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.

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!

Lights, Lights & More Lights

As I have already mentioned, I LOVE this time of year! It is so much fun to go see Christmas lights and enjoy time with family. The lights this time of year are beautiful and breath taking. This picture is one provided by Callaway Gardens. If you have never been to see the lights there, you should make a plan to do so. You can ride through in your own vehicle or ride the trolley. There is so many other things that you can do there as well and you can even do a little Christmas Shopping in the gift shop. While you are looking at the lights, you will see them all. They have the twelve days of Christmas. My favorite was the lights that were in motion. So instead of me telling you the rest, go ahead and plan a family trip to Callaway Gardens and enjoy the Christmas Lights. We are going in a few weeks and I am beyond excited! Merry Christmas from Callaway Gardens.

Cookie Cutters Every Where!

If you are ever looking for something to celebrate for fun, look on the internet! They have holidays galore that they celebrate and one this week is Cookie Cutter Week. How cool does that sound? I love cookie cutters. Let me tell you about a Cookie Cutter Christmas Tree I did one year and about one year is all it took for me. HA! I am not even sure how the idea came up but we always had themed trees in our house. My friend did too. Now she puts up way more trees than I do. Unless she has gotten rid of the cookie cutters over the last year or two, she still puts it up. I loved my cookie cutter tree and disliked it all at the same time. 🙂 I am very OCD and like things neat and in order. When you have hundreds of cookie cutters in every color and size, there is NO order to that! Let me tell you though how we did it. I started collecting the cookie cutters and my mother and friend would buy me some for every occasion and then some no occasion gifts. I would put them up and when Christmas tree decorating time arrived, bam there they were…. Piles and piles of them! I had every holiday kind and every kind in between. I did love my tree but my OCDness wouldn’t let me stop trying to fix it, so I passed it on to my friend. Now she had two smaller trees with them on it and they looked adorable so the morale to the story is I should’ve used smaller trees… 🙂 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Martin News.