By: Gary M. DellaPosta, CPA
If you, your spouse or dependents had significant medical or dental costs in 2012, you may be able to deduct those expenses when you file your tax return. Here are eight things you should know about medical and dental expenses and other benefits.
1. You must itemize. You deduct qualifying medical and dental expenses if you itemize on Schedule A on Form 1040.
2. Deduction is limited. You can deduct total medical care expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income for the year.
3. Expenses must have been paid in 2012. You can include medical and dental expenses you paid during the year, regardless of when the services were provided. Be sure to save your receipts and keep good records to substantiate your expenses.
4. You can't deduct reimbursed expenses. Your total medical expenses for the year must be reduced by any reimbursement. Normally, it makes no difference if you receive the reimbursement or if it is paid directly to the doctor or hospital.
5. Whose expenses qualify. You may include qualified medical expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse and your dependents. Some exceptions and special rules apply to divorced or separated parents, taxpayers with a multiple support agreement, or those with a qualifying relative who is not your child.
6. Types of expenses that qualify. You can deduct expenses primarily paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or treatment affecting any structure or function of the body. For drugs, you can only deduct prescription medication and insulin. You can also include premiums for medical, dental and some long-term care insurance in your expenses. Starting in 2011, you can also include lactation supplies.
7. Transportation costs may qualify. You may deduct transportation costs primarily for and essential to medical care that qualifies as a medical expense, including fares for a taxi, bus, train, plane or ambulance as well as tolls and parking fees. If you use your car for medical transportation, you can deduct actual out-of-pocket expenses such as gas and oil, or you can deduct the standard mileage rate for medical expenses, which is 23 cents per mile for 2012.(This rate increases to 24 cents in 2013.)
8. Tax-favored saving for medical expenses. Distributions from Health Savings Accounts and withdrawals from Flexible Spending Arrangements may be tax free if used to pay qualified medical expenses including prescription medication and insulin.
By: Michelle Donaghy, Pediatric Sleep Consultant – Certified Gentle Sleep Coach
Myth #6 - every time my baby wakes overnight, s/he must be hungry. FALSE! Babies during the first 2 months are more likely waking from hunger, but older babies who wake frequently (every 1-2 hours), may not be waking from hunger. Ask yourself whether your baby can be soothed in other ways first. Also, ask yourself whether your baby is going to sleep from an awake state at bedtime (without being nursed or rocked).
Sleep myth #7 - If your child wakes before 6:00 am, put him/her to bed later. FALSE! Often, putting your child to bed later makes them rise earlier.
SLEEP MYTH #8: If you keep your child up all day, they will sleep better at night - FALSE!! As Dr. Marc Weissbluth explains in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, sleep breeds sleep. Children who nap well during the day at the right times actually fall asleep more easily and sleep better at night. Children who
are over-tired are more likely to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at night. So, if your child is having difficulties at bedtime, consider whether s/he needs MORE sleep during the day!
SLEEP MYTH #9: TV before bed helps calm them down/get them sleepy. FALSE. According to the National Sleep Foundation, researchers caution that use of electronic devices within one hour of bedtime are harmful to the sleep-onset process because the artificial light can suppress our body’s natural release of melatonin, the hormone that helps signal our body to fall asleep.
Sleep myth #10: My toddler won’t nap – s/he just doesn’t need it! - False! Many toddlers go through phases when they resist napping, or skip naps some days of the week. Most toddlers need a nap until they are at least 3 ½ years old. Consistency in enforcing nap time, ensuring that your toddler knows how to put
himself/herself to sleep, and making sure you are putting your toddler down for his/her nap at the RIGHT time can help ensure successful nap practices.
Sleep myth #11: Gifted children don’t need as much sleep as other children. FALSE! It is true that many gifted children have difficulty shutting down and getting enough sleep, but the studies actually show that children who get more sleep during their toddler years (and beyond) do better in school – they have higher
grades and better math and language skills.
Sleep myth #12: My toddler doesn’t seem sleepy or tired, so s/he must be well-rested. FACT: Children are different from adults, and may even seem energetic or hyper when they are over-tired. Many children who are over-tired exhibit attention and behavior problems, or may simply be difficult or cranky in the
Look for my next blog post where we will talk more about Healthy Sleep Habits for your Children and I will answer more of your questions. If you have a question you would like me to answer please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Maurene Merritt, RN
Time and again, I witness women's strength, and effort so fierce to give birth. I think, "If only I could help them bottle it and drink a fresh cup a day like it was their morning coffee, they'd feel so energized (without the crash when the caffeine is gone), full of themselves and deeply satisfied!" That's how it feels, when we push hard and strong in a direction that makes room for greater forces to move through us. Do you remember?
I've taken it on, the work of giving birth over and over again, to sit and wait for those moments of movement that our beyond my will. I push and I push and I push to feel like I did before I lost how brave and bold I was when I believed. When I'm really fortunate, and feeling so safe that a pin drop could cloak me again and take me out of myself, it happens. The tears flow and I allow myself to feel, trusting the release and the resulting waterfall of energy that moves me. It's then that my pen just seems to ride the paper, like a surfer on a wave enjoying her afternoon stroll.
Please join me. It's not as hard as it seems, and just like when you have birth, you will not be alone, you'll have me!
*reprinted with full permission from http://www.birthblessingsyoga.blogspot.com/
By Brittany E
This tasty recipe was sent to us from a fellow friend, fan and mom: Brittany! She has been making a real conscious effort in her home to prepare healthy food choices for her family. She sent me this amazing recipe and pictures yesterday. The whole family loved it. Let us know what you think!
Chicken Tenderloins: sauté them in almond oil and coconut oil
with jumbo garlic slices, fresh basil leaves and ground black pepper.
Once the chicken has browned: add 1-2 ounces of fresh homemade garlic dressing.
The owner's of Embargo in Hyannis have decided that instead of holding a birthday party for their son Aston this year, that instead they will hold a Fundraiser to raise money for Cape Cod Child Development and
more specifically Early Intervention as they were a blessing to their family.
About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. It occurs across all races, demographics, and occurs 5 times more frequently in boys then girls.
No one knows for sure the true causes of autism and research is still being done; however early intervention is key to laying a successful foundation for these children. The family wishes to give back to Cape Cod Child Development as they were instrumental in their lives.
By: Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
(2nd of 7 posts on child sexual abuse prevention)
The Stewards of Children training offers SO much important information.
About the MOST important thing you will learn in this training is about situations where children would potentially be exposed to One on One Situations.
· A One on One situation is any situation where your child would be alone with an adult, older child, bigger child, or child that your child might perceive as more dominant, even if that child is younger or smaller.
· Potential One on One situations might be as follows:
o Your child has to use the bathroom and his whole class is on the playground;
o Your child skins their knee and is taken for a bandaid;
o Your child is acting out and needs to be removed from the group;
o All of the other children have been picked up and your child is the last one, waiting with the last teacher;
o Your child is taken out of the classroom for special help or a music lesson;
These are just some examples. Challenge yourself to think of others.
· What should you do about One on One situations?
1. First, you should attend the next Stewards of Training Workshop (see below); three of your valuable hours spent learning to protect your dear child.
2. You should ask anyone who provides care to your child, “What is the policy about ‘one on one situations’ in your program (school, music studio, recreation department…).
§ IF they respond right away with an explanation, you know you are on the right track. If they tilt their head,
squint their eyes, ask what you mean, etc. EITHER THEY HAVEN’T BEEN TRAINED AND/OR THEY DON’T HAVE A POLICY.
§ At minimum, you are looking for knowledge in their response and you are looking for buzz words, about any one on one situation being “observable” and “interruptible.”
§ In these days, with all of the headlines, programs should be able to field questions like this without a pause.
There are definite next steps to take in either scenario, but too lengthy for this blog post. I urge you to take the training or contact me for more information.
This is an empowerment program, not a paranoia or scare based program. Even given the numbers of 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys being sexually abused before their 18th birthday, it is important to keep a sense of perspective. While we have to keep in mind that there are offenders in the local community, the vast majority of people do not sexually abuse children. Our #1 defense and method to keep children safe in our community is to begin to talk about CSA and educate ourselves about CSA.
I double and triple urge every parent to take this training or call me directly for assistance. Between my
services, other qualified professionals, Children’s Cove, Independence House, and others, every adult; parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle….should be trained, along with EVERY person providing any level of care to a minor.
It is an adult responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse!
Click here for testimonials from Cape Cod parents and professionals
who took this training with Tracy Lamperti.
By Tracy Lamperti,
So….St. Patrick’s Day…how’d that go for you? Did you wear green? Did you drink Guiness? Did your kids get a visit from “Leppy the Leprechaun” ? Who, you may ask, is Leppy the Leprechaun? Well, I learned about good ol’ Leppy a few days before St. Patrick’s Day. Thank God, because if I’d learned about him after St. Patrick’s Day, I can imagine that there would have been two disappointed wee girls at my house on St. Patrick’s Day morn. Luckily, a week earlier the girls came home from school full of tales of leprechauns and how, surely, Leppy would visit them during the night and leave them gifts. GIFTS?! ?! Yes, mom, duh! Um, gifts on St. Patrick’s Day? Is this something you mamas knew about? Because it was news to me!
Now I am a full on lover of holidays. I do it up, because it gives me joy to have magic in my house and I
try to bring it in whenever I can. But this is something I do because it’s fun for me. In the end I am pleasing myself by doing my holiday celebration craziness and hoping that it also ends up bringing some joy to my little ones as well. But, even I, a holiday lover and proud member of the Irish Maguire clan, has never received gifts from a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day, nor have my children.
But, here’s the thing, my kids go to school now. In school they talk to other kids (I know, so weird) and they get IDEAS. They are learning how other families celebrate holidays and when something sounds awesome to them, they decide it must be a part of our holiday too. Sure, sure I throw out the old “every family is different, and celebrates holidays in their own way” line, but sometimes I end up folding. Which is how a
certain creepy elf ended up living at our house during the holiday season. It’s also why I put together these adorable little “gifts” from Leppy for my kids.
This project was small and manageable and brought some cheer to go along with our green pancakes and green milk. And to use up the sugar, we took a nice long St. Patrick’s Day bike and hike which really was the highlight of the day for all of us.
The rainbow treat was fun and I imagine there will be similar gifts from Leppy in the years to come. However, I worry about holidays. And my worry is this, now that Pinterest has been introduced to our lives, there is an endless supply of ideas to do more, bigger, better. And some of these mamas are doing ALL of the ideas, and they are killing it, just hitting it out of the ball park. Which is awesome for them and their families, but guess how I feel when I look at those pictures on Pinterest and Facebook? I kind of feel like leprechaun poop. I worry that as my kids get bigger, they are going to expect more, bigger, better. I know it’s my job to
teach them gratitude and avoid entitlement, but I don’t want them to ever feel like they aren’t getting the same things because they are less deserving. Does that make sense?
For example, with the creepy elf, my eldest was worried that she was on the naughty list because so many others in her class had an elf come stay with them and she didn’t. Did Santa not like her? I was all “Oh no, Santa KNOWS you’re so good you don’t need monitoring” HAHAHAHA! But when those elves went on clearance after Christmas that year, I surely snapped one up. And there he was right after Thanksgiving the next year, and she was SO happy. I think it wasn’t just that it was a piece of Christmas magic, but it was also something that she could talk about with her friends at school, it gave her a commonality that wasn’t there the year before. And now we have Leppy, which as it turns out wasn’t a class-wide phenomenon but something my girls came up with on their own. Which, honestly, makes me like him better.
So I guess what I’m exploring in this post is how do we all balance holidays and magic with entitlement and the craziness that comes with the Pinterest-ization of these special days? Do you feel influenced by the way your kids’ peers celebrate? Do you feel pressure to live up to the Pinterest ideal? Or are you zen in the face of Facebook? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Which, let’s face it, is one of my specialties. Until next time, I wish you many magical days with your family!
By: Amy E
Here is a fun activity to do with kids to spice up their water and add a little fruit to their day!
You need ice trays, water and assorted diced up fruit (any kind, include lots of colors!) We used kiwi, blueberries, strawberries and mango.
First have the kids wash up their hands and get them nice & clean since they are going to have their hands on the fruit
Give your child an empty ice tray. Have them pick from the diced up fruit and fill the trays up with their favorites. When they are all done, top the trays off with water and freeze them. Later you can add fruit ice cubes to their water to jazz it up. As the ice melts, the kids will get their fruit surprise! The kids will love being part of the activity and the result! Enjoy!
Cape Cod Moms