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Solo Mom Archives

Enjoy these previously featured, archived Solo Mom articles. They may be a bit out-dated or out-of-season, but they contain loads of wisdom and ideas!

Scroll down to read all, or click on ...Asia Trips Over Holidays ... Summer Brain Drain ... Top Toys ... Hazardous Toys ... Winter Road Travel Tips ... Halloween Planning Tips

(To see CURRENT Solo Mom entries, please click here for Solo Mom Features)





Deluxe Family Trips to Asia at Holiday Break

A family that takes a wildlife-spotting safari at night on aerial catwalks in the jungles of Borneo will create memories that last a lifetime. And no one knows how to create those moments better than Asia Transpacific Journeys,

Sea kayaking among islands off the coast of Thailand, a dinosaur dig in Mongolia, riding an elephant through the jungle in search of tigers in India, and exploring the Great Wall of China are experiences that will stay with your kids long after the last video game has lost its appeal.

The annual Christmas / New Year school break is a great time for families to experience a multi-cultural immersion through overseas travel. The kids will soak up concepts ranging from to geography to natural history in lessons much more profound than any textbook could impart. You will integrate meaning into your vacation, spend quality time together, bond through shared experiences, and create priceless family memories that will last a lifetime (but don’t tell them that—stating the obvious just might spoil the fun).

People go out of their way for families with children like no place else in the world. And it’s an exceptional value: the current exchange rate makes travel to Asia this year especially appealing. Additional help—whether it be extra porters to carry gear, babysitters, or private cook—is very inexpensive in most parts of Asia.

Land cost starts at $1,000 per day per family, and includes exceptional lodging, nearly all meals, transfers, visa fees, tips, entrance fees, medical and emergency insurance and a comprehensive pre-departure packet. Asia Transpacific Journeys can also arrange international air through its in-house air department.

Info: or call toll free, 800-642-2742.


Avoid Kid's Summer Brain Drain

With long breaks, your children can slack off on mental proficiancy. Here are some fun ways to help them keep mentally fit:

Academic Camps -- If your child is attending a camp, look for one that offers mental as well as phyical fitness.

Writing -- Encourage your kids to keep a journal and read entries out loud.

Math -- Help your child plan a grocery budget or budget for extras.

Analysis -- Encourage solving puzzles, and games like checkers, Scrabble and chess. Kids can create their own games, and try to play along with them.

Reading -- Read stories with your kids and use the library for suggestions and programs. Look at to find personalized reading lists.

Internet -- Seek enriching, motivating sites. Guide your kids as they surf.

More info:


Top Toys and How To Choose


Ask the following questions when you are choosing:

What are my child's interests, abilities, frustration level?


The results are in from our kid and mom testers: Here are Parenting's top picks for children of all ages:
Birth to 18 months
18 months to 3 years
3 to 5 years
5 to 8 years
8 to 12 years

Get the inside scoop on Parenting's Toys of the Year.

Consumer Group Issues 'Troubles in Toyland' List
by Dave Ellis, CNNMoney

While shoppers will be eagerly snapping up toys for their children this holiday season, one consumer advocacy group is urging vigilance before parents spend a single dollar.

Issuing their 21st annual "Trouble in Toyland" report , the Washington-based U.S. Public Interest Research Group warned that there are many toys out there that pose significant safety hazards to children.

"While we can report substantial progress after more than two decades of advocacy on behalf of America's littlest consumers, U.S. PIRG's researchers still found trouble in toyland," U.S. PIRG Research Director Alison Cassady, the author of the report, said.

Nearly 73,000 children under the age of five visited the emergency room for toy-related injuries in 2005, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and 20 children died from toy-related injuries last year.

PIRG, which visited both toy stores and retailers to find toys carrying safety risks, focused on four specific toy dangers - choking, strangulation, dangerously loud toys and those that contain toxic chemicals.

Choking on small parts, balls or balloons remains the biggest threat posed to children, according to PIRG, particularly from such toys as Wal-Mart's Kid Connection Mini Activity Cube.

Hasbro's Lincoln Logs Frontier Firehouse was another toy singled out by PIRG that could pose a choking hazard, while Little Tikes' Carry Along Musical Keyboard with Teaching Lights was considered a dangerously loud toy for children by PIRG.

PIRG also warned of a number of toys that contain magnets, which could cause internal harm if swallowed by a child.

"Swallowing a magnet is not like swallowing a penny," said Cassady. "Powerful magnets can wreak havoc inside the body."

The consumer watchdog also said it discovered a number of toys, including cosmetics and jewelry, that contain harmful chemicals, including high concentrations of lead that can cause lead poisoning.

While most toys were produced by private firms or imported into the U.S. from foreign countries, a number of the toys cited by PIRG were produced by large U.S. companies like Mattel.



Winter Travel Safety Tips

To prepare for winter trave, here are some helpful road trip safety tips to help get you solo moms to and from your family gatherings safely:

Check road conditions and weather report While the weather and roads look OK in your neighborhood that may not be the case 200 miles away at Grandma's house. So play it safe this year and check the Federal Highway Administration's Web site for up-to-the-minute traffic information, detours and road construction before you leave. You can also check the latest weather to find out conditions of the roads you will be traveling.

Winter driving essentials
If you may encounter snow along the way, pack an emergency snow kit, which should include a snow scraper and brush, a flashlight, blankets, booster cables, a shovel, kitty litter, flares, emergency triangles and a first aid kit.

Winter checkup The last thing you want to do as a solo parent is break down because you failed to have your car winterized. Have a certified mechanic check your oil level, tire pressure, windshield wipers, heater, defroster, antifreeze and brakes before you head out on icy and snowy roads.

Don't forget your cell phone As a single mon, it's always a good idea to bring your cell phone and car charger with you. If you do not have a cell phone, consider purchasing a prepaid cell phone that you can add minutes to. In the event that you do need to use your cell phone, leave the calling to one of your passengers or pull off to the side of the road to make the call.

Buckle up The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding all of us to play it safe this winter season and buckle up -- it's not only the law; it could help save your life.

Proper restraints for children While everyone understands that infants and toddlers need to be in a child safety seat, many of us do not know that children under 4'9" must be in a booster seat.

Do you have the best insurance?Getty Images

Do you have the right insurance policies to protect your family's financial future? Compare rates and get advice on auto, health, life and home insurance.

Review your auto insurance coverage When traveling, it is always a good idea to check your auto insurance policy to see what is and is not covered in your plan.


Halloween Planning Tips from

Great ideas for solo moms....

  • •  Halloween is the only holiday where it’s okay if your food looks scary. Top cupcakes with candy corn, gummy worms, novelty rings or plastic spiders. Form cookies into creepy shapes, like spiders or witch's fingers, using cookie cutters or your hands.
  • •  Old-school activities like apple bobbing are always in fashion. To add a modern twist, fire up the fondue pots with caramel sauce or chocolate sauce. When you're all bobbed out, dip apple slices into the sauce.
  • •  Horror movies can either be used as the central focus of your party or, on mute, as great atmosphere. You can't go wrong with a classic starring Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff or a cult favorite like Night of the Living Dead. Or lighten the mood with Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.
  • •  A costume contest with prizes in lots of categories gets everybody involved. Some to try: grossest, best homemade costume, best last-minute costume, most likely to be copied. Vote for winners through secret ballots or have guests strut their spooky stuff with an informal runway show
  • ___


Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips, 1st Edition (Special-Interest Titles)



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