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Kristina

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K.C. O’Leary lives on a small farm in New England with her husband, two homeschooled daughters, and a menagerie of pets. She has been a freelance writer and editor for seven years and also works as a designer. Kristina is always looking for new and exciting ways to blend her writing and artwork and finds her greatest inspiration comes from her children and the natural world surrounding her family’s farm.

Teaching our children proper and effective road safety is one of the most important lessons we can share with them. Introducing them to the rules of road safety when their young helps to enforce an awareness of the dangers of the road and, more importantly, an understanding of how to navigate those dangers. The best time to start teaching children about road safety is now. It doesn’t matter if they’re two years old or twelve years old.  If you haven’t started yet, get going. The earlier they begin learning, the more comfortable they’ll be when the time comes to put their knowledge into action. Road Safety Basics for the Youngest Set It’s important to make learning road safety fun for youngsters. Instilling fear is a sure way for your efforts to backfire. That being said, it’s necessary to help young children realize that there are very real dangers associated with…

Eating for two may well be one of the most enjoyable aspects of pregnancy. Indulging in a little extra hummus or peanut butter or, let’s face it, ice cream or a few potato chips, here and there is a definite pregnancy perk. As long as you do your best to maintain a predominantly healthy diet and refrain, whenever possible, from gaining too much weight, you should be fine to indulge in a craving every once in a while. Aside from not over-doing the sweets and other foods that don’t offer a whole lot of nutritional value, and barring any dietary restrictions due to a medical condition, there are relatively few foods that mothers-to-be are advised to stay away from. However, there are a few precautions that you should take seriously regarding your nutrition and the health of your unborn baby. Don’t worry. The list isn’t very long and it isn’t…

One of the most exciting moments in a pregnancy is when you feel your baby kicking for the first time.  However, many mothers, especially those who are experiencing their first pregnancy, aren’t always aware of the first kicks.  They often mistake them for gas or nerves.  Nevertheless, somewhere in the second trimester (sometimes as early as the 13th week for women who have had previous pregnancies and as late as the 26th week for first-timers), you will feel that first kick – something akin to a flutter or tickle deep in your belly.  Make no mistake about it, it will be one of the best and happiest moments of your pregnancy.  Those little kicks, which will become more frequent and more powerful as your baby grows, are often your baby’s way of communicating with you.  It’s important to pay attention to them so that you can learn what your baby…

If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably already realized that your body is capable of playing all kinds of mischievous tricks on you.  Perhaps you’ve been battling morning sickness, or your skin has broken out and resembles a photo of yourself from eighth grade, or maybe it has you waking up three or four or even five times during the night to use the bathroom.  There are all kinds of surprises in store for pregnant women.  One not to be overlooked is the dreaded hot flash. Hot Flashes:  Not Just for Menopause We’ve all heard about hot flashes – those uncomfortable episodes that leave middle-aged women flushed and sweating as they navigate menopause.  Well, here’s a little tidbit:  they can happen during pregnancy, too.  The reason they accompany so many of us during our pregnancies is due to fluctuating hormonal levels.  Just like menopause, pregnancy wreaks havoc with our hormones.  As our…

As in any medical procedure, there are risks and benefits to be considered when choosing which option is best for you.  It’s likely that, if you haven’t already, you will soon find yourself discussing labor delivery options with your physician and, most likely, friends and family, as well.  You will probably hear all kinds of information regarding the best delivery option for you.  As in most situations, the more research and knowledge you can stockpile for yourself, the easier it will be to feel comfortable with your decision, whatever it may be.  Let’s begin at the beginning. Important First Steps in Choosing the Best Delivery Option for You and Your Baby Create a birthing plan that clearly states your wishes and expectations during delivery. Include a Plan A option that reflects your most ideal scenario and also include a Plan B that would be referred to only if your Plan…

Changing diapers isn’t difficult, but it does take up a surprising amount of time.  Infants require an average of 10 daily diaper changes. As they mature, the number decreases to about 5 or 6. However, since the average child doesn’t potty train until they’re two years old, it’s safe to assume that you will spend over 400 hours changing nearly 5000 diapers in those first few years. But, don’t look at those hours spent as a burden.  Moments spent diapering your child can be special bonding times, as long as you’re properly prepared so that you can focus on the positives instead of the inevitable messiness that is part and parcel of diapering. Three Basic Rules of Safe Diapering There are three concrete rules that all caretakers must abide by.  They are not up for debate. Always wash your hands before changing your baby’s diaper. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive……

Diaper bags are essential items for new parents.  They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.  You can find inexpensive vinyl ones, moderately priced printed fabric ones, or even top-of-the-line Italian leather ones. But, regardless of what you pay or what it’s made out of, the dirty truth is, diaper bags get messy. Really messy. Since it’s not always an option to toss our diaper bags in the trash when they become too soiled, it’s best to concede to the idea that you will need to spend some time caring for your trusty sidekick. For the most part, diaper bags can be cleaned and cared for with just a few simple non-toxic household items. If you put a little time and effort in every now and again, your bag shouldn’t have any trouble going the distance and staying with you for the long haul.  While there are several cleaning agents…

One of the most popular questions parents of newborns ask is, “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” It seems every pediatrician, grandparent, and even strangers all have their own secret recipe for getting your baby to sleep (and stay asleep,) so you can get the much-needed rest you need. Some of this advice is valuable. Some of it is downright dangerous. While anyone who’s ever spent a few nights around a newborn can attest, sleep is a luxury that is hard to come by. Parents and caregivers desperate for sleep will often resort to any means imaginable to get even four or five uninterrupted hours of shut-eye. But, take heart. You are not alone. Parents around the world can sympathize with you. It does get better.  Did you know that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 90% of newborns sleep 6-8 hours straight through…