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Archive for October, 2011

Save Time and Money This Holiday Season

I have a confession to make, I used to go a little crazy with the Black Friday sales. Now that I’ve had 10 years experience I think I’ve almost mastered holiday shopping for our family.

The hardest part for me every year is not to overshop as I start early, and getting home by 6:30am so my husband can go to work. As the kids are older I can’t take them with me anymore… unless we are shopping for daddy.

I just realized that the holidays are fast approaching. It’s time to start making those lists!

To get the best value for your money, requires a little planning.

Look online and find the best prices for the items you want to buy and write them down. Then start checking the weekly ads. When a great deal comes up grab it. Save your receipts (I highly recommend taping them to the item) in case you change your mind or you get a great doorbuster deal so that you can return them.

For example Toys R Us is running a Buy 2 Get the 3rd Free promotion on Video Games at the moment. Our son would like a DS this year and many of the games in the promotion were already reduced in price. I got three games for $42 including taxes and I’ll pick them up in the store. That way I don’t have to worry about the UPS guy leaving a toy store box at the front door and I didn’t have to pay for shipping. I’m on the lookout for a DS now. I’m not sure if I’ll get one in the weeks leading up to Black Friday or on the day.

Ordering online and picking up in store is a great option at Toys R Us and Walmart. It allows you to get the best prices and avoid the shipping costs. Your items are waiting for you at the store to pick up. One reason I do this is because I’ve found that Legos are cheaper online at both stores, sometimes up to $10 less. Toys R Us will price match to it’s own website but I’ve found it to be time consuming if you get the wrong checker and I’ve often ended up back at customer service getting a refund because there was a mistake. There may be a smaller selection available for store pick up but it beats driving from store, to store looking for that one, must have item.

I should mention that I found one snag with this on Black Friday for some high demand online doorbusters as stores have accidently oversold items and buyers were not notified until afterwards. Personally I got a fantastic deal on a large toolbox for my husband and got free shipping from Sears a few years ago.

My plan for our holiday list is like this. Start scanning the weekly ads for deals on our list. Keep the receipts for price matches or return if they go on sale in the next 60 days. As the Black Friday ads start popping up on the internet I check to see if I’ve gotten a good deal and start making my Thursday night shopping plans. Last year I got a great deal on a cricut machine for our sons teacher.

This year I also plan on keeping track of our total spend and all our items to avoid going overboard like last year. We are saving for a family vacation so the kids are more than happy to get a few less items this year.

Have you started your holiday shopping?

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iPads Help Nonverbal Children Communicate

Here is part of a touching article about the communication benefits of iPads for kids with disabilities.

Technology helps those with disabilities interact more fully with those around them
A Happy Meal has never tasted better.

For the first time, 13-year-old Victoria Wise was able to order a cheeseburger, French fries and a Sprite on her own – all thanks to an iPad.

Nonverbal since birth, Victoria had only been able to communicate with hand gestures and facial expressions.

But using the device, she placed her order – complete with a “please” and “thank you” – with just a few taps of her finger earlier this summer.

Victoria participated in pilot study through The Speech Garden Institute – a Charlotte-based nonprofit that serves children and college students who have speech and language delays – that tested the ability of iPads to help children with communication disabilities express everyday wants and needs.

Since then, Victoria’s mother, Karen Parker, said she has seen her daughter blossom.

“She was more confident. She was expressing herself where before she would sit back.”

The inspiration for the iPad Communication Project came from a short video clip. The Speech Garden’s executive director, Ellen Holloway, saw a video of child using an iPad to communicate and thought the device could help her students at the institute.

“Once I saw there was an app, I knew this would be great for so many things,” Holloway said.

To read the complete article visit: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/08/14/2520060/ipads-help-nonverbal-children.html

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