Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reading Bingo For Kids

Create a checklist of fun reading “assignments” on a bingo card and offer rewards for completing it. Here are a few ideas for the boxes: • Read something written the year you were born. • Read a poem. • Read every article in one magazine. • Read a few pages to your parents from your favorite book. • Read while wearing a swimsuit. • Read on the floor of your local library. • Read something a favorite teacher read when he/she was your age.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Encouraging Young Readers

A lifelong love of reading starts early. Fostering that love means creating a home environment that encourages affection for the written word. There are some simple things parents can do to make sure reading is fun, easy, and enjoyable for children. Read aloud to your kids. Even if they can read on their own, reading aloud means kids hear language at a more advanced level than their own. Get older kids to read aloud to younger siblings. And yes, audio books count! Play audio books the whole family can enjoy on your next road trip. Mix up the media. Not only do audio books count as reading material, there are lots of other ways to incorporate reading into every day. Magazines, recipes, and game instructions are just a few of them. Put reading material where kids spend time. Having a well-stocked library in the den is great, but keeping a few books and magazines in the bathroom, car, or at the dinner table (when the kids are a captive audience!) ensures reading material is accessible whenever the mood strikes. Create cozy reading spaces. Kids love hidey holes, whether that’s an actual nook under the stairs or a simple blanket fort under the dining table. Make sure there’s good lighting, comfy pillows, and plenty of books. Read in front of your kids. Modeling your own love of reading is one of the best ways to get kids to love it, too. Instead of movie night, try a reading night when everyone lounges together to read for an hour or two.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

3 Life-Saving Numbers…

Do you know your numbers? You should know and track at least these three to save your life. Blood pressure. Normal is below 120/80. Some doctors say to aim for 115/76 or less. TV’s Dr. Oz adds that you can lower it by losing just 10 percent of any weight you’ve gained since you were 18. Cholesterol. Your total should be less than 200. HDL (good cholesterol) should be more than 40 for men and 50 for women. Optimal LDL (lousy cholesterol) is 100 or lower. Triglycerides should be less than 150. To help lower your cholesterol, add these to your diet: soy-based foods, almonds, grains and veggies. Blood sugar. Fasting blood sugar should be less than 100. One way to help keep yours stable is to switch to whole-wheat pasta. It also contains magnesium, which lowers the risk of diabetes. Know your numbers, and ask your doctor what you can do to improve them

Monday, August 6, 2018

Comfortable Outdoor Living

Making the most of your outdoor living space gives you more space for relaxing and entertaining. Here are some ideas to create your own welcoming areas for outdoor living.  Add visual interest to an outdoor space with brightly-painted planters or colorful throw pillows. They’re easy to update when your favorite color changes, and small enough to add more whenever you like.  Dual-purpose furniture is useful in a small outdoor space. For instance, bench seating that’s also storage and a table that has a planter underneath reduce the furniture footprint without sacrificing utility.  Walkways invite exploration into a larger yard, and keep guests from accidentally stepping on seedlings. Curving walkways through trees or bushes can also create more intimate spaces for entertaining without overcrowding in one spot.  Your indoor fireplace is probably a focal point, so why not give your backyard a similar treatment? Digging a fire pit into your lawn is an inexpensive option. If you don’t want to give up that space in your yard permanently, there are also movable fire pit units you can buy, allowing you to store them when they’re not in use.  Creative outdoor lighting not only provides a warm glow, it also means you can use your outdoor space into the night. Simple DIY solutions include strings of outdoor globe string lights around the porch, small white fairy lights wrapped around tree trunks, or candles in Mason jars twinkling on tables. For an even bigger “wow” factor, wire a chandelier over an outdoor dining table.  Combine outdoor lighting and pest control in one. Fill mason jars with fresh rosemary sprigs, slices of limes or lemons, and about 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Add water and a floating candle to the top. Mosquitos don’t like the smell, but you will.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Support Girls In Sports

Do you have a young, impressionable girl in your life — perhaps a daughter, niece, or cousin? Encouraging her to participate in sports is physically healthy, helps develop teamwork and goal-setting skills, and builds self-confidence. Show your support by:  Accommodating her interest and participation in a sport. Buy her decent equipment, drive her to practices, and watch her when she plays.  Carving time out of your schedule for one-on-one practice so she can improve her running, throwing, and kicking skills.  Proudly framing and displaying a photo of her playing her sport.  Participating in a sport or being active yourself. Active role models in a girl’s life increase the likelihood that she will also be active.  Focusing on fun. Let her try new sports until she finds one she enjoys.  Keeping an eye on confidence by avoiding comments about her body size or shape.  Encouraging her to seek out active female role models. Watch live sporting events and read books about female athletes.

Monday, July 9, 2018

How To Help Kids Save Money

All adults know that money doesn’t grow on trees, but that’s not necessarily true for kids. Help your kids, grandkids, or other children in your life tuck away their extra nickels and dimes for a rainy day. 1. Bank it. Encourage kids to decorate four separate piggy banks – one each for Saving, Spending, Investing, and Giving – to help teach about setting money-related goals. Investing money will be used for future investments and Giving money can be donated to a charity of the kids’ choice. 2. Offer an allowance. Assuming you are helping your own children save money, provide a small allowance so there is something to put into the piggy banks. Give the allowance in small bills or coins so kids can physically hold and drop equal amounts of cash into each piggy bank. 3. Make goals. If there are certain things kids want to buy, or if they are expected to save a certain amount of money toward larger items such as bikes, explain that they’ll need to use the Saving piggy bank to collect the needed money. And, if they choose not to spend money out of the Spending piggy bank right away, they’ll be able to buy the items they’re saving for faster. 4. Go shopping. When you go to the store, let the kids take their Spending money with them. If they want to buy something, count out change in the store. Feel free to remind them that, if there is something more expensive they’d like to buy, they’ll have to continue to save for it – and they’ll reach their goals faster by moving Spending money into the Saving piggy bank. However, if they want to buy something, that is their choice as this is their money.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Road Safety: Defensive Driving For Summer Road Trip

Being a safe driver is about more than just obeying the speed limit. There are skills known as “defensive driving tactics” that can help keep you out of trouble on the road. Here are a few defensive driving techniques anyone can do:  Pay Attention to Your Surroundings – You might think you already do this, but driving is something most of us do by motor memory (especially on a boring commute). It’s easy to get distracted by a song on the radio or a bird flying by. Stay alert and you’ll be more prepared if something appears in front of you on the road. This also means putting down the phone. If you need to take a call or send a text, pull over (please!).  The 2-Second Rule – In order to maintain a safe following distance behind the car in front of you, choose a roadside landmark (like a tree or a road sign). When the car in front of you passes it, start counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi.” It should take you two seconds or more to reach the same landmark. If you get there sooner, you’re following too closely.  Avoid Blind Spots – You probably know where the blind spots are in your own car, and you’re accustomed to compensating when you need to back up or change lanes. You can’t count on everyone else to do the same in their own cars, however, so to be on the safe side you should avoid driving in another car’s blind spots. If you can’t see the other car’s side mirrors, assume that they can’t see you.  Expect the Unexpected – Even when you have a green light, make sure there isn’t someone running a red coming the other way. Even if the car in front of you doesn’t have a blinker on, be prepared in case they make a sudden lane change. Even if you assume the car behind you will slow down as traffic is building, keep an eye on your rearview mirror just in case.