Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tips On Staying Connected With Your Kids

(NAPSI)-As children enter school and pursue new interests, more and more parents are doing their homework on finding ways to stay connected with them. Add in MP3 players, cell phones and social networking, and shared experiences may feel like a thing of the past. But connecting doesn't have to be state of the art, and technology can actually bring families together. Here are a few tips parents can use to keep family ties tight while riding the waves of change:

• Set a date. Arrange weekly one-on-one time with your kids. Take turns choosing the agenda for the day, and whether you spend the hours piecing together a puzzle or volunteering, you'll bond over joint interests and perhaps even find some new ones--together. Dates can be done on a budget, too. Keep your eyes peeled for free or low-cost community events and resources. You may be surprised by what you'll find right in your own backyard.

• Be in the know. Talking with your kids about what interests them--either at school or during their free time--will be more productive if you ask questions other than "What did you do today?" Note what activities, toys and games keep them engaged, and try to work them into the discussion. Educational toys offer the best of both worlds, and LeapFrog has a free online resource for parents called Learning Path. Learning Path actually lets you plug in kids' LeapFrog products to see exactly what games have kept their attention, what they've learned and what milestones are on the horizon. You can learn more at

• Make table talk. Kids may grumble when asked about their day as soon as they walk in the door. Try saving discussions for the dinner hour, when they've had a chance to unwind and relax and are more open to chatting. Get the conversation flowing with some shared slicing and dicing, then keep the talk going over the meal you've prepared together.

• Get in their groove. Music is the international language, crossing even the so-called generational divide. Surprise your kids by popping in their favorite CD or asking them to play deejay. By familiarizing yourself with their tunes, you can strike a new chord and maybe even discover that you like a band you'd never heard of. Consider making a mix CD--with a few of every family member's favorite songs--for an inexpensive holiday gift for loved ones.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Safety Tips for a Safe "Trick or Treat"

The spookiest night of the year is around the corner. Kids everywhere are choosing their favorite costume and looking forward to their favorite treats. As parents and caregivers prepare for this celebration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds them to keep safety in mind, so that no child is haunted by Halloween-related injuries. Hidden dangers associated with costumes, treats, and decorations can be easily prevented.

CPSC reports that the most serious Halloween-related injuries involve burns from flammable costumes and decorations, including ignition from open flames, such as candles and Jack O'Lanterns. Other incidents have involved lacerations from carving pumpkins and trips/falls while walking, particularly after dark.

"Our major concern is still the use of home-made costumes that are not flame resistant," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Parents making their children's costumes should use inherently flame-resistant fabrics, such as nylon and polyester. Costumes should fit well and not drag on the ground to guard against trips and falls."

CPSC helps keep children safe by enforcing the Flammable Fabrics Act and by recalling products at Halloween and throughout the year that can cause injury.

Follow these safety tips to ensure this year's holiday is a safe one:


When purchasing costumes, masks, beards and wigs, look for flame-resistant fabrics such as nylon or polyester, or look for the label "Flame Resistant." Flame-resistant fabrics will resist burning and should extinguish quickly. To minimize the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources, avoid costumes made with flimsy materials and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts.

Purchase or make costumes that are light, bright and clearly visible to motorists.

For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car's headlights. Bags or sacks also should be light-colored or decorated with reflective tape. Reflective tape is usually available in hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores.

Children should carry flashlights to see and be seen.

Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Oversized high heels are not a good idea.

Tie hats and scarves securely to prevent them from slipping over children's eyes and obstructing vision.

If your child wears a mask, make sure it fits securely, provides adequate ventilation, and has eye holes large enough to allow full vision.

Swords, knives and similar costume accessories should be made of soft, flexible materials.

Supervise pumpkin carvings to avoid lacerations.

Warn children not to eat any treats until an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.

Carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by trick-or-treaters under three years of age. Do not allow young children to have any items that are small enough to present a choking hazard or that have small parts or components that could separate during use and present a choking hazard.

Keep candles and Jack O' Lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.

Indoors, keep candles and Jack O' Lanterns away from curtains, decorations and other combustibles that could catch fire. Do not leave burning candles unattended.

Remove obstacles from lawns, steps and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.

Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, such as UL. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets.

Don't overload extension cords.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Costume Concert for Kids October 31

The Sandy Creek High School Chorus will present a mini-variety show on October 31. Show times are 4:30 and 5:30 at the Sandy Creek High Patriot Hall Auditorium.

Be sure to wear your costumes!

Admission is $5 per person. Proceeds will be used for the upcoming Chorus trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

UWG: Not So Scary Fairy Tales Returns

“The Not So Scary Fairy Tales: A Not So Haunted House for Children” returns to the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 28-30. The 12-room maze of friendly fairy tale characters and dazzling sets takes approximately 20 minutes to tour and is fun for the entire family.

Can you dodge the Fiery Friendly Dragon, advise the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe or help the sleepy Princess find the pesky Pea? They are just a few of the wonderful fairy tales that come to life in the “The Not So Scary Fairy Tales: A Not So Haunted House for Children” at the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts at the University of West Georgia.

A tour guide will lead the way through a magical maze of 12 rooms in the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts where fantasy and reality become an exciting adventure. Tours will run Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25, and Tuesday, Oct. 28 through Thursday Oct. 30.

Tours are approximately 20 minutes long beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m. in the Richard L. Dangle Theatre. Reservations of time slots have been brisk and early reservations are encouraged.

Each evening features a new family activity at 7:30 p.m. and includes tee-shirt door prizes on Friday; a Fairy Tale Sing-a-Long on Saturday; a Fairy Tale Art Contest on Tuesday; a Spooky Spelling Spree on Wednesday; and a Costume Contest on Thursday.

Other activities include face painting, coloring and story telling. Horton’s Bookstore will also be on hand to sell children’s books of fairy tales.

“The Not So Scary Fairy Tales” is the only event that the TCPA crew produce themselves by planning the maze, painting the scenery and building the sets. Carrollton resident Jenny Lyle is directing the production and David Manuel, technical director at the Townsend Center, is the designer and lead builder for the fairy tale maze that patrons will be guided through.

Designed for children and their families, the production combines aspects of live theatre with a twisting and turning maze carefully crafted to accommodate all children, including those who need assistance.

Sponsors Dr. Chester and Faye Gibson said they are thrilled with this service project to the community.

“We are so pleased to support the outreach of the Townsend Center to the West Georgia community with programming that is educational and entertaining for families,” said Chester Gibson. “The university is a terrific destination with so many opportunities for everyone and we are happy to be a part of those activities that help enhance lives.”

Children young and old will enjoy the exciting labyrinth lurking with friendly fairy tale characters like Alice in Wonderland, Brer Rabbit and Little Miss Muffet. Even Cinderella is waiting to share her pumpkin carriage with visitors.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Box Office hours are Monday- Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If special assistance is needed, contact the general manager, Renét Jones, at 678-839-4722.
To reserve a time slot, call 678-839-4722 or visit for more information.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Concorde South U-11 Girls Win!

The Concorde South U-11 girls from Fayetteville recently won the NASA classic held in Marietta.

Front row L-R: Lily Ammon, Ashton Murray, Alyssa Taylor, Reece Weaver and Madison McPeters

Back Row L-R: Bella Millians, Carson Lamberth, Lily Barron, Peyton Lee, Meg Everritt and Caroline Thomas

In the back is Coach Wayne Simmons

CDC Study Finds 3 Million U.S. Children have Food or Digestive Allergies

The number of young people who had a food or digestive allergy increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2007, approximately 3 million U.S. children and teenagers under age 18 – or nearly 4 percent of that age group – were reported to have a food or digestive allergy in the previous 12 months, compared to just over 2.3 million (3.3 percent) in 1997.

The findings are published in a new data brief, “Food Allergy Among U.S. Children: Trends in Prevalence and Hospitalizations.” The data are from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Hospital Discharge Survey, both conducted by CDC′s National Center for Health Statistics.

The report found that eight types of food account for 90 percent of all food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Reactions to these foods by an allergic person can range from a tingling sensation around the mouth and lips, to hives and even death, depending on the severity of the reaction.

Children with food allergy are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared to children without food allergies, the report said.
Other highlights:

* Boys and girls had similar rates of food allergy – 3.8 percent for boys and 4.1 percent for girls.
* Approximately 4.7 percent of children younger than 5 years had a reported food allergy compared to 3.7 percent of children and teens aged 5 to 17 years.
* Hispanic children had lower rates of reported food allergy (3.1 percent) than non-Hispanic white (4.1 percent) or non-Hispanic black children (4 percent.)
* In 2007, 29 percent of children with food allergy also had reported asthma compared to 12 percent of children without food allergy.
* Approximately 27 percent of children with food allergy had reported eczema or skin allergy, compared to 8 percent of children without food allergy.
* Over 30 percent of children with food allergy also had reported respiratory allergy, compared with 9 percent of children with no food allergy.
* From 2004 to 2006, there were approximately 9,537 hospital discharges per year with a diagnosis related to food allergy among children from birth to 17 years. Hospital discharges with a diagnosis related to food allergy increased significantly over time between 1998-2000 through 2004-2006.

The mechanisms by which a person develops an allergy to specific foods are largely unknown. Food allergy is more prevalent in children than adults. Most affected children will outgrow food allergies, although food allergy can be a lifelong concern.

The full report is available at

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News to Use in Fayetteville, Atlanta, Augusta, Peachtree City and all of Georgia

Peachtree City's Pumpkin Alley

Pumpkins of every shape and size are found at station 81 on Paschal Rd. and station 83 on S. Peachtree Pkwy in Peachtree City.

The annual pumpkin sale by the Peachtree City Fire Department is well underway. Prices range from $2 to $11.

The pumpkin sale, in conjunction with the Haunted House, is the largest fundraiser for the fire department.

Stop in to select the perfect pumpkin for carving.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Games Help Children With Leukemia Find "True Courage"

(NAPSI)-Playing games online could help win the battle against leukemia.

A new program gives families something fun to do together while helping the approximately 895,000 people living with a blood cancer. It all started with one father's determination to turn a devastating situation into a positive way to bring a cure closer for others.

Taylor Carol was a typical 11-year-old boy until he got hit by a pitch during a baseball game in 2006. Follow-up testing revealed something more ominous than an injured elbow--it showed a particularly lethal form of leukemia that does not respond to normal treatment.

The stunning diagnosis led the family to relocate to Seattle for a year so Taylor could receive a bone marrow transplant at Seattle Children's Hospital. Keeping vigil while Taylor fought for his life, his father, software designer Jim Carol, focused his energy on finding a way to help Taylor and other children going through a similar ordeal. The result was Pledgeplay, an innovative, customizable, online casual games and fundraising platform.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has partnered with Pledgeplay to launch, a site that allows participants to play casual games online while donating money to help find cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

"More children are impacted by leukemia than any other cancer," says Nancy L. Klein, LLS's chief marketing and revenue officer. "The online games are designed to appeal to parents and grandparents who are interested in helping children just like their own."

Taylor helped his dad design the site and evaluate the games. He's also the patient honoree for the site. "Helping with the site was really fun and helped me get my mind off how terrible I was feeling," says Taylor.

Players purchase tokens online--$1 per token and a minimum of $10--to choose from six games, such as solitaire and miniature golf. Each token purchased will help fund blood cancer research and patient services.

Taylor returned to school in 2007 and is flourishing in his singing and acting. While at the hospital he met Matt Messina, the composer for the film "Juno," and together they collaborated on a song called "True Courage," which Taylor has performed for live audiences, including a gala at the 100th anniversary of Seattle Children's Hospital and with the Seattle Symphony.

For more information, visit

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Tips For A Top-Notch "Kiddie Table"

(NAPSI)-According to a recent survey*, 61 percent of American adults and 72 percent of American children have sat at a holiday "kiddie table," a place usually known for being full of fun and laughter. This year, add to the festive spirit by employing a few simple tips to give the children at your celebrations a table specially designed for the occasion.

Dish it out. Make the kiddie table inviting for children by giving them their own set of dishware (unbreakable or disposable) that has patterns and colors appropriate for the occasion at hand. Not only will this show kids that you really took the time to do something special for them, but it also significantly lowers the risk of grandma's antique china slipping out of little hands and shattering on the floor.

Pint-sized Picassos. Keep kids entertained by setting up art projects at the kiddie table. Then, use those completed art projects as wall decorations or centerpieces at next year's holiday dinner. This is a great way to make kids feel like an integral part of the festivities year after year.

Help them help you. If you're not ready for older kids and preteens to move to the adult table, give them responsibilities that make them feel needed at the kiddie table. For example, older children can oversee art projects, keep water glasses full or make sure little ones have washed their hands before eating.

Take your table to new heights. Kids will be more likely to want to sit at the kiddie table if they feel like it was specially designed for them. In addition to kid-focused décor and art projects, give them a table that's just their size by using an adjustable-height folding table from Lifetime Products, which adjusts to three different height settings to suit kids of all ages.

Visitors welcome. A kiddie table is a great way for kids to bond with each other, but to make sure they get to spend quality time with older relatives too, set up one extra chair at the children's table where adults can sit and spend time with little ones throughout the meal.

For more information on hosting the ultimate kiddie table, visit

* In a 2007 survey, commissioned by Lifetime Products, of 910 American adults and 721 American children ages 8-17.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Ten Things Parents Can Do to Make Halloween Safer

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for children, but sometimes the most hectic for parents. Nearly 94 percent of children between the ages of four and twelve participate in Halloween activities each year. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) reminds parents to take a moment to consider basic safety precautions that will make Halloween a safer night of fun.

-- CHOOSE bright, flame-retardant costumes or add reflective tape to
costumes and candy bags so children are easily seen in the dark. In
addition, carry a glow stick or flashlight.

-- PLAN a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit
streets. Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods, streets that are isolated,
or homes that are poorly lit inside or outside.

-- NEVER send young children out alone. They should always be
accompanied by a parent or another trusted adult. Older children
should always travel in groups.

-- ALWAYS walk younger children to the door to receive treats and don't
let children enter a home unless you are with them.

-- BE SURE children do not approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless
you are with them.

-- DISCUSS basic pedestrian safety rules that children should use when
walking to and from houses.

-- CONSIDER organizing a home or community party as an alternative to

-- MAKE sure children know their home phone number and address in case
you get separated. Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.

-- TEACH children to say "NO!" or "this is not my mother/father" in a
loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept
anything other than a treat, or leave with them. And teach them that
they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and

-- REMIND children to remain alert and report suspicious incidents to
parents and/or law enforcement.

"Child safety is important year round, but Halloween is an especially important time for parents and children to pay extra attention to their surroundings and not let their guard down," said Nancy McBride, National Safety Director of NCMEC. "It is important that parents exercise a few basic safety precautions to help ensure that Halloween is both fun and safe."

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since it was established by Congress in 1984, the organization has operated the toll-free 24-hour national missing children's hotline which has handled more than 2.3 million calls. It has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 128,750 children. The organization's CyberTipline has handled more than 600,000 reports of child sexual exploitation and its Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 14,750,000 child pornography images and videos. The organization works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile of Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Turkey Trot at Spring Hill

Spring Hill Elementary will host the 5th annual 5K/ 1mile Turkey Trot on November 8th, 2008. The one mile will begin at 8 a.m., and the 5K will begin at 8:30. Registration is $20 per runner until Oct. 24th, and $25 thereafter. The race is part of the Elementary Grand Prix Series with 17 age group categories, and great door prizes! Race profits support both Spring Hill and the Fayette Youth Protection Home. For a printable application visit the school website @ . For question email coordinator at

Calling All Proud Parents: Gap Takes Its Casting Call Search to the Atlanta Area to Find the New Faces of babyGap and GapKids

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Calling all babies, kids and proud parents -- super tot stardom may be no farther away than a trip to the Gap! Today, Gap announced that it will be hosting Casting Call photo-ops on Friday, Oct. 17, at its Lenox Square GapKids store from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 18, at its North Point Mall GapKids store from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Children, 10-years-old and younger, will have the opportunity to participate in a free photo shoot with a professional photographer on a first-come, first-serve basis. After their child's moment in the spotlight, each parent will receive a card with directions to retrieve his or her child's photo online and can then submit their favorite photo to the Gap Casting Call search Website at

"Casting Call is an event that we really look forward to every year -- it's an opportunity for us to meet and interact with our customers and their children in a unique and exciting way," said Pam Wallack, president of babyGap, GapKids and GapMaternity. "This is the first time we're doing the photo-op events in select stores. By adding in these events to the Casting Call experience, we hope to give even more children a chance to participate in the contest by helping them with the first step -- taking a great photo that really expresses who they are!"

More than 40 photo-op events are being held at babyGap and GapKids stores across the nation. A complete list of photo-op events is available online at

Casting Call Location and Time:

Location: GapKids
3393 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
Date: Friday, Oct. 17th
Time: Casting Call Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Location: GapKids
1082 North Point Circle
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Date: Saturday, Oct. 18th
Time: Casting Call Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

About Gap Casting Call

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 22, parents across the country are encouraged to visit where they can upload their favorite photo of their babies (ages 4 and under) and kids (ages 5-10) for a chance to be featured in an upcoming babyGap or GapKids campaign. During the contest entry period, Gap and Snapfish are offering special offers for all valid entries so no one will walk away empty handed! Parents can also check out leading pregnancy and parenting web site, LilSugar ( for special Gap Casting Call features, as well as tips, trends, product reviews and insider secrets to make mom's life easier.

Once all contest entries are received, judges will narrow down the field to twenty finalists -- 10 babies (5 girls and 5 boys) for babyGap and 10 kids (5 girls and 5 boys) for GapKids. These twenty finalists will be flown to San Francisco to participate in a Gap photo shoot and will receive prize packages, including a $300 gift card from babyGap / GapKids and $250 in photo gifts from Snapfish.

On Dec. 8, the twenty finalists will be announced and voting begins. It will be up to America to decide who will be featured in a babyGap and GapKids 2009 campaign. Voting will be conducted from Dec. 8 to Dec. 21 at The winners will be announced in mid-January.

Four children will be selected as winners of the Gap Casting Call -- one baby girl and one baby boy for babyGap and one girl and one boy for GapKids. The winners will be featured in the windows of babyGap and GapKids stores from coast-to-coast and will receive other incredible prizes including a year's supply of clothing from babyGap or GapKids and $450 worth of photo gifts from Snapfish.

For official rules, please visit

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Keep YouTube 'Clean' for Your Kids With Safe Eyes: Leading Parental Control Software Adds Clip-by-Clip YouTube Filtering

PRNewswire/ -- Blocking YouTube from your children's Internet surfing is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The site has its share of R- and even X-rated content that is as easy to find as typing "naked pictures" or "hot girls" in the search box, but it's also packed with harmlessly funny and even educational videos. Now's Safe Eyes(R) parental control software screens each YouTube video individually instead of blocking the entire site, allowing children to enjoy unobjectionable material while protecting them from over 8,000 clips about phone sex, 130,000 about girls kissing and 457,000 in the porn category.

In this latest enhancement to its award-winning program, Safe Eyes automatically evaluates YouTube videos for inappropriate content. The system then blocks offending clips while allowing the computer to display the rest. This goes beyond YouTube's own self-policing system -- which enables site users to voluntarily flag videos as unsuitable for viewers under 18 -- to ensure that individual clips are screened against filters defined by Safe Eyes' pre-configured controls.

Because so many YouTube videos are shared virally through online channels other than the YouTube site itself, Safe Eyes' new intelligent YouTube filtering also evaluates videos embedded in emails, blogs, and sites like Facebook and MySpace. This feature -- unique to Safe Eyes -- prevents children from accidentally or deliberately viewing undesirable footage through the back door. It also makes Safe Eyes the first program to filter YouTube videos no matter where they appear on the Internet.

The new YouTube controls are included with the latest edition of Safe Eyes, now available at Parents also have the option to block YouTube entirely if they wish.

"YouTube is the third most heavily trafficked website in the world and the fourth in the U.S., after Google, Yahoo and MySpace. Blocking the whole site is unnecessary for families because it means blocking good content along with bad, including perfectly innocent videos making the rounds among friends," said Forrest Collier, CEO of "Safe Eyes' new ability to filter out only the offensive clips solves the problem."

"Internet filtering is a useful tool for shielding children from online material they shouldn't see, but being too restrictive can backfire. There is no reason to keep kids away from every YouTube video just because some of them are off-color or otherwise undesirable," said Aaron Kenny, CTO of "Evaluating each video on its merits is a smarter way to handle the issue and one that will give children access to positive content ranging from footage of migrating birds to a speech from the latest political convention."

Safe Eyes enables parents to easily block objectionable websites, control Internet use by length of time as well as time of day and day of the week, block or record instant messenger chats, and block peer-to-peer file sharing programs that may expose children to dangerous material. It also allows parents to limit email use to certain addresses, and detect the posting of inappropriate or personal information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

The software provides broader controls than any other filtering product, including the ability to define which websites will be blocked by category, URL and keyword; receive instant alerts about inappropriate online behavior by email, text message or phone call; and remotely change program settings or view reports from any Internet-enabled computer.

Safe Eyes is also the only program of its kind that can be used in mixed Mac/PC households. A single $49.95 annual subscription covers up to three Mac and/or PC computers with the ability to customize settings for each child and enforce them on any machine. The product's website blacklist is updated automatically every day, eliminating the need for manual updates.

The new Safe Eyes edition with YouTube controls can be purchased at or downloaded free of charge at the site by existing owners.


Established in 1999, specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes(R), is the two- time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors' Choice Award, earned a separate Editor's Choice Award from LAPTOP magazine, and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America's leading consumer advocacy publication. The company's Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

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How to Teach Your Kids Smart Holiday Shopping

(ARA) – Commercialism runs rampant during the holiday season. But all the hustle and bustle that goes along with gift giving is a great opportunity to teach children how to shop for gifts and manage their money.

“Children love giving and receiving gifts. By getting them involved in the gift buying process, you can make it a valuable learning experience, too,” says Scott Oberkrom, director of Community Investments at American Century Investments. “The best way to teach children about money is with real-life scenarios they can comprehend. Purchasing gifts for their friends is a great opportunity for them to learn.”, a Web site that helps parents teach their children good financial habits, offers the following ideas when preparing for this year’s gift giving:

The first step is to set aside money each week for a gift fund. This might be a good time for your child to set up a savings account. Depending on the balance, they might even earn a little interest. Help them learn to split their allowance or other income between fun money and savings.

If their normal allowance isn’t enough to buy gifts for everyone on their list, discuss ways they can earn extra money for their fund, such as raking leaves, babysitting or doing other neighborhood chores. You might also explain how to cut back, such as skipping weekly trips to the candy store so they can purchase a gift for their sibling instead.

As they save, sit down with your child and make a list of people with whom they would like to exchange gifts. Do they really need to give presents to their second cousins or their tent mate from summer camp? The more gifts they give the more money they need to spend. Instead of giving gifts to everyone, they can always make a homemade craft or send a holiday card.

After your child has some savings and determines who they want to give gifts to, it’s time to head to the store and do some shopping. This is a great learning moment for children to start comparison shopping. To help kids understand comparison shopping, ask these questions:

* Is this the lowest price for this item?
* Can it be negotiated?
* Are coupons or discounts available?
* Is it worth paying a little more for a gift that is environmentally friendly or supports a local merchant?
* Is the gift a worthless trinket that will break or high-quality with long term benefits?
* Does the store, in person or online, provide gift wrapping or free shipping?
* If your child’s friend doesn’t like the gift, can it be exchanged?

“By starting early and spending their own money on gifts they choose, kids really get involved in the gift giving process while learning valuable financial lessons along the way,” says Oberkrom.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, October 10, 2008

FDA Licenses Drug to Prevent Joint Damage in Children with Hemophilia A

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved a new use for the blood product Kogenate FS to reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes and prevent joint damage in children with the most severe form of hemophilia.

Hemophilia A is a rare, hereditary, bleeding disorder in which a protein needed to form blood clots, factor VIII, is missing or its level is reduced. The disorder affects about 15,000 individuals in the United States, nearly all of whom are male.

"Administering Kogenate FS to children with hemophilia A on a daily basis before a bleeding event occurs will reduce bleeding into joints and help prevent joint damage, a major cause of disability in hemophiliacs," said Jesse Goodman, M.D., M.P.H., director, FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

When individuals with hemophilia are injured, they bleed longer than a person without hemophilia. As a result, these individuals may experience serious bleeding episodes, often in the joints and muscles. Repeated bleedings increase the chance of joint damage.

Kogenate FS is a genetically engineered version of factor VIII. It was first licensed in the United States in 1993 for use during surgery and to prevent or control other bleeding episodes.

In a clinical trial, 65 boys under 30 months of age with severe hemophilia A and normal joints were observed for five years. The patients received either one daily dose of the drug, or three doses at the time of a bleeding episode. Joint damage during a bleeding episode was 6-fold lower, and the rate of bleeding 8-fold lower, in those boys who received the drug on a daily basis compared to those who received the drug only when a bleeding episode occurred. Most patients received the drug intravenously through a catheter.

The most common adverse events were infection at the catheter site and fever.

Kogenate FS is manufactured by Bayer Healthcare LLC, Tarrytown, N.Y.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Medtronic and Scoliosis Research Society Provide Free Scoliosis Screening Kits to More Than 13,000 School Nurses

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Medtronic and the Scoliosis Research Society launched Spine Check – a new program designed to help promote scoliosis screenings for middle school and junior high school students.

The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), one of the world’s premier spine societies, and Medtronic are supporting the Spine Check program to help improve the overall spinal health of students. Because of a commitment to research and education in the field of spinal deformities, the organizations are working together to generate awareness of the condition, while offering resources to empower school nurses to perform screenings. Related content is also available to surgeons and other practitioners for use in facilitating community education.

“In the United States, less than half of the 50 states currently legislate school screening. The purpose of school screening is to detect scoliosis at an early stage when the curve is mild and may even go unnoticed,” said Lawrence Lenke, MD, Jerome J. Gilden Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and professor of neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, and vice president of the SRS. “As a child matures and becomes more modest, parents may have fewer opportunities to view the child’s back to notice a change.”

Scoliosis is a condition that occurs when the spine curves from side-to-side – often twisting the body. Of every 1,000 children in the population, three to five will develop some degree of scoliosis.1 While most cases are minor, some 27,000 cases each year are so severe that surgery may be required to treat the condition.2-3 Yet experts say school screening is key to detecting scoliosis at an early stage when the deformity is mild and likely to otherwise go unnoticed. It is at this early stage that bracing programs may be effective at halting progression of the deformity and, in turn, at preventing the need for surgical treatment.

“Girls achieve skeletal maturity about two years before boys do and are afflicted with scoliosis that requires treatment three to four times more frequently than boys. Ideally, spinal screening should be conducted annually during the adolescent growth spurt (ages nine to 15 years), but time and personnel constraints may prohibit yearly screenings. So, if scoliosis screening is undertaken, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Scoliosis Research Society, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, and American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that girls should be screened twice, at ages 10 and 12 years (grades five and seven), and boys once, at age 13 or 14 years (grades eight or nine),” said Kathy Blanke, registered nurse, Spinal Deformity Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine.

“Parents and children are often scared when facing a scoliosis diagnosis. is a family-friendly Web site designed to provide parents and children with information about scoliosis in a warm, non-threatening format. The SRS also makes additional educational information and the latest research on scoliosis available at,” said Dr. Lenke.

To learn more about the Spine Check program, or for nurses to request a kit for their schools, visit

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Great Pumpkin Festival Attracts All Ages

Carve your pumpkin, sew your costume, gather your goody bag and head toward downtown Fayetteville for the Great Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Old Courthouse Square and the Stonewall Village complex.

Begin the weekend with the long-standing tradition of viewing the Main Street Pumpkin Walk on Fri., Oct. 24 and Sat. Oct. 25. Groups and schools are invited to participate in the contest by lining the Courthouse Square sidewalks with their decorated pumpkins by 12:00 p.m. on Fri. Oct. 24.

The group or school with the most decorated pumpkins will receive cash prizes including $300 for first place, $150 for second and $75 for third. Also, individual pumpkins will be judged and receive ribbons in the following categories: Best All Around, Most Creative, Funniest and Scariest.

On Sat., Oct. 25 from 10 – 6:00 p.m. vendors will start the festival which will include lots of food, arts and crafts. Then from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. children, along with their families, are invited to Trick-or-Treat on Main Street around the Courthouse Square businesses, as well as to the different business vendors set up around the Gazebo. Main Street will provide the bags at the fountain in Stonewall Village. New Vision Community Church will provide free hayrides and boiled peanuts and music and entertainment will also be provided. Main Street will host a children’s costume contest beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the fountain in Stonewall Village.

Also on Saturday, October 25th, the resurrection of the Great Georgia Ghosts Storytelling Tour is back again this year with the Museum’s Spirit Guides as they take you on a guided walking tour through the Historic City Cemetery. You will meet spirits from beyond the grave and learn about local history through the tales they weave. Learn about the great cyclone of 1892, speak to a Civil War captain and meet Doc Holliday and Margaret Mitchell. You will discover what ties them to Fayetteville and the historic cemetery. Afterwards, return to the Museum for treats.
For the month of October through the Great Georgia Ghosts Tour, a special mourning exhibit featuring Victorian Mourning Styles & Rituals will be displayed at the Museum. Meet at the Holliday Dorsey Fife Museum from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. to participate in this tour. $5 adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

For information or vendor applications for the Pumpkin Walk, Trick-or-Treat on Main Street or the Great Georgia Ghost Tour call Main Street at 770-719-4173.
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Make-Your-Own Puppet Class

Just in time for Halloween, a Make-Your-Own Monster Puppet class is being offered by the Fayette County Parks & Recreation Department. Participants, ages 8 – 14 years old, will make fun and scary monster hand puppets. Use your wildest imaginations and create puppets to entertain others and yourself. This two-day workshop will be held October 21 and 23 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Activities House building at 936 Redwine Road, Fayetteville. Cost is $35 per person ($52.50 for out-of-county residents), and advance registration is required by Friday, October 17. For more information, call (770) 716-4320, or visit us online at


The Fayette County Parks & Recreation Department is currently accepting registrations for our fall programs. Early registration is encouraged as programs/events fill up fast. Pre-registration for all programs is required. At some point, we must determine if enrollment is sufficient to hold the activity. Your cooperation will assist us in providing the best organization and administration of our programs.

Registration is taken on a "first come, first served" basis. All classes and / or events have deadlines that must be met so that staff can properly plan the program. Registration will begin shortly before the event / class and will continue until the class / event has met its maximum enrollment.

PROGRAM INSTRUCTORS: The Fayette County Parks & Recreation Department is always on the lookout for instructors to teach classes on new and exciting subjects. If you have a specialty you would like to share please contact us. For more information, call (770) 716-4320 or email
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Five Tips To Help Pay For Your Child's College Education

(NAPSI)-Skyrocketing college costs coupled with difficult economic times are prompting parents to start saving for college when their child is still quite young. According to the College Board, tuition and fees at four-year public institutions have risen nearly 51 percent over the past 10 years. Fortunately, parents can take advantage of a college funding plan that is specifically designed for their child's college education. Known as 529 plans, these programs provide federal and state tax advantages to encourage saving for higher education expenses. All earnings from 529 plans are free of federal and state income tax, and withdrawals for qualified education expenses are also free from taxes.

"By doing a little research, anyone can get started in a 529 to ensure they will have funds available when their child starts college," said Jackie Williams, spokesperson for the College Savings Plans Network. She offers the following tips to help get started:

1. Learn more about 529 plans. One way to learn more is to talk to friends and family who already participate. Another great way to learn more is through, a comprehensive Web site offered by the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN). The site provides objective information about all 529 plans and offers a simple comparison feature that helps families select a plan.

2. Weigh your options. There are many 529 plans--all states, plus Washington, D.C., offer at least one plan. The comparison feature on the CSPN Web site helps families choose a plan.

3. Familiarize yourself with plan features. Did you know that 529 plans can be used to pay for tuition, room and board, fees, books, supplies and required equipment? Make sure the plan you choose offers investment options and pricing that are right for you. Remember, you are planning for a college education in the future.

4. Diversify your portfolio. A variety of investment options are available with 529 plans. Most plans offer "set it and forget it" options that over time become more conservative as your child gets older. This decreases your risk as college approaches.

5. Start early. Just like other savings accounts, the earlier you start a 529 savings plan, the more money you will have when your child is ready for college. By getting started when your child is a newborn, the gains your account earns can compound until he or she is ready for freshman year. The longer you wait, the more you limit your account's ability to grow in value. That could mean you will have to put more of your dollars into the account, paying more out-of-pocket or from loans, when it's time for college.

Getting started on your plan early can make saving for your child's future college education easier.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Birthday Parties: A Great Way To Teach Children The Fun Of Giving Back

(NAPSI)-Teaching children to help others is a top priority for parents, with nearly two-thirds of moms saying they're interested in guiding their young kids to volunteer, according to a recent youth volunteerism report.

While issues like time constraints and awareness of opportunities may stand in the way, moms recognize that volunteering benefits children in many ways.

Now, Quaker is making it easy for moms to introduce children to the thrill of doing good deeds for their community while experiencing all the fun of a traditional birthday party.

Developed in partnership with Kids Care Clubs, a national youth volunteer organization and a program of HandsOn Network, the Quaker Birthday Party with a Purpose kits were created to help busy moms inspire their young kids to bring goodness to others through youth volunteerism. The kit includes a how-to guide with volunteer-themed party ideas, a special Kids Doing Good T-shirt for the birthday boy or girl, "goodness bags" and achievement certificates.

"Whether it's a 'pirate party' where kids put together treasure chests to donate to a children's hospital, or a 'green party' where kids plant flowers for a community nursing home, the Quaker Birthday Party with a Purpose kits provide a simple-to-use format for moms and are fun for kids," says Kathy Saulitis, director of Kids Care Clubs and mother of three.

The kits are available as part of Quaker's Kids Doing Good campaign, which helps moms inspire their young kids to make a positive difference and get involved in volunteering early in life.

And if you're wondering if all that volunteering will someday pay off for your children, consider this: Experts say helping others allows kids to develop important life skills at an impressionable age. Additionally, a majority of moms surveyed recognize that volunteer activities teach children respect (88 percent), teamwork (87 percent) and compassion (85 percent).

For more information on how to receive a kit or for free volunteer-themed party ideas, visit

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Arts Across Georgia

Friday, October 3, 2008

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Kindergarten students at Peeples Elementary have been studying the importance of community helpers.

Students participated in a Job Day celebration showing what they wanted to be when they grow up.

L-R - Thomas King - archaeologist, Connor Shannon - scientist, Luke Wittbrodt - artist, Olivia Lewis -Vet Nurse, Shelby Gray - Florist

Helping Children Learn, At Home And In School

(NAPSI)-Learning smart ways to teach your children could help improve their reading and math skills--and there are plenty of things parents can do from home, whether kids are in school or not.

For instance, experts say that something as simple as reading aloud to a child regularly can help her build literacy skills.

"Reading aloud stimulates the brain and serves as the foundation for literacy development. Plus, studies show that the more a student reads, the more likely he or she is to stay in school and experience academic achievement," says Dr. Mary Mokris, a reading specialist for Kumon Math and Reading Centers. The Centers, which help boost student confidence and performance by improving reading and math skills, offer these additional tips to help get kids learning:

Make Math Fun

Try playing games with children that familiarize them with numbers and math skills. For instance, you can draw a large number on a piece of paper and encourage your child to transform it into his favorite animal, food, person or imaginary character.

Older kids can be taught fractions by cutting a whole sandwich in half and then in fourths, showing the relationship between "one quarter," "one half" and "one whole." Then have the kids put the sandwich back together again.

Read All About It

In addition to reading aloud to children, you can get them turning pages by helping them choose the right books. For instance, if your child is interested in trains, visit the library with him and check out some train books and magazines.

You might also talk with your child about what she is reading, if she likes it and why. Foster your child's curiosity and answer any questions to make the entire process more enjoyable.

Get Moving

Studies point to a link between movement and learning in children. Encourage your children to stay active, but also encourage them to think while they play. Role-playing games can be a great way to do just that. Kids can run around and act like a certain character as they use creative skills to decide how a character might behave in a certain situation.

For more tips, visit or call (800) ABC-MATH.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Auditions for Children for CCCT’s Nuncrackers

Carroll County Community Theatre has cast the adults for the holiday production of Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical by Dan Goggin. The cast is Becky Allen (Reverend Mother), Martie Abney (Mary Hubert), Liz Banks (Robert Ann), Heather Miller (Amnesia), and Bill Easterly (Father Virgil). CCCT still needs to cast children ages 8 to 14 and will hold an audition on Thursday, October 9 at 6 pm in the Theatre Rehearsal Room. All cast members are required to pay a $10 participation fee if cast. Children should bring a short song to sing acapella to the audition. This musical comedy is directed by Laurence Smith and Kathy Waldrop Production dates are December 4-6 at 7:30 and Sunday, December 7 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10. Perusal scripts are available at the Art Center. Call 770-838-1083 or email for more information.
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IMPACT Fair Makes Science Fun This Weekend in Carrollton

A new science and mathematics outreach program will be launched at the University of West Georgia on Friday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 4, for teachers, children and parents.

Improving, Motivation, Performance, and Attitudes of Children and Teachers, or IMPACT, offers a wide range of fun and educational courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to children and educators in grades K-8.

IMPACT will get children and educators excited about math and science by hands-on learning that will encourage creative thinking and develop problem solving skills.

The children's program is scheduled for six Saturdays throughout the school year and in two weeklong sessions during the summer.

The teacher's program includes development of science kits with individual exploration of student interests, teaching tools and learning resources to use in their classrooms.

All sessions will be led by knowledgeable university scientists, experienced science educators and passionate students who are committed to enhancing teaching and learning of science and mathematics in the West Georgia region.

The Community Foundation of West Georgia, on behalf of the Alice Huffard Richards Fund, awarded $100,000 to UWG for the IMPACT program. To kick off the program, there are two free IMPACT sessions scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 4 p.m.
Master of exciting demonstrations and professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, will show the audience that science and math are fun in the first IMPACT sessions.

The remaining sessions have a registration fee of $5 for each child. All registration fees will be refunded in the form of science kit awards during a celebration event at the end of the program.
For more information on IMPACT, please visit or email or call 678-839-6611.

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Fun Kids' Gifts for Under $50

(StatePoint) High food and gas prices aren't taking a break this holiday season, so how can parents and grandparents still give kids the toys and games that are sure to put smiles on young faces? Forget about the high-tech, expensive gizmos and go "back to basics."

This season, holiday shopping is being made easier thanks to some popular online stores where shoppers can find great classic toys, games and books under $50, that offer hours of enjoyment for kids.

"Now more than ever, parents and grandparents want to pass down the toys that they remember from their childhoods," said Ken Moe of Back to Basics Toys ( "Toys that have passed the test of time are generally easy to understand, provide great play value, and deliver a certain fun factor. Open-ended toys and toys that help foster life skills will always be popular."

Indeed, toys made from natural products have been gaining popularity, as have toys that require no batteries. Parents love them because these toys encourage open-ended, imaginative play.

For shoppers who want to give affordable classic toys, Back to Basics Toys recommends the following:

* The Slinky ($7.99)

* The Viewmaster ($13.99)

* Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots ($22.99)

* Creepy Crawlers Workshop ($29.99)

* Original Colorforms ($34.99)

* Jumbo Tinker Toys ($35.99)

And in these tough economic times, the retailer is offering shoppers the chance to win a $100 shopping spree by entering the Back to Basics "Toys of Our Lives" online sweepstakes, where you can share a photo of your favorite classic toy for a shot at the prize. For more information visit

For affordable gifts that are both entertaining and educational, The Scholastic Store online ( has an extensive selection of books and toys that are so much fun kids won't even notice they are learning.

From gifts for the child who's "going green," to the budding scientist or future artist, The Scholastic Store recommends a wide array of gifts for every age and interest:

* "The Planet Earth" book series ($5.99 each)

* The Dr. Suess Beginner Alphabet Cards ($10.99)

* "The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan" ($12.99)

* "Make Your Own Angel Ornaments" the "book plus" activity book from Klutz ($16.95)

* Create Your Own Pop-Up Books ($17.95)

* The Bill Nye the Science Guy Science Kits ($29.95)

"Holiday giving can include more than high-tech gadgets for kids," said Hope Van Winkle, of The Scholastic Store. "Toys and books that challenge kids to think top the list for the best holiday gifts - not only do kids have the most fun with them, parents and grandparents feel good about giving them."

For more great gift ideas for kids under $50, visit and

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The International Art of Puppetry at your Fingertips...

The Center for Puppetry Arts’ Puppets: The Power of Wonder exhibit provides hands-on educational fun with historic and contemporary puppets from around the world currently housed at the Center. Now, however, the Museum has been taken to a higher level of accessibility by launching the new Online Museum. With the Online Museum, visitors have the opportunity to travel to the Center with just a click of their mouse and have access to a collection of over 1500 puppets.

The Center for Puppetry Arts’ Online Museum is the first online puppetry museum of its kind and allows visitors to have current and up-to-date information, images, and access to the Center’s global collection. “The Online Museum combines contextual information and visual images to enhance learning for scholars, puppet enthusiasts, and those experiencing the art of puppetry for the first time,” says Museum Registrar, Melissa McCarriagher.

The Center’s mission is to entertain and enlighten audiences, nurture the world community of artists, expand the puppetry art form, and explore the past, present, and future of puppetry. The Online Museum allows visitors to do all of that and more from the comfort of their own home, office, coffee shop, airplane seat, or wherever there is access to a computer.

“Accessibility is paramount to the Center for Puppetry Arts’ mission. Our Online Museum has the potential to reach more people than all our programming combined. Anyone in the world with access to the Internet can see brilliant examples of Chinese hand puppets, the Punch and Judy tradition, African puppets, and other puppetry traditions found throughout the world,” says Center for Puppetry Arts’ Curator of Exhibits, Jeremy Underwood.

The physical museum at the Center is open Tues through Sat from 9am-5pm and Sun 11am -5pm with FREE admission every Thursday after 1pm. The Online Museum allows access to the Center’s permanent collection at anytime during the day or night FREE of charge. You decide, visit the Center in Midtown Atlanta, or click in today at .
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