Back To School Tips for Parents

August 14, 2014 in Parenting

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It’s the time of the year to start thinking about school days again. Here are a few tips for parents to make those first days of school easier – especially for the little ones, who are just starting their educational journey!

First day of school can be quite stressful – for the child and for parents. Especially if we are talking about a younger child changing schools. Here are a few simple tips that are easy to follow and will for sure help to avoid uncomfortable and stressful situations:

  1. If the school is new to your child, make arrangements to take a tour before the school starts
  2. Meet the child’s teacher – if you can’t do it in person, schedule at least a telephone conversation
  3. If your child has any medical conditions – and that includes allergies, finalize them with the school nurse
  4. The night before first day of school pack your child’s backpack with his help – then there are no questions locating important items
  5. Put your child to bed early the day before school – if he or she has a tendency to be anxious and stress, fatigue will aggravate the situation
  6. On the first day of school make sure your child wakes up early enough to allow plenty of time to get ready and have a good breakfast
  7. Pack a nutritious lunch and sneak in a little love note – especially for the younger child
  8. You may want to consider driving your child to school for the first day – even if plan is to use alternative transportation later
  9. Walk into the classroom with the younger child, gtreet the teacher and introduce your child and yourself
  10. Remind your child what time you will be back to pick him or her up
  11. If there are other parents present, introduce yourself to them
  12. And whatever you do – do not be late!
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How to Sell on eBay

September 2, 2009 in EBay

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draft_lens2079950module10523195photo_1216522593postcard_1_forweb-fullThere are a lots of guides on how to sell on eBay – how to make few extra dollars to supplement your income or even make a living doing it. I can’t tell you which is better than the other, but I can give you a guide that is based on years of doing the actual selling. I have never done to replace my real job, but I do believe that it can be done if you give it the time and the effort that it needs. eBay makes it easy to understand and guides you through the process very nicely – here is the information I can give you:

How to Sell on eBay:

  • The ideal situation is to be able to offer a product that is or is perceived as being unique
  • The eBay buyer is looking for a bargain – either in a sense of price or in finding that unique product
  • To achieve the desirable unique status, product is the key. But equally important are the factors that will influence the buyer and raise your product over the one your competitor is offering. This is achieved by spending time and effort on perfecting the description copy, creating quality photo images, quality packaging and prompt delivery.
  • The description is absolutely crucial to the selling success – that is the first picture the buyer makes of the product and the seller. It is important to remember that the intent here is to describe the product – long and arcane terms do not work. Accurate description is a must n eBay. Carefully research your product, give detailed but to the point specification and stay focused and actual.
  • When listing the product, it is good to know that the exact category is not as important as making sure the product has the right name and description – that is how the buyers will find it.
  • Similarly – selling term and conditions have to be considered carefully – unclear description or vague terms can easily label the seller as one to stay away from.
  • It is a great idea to always include tracking and insurance with shipping. The biggest reason is that buyer can get impatient, request a shipping update and return email with status is worth gold. All buyers love to get answers to their questions and faster that gets done, the more loyal the buyer will be.
  • eBay success demands quick responses – whether it is to email requests from potential buyers or quick delivery services. As a seller, it is important to offer payment options that will not extend the delivery time – that mean PayPal or credit cards. Money orders or cheques take time and it is almost certain that buyers will add that time to the delivery service and potentially complain about long waiting time to receive their product. And C.O.D’s are definite trouble.
  • A companion website is an absolute must for eBay success. The website should have the products moderately higher prices. Crucially important is the website content – it should have lots of “free stuff” in a way of genuinely useful and unique informational pieces or tools for buyer assistance. The object here is to set up a two way street. One that sends buyer to the website and website visitors to eBay.
  • Very important part of gaining buyer confidence and loyalty is a good About Me page on eBay. That page should have detailed information about you, about your products – anything that will interest the buyer and help them to get to know you, increasing their comfort level.
  • Refunds can be a sensitive issue in eBay selling. That is why it is so very important to set clear rules on each listing. Full refund should be offered within a reasonable time and given when buyer requests it with a good reason. It is a fact that the offer of refund will guarantee the sale will stay sold. One thing is not recommended – and that is a partial refund. It just never satisfies the buyer. Another recommendation is to complete the refund and then block the buyer from future purchases – it would only get worse on second purchase so it is better to prevent that buyer from repeating the situation.
  • Considering eBay charges – some of them are not very cost effective. Especially the ones with higher cost – like special placement charges. They could be considered similar to ego trips – just for the sake of seeing your own item in a prominent place. As far as the buyers go – they will go check out comparable items, so save your money on this one. The gallery listing is definitely worth the quarter it costs – picture is worth a million words. It is important to have a good image for the listing – that will certainly make a difference.
  • Auction listings get the most traffic and the important things here is to find the right starting auction price. The best way is to use Advanced Search for completed items feature and check comparable items that recently sold on eBay and use that as a guide to set the price. Without a doubt – lower auction start prices will attract buyers – and once they start bidding, the game is won.
  • Feedback is completely voluntary and it can cause a lot of problems if you get a buyer with a bad attitude. Feedback is difficult to retract and it is never a good idea to respond to the negative one. If you must respond, it is absolutely critical to not be negative, keep it brief, factual and unemotional.
  • eBay is the best way to sell on the internet – and those who complain about the high costs of listing, final value charges or PayPal charges do not understand the process, the value or the cost of business.

If you are thinking about selling on eBay, I hope this guide was helpful. I will be happy to assist you along the way if you need to – please feel free to contact me by posting your comments, suggestions or questions!


You can also check out my eBay store at:


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Easy to make Gift Baskets

March 15, 2009 in Gifts

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satin_ribboncellowrap2jpga082_flowerSimply defined, a gift basket is a collection of foods and/or gift items arranged in a basket or other container, then wrapped in cellophane and topped with a bow.

I am sure you have seen lots of extraordinary baskets at various stores – but the bad thing about them is that they usually have the extraordinary price tag to go along with them! This article should help you with creating your own gift baskets for just a fraction of the cost! You can make a nice gift basket for as little as $10… or you can get as creative and extravagant as your budget will allow. Plus, when you make your own gift basket, it’s a much more personal gift….and you always know the recipient will be happy with it because you only fill it with things they are known to like and enjoy!

A gift basket van be created for any occasion imaginable – birthdays, holidays, anniversaries or just because”. You can create a basket to express appreciation for someones thoughtfulness or to cheer someone during an illness. There are so many possibilities! I am including a relatively short list of the many different ideas that are possible, And as you get into putting baskets together, I guarantee you will get more and more idea with each one! And remember – you don’t need to follow my instructions to the letter, just use them as a guideline and customize your gift basket according to the likes of the person you are giving it to.

Use your imagination…. and have fun!!! :-)

1. Choosing your basket: The first thing you will need to do is to find a suitable basket. You may even have one lying around your house that you can use! Or you can buy baskets in lots of different stores – from Pier1 to Walmart. Personally – I look for baskets in thrift stores and definitely at garage sales.Choose a medium to large-sized basket, either with or without a handle. Just make sure it will be big enough to hold all items you are planning to put in it, but not so large that you will be left with a lot of empty spaces in it once all items are put in. You also need to make sure that it is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the items you will be putting into it. Or…. consider other possibilities, because who says that it has to be a basket? You could also use any of the following items instead of a basket. These ideas could also go with the theme of your gift basket:

  • A large sturdy shoebox decorated with fabric inside and out
  • An antique lunch box made of tin or a plastic lunch box
  • A gallon ice cream bucket decorated with fabric, ribbons or lace
  • A serving tray that you buy and decorate yourself
  • A terra cotta pot
  • A large pasta bowl or colander
  • A crock pot
  • A large picnic basket
  • A large salad bowl or casserole dish
  • A cowboy hat
  • A laundry basket
  • A tackle box
  • A large wok
  • A cookie jar

or dab blotches of different coloured acrylic paints on the basket with a sponge. You can also paint designs, pictures or words on the basket with a paintbrush. Or you can glue silk flowers, small figures or pieces of fabric to the sides… Be creative!

2. Adding the filler: Fill the basket with wadded packing paper (that’s the thick white or tan coloured paper that mail order firms use to fill spaces between your merchandise and the box. Press the paper down firmly to fill three-quarters of the basket, leaving one-quarter from the top empty for your filler and gift items. Add your filler inside the basket on top of the paper. Here are a few ideas you can use for filler:

  • Coloured cellophane grass
  • Crumpled tissue paper
  • Shredded coloured paper
  • Tinsel or garland
  • Straw
  • Raffia – (straw-like twine)
  • Spanish moss
  • Pieces of plain or printed fabric
  • Towels, placemats or napkins

There are also all kinds of any types of filler and shred that you can buy at craft stores. Choose the type of filler that enhances the colours and theme of your basket the best. If you will be adding a piece of fabric, a placemat, napkin or a towel as one of the gifts, consider draping one of the pointed ends over the rim, down the basket’s front in a triangular shape, and then folding the rest on the basket’s bottom before you insert the paper. This styling creates an attractive display in front of the basket.

3. Adding the gifts: Now it’s time to add gifts to your basket. Taller gifts should be placed in the back, with shorter items up front. This allows the recipient to easily see everything in the basket. Starting from the back, decide where the first item will be placed. Use your fingertips to make an opening in the filler large enough for the item to be inserted. Your fingers should expose the packing paper below, because the item will sit on top of the filler. Put the item in place, slightly lifting the filler around the item, so that it resets about one inch around the bottom of each gift. The filler acts as support to hold each items upright. Repeat this technique until everything is in place.

4. Enhancements: After you have placed your filler in teh basket and added all the items to it, you may still have some small empty spaces that look like they need something. Here are a few ideas of small items you can use as enhancements to fill any empty spaces in your basket.

  • Silk flowers
  • small jars of jelly, jams or preserves
  • Fruit – apples, oranges, tangerines, etc.
  • Small bottles of cologne or perfume
  • Small decorative soaps in various shapes
  • Small toys or figurines (for kid’s baskets)
  • small wrapped candies

5. Wrapping your basket: Once you have decorated and filled your basket, then it is time to wrap it in cellophane. An easy way to do this is to use a basket bag,which can be purchased from a craft or a discount store. These bags are made of clear plastic and some are decorated with various designs. The two rectangular panels which create the bag are fused together on three sides, leaving the top open for easy basket insertion. Bring the basket down into the bag and close it at the top with a bow. The two ribbons attached to the bow should be tied snugly above  the basket handle or tallest item. If the bag is wider that the basket, fold each side lengthwise in half-inch folds until the bag is flush with the basket, then tape in place. You can also wrap your basket using a piece of regular clear or coloured cellophane or homemade wrapping paper. Cut a large piece of your wrapping materials, put your basket in the middle and pull the sides up. Tie the top with festive ribbons or raffia. Be sure to add a pretty bow to top it off. Of course, you don’t have to wrap your basket if you don’t want to…that is your choice! Many baskets, decorative boxes and tins can usually stand alone without wrapping. Some :baskets"- like tote bags, backpacks, shopping bags. etc. are actually best left unwrapped. Instead, finish them with a colourful bows and ribbons. You can also attach any of the following items as extra decorations for the outside of your wrapped ot unwrapped gift basket:

  • Small holiday ornaments
  • Small toys
  • Silk or dried flowers
  • Candy canes
  • Small pinecones
  • Springs of holly, mistletoe or other greenery
  • Small items or figurines that go with the theme of your basket
  • A homemade gift tag

That’s it! Your basket is now complete and ready to give to someone very special!




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Because Mama Knows

March 2, 2009 in Featured Articles, Gardening, News

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Welcome to the new and improved Mama Knows! We’ve worked hard to get the new website up and running, we’ll be updating it daily with the best in cooking tips, parenting advice, investment advice plus special features on how you can set up your very own profitable eBay store.

Mama Knows is a social network for women of all ages to network, connect, trade secrets and pass along knowledge. Thanks for visiting and please Register and Participate today!

You will be  invited to ask questions about what interests you, find great recipes for even the simpler things, find out how to plan a great special event and make things you never thought you could!

Here is a small example – stepping stones for your garden, that you can very easily and inexpensively make yourself!

I didn’t think could do it, but couple years ago I was looking for some nice stepping stones for my garden and I found out that the ones available on the market had couple things in common – they were either a bad quality or tacky design, or they were way too expensive. Take a look at a few samples of what I made and I guarantee you that you will be able to make your own very quickly – send me a note and I will send you the “recipe”!

Stepping stone - Dragonfly design

Stepping stone - Dragonfly design

Stepping stone - Sea Crabs design

Stepping stone - Sea Crabs design

Stepping stone - Tropical Fish design

Stepping stone - Tropical Fish design

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