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Does Your Busy Schedule Take Time Away From Interacting With Your Children?

Sometimes we have a tendency to get so wrapped up in our busy schedules that we do forget about quality time with our children. This isn’t referring to time in the car taking the kids to school or dance practice. This refers to good old quality time between a parent and their child.

This may seem difficult when a lot of parents are working two jobs, going to school to further their education, or even taking care of sick family members. It may seem impossible to find the time to do interactive things such as playing games, practicing flash cards, doing crafts, and other activities that are important to a child’s development.

The good news is that there are ways for busy parents to still help their kids learn despite their busy schedules. It just takes a little bit of creativity.

Utilizing time well

Organizing time is the key to being able to spend time with your children. If you’re going back to school, try to organize your school schedule to the best of your ability to free up some of your time. The same is not as easily said for work schedules, but there are some cases in which an employer will allow the reorganization of a work schedule.

It more or less depends on the type of industry that you work in. Some parents have even had their children’s bus drop the kids off at their work or the kids walk to the place of work. Here, the parent can spend time with their children while waiting for the other parent to pick them up.

Multitasking is another way to be able to spend time with the children. While dad is doing chores throughout the house, daughter can be getting her homework done. If he is working around the kitchen, she can do her homework at the kitchen table so that he can help her when she needs it. Even if you have to wait in the car for prolonged periods of time, having the kids do homework in the car is a great way to have quiet time and be available when they need you.

Making routines out of these two things can make a huge difference. Doing some of the same things repeatedly gets the kids and you used to doing them and it will become a way of life. Children are always learning and making it a routine to do things such as talk to them or help them with their homework enhances the learning experience considerably.

Getting help

It also helps if you can find others to help you. This is especially true for single parents. A good babysitter may be able to help the kids with their homework if you can’t be there. Maybe there is even a summer program or afternoon program that your child can go to until you are able to pick them up and have great conversation in the car on the way home. Even having a grandparent or a friend help out is a great way to keep your child moving where he or she needs to go.

As you can see, there are some creative ways to spend time with your child even if you need a little help here and there. In the end, you will find time to spend with your child even if it is for a little while before bedtime. Doing little things such as reading a book, telling stories, playing educational games making sure your child gets to where they need to be when they need to be there shows that you care and support them in the things they want to do.

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The 6 Very Best Hints For Looking Terrific in Pictures

If you have ever looked at photos of your favorite stars and models and felt a hint of jealousy, then you most likely don’t consider yourself as being very photogenic. You aren’t alone. There are lots of people who look at photos of themselves in picture frames around other people’s homes and think that they don’t look good. But the great news is that everybody has the ability to look fantastic when photographed, whether you are at a warm get-together or a fancy formal event. Putting your very best face forward is as easy as following the hints below:

Try to have great posture. There is a good reason that your mother always advised you to stand up straight. Stand up straight during photo opportunities. Having good posture will help you to appear to be more certain of yourself, taller, and more fit than you already are. Take a big breath and then try to suck in your stomach muscles. Pictures of a subject that is slumped over can make that person look older, more tired, and less attractive.

Position yourself at an angle. As you stand facing the camera, your hips need to actually be turned slightly. This little bit of an artistic twist can add untold aesthetic interest while giving your torso a slimmer, more slender look. Rather than positioning your feet just a bit apart from each other, angle them slightly with one foot in front of the other. In effect, one foot should partly “hide” the other one from view. This will make your legs appear more slim.

Make that double chin disappear permanently. A lot of people seem to have a double chin in photographs – even when they don’t naturally have a real double chin in “real life”. If you are one of these people, you do not have to deal with it anymore! To prevent the dreaded two chin result, you need to be careful of your posture and stand up straight, tilt the chin downward and out and then rest your tongue firmly up against the roof of your mouth.

Get the attention of the camera. Haven’t you ever heard the saying “Smile with the eyes”? Smiling eyes are what truly makes photos worthy of putting in beautiful picture frames and displaying them to the world. Think of pleasant things, smile with the eyes, and capture the attention of the camera. You’ll be surprised how quickly your inner model will appear!

Take some time to do your hairstyle and makeup really well. Put cover-up on any blemishes, and use a little powder to soften any oily looking spots. Pluck those eyebrows! Put on luscious lashes and lips and a hint of blush on the cheek bone. Start with clean, shiny, healthy hair, and add a tasteful hairdo. Smooth any flyaway hairs and add a hair accessory for more sparkle.

Make sure that the colors you wear will complement your skin tone. You are probably familiar with the tones make your skin appear pasty in which ones will really enhance your skin tone. If you are not sure, then simply ask for some advice from someone who really knows you well. In most cases you will want to keep your clothing simple and tasteful for the very best results. Steer clear of crazy patterns and chunky extras that tend to take the focal point of the picture away from you. Do not hold any objects in the photo – like a purse, drink, or cell phone. If you do hold on to anything then it may distract the people looking at the picture from focusing on you.

Follow these tips and you’ll take the best pictures of your life, photographs that you can place in picture frames on your mantle or desktop for your dear friends and family to enjoy for lots of years to come!

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Best Hairstyle – 5 Tips For Finding Yours

If you haven’t had a new hairstyle since “the Rachel” was all the rage ten years ago, you may want to consider a trip to your local hairstylist before your friends feel the need to hold an intervention. Unsure of where to start? Don’t worry, the following tips will help make sure you end up looking like a modern new you.

1. Make sure you know what you want. Your hairstylist hates hearing “oh I don’t know, just surprise me”. You are very likely to get the surprise of your life and spend the next three months growing out your bangs. It’s a lot better to take a photo of your intended haircut with you to the salon. At the very least, you should be able to describe the length and shape you have in mind.

2.Don’t try to be the next Charlize Theron. It’s much better to be the best version of you than a second rate version of a popular celebrity. The fact is, while most celebrities have the perfect oval face to compliment almost any hairstyle — the rest of us don’t. Determine your own face shape and browse the internet for age-appropriate hairstyles that match your features.

3. Make sure you can afford it. Some hairstyles are just plain expensive to maintain. A super short cut may need to be trimmed every three weeks, and blond highlights need to be retouched frequently. Even daily styling products can add up in cost, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before you ask for a bleached blond pixie cut that requires four different styling products.

4. Skip the trends. If you are honest with yourself, you will probably admit that there is one perfect haircut that best shows off your face and features. Once you have discovered your perfect hairstyle, keep it. But you can update it with highlights or lowlights or a textured cut. Ask you stylist for ideas on how to modernize your look without dramatically changing it.

5. Use cosmetology student for styling maintenance. If you are lucky enough to have a Paul Mitchell or Toni & Guy styling school in your area, you might consider having one of their students trim your new ‘do. These schools usually hire very experienced stylists as their instructors and their students get a top rate education. You might have one of the expensive salons cut your initial style, and then get it trimmed at a high-end school.

By following these five tips, you can get a new hairstyle and a new attitude about life in general. Just think a new hairstyle could lead to a whole new you!

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Finding the Best Craft Glue For Your Card Making Ideas

Whether you are working on a card making idea or a scrap book page one of the main things you simply can not do with out is proper craft glue.

Depending on what you are trying to attach will determine the type of craft glue you need.

There is nothing worse that creating a stunning card or scrapbook and the embellishments fall off after a few days, which is why it is important to use the right craft glue to suit what you are doing.

Craft glue can come in various forms. Liquid, glue sticks, tape, dots, and glittered, envelope glue and so on. It is important to use the right craft glue to avoid ruining your projects.

The craft glue I mainly use is double sided tape, this is because it is very strong and will hold almost anything together, If I was to cover the front of a card in a different paper I would always use double sided tape, the only disadvantage of using double sided tape is that once you have stuck the item down you will not be able to remove it without damaging it, therefore you will have to get it right first time.

Sticky dots are another popular choice of craft glue, these are more versatile because it is possible to stick something down and if you are not happy you can carefully remove it and re position it. Sticky dots are however a little bit messy, they seem to get everywhere, you should receive a special rubber with a pack of sticky dots, which you can gently remove any stray one with.

Using a craft glue stick may work for some card making ideas however I find that if using thin paper it can cause the paper to crumple and have a puckered look which does not really give it a professional finish also most craft glue sticks will only stick paper to paper, if you wanted to stick a more fancy embellishment then it may not hold.

Spray mount is a wonderful craft glue that is perfect for card making ideas and scrap books, one of the advantages of using spray mount is you can reposition your work but once it is dry it is permanent the only disadvantage is that it is harder to control where and how much you spray.

There are so many different craft glues for different projects you will soon find you will need a draw to hold them all in but craft glue and having the correct type could mean the difference between your card making ideas looking fantastic or not so good.

You can even get a glue that will stop fabric from fraying, it is so annoying when you cut a lovely piece of ribbon and attach it to your project only for it to be all frayed and unattractive the next day. This glue bonds the fabric preventing this from happening.

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How to Cook Pasta Right?

When one thinks of Italian cuisine, Pasta is what comes to mind first. Pasta cooked perfectly and with the right combination of ingredients can be an absolutely mouth watering dish- a real treat for your taste buds. It is light on the stomach and healthy too. It is a wonderful combination of flavors all packed into one. You would discover the authentic Italian taste one at a time as you relish spoon after spoon of this treat. A heavenly dish that is both quick to make and a real delight, this is a great way to treat your family and friends to an authentic Italian fare.

If you are however not sure of how to cook pasta you can actually be left with a clump of pasta all sticking closely to one another like a pack of great friends. Whether you decide to have your pasta in red sauce, white sauce, a salad or like it baked; first and foremost you need to master the technique of cooking pasta. It is really simple once you know just how.

If you have searched online for pasta recipes then you would observe that most of them start with “cook your pasta” or “now that you have your pasta cooked and ready to begin”. The recipes do not really teach you how to cook the pasta which is the very first and most important step to a lip smacking delight.

When pasta is cooked in water it actually releases the starch that is present in it thus, making it bigger in size. The water gets sticky with all the starch and the pasta also has a starch coating that gives it a slimy feel. Just how to have the pasta of the right texture and cooked just right is all very simple provided you know the secrets to cooking it perfectly.

For cooking pasta first and foremost, it is important to bring water to a boil, this would help soak the pasta and cook it well. The hot water would help to get rid of the starch on the pasta real quick. At this point when the starch is released, the pasta with a sticky surface tends to stick together. Stir to prevent your pasta from sticking together. Add salt to the water so that your pasta has the right seasoning, this would make a big difference to the taste.

Some might even suggest that it would be best to add oil to the water while cooking pasta to prevent it from sticking together. However, this is best avoided. It would definitely prevent your pasta from sticking together but this gives the pasta an oily coating. This oily coating would not let the sauce stay on the pasta and thus, would adversely affect the taste of your dish to a great extent.

See that the pasta is not over-cooked and cook it to just the right consistency. Drain the pasta and add it to the prepared sauce and let it coat well (do not rinse in cold water) with the delicious sauce of your choice.

You could use a tomato based red sauce or your favorite white sauce. Combine with a good helping of vegetables like broccoli and peppers to enhance the nutritious value and taste of your pasta. Stir well. Give it a few minutes to soak in the flavors of the sauce, and serve hot. Bring home the flavors of your favorite Italian restaurant now right to your table.

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How to Clean Leather Furniture

Leather furniture seems to be more popular than ever these days, thanks to the fact that it is beautiful to behold and easy to care for. Today’s leather furniture comes in so many styles and colors it fits almost any decor imaginable, from traditional to contemporary.

One of the best things about leather furniture is its durability. While it can be more expensive than fabric furniture, with proper care it can last four to five times longer. It is, in fact, the longest lasting furniture covering on the market.

Part of the reason for this is that leather is easy to care for and difficult to damage. It won’t get burn marks or melt and it’s pretty difficult to puncture. Even in hot climates leather is a good choice since the material breathes, keeping it cool and comfortable year round.

Cleaning leather furniture regularly is a good idea. Every week you should dust your leather furniture. If you have the soft brush attachment for your vacuum it will do fine. Or just use a clean cotton cloth. You don’t really need soap, but if you want to do a little extra cleaning now and again, use a little bit of moisturizing soap on a soft cloth. Don’t use a lot of water. You don’t need to wash off the soap. Just buff the area with a soft cloth and you’re good to go.

If your furniture gets a lot of use or is in a part of your home that gets a lot of traffic, you should clean your leather furniture thoroughly once a season. This will remove any general soiling, perspiration or oils that have collected on the surface. Don’t use anything on your furniture that isn’t made specifically for cleaning leather furniture. Some products can do a lot more harm than good.

When you use a good quality leather cleaner, be sure you follow the directions. Run the cloth over the entire surface and pay particular attention to the areas that get a lot of people contact like the back and the arms.

If you find a stain, don’t panic. Stains can be treated. If it’s ink, use a cotton swab that has been dipped in some rubbing alcohol or vinegar, then blow it dry with a blow dryer on cool. If the stain is still there, try using a thick layer of non-gel, oil-free cuticle remover. Leave it on the stain for a couple of hours and then wipe it off.

If there’s a dark stain on your light leather furniture, try a paste that is one part cream of tartar and one part lemon juice. The paste should be rubbed onto the stain, then left on it for about 15 minutes. Add a second layer of paste, working it fully into the first layer. Use a damp sponge with some moisturizing soap on it to remove the paste. Finally, buff the leather with a cloth.

If liquid gets spilled, mop it up immediately with a clean cloth or sponge. Never use water on a grease stain. Instead, wipe the stain with a dry cloth. It should disappear naturally over time as the leather absorbs it.

Leather furniture can dry out, fade and even crack if it’s not maintained. You never want to put leather furniture into direct sunlight and you should keep it at least two feet away from a heat source, such as a heating vent or radiator.
A couple of times a year you’ll want to rejuvenate the leather. Use a mix of one part white vinegar and two parts linseed oil. Apply it to the entire surface with a clean, soft cloth in circular motions. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and buff it with another soft cloth.

Don’t use saddle soap on leather furniture. Save it for your saddle. And never use a harsh chemical on it that contains abrasives or ammonia. Before you apply any product that says it’s designed for leather furniture, test it first on a part of the furniture that doesn’t show. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally discolor your leather because it wasn’t colorfast.

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Finding the Best of Berlin

Around one out of every seven Berlin residents is an immigrant, so it’s suffice to say that the capital city of Germany is a melting pot of different cultures and influences. The burgeoning dining scene in the city is a fine example of Berlin’s diversity and you can eat your way around sampling everything from traditional Currywurst (curried sausage) to foods from the Far and Middle East, as well as tasty treats from other European dining dynasties like France and Italy.

When you’ve had your food fill then how about a visit to one of the many Berlin museums, where you can ogle at an array of collections from the ancient to the ultra-modern? Berlin’s Jewish Museum is a major destination for tourists and visitors alike. The largest Jewish Museum in Europe celebrates the achievements of German Jews and their contribution to culture, art and science amongst other fields. The building itself is an architectural work of art and the contents are extensive enough to merit sparing a few hours to spend here.

Other popular museums to visit range from the Egyptian Nefertiti to the Greek Pergamon Altar and there is even a Helmut Newton museum for the fashion photography fans out there. Berlin’s museums and collections are as exciting as they are diverse, and as they’re scattered across the city you will never be too far away from a museum of one kind or another.

There are countless places in Berlin for shopping sprees from upmarket designer establishments to flea markets and the whole spectrum in between. Luxury designer clothes stores can be tracked down at the west end of Kurfürstendamm and in Friedrichstrasse.

Hackescher Markt is an interesting shopping district if you’re searching for the unconventional. An assortment of shops and small boutiques offer eclectic fashion and the area itself is worth a visit if you fancy sampling the unique finesse of the former east of Berlin where the streets simply ooze historical charm.

At the new centre of Berlin, the Potsdamer Platz shopping centre boasts more than 100 stores where you can find everything from clothing and cosmetics to electronic gadgets and food.

If you feel like having a drink or dance to end the day then Berlin will not disappoint. Some of the liveliest nightlife in Europe can be found in this fun loving capital and you can settle yourself anywhere from authentic beer halls and old Soviet era haunts right through to super slick bars and Latino nightclubs.

If you are struggling to decide on where to start your adventures then there are hundreds of hotels in Berlin that should be able to point you in the right direction of things to see and do in this bustling city.

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5 Simple Steps to Creating an Effective Organizing Goal

Creating goals is one way of making empowered changes in your life. But how do you create an effective organizing goal? Here are a few simple steps to help you.

1. Write it down.

Writing down your organizing goal makes it more real to you. We tend to stick to our written commitments better than our verbal commitments. Saying you are going to do something is one thing. It creates more resonance with you and a better likelihood that you will stick to your goal if you write it down. Even better, write it down every day from now until you have actually accomplished it.

2. Make it a goal that will make you feel better about yourself.

Think for a moment about the number one thing in your life right now that if you got it organized, would make you feel 10 times better about your life. You know what it is, that one thing that would change how you feel if you got it organized today. Maybe it is an area of your home or of your office. Maybe it is getting your schedule organized or getting your morning routine to go more smoothly.

The reason why it needs to be something that will make you feel better about yourself is because you will be a whole lot more likely to take action on that goal if it is something that will make you feel better about you. It is one thing to be happy that your living room is organized. It is a whole other ballgame to feel better about who you are as a person because you finally got your schedule organized and you are no longer showing up late everywhere.

3. Make it specific.

Writing down a goal like “I want to get my life organized” is not going to help you. Get specific with your goal. The more specific you can make it, the better off you will be. Something along the lines of “I am going to organize my kitchen” is much better and gives you a clear idea of what you are going have actually accomplished once you meet your goal. What exactly does an organized life look like anyway? I know I have not accomplished this one and I am a professional organizer!

The one caution I have here is that you not make your organizing goal too specific. So having a goal of getting the kitchen utensil drawer organized would not be a good one. Setting organizing goals like this means you would be setting a new one every day! Your target here is to have an organizing goal that is general enough so that it is going to take you at least one month to reach it but specific enough so that you have a definite end in sight.

4. Make it measurable.

This goes hand-in-hand with getting specific about your organizing goal. The best way to make your organizing goal measurable is to give it a specific timeframe. So if your goal is to get your kitchen organized, then give yourself a date for when you will have that organizing goal accomplished. Then circle that date on the calendar, put stars on it, whatever you need to do to make that date stand out for you.

My caution on this one: make it a realistic date. Don’t overestimate what you can do. You are better off overestimating the time it will take you to get it finished than underestimating it. Yes, there is psychology at work here. If you get your organizing project done in less time than you estimated that it would take you, you will feel better about yourself and about the organizing project. It will also help keep you motivated so that you do more!

5. Believe you can do it and get excited about it!

If you don’t believe that you can accomplish your organizing goal, guess what, you won’t be able to do it. And if you know with certain knowledge that you can do it, that’s even better. When you know, and I mean really KNOW you can do something, you get the power to do it. If this is an organizing goal that you have set for yourself repeatedly but that you have yet to follow through on, ask yourself why. If it is a goal that isn’t really all that important to you, if you can’t get excited about accomplishing it, then don’t bother because you’re not going to get it done anyway. The way that you stay motivated towards achieving any goal in your life is by getting excited about it, by getting excited about how your life is going to look and feel different once that goal is accomplished. If you can’t work up some sort of passion for this organizing goal, pick a new goal.

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Pregnancy and Oily Hair

Pregnancy brings so many changes into your life, and some of the good changes include better hair and nails. Your hair will grow much faster during pregnancy, and it will also be shiny and strong. Unfortunately, a lot of women also experience very oily hair during pregnancy and feel the need to wash their hair on a daily basis. Even women that have had dry hair can experience this, since it is all due to the many hormonal changes that are happening during this period.

Estrogen is the hormone responsible for all the changes that you will experience related to your hair and skin during pregnancy, or any other period of your life. Too much or too little estrogen can determine whether your skin and hair are dry or oily. This is usually determined by genetic factors, and unfortunately during pregnancy you just have to accept all the hormonal changes as you can’t interfere with any supplements or medication.

Fortunately, there are some external home-remedies that work very well on oily hair, and that are quite safe to use during pregnancy. Of course, a diet rich in nutrients and lots of fresh food will also help maintain good health for yourself, your baby, your skin and hair.

1) Walnut leaves infusion is a great remedy for oily hair that can be used during pregnancy once a week. Buy dry walnut leaves, or get fresh ones if you can, and boil a handful in one pot of water (2-3 liters/ 3.18 qt) for 5 minutes. Drain the plant infusion and when it cools down use it to rinse your hair after you have washed it with a mild shampoo. This remedy can be used one or twice per week, and it can also give a reddish tint to your hair that will disappear on its own after one or two washes. Follow the remedy as long as needed, during and after pregnancy.

2) Nettle leaves infusion is another great remedy that works very well on oily hair. It strengthens the roots and makes your hair look shiny and healthy. It can safely be used during pregnancy to treat oily hair and dandruff. In a pot of water (2 liters / 2.1 qt), place two or three tablespoons of dried or fresh nettle leaves. Boil them for about 5-10 minutes and leave them cool for one or two hours. Wash your hair and use the nettle infusion to rinse your hair at the end. Let the hair dry naturally and don’t use a hair dryer if possible. This remedy can be used up to three times per week for as long as needed.

3) Lemon water and honey is a simple yet powerful remedy for oily hair problems. The lemon is acidic and will balance the pH of your scalp skin, while getting rid of any excess sebum and the honey will nourish and protect the scalp skin and your hair. Pregnancy is a time when your whole body needs to get the best nutrients possible, so honey is a perfect food and remedy for many problems, including constipation during your pregnancy. Mix the juice from one medium lemon with four glasses of lukewarm water and one teaspoon of honey. After you wash your hair use this water to rinse your hair, especially the root area. Massage the scalp well and then rinse again with a little bit of lukewarm water. For best results, try to use this remedy after each wash for at least two or three months.

4) When it comes to hair-care products, try to choose only organic ones, as they are the safest for you and your baby. Most cosmetic products, even the very expensive ones, contain parabens which have been linked to a number of health conditions. It is much safer to choose natural products and using as many home-based remedies as possible instead of chemical-based products. Also, coloring or perming your hair should be totally avoided during pregnancy. There are some vegetable-based hair coloring products on the market, but check the ingredients first and make sure that these are suitable for pregnant women.

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The Importance of Getting Your Cat Fixed

Spaying, neutering, fixing and altering are terms used to describe the one medical procedure every cat needs. The procedure involves removing the sexually functioning parts of your cat. Female cats are spayed; male cats are neutered.

Besides the obvious need to control the number of unwanted stray cats, altering your cat will, in the case of both sexes, make them less territorial and aggressive. Overall, altered cats are better listeners and they also tend to have longer life spans. Some owners think it is best to let a female go into heat, or to even wait until after she has had her first litter of kittens before having her spayed. This is nothing more than an old wives’ tale. With millions of unwanted cats destroyed every year and millions more dying from abandonment, there is simply no reason to let your cat bear a litter of kittens.

Some shelters fix kittens as young as two months old but it is best to wait until a kitten is three months or older and weighs at least two pounds. Adult cats should be fixed before the shelter lets you take him home. Keep your cat inside until he is fixed so that he will not contribute to the overpopulation of cats!

Prior to the operation, call around for prices. The quotes for a spaying operation can range from $20 to $175. If your cat eats well, goes to the bathroom normally, and is curious and alert, then he is probably ready to undergo the procedure.

Note your cat’s litter box habits. The habits you are observing now should resume within a day after the operation. Do not sign up for declawing due to certain risks that are involved. Some vets recommend declawing the cat “while she is already asleep. Do not get the cat vaccinated at the same time you get the cat spayed or neutered. It is a lot for that little body to take all at once. If your cat is pregnant when it is spayed, the veterinarian will abort the kittens.

After the operation: Unless complications arise, there is no reason to keep the cat at the veterinarian’s overnight. Arrange to pick him up late in the afternoon, when he has had time to come out of the anesthesia. When the cat comes home from surgery, put him in a quiet room with a bowl of water, a soft warm bed, a litter box, gentle music and a night light. He will probably just sleep the first night, but he might welcome some chicken broth and a little company.

Keep his activities low-key for two or three days after the surgery. Do not entice him into heavy running, jumping or playing. Keep him indoors for one to two weeks after the surgery so the stitches can heal and to lessen the chance of infection in the surgical area. During this period, closely monitor his appetite, temperature, litter box habits and disposition.

Any abnormality could be a sign of infection. Consult the vet immediately if you notice anything unusual. Kittens are especially susceptible to post-operative complications, so monitor their food and fluid intake closely. Some veterinarians tell owners to discourage their cats from licking their genitals for a few days. Your vet will also give you a list of post-operative care instructions.