Toy Safety: A Must at Christmas Time

The holidays are here and your children may already be receiving gifts from friends and family. While most toys may seem harmless, every year many children are injured by their favorite toys. It is very important to inspect your child’s toys and adhere to all age suggestions listed on the packaging. Not all toys are right for all children. The following tips can help ensure you have a safe holiday season.
 
Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. Make sure your child knows how to use the toy the right way.

2. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking.

3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.

4. For younger children, avoid play sets with small magnets and make sure batteries are secured within the toy. If magnets or batteries are ingested, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

5. Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.

6. Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child’s toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact.  Dispose of plastic wrapping material immediately on toys as they may have sharp edges.

7. Inspect all toys before purchasing.  Monitor toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level.

8. Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”

9. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.

10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Strings or wires that hang in a crib should be kept short to avoid strangulation. Crib toys should be removed as soon as your child can push up on his hands and knees.

For more information, visit www.healthychildren.org.

The Light Shines In His Cards

I know I have said all the great things I love about Christmas. Let me tell you another favorite of mine. I LOVE Christmas cards! I love, love them so much. Reading Christmas cards from everyone is the neatest thing. They are made with all designs and precious words. I received one recently that was a Thomas Kinkade card. It was very beautiful. I love his art. I am at loss for words over his paintings. According to his biography, in the very beginning of his artistic career, Thomas Kinkade put his entire life savings into the printing of his first lithograph. Though at the time he was already an acclaimed illustrator, Thom found that he was inspired not by fame and fortune, but by the simple act of painting straight from the heart, putting on canvas the natural wonders and images that moved him most. It was this dedication and singular-minded focus on the ultimate goal of Sharing the Light™ that made Thomas Kinkade, a simple boy with a brush from the small country town of Placerville, California the most-collected living artist of his time. Throughout his life Thomas Kinkade shared his joy and used his paints in support of hospitals, schools, and humanitarian relief. Though the recipient of countless awards and honors, it was Thom’s profound sense of purpose that his art was not just an accessory, but also a ministry, that continues on as his legacy. From custom images that were sold for The Salvation Army, Hurricane Katrina relief, Rotary International, to donations that now grace the halls of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the White House, The Vatican, and Britain’s Tate Museum, Thom raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over his lifetime for charity. The artist was also a devout and loving family man. It was this devotion for his family that inspired him to add symbols of his love to his artwork. Numerous paintings contain hidden “N’s” representing Thom’s lovely wife Nanette and many other paintings include the numbers 5282 as tribute to their wedding date May 2, 1982. Thom’s four daughters were also included in his artistic process- after the birth of each of his daughters, Thom painted adoring images in each of their namesake; Evening at Merritt’s Cottage, Chandler’s Cottage, Winsor Manor and Everett’s Cottage. Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, emphasized simple pleasures and inspirational messages through his art – and the branded products created from that art. From textiles, to collectibles, to music and books, Thom gave credit to a higher power for both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings. His goal as an artist, who was Christian, was to touch people of all faiths, to bring peace and joy into their lives through the images he had created. Thom’s dearest wish had always been that his artwork would be a messenger of hope and inspiration to others – a message to slow down, appreciate the little details in life, and to look for beauty in the world around us. As millions of collectors around the world sit back and enjoy his artwork in their homes, there is no doubt that Thomas Kinkade had indeed achieved his goal of Sharing the Light™. I hope everyone enjoys this Christmas Season and thank you to everyone that I have received cards from. I absolutely love them all!

Mason Jars Full of Goodies

I say this is my favorite time of the year and I guess it really is. I love all times of the year and can always find fun things to do but it seems at this time of the year there is so many neat crafts and fun gift gestures to fix for friends and family. Look at these adorable Mason jars full of goodies. You are able to fix goodies or if you are like me just have somebody make them for you and then put them in the jars and decorate the jars. It’s hard for me to say which one my favorite of these are but I am leaning more toward the reindeer. It is ADORABLE. You can fill them with Chocolate Milk Balls. For all the others, just pick something in the color theme, decorate the jar, fill it up and share with friends! Happy Holidays!

Good Ole Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread House Day is a day that can be celebrated in a wide variety of fun ways and will be a day that children in particular will really enjoy and always remember. Celebrating National Gingerbread House Day involves creating a gingerbread house. But, the best part is that once the house has been created it can be devoured! And it will be yummy! Gingerbread House Day should be a social event and be used as something that engages children and adults alike. Children and parents can make a gingerbread house together and then, later, the gingerbread houses can be eaten at a party especially laid on for the occasion. Alternatively, a giant gingerbread house can be created by several people, with guests invited to decorate it with icing, sugar or sweets. Did you know that charities also benefit via Gingerbread House Day. Portions of a gingerbread house, or mini gingerbread houses can be sold to raise funds for the charity which is used as a great fundraiser. Larry and I love to build gingerbread houses because you don’t have to be perfect in building it and you can be as creative as you want or not creative at all. We love to build the houses but then we love to eat some of it too! Have fun building your gingerbread house today and be sure to post them on Facebook for everyone to see.

Staying Warm on a Cold Winter Day

I know there are days that it is cold outside in the morning and feels like winter, however winter does not officially begin until December 21st. I keep hearing from several sources that this will be a hard winter on every state, not just the northern states. So what does winter have in store for Georgia? Winter will be warmer and rainier than normal, with below-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will be in early January and early February. The best chances for snow will be in early January and early February. April and May will be drier than normal. Temperatures will be near normal in the south and below in the north. Summer will be slightly hotter than normal, on average, with above-normal rainfall. The hottest periods will be in early to mid-June, early August, and mid- to late August. Overall, September and October will be warmer and drier than normal. Watch for a tropical storm threat in early to mid-September. Let’s see how close they will be on any of this. With it mentioning snow, they surely cannot be talking about Sylvester. HA! So many times during the winter we try to figure out things to do inside so that we don’t have to go out in the freezing cold weather. You may be like me though, I often sit and wander what can we do? While I was looking around on the internet at the almanac I found a few good ideas. I wanted to share them with you. These are only a few but some you may really enjoy. How about make a great big breakfast. Time to step it up from the on-the-run breakfast you usually have and make some French toast, bacon, or eggs to enjoy. Or try something different, but easy, like skillet apple pancakes. Everyone usually likes breakfast. Me and my family love to eat breakfast for supper. Another task for the winter is Redecorate! How fun is that? I love to rearrange things and make what I have to look new again. Moving things around in your home can be fun and refreshing if you are into decorating. Try hanging your pictures in different places, rearranging your furniture, or dreaming up new ideas online. Sometimes even looking on line will show you how to take things you have a put a different twist on them. If you have children, they would love to rearrange and decorate their rooms too. It gives you a great time to clean out things too! How does Pajama Day sound?… Sounds like a wonderful idea to me! Just plan to stay in your PJ’s all day and enjoy the whole day. There is no need to schedule appointments, go buy groceries, etc. Just stay put and stay comfy should be the plan. Another idea is great if you have children or grandchildren. Turn your living room into a fort by using chairs and blankets to make a cozy hideout for the day. Children love making forts and playing. Here’s a good idea too… Movie and Popcorn Day. That sounds like tons of fun. There are great new movies to check out and popcorn is always a hit! So these are just a few things to do when it is too cold to go outside. You can always add so many new ideas as well. Stay warm this winter and have a blast!

Games of all Sorts

When you were growing up, what games did you like to play? I have always loved playing games. Not only board games, but I liked all sorts of games. December 20th is a day that is recognized for games known as Games Day. Games Day is a yearly run gaming convention sponsored by Games Workshop. It was started in 1975, after another game convention scheduled for August that year cancelled. Games Workshop decided to fill the resulting gap by running a gaming day of their own according to the game day website. As a result, after some delays, the first Games Day was held at Seymour Hall, London on December 20, 1975. The convention was important because there were few outlets for gamers to meet each other and play, and Games Workshop used this in their efforts to build the gaming scene in the U.K. Following this successful start, and encouraged by mainstream media coverage, the second Games Day was held at a different venue, Chelsea Town Hall, London, on February 12, 1977. The event was somewhat delayed, owing to the logistics of running a rapidly expanding business. It followed rapidly by a separate “D&D Day” at Fulham Town Hall on March 12, this being their core funding stream at that time. Today the Games Day convention is held regularly in the United Kingdom at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. It draws enthusiasts of Games Workshop’s three main games (Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer, and Lord of the Rings). Not just a commercial venture, gamers go to play their games and attend presentations by special guests from the Games Workshop’s head office in Nottingham. Alongside the gaming is a dealer’s area which commonly includes products from Citadel Miniatures, particularly, armies for all the game systems scheduled for release. Another attraction is the Golden Demon, a painting competition of miniatures. There is also a competition of varying degrees of seriousness, the Scrap Demon competition, in which competitors create models from plastic sprues. Game day is taken very serious by some people. I am just a simple game day person. I use to love to play monopoly but it is a long game. As a child, I played pick-up sticks, UNO, old maid and go fish. As I grew older, my daddy us how to play a family game called Progressive Rummy. This game was known throughout my family. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and grandparents could play this card game. If you were a friend of the family and you came around much, you learned the game too. It is so amazing for me now because I have taught my child how to play in hopes he will pass it down too. I am sure other families play Progressive Rummy however it is not heard of much. During this holiday season, take a night out and have game night with your family. Whether it is a board game or a card game, you all will have a blast. Happy gaming!

Saying Goodbye To An Angel

A Worth County High School Senior whose life touched many, tragically passed away on Thanksgiving Day. 18 year old Ebony Clark was diagnosed with brain cancer back in 2013 where doctors gave her six months to live. Now, Ebony is remembered by her friends and loved ones as a fighter who loved life. At Clark’s funeral service, her loved ones celebrated her for the beautiful person she was. Assistant Pastor Webbie Hill at Jesus Christ Tabernacle of Deliverance says Ebony was active in the church. He says she was always the first person to volunteer if the church needed something. “To talk about her as a person, I can’t do nothing but smile because that’s all she ever did. Even when she was going through pain and suffering, you would never know it because God kept a smile on her face.” Clark had been battling brain cancer since she was 14 years old although, her friends and family say you would never know it. Her classmate, Keyondria White says that Clark was a friend to everyone. “When she came to our school she acted as if she was just normal as we were. She laughed a lot, she liked to just have fun. She really impacted a lot of us at her school,” said White. Despite missing many classes because of her diagnosis, Clark made it her mission to graduate from high school. “She was able to graduate and get her diploma. And that was one of the goals that she was hoping for. She didn’t hope for, you didn’t hardly ever hear her saying I want to grow up and be this person, she just wanted her diploma,” said Hill. Although her loved ones had mixed emotions when they heard of her passing everyone agrees, she’s in a better place now. “I’ve never heard her raise her voice, she had this little sweet voice. Sounded like a little angel. And I know right now that’s what she’s doing, she’s getting her wings, amen,” said Hill. Monday would have been Ebony’s 19th birthday. The Martin News was honored to be able to attend her graduation ceremony at Worth County High School. That is a day, a moment, I will always treasure.

Source: WFXL News and The Martin News

Cookies…. We ALL love Cookies

I’m telling you what… I love the idea of all these fun days to celebrate! There is a National Cookie Day which is celebrated on December 4th. I was thinking what a great day to eat some cookies and not even think about the calories. 🙂 It is even a good day to bake some cookies and share with your friends. I have heard of a cookie exchange. That sounds like a load of fun! So tell all of your friends about this and everybody start cooking those cookies. You will never know what kind of cookies your friends will bring but it will be a yummy day. Another great thing we could all do is bake cookies and take them to our fire fighters and police officers and anywhere else you think of. People sure do appreciate being thought of and eating cookies!