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Back to School Fun   Common Sense Stress Reducers    Theo's Corner

Back to School Tips for Parents

There are some simple things you can do to help your kids be safe as they head back to school. Take a moment to go over this list of safety reminders.

  • Your child should know his or her address, phone number, your cell phone, work, or other contact number, and how to use 911 in case of an emergency.

  • Plan a safe route to school, choosing the most direct way with the fewest street crossings. Tell your child to stay on this route and review safe street crossing procedures. Teach your child all traffic safety rules and remind him or her to be especially careful during bad weather. If possible, your child should always walk or bike to school with a buddy.

  • Your child should be instructed to never talk to or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Discuss what a "stranger" is with your child. Many children consider a "stranger" to be someone who looks menacing, but a stranger is simply anyone that your child doesn't know or trust.

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Back to School Fun

Teacher: Class, we will have only half day school this morning.
Class: Hooray!
Teacher: We will have the other half this afternoon.

Son: I can't go to school today.
Father: Why not?
Son: I don't feel well.
Father: Where don't you feel well?
Son: In school!

Lisa: I'm not going back to school ever again!
Mom: Why ever not?
Lisa: The teacher doesn't know a thing--all she does is ask questions.

Johnny: Mom, do I have to go to school today?
Mother: Yes Johnny, you have to go to school.
Johnny: But Mom, all the kids hate me.
Mother: Yes son, but you still have to go to school.
Johnny: But Mom, all the teachers hate me.
Mother: Yes, but you still have to go to school.
Johnny: But Mom, why do I have to go to school?
Mother: Because you're the principal, son.

Why don't you see giraffes in elementary school?
Because they're all in high school.

Why did the teacher bring crackers to her meeting?
Because it was a parrot-teacher conference!

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Common Sense Stress Reducers

Along with all the complicated advice on how to reduce stress, there are some simple things you can do to make things a bit easier.

Get Organized
By putting things back where they belong the first time, you will eliminate the stress of searching for lost items. Be sure not to overbook yourself either; give yourself plenty of time to get to appointments or meetings.

Live in the Present
Brooding about the past or worrying about tomorrow can increase your stress level. Be realistic about what you can control. Try to focus on the here-and-now in order to not only enjoy what you are doing, but to reduce some of the stress you feel from past or future events.

Help Others
Stress can grow in your mind when you are only focused on yourself. Take time each day to reach out to others around you. It can be as extensive as volunteering to help cancer patients or to teach children to read, or you can simply lend a sympathetic ear to a friend. Either way, you will be less focused on your problems and may be able to better put your worries into perspective.

Humor is a powerful antidote to stress. Laughter distances you from problems, allowing you to gain some perspective on the situation. Try to look on the bright side of things and find the humor in every situation.

Let It Go
One thing you don't need is more stress. Be sure that your worries are yours and not those of other people. You can not control the actions or situations of others, and you may not always know the best way to deal with the things others have to face. You can be sympathetic, but try not to get upset over other people's problems.

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Theo's Corner

Making Your Home Safe for Your Pets

Most homes with children know to keep hazardous chemicals, cleaners, and medication out of the reach of children, but these precautions should also be taken in homes with pets. There are many household items that can be dangerous for pets if ingested. These are a few of the things to look for in your home.


  •  Lawn and garden pesticides

  •  Flea and tick products

  •  Insecticidal aerosols

  •  Shampoos

  •  Cleaning products

  •  Rat and mouse poison

  •  Tobacco products

  •  Aspirin and other pain relievers

  •  Garbage

How do you properly protect your pets from these hazards? Do not leave containers with these types of items where your curious pet can find them. Any spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible, including the outside of the container. Lids should be tightly closed and stored out of reach. Garbage cans should be covered tightly and secured to prevent tipping.

If you have sprayed your lawn with chemicals, do not let your pet on the grass until the recommended drying period has passed. If your pet does come in contact with the chemicals, wash his or her feet with mild soap and water.

Pets should also not be allowed in vegetable or flower gardens or in compost piles. Some plants are toxic to animals if nibbled on. Compost piles can contain bacterial toxins that are harmful to animals.

Rat and mouse poison can be harmful or even deadly if a cat ingests the dying or dead rodent. Take care when using these types of poisons to ensure that your cat does not consume a poisoned rat or mouse.

Trivia Quiz: Dog Days of Summer

Just in time for those Dog Days of Summer, I have put together a trivia quiz to test your knowledge of all things canine! DOGS RULE!


1. Dogs can only sweat from one part of their bodies. Where is that?

2. Which favorite human food is poisonous to dogs?

3. What is the real name of the canine who played Eddie on the TV sitcom Frasier?

4. What color are Dalmations when they are born?

5. True or false: Larger dogs generally live longer than smaller dogs.

6. How do you know when a dog has a fever?

7. The Lhasa Apso is named named after the Tibetan city Lhasa. What does "Apso" mean?

8. How many domesticated breeds of dogs are there?

9. Which is the king of the terriers?

10. What famous person invented the pet door?


1. The bottoms of their feet.
2. Chocolate.
3. Moose.
4. White.
5. False.
6. His ears get hot.
7. Goat like.
8. More than 200.
9. Airedale.
10. Isaac Newton.

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