Computer Maintainence: Start-up Options

by Julie Fletcher

March 20th, 2008

Clearing Your Start-up

When cleaning your family computer, the first thing you should clear is the first thing that loads when you computer starts. This is the start-up and tells your computer what programs to allow to run when the whole system starts.

The problem with many computers is that there are a ton of programs running in the ‘background’ and will slow down a system considerably. Follow these instructions to help speed the loading of your system and performance in general.

Instructions.

First, go to your start button. If you are using Windows Vista, this button will appear as a round button on the bottom left corner of your screen. In the very bottom of the choices is a box that says ‘Start Search’. In this type area put ‘msconfig’.

This will bring up a new box on your screen, System Configuration. Choose (click) the Startup tab. Uncheck ALL of the boxes on the tabbed screen if there are any checked. Your computer will tell you that the changes will take effect after your next restart.

Restart your computer now. When the system loads, you should notice a difference in speed.

Quick List For Reference.

Start Button >Search: Msconfig

System Configuration > Startup> Uncheck All > Restart

Posted in Uncategorized, Computers and Technology | No Comments »

Thwarting Babysitter Drama–Forewarned is Forearmed

by Erika-Marie Geiss

March 19th, 2008

Every now and then, my husband and I try to get out without our darling boy. In fact, last summer, we started having a standing date every Friday night. Once the colder months hit, our “standing Friday night date” went by the wayside because we didn’t feel like braving the cold, we were having a hard time coming up with things to do, and it turned out that we preferred to just relax and snuggle and maybe catch an “on demand” movie or two after the little guy was in bed. Yeah, we’re lame. We do still go out at least once a month–it probably doesn’t sound like much, but getting out was also hard because of watching the hysterical and teary-eyed boy standing at the door as we left after wrestling ourselves from his clutches. It was heartbreaking and the temptation to call and see how he was doing after we’d left was too great.

He always seems to know too, that my husband and I are getting ready to go out without him. When else does Mama put on make-up and carry a bag that’s smaller than the diaper bag? He is a very observant boy and seems to know and understand our routines and rituals. It’s uncanny.

Two Mama-and-Papa outings ago, I had a “eureka” moment, inspired not so much by the impending arrival of the babysitter, but by the activity that we were in the middle of. My son and I were playing in his room, and having a grand time when I realized that it would soon be time for me to start getting ready. While we were playing I initiated this conversation with my 25-month-old, whom we affectionately call Bean:

Mama (excitedly): “Guess what, Beany?”
Bean: “Wha?”
Mama (still excitedly): “Guess who’s coming over to see you?
Bean: “Me?”
Mama: (still excitedly): “Yes, you! Kristen’s coming over to have dinner with you and for a play date just with you! Isn’t that great?”
Bean: “Yah, yah, yah, yah, yahhhhhh!” (jumping up and down).
Mama: “And Mama and Papa are going to go out–so it’ll be just you and Kristen for your play date!”
Bean: “Kay” (for okay.)

We continued playing some more and I announced that when Papa went into the shower, I’d make Bean’s dinner.

He was completely nonplussed. I made his dinner and when my husband came back downstairs, I went to get myself ready. On cue and on time (as always) Kristen arrived. Five minutes later, my husband and I were out the door, leaving the two of them coloring while Bean finished his dinner.

There were no tears, no tantrum, no drama. He blew us kisses and waved bye-bye as we left.

It turns out that this wasn’t an strange occurrence. I tried the same kind of forewarning the next time that my husband and I had a child-free outing, and it yielded the same results.

Am I deceiving him, by calling it a “play date” instead of telling him outright that Mama and Papa are going out without him? I don’t think so. To him the babysitter’s arrival means the impending doom of Mama’s and Papa’s disappearance. To the little ego-centric mind of the toddler it means that he’s missing out on something, that we just may be having fun without him. But by letting him know that the babysitter’s arrival is not about Mama and Papa, but is all about him and sharing an activity that he loves–playing–it removes the frustration. And, since he does know our routines and habits, preparing him ahead of time shows that we respect him enough as a person to inform him of changes to his world, and gives him ample time to process the sitter’s arrival and look forward to his special play date. The sitter isn’t spurng upon him, deflating any expectations that he’d be having Mama and Papa to himself all night.

So if you’re being confronted by babysitter drama when you try to leave, try the gentle forewarning approach. It just may work for you, too.

Posted in Parenting, Babies, Behavior Issues, Guest Blogger | No Comments »

Family Computer Maintenance

by Julie Fletcher

March 17th, 2008

The Family Computer

Today many families rely on computers in one for or another. Some of you may work from home, share photos with family, speak with friends, or use the computer as an outlet if you are disabled and unable to leave home. Children use computers to complete homework. You use computers to come by this blog and visit with me, too!

I’d like to offer some advice on keeping your computer running smoothly. This has nothing at all to do with my old computer dying a few days ago. No . . . not at all. Heh.

First of all, keep your computer clean. When I say clean, I mean to remove all the gunk that you get when you visit different sites around the web. Your computer caches every single thing you do or see, so it is a good idea to run a cleaning program once a week. More if you do a lot of surfing. You may associate ‘washers’ with those ads that pop up and tell you to ‘cover your tracks’, but in reality, cleaning your computer is an important part of keeping it running in peak condition.

Free Software for Family Computers

Eusing Software offers free washers and a registry cleaner I use often. They are free to download and use, though you can offer a donation. Donations help keep free software free! I suggest saving all of your passwords to a text file before using the internet washer. It will erase all saved passwords. Use the registry cleaner anytime you uninstall a program, it will help clean up old, unused registry values that may slow down your computer.

Spybot Search and Destroy is my favorite spy ware removal program. Adaware is ok, but they’ve since moved their free program from the home page in an effort to get people to buy the premium version. Spybot is free, but as with Eusing, you can donate to help with development.

Next post, we will talk about more maintenance of the system. In this new series we will also cover actual cleaning of the computer to increase its’ longevity.

Posted in Computers and Technology | No Comments »

Spring is time for…

by Erika-Marie Geiss

March 14th, 2008

…Puddles!

The snow is melting. The spring rains and “seasonable mixes? are falling…and that means one thing and one thing only to the little ones—puddle jumping. To parents this instills thoughts of wet shoes, socks and cuffs, mud and the germ fest that might be lurking within those growing pools around the yard and neighborhood. But to the wee ones puddles mean endless fun.

Don’t fight it. Embrace the puddle adventures by being prepared and thinking of it all as a learning experience.

Here are some tips for going with the flow:

Spare Change. Keep a spare set of clean, dry socks, pants, shoes and a small towel in a gallon-sized zipper-styled freezer bag in the car for when you encounter a puddle on your usual journeys. Depending upon how much of a splasher you have, you might also want to include an extra jacket, top or mittens if it’s still chilly enough in your area to need mittens. When you venture out, factor in some extra time for a few minutes of splashing (and a quick change) if you can. You can put the wet clothes in the freezer bag after you make the change into the dry gear. Don’t forget extra wipes and hand sanitizer (used sparingly) and don’t forget to change the “spare set? when it gets worn. Put it back in the car as soon as possible so that you can be ready at any time for those impromptu puddle adventures.

B-O-O-T-S. BOOTS! Any Laurie Berkner fan knows the song. Consider keeping Wellie-styled rubber boots ready for when the little one wants to venture out. You can get them almost everywhere relatively inexpensively at bricks-and-mortar stores such as Target and Walmart and at higher-end stores like Nordstroms. You can also order them on-line at LLBean, Lands End, Zappos, Piperlime, Wellie Boots.com, CoCo Bons.com and many others. With or without matching rain coats they are a “must have? not just for puddle jumping, but for those wet and wild rainy days. (If you’re concerned about products for your child that may contain vinyl or Bisphenol-A (BPA) because of their potential to disrupt our hormonal systems, be sure to read labels carefully and choose ones with rubber only or the lowest amounts of vinyl or BPA.To learn more about potential issues and hazards of vinyl and BPA visit the Environmental Working Group.)

Be Prepared. If you don’t have rubber rain gear you can still enjoy the puddle-fest by rolling up pant-legs and having a spot to change out of wet clothes right when you return to the house. Near the door, keep a towel down to keep the floor dry. (It also means a quick clean-up of wet things for easy transport to the laundry. Just scoop everything up in the towel and take to the washer.) You can also keep a change of clothes ready for when you get back into the house or a dry robe. Don’t forget to wash hands (and any other body parts that may have come into contact with puddle water) after you have changed out of the wet clothes. It may even be a great time for a bath to continue the water play and get the little one thoroughly clean.

Jump In! Why let the kids have all the fun? Get in on the action and get in touch with your own inner child and make a splash or two yourself. See who can make the biggest splash. Play with cause and effect: what happens if you just tap the puddle with your toe? …your whole foot? Stomp in it? Walk through it? For older splashers who will know not to try and taste the water, see what happens if you float a leaf in it, toss a rock into it. The possibilities are endless and you can also turn a fun time into a learning activity. Extend the learning for the older splashers by drawing pictures or writing a story about your puddle excursion(s) once everyone is inside and dried off.

Be Vigilant. While your child doesn’t know a safe puddle from an unsafe one, as a parent you do. Trust your instincts, if you think a puddle looks unsafe steer your child to a safe puddle. What makes a puddle unsafe? Debris, it’s extra muddy, it has oil or other slick appearance on top of it, birds or other animals avoid it entirely, it is near dog poop or other animal droppings, it smells strange, it is in or near the street or near a sewer, drain, ditch or other municipal drainage system. If you do see puddles that are suspect (especially ones with oil or what may seem to be hazardous materials, let your Dept. of Public Works know…it is better to alert them to a potential issue than to let it go unaddressed.)

End It Well. Time is elusive to little ones. Everything either takes forever (when they are waiting) or didn’t last long enough (when they want to do something). Avoid the end-of-activity battle by letting them know ahead of time how long you’ll be out, or that in x-number of splashes left it will be time to go in. That way the fun doesn’t just end abruptly. Also pay attention to your child’s cues that they are ready to go in or do something else. You can always do more tomorrow, and if that’s the case, tell them so. Wrap up the activity with some warm milk or hot cocoa when you get in as an extra warming-up treat after everyone is in dry clothes.

With a little planning and creativity, puddle adventures can become an enjoyable and hassle-free experience for you as much as it is for the kids. Now go get splashing!

Posted in Parenting, Lifestyles, Activities, Clothing, Guest Blogger | 1 Comment »

Brooke Hogan Feeling Effects Of Dad’s Infidelity.

by Julie Fletcher

March 13th, 2008

Brooke Hogan lashed out at her former best friend on her Myspace blog, though the post has since been removed, for sleeping with her famous father, Hulk Hogan.

The WWE Superstar recently was divorced from his wife of 21 years. He had been having an affair with his singer/reality show star daughter’s best friend who is 33. According to the mistress, she and Hogan had began to see each other when Hogan and his wife had privately decided their marriage was over.

Brooke Hogan had posted:

“I think she shoulda thought about what kinda press she was gonna get when she slept with her best friend’s famous father … I think we’re all seeing just exactly how karma works Christiane. Nothing you say will ever put my family back together.”

There was more, but the starlet removed the post after deciding that the situation should be dealt with out of the public eye.

It is a sobering reminder that children are affected by divorce and infidelity no matter who they are and their age.

Posted in Uncategorized, News Items | No Comments »

Another Mama Blogger joins the fray

by Erika-Marie Geiss

March 12th, 2008

Thanks Julie!

When I first learned about Family Resource, I instantly bookmarked and it became one of my primary family resources (every pun intended). So you can only imagine how excited I am to be joining some esteemed company as a guest blogger here–and Dawn Allcot is going to be one tough act to follow.

As Julie said, I am a mother–to a mostly darling two-year old boy going on five. He thinks that he’s much bigger than he is, but that’s okay, it just the adventure more interesting. I’ve been a WAHM for just over two years now and love it as it gives me the flexibility to focus on and provide what I hope is a good balance for my two passionate jobs: parenting and publications. (I say publications since I am both an editor, a writer and most recently the creator and editor-in-chief of theWAHMmagazine.)

A bit of a “frunchy” (or fashionably crunchy) mama, the topics that I write about include current events, parenting, babies and toddlers, energy issues and natural parenting/natural living. I’m looking forward to sharing with Family Resource readers about these and other fun and important family-related issues over the next month.

Posted in Guest Blogger | No Comments »

March Guest Blogger!

by Julie Fletcher

March 12th, 2008

I’d like to introduce this months’ Guest Blogger, Erika-Marie Geiss.

Erika is the Editor in Chief of the new WAHM Magazine located at http://www.wahmmagazine.net . She is a mother, a writer, and a good friend. She will be posting right after me, so let’s give her a wamr welcome to Family Resource!

Posted in Uncategorized, Guest Blogger | No Comments »

Teens and Open Discussion

by Julie Fletcher

March 11th, 2008

My oldest daughter and I had a conversation about sex yesterday. I tried to play it cool, but inside I was in a turmoil. She is 14 and very interested in boys. I can remember that age well, very well. My daughter thinks and says to me all the time that I am ‘cool’. We like the same music, enjoy the same style of dress, and I do not judge her for her choices.

It may not look like it, but each and every time we have a conversation about something that is deep and this important, I hold myself back from giving what she would say is ‘uncool’ advice. Condemning her or her friends for that sip of alcohol, throwing a literal fit over the fact that she has a friend who smokes pot, and restraining myself from interrogating her on her activities when she is with her boyfriend.

It isn’t the fact that I care if she thinks I am cool or uncool. No, I feel that to have my child trust me, I have to trust her to make her own decisions. While we talk together about personal things quite often, it is nice to know I am the only person she confides her deepest thoughts to. She feels safe enough to tell me her concerns about her friends who drink, the ones who smoke pot, and to express that she just isn’t ready to have sex yet.

It isn’t always easy to be the open and accepting parent. You can feel as if you are being punched in the stomach at some of the things your child tells you. But when they tell you, with real sincerity in their voices, along with relief, that you are the only person they feel as if they can turn to and be so open. It is so worth it.

Is your child open with you? If not, are you willing to step back and let your child make a few choices without judging? This may be the step you need to take to become closer with your child. Please share your thoughts.

Posted in Uncategorized, Adolescence | No Comments »

Xbox Live Gamers Support Autism Awareness

by Julie Fletcher

March 10th, 2008

There is a new website that is dedicated to recruiting people who enjoy playing video games and want to contribute to a good cause.

Gamers For a Cure is located at http://www.gamersforacure.com and is open to all gamers who are 18 and older. For a donation of just $10 USD, you can help further awareness of Autism. You can join in tournaments, win cash and support the Don Earl Early Childhood Development Center.

I am currently working to get in contact with the owner/admins of the site to bring more news to you. For now, you may sign up to join the community, but the site is very new and is only open for joining. As news develops, I will be posting more information.

Posted in Uncategorized, Special Needs | 4 Comments »

Enough with Winter, Already!

by Dawn Allcot

March 10th, 2008

Winter seems to be dragging on this year. Here on Long Island, we’ve had a total of three inches of snow—maybe. We’ve also been treated to several 50-degree days in the middle of January and February. But the rest of the country hasn’t been so lucky.

Maine has received no less than 10 feet of snow in some areas. A friend told me that her mailbox is entirely covered in snow, and, if her German Shepherd were white instead of black and brown, she’d risk losing her every time she went outside!

Julie Fletcher has made the best of the weather by making snow angels. But at some point, you just want to say, “enough’s enough!? I’ve always suffered from a mild version of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It was much worse when we lived in a basement apartment, but even now, I’ve had it with the winter.

Five tips to cope with this long, long winter:

- Bundle up, get outside, and get active. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins that boost your mood. But if you’re tired of the riding the same old treadmill as you stare at the television, get outside! Bicycling may be out of the question with the roads slick, but you can take a walk, have a snowball fight with your kids, or even go sledding. Pretty soon, all this snow will be gone and you’ll miss it—okay, maybe not!

- Let daylight in. We rent an older house with horrible insulation; we keep heavy curtains on our windows throughout the winter so less heat escapes. But sitting in the dark is not the best way to get happy. The days are getting longer; enjoy every last bit of sunlight you can get by tossing open those blinds and letting the sun stream in.

- Use full-spectrum bulbs. Full-spectrum lights, http://www.verilux.com/light-therapy-lamps/seasonal-affective-disorder often used to treat SAD, are pricey. But if you’re at your wit’s end with winter, the purchase may be well worth the money.

- Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep will make the lethargy of winter feel even worse.

- Remember, it’s almost over. Soon, the harsh winter days of March will give way to April showers and, finally, May flowers! Hang in there. In the meantime, prepare by getting a jump start on your spring cleaning, that way you can enjoy the nice weather when it rolls around, rather than being stuck inside reorganizing your closets.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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