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    A look ahead at the children's health and development stories you'll be hearing about next year.

    By Richard Rende, Ph.D, and Kara Corridan

    How "Obamacare" affects children and families

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- a loaded topic if ever there was one. At press time, the much-maligned healthcare.gov website was working 90 percent of the time, compared to 43 percent in October. So it stands to reason that most of the people who are seeking new coverage during this open enrollment period (which ends March 31 for coverage starting in 2014) will be able to get the information they're looking for. But site functionality isn't the biggest issue when it comes to children; it's whether all children will be covered under ACA, and whether families will indeed be able to select a better and more affordable plan. To help cut through the inevitable confusion, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has created a helpful interactive map linking to state-specific fact sheets that will

    Read More »from The Kids’ Health Stories We’ll Be Talking About in 2014
  • Why Snowstorms Are Bad for Moms

    By Sarah Smith, REDBOOK.

    It's cold in NYC today--and as you may have heard, there's been some snow in the area. Public schools here are closed, and so is my toddler's daycare. Fortunately for us, my husband is off from work today, so we didn't have to scramble for back-up care or call in sick. This morning, counting our lucky stars at the timing of all this, my husband--the part-time nurse/full-time dad--said to me, "When is the world going to catch up with parents and close businesses when they close schools?" And I said, "Welcome to women's rights."

    Related: What America's Top Fertility Doctor Wants You To Know

    For the last couple of months, I've been wondering whether we should send my son to a "2s program" at a preschool next fall on the days my husband works. I've been incredibly frustrated--and, honestly, outraged--that for most preschools, the "extended day" option ends around 3 p.m.
    Thousands upon thousands of dollars so that you can have your child stay "late" and pick him

    Read More »from Why Snowstorms Are Bad for Moms
  • Somewhere along the way, I failed to pick up on the fact that cleaning your washing machine should be done with some regularity - not, like, never. I figured that the soap in the detergents kept it squeaky clean, and why wouldn't anyone? Oops.

    The thing is, soap residue and minerals in commonly used detergents are apt to build up in the washing machine, and over time, you might notice that your clothes just don't seem to get as clean as they used to. My washer had just started to feel icky. And here I was just thinking that maybe I had been cramming too many garments in the same load and not letting the rinse cycle perform as efficiently.

    RELATED: Genius Speed Cleaning Tips & Tricks From the Pros

    I searched around and found about as many different approaches for cleaning a top-loading washer, but one tutorial, a two-step approach, seemed easy, inexpensive and do-able.

    Getting your laundry back on track starts with just two items:
    • 1 quart of bleach (many tutorials went without the

    Read More »from Laundry 101: How to Clean Your Washing Machine
  • Don't load your dishwasher like this.Don't load your dishwasher like this.When it comes to convenience, dishwashers can't be beat, but it's all for naught if you're not using it right. Use these tips to get the most out of your machine and say goodbye to stuck-on messes for good.

    1. Overloading.
    If you try to pile in too many dishes, you'll end up having to do twice the work. If dishes are blocked and water can't reach them, then they won't get clean.

    2. Arranging dishes incorrectly.
    You'll want to be strategic when loading the dishwasher. Put the most heavily soiled items in the center of the bottom rack facing the spray arm. And make sure nothing big is blocking the detergent dispenser; it could impact how it opens and keep dishwasher detergent from being dispensed properly.

    Related: The Biggest Mistakes You Make Using Your Refrigerator

    3. Tossing your detergent pack into the machine.
    Single dose detergent packs should be placed in the dispenser. Tossing one into the bottom of the dishwasher will cause it to dissolve too quickly during the prewash,

    Read More »from The Biggest Mistakes You're Making with Your Dishwasher
  • Shutterstock / The Bump

    By The Editors of TheBump.com

    We know the feeling: You took the pregnancy test and saw a big, fat positive and all you wanted to do was call everyone you've ever met and tell them you're expecting a little one… but hold on! You need to wait it out a bit, just to be safe. So, when should you share your news? Real moms shared their stories and reasons below:

    "We told families at nine weeks, and made it Facebook official nine and a half weeks! We couldn't wait 12 weeks! I say tell people when you are comfortable telling. It's different for everyone." - AirmanWife*

    More from The Bump: Pregnancy shockers!

    "It's really a personal decision. If it was up to my husband we would have told everyone the day the stick said positive but I really wanted to wait. We compromised. We decided to tell our parents (at four weeks) and siblings (at six weeks) right away. We also told our best friends (at five weeks and nine weeks). We told extended family at 10/11 weeks and announced on Facebook at 12

    Read More »from 7 Amazing Women Share Why They Announced Their Pregnancies Before 12 Weeks
  • Melissa Shang, right, with YingYing. Photo: YingYing ShangWhen American Girl announced this week that its 2014 Girl of the Year doll was a blond ballet dancer named Isabelle, at least one avid fan was crestfallen: 10-year-old Melissa Shang of Pennsylvania. And so Melissa, who has muscular dystrophy, did something about it: She launched a Change.org petition asking Mattel (which owns American Girl) to create a doll with a disability. The online petition has picked up 15,000 signatures in less than a week.

    More on Shine: Plus-Size Barbie Image Sparks Heated Debate

    "I want other girls to understand what it's like to be me," she tells Yahoo Shine, explaining the impetus behind her effort — a joint one between herself and her supportive sister, 17-year-old YingYing. While American Girl does sell wheelchairs, crutches, and hearing aids for its dolls, Melissa was hoping for a doll with a story.

    "She was really disappointed," YingYing tells Yahoo Shine about when Melissa saw leaked photos of Isabelle on an Instagram American Girl doll fan community.

    Read More »from 10-Year-Old Girl Petitions for American Girl Doll With a Disability
  • 7 Ways to Empower Kids with MoneyKids are bold. They don't hold back. But sometimes that boldness can make this mama a little nervous. That is why today's post is all about 7 Ways to Empower Kids with Money.

    Ever since I can remember, my daughter has wanted to be rich. My son rarely brings up the topic, but his twelve year old sister is always dreaming about her future penthouse, luxury cars, flying First Class, having closets dedicated solely to shoes, etc. When Pascaline says she wants to be rich, she can paint the picture for you with detail.

    I have to confess that her enthusiasm has made me a little uncomfortable at times. Our family doesn't live in a penthouse or fly First Class. But we still have a great time with life. So why is there this drive in her to want more, MORE, M-O-R-E? I've gone all across the board from it being the influence of media to her passion for fashion to dealing with greed to her just being a kid.

    Related: 14 lessons your kids should learn before they move out

    But at the end of the day,

    Read More »from 7 Things Every Kid Should Know About Wealth and Money
  • Easy Party Cleanup Tricks

    When the party's over and the guests are gone, you might find yourself alone with a pretty big mess. If you're not sure where to start, read on for great tips from Carolyn Forte at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

    "The first thing you need to do is put all the food away," Carolyn says. "You don't want to keep any food out longer than two hours." So if you can muster up the energy to do only one thing, throw your leftovers in the fridge before you hit the hay.

    WATCH: 5 Tips to Cut Cleaning Time in Half

    The immediate party aftermath is a great time to soak your tablecloth and linens. "Toss it in the washing machine, fill it up, and put it on a pre-soak cycle" if you want a head start on next morning's cleanup.

    If stray drink glasses left water rings on your tables, never fear. Carolyn suggests taking a thick towel and placing it on top of the ring. Then, using a warm iron (without steam), gently iron over the towel. "What that's doing is softening the finish a little bit to

    Read More »from Easy Party Cleanup Tricks
  • Kids' gift ideas that won't break the bank.Kids' gift ideas that won't break the bank.By Ingrid Simone, Common Sense Media editor

    If you're like a lot of people shopping for kids this holiday, you want to give kids stuff they'll love without breaking the bank. Using digital media in your shopping can actually save you money on gift giving. Check out these ideas:

    • Go for board games -- digital and old-school. If you have a tablet such as an iPad, adding classic board game apps -- Scrabble, Monopoly, The Game of Life, and more -- can be less expensive than buying the real thing. But the old-school versions of these same titles are lots of fun -- and generally inexpensive, too. Whatever format you choose, family game night can be a budget-friendly entertainment experience.

    • Make your own gifts. Creative websites and apps let kids make cool projects as they learn new technology. With apps like Animoto and Magisto, kids can create videos for free and send links to relatives for the holidays. Kids can design their own scrapbooks, comic books, and more with apps like Book
    Read More »from 5 Budget-Friendly Gift Ideas
  • What I Wish Every Mother Knew

    Thinkstock / The Bump

    This is a guest post written by Dr. Winifred Soufi, a mom and ob-gyn.

    Don't skip meals! Be well rested! Stay hydrated! Alleviate stress! Sound familiar? Most mothers-to-be are aware of these common recommendations, but I wish every mother knew a few other less frequently discussed tips regarding the health and safety of baby, which are just as important. As an ob-gyn of Women's Health Associates and a mother myself, I encourage expectant mothers to be mindful of these invaluable tips.

    More from The Bump: "I knew I was pregnant when…"

    1. Monitor, monitor, monitor.

    I remember feeling my baby move for the first time. It is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. After all, an active baby is a healthy baby! As early as 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, you can begin monitoring baby's fetal kick or movement counts. Establishing a daily monitoring routine is important for tracking the health and development of baby. Once you start feeling consistent movement, you can check baby's movements

    Read More »from What I Wish Every Mother Knew

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