Worst/Best Christmas Present Ever--What was yours?

What is the worst or best Christmas present you have ever received?

Personally, I can't remember any bad ones. I guess that I'm pretty lucky--or I have a bad memory, and I just blocked it out! I do have a best Christmas gift memory, though. When I was about 10 years old, I received a record player. My mom was single at the time, and didn't have much money, but she was able to get me a refurbished record player. To me, it was the best gift ever, and I didn't even care that it wasn't brand new. I used that record player all of the time, and it still holds a special memory.

What about you? What's the best or worse Christmas gift you've ever received? 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tips to avoid water waste and save money

Of all of our natural resources, none is more precious than water. We can't live without it. And while the media continually draws the public's attention to the rising cost and consumption of oil and gas, very little attention is given to what will become the most serious resource issue in the next century--the international water shortage.

Flushing our toilets alone accounts for a staggering 40% of our water usage, with the bathroom being where we use a whopping 75% of our water inside the home. With a bit of thought and effort, though, we can save money and be "green" at the same time. Use these tips to save cash and conserve our most precious resource:

§  Add food coloring to the toilet tank. If it's leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, easily installed, and can save more than 600 gallons per month.
§  Place a plastic bottle weighted with pebbles and water in the toilet tank to use less water.
§  Install a low-flow showerhead to save more than 500 gallons of water per week.
§  Keep showers under 5 minutes to save up to 1000 gallons a month.
§  Turn off the water when brushing teeth, shaving, or face washing to save 200 gallons a week for a family of four!

§  Install a low-flow faucet aerator to cut water use in half.
§  Don't rinse dishes and save 20 gallons of water per dishwasher load.
§  Store drinking water in the fridge to avoid running the tap every time you want a cool glass of water.
§  Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or microwave instead of under running water.
§  Cook food in as little water as possible to save water and retain nutrients.

Around the house
§  Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
§  Never put water down the drain. Use it for watering a plant, a garden, or cleaning.
§  Insulate water pipes for faster hot water and less waste. 
§  A faucet dripping at the rate of one drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons per year, so fix it.
§  Wash full loads of clothes to save up to 600 gallons each month.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

National Wildlife Federation: Bringing the outdoors in!

National Wildlife Federation Introduces Game Apps for Kids

Virtual Play Can Inspire Real-World Nature Adventures

12-14-2011 // Mary Burnette
Raccoons are among the most adaptable of all animal species, and the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) raccoon mascot, Ranger Rick, is showing his adaptability as he enters the digital world. For over 40 years,Ranger Rick magazine has entertained and educated generations of children about the wonders of nature. Now, NWF is introducing game apps for kids so they can continue to have fun while learning about wildlife and wildlife habitat in a new delivery platform.
“National Wildlife Federation knows kids are into their electronic devices,” said Mary Dalheim, Editorial Director of Children’s Publications for NWF. “We want to use those devices to educate kids and stimulate curiosity about the natural world so kids can take what they have seen or learned virtually out into the real outdoors.”
NWF's kids apps are available for iPad, iPhone, iPod and other mobile devices. Each one comes with a free abbreviated version; full versions cost 99 cents to $1.99. All proceeds from the sale of these apps goes to support National Wildlife Federation’s conservation work to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Click the Birdie iPad app

Click the Birdie

Available for iPad
(Ages 7 and older)
In Click the Birdie, kids become star nature photographers as they travel with Ranger Rick to six wild habitats across the United States, including a cypress swamp, Arizona desert, and the Hawaiian islands. In each habitat, children put their camera skills to the test by snapping pictures of fast-flying birds.
Players score points, learn amazing wildlife facts and are encouraged to go outside to photograph the birds and wildlife in their yard and community. This approach is similar to that taken inRanger Rick magazine where kids are given activities to help them explore the wildlife where they live. In this way, kids go from being passive learners/players to active nature explorers.


Kara Marie L, age 10, says, “I LOVE it! It’s a fantastic game. I didn’t even know that Hawaii was home to an endangered bird.”
Matthew S, age 11, says, “This game is awesome! It’s educational, funny and has a perfect amount of challenge. All in all, this game is very cool.”
What Did Snakey Eat iPad app

What Did Snakey Eat?

Available for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Coming soon on other mobile devices
(Ages 2 to 5)
In this irresistibly silly game, pre-schoolers help Sammy the Skunk figure out what his friend Snakey ate by matching the shape in Snakey’s belly to one of the suggested objects. Did he eat an umbrella? A tricycle? Or even a giraffe? The game provides instant mobile fun that will captivate kids imaginations, fine-tune their visual recognition skills and might even make them wonder what real snakes eat.


Michele says, “My 4-year-old absolutely loves this game app. She squeals with delight every time a new object appears in Snakey’s belly!”
Hannah says, “My 4-year-old loved Snakey from the start. The best part for me was watching him sit on the bed with his 2-year-old sister, letting her answer the questions while he operated the game for her. I’ve never seen them share so well!”

Raiders of the Lost Aardvark

The action never stops in this thrilling game of mystery and mummies. Archaeologist Jack Snare has just discovered a rate mummified aardvark. But en route to the Natural Science Museum in Africa, Snare’s precious new find is stolen! Kids join Ranger Rick to track down clues to solve the mystery of the missing aardvark.
On the adventure, kids visit different habitats all over Africa including a savanna, a rainforest, highlands, and the site of a mighty waterfall. They meet the awesome wildlife that live in these habitats and learn interesting trivia about plants and animals.
To start your wildlife adventure on NWF’s apps, go to
“National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There campaign is all about getting kids outside and connecting with nature, but sometimes that outdoor adventure needs to start inside,” concluded Dalheim. “These apps can provide an introduction to the world of nature and inspire kids to get outside to check out the real thing.”