Tag Archives: au pair

Making Thanksgiving Memories Together

Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year in the United States. It started as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally since 1789.  The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend time together with the special people in their lives. A part of the tradition is to focus as a family and individual on the gifts in our lives and relationships. What are you THANKFUL for?

Martin Cathrae

 “My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Firstly, it was my first holiday with the whole family in America. Secondly, the whole family came together. All aunts and uncles and their kids came to grandma’s. We played football with all of them, including grandma and grandpa. It was the first time I played it and it was so much fun for all. We had a great dinner with all the typical things you can imagine … it was deeeelicious! It was so great to be with such a big family and I really enjoyed that day. I will remember it my whole life, I hope.” – Swantje from Germany

Here are a few tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.

Host Parents
Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. If you are traveling or will not be able to invite your au pair to join you for Thanksgiving, give her plenty of notice and help her make alternate plans. You don’t want to leave your au pair alone over the holiday.

Au Pairs
If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend, so they may make plans. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans, so I can assist.

Make sure to discuss time off during this holiday weekend. Many host families work the Friday after Thanksgiving so do not assume you have this day off or the entire weekend. Talk to your host family, BEFORE you make any plans.

Thanksgiving is a very special time to gather with friends and family. It is also very hectic for your host family who has to prepare food or travel with children. This is a great time to ACT like a part of the family. If you see a way to be helpful- do it! Your participation in this stressful time will be appreciated.

Bonus Tip for the Kids
If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cookies. Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.

 

Look BEFORE you LOCK

LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK! Prevent hot car deaths!
Tragically, every year children die in cars.
This can easily happen to caregivers who forget the child is sleeping in the rear seat. It also happens when caregivers intentionally leave a child in a  parked car for ” just a second” to run an errand.
In the state of Georgia, it is a crime to leave a child in a parked car or a car with the engine running- even for a second. 
A child can die when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
This can happen when the temperature is only 70 degrees and the child is left for 15 minutes!! It is much hotter in Georgia.
In 2020, 25 children died of vehicular heatstroke.
In 2018 and 2019, we saw a record number of hot car deaths — 53 children died each year — the most in at least 20 years, according to NoHeatstroke.org.
Some children were accidentally left in the car and others were left for just a small amount of time while the caregiver went into a house or store.
Everyone Can Help Prevent Hot Car Deaths
1. Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.
2. Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away. Train yourself to Park, Look, Lock, or always ask yourself, “Where’s Baby?”
3. Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.
4. Store car keys out of a child’s reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.
Everyone — Including Bystanders can prevent this from happening.
Always lock your car doors and trunk, year-round, so children can’t get into unattended vehicles.
Act Fast. Save a Life.
If you see a child alone in a locked car, get them out immediately and call 911. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.
Click this link and watch the video to see what happens when a child is left in a car.
Prevent Heatstroke Deaths in Cars, Kids Are Vulnerable | NHTSA
NHTSA.GOV
Prevent Heatstroke Deaths in Cars, Kids Are Vulnerable | NHTSA
A child’s body temperature rises faster than an adult’s. Learn more facts and the steps to take so your child isn’t left in the backseat of a hot car.
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Welcome to Camp Au Pair in America!

When kids are out of school for the summer, it doesn’t take long for them to become bored and  sometimes that leads to sibling squabbles and mischief. Even though they don’t realize it, they are usually missing routine and predictability in their daily schedule. One solution is to make fun plans to keep them busy! 

Each week this summer we will share a different Camp Au Pair theme. These weekly themes are designed to give you ideas to keep your host kids occupied and engaged all summer long. They will also be learning. (But shhhh, don’t tell them that part.) Check back each Friday, for the next week’s theme. This gives you a chance to make plans and gather materials for the next week. For each theme there will be crafts, games, snacks and activities. You can just use these ideas or add your own and customize the themes to fit the ages and interests of your host children.

Here are the themes you can look forward to:

  • Art Experiences
  • Backyard Safari
  • Bugs & Butterflies
  • Cars and Trucks
  • Dinosaurs
  • Explore the World
  • Nature Explorations
  • Outer Space
  • Pirate Adventures
  • Princesses & Knights
  • Science (STEM)
  • Under the Sea

Check out Summer Fun & Summer Holidays pin boards for even more ideas.

If you get some great pictures doing these activities with your host kids, please send those to your counselor. We love to share your accomplishments and inspire other au pairs!

Let’s make this an amazing summer!

 

Social Distancing: Free Virtual Escape Rooms

Libraries may be closed due to COVID-19, but many librarians are coming up with creative ideas to keep people entertained and promote literacy. One of those creative ideas is free virtual escape rooms. With a variety of themes, some may be fun to do on your own, others as activities with the kids.

Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA created this Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room. She shared this tutorial on how to create your own virtual escape room, which seemed to spark the creativity of many other librarians.

Some amazing librarians all over the country have been busy creating virtual escape rooms with a variety of themes.

Special thanks to the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca, Nevada for gathering info on many of these escape rooms. Follow them on Facebook for their storytimes and weekly Facebook Live Science Time on Fridays.

Image: Canva.com

Social Distancing: 10 Things You CAN Do Right Now

Social distancing is important right now to help slow the spread of coronavirus. This means avoiding places where you come in contact with lots of people (schools, movies, restaurants, museums, concerts, parties, etc.)  I am sure you keep hearing a lot about the things you should not do.

It’s also important to have ideas of things you can do. There are plenty of activities you can do at home and away from crowds.

While we can’t control many things going on right now in the world, we can choose how we deal with it.

“She turned her can’ts into cans
and her dreams into plans.” 
– Kobi Yamada

 

Here are 10 things you CAN do right now:

  • Stay connected with your friends and family via social media, texting, and Skype.
  • Go for a walk or run on your own. As long as you don’t go to a populated place, it’s fine to go out for some exercise.
  • Enjoy nature. That could be sitting outside in your backyard on a nice day or walking on a nature trail.
  • Read a book or listen to an audiobook or podcast. Getting lost in a story is a great way to take your mind off of things. Or if you pick a non-fiction book or podcast you may learn something new. You could even create an online book club or podcast discussion group with friends.
  • Do yoga. Yoga can be a great way to relieve stress and maintain your fitness. There are many free yoga videos on Youtube. Sign up here to receive daily emails for 30 Days of Yoga.
  • Take virtual tours of museums online.*
  • Make memories in the kitchen.* Cooking recipes from your home country is a great way to share your culture with your host family and give yourself a taste of home. Cooking classic American recipes is a way to continue your cultural exchange. You can find lots of recipes online. Also, you will be able to share that taste of America with your own family by cooking some of these recipes after you return home at the end of your program.
  • Have an online watch party with friends. When you watch a movie alone do you miss talking to a friend about what’s happening? Pick a time and a movie and from your individual homes you each stream the movie on Netflix at the same time. You can text or do a group chat during the movie.
  • Make top 10 lists of your favorite things like movies, foods, songs and more. Share and compare lists with your friends. You may find out some things you didn’t know about each other and get some ideas for new things to try.
  • Research and plan trips to places you want to visit while in the U.S.* This time of social distancing won’t last forever. Use this time to do some research online and make plans. This will help you make the most of those trips when you get to take them a few months from now. It will also give you something to look forward to.

*Future blog posts in this series will have more detailed information on these topics.

 

Dealing with Social Distancing

The coronavirus has caused lots of temporary changes to our daily routines. Right now, we are being asked to practice “social distancing” to reduce the spread of the virus.

What is social distancing?
Social distancing is a way to keep people from interacting as closely or frequently enough to spread the virus. Schools, sporting events and concerts are being canceled. People are being asked to stay at home more to avoid being in contact with a large number of people.

What are some ways to take care of yourself?
Some people may feel anxious, lonely or frustrated and that is totally normal. It can be very helpful to talk with friends and family about those feelings. It helps to know that others are going through these same emotions. Reach out to your community counselor if you need support during this time.

It is very important to practice good self-care. Connect with people you love via Skype and text, maintain a healthy diet, stay active, make plans for things you want to do once things get back to normal. Staying out of crowds doesn’t have to mean just staying in the home. You can go for walks and enjoy nature. Both exercise and spending time in nature are beneficial for your mental health.

Where can you get practical tips for dealing with social distancing?
We recognize that some of these changes will require patience and resourcefulness. During this time, we will be doing a series of blog posts with resources to assist you with two specific aspects of this situation:

  • Ideas for keeping the kids occupied (while they are home from school)
  • Ways to continue your cultural exchange from home

Photo: Meg Willis  

What is Global Awareness?

What is Global Awareness?

The Global Awareness program brings expanded educational and​ ​cultural opportunities to the forefront for au pairs. It gives them the​ ​opportunity to share their culture with others.

How do au pairs get involved?

Au Pairs can volunteer in pre-school, elementary and middle school classrooms. They have the opportunity to share their culture, customs and language with young American children. The mission of this volunteer experience is to bring multi-cultural understanding into the classrooms and help children form positive first impressions of people from other countries. Visit the Get Involved page of our website for all the info you need to get started.

Is Global Awareness just for schools?

No. Au pairs have done presentations for scout groups, at birthday parties and at children’s story times.

Are you interested in scheduling a Global Awareness presentation?

Teachers, parents or others who would like to schedule a presentation, please visit the Global Awareness website for more information and a contact link.

How can Global Awareness help host parents?

Global Awareness offers a webinar series for host parents. The goal is to increase their cultural awareness, improve communication with their au pair and ensure the most successful exchange possible. Your community counselor can provide you with the webinar schedule and how to register.

Why do I lose an hour on November 4th? Interesting facts about Daylight Savings Time

 

Daylight Saving Time ends on 4 November 2018.   

Clocks will go back one hour on Sunday 4 November at 02:00. This means your devices will automatically reverse an hour at the strike of 2:00 a.m.,making it 1:00 a.m.

This information was obtained in an article entitled Daylight Saving Time 2018: A Guide to the When, Why, What and How (https://www.livescience.com/56048-daylight-saving-time-guide.html)

On Sunday, Nov. 4, most Americans will set their clocks back an hour, as daylight saving time (sometimes erroneously called daylight savings time) comes to a close, and most of the United States will “lose” an hour of daylight. These spring and fall clock changes continue a long tradition started by Benjamin Franklin to conserve energy. (This year, however, the Sunshine State is aiming to stop the change and remain in DST year-round, according to a Senate bill and news reports.)

Below is a look at when daylight saving time starts and ends during the year, its history, why we have it now and some myths and interesting facts about the time change.

How Did It Start?          

Benjamin Franklin takes the honor (or the blame, depending on your view of the time changes) for coming up with the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy, according to David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005). By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris and so wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his “discovery” that the sun provides light as soon as it rises.

Even so, DST didn’t officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time.

Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light. (It’s a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers.) And so daylight daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb. 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round, calling it “War Time.” [Learn more about the crazy history of Daylight Saving Time]

After the war, a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST led to chaos. And in 1966, to tame such “Wild West” mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. That federal law meant that any state observing DST — and they didn’t have to jump on the DST bandwagon — had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.

Then, in 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present timing.

Why do we still have daylight saving time?

Fewer than 40 percent of the world’s countries observe daylight saving time, according to timeanddate.com. However, those who do take advantage of the natural daylight in the evenings. That’s because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice. During the summer, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun (at least its top half).

As Earth orbits the sun, it also spins around its own imaginary axis. Because it revolves around this axis at an angle, different parts of our planet experience the sun’s direct rays at different times of the year, leading to the seasons.

Credit: BlueRingMedia / Shutterstock.com

Regions farthest away from the equator and closer to the poles get the most benefit from the DST clock change, because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.

Research has also suggested that with more daylight in the evenings, there are fewer traffic accidents, as there are fewer cars on the road when it’s dark outside. More daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise (or exercise at all) for full-time workers.

Energy savings

The nominal reason for daylight saving time has long been to save energy. The time change was first instituted in the United States during World War I, and then reinstituted again during World War II, as a part of the war effort. During the Arab oil embargo, when Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopped selling petroleum to the United States, Congress even enacted a trial period of year-round daylight saving time in an attempt to save energy.

But the evidence for energy savings is slim. Brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, said Stanton Hadley, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who helped prepare a report to Congress on extended daylight saving time in 2007. But lights have become increasingly efficient, Hadley said, so lighting is responsible for a smaller chunk of total energy consumption than it was a few decades ago. Heating and cooling probably matter more, and some places may need air-conditioning for the longer, hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.

Hadley and his colleagues found that the four weeks of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy, about half of a percent of what would have otherwise been used on each of those days. However, Hadley said, the effect of the entire months-long stretch of daylight saving could very well have the opposite effect. A 1998 study in Indiana before and after implementation of daylight saving time in some counties found a small increase in residential energy usage. Temporary changes in Australia’s daylight saving timing for the summer Olympics of 2000 also failed to save any energy, a 2007 study found.

Part of the trouble with estimating the effect of daylight saving time on energy consumption is that there are so few changes to the policy, making before-and-after comparisons tricky, Hadley told Live Science. The 2007 extension of daylight saving time allowed for a before-and-after comparison of only a few weeks’ time. The changes in Indiana and Australia were geographically limited.

Ultimately, Hadley said, the energy question probably isn’t the real reason the United States sticks with daylight saving time, anyway.

“In the vast scheme of things, the energy saving is not the big driver,” he said. “It’s people wanting to take advantage of that light time in the evening.”

Who observes daylight saving time? (and who doesn’t)

Most of the United States and Canada observe DST on the same dates. But of course, there are exceptions. Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time, though Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, does follow DST, according to NASA.

And, every year there are bills put forth to get rid of DST in various states, as not everyone is keen on turning their clocks forward an hour. This year, Florida’s Senate and House passed legislation called the Sunshine Protection Act that would ask the U.S. Congress to exempt the state from the federal 1966 Uniform Time Act. If approved, Florida would remain in DST year-round. In order to allow Florida’s year-round DST, however, the U.S. Congress would have to amend the Uniform Time Act (15 U.S.C. s. 260a) to authorize states this allowance, according to The New York Times.

And in California, voters may get to decide: In this fall’s statewide ballot, voters can vote for or against Proposition 7 that would attempt to repeal the annual clock changes. If the Prop gets approved, that would mean the Legislature can act to eliminate the time changes, possibly leading to year-round DST, according to Land Line magazine.

Other states have also proposed exemptions from the federal time act. For instance, Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, introduced Senate Bill 206 into the Senate State Administration Committee in February 2017, which would exempt Montana from daylight saving time, keeping the state on standard time year-round, according to the bill. Three bills put forth last year in Texas aimed to abolish DST for good: House Bill 2400, Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 95, according to the broadcast company kxan. Nebraskans may be off the hook for clock changes as well. In January 2017, state Sen. Lydia Brasch, a Republican of Bancroft, proposed a bill called LB309 to eliminate daylight saving time in the state, according to the bill.

Some regions of British Columbia and Saskatchewan don’t change their clocks. These include the following areas in British Columbia: Charlie Lake, Creston (East Kootenays), Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Taylor; In Saskatchewan, only Creighton and Denare Beach observe DST, according to NASA.

Most of Europe currently observes daylight saving time, called “summer time,” which begins at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends (winter time) at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in October. However, even the European Union may propose an end to clock changes, as a recent poll found that 84 percent of 4.6 million people surveyed said they wanted to nix them, the Wall Street Journal reported.

If the lawmakers and member states agree, the EU members could decide to keep the EU in summer time or winter time, according to the WSJ.

The United Kingdom moved their clocks forward on March 26, 2017, and back again to standard time on Oct. 29, 2017, according to the U.K. government. They performed this same ritual on March 25, and will again on Oct. 28, 2018.

The DST-observing countries in the Southern Hemisphere — in Australia, New Zealand, South America and southern Africa — set their clocks an hour forward sometime during September through November and move them back to standard time during the March-April timeframe.

Australia, being such a big country (the sixth-largest in the world), doesn’t follow DST uniformly: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory follow daylight saving, while Queensland, the Northern Territory (Western Australia) do not, according to the Australian government. Clocks in the observing areas spring forward an hour at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in October and push back an hour at 3 a.m. local daylight time on the first Sunday in April.

Russia instituted year-round daylight saving time in 2011, or permanent “summer time,” which seemed dandy at first. But in the depths of winter, sunrise occurred at 10 a.m. in Moscow and 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time,” said. This meant Russians had to start their days in the cold, pitch-dark. The permanent summer is coming to an end, however, as now Russian president Vladimir Putin abolished DST in 2014, according to BBC News. As such, the country will remain in “winter time” forever, or until another law is passed.

Myths and Interesting Facts

  • Turns out, people tend to have more heart attackson the Monday following the “spring forward” switch to daylight saving time. Researchers reporting in 2014 in the journal Open Heart, found that heart attacks increased 24 percent on that Monday, compared with the daily average number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
  • Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which anyplace could or could not observe DST, leading to chaos. For instance, if one took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, he or she would pass through no fewer than seven time changes, according to Prerau. At some point, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks.
  • A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychologyshowed that during the week following the “spring forward” into DST, mine workers got 40 minutes less sleepand had 5.7 percent more workplace injuries than they did during any other days of the year.
  • Pets notice the time change, as well. Since humans set the routines for their fluffy loved ones, dogs and cats living indoors and even cows are disrupted when, say, you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual, according to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, an Australia-based research and development organization.
  • The fact that the time changes at 2 a.m. at least in the U.S., may have to do with practicality. For instance, it’s late enough that most people are home from outings and setting the clock back an hour won’t switch the date to “yesterday.” In addition, it’s early enough not to affect early shift workers and early churchgoers.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Sept. 9, 2016, and then updated by Stephanie Pappas with information about energy use during daylight saving time. It was also updated in March 2017 to include bills put forth in the United States to eliminate DST in certain states, and again in 2018.

Sun Safety Tips from Macroni Kids

summersafety.jpg

 

Macaroni Kids has some important safety tips. See full article at

https://alpharetta.macaronikid.com/articles/5b19339ca3600634584d781a/have-fun-in-the-sun-with-these-summer-safety-tips-for-kids

Everyone loves summer, especially children.

But while you’re planning some family fun in the sun, be sure to make safety a top priority. Accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in the United States, and the summer months bring with them a unique set of risks.

Keep reading for 5 tips to keep your kids safe this summer.

#1: BE SMART WITH SUN SAFETY FOR KIDS

Sunburn, dehydration and sun or heat stroke are among the hot-weather risks parents need to be aware of when young children are playing outside.

  • Sunburn. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or above, at least 30 minutes before letting children go outside.
    • Reapply every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating.
    • The sun’s UV rays can penetrate clouds, so you still need protection on overcast days.
    • Have kids wear protective gear, such as sunglasses with UV protection, a hat and tight-knit cotton clothing.
  • Dehydration. Provide plenty of water when kids are engaged in outdoor activities, and avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks.
  • Sun or heat stroke. Plan outdoor activities for earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when possible. It’s safest to stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

Babies are at greater risk from excessive sun exposure. Protect your infant with lightweight clothes with long sleeves and legs, a wide-brimmed hat, and a lightweight blanket. Apply baby sunscreen, and choose a stroller with a large canopy to shield those harmful rays.

#2: COOL OFF WITH WATER SAFETY FOR KIDS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4 in the U.S., and over half of all drownings occur in the summer.

Adult supervision and other water safety habits are essential, whether you’re planning a trip to the beach, a day at the lake or just an afternoon splash in the neighborhood pool.

  • We really cannot emphasize this enough: there is no substitute for adult supervision. Never let children swim without an adult or lifeguard on duty.
    • Inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties” provide a false sense of security. Keep babies and toddlers within an arm’s reach at all times while in or near water.
    • Never leave children unattended at the pool for any reason — that includes turning your head to answer the phone, read a book or converse with other adults.
    • Likewise, never leave children unattended in a hot tub.
  • Obey all posted rules at public pools or other swimming areas — especially those pertaining to running and horseplay. Keep wheeled toys away from the water’s edge. Observe all diving rules.
  • If you have a pool at home, keep it securely covered when not in use, and protect it with a childproof fence and locking gate. Don’t allow diving from the side of the pool. A hot tub should have a locking lid.
  • Learn CPR and other First Aid so you’re prepared in the event of an accident.
  • Children must wear a properly-fitting life jacket at all times while riding on a boat, and adults must never consume alcohol while operating a boat.

#3: PREVENT INJURIES WITH PLAYGROUND, CAR AND BIKE SAFETY

Summertime brings with it road trips and lots of outdoor adventures. Don’t let all those fun outings end in tragedy or a trip to the hospital.

  • Car safety for kids. Never let kids ride in the cargo areas of pickup trucks or vans. Children under 12 should ride in the back seat, and properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat for their height and weight.
  • Bike safety. Bicyclists of all ages, including kids, must wear a properly fitting helmet while riding a bike. Make sure your child’s bike is the right size, and teach him or her to obey all traffic rules while riding.
  • Playground safety. As with other summertime activities, kids should always have adult supervision when having fun on the playground.
    • Equipment should be firmly anchored and well-maintained. There should be shock-absorbing material such as rubber, gravel or wood chips, and equipment should be installed at least 6” from fences or sidewalks.
    • Avoid clothing or accessories that could cause strangulation. These include drawstrings, necklaces or loose-fitting garments.

#4: BE CAREFUL WITH POISON IVY

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all contain urushiol, a rash-causing substance that produces an allergic reaction in 60-80% of all people.

You don’t even have to touch the plant to be affected. Urushiol can be transferred by touching another person or an article of clothing that has been in contact with an offending plant. If can also be inhaled if a poison ivy plant is burned.

You can reduce the risk to you and your kids by:

Learning to identify poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac leaves

  • Avoiding outdoor areas where you know poison ivy is present
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants in areas where poison ivy may be present
  • Washing skin as quickly as possible if exposure occurs
  • Bathing and washing clothes after time outdoors
  • Bathing pets who may have been exposed

Symptoms of poison ivy exposure include red, itchy, swollen skin and blisters.

  • Call a doctor if your child develops a fever or any type of rash.
  • The rash typically takes 1-2 weeks to heal.
  • Treatment includes cool showers and soothing lotion to calm the skin.
  • If your child has a severe reaction, your doctor may prescribe pills or creams to promote healing.

#5: WATCH FOR TICK BITES

Always check for ticks after you or your kids have been outdoors during the summertime. Removing the tick as quickly as possible reduces the risk of tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease.

  • Don’t use petroleum jelly or a hot match. These don’t work and may cause the tick to burrow even deeper into the skin.
  • Remove the tick using the following steps:
    • Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
    • Pull firmly and steadily until the tick is removed.
    • Don’t twist or rotate the tick.
    • If part of the tick stays in, it will eventually come out on its own.
    • Gently wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Call your pediatrician. He or she may prescribe antibiotics if your child is at risk of Lyme disease.
  • Pay attention for symptoms of Lyme disease. Early treatment is crucial for long-term recovery.
    • Red ringed rash around the affected area
    • Red or irritated skin
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Painful or swollen joints
    • Facial paralysis

Why is the Food For New Year’s Day Special?

Shared from the East Cobb, GA Patch

Georgia’s New Year’s Meal: Pork, Greens And Black-Eyed Peas

Here’s why we eat what we do on New Year’s Day — plus a greens recipe from Chef Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant, Revival.

By Doug Gross, Patch Staff | Dec 29, 2017 3:50 pm ET

 

 

ATLANTA, GA — On New Year’s Day in Georgia, there’s little question what will be on many folks’ dinner tables.

In Italy, they’ll eat lentils. Japanese kitchens will be serving up Soba noodles and folks of Scandinavian origin will be wolfing down pickled herring. But, in the American South, it’s pork, greens, corn bread and black-eyed peas that will be filling the bellies of hungry New Year’s revelers.

But how did we come by this specific meal? Well, separating fact from fiction when tracking down traditions can be tricky business. But here’s a look at what we know about the Southern New Year’s meal.

Pork

In the South, we are not alone in making pork a New Year’s staple. Folks all over the country, with ancestors from all over the world, make some variation of this dish.

Why? Many believe it’s because pigs root forward — toward the future — unlike, say, a chicken, which scratches backward, toward the past.

“And sauerkraut with pork was eaten for good luck on New Year’s Day, because, as the (Pennsylvania) Dutch say, ‘the pig roots forward’,” wrote historian William Woys Weaver wrote in “Sauerkraut Yankees,” a Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook with recipes dating back to 1848.

There may be a seasonal reason for this tradition, too. Throughout history, pigs would have been butchered in the fall, when the weather was cooler, meaning there would be plenty of fresh cuts come the new year.

Black-Eyed Peas

According to one popular story, black-eyed peas became a symbol of luck in the South during the Civil War. According to this legend, during Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s march toward Savannah, his troops confiscated all the food they could find, but ignored black-eyed peas because they were considered animal feed.

That made them one of the only edible foods left behind and, therefore, a “lucky” food.

Some historians, though, question that story. The peas originated in West Africa and were introduced in the Southern United states around the 17th Century, so the association could have African roots. Hoppin’ John, the combination of seasoned black-eyed peas and rice, almost certainly has its roots in that region.

And, another theory suggests the tradition sprung from early Southern Jewish communities because of the peas’ similarity to a food mentioned as a New Year’s meal in the Talmud.

Greens

We’re usually talking collard greens here, although mustards or turnips will do. But, greens are a Southern New Year’s staple, for sure.

Pretty much everybody at least agrees on what this one means — green means money and eating greens at the beginning of the year means you’ll have a prosperous 365 days ahead.

“Some folks consider the black-eyed peas to represent coins and the greens to represent folding money, a la cash, while others simply consider it general good luck to eat them,” Dan Gillotte, chief Executive Grocer at Austin, Texas’s Wheatsville Food Co-Op, said to Mic.com.

Cornbread

Cornbread has the least documented origin story among the New Year’s Day meal selection. The general consensus is that the golden carb represents real gold — another omen for financial success in the coming year.

We suspect it might actually just be that cornbread is delicious with greens, black-eyed peas and pork. And that’s just fine by us.

If all this has got you hankering to make your own New Year’s meal, Revival— chef Kevin Gillespie’s Southern-style restaurant in Decatur — was kind enough to share their recipe for smokped greens with Patch. Let us know if you whip up a batch!

Revival’s Hickory-Smoked Local Greens

  • 1 qt. double chicken stock
  • 1 large sweet onion (baseball sized)
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 1 big pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 big pinch salt
  • 1 big pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. butter, cut into small chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 bunches greens (collards, black kale, Siberian kale, mustard greens, turnip greens)
  1. Bring stock to just under a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Peel and slice onion very thin (use a mandolin if available). Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper to stock. Using an immersion blender, add butter one piece at a time. This will emulsify and look creamy. Add vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. It should seem aggressively seasoned. Pour liquid into a semi-shallow heat-proof dish (preferably metal).
  2. Separately, blanch and shock the greens of your choice (a blend is great). Squeeze out excess water.
  3. Add the greens to the liquid, really packing them in as they get smaller. The liquid should just barely cover the greens.
  4. Put the dish above a wood-burning grill. The grill should stay around 180 degrees. Cook for 6 hours, stirring periodically to be sure the greens on the bottom get stirred up to the top. Cool greens in the liquid overnight (Do not skip this step!). Warm up the greens and liquid serve.