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5 Unique Halloween Treats To Give Classmates

Tired of sending the same old cupcakes or cookies to school for the class Halloween party?  This year try something different.   No trick, these Halloween treats are simple enough to make that the kids can help put them together.

    1. You Rule!- Purchase a ruler for each student.  On your computer type the message “You Rule! Bats Drool!” and then copy and paste it so it will appear 5 times on a page when printed.  The finished strips should be about 2 inches wide and 8 ½ inches long so keep that in mind.  Print the messages on red cardstock and trim the strips apart.  Using an Exacto blade on a self-healing cutting mat or cutting board, cut a slit an inch from each end of the strip that is wide enough to slide the ruler through.  Continue for each ruler.  Stick a bat sticker on one end or draw one with crayons.
    2. Spider Webs- Lay out some waxed paper on the counter or table.  Set up 8 pretzel sticks so they look like the spokes of a bicycle wheel.  Continue setting up more “wheels” all over the waxed paper.  In a microwave safe dish melt some chocolate melts according to package directions.  White or dark chocolate will work for this treat. 
      Transfer melted chocolate into a resealable plastic bag.  Make a tiny snip on one corner of the bag.  Start in the center of the pretzel sticks and cover all of the ends with chocolate so they are sure to stick together when the chocolate sets up.  Then continue around in a spiral pattern making a spider’s web.  You can add a few Halloween sprinkles to the chocolate after you make the webs if you’d like.  If you are in a rush, you can slide the waxed paper sheets onto a cookie sheet that has been flipped over and chill these in the refrigerator.
    3. Ghost S’mores- Gather up small cellophane bags, graham crackers, mini chocolate bars, marshmallow ghost peeps and ribbon.  Place two squares of graham crackers on one side of the bag. 
      On the other side of the bag place 2 mini chocolate bars.  In front of the graham cracker squares place a ghost peep. (Just like Easter peeps, but these treats are white, shaped like a ghost and have a face) Finish the treat bag by tying it with a pretty ribbon.
    4. Spider Pop- Cut up a black trash bag into 4 inch squares – just enough to cover the number of spiders you want to make.  If you cut a 4 inch strip off of the top of the bag you will still be able to use the rest of the bag.  Wrap the black plastic square over a Tootsie pop.  Twist 4 black pipe cleaners over the plastic to hold it in place, then spread the pipe cleaners out to create spider legs.
       Bend the legs once to form ‘knees’ and then again at the bottom to form feet.  Now your spider treats are done.  If you are short on pipe cleaners you can get by using just 3 pipe cleaners per spider, as most people won’t count the legs.  These treats are also great to hand out for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.
    5. I want my Mummy- You will need full-size chocolate bars, big googly eyes and white crepe paper streamers.  Glue the googly eyes toward the top of the chocolate bar.
      Next, wrap the white streamer around the bar so that it looks like a mummy.  End your strip on the back of the bar and tape down the end so that it doesn’t unravel.

    These festive treats are a little out of the norm and you will look like a rock star for sending in something different than the same old thing.  As schools are getting more and more conscious of what the kids are eating there may be times when you need a class treat that isn’t food related, in which case you can send in the rulers.  So the next time you are on the list for sending in treats why not try something different?

Good News: FDA Committee Approves Peanut Allergy Treatment; Bad News: It’s $10,000

A new treatment for people with severe peanut allergies just became one step closer to becoming available.

Last week,  an advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted 7-2 to approve Palforzia, a standardized peanut powder product, to help reduce allergic reactions to peanuts for patients ages 4 to 17 as part of oral immunotherapy protocol.

Pharmaceutical company Aimmune Therapeutics developed the treatment.

An estimated 2.2% children in the U.S. are allergic to peanuts and while pills via oral immunotherapy don’t cure these allergies, they do make the symptoms more manageable.

The therapy involves gradual incremental daily exposure to tiny amounts of peanut powder which over the course of several months, has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of allergic reactions to small amounts of peanuts in many patients.

Palforzia is essentially a standardized, medical-grade version of the treatment some doctors already offer using peanut flour.

The drug is controversial because research shows that some patients have a tripling of the risk (9.4% compared with 3.8% for placebo) of anaphylactic reaction during the time a patient is building tolerance to reach maintenance dose, and  some members of the Allergenic Products Advisory Committee expressed concern that the data omitted the outcomes of many patients who had dropped out of the trial because of adverse effects.

“To be consistent with your primary analysis, where people who don’t make it are considered failures, I think to be consistent, you can’t censor them. I think this might be a bit misleading,” said Erica Brittain, mathematical statistician and deputy branch chief at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Another concern is treatment can be costly, from $5,000 to $10,000 for the first six months of treatment to cost $5,000 to $10,000 and $300 to $400 a month after that.

 

 

3 Basic Life Skills We Need To Teach Our Children

About 60% of parents worry their children are lacking essential life skills, such as time management, public speaking and managing their finances, according to a survey conducted on 1,000 parents of children aged 13 and above.

As parents who want to do everything in our power to help our children become strong individuals who can handle anything life throws at them, this should be a wake-up call to stop doing everything for them, and make sure we’re teaching them the skills they need to become independent and confident young adults.

How to prepare a meal 

Nutrition is a vital part of life. Everyone needs to eat a healthy and balanced meal every day to provide the body with sufficient energy and vital nutrients to stay healthy. Sadly, not everyone knows how to prepare a meal properly. In fact, many parents in the US opt for fast food, lacking either the time or skills to prepare home-cooked meals for their families.

Do not let your children fall into the fast-food trap. Teach them how to cook tasty meals that incorporate all the vital nutrients they need. This will help them live healthier lives, and also save them a lot of money.

How to sew 

One of the biggest problems with the current generation is that when something is broken, they would rather replace it than fix it. The same applies to clothes. When a piece of clothing gets even the slightest tear, most people throw it away or banish it to the dark corners of their closets that they never visit.

This is very wasteful, and isn’t the mentality we want our kids to have when they grow up. Instead, you can teach them how to sew, showing them basic hand stitches, and teaching them how to use a machine so that they are able to repair their clothes or even make their own.

How to drive 

Driving is another important life skill that parents should teach their kids during their childhood years; not just when they are old enough to drive. Many parents mistakenly think that they should start teaching their kids how to drive when preparing them for their driving test, but this is not the case.

Children start learning how to drive through observation when they are still in their car seats. They see how you behave on the road, how you treat others, and whether or not you follow traffic laws. Parents should teach their kids not only how to control a vehicle on the road, but also how to behave while driving.

For centuries, humans have survived by passing on essential life skills to the next generations.

Unfortunately, many of them are not taught in schools, and it is up to us as parents to teach your kids all the skills they need to be healthy, happy and independent adults.

Organize Your Home For Back-To-School Success {A Guide}

It’s the start of a new school year in my home and I’m determined to make sure we have a smooth, clutter-free and positive school year.

As an avid believer in  and the positive impact of having a decluttered and organized home, I believe having an organization system and clutter and junk free home are essential for ensuring positive energy flow and clear thought.

I highly recommend that parents use the beginning of a school year as another excuse to get organized, not just for the school routine, but the family home in general.  So even if you did Spring or New Year cleaning, use the late summer/early fall to re-organize your life and priorities as well.

Even if your kids have already gone back, you can still get started. Here are some declutter and home organization tips that I’ve put together that I hope can help get you through the year.

Clean and Declutter the Kids Play, Work Rooms and Nursery.  Limit the number of toys and books in the kids room. Get rid of old broken toys. Give away old books and toys to the Salvation Army, Good Will or another family member with children younger than yours. Keep only a few of the favorite story books and the toys your child or children play with regularly. Don’t let them know you’re getting rid of the stuff they don’t even play with. They likely won’t even know it and you don’t need the headache of having them plea for you to keep it.

Infuse Calming Scents in the Home.  I’m a also a big believer in aromatheraphy and that scents guide the mood. Buy Glade or some other brand’s plugins to keep the air fresh and clean smelling. You can burn candles when you’re home or if you’re an incense type of person, those work too.  Consider using those with essential oils or scents such as chamomile, rose, vanilla and lavender. They are calming scents.

Thoroughly Clean the Room. Wash and Wipe down the walls, baseboards, windows and floors — with natural cleaners. Repair wall holes, cracks, squeaky windows, peeling paint. A clean home is great for fostering clear thoughts and just clarity, in general.

Set up Calendar and Chore Lists. Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you shouldn’t be doing all of the cleaning and upkeep. Set up a chore sheet for the refrigerator for after school chores. Also, start a new family calendar for keeping up with back to school nights, upcoming field trips, sports activities and other events so everyone knows what’s going on. If you’re the family manager as mom, you shouldn’t be the only one aware of what days are soccer practice.  Sitters, your spouse and house guests should too. Also, a chore list is great for keeping up the principles of feng shui which are all about clean spaces.

Keep Toys Dedicated to ONE area of the home (or maybe two) Avoid the chaotic mind that comes when you have toys and other things sprinkled in every nook and cranny of the home. Toys should be kept only to the play room, the kids room or one area of the apartment that is quartered off and situated with a toy chest, storage bin or some place where you can quickly toss all the toys hanging out all over the house. The tough part may be to stick to this one simple rule.

When the kids are not playing with a toy, there is really no need for it to be taking up space on the kitchen table or creating a tripping hazard for you or a guest. Either you, your partner or trained kids if they are old enough should make a concerted effort to gather all errant toys and keep them in the designated area.

It seems pretty intuitive, huh?

Over time, it will become a habit or second nature and you will find toys are not strewn about as much anymore. I do this with other areas of my home and life.  All papers, books, newspapers, invoices, magazines are usually put away in our home office.  All clothes go in a hamper, closet or bedroom.  Dishes, cups and silverware discovered anywhere in the house are picked up and taken in the kitchen

Think of this mantra:  “There is a place for Everything and Everything in its place.”

Organize the Paper Trails. Each year, families accumulate reports, information from school, permission slips and the such. It will get mixed in with bills, receipts, warranties and other paper that come into your life.

This Home Organization plan will make it easy for you:  Get a binder or two and dividers or one of those mega accordion file folders with tabs and divide them in the following categories:

School Category

Car maintenance schedule/Receipts

School schedules and holiday list

Lunch menus

School information page

School reading lists

Summer Camp and programs information

Medical information sheet for each family member

Emergency directory

House-sitter information sheet

PTA newsletters and rosters

Health Categories

Prescription drug record

Health insurance information

Home Vacation

Travel packing checklist

Before-we-leave checklist

Vacation idea list

Home Renovation

Home renovation contractor lists

Contracts and Bids

Warranty information

Utilities/services directory

Home decorating ideas

Home Business

Business records

Tax Documents for Business

Consultants and Independent Contractor records

Liability Insurance

Business & Office Equipment registry

Financial

Tax Documents for Personal

Big Ticket Items receipts

Life insurance information

Budget/spending record

Bills to pay

Hope these Declutter and Home Organization Tips are helpful to you as you get yourself and your family organized for the season! Good luck!

Back to School: Bully Manage and Prevention Tips {INFOGRAPHIC}

 

Students in the United States today face numerous challenges on campus among their peers. One of these challenges, unfortunately, is bullying.

These studies indicate that 28% of U.S. students from grades 6 to 12 experience bullying.

They also indicate that 20% of U.S. high school students (from grades 9 to 12) experience bullying. On the other end of the spectrum, one in three young people admit in surveys that they have bullied others. These actions don’t necessarily happen in private either. According to various studies that 70.6% of young people state that they’ve seen bullying at school.

Some of this visibility has led to active intervention, which has positive results. Studies show that when bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.

Cyberbullying is also a problem for U.S. students. Studies indicate 9% of students from grades 6 to 12 have experienced cyberbullying. This number jumps up to 15% amongst U.S. high school students (from grades 9 to 12).

When studies focus on LGBTQ students, the percentage of students cyberbullied dramatically increases to 55.2%.

Types of Bullying and the Percentage of Middle School Students Experiencing Them

Physical

Acts associated with physical bullying include hitting, kicking, spitting, tripping, punching, and pushing. Studies indicate 32.4% of middle school students have experienced bullying via pushing or shoving. The studies also show 29.2% of middle school students have experienced hitting, slapping, or kicking.

Verbal

Acts associated with verbal bullying include name-calling, taunting, threatening or offensive notes, and inappropriate sexual comments. According to studies, 44.2% of middle school children have experienced name-calling. Studies also indicate that 43.3% of middle school kids have experienced teasing, and 23.7% of middle school children have experienced inappropriate sexual comments of gestures.

Relational

Acts associated with relational bullying include spreading false and/or harmful rumors, efforts to isolate the targeted student from peers, publicly writing derogatory comments, or posting embarrassing images in a physical or electronic space without the targeted student’s knowledge or permission. Studies indicate that 36.3% of middle school students have experienced the spreading of rumors or lies at their expense. Studies also show that 28.5% of middle school students have experienced being left out.

Damage to Property

Acts associated with property damage bullying include theft, altering or damaging the targeted student’s property, destroying a student’s property in their presence, or deleting personal electronic information.

The Effects

Kids that experience bullying may exhibit various physical signs that correlate to negative effects, either personally or peripherally. These can include unexplainable injuries, frequent headaches or stomachaches, and lost or destroyed personal property.

Kids may also demonstrate various negative behavioral signs, such as feigning illness or sickness, difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares, changes in eating habits, poor or declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school, feeling helpless or having a low sense of self-esteem. In some cases, the behavioral effects can manifest into self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, talking about suicide, or running away from home

Read more and check out this infographic that diagrams the epidemic and offers a few solutions and preventative tips:

Tips On Creating a Lavish Dorm Room

posh dorm room
posh dorm room
posh dorm room

posh dorm room

Trending: The Posh Dorm Room

Things sure have changed since I was younger and in college.

These days, luxe, glammed up dorm rooms are en vogue. Roommates are getting together to coordinate their dorm rooms so they have a more comfy homey feel to them.

And while girls are on this trend more so than boys, the fellas are getting in on it too, decorating their rooms to fit their personalities by adding personal touches beyond just photo collages and posters.

To accomplish a posh dorm room, it’s probably smart to start with the school residential housing policy for what can be in the room and what not. Most schools forbid nailing items to walls, using certain electrical appliances and adding in furniture that the room doesn’t already come with. A quick check will give you a guide.

posh dorm room

Next, start with the essentials and get those from basic box stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy. Then, determine with the roommate what color palette to go with, Pewter, black, white, pink etc and purchase accessories in the three basic tones or shades of that selected color grouping.

If your kid moves in before getting to talk to the roommate, small accent pillows, frames and lamps can be purchased later during a weekend trip home to bring a color theme together.

posh dorm room

Finally, add the fluff. Go to Discount stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or Ross and the like which sell a lot of cute, quaint and adorable home items with a lot of personality at a heavily discounted price.

If money is not an object, a lot of the upscale and higher end retailers like Pottery Barn, Elle Decor or Ethan Allen Galleries.

Also, if you do not live near any of these places, check out the website Dormify. It has checklists, you can online chat with one of its home stylists and it has decent competitive prices and they ship your order to your room. There is FREE shipping on orders over $75!

GET 15% OFF your FIRST ORDER

Photos from Lure and Lace

How to Get Your Child Socially and Emotionally Ready for the New School Year

Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist and author, offers tips on helping to prepare kids for the start of a new school year

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the summer, and the start of a new school year for most people. Many children experience anxiety at this time, being filled with the stress of what starting school again will entail. From bullying and being nervous about making friends and having a new teacher, there’s a lot that can weigh on a child. This stress can continue throughout the school year and have devastating consequences. According to the American Psychological Association, when children experience chronic stress it can contribute to psychological problems, as well as physical conditions. The good news is that there are plenty of things parents can do to help their child prepare.

“Kids don’t know just know how to handle their emotions, so it’s important for parents to take steps to help address them,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offer virtual workshops. “Parents who make emotional and social health a priority will help raise children who are more successful, stable, and experience less stress in life.”

There are many things parents can do to help prepare their children emotionally and socially for taking on a new school year. These include tips:

  • Teaching kids to embrace progress, rather than perfection. If they feel they have to get perfect grades, for example, they will have a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • Setting your expectations for them based on your values. It’s important to let kids know what you expect for the school year from them, but that you realize there is room for error, too.
  • Taking the time to talk to your children about your own social mistakes, so they can learn from them. Let them know what mistakes you made and how you would have handled it differently if you could go back in time now.
  • Remembering that winning isn’t everything. Kids need to learn how to be a team member, and how to lose gracefully. Play games with them where they will lose at times, so they can learn good sportsmanship and resilience.
  • Discussing with them what “success” means. Teach them that we all learn through our mistakes on our way to success.
  • Kids need to know how to make friends, so discuss with them how to do that. Have your child pick five qualities you would want in a friend and then discuss the list with them. As social issues arise, refer back to that list of core values to see if the relationship is a good fit.
  • Having a family discussion about finding balance and discussing how much can be fit into one schedule. This is especially important when it comes to the number of extracurricular activities that can be taken on.
  • Making sure your kids know that it’s okay to ask for help. 
  • Making a social media discussion a priority if your child uses it, ensuring that they use the T.H.I.N.K. acronym regarding what they post online. T (is it truthful), H (is it helpful), I (is it inspiring), N (is it necessary), and K (is it kind).
  • Having a discussion about bullying. Remind them that bullying is never okay and that they need to speak up if it happens. Discuss having boundaries, speaking up, being a good role model, and getting help when needed.
  • Teaching your child coping skills, which will help them be better prepared to handle stress and anxiety.
  • Letting kids know the importance of focusing on the positives in life. They can do this by keeping a gratitude journal, and having a positive affirmation that they repeat each day.

“Most parents are focused on the supplies that kids need for school, but those pale in comparison to the emotional tools they need,” added Patel. “By making sure kids have the emotional and social tools and skills they need, they will be more likely to enjoy the school year, get better grades, and be happier, all of which are good.”

Study: You Can’t Be a Good Mom Unless You Take ‘Momcations’

 A recent study revealed that the average mom works 98 hours every week, the equivalent to not one, but two full-time jobs and working overtime.

Therefore, health and wellness experts are saying that self-care for moms is not an option but a requirement for being a good mother.

Alone time even in the form of a mini vacation alone is needed to feel refreshed, and it can make a big difference in a mom’s ability to cope, focus and do her mom duties.

They also say momcations can improve a woman’s relationship with her partner and can relay an important lesson about the value of balance to her children.

So there you go!

Science says take that vacation or go on that Girls’ Trip and quit feeling guilty about it!

5 Ways To Get Your Stuff Together For Back-to-School

tiles back to school on yellow notebook

Summer is flying by and pretty soon school will be back in session. Is your child ready to get back into the daily scholastic routine?  Mine are…kinda…barely…not really! ha!

The folks at Brainly — the world’s largest peer-to-peer learning community of students, parents, and teachers— asked 600 American parents whether they feel their children are ready to jump back into the daily grind of school. Nationwide 56% of parents say they think they’re children are prepared to go back to school.

Missouri parents led the pack with 85% saying that they thought their kids were ready to head back to school. Virginia followed with 80% saying the same and the top three was rounded out by Arizona at 69%. 

Brainly has put together a list of 5 tips for parents to help their children prepare to head back to school. 

1. DEVELOP A SLEEP ROUTINE NOW

Getting up early for school can be jarring for middle and high school students who have been used to sleeping in all summer. 62% of parents said they are worried their kids will have a hard time adjusting their snooze schedules during their first week back to school.

Brainly’s tip? Start a routine a few weeks before term begins so that your kids can get used to their new schedule. 

2. ESTABLISH SCHOOL ROUTINES

In a similar vein, students should get used to the hours of work (and homework) they will be expected to do during the school year. 92% of parents said homework is the biggest school-related stressor for their families. 

Brainly recommends developing a routine to help them manage their time and setting up a dedicated homework space so they aren’t caught flat footed in September. 

3. AVOID THE SUMMER SLUMP

School-aged kids can revert by nearly a month’s worth of instruction over the summer. In fact, 82% of American parents believe their kiddos experienced at least a mild to moderate amount of summer learning loss.

The best way to circumvent this issue is to keep their skillsets fresh and mind’s sharp over the summer. Consider doing this through platforms like Brainly where a community of students can help other students and users earn points for answering questions. 

4. GET YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

This may seem obvious but students gonna need pens, pencils, and a handy dandy new Trapper Keeper (kids still use those right?) if they’re going to succeed this semester.

Pro tip: get those things early while they are on sale. 

5. GET YOUR KIDS (AND YOURSELF) ORGANIZED

Nothing adds heaps of unneeded stress to and an already stressful time than not being organized. Only 22% of U.S. parents said they currently feel organized for the start of the new school year, and a mere 10% of parents said they remain organized throughout the entire school year.

Brainly advises creating a plan for before and after school for your kids and yourself and sticking to it. Routines are important for everyone. 

Adulting Burnout And How to Deal Life Overwhelm

Photo by Claudia Barbosa from Pexels

Burnout is increasing. Some say it is even a global epidemic. Feelings of futility, lack of interest in the people we work with, lack of energy at work and at home and physical symptoms like headaches, stomaches and more are all signals that something is very wrong.

When we try to put a positive spin on our increasing dissatisfaction, we are denying our true feelings. When that happens, our bodies take over, trying desperately to signal us with a red flag to pay attention.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to make a change. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Take small steps toward a better, more fulfilling life for the sake of yourself and your loved ones. Don’t let excuses derail you, like, “What about my insurance?” There are medicare-for-all options with gaps in coverage until you land the next job or decide to get private insurance.

Decide What Makes You Feel Happy

We all have something that, no matter how bad our day is, puts a smile on our face. It could be a child’s laughter or a pet’s excited dance when you come home. It could be the satisfaction and serenity you feel when you look around your freshly cleaned home. It may be the smell of spices from cooking a meal. Maybe your zencomes from tending to plants. Whatever it is, think of that and how you can get more of it in your life. 

Pick Something You Would Do if You Could Do Anything

What was it that you secretly always wanted to do? Did you want to be a photographer or an interior decorator? When trying to remember back to your younger self and your desires at the time, don’t focus on practicality. Just remember what used to get you excited when you thought about doing that for a living. Now ask yourself if there is a job for what you identified that makes you happy. If your bliss is cooking, can you turn that into a business opportunity?

Make a Plan

Here is where the fun begins: ask yourself, “What Would It Take?” This could as simple as taking some classes or applying for a job in your dream industry. If your plan is to quit your job, don’t forget to take a look at your finances to see what you need to do in order to pay the basic living expenses in the interim. Want to travel the world? Consider putting your place on a short term rental site while you are gone in order to help finance your dream. 

Put It Into Motion

Now that you know what to do, go do it. Live your best life.