Winterize Your Family

Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to prepare your home, car, and kids. Make sure you load up on ingredients for winter meals and plenty of hot cocoa. Let’s look at a few tips to make winter easier for you and your family.

Keep the Heat In

Winter gets cold, so make sure your heater is in top working order. Schedule a professional maintenance check and avoid costly breakdowns later in the season. It’s also a good time to change out your air filter. A fresh filter ensures that your HVAC system traps the dust and irritants that cause runny noses and coughs.

The south side of your home gets the most sun in the winter, so open the drapes or blinds on that side. At night, close all drapes and blinds to insulate against the cold window glass. Don’t leave kitchen or bath exhaust fans running for extended periods of time. Turn them off when you’re done. Check your vents and make sure nothing like furniture, carpeting, or drapes is blocking the warm air coming into the room.

Stock Essential Supplies

Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients to make soups and stews. There’s nothing like a hot meal to warm the body on a chilly day. Use spices, herbs, and root vegetables to flavor your winter recipes. While you’re at it, stock up on the supplies you need in case a winter storm downs the power lines.

Some food items to keep on hand include bottled water, peanut butter, canned juices, crackers, bread, and baby food if you have a young child. Also, carrots, squash, apples, raisins, and nuts stay fresh a long time. Keep apples in the fridge for up to a month. Other items important during electrical outages include:

  • Diapers
  • Pet food
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Extra blankets
  • Jugs of water
  • Salt and sand to spread on driveways and sidewalks
  • Medication supplies to last several days
  • First-aid kit
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio and clock
  • Cellphone

Keep emergency supplies in your car too in case you get stranded. Check your antifreeze levels, battery, and tires. Always carry jumper cables, small shovels, an ice scraper, and flares in your car.

Bundle up in Layers

Winter means warm clothes, and nothing keeps you warmer better than layers. Make sure your children wear several layers, like t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets, during cold snaps. A good rule for youngsters is to add one more layer than you wear yourself. Keep plenty of hats, gloves, and scarves on hand for bundling up. If you live in an area that expects snow, make sure your family members all have snow boots.

Before the first snowfall, buy a sled. The plastic ones are inexpensive and offer hours of fun for kids and adults. Also, keep plenty of board games on hand and extra batteries for electronic games in anticipation of days when staying indoors is your only choice. Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If you’re shivering, it’s time to go in.

Follow these tips, and remember to bundle up and stay safe this winter.

5 Signs Your Child Is Gifted

Not all gifted children are alike in their giftedness – that’s one point at the top that bears mentioning. While difficult to generalize, a gifted child is usually recognized as one whose intellectual ability is significantly higher than the average for their age group. But the similarities stop there. One gifted child might be socially awkward and withdrawn, while another might be charismatic and socially fluent. One might excel at sports, while another struggles with basic physical tasks. In short, there are a wide variety of gifted children.

And it’s not always easy being gifted, either. The increased demands for perfectionism can weigh heavily on a child whose only error – they might think – was being more intellectually inclined than others. That’s why if you have been searching for a child psychologist to assess your child for giftedness, it’s good, as well, to talk to them about how to match their curriculum and programming properly to their level of ability. Intellectual curiosity and passion can be a great benefit to a child’s wellbeing, if respected and handled correctly.

Assessment by a psychologist is important when dealing with a gifted child; relying on school evaluation alone can be tricky, as they may under-identify for reasons like lack of attention or organizational skills. With that in mind, here is a list of 5 signs (by no means comprehensive, but a good starting point) for telling if your child might be gifted. If your child meets some or all of these criteria, look into getting a gifted assessment from a psychologist.

Complex Vocabulary

Does your child like to participate in adult conversation, perhaps at your dinner parties where subjects like science or politics come up? Their precociousness might seem precious to everyone at the table, but under their actions and vocabulary lay a deep desire to connect with more complex issues. If their vocabulary and reading comprehension are higher than average, and if their sentence structures more complex, pay attention, as they might be asking for a more challenging curriculum.

Following Long Instructions

The ability to internalize and follow long instructions is an indicator of giftedness. For instance, if you were to ask them, “go in that store, ask where the cereal aisle is, pick the cereal with the lowest calorie count per serving, take it to the checkout, pay for it with this bill and ask for the change back in quarters”… that’s a long, multi-step instruction! The ability to follow that shows great memory and comprehension.


If your child can easily recall conversations, or things they saw and learned, they could be gifted. Memory underpins a lot of other intellectual capacities, like scientific knowledge and vocabulary.

A Passion For Learning

Does your child have a long concentration span? Do they take evident delight in learning new things and exploring new topics? An unusually robust intellectual curiosity is certainly an indicator of giftedness, and should be followed up with assessment by a psychologist.

Emotional Sensitivity

Finally, emotional sensitivity, often coupled with a strong sense of ethics and a great capacity for empathy, could indicate giftedness. An appreciation of natural beauty and art is also something to look out for, and to nurture.

Again, if you think your child might benefit from the gifted identification, or if you just want to ensure that your child’s curriculum and learning are matching their intellectual needs, visit a psychologist for an assessment.

9 Tips to Protect Your Home This Winter

Winter is a tough time of the year when the weather can be difficult, and we have to protect ourselves every time we step outside.  We also need to protect our homes in various ways to make sure they stay safe and warm through the season.

Protect your home

Before the worst of the freezing temperatures come along, it is worth checking the water in your home.  You should know where the water mains are in your home and how to shut them off if there is a problem.  Check all visible pipes for signs of leaks – even a tiny leak can lead to a burst pipe in the colder months.

Another protect to ensure is that you have the right home insurance in place, just in case anything does go wrong.  Chill .ie lets you check the cover you have and make sure you are getting the best price.  Look for things like the excess on an escape of water claim to make sure you won’t be left with a bigger than average bill if something bad happens.

Make sure all the safety devices in the home are working and have batteries such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as well as your house alarm if you have one.  Check your locks are working well as ice can freeze up mechanisms if you don’t use a certain door very often.

Keeping it warm

Your home’s heating system is one of the most important things during winter and it can be advisable to have a service on your boiler and heating system before the weather gets to its worst.  The colder it gets, the more pressure is put on the system and the greater the chance that something goes wrong, leaving you without heating and hot water.

If you have air conditioning systems in your home, this is another system to have checked during early winter.  Because these units have outdoor elements, they can be prone to freezing and can lead to a breakdown or other problems.

Ideally, set your home temperature between 18-20 degrees (64-68 Fahrenheit) when you are in and a little cooler when you are out at work.  That way you reduce the risk of pipes freezing and bursting.  Even in unused rooms, keep a low-temperature setting for this reason.

Outside safety

There are some steps to take around the outside of your home to help protect it in winter as well.  For example, trim back any trees or dead branches that are overhanging paths or the main footpath – these could fall and cause injury.

Make sure the gutters are free from leaves and that the drain for the main downpipe isn’t blocked.  Blocked drains can cause a range of problems from the ice on paths to burst pipes in the house and even penetrating damp.

If there is a good fall of snow, then use a brush or rake to clear paths within your property boundaries to make it safe and scatter some salt or grit to make it easier to get around.

3 Simple Ways to Customize the Look of Your New Home

Buying a new home is both an exciting yet daunting experience for many new and even experienced homeowners. The checklist of what to do is endless with plenty of inspections and other odds and ends. It’s a lengthy process due to inexperience between the buyer and seller. But mostly because of how many people are involved to close on the home. This includes contractors, inspectors, attorneys, real estate agents, local government, and others. Finding the ideal mailbox or purchasing a new area rug for the living room unfortunately does not come until much later than most imagine.

Buying a New Mailbox

Let us assume you have closed on your new home and it is the right time to begin making it your own. It may seem odd to think about buying a new mailbox when you get your new house. However, mailboxes can influence the look of your house because it is pretty much the first part that most will see. When shopping for the ideal mailbox you can check out specialty stores online, like, for a great selection of mailboxes that come in all different styles and materials.  Some new homeowners can feel nervous about digging a hole in his or her yard to set up the mailbox. These services can also do the dirty work for you. It is common to have a company representative come out to do this. In the case of Mailbox Works, a customer can dial 811 and the company can put you in touch your new utility company to send someone out to mark all of the utilities.

Get Some New Lighting

If the lighting in your new home has not been updated for a while it may be the right time to brighten the new home. Finding new lighting is actually easy and cheap to purchase and install in each room. Modern lighting has an interesting affect by making a home feel larger and warmer.  It’s as easy as spray=painting the home’s fixtures and installing high quality lights. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that for your own safety it may be a good idea to hire an electrician to install the fixtures properly.

Renovate Your Entrance

Front entrances can be boring if not done right. It’s an idea that only the wealthy can have entrances with sculptures and extravagant walkways. Those can be expensive for sure; however, there are other ways to liven up a front entrance.

Believe it or not, hardware stores sell economical outdoor lights to use for a walkway. The most important upgrade is well placed potted plants that can complete the home by filling up space with nature

Between finding a new mailbox, making a walkway, and placing some plants should feel proud the exterior of the house. There are too many simple ideas to consider when it comes to upgrading your new house. Of course the granite counters are tempting but just take it one step at a time.