Oct 15, 2013

Childtime Bethesda Review

I have a friend whose son goes to Child Time in Bethesda and he wanted me to share his view with others. So here is is:

Every day care has its positives and negatives and while overall may be a decent place to send your kids if you work or live in Bethesda, there are certain aspects of it that just cannot be ignored.

1. The boys and the girls use the same little kids bathroom and often you'd have older and younger kids use the toilet at the same time. THEY DO NOT have someone regularly clean and SANITIZE the bathroom during the day hours and you can imagine little toddlers peeing all over with no one to clean for a period of more than 9 hours! Just take a walk in the bathroom and you will see why it smells so much & is super unhygienic and unsanitary. 

2. They constantly shuffle the children around from class to class or even teachers to maintain the appropriate child/teacher ratio, but that often leads to kids being put in another class for an hour or more with older or younger kids or different teachers. In their defense it prepares the child for staying with other teachers, but other teachers may not know everything about the child including lack of communication as to when his/her diaper was last changed etc. Why a child has to go to another class with another teacher and random set of kids for no reason is beyond me. Perhaps, it is to prevent teachers from getting full time benefits.

3. Food is included in the tuition, but expect to send a brown bag lunch from home almost every other month. This is despite having a printed lunch/snack menu every month giving parents the impression that lunch/snack will be provided every day. Expect frequent pizza lunches during the holiday season rather than the meal listed on the monthly meal sheet. If the director tells you its USDA approved, ask for USDA guidelines and compare the monthly menu with it. USDA guidelines call for fruits/vegetables for snack and not crackers or cookies.

4. Parking is validated for the first hour only and so expect to cough up a few dollars whenever there's a special event at the day care during holidays, summer camp etc.

5. The veggies offered in the menu consists mostly of carrots and peas...never broccoli or celery or spinach. 

6. They do not list how much a child has eaten during lunch. So if your child tries a single pea, then YES your child ate peas today. The daily report sheet is accurate for diaper changes, but doesn't reveal much about the amount of food intake. If your child didn't eat his/her lunch well, guess what..too bad..you go to sleep hungry and they don't even mention that to the parents or offer more food than the portions given to your child.

7.  The center closes at 3pm before most major long weekends. So expect to take a few hours off from your work to pick your child if your work doesn't let you off early.

8. Ask about registration fees of $145 every Spring and Fall. Even if your child goes here for more than a year, expect to pay the fee every Spring and Fall registration. They also have a wait list fee of $145. Summer Camp fee is another $350. Fall pumpkin festival is extra $5 + pumpkin. If you make a payment on Tuesday expect to dish out $30 every time for being late.

Some of the worst teachers are Nilda and Sara. I am sure other parents would agree as well. I once head Nilda tell a crying girl "are you whining again?" !! Both Nilda and Renuka think they run an ivy league standard educational system, but they  fail to address the basic need of a three year old is caring & communal play time in addition to learning. Avoid these teachers at all cost.

You can see how well ChildTime is run at this Bethesda location by checking out this forum: http://www.dcurbanmom.co…

If you are planning on enrolling your child here, consider the above points and get a proper clarification on the policies from the director before enrolling as she  is very good at smart talking her way out of the issues listed above.

Jun 12, 2012

The Best Card Card - Part 2

I still love my Starwood American Express, but there's a new card on the block that seems to be the best card out there.
Some exceptionally notable features:
  1. 6% cashback on Super Market purchases (you can even buy Amazon.com gift cards from grocery stores and get 6% cashback).
  2. 3% cashback on Gas and Departmental Store purchases
  3. 1% on Everything else
  4. Unlimited Cash back
You may also get 0% APR on purchases for an entire year

They do have a $75 annual fee that is not waived even in the first year, however, if you apply for the card using my unique link, you will get $150 in sign up bonus essentially nullifying the annual fee for almost two years.

Suite of travel and shopping protections
With your Blue Cash Preferred Card, enjoy access to a suite of shopping and travel protections, like Purchase Protection3, Extended Warranty4, Global Assist® Hotline5, Travel Accident Insurance6, and more.

Special savings with the Blue Savings Program® 7
Blue Cash Preferred gives you access to the Blue Savings Program, which offers a wide range of offers and extras at hotels, car rental companies, restaurants, cruise lines, and more.

Apr 20, 2012

Entertainment for Less

Having fun can be quiet expensive depending on what you like to do in your free time.

After all, who doesn't enjoy a great night out watching the Opera or cheer the Lakers take on Mavericks or watch Katy Perry live in Concert. You may end up paying any where from $100-$500 depending on how much you want to spend.

How about $1 or less? Yes, you can entertain yourself for more than an hour by renting a movie from RedBox. When was the last time you got such a great bargain? Use the unique link below to get your free 1 night rental and browse latest hits. Trust me, you just got the best value for your dollar!

1 night free rental from RedBox

If you already watch movies using RedBox and think they are a great company, then think about investing in the company by being a Shareholder of its parent Company CoinStar. You can get Coinstar shares for cheap and with future deals for Video Streaming with Verizon, they may be the next thing NetFlix shoudl worry about.

Get 100 free trades when you open a new account with OptionsHouse.

Nov 3, 2011

Fix up your car - easy way and save money

Advance auto parts has everything you need to clean up your car, replace batttery, replace parts on your car. I am not a very hand person and I agree that its a pain to do those things yourselves.

However, Advance auto parts is cheap and if you do a single car related task yourself including carwash, you are looking at saving a lot of money.

Certain things that can EASILY be done in very little time with no or limited tools:

Replace Air Filter
Clean and Wax your car
Install New Wiper Blades (Advance auto parts will install for free and they sell wipers for much less than those pricy dealerships or places like TiresPlus and Meineke)
Install new battery (free installation if you buy the battery at AAP)
Replace your tires

Get 40% off your first online order using this unique code.

You can order online and do a free in-store pick up.

Think about it; money saved is money made! Your car will run longer if you regular take care of it and if there is a problem, you can always use this Free App to get a good estimate on repairs.

Oct 31, 2011

Stock for 2012 - TEVA


Its the largest generic drug maker in the world based out of Israel. About 17 major drugs are set to lose their patents till 2015 starting with next year allowing companies like TEVA to have generic versions of those drugs. The upside is a lot to this company..and they have their own R&D wing now too..with a few of their own drugs in the pipeline..but generics is the future..as economy tanks and more babyboomers get old and get sick..demand for generic drugs will only go up..

TEVA is my recommended stock for 2012. The current price as of Dec 2011 is about $40/share.

Disclaimer: Investing in stocks carries a risk. Always consult your financial advisor before investing. This site may not be held liable for losses resulting from using any of the stock tips.

Always, remember the big picture.

Sep 16, 2011

Stock of the Month - ESL

Esterline Technologies Corp (NYSE: ESL)

My stock pick for September is ESL. This company is key manufacturer of sensors, systems, advanced materials for the aerospace industry. It is involved in everything from instrumentation panels, power systems, interface technologies. In a nutshell, they are one of the major parts manufacturer for commercial aircraft.

Boeing already has a huge backorder for its 787 Dreamliner and Airbus has also been rolling out big orders( 667 orders worth $60.9 billion+) for its revamped A320 called A320neo. There has been a surge in orders for new planes ( a lot more from Asia) for both Boeing and Airbus. Major US airlines are operating an aging fleet of aircraft nearing its life cycle, and have already starting putting big orders for newer aircraft that are better in terms of fuel efficiency, range and features.

Despite the recession slowing down demand for leisurely travel, I expect the entire global airline industry to buy more planes for the next decade and this company will stand to benefit the most from it.

After staying in the mid 80s earlier this year, this stock is currently near 60s.. Expect the stock to climb back up to 80s in the next 4-6 months as Boeing rolls out more of its 787 planes to customers like Korean Air & ANA.

97.5% of the company shares are held by institutions and they also sport a healthy record of beating analyst expectations quarter after quarter. Get 100 commission free trades by using this link and get ESL in the low 60s today.

Current Price as of Dec 2011: $58

Update: An example of how bullish this aerospace sector is and can be - United Technologies is buying Goodrich for $16.5B

Disclaimer: Investing in stocks carries a risk. Always consult your financial advisor before investing. This site may not be held liable for losses resulting from using any of the stock tips. This stock tip is for September 2011.
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