Monday, March 30, 2009

Tax Time: Facts About The Child Care Tax Credit

As tax day approaches, you may be looking for ways to maximize your tax deductions. If your children attended daycare or you hired a babysitter, you may be able to reduce your taxes this year by claiming the credit for child and dependent care expenses.  The expenses you paid must be for the care of one or more qualified children under the age of 13 and both you and your spouse must have earned an income (unless one spouse was a full-time student or was physically or mentally incapable of self-care).

Read the top ten tips about this tax credit at Strollerderby's blog or visit the IRS Website for more detailed information.  

Photo by Phillip.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Teaching Kids To Save

No doubt about it, our country is facing tough times. Every day seems to bring more bad news about our economy and what the future holds. As we tighten up our budgets, we can also teach our children how to become a little more frugal. 

In our house, we aren't afraid to simply say no when asked for the umpteenth time "can I have (fill in the blank)." We also look for bargains instead of buying things at full price and we love resale stores! Our daughter seems to grow about two inches every month, so bargain shopping certainly helps us stick to a budget.  Personally, I enjoy shopping at our local children's thrift store. I always seem to find an armload of the cutest clothes for no more than $40 (plus a stray Barbie). And it seems we aren't the only family who think it's pretty "cool" to be frugal.

Photo by Ken Wilcox

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Possible Treatment For Peanut Allergies

There may be a promising new treatment for peanut allergies. Scientists announced last week the results of a small study which involved giving highly allergic children small amounts of peanut flour daily for over two years.  The children gradually became less sensitive to peanuts during this time. 

Moms of children with peanut allergies have mixed feelings about the new treatment and with good reason.  Peanut reactions can be very scary with swelling, hives, itching of mouth or throat, shortness of breath and in severe cases, anaphylaxis. I've personally suffered through several allergic reactions to peanuts, which were very scary. I learned from a young age to always ask about the ingredients of unfamiliar foods and read labels. For those of us who suffer from food allergies, promising new treatments are a step in the right direction. Click here to read more.

Television Is Not A Sleep Aid

Citing evidence that television viewing before bed undermines healthy sleep habits, advocates for children are urging PBS KIDS Sprout to stop packaging its evening programming as The Good Night Show. Read more...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are The Baby Products We Use Safe?

Increasingly we are hearing about toxic chemicals being found in baby products.  Officials are examining the chemical BPA to determine whether to issue a public health advisory or outright ban on its use in baby products.  Products such as baby bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups all contain BPA.  Recent investigations have found this chemical may cause developmental problems and other illnesses in fetuses and young children.

While some major retailers such as Wal-Mart promised to eliminate BPA bottles from their shelves, manufacturers Gerber and Playtex agreed to stop using the chemical in bottles.  Click here for more information on BPA.