Sylvia Cochran

Sylvia Cochran

Sylvia Cochran works out of sunny Southern California and has been freelance writing -- full-time -- since 2005. SEO-optimized Internet copy includes news analysis, political Op/Ed and parenting, gardening as well as automotive tutorials. Her ghostwriting work covers a variety of topics but primarily focuses on blogging, article advertising and real estate promotion. Sylvia earned her degree from the Denver Business College.
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  • 5 unique ways to impress Thanksgiving guests
    Impress guests with spiffy new Thanksgiving menu ideas and some simple yard work. Who knew that hosting Thanksgiving is an exercise in cutting edge culinary exploits and gardening?
  • Teaching your preschooler to count supports future math skills
    Teaching kids to count will be as fun and innovative as you make it. While it may sound like a tall order, it is actually laughably simple and straightforward. Five tips get you started on the road to preschool math success.
  • 6 kitchen organization tips I learned from Pinterest
    Do your whisk and cutlery fight for space? Do you keep buying new spices because the little containers get lost in the vast jumble that is your pantry? Pinterest offers a wealth of kitchen organization tips that are creative, cheap and cute.
  • 5 steps to pop-up dinner party success
    A pop-up dinner party is only as good as the amount of preparation you put into it. That said, a truly great pop-up dinner festivity calls for the choice of a unique location your guests would not anticipate. Cathedral roofs, anyone?
  • 10 fun and creative things to do with fall leaves
    Use fall leaves in easy-to-do craft projects a preschooler or kindergartener can love. Incorporate them into artwork your teen will enjoy doing. Use them on the barbeque or rely on them to keep worms happy. Who knew fallen leaves were so versatile?
  • Make your house a home in 3 easy steps
    Turning your house into a home is not very difficult. Unfortunately, far too many of us are too busy to make the effort. Worse yet, some of us have bought into the ads that sell us devices to turn a house into a home. Start doing it right today.
  • 5 home inspiration blogs you should be reading
    Look to my handpicked list of home inspiration blogs to spruce up the homestead tonight. Leave behind the expensive suggestions of DIY home improvement shows and get in touch with budget-friendly blogger advice instead.
  • Secrets to a successful dinner party
    Dinner parties used to be formal affairs with sit-down meals and place cards. Since then, the American dinner party has evolved into a far less stuffy buffet meal. Your successful dinner party can now include friends with children.
  • Creative ways to remove stains after a cookout: Coffee, wine, grease, and tomatoes
    Now is not the time to cry over spilled sauce. Use a few creative ways to remove stains most commonly left behind by guests, and you may just find yourself in the mood for another cookout.
  • Host a Labor Day BBQ like a pro
    Labor Day is summer’s last hurrah. If you know a mean barbecue chicken recipe or two, the Labor Day BBQ might be one of your last opportunities for showing it off.
  • 5 activities to do before summer ends
    Make a list of things to do before summer ends, even if the first day of school is right around the corner. Are there things to do for the family in your neck of the woods? You bet!
  • Cleaning and Winterizing Your Above-ground Swimming Pool
    Cleaning above-ground pools is not always quick and simple. If you add winterizing the pool to the mix, there are additional considerations. Are you hip to the ins and outs of the best above-ground pool cleaning regimen?
  • Dottie Sandusky still supports her husband: “I Love My Husband”
    The child molestation scandal, which has also destroyed the reputation of former head football coach Joe Paterno and resulted in severe sanctions leveled against the school, does not appear to shake the faith Mrs. Sandusky has in her spouse.
  • Independence Day food and fireworks safety tips
    Glorious summer weather, mayonnaise heating slowly in the sunshine, children holding sparklers after dark and ice-cold adult beverages for the grownups -- what could possibly go wrong? Plenty! Know the 4th of July safety tips that will keep you healthy.
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  • 3 Father’s Day gift ideas for outdoorsy men
    Father’s day gift ideas for outdoorsy men call for ingenuity, understanding of what makes these rugged men tick, and a willingness to share into the passions that drive them. So step away from the men’s outerwear rack.
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  • 3 easy side dishes for the Memorial Day BBQ
    What better time is there to discuss all the possibilities than a leisurely backyard barbecue? Plan easy vegetable side dishes for chicken or beef, and you spend less time cooking and more time talking.
  • 5 can’t-fail techniques for disciplining your young children
    Do you know how to discipline children? Sure, you learned at your mother’s knee, but are her techniques truly worth repeating? While schools of thought with respect to disciplining children have evolved, there are five techniques that remain steady.
  • 4 Mother’s Day gifts to make and eat
    Have you bought your Mother’s Day gifts yet? Will Sunday morning find you elbowing shoppers out of the way in front of a picked over greeting card display or grocery store flower cooler? Are you still thinking of Mother’s Day gifts to make?
  • Decorate your home for a last-minute showing
    The well-planned showing is usually a bit of myth. More often than not, you receive a last-minute phone call that a realtor with clients in tow is going to show up in 10 to 15 minutes. Decorate your home quickly for the buyers.
  • 4 pantry organization ideas for the frugal shopper
    In addition to learning how to stock a pantry, the frugal shopper will do well to also learn basic pantry organization tips. A well-stocked pantry takes the stress out of hosting an impromptu dinner guest. It prevents the proverbial food rut.
  • How to teach Christian children about Purim
    Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Hebrew nation during the reign of Persian King Ahasuerus. While it is observed by the Jewish faith community, it has sunk into obscurity within Christian circles, which is a shame.
  • 10 secrets to spring cleaning your home in one day
    Once upon a time, spring cleaning was synonymous with an in-depth cleaning regimen that would span a week. Who has time for this? Here are 10 tips for finishing a thorough spring cleaning of your home in just 24 short little hours. Ready to start?
  • 5 spring cleaning games for getting preschoolers to help out around the house
    Cleanliness might be next to godliness, but try explaining this to your preschooler. Although still eager to please the adults, pint-sized humans around the ages of four or five have already figured out that cleaning is work. Or is it?
  • 3 natural homemade spring cleaning products that clean virtually everything
    Do you really need to buy a different cleaning product for every home surface? Wrong! There are three homemade cleaning products that clean virtually everything. Make your spring cleaning green and inexpensive.
  • The ultimate strategy for hosting a cheap Mardi Gras party
    Keep a tight reign on the purse strings as you throw open the doors for a memorable Mardi Gras party. Even if you are down to just $100, you can still make it a big bash. Are you game?
  • Minor building fractures? Exterior caulk to the rescue!
    Minor cracks on your home’s exterior are easy to fix. Put the kids down for their afternoon naps and get busy. You will be done expertly fixing your home’s exterior by the time they wake up again.
  • 5 keys to parenting an overly sensitive child
    Can a look or stern tone of voice reduce your son to tears? There are five keys to parenting an overly sensitive child -- and some phrases that you should avoid at all costs.
  • How to organize photos and your kids’ artwork -- now!
    You know that you need to organize photos and artwork. The box you are using right now is crammed, and there is not enough room for more. So how do you organize photos and artwork? Easy!
  • Team up with your teen against acne
    The baby-soft skin of your elementary-school child is giving way to the oily skin of a middle-schooler. Before you know it, pimples start sprouting. This is a great opportunity for mom to work with her teen on treating the condition.
  • 5 effective ways to end thumb sucking for good
    Approximately 80 percent of infants and children will suck their thumbs. This number goes down to 15 percent by the fourth year of life. Breaking the thumb sucking habit for good is in your child’s best interest.
  • How to maintain and fix carpet tiles
    Since carpet tiles are secured individually, there is more damage potential. Learn how to maintain and fix carpet tiles like a pro -- perhaps even before installing your first one!
  • The scoop on kitty poop cleanup
    Does your house cat express displeasure by doing its business outside of the litter box? Are there unpleasant smells coming from a room’s corner? Removing feline fecal matter -- and the resulting odor -- from carpeting is not as easy as it sounds.
  • Using New Year’s Eve as a teaching tool for preschoolers
    Rather than forcing full participation to welcome the New Year, why not use the occasion for a few fun lessons? Get your child ready to go back to preschool with lessons reinforced or even introduced!
  • Grieving the death of a pet during Christmas
    The death of a pet is a traumatizing event, not only for the adults in the home but also for the kids. Grieving through the holidays is particularly difficult, since cheer is the order of the day.
  • Tuscan interior design tips for any budget
    A mix of rustic style elements and modern interpretations of old-world furniture make Tuscan interior design surprisingly easy to introduce into your home.
  • 4 holiday makeup secrets for the stressed mom
    A professional makeup artist can make anyone go from drab to glam, but what about the harried mom who just put together a holiday dinner for 50? Four tips for applying makeup have you looking glam, cool and collected.
  • 5 caulking tips that keep your manicure intact
    You already know how to caulk, right? So why do you destroy your nail polish each time you unpack the caulk gun? Five tips for caulking inside and out protect your hands from wear and your manicure from tear.
  • Installing garage door insulation saves dollars and makes sense
    Inexpensive garage doors look pretty and are highly functional, but they frequently lack proper insulation. Installing garage door insulation is actually easy, and you can knock out this project while the kids are taking their afternoon naps.
  • 5 effective ways to save money with home winterization
    A few simple home repairs -- done now -- can save you quite a bit of money when Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose. Winterizing your home is not very difficult – if you know where to focus your attention.
  • How to decorate a French or Italian country kitchen
    Did you know that a country kitchen might just be a few decorative touches away? If the glass and chrome of modern kitchen décor have you squirming, why not decorate a country kitchen with tried and true elements of comfort?
  • How to reupholster chair seats yourself
    Reupholstering chairs is as much a decision-making process as it is a hands-on project. Material costs are usually low, and the time spent on reupholstering a well-built chair is well worth keeping the durable piece of furniture in the family.
  • Timeless Thanksgiving table settings: Instructions for the modern hostess
    Thanksgiving is around the corner; you are hosting the family and in-laws, and the pressure is on. Is there an officially agreed upon way of setting a Thanksgiving feast table that will eliminate the snarky remarks of a never-satisfied great aunt? Yes!
  • Taking the Thanksgiving spirit outdoors with inexpensive but creative decor ideas
    Do not be content to make your home’s interior a celebration of the Thanksgiving spirit, but have all decorative touches stop at the doormat. There are three easy ways to take the festive atmosphere outdoors -- without spending a lot of money.
  • Maintaining 3 types of roof vents that help eliminate attic mold problems
    There is more to roof vent technology than meets the eye. If you notice a musty smell emanating from your attic – or even become aware of mold and mildew growth – odds are good that your home needs a venting overhaul.
  • The busy mom’s guide to the confusing world of Spackle
    Fixing the holes in the wall can be as simple as applying Spackle to offending gashes. Then again, there are some finer points that bear mentioning. Using the various types of Spackle for the best results is easier than you think.
  • 3 effective fixes that coax more use out of your old sofa
    The sofa has been with you since college and you simply love the pattern. Unfortunately, life and boisterous use has turned this piece of furniture into a sadly sagging couch. Is it time for that long drive to the landfill? No!
  • 3 secrets to down comforter maintenance your grandma knows – do you?
    The down comforter shell looks worn in places. Telltale feathers fly into the air whenever you shake out the comfy blanket. Do you toss it out? Do you head for the sewing kit? Are there other ways of more effectively patching a comforter shell?
  • 3 eco-friendly homemade Thanksgiving decorations for your table
    Could you run to the dollar store and buy a package of commercially produced Thanksgiving place cards? Sure! But why would you? Learning how to make eco-friendly Thanksgiving placemats and cards is really easy.
  • Outdoor Thanksgiving decorations on a shoestring budget
    For the hostess who expects to serve up a succulent turkey dinner with all the trimmings, fall decorations are par for the course. Plenty of harvest-themed decor opportunities exist, but how do you decorate for Thanksgiving on a tight budget?
  • Getting an overweight child interested in sports
    Is your child pleasantly plump? Does the baby fat seem to linger way past the baby years? You know, of course, that exercise is the best antidote to fat and flab, but how do you motivate an overweight child to take interest in sports?
  • Help! Your child’s friends are toxic
    Toxic friends put down your child’s accomplishments, diminish her abilities and make subtle – or not so subtle – jokes about her appearance. Whether it is one of her other childhood friends, an activity or a good grade, they all fall victim to ridicule.
  • Thanksgiving holiday survival guide for new stepmoms
    The Stepfamily Foundation reveals that each day, some 1,300 new stepfamilies are formed. If you are one of those new stepmoms, you are probably eying the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with some trepidation.
  • Thanksgiving holiday survival guide for blended families: Sending your child to your ex
    When “his,” “mine” and “ours” denote the children living in your home, holidays present unique challenges. Remarried ex-spouses, divorcing ex-spouses and a changing round of in-laws and family friends add stress.
  • Halloween haunted houses: Is my child old enough to go inside?
    A haunted house is one of the many opportunities for fun and excitement this Halloween. You know that these are entertainment venues and not real haunted houses -- but does your child?
  • So your child is afraid of ghosts (or monsters, witches and vampires under the bed)
    The fear of ghosts is common in young children. While mom sees it as one of the many irrational fears and anxiety sources that seem to plague youngsters, a child afraid of ghosts sees it as a very real problem.
  • How to help kids with homework and study habits
    Does your child charm you into doing her homework for her? Helping your child with homework should focus on the development of good study habits and problem-solving skills, but parents occasionally cross the line and do the work themselves.
  • 10 cute Halloween costumes for girls in 2011
    Halloween costume ideas for girls usually follow movie trends. Halloween costumes for girls age 10 and over tend to be a bit more grown-up than most parents find palatable. Find excellent compromises in 2011 with 10 outfits that are comfy and cute.
  • 10 cute Halloween costumes for toddler boys in 2011
    Halloween costumes for boys usually follow movie trends. Halloween costumes toddler boys can wear are no exception. Which costume ideas are hot, how can you accessorize them and will they last longer than one season?
  • How to organize a trunk-or-treat event
    Trunk-or-treat organization takes a good bit of communication, planning and community involvement. Decorating for trunk-or-treat, dressing up participants, handing out Halloween candy to kids, and setting the hours all call for meticulous planning.
  • Cheap trunk-or-treat decorating ideas for your car
    Trunk-or-treating is a fun, safe alternative to going door to door on Halloween. Even though Halloween candy is the highlight of the event for children, trunk-or-treat decorating ideas set the atmosphere for the event.
  • Ideas for outdoor Halloween decorations on a shoestring budget
    Look around the house and garage; the odds are in your favor that there are plenty of raw materials for homemade Halloween props that make excellent outdoor Halloween decorations.
  • Alternatives to Halloween sweets for trick-or-treaters
    Figures from 2009 show that the number one treat -- making up 50 percent of sweets handed out -- was chocolate. Following at 30 percent were hard candies and lollipops. How about giving something other than candy when trick-or-treaters come by?
  • Trunk-or-treat meets trick-or-treat: Which is right for you?
    Trunk-or-treating is a new practice that has sprung up in neighborhoods concerned about letting children go to strangers’ doors during trick-or-treating. Is it really all it’s cracked up to be? What are the drawbacks, advantages and should you go?
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  • Keep your home safe from Halloween vandalism
    Safety on Halloween usually focuses on keeping pint-sized ghosts and goblins out of the streets. Knowing how to keep your home safe from Halloween vandalism is rarely -- if ever -- discussed.
  • 4 facts your teen must know about microwaving convenience foods
    Your teen's budding independence now also includes meal preparation. Even middle-schoolers have access to microwaves and bring convenience foods instead of an old-fashioned sandwich lunch. Yet does your teen know how to cook it safely?
  • 3 unusual ways to combat preschooler potty talk at the dinner table
    Does dinner in your home remind you of a frat party? There are burping sounds (real or fake), farts (you don't even want to know) and the preschooler's big grin as he displays 'see food.' It is possible to combat potty talk.
  • 5 unusual seashell decor tips for any home
    The lovely beach vacation is in the rearview mirror. All you have to show for it -- in addition to a spectacular tan -- are copious shells collected from the white sand. Seashell decor makes it possible to display these natural marvels around the home.
  • What to do when your preschooler blames himself for life's events
    Would you believe that your preschooler may blame himself for the onset of an illness or a lengthy hospitalization? Sweeping the feelings, fears and worries under the rug neither benefits the child nor the parent.
  • Do you put your preschooler at risk of food-borne illness?
    There is research that might have you worry about the safety of junior's preschool lunches: Food temperatures apparently reach dangers zones rather quickly. Should you worry?
  • 3 creative ways to combat Facebook brain drain in middle schoolers
    The latest press release by the American Psychological Association connects brain drain in middle schoolers with Facebook use. Making matters worse, experts connect narcissistic tendencies in teens with the use of the popular social media site. Oy vey!
  • 3 keys to an organized school year
    Identify ahead of time the most likely problem areas, how to mitigate challenges and of course how to plan for the unexpected. In addition, follow simple school organization tips that make this year a contender for a record-breaking learning experience.
  • How to get your child out the door on time in the morning
    You are frazzled in the morning, junior is chowing down on chips in the backseat and you screech to a halt in front of the school with seconds to spare. School organization tips for moms and students can still make this the best school year ever -- really!
  • How to decorate for Ramadan
    Ramadan decorations are a great way to imbue the home with festive trappings that combine the solemn circumstance with the celebratory mood. How can you decorate your home for Ramadan today?
  • Easy ways to air out the house
    Air fresheners, sprays, plug-in scent heaters and candles all vie for your attention, but which method promises success? On the other hand, which method not only fails to air out the house but adds a somewhat unpleasant smell to the stink?
  • 5 tips for a clutter-free kitchen
    My kitchen was the proverbial poster child for clutter. The top of my refrigerator had become an unsightly holding pen for odd-shaped pots and pans. Would there be hope for the space in my home that should be devoted to meal prep? Yes!
  • 3 stranger danger mistakes that put your child at risk
    Did you know that a lot of the supposedly confidence-boosting advice we give our kids might actually harm them? Worse, there are some things we moms can do to help children be less attractive to a would-be predator -- and we fall down on the job.
  • Summer bicycle safety for kids in 7 steps
    Cycling lands approximately 300,000 youngsters in the emergency room each year. Is it possible to keep the children safe while they are riding around the neighborhood or accompanying mom on the trails? The answer is a resounding 'yes!'
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  • What to do when your preteen is pushing your buttons
    Whether your preteen is using put-downs, disrespect, rolling eyes or a loud voice, they all -- together or individually -- push your buttons. Just how did this child, who grew up with your loving care, suddenly get to have so much power over you?
  • 5 backyard entertaining secrets of budget-savvy homeowners
    Do you have one of the perfect backyards that simply beg to become your next party's backdrop? Simple backyard entertaining is possible and actually quite straightforward -- if you know five secrets that make it possible.
  • How to stop night terrors in children
    Night terrors in children are frightening. Does your child suddenly wake up with a bloodcurdling scream? There is a good chance that your youngster is having night terrors. Now what?
  • How to get free back to school supplies
    Getting school supplies for free is a nice perk, if you are trying to outfit your stylish youngster. For the mom with barely enough money to keep on the lights and put food on the table, it is a necessity. Is it possible to get free school supplies? Yes!
  • How to go back to school shopping for $10 or less
    Has the teacher sent home a list of back to school supplies your youngster will need? Resist the temptation to head to the store right now! There is a way to buy school supplies for $10 or less.
  • 5 questions to ask teachers on back-to-school night
    Back-to-school night is a yearly ritual. Do not assume that the youngster's educational experience will be similar to last year's time in the classroom! So what are the 5 questions to ask the teacher on back-to-school night that you really should pose?
  • 5 key bits of advice when sending your child to college
    While your head does a conga line dance -- in anticipation of the freedom an empty nest provides -- your heart sinks. Five bits of advice from parents and educators helps make the transition smooth, bearable and even something to look forward to.
  • 7 ways for first-time parents to combat back-to-elementary-school jitters
    With the mounting shopping bags come the back-to-school jitters. Although junior is taking the idea of his new elementary school's first day of class in stride, the same cannot be said for mom. Here are 7 back-to-school jitter busters.
  • How to fix wooden shutters like a pro
    You cannot deny that your wooden shutters need some tender loving care. Is it possible to give these structures a new lease on life? With a bit of glue, wood putty and paint -- as well as a weekend of time -- the answer is a resounding 'yes.'
  • 5 deck decorating ideas that turn the space from blah to wow!
    Even though it is located outdoors, there are so many decorative touches you could apply to your home's deck. Because it is out of sight -- and out of mind -- you most likely do not. Not sure where to start? Why, at the top, of course!
  • 7 steps to a clean, rejuvenated and organized wood deck
    The wood deck in the backyard was a major selling point when you bought the home. Visions of lounge chairs, iced tea and backyard barbecues were dancing in your head. Fast forwarding to today, the wood deck has become the overflow storage for the garage.
  • Set up safe children's email accounts for free
    Safe email accounts for kids -- free of charge -- are a good option if you are ready to loosen the apron strings just a bit. Children learn how to communicate succinctly via email, send attachments and also navigate around a basic web-based email program.
  • 5 cures for summer brain drain and boredom
    "Mom, I'm bored!" If this is the battle cry you hear -- delivered with different intensities and drama -- then you know that school is out and the kids are in. Find the cures for summer brain drain and boredom all in one approach.
  • Symptoms of heat rash, sunburn, and sun poisoning in children
    Sunburn itch, sun poisoning and heat rashes are some of the downsides that summer brings. Even if the children are conscientious about applying sunscreen, there is a chance that they may get into some trouble. Do you know what to look for?
  • L.A.'s summer fashion trends
    Do you remember last year's influx of beads? From red carpet fashions down to skimpy Muscle Beach bikinis -- all seemed to sport strings of beads. L.A.'s summer fashion trends for 2011 see a departure from this theme. What is hot this year?
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  • What to wear for a date on Venice Beach
    A date on Los Angeles' Westside is always a special occasion. Venice Beach has become a popular locale for platonic walks, first dates and recurring Saturday afternoon meet-ups. Dressing for a date here is a bit of a mixed bag.
  • 5 facts Mom should know about swimmer's ear
    Symptoms of swimmer's ear are annoying and painful. What should mom do? Treatments for swimmer's ear vary, but there are some good rules of thumb that mom can follow.
  • Mom's guide to choosing children's haircuts
    Attractive boys' hair styles and girls' cuts now underscore personality as well as facial shapes. How should mom choose just the right kids' do -- after the functional toddler hair cuts?
  • How to recognize and treat head lice in children
    In children, head lice are passed around about as often as a fruit cake makes the rounds during the holidays: 12 million times each year, according to the AAP. Are your children affected?
  • A mom's guide to puberty
    You still have her baby picture on the fridge. Your Facebook avatar is a picture of his first fishing trip -- at age five. Even so, your tween is racing headlong into puberty. What issues should you tackle? Which should you leave alone?
  • 4 worst Father's Day gifts for single dads
    Father's Day honors the dads who are doing the heavy lifting: single, married, widowed or otherwise. So why is it that he may still receive oddball and downright bad gifts?
  • 4 key features of an organized pantry
    Four tips for organizing your pantry make quick work of the odds, ends, outdated foods and crusty leftover cereals that populate the shelves. What does it take to turn food cupboard chaos into harmonious grocery storage?
  • Organizing a closet to make it a usable office space
    Whether it is the hallway closet, bedroom walk-in or utility space under the stairs, a closet is an excellent location for a small home office. What does it take to organize a closet in such a manner that it becomes a usable, self-contained office space?
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