Soccer Or Ballet? Tips For Extracurricular Activities This School Year

The school year is back in session, and in addition to classes and tests, there’s also a load of after-school activities to worry about. Adding to the already-packed family schedule, parents start to ask, “How am I supposed to handle all this?” This week, we have a few tips for managing extracurricular.

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Extracurriculars And Student Development

Are extracurriculars and after-school activities really that important? What does a college recruiter care if my kid woke up every Saturday morning for gymnastics when they were 10? While a lot of value attributed to extracurriculars comes from how good they supposedly look on a college resume, the real benefits of after-school activities don’t manifest as scholarships years down the road. Being part of these activities can help kids develop in many different ways.

Which Extracurricular Is Right For My Kid?

When you’re competing with TV and video games, sometimes parents need to give their kids a little push to get them into a new activity. Fortunately, there are plenty of extracurriculars to choose from! Unfortunately, this adds to the pressure of choosing the “right” activity. Should you enroll your little athlete in a classic, like youth basketball? Or will they blossom more at computer camp? Here are a few tips for choosing the perfect extracurricular activity for your kid.

When Kids Want To Quit

“I don’t want to go!” This phrase could be the anthem of after-school activities. How often do kids get excited about starting something new, only to burn out after just 3 weeks? Attending practice or recitals was once great fun, but now, just getting out the door is a trial of wills. When kids lose interest in an activity, you have to decide whether it’s better to make them see it through to the end or quit while you’re ahead!

Just For Fun: Youth Sport Disasters (Video)

No one is an all-star at their very first lesson. Practice makes perfect, and these kids could definitely use a bit more practice.

To a successful balance,

Tim

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Going Shopping? This Email Makes It Easier!

To some people, there’s nothing as exciting as walking into a store and coming out with some great new purchases, yet others are willing to wait until there’s only a bottle of ranch in the fridge before they’ll agree to go shopping. Wherever you land on the spectrum, there’s always room to make your shopping trips a little easier.

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Top 10 Grocery Shopping Secrets

For many of us, going to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon is as close to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle as we’re going to get. Modern conveniences enable us to feed our families without having to hunt or harvest anything. But while it may be convenient, that doesn’t mean shopping can’t be easier. Taste of Home has some great tricks to save money and time during your next trip to the grocery store.

Money-Saving Apps For Your Next Shopping Spree

Coupon clipping is one surefire way to save a few bucks on almost any purchase — but who has time to comb through the newspaper? Saving 60 cents on milk isn’t really worth it when you spent 20 minutes looking for that deal! Fortunately, technology swoops in to save the day again. These apps are perfect for finding the best deals online and offline.

When’s The Best Time To Buy?

Is it better to buy a new laptop in August, when the college kids are going back to school, or in November, when Black Friday rolls around? When is the cheapest time to buy a new mattress? And should you wait until February 15 to stock up on chocolate? Getting the best deal is all about timing, so Nerdwallet crunched the numbers to help you save money and plan your shopping strategy all year long.

Just For Fun: Biggest Online Shopping Fails

Considering how exhausting shopping can be, it’s no wonder online retailers like Amazon have become so popular. But there’s a downside to this convenience. As these shoppers learned, sometimes what you see online isn’t what you get.

Here’s to your next successful shopping trip,

Tim

Have You Mastered These Valuable Skills?

Every year, when the kids go back to school, those of us who already have our diplomas breathe a sigh of relief. No essays or pop quizzes for us! But just because we’re free from the classroom doesn’t mean we stop learning. Life is a series of lessons and opportunities to learn and grow.

Let’s look at a few valuable skills you can learn outside of a classroom.

Don’t worry. There won’t be a test later

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Learn A New Language

While the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in the culture, most people can’t leave home for three months to learn French in Paris. Fortunately, there is no end to the amazing apps and websites dedicated to helping you learn a new language. The secret to becoming fluent in a new language is practice, so if you can talk someone into learning with you, odds are you’ll both have better luck in the long run!

Build A Better Budget

There’s a reason even successful business owners need financial advisors to help handle their finances. Managing money is a tricky business, but you don’t need to know all the intricacies of fixed annuities to better manage your finances. You just need to know what you’re doing with your money. Finance expert Dave Ramsey has some excellent advice for tackling the first step of financial security: creating a budget.

Take Better Photos

Once upon a time, when you took a photo, you had to wait until the film was developed to see how the image turned out. Was there anything worse than waiting weeks to realize half the photos from your birthday party were blurry? Today, you can check your pictures the moment the flash goes off, but blurry photos and bad lighting are still big problems. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture those special moments. A little knowledge about photography basics can make all the difference.

Just For Fun: 12 Weird (But Awesome) Classes

Did you know you can take a class on how to start a revolution? Or learn about the science of the Harry Potter books? These are just a few unique classes that have been offered at actual colleges! Which ones would you enroll in?

To always learning,

Tim

How To Spot Cyber bullying Before It’s Too Late

When parents think of bullying, they may picture jocks stealing lunch money or stereotypical mean girls spreading rumors in the school library. But thanks to social media and the digital age, kids today are faced with a more aggressive and constant form of bullying their parents could have never imagined.

Cyber bullying, or the use of electronic communication to send cruel or threatening messages, has become rampant. All too often, cyber bullying ends in disaster. As kids start to go back to school, here’s what parents need to know about cyber bullying.

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5 Signs Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied

The most difficult part about addressing cyberbullying is that the attacks are invisible. Cyberbullies thrive in cyberspace, using social media to spread hateful messages about their target to the world or sending cruel messages directly to their victims over texts, emails, or instant messages. Children and teens often tried to hide cyberbullying from their families, but the signs are there. It is so important that parents be made aware of the situation before the bullying escalates.

How Parents Can Help Stop Cyberbullying

If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, don’t brush it off as something that’s not a big deal or wait for them to come to you. Elementary school children have committed suicide due to the trauma of cyberbullying. This is a serious threat to a child’s life, and all parents should take the time to learn how to appropriately address cyberbullying when it happens.

Is My Child A Cyberbully?

What are parents supposed to do when they find out their child is bullying someone online? This is an unpleasant topic. When confronted with the information, many parents can become defensive, insulted, and deny the situation altogether. But just as it is important for parents to protect their child from cyberbullies, it’s equally important for parents to protect their children from themselves and the repercussions of bad decisions. The Cyberbullying Research Center offers advice to help parents who find themselves in this difficult situation.

Bonus: 5 Movies To Start Conversations About Bullying

It can be difficult to talk to kids about cyberbullying, especially if they shut down when they feel a “talk” coming on. Let these powerful movies about bullying start the conversation for you.

To eradicating cyberbullying,

Is pizza your kid’s favorite vegetable?

Back-to-school season means that it’s back to chaos. Getting kids to and from school and extracurricular activities can leave you less time for other activities, like cooking. Drive-thrus become an appealing time-saver. But before you turn to something that barely qualifies as food, these resources can help you make sure healthy eating is a priority this school year.

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7 School-Lunch Tips For Picky Eaters

School lunches are a health gamble. Some cafeterias offer fresh fruits and whole grains, while others are content to consider the tomato paste on pizza as a serving of vegetables. Many parents decide to pack school lunches in an effort to guarantee their kids are eating healthy. But it can be a challenge to get picky eaters to eat well anywhere. Johns Hopkins Hospital has some tips for parents to get their picky eater to enjoy meals with all the right vitamins and nutrients.

Easy Tricks To Master Family Meal Prep

You might have heard about meal prepping from your trendy, single friend who is somehow able to hit the gym every day. Sure, it’s easy for them to cook all their meals in advance when they don’t have to worry about pleasing a whole family of 6! But the truth is that when you want your family to eat healthy, preparing your meals ahead of time gives you a massive advantage. Here’s what you need to know to start planning meals and keep your whole family happy.

Tips For Eating Well On A Tight Budget

For most people, the hardest part about eating healthier isn’t the time spent cooking; it’s the price! When you have bills to pay every month, it can be hard to justify spending hundreds on whole, fresh foods when the processed options are so much cheaper. But you end up paying for those cheaper options with your health in the long run. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to start eating healthier without going over your budget. Learn how it’s done with tips from people who make it happen.

Just For Fun: School Lunches Around The World

If you think the differences between school lunches in your district are vast, wait until you check out this video highlighting lunches around the world. The school lunches in France and South Korea will make your square of cafeteria pizza weep with envy.

Here’s to healthy eating,

How to Survive the Dog Days of Summer

From late July through the end of August, the Northern Hemisphere enters something called the “dog days of summer.” Not named after any earthly canine, the nickname “dog days” comes from the ancient Greeks who noticed the star Sirius, also called “the Dog Star,” became the brightest star in the sky. These days are best known now as the hottest days of the summer, and this week, we’re looking at how to survive them.

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6 Tips To Stay Hydrated In The Heat

When the sun gets hot, there’s nothing like a refreshing cold drink. But while soda may be sweet, it doesn’t do much to keep your body hydrated. And staying properly hydrated is about more than just drinking water — though that does help. Check out these handy tips for staying hydrated all summer long.

How To Stay Motivated During Summer

Why is the outside temperature able to drain our motivation? One week you’re eating right, going to the gym regularly, flying through tasks at work, and making great progress on your New Year’s resolutions. The next, you’re camped out on the couch with a tub of ice cream watching game show reruns. Don’t be too hard on yourself; a lot of people hit a slump during the dog days of summer. Here’s what you need to know about getting your motivation back.

Get The Most Out Of The Dog Days — With Your Dog!

The dog days may not get their name from our four-legged friends, but it’s certainly a good season to get in some serious play time. But what if you’ve explored all your favorite walking routes and fetch just isn’t fun anymore? (Who are we kidding? Fetch is always fun!) But there are also plenty of other great activities you and your dog can enjoy together.

Just For Fun: Funny Dog Compilation

The dog days might not have anything to do with dogs, but it’s a pretty good excuse to spend some time with man’s best friend. Take a minute (or 10) to have a laugh with these hilarious hounds!

To staying cool,

Don’t let summer end without one more party!

Summer is on its way out the door. Soon the kids will be back in school, fall will be rolling in, and the holiday rush will be upon us. But let’s not mourn the end of the season. Instead, let’s celebrate everything that makes summertime awesome. This week, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to planning the best end-of-summer barbecue!

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Add Some Style To Your Summer Barbecue

All you really need for a good barbecue is a grill and some paper plates, but it’s the details that turn a simple cookout into a summer celebration. And it doesn’t take a lot to create a photo-ready setting. With a little care, a simple chalkboard, a bit of planning, and some freshly cut flowers, you can add a unique flair to your gathering. We bet you didn’t know barbecues could also be classy.

The Best Outdoor Party Games

Cornhole and horseshoes are summertime staples, but they’re not the only ways for guests to have fun while they wait for the food to finish grilling. It’s time to bring something new to your outdoor party! Create massive versions of your favorite tabletop games, let kids practice their hand-eye coordination with a pool noodle toss, or get creative with an outdoor chalkboard installation. Let your imagination run a little wild this summer.

38 Recipes For A Perfect End-Of-Summer Party

Let’s talk about what people really come to a barbecue for: the food! You can’t go wrong with a hot dog or veggie burger hot off the grill, but if this is your last summer smash, make it unforgettable! Did you know you can serve banana splits on kabobs? Or that zucchini-tomato bake is easier to make that you’d think? Add these recipes to your cookbook, and serve up the most memorable end-of-summer barbecue ever.

Just For Fun: Hilarious Barbecue Fails

When you plan a big get-together, there’s always a chance something will go awry. But you can rest assured knowing your barbecue will (probably) go better than the ones in this video!

Here’s to the end of summer,