Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

10 Most Common Jobs That Risk Safety for Higher Pay

danger work





10 Most Common Jobs That Risk Safety for Higher Pay

America’s job market definitely isn’t the most robust in the world right now, but luckily, it has shown improvement. This means that more and more people have finally been able to find jobs to support themselves and their families. That said, there are actually several great paying careers available that people avoid due to fear of injury. It’s a reality in America that, in some instances, employees do trade off their safety for a better paycheck.

Money vs. Safety

Higher pay certainly is a great motivation for anyone. Trading off potential injury for a job should always be a mitigated risk, meaning that you should look into ways to decrease the risks associated with the job. You should also look into continuing education and training that will ensure your safety. Research what types of benefits you’ll be eligible for if you do become injured, disabled or can’t work for a time before making a final decision whether to take the job or not.

Mining, agriculture and construction are a few of the more dangerous industries, with illnesses and fatalities, according to the US Department of Labor. In some states, such as North Carolina, “a worker who gets hurt doing any job-related task is entitled to benefits…you do not have to show your employer was careless, negligent or did anything wrong to get benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance covers all work injuries regardless of their cause because the goal is to provide protection for workers.”1

Research the policies for your specific state concerning workers’ comp if you are considering a high-risk career.

10 Most Dangerous Jobs:

Miner: Coal mining is one of the most dangerous industries that a person could engage in. Dangers include cave-ins, exposure to toxic gases, explosions, and fires. However, coal miners can earn between $45,000 to $75,000 yearly with little to no experience. Until a better renewable energy source is found, coal miners are still in high demand.

Logger: With a fatality rate of 127.8 for every 100,000 workers, logging jobs are amongst the most dangerous that any American could engage in. Not only are loggers working with saws and heavy machinery, they can’t predict when nature will make a “widow maker,” by dropping branches from a great distance.

Electrician: There is a constant need for electricians, both for new construction and for maintenance of existing structures. Typical yearly fatalities run to 62 a year and an average of 15 missed workdays to injury. Electricians with a college education can earn up to $93,000 per year. The median salary is closer to $50,000.

Police Officer: Police Officers miss at least 15 days every single year due to work-related injuries. Salaries are over $55,000 but the average police officers must deal with the dregs of society and criminals daily.

Construction Worker: It’s common for the construction industry to have fatalities. In 2007, there were 160. With heavy machinery, tools, scaffolding, and building materials present, a construction site is one of the most dangerous places to be in and a hard hat’s protection can only go so far.

Commercial Fisherman: From crabbers to longliners, those involved in commercial fishing face serious dangers because they are dependent on things which they have no control over, like weather or ocean predators.

Commercial Diver: The median pay for commercial divers is nearly $50,000,

but the highest industry pay comes in at nearly $94,000. Some commercial divers actually report making well over $100,000. The high rate of injury at 429.6 per 10,000 divers is often overlooked because of the salaries offered.

Private Detective: The median annual salary for a private detective is over $45,000, and top earners can get nearly $80,000. While only one death occurs in this industry per year, the median amount of work days missed due to injury is an astounding 43. The bulk of these injuries are a result of physical altercations and auto accidents.

Athlete: Professional athletes can garner an unimaginable high salary. But their bodies are subjected to abuse and overuse daily. Careers have been extinguished by injuries sustained on the field and court.

Pilot: Top pilots can earn nearly $200,000 a year. With only four pilot deaths a year, some say being a pilot is one of the safest jobs. But as plane fleets are aging and terrorism on the rise, air disasters have increased recently.

Priceless Contributions

There’s no denying that the aforementioned jobs all present their own serious dangers to those employed within them. Luckily for the rest of the world, some people are more suited for high-risk jobs than desk jobs. Because of them, standards of living are not interrupted.

Appreciation must be shown to these brave individuals for their readiness to face danger daily. We must also remember and pay tribute to all the men and women in the military who ensure America’s safety.

Nadine Swayne contributes this article to those brave souls who work dangerous jobs to support their families. Although the pay may be enticing, the risk sometimes outweighs the employment journey. Remember, take into account all the pros and cons, including your family, if you are injured and the life changing elements you may face.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons   Flickr Creative Commons


Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at You will be glad you did.


Labor Day: Have A Safe End Of Summer Blast!

Labor day beach

Labor Day: Have A Safe End Of Summer Blast!

Labor Day is a celebration that typically marks the end of the summer season. Whether you host a party, make use of the long weekend with a fun getaway or choose to stay close to home and celebrate with the family, the following safety tips can ensure that you have a blast.

Road Trips and Traveling

The roads can be especially dangerous on a holiday weekend as drivers are usually out in force. However, whether you share the roadway with other families making use of a quick getaway or you’re competing with trucks to get to your destination, you want to adhere to proper safety precautions when traveling. The National Safety Council figures over 450 deaths and estimates of 42,000 injuries throughout the course of the weekend. Trucks can be especially dangerous when you’re traveling because of the size of the rig and number of hours that they may have been already traveling. It’s best to give them enough space to handle the road safely. You can also avoid getting in an accident by staying in your own lane and going the speed limit. Seatbelts, air bags and child safety seats can also aid in keeping the occupants of a vehicle safe in case of a car accident.

Pool and Beach Safety

The weather can be spectacular over the Labor Day weekend, making it ideal for water related activities. However, water accidents and injuries can happen if you’re not careful. Flotation devices such as life vests are mandatory when you’re out on a boat, even for the family pet. You also want to stay in swimming safe areas of a lake or ocean to avoid getting hit by a boat. If you’re going to spend some time soaking up the sun’s rays in a backyard pool, you need to ensure that your children are accompanied by an adult at all times.

Food and Festivities

No holiday weekend is complete without good food and festivities. Hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken breasts cooked on the grill can be an easy menu option and tasty treat for your guests. However, to prevent salmonella, you want to make sure that your food is cooked to the desired temperature. A food thermometer can give you an accurate reading. You also need to ensure that your foods are stored at a safe temperature, especially mayonnaise dishes such as potato salad.

Drinking and Driving

While you may not be a drinker, you need to remember that somebody else may be looking to imbibe, so you need to use extreme caution when traveling on the road. If you’re hosting a party, you can be responsible by making sure your guests don’t drink and drive. You can also choose to serve non-alcoholic beverages. If you notice a friend or loved one has had one too many drinks, don’t be afraid to take away their keys and offer them other solutions to getting home safely.

As the summer season comes to a close, Labor Day festivities will soon be in full swing. While your holiday plans may include, food, fun, water and sun, you want to reduce your risk of danger by adhering to the above safety tips.

Sad to see the finale of summer, freelance writer Nadine Swayne, offers these tips to have a safe Labor Day weekend. Although it is the end of the season, it doesn’t have to be the beginning of accidents, injury and trauma to your family, safety is always key.
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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at You will be glad you did.

Adapting Your Home for a Newly Injured Family Member


disab improv







In the blink of an eye, the world of a loved one can change. Life altering injuries can be a challenge to your household routine. If a family member sustained an injury in a car accident or was the victim of medical malpractice, you may need to make home improvements to accommodate that person’s needs.

Accidents and medical mistakes can limit your family member’s mobility, cause chronic pain or restrict their ability to personally groom and care for themselves. Because of these issues, your family member may need a wheelchair, walker or other equipment in order to move around.

So, to accommodate the equipment your family member needs, it may be necessary for you to make home improvements.

It’s Not Always DIY

If minor changes are needed, you may be able to do it yourself (DIY). But beyond that, you may have to hire a professional to make the improvements. The following are five common home improvements you may want to consider to make your house more accessible for your recently injured family member:

1. Install railings. With railing along the walls and in bathroom showers and tubs, your family member can grab on to something that will help them maintain their balance and feel secure while they are stepping into and out of the shower or getting out of a wheelchair.

2. Walk-in bathtubs and benches. There are specialized bathtubs that accommodate wheelchairs and benches that your family member can sit on in the shower. In this way, your family member can take care of their hygienic needs in private, if they still have the use of their upper body.

3. Flooring. It’s difficult to move medical equipment with wheels across carpeting. Therefore, you will need to install smooth flooring, if you don’t already have it underneath your carpeting, to allow for the mobility of walkers and wheelchairs.

4. Widening entryways and hallways. Equipment with wheels causes dings in the walls or dents on the doors. The average house cannot accommodate large medical equipment with wheels, which is why widening is necessary.

5. Wheelchair ramps. It’s difficult to take a wheelchair up and down the outside steps of a house with someone sitting in it. It’s much easier to use a wheelchair ramp.

The home improvements you make will depend on your family member’s disability. You may also have to put in new shelving, lighting, or automated features, such as door openers.

Financial Help for Repairs

Since your family member was injured through no fault of their own, they may need to speak with a personal injury attorney. People who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence may be entitled to receive damages from that person or that person’s insurance company.

A personal injury attorney will question your family member about the details of the accident or medical malpractice to determine whether they can file a claim. If so, the attorney would act as your family member’s legal representative and contact the parties responsible for the injuries and negotiate a settlement. If necessary, the attorney would advise your family member of their rights to take the matter to trial.

Making home improvements tends to be costly, and most of the expenses are coming out of your pocket. With help from a personal injury attorney, your family member may be able to get the compensation they deserve. Not only will this help your loved one, it will also help you in the long run.

Nadine Swayne is a freelance writer who researched disability home improvement for her husband who suffered a stroke. She was able to find information for this article online by searching personal injury attorney and car accident recovery.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at You will be glad you did.

The Mind Body Connection – Getting Over A Near-Fatal Accident

car accident





The Mind Body Connection – Getting Over A Near-Fatal Accident

A person becomes very aware of how fragile life is when they experience a near-fatal accident. The life-threatening injuries, the extensive recovery period and the emotional pain that you experience during this type of event are enough to change your outlook on life. However, it is important that the change in opinion you have is for the better.

In many cases, when a person experiences this type of trauma, their natural reaction is to close themselves off from life. They are so afraid of what may happen to them that they do not want to leave their home or interact with others. This is not a good thing. It may be necessary for the person to receive professional counseling in order to get past this trauma.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will fight hard to ensure that you receive the compensation that you need to take care of your physical and emotional pain. A good way to find a local attorney is by doing a local Internet search like auto wreck lawyer in West Virginia, or Atlanta auto accident attorney.

Experiencing this type of event is life changing. However, there are steps that every person must go through to gain a full recovery. It is important to get through each step and not get stuck.

1. Denial. The first step is to be in complete denial of what has just happened in your life. You do not want to believe that you almost lost your life. You do not want to accept the severity of your injuries. You do not want to believe that everything has changed.

2. Anger. When the realization of what has happened actually sets in, it is natural to become angry. It can also be associated to the condition of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Why did this happen to me? Why did it have to be so bad? This is just not fair. It is a natural step in the healing process.

3. Fear. Once you have passed the anger stage, it is also very natural to enter into the fear stage. Also known as “What If,” and you begin to question everything. At this point you also may start placing limitations on yourself to prevent anything from happening again. The scenario may go something like: What if I get into another car accident again and it is worse? Maybe I should not get into a car anymore. These limitations can consume and ruin a life.

4. Gratitude. When you finally overcome the fear phase, you become very grateful that you actually survived the car accident. You acquire a new appreciation for life and for everything else. It is at this point that you can move on from this terrible event and reclaim your life.

Going through these phases will take different lengths of time for each person. We all know that everyone is different, and the experience and reaction will be different. However, everybody that does experience this must accept the fact that if they are “stuck” in one mind frame too long before they reach the acceptance phase, they may need some help.

Love and support from family and friends will help you get through this very difficult time. But if you are struggling with the emotional healing from this serious type of accident, you should seek help from a professional. If you find that your family and friends are making this request, because it is sometimes not easy to see in ourselves, take their advice and get the emotional support and therapy that you need.

A near death accident is enough to change anyone. However, it does not have to make things worse. Coming to terms with the event and finally re-finding your appreciation and gratitude for life is the only way to completely heal from this type of event.

Nadine Swayne is a freelance writer who researches traumatic car accidents. She has found an auto wreck lawyer in West Virginia that addresses the emotional toil that a car accident can take on an individual and their family. They recommend that you do not take the first offer from an insurance company but that you take the time to assess all of your damages: financial, physical and emotional.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at   You will be glad you did.


Learning Disabled Teens & Teasing (EXPERT)

Learning Disabled Teens And Teasing – No Easy Answers

Expert Author Judy H. Wright

Parents, teachers, extended family and neighbors recognize the special challenges of those who love and teach learning disabled children and adults. They are usually sensitive, kind and giving as small children. Because they are small in stature, people are more forgiving of what they can and cannot do.

Teenagers With Learning Disabilities

However, as these cute little kids grow into teens and adults, they have accelerated difficulties. He/she is still very dependent, while becoming harder to control, guide and teach. The skills may be delayed, but the body and hormones are changing daily. A LD teen may not understand or confuse many aspects of life when in social situations. Sensitive to others anyway, this teen may react negatively to any correction or criticism. What may have started out as casual banter, may be interpreted as hurtful teasing.

Learning disabilities can make the social scene very hard for teens.

Brain disorders are expressed in many strange ways, included a frenzy of hyperactivity. This hyperactivity may irritate the very people the teen is hoping to attract as friends.

Teens With Learning or Physical Disability May Become Target of Teasing

As I have said in many of the previous posts and articles-bullying and teasing is about power. The bully looks for someone who can be manipulated or humiliated in order to make himself/herself feel more important. The majority of learning disable adolescents do not have social skills and the ability to communicate in order to stop the teasing. Self esteem and confidence is not easy to come by in any teenager, but may be especially lacking in those who have severe physical or learning abilities. The amount of teasing, bullying, name calling and taunting that goes on in Special Ed classes and in the hallways of schools internationally, is overwhelming. This is especially true in junior high and high school when independence is encouraged and tattling is discouraged.

What Should Teachers and Parents Do

Kindness and empathy for others hopefully is an on-going conversation in your home and classroom. Help all children, but especially those that have learning and social difficulties, to determine if it is a big problem or a small problem. If it is a small problem help them come up with techniques or ideas to solve it themselves. If it is a big problem, which involves safety, help them to communicate either with the bully or with an adult. Tattling is to get someone in trouble. Telling is to save someone from harm.

Self Awareness Quiz

1. What do you think when you see a learning disabled teen?

2. Do you feel that you have nothing in common?

3. Would you step up and intervene or find help if you saw someone being teased?

4. Do you agree with the difference between tattling and telling?

5. Can you decide what is a big problem and what is a small problem in life?

You are a smart and strong person and I have confidence you will find good solutions to help support not only learning disabled teens, but others who are being teased and bullied. Be sure to claim your free report about bullying at

Thank you for being part of a community of kind, thoughtful people who want respect for all.

You have permission to reprint this article in your blog or newsletter as long as you keep the complete content and contact information intact.Thank you, Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke”

Surprising Dangers of Prescription Drug Dependency And Your Family

Surprising Dangers of Prescription Drug Dependency And Your Family

Lately, whenever you read the news, it seems that another Hollywood celebrity has just entered or just returned from rehab because he or she was addicted to prescription medication. Surprisingly, prescription drug addiction is dangerous, and much more common than you may realize. It is something that affects many people – not just celebrities.

Many prescription drugs are habit-forming and addictive. Medicines from painkillers to sleeping pills to ADHD drugs such as Ritalin, are all common forms of pills that anyone can become dependent upon using. The employment of prescribed medications today is so common, that many times, we don’t think twice about the potential for abuse, misuse, or dependency.

Drug Dependency Can Happen to Anyone

Another danger of becoming dependent on prescription drugs is that it can happen to just about anyone. Elderly people who take many medications may become dependent long-term. Women take more prescribed tranquilizers and mood enhancing pills, so they are more susceptible to addiction than men. Teens are also vulnerable when it comes to drug dependency – especially if they see their parents partaking on a regular basis.

Drug Dependency Can Occur Over Time

When people take prescription medication for pain, for sleeping, or for mood improvements, often they learn to like the effects of these drugs, and feel that they are unable to function without them. In some cases, people may think, “If one pill has this positive effect, then two or more will make me feel even better.” This is a dangerous road that can lead to many complications including physical, emotional, legal and relationship issues.

Effects of Prescription Drug Dependency

Probably the most obvious concerns that people with drug addictions face are physical ones. An abundance of health problems can happen to someone who takes pills every day, including irregular heartbeat, risk of heart attack, seizures, hostility, paranoia, infections and overdose.

All of these risk factors can lead to financial troubles, serious relationship issues with other family members and friends, and legal issues such as getting arrested for stealing or forging prescriptions. “Drug crimes do not just pertain to street drugs. Drug crime laws also address the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs,” says Perhaps even your professional career can be in jeopardy as a result of your performance at work, or because you have missed too many days due to health issues.

Preventing Abuse and Dependency

Thankfully, if you or a loved one is on path toward drug dependency or abuse, there are steps you can take to prevent the consequences of this dangerous road.

1. Speak to your doctor about your concerns. Make sure you let him or her know about all the medication you are taking, how often and how you feel as a result.

2. Follow directions carefully. Never change the dosage on your own, especially if you feel inclined to increase it. Check with your doctor first to make sure you are taking the medication only as prescribed as the proper dosage.

3. Ask your pharmacist about side effects. Always know what type of side effects or primary effects the drugs will have. Make sure you understand completely about potential interactions with other medications or alcohol, too.

4. Never take someone else’s pills. Even if you have the same symptoms, never take someone else’s prescribed medication. Speak to your doctor about your specific condition, as your prescription may be completely different than a friend’s or family member’s.

If you or someone you love is in danger of prescription drug dependency, know that help is available. Speak to your doctor or medical professional, or join a support group as soon as possible.

After watching more than one of her friends go down this unfortunate road, author Molly Pearce decided to write this post in the hopes it might make just one reader think twice. Most of her research for this article was done online, on medical and legal sites, such as The web is a great source of info and support for those struggling with prescription abuse or dependency.

Photo cred.:

Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at .. You will be glad you did.


Teen Headed To College? 5 Off-Campus Housing Tips

Built-Ins and Fireplace

Teen Headed To College? 5 Off-Campus Housing Tips

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30 percent of all first-year students live on campus, and an additional 27 percent live off-campus away from their parents. However, when college students are included, from freshmen to seniors, on-campus housing is only utilized by 20 percent of the nationwide student body. 

Clearly a large percentage of students will eventually need off-campus housing. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of rental options available, including houses, but it is essential for students and parents to carefully consider many factors before selecting a place to rent or buy. If the main objective is for the parents to buy a property that the child can use during his college years, and then turn it into an investment property after, you must look at the following points from both sides of the coin, as a lessee and lessor.

Five Things To Look For In Off-Campus Housing

1. Renting or Buying – It is necessary to stay within a reasonable budget, but you also need to consider the fact that each area has an average rental rate. Attempting to go too far below this rate will force students to live in areas that are undesirable. Therefore, you should research the area under consideration. For example, if your college-bound teen wants to attend school in Austin, Texas, you can look up average rental rates online or consult an experienced realtor to help you explore your options and set an appropriate budget. A directory such as Movoto will help you localize the search areas since Austin is home to numerous universities and colleges. As buyers, parents need to look into areas that properties have a history of holding their value.

How about being the landlord instead of the tenant? You could purchase a house near campus, install your son or daughter, and pay off the mortgage by renting rooms to other coeds. This is a great way to house your college student, invest in income property, and generate income long term—as a landlord—or short term—by selling up after your young genius graduates.

2. Solid Security – For most parents facing an empty nest, their child’s safety is as important as their education. Obviously gated apartment complexes with on-site security patrols are preferable for the student and for their parent’s peace of mind. If this is beyond your budget, you can still research the crime statistics online by zip code, and the local police department can give you detailed information about a specific neighborhood. Keep in mind that the cheaper the rent is, the more likely it is that the house or apartment might be located in or near a high crime area. Even if the asking sale price might be affordable, consider how easily or difficult it would be for you to rent to other students in that area.

3. Responsive Landlord – Many people have funny or scary stories from their college years about having rented an apartment from a slumlord. Today, even for the most fearless or adventurous student, that’s simply not a wise option. Signing on the dotted line with an unresponsive landlord can mean signing up for all kinds of headaches: minimal security; poor lighting in hallways; neglected electrical and plumbing repairs; and infrequent trash collection, to name a few. If the student has a car, does the landlord provide safe well-lit parking near the building?

An indifferent absentee landlord can leave students to fend for themselves in a stressful environment, and this is not conducive to proper studying. Look for online reviews of the landlord under consideration. Talk to current tenants about their experiences. Scrutinize the lease carefully before signing.

When you are the landlord, you need to treat your renters in the same way that you would like your own child to be treated. This means taking care of repairs or maintenance in a timely manner and keeping the area safe.

4. Campus Access – Off-campus housing should not involve intensive daily commuting. Simply choosing a nice place to rent in the right city is not enough to ensure that a student will be able to easily access their classes. This is especially true in cases where the student will be relying on public transportation.

Assess the distance between each rental property that you are considering and the closest mode of public transportation that goes near the campus, both buses and trains. What’s the traffic like during rush hour? Are bus stops well lit at night? Do buses run reliably even in the evening? If the subway is involved, how safe and reliable is this service? Does the school provide shuttle service to the area where your child or your future renter will live?

5. Local Amenities – As appetizing as an area with lots of bars and restaurants might be to a college kid, it can spell disaster for their health. Look for communities with basic amenities: a grocery store; a convenience store; and a drug store. Are they all within walking distance? Do any of them offer student discounts? Is there a minimal care clinic nearby in case of emergencies?

As parents, we want the best for our children. A positive college experience is one of them. Where they live plays a huge part in that experience. When you find the perfect housing arrangement for your child, you are helping to make his college years memorable.

Freelance writer Nadine Swayne knows how crucial it is for parents to know what to look for and what questions to raise when shopping for safe off-campus housing for their young charges. Whether renting or buying, a local realtor can relieve some of the stress for parents and child.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at .. You will be glad you did.



Taking The Kids To See Your Ancestral Grounds

Jennifer and the Boys in Paris

Taking the Kids to See Your Ancestral Grounds

Traveling abroad with your family is about exploring far off destinations and meeting interesting people. It can also be a great time to visit your ancestral grounds and visit family members who your children may have never met. However, planning a trip to discover your heritage can take careful planning. The following tips will help ease the stress and friction that can often accompany a trip to Europe.

Implement a Plan

Spending time overseas with children can be a nerve-wracking experience for even the most patient of parents. It can also elicit eye rolls and moaning from your teens if you don’t have a thorough agenda. However, the roots of a family are very important and allowing your children to meet distant relatives and explore schools once inhabited by grandparents can be meaningful for everyone involved. You can make the process easier by implementing a plan from flights and hotels to transportation and activities. Packing appropriately can also save you a lot of headaches and grief when traveling with teens.

Getting Around

Transportation and getting around Europe can be especially difficult with a family, especially if you don’t know where you’re going. Shuttle services can allow you an inexpensive option for exploring the sights, sounds and history of a city, while keeping everyone calm and happy. It also alleviates the stress and anxiety caused by getting lost. You can search online sites like Shuttle Direct to get more information on finding and booking shuttle services abroad.

Restaurants and Eateries

Your children may not have as adventurous a palate as your own, so you need to prepare wisely. You can involve them in the process by allowing them to pick out various restaurants or eateries that they would like to explore and try. If you’re meeting relatives and friends, you’re sure to be introduced to foods that are important to the region.

Children are honest about their likes and dislikes. You should teach them the proper etiquette for disliking a specific item they may not be used to, so they don’t offend your hosts or the culture. While people from the European region enjoy dining late, your children may not be used to a later meal time. You can vary the times to accommodate both your children and relatives. This will also prevent tired and cranky moods.


Europe is rich in history, monuments, sculptures and paintings. Witnessing the famous displays from a history book is far different than seeing the actual famous works of art in person. Spend time beforehand discussing the areas you’ll be traveling to. This is also the ideal time to talk about your ancestors and how you’ll be visiting places where they may have grown up, lived and gone to school. You can include your children in the process by allowing them to pick areas of interest that are most special to them.

In order to ease the friction that typically occurs when traveling with children, you’ll want to ensure that everyone has the right mindset. You’ll also want to be ready with a thorough plan, and the right gear. Giving children the opportunity to see where their family roots lie and meet ancestors from foreign lands is a valuable experience they’re sure to take with them forever.

Journalist Nadine Swayne has travel abroad and understands well the challenges facing parents traveling with children. However, she says, never pass up the opportunity to explore your family’s history with your children. There are travel resources available to make your trip enjoyable including visiting sites like Shuttle Direct for travel solutions. 

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at .. You will be glad you did.

Creating A Baby Gift Basket? What You Need To Make It Eco-Friendly

gift basket from hosts

Creating A Baby Gift Basket? What You Need To Make It Eco-Friendly

If you’re on the lookout for the latest and greatest thing for a baby gift basket, did you know that you can combine both cutting edge with an eco-friendly bent? Keeping the planet healthy for a child’s future is becoming an important factor for many new mommies and daddies these days, and retailers are all too happy to oblige by making their products with less waste, better materials and recyclable. So where does a savvy shopper get started?

Keeping It Eco-Friendly: Smart Buys

If you’re looking to help parents save the planet while raising their offspring, there are many companies who have taken the “going green” ethos to heart, particularly when it comes to baby items. Look for key words such as “organic,” “non-toxic” and “fair-trade” when seeking out earth-friendly products. Additionally, check out these types of products which make great gifts and give you the most planet-friendly bang for your buck.

1.  Dreamy Baby Blankets

Wrapping your baby in a blanket that is naturally antibacterial, hypoallergenic, breathable and moisture-wicking (meaning it moves moisture away from the skin) will make everyone sleep tight. Also make sure it is pesticide-free.

2.  Toxic-Free Baby Bottles

The best baby bottles these days are PBA-free, versatile and completely recyclable. The use of non-toxic materials will make any parent feel good about handing them to their child, and as the baby grows up, some of the bottles can be easily converted to sippy cups. When they’re done, they can share with other parents or simply recycle.

3.  Green Playards and Baby Seats 

For that gift card item in the cute little envelope, parents who are concerned about the materials that touch their baby’s skin every day will love a green, clean new washable playard to help with months of baby care. There are also baby seats that have materials completely free of Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR) which contain potentially harmful contaminants. Some car seat companies also run a recycling program for when baby has outgrown the seat.

4.  New Diaper Fashions

Most parents don’t want to resort to using disposable diapers, but it’s difficult to deny the convenience compared to the cloth variety. Look for diapers that are made with completely organic material, are totally reusable after a wash and leak-proof. Many come in cute styles and colors, making them perfect for the fashion conscious parent as well.

5.  Natural Cleaning Items

Every parent wants to keep their baby and their baby’s play and changing area clean, but many would like to avoid harsh chemicals, focusing on natural ingredients instead. Jessica Alba’s latest venture, for example, offers families a monthly delivery of natural products including diapers, wipes, detergent, shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotions the whole family can use. Better yet, all the products and their packaging are completely recyclable.

There are many chemical-free household cleaning brands safe for baby. Also, using a playard and other multi-purpose baby items with easy to clean surfaces means there is no need for products with harmful chemicals and there is less waste of space.

6.  Organic Baby Food

Many moms and dads are concerned about what goes into their kid’s food, and with good reason. Jarred foods from the grocery store can often contain additives and preservatives that a baby doesn’t need. Baby food should be non-toxic and BPA-free.

Do a Google search to find organic baby food brands and include sites that will instruct parents on making homemade baby foods from ingredients that they know. Making their own food not only insures that their baby is eating organic and well, but can oftentimes be much cheaper as well. You can find blenders specifically designed for this purpose.

Buying green can help to maintain the planet for generations to come. Finding planet-friendly products made of non-toxic materials that are more likely to be fully recyclable may take a little extra effort, but is well worth it, so do your research to find the best products and deals. To save the new parents some valuable time, create a gift basket filled with great eco-friendly products or give them a gift card they can use to shop online with a green retailer.

Nadine Swayne is a freelance writer and green living enthusiast who believes we must all do our part to preserve the planet. She is always looking to purchase gift cards for great items like a washable playard to put into adorable gift baskets.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at ..  You will be glad you did.






Health Factors Shedding Some Understanding of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


Understanding and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Remembering when my children were newborns, I would not have wanted to imagine the pain and helplessness of laying them down to sleep, and later not being able to wake them up. For many parents, the death of a child is almost too much to bare. Now just imagine if that child died suddenly and without any apparent cause.  Sadly, parents experience this devastation yearly. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are about 4,000 infants deaths in the United States each year. Its estimated that more than half of those deaths are the result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, more commonly referred to as SIDS, is a medical mystery that causes approximately 2,500 infant deaths in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, a number of  SIDS cases are associated with babies who were considered to be healthy before their untimely death. Therefore, it is important for parents to educate themselves about the techniques that they can utilize to help reduce their baby’s risk of dying from SIDS.

What are the Main Risk Factors of SIDS?

The majority of SIDS deaths happen while a baby is sleeping. In fact, it is often difficult for medical examiners to find any specific reason for an infant’s death from SIDS aside from the fact that they were asleep. However, SIDS is more likely to occur if the baby has not yet had their first birthday and falls asleep on their stomach.

Parents may not often think about it, but providing a proper sleeping place is very important for a newborn. To help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome medical professional recommend that parents make sure to place their babies on their back to sleep, and do so for the first 12 months of life. When purchasing cribs or baby play yards make sure to follow all safety precautions.

Additionally, there are several other factors that can create an environment that will help SIDS develop. For example, researchers have indicated that exposure to tobacco smoke, being born prematurely, receiving inadequate prenatal care, overheating while sleeping and exposure to drugs, smoking or drinking during pregnancy can all have an impact on whether or not your infant has an increased risk of losing their life to SIDS. It is also important to note that SIDS occurs most often during cold weather, and babies between the ages of two and four months are more likely to succumb to this mysterious medical condition.

Could My Home be Unsafe?

There are several environmental factors that you can introduce into your home environment that could definitely have a negative impact on your infant’s health, including smoking. However, there have been some cases reported that seem to indicate that specific houses and areas have an increased risk of losing babies to SIDS. For example, the Fort Bragg military base lost 10 infants in less than four years who were younger than eight months old. Autopsies indicated that there were no signs of foul play in any of these cases. However, SIDS was only named as the culprit in one of these deaths.

It is important to note that at least two of the infants died while living in the same house. This seems to indicate that there could be something hazardous in the environment of this specific home and perhaps even throughout the entire military housing area. Because of this case study, it is a good idea for parents to research the rate of SIDS cases in any neighborhood that they are considering relocating to. Keep in mind that a low incidence of SIDS in a specific area does not mean that your infant will not be at risk.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides this list of tips to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

1. Always place babies on their backs to sleep.

2. Use the back sleep position every time.

3. Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as as a safety-approved crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet.

4. Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.

5. Avoid letting your baby overheat during sleep.

The best thing that you can do to reduce your baby’s odds of dying from SIDS is to following the above instructions, ensure that you do not create a home environment for them that contains potential triggers such as cigarette smoke, and remember that your infant should always sleep on their back until they are at least 12 months old.

Veteran Journalist Nicole Bailey-Covin has researched Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and reminds parents to always keep a close eye on their newborns while sleeping. She also reminds parents to follow all safety instructions supplied with both baby play yards and cribs. As scientists continue to study the cause of SIDS, parents should do all they can to maintain a healthy environment for the newborn.

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Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at  You will be glad you did.