Unrealistic Expectations: Modern Day Parenting Pointers That Work

Are your kids growing up too quickly? Welcome to the club. In the 21st century, a lot of kids seem to feel that they need to grow up fast due to unrealistic parental and peer expectations. Do you set the bar too high in your family? In the interest of everyone coping well and feeling satisfied, I'm pleased to present the following parenting tips that may help to ease the weight foisted upon modern young shoulders.

What is good parenting?

Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. is a respected psychology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Steinberg suggests parents ask themselves what are their parenting goals? Does a parent need to “be the boss” at all times, or do they have a more casual approach to family hierarchy? Are kids’ opinions considered? Helping a child develop at their own pace ought to be the goal of every responsible mother and father.

Experts say

"Parenting is one of the most researched areas in the entire field of social science. The scientific evidence for the principles is very, very consistent.”

Dr. Steinberg explains that good parenting fosters honesty, self-reliance, kindness and cooperation. Additionally, good parenting boosts intellectual curiosity in kids and helps to protect them from developing self-destructive and antisocial behaviors, says WebMD. Remember that everything your child sees you do, they may emulate. They may mirror your moods and repeat your actions. Consider this and set a gentle, kind example that produces happy, healthy kids who grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. 

Problems with modern parenting

Every family is different, of course, but there are a number of parenting problems that tend to be universal in these modern times. For instance, tt’s not unusual for kids to feel their parents don’t listen to them, especially during the teenage years. Parents who are afraid to listen to their kids or who don’t treat their children as “real people” with their own lives do a disservice to their progeny. Parents who set a too-high bar and expect too much from their kids aren’t doing them any favors, either, say parenting gurus at Huffington Post. Toddlers don’t generally clean their own rooms and three-year-olds are not likely to happily share their toys at all times. This is okay. Understand that your little ones (and teens, too) are complete people with their own needs and wishes. Parents who are under severe financial pressure may not be the most patient people. If a small loan to pay down bills would ease family tensions, look into it. Speak openly with teens about family finances, and check this site out when you have a chance.

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your kids. Sometimes, the right answer is “no” when a child asks for something unrealistic. In the long run, your kids may respect you more when they know they can’t get every single thing they want when they want it. Keep a positive attitude and remember to shut off phones and devices and spend time actually talking to one another.

It's a Family Affair: Why You Need to Keep on Top of Your Finances

When you’re raising a family, and a lot of people depend on you, you’ve got to stay on top of your financial game. This is not the time to slack off and do anything less than your best. At the same time, you don’t need to make yourself crazy with money worries. Follow a few simple tricks and tips, and your family’s financial boat should float just fine.

Before you can improve your financial life, you’ve got to know what sort of assets and debts you have. Your liabilities and assets, when tallied together, determine your net worth. Cars, collectibles, savings accounts and real estate are all assets that count toward your net worth. Debts and liabilities subtract from your assets, but they’re not necessarily bad things. Paid down debt looks favorable on your credit reports, as do regular mortgage payments and credit card debt that is paid down over a reasonable period of time, says Financially Fit Females newsletter. 

Make a list of your financial goals

As time moves on, your financial goals may alter. For this reason, it’s a dandy idea to take a new look at your goals once a year or so. If the goals you made note of one year ago are still relevant, ask yourself if you are you making progress to achieve them. If your list of goals included saving toward the purchase of a home, how much have you socked away toward that dream? Long-term goals may not change as quickly as short-term goals, and that’s alright. Reevaluating your previous financial strategies may help you streamline your money plans. 

Maybe bankruptcy is right for you

If you’ve gotten into major debt and don’t see a way out, bankruptcy is an option you may wish to consider. Rarely anyone’s first choice, bankruptcy can help a person who’s swimming in debt to start over and try again. Consolidating one’s debts is another option to think about. If you think bankruptcy or debt consolidation might help you, you can try here and see what options are available. The important thing is to make forward progress as well and as often as you can. 

What other families do to stay on top of their money game

Paul Golden is a spokesman for the National Endowment for Financial Education. He notes that responsible people should expect the unexpected. An emergency fund that can cover six to nine months of household expenses is a brilliant idea, explained Golden. He also explained that six months of saved salary may be unrealistic to many people. $500 is a more reasonable goal that most persons can attain. The NEFE says that financial stability starts with easy, reachable goals. Aim to reduce debt load by five percent this year. Stop impulse buying and start saving, no matter the amount. 

If you are tempted to buy a pricey item that you don’t really need, walk away from it and focus your attention elsewhere for at least 30 minutes. Better yet, go home and forget the impulse to purchase.

5 Tips to Help Indecisive People Make Plans

For people who have a chronic problem with indecision, they understand how much of an issue this can be. Even the smallest of decisions when it comes to planning can lead to tremendous anxiety. They may feel like their heart rate is rising. They may start to feel sweat boil under their skin. Problems with indecision can actually create a serious quality of life issue for many people. 

Those who struggle with indecision when it comes to planning may find some of the advice below helpful for helping to overcome their anxieties when it comes to planning.

There is Not a “Better” Option

Many people who struggle with indecision and planning do so because they think there is always a better option. This is not the case because the definition of “better” is different for everyone. People who suffer from indecision will sit down and think about their options when it comes to planning. They may settle on one but then hesitate, thinking that someone in their group may not like it. 

They will then try to find a better option only to realize that someone else may have liked the first option better. They will start to worry and the indecision sets in. Overcoming this fear of missing out on something better is the first step to dealing with indecision and planning.

Don’t Worry About What Other People Will Think

Most people who deal with indecision also worry about being judged by the other people involved. They may think that others have trusted them to make plans so they need to follow through with something perfect. If it isn’t amazing, other people will be disappointed and start to judge them. This isn’t the case. People don’t judge the planner because the person making the plans took a significant load off of their hands. Once people finally realize that others will not judge them over their decisions in the planning process, they will start to feel better.

It is Vital to Trust Yourself

Some people who are indecisiveness have a chronic issue of not trusting themselves. This may permeate through multiple areas of their life when it comes to decision making. If people don’t trust themselves, nobody else will. For people who have trouble with this, think about what the gut is saying. That “gut” feeling that people reference is built up over time and is a collection of their shared experiences. Make sure to listen to that intuition. It is right more often than people would care to admit.

Make a Clear List of Priorities

People who have issues making plans often do so because they don’t know what’s more important and what should be at the top of the list. With this in mind, it can be helpful to actually sit down and write out what the priorities are. Seeing what’s most important at the top of the list can help people to narrow down that long list of choices and come to a decision. If this sounds like the root of the problem for that chronic indecision, take a few minutes to rank what’s most important in a clear order.

Take the Time to Seek a Second Opinion

For others, they may struggle with indecision and not know why. In this situation, it can be helpful to go to someone else and ask for help. This is where a getting a professional psychic reading can come in handy. Psychics help all kinds of people with a variety of problems and have the experience necessary to help someone struggling with indecision and planning gain powerful insight into their issues. 

Don’t be afraid to go to someone else for a second opinion, a psychic could make the difference.


We would like nothing better than a cup of hot cocoa and a warm ambiance from a lit fireplace on cold winter nights. However, in addition to shoveling the driveways and constantly trudging in snow-covered streets, you’d think that chopping wood for a fireplace and cleaning the chimney full of soot would be nothing less than a dreary chore. 

Most places don’t even have a permit for fireplaces or chimneys due to ecological concerns. However, everyone doesn’t bear the lucrative facility of a fireplace, since a fair amount of people live either on rent or in apartments where having a fireplace seems pretty impossible. 

With the emergence of bio ethanol fireplaces, you don’t have to worry about smoke, ember or chimney soot, or even chimneys as a whole. Bio Ethanol Fireplaces have been glorified to an extent, and we don’t see why not due to their immense pros, advantages, and benefits towards a secure life. Mentioned below are four factors that would help you get your mind hooked on bio ethanol fireplaces, with the dire possibility of a promising purchase next season!


With a source of fuel as pure as bioethanol or in other words, methylated spirit, bioethanol fireplaces vary in size and burner capacities. While choosing a fireplace, you first have to be aware of the room where you long to have it fixated. From wall and tabletop bioethanol fireplaces to freestanding and portable ones, you have to be really wise before choosing the one that best fits your standards and requirements. 

Most bioethanol fireplaces are pretty flexible when it comes to altering burner capacities for heat. Large burners tend to heat a much larger area quite adequately with better heating quality as compared to smaller ones. If you plan on installing a wall bio ethanol fireplace in your bedroom or your homeroom, you’d have to think accordingly. 


Bio Ethanol fireplaces might differ in their heating capability due to burner capacities and the type of materials they are made of. Usually, most are made up of stainless steel or powder coated steel and pertain to tempered glass as an alternative as well. Most bioethanol fireplaces from well-developed companies ensure remarkable quality and come with warranties as well. 


While choosing a bioethanol fireplace for your home, you have to pick a room and subsequently, a favorable type evidently. If you wish to have one installed to a wall, make sure you have it adjusted quite appropriately since bioethanol fireplaces tend to pose significant hazards to children and pets. 

Also, while they don’t emit any smoke, bioethanol fireplaces tend to emit carbon dioxide and water vapor due to combustion which could lead to a stuffy room, mainly because of inadequate ventilation or lack of windows. While installing wall bioethanol fireplaces, make sure you don’t use plastic wall plugs or anything plastic since they can melt from the heat as soon as you light up your fireplace. 

Since these hazards can be taken care of and prevented, bioethanol fireplaces can help to ignite the spark in your room with its cozy ambiance and adequate heating facility. With a fireplace as remote and quaint, we think it is better you call dibs on any of them today before their prices skyrocket and the prices become a hazard to you.

How to Make Your Dog More Obedient

Obedience is very important when it comes to dog ownership. Your dog doesn’t necessarily have to be a slave to your command, but it should definitely listen to you when it’s important. Obedience doesn’t come naturally to any creature. 

Here are a few ways you can make your dog more obedient.

Develop Your Method, and Stick to It

There are many ways to train your dog for obedience. If you do some research, you will come across a tremendous amount of advice and techniques. Find what works for you, and stick to it.

Mixing methods can confuse your dog rather than train it. In almost all cases, the style of training you adopt will boil down to a few basic premises.

  • Reward behaviors you want
  • Don’t reward behaviors you don’t like
  • Stay consistent
  • Change the setting from time to time
  • Stay calm and patient
  • Keep practicing and improving

It’s really as simple as that. You must put in the time and effort, or you won’t see any results. Just understand obedience doesn’t happen overnight.

Don’t Forget Dogs Have Personality

Your dog has a mind of its own. Some of the simple obedience techniques may not work well for your particular breed or your dog’s particular character. Getting professional UK dog training services may represent the best option for teaching your dog obedience. It’s also ideal for any advanced obedience training you would like your dog to have.

Start with the Simple Stuff

It’s best to start your obedience training off with some of the simpler commands.

Sit – The “sit” command is one of the most basic. It can help you to keep your dog under control when excitement tries to get the better of it.
  • Hold a treat before the dog’s nose
  • Raise the treat so your dog’s bottom lowers as it raises its head to follow the treat
  • When the dog’s bottom is firmly on the ground, say “sit”
  • Allow the dog to have the treat, and show some love
  • Repeat this process each day until the dog will do it on command.

Down – The down command isn’t as easy as the sit one. It goes against the basic nature of many dogs, since it’s a submissive position. However, once you have it…down, you will have an effective way of keeping your dog from lunging forward, or from moving around when you need to get something done.
  • Hold a treat in front of your dog, make sure it’s a good treat
  • Move the treat down towards the floor
  • Move the treat along the floor, allowing the dog to stretch and lay in order to follow it
  • Once the dog is fully down, let it have the treat

You can repeat this each day. Your dog may give you some difficulty with this one, but don’t give in and release the treat until your dog does what you want. Also, do not force the down position, let your dog do it on its own.

Stay – The stay command will stem from other commands where your dog must stay in a particular position. So, before you teach your dog to “stay,” you must first teach your dog to sit. Once you have your dog sit, say “stay,” and back away. If the dog stays as you back away, even for a few seconds, give your dog a reward.

There are various other simple commands you can train your dog to obey. The more your dog learns, the easier it will become to transition to more complex commands.

While many of these commands start with treats, you will want to gradually fade the treats out as you teach the dog to obey. This will help your dog to understand obedient behaviour is generally expected at all times.

Tech for Tots: Top Camera Drones for Kids to Use

Drones are being used by law enforcement, the military, documentary producers, videographers, retailers, and the everyday fun-loving person. Kids want to be added to the list of drone enthusiasts as more drones models are affordable and consider safe to use. Kids are introduced to technology as babies, beginning with their parent's cell phones and tablets. It's not surprising they want to get in on the drone action.

Drones, Cameras, And Kids

You can imagine the excitement kids experience as they watch their drone head for the clouds with a camera attached. Taking bird's eye views of their home and yard is quite an adventure that most parents would enjoy as well. If you are considering purchasing a drone for your child's birthday, be sure you also are prepared to teach them to respect the privacy of other people in the neighborhood. No one appreciates seeing a drone peeking in their window. There are some top rated drones with cameras that are safe and easy for kids to use.

Drones, Kids, And Responsibility

Drones are not toys, and your child should know that from the time he or she receives it. It is an unmanned aerial vehicle. Kids should only be allowed to operate their drone when in the presence of an adult. They should only be used outside in areas away from people and obstacles, such as trees, buildings, and electrical wires. Your child can learn about flight and drone technology. There are small parts in a drone that can prove to be a safety hazard. Blades can injure fingers or hand when in motion, and small parts that break off from damage can be a choking hazard to small children and animals. Children must be taught that having a camera drone includes a responsibility to use it correctly, safely, and with respect to other people. Cameras are intrusive, and your child should understand they are not to video anyone without their permission and your knowledge. Check the laws in your city about the use of drones before it is launched the first time.

Projects For Kids And Drone

Backyard birthday parties can be filmed from the air by your child and his or her new drone. Family barbecues, younger siblings playing, the antics of family pets, the neighborhood squirrels, and anyone or thing that comes into your yard can become the subject of your kid's video documentary. Be sure you comb your hair before going outside, or your bad hair day may go viral on social media. The camera drone will also be a big hit while you are on vacation. Your child can video points of interest, mountains, beach, and other interesting sights. Kids can also create a video documentary of historic points of interest in your city for a school project. Your local historical society might even invite your child to make a presentation.

Drones will be a major factor in the lives of your kids as they become mainstream forces in many aspects of life, including pizza delivery when your drone expert goes off to college someday.

Road Warrior Games: An Age by Age Mini-guide for Long Car Trips

Road trips can be wearisome. If you have toddlers in the car, you definitely need a strategy to keep them occupied between rest stops. But even adults can benefit from a rousing game on the road when the stops are few and far between. Here is a list of games that will appeal to each age group in your ride.
Entertain the toddler
If you have a toddler in a rear-facing car seat strapped into a Dodge Journey, or similar sized car, you need to pack a mirror. Place the mirror where both you and your child can see it, and enjoy hours (ok, maybe minutes) of fun copying each other’s facial expressions and playing peek-a-boo. Slightly older children will perk right up when they hear “I spy, with my little eye, something that is…red!” Elementary aged kids also love to play the banana game, where they get a point for every yellow car they spot, as well as the picture Bingo game, where they are trying to spot the items pictured on their Bingo card. You can get your kids counting just about anything (Volkswagen Beetles, red cars, yield signs, billboards) and that should keep them busy enough so they forget to ask you, “are we there yet?”
Tweens to Teens
Older kids like to compete for points but if you can play a game that doesn’t involve writing things down, it will be easier on anyone prone to motion sickness. Name That Tune is fun – just press seek on the radio dial and see who can guess the song title first. Test your kids’ geography knowledge with the Alphabet Game, where they have to name a place starting with A, then the next person names a place starting with the last letter of the first place, and so on. Two Truths and a Fib will get the creative juices flowing. He who is up states three facts about himself and everyone has to guess which one is a fib. The more outlandish the better. Prizes for these games can be a special treat at the next rest stop, or voting rights for your next destination, tourist attraction or activity.
Adults like to play, too
Just because you are over 18 doesn’t mean you don’t get bored in a moving vehicle. Try the game Did You Hear to see if your co-travellers can guess when you are making up a news event. Plug in the Karaoke App to test your singing chops. Play the Movie Trivia game, where you name a movie, then an actor in that movie, then another movie they were in, then an actor from that second movie….and so on. No one is really keeping score but maybe the prize could be driving rights or a free drink at your next dinner.
Games make road trips go a little easier and as a side effect, they create bonding moments. Whether you are friends, family or coworkers, you should try it out.

Modern Temperature Measurement: Finding the Right Type of Thermometer for Every Job

The thermometer dates back all the way to 1600 and is considered a staple for any modern home. Whether it’s to check your food is cooked properly or to take your child’s temperature when they’re feeling ill, thermometers have a wide range of uses and are often extremely simple to use.

Because thermometers are stereotypically known for ‘taking temperature readings’, many assume that thermometers are all the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth as there are a huge array of different types of thermometer all specifically designed for a different type of temperature-taking. So if you’re keen to learn more about thermometers or have a specific job in mind and want to know the best thermometer to purchase, here are a few modern-day thermometer variations and the jobs they’re most appropriate for. 

Probe thermometers

One of the most common, easy-to-use options, probe thermometers are used to take simple temperature readings of liquids, semi-solids, and most foods. Able to provide an accurate reading almost instantly, prove thermometers are ideal if you need to penetrate something in order to take its temperature.

There are generally two types of popular probe thermometer available. Fixed probes resemble a pen with a long metal spike used to penetrate or ‘probe’ whatever you need to take a reading from, and wired probes are slightly more complex and often feature a metre-long cable. Due to this, fixed probes are generally much cheaper and simpler to use for common, everyday measurements.

Digital thermometers

Ideal for both the modern home and workplace, digital thermometers are perfect for taking unusually high-temperature readings on an industrial scale. With many capable of capturing temperatures of up to 1000F, digital thermometers are perhaps the most powerful option there is.

Often available in a huge range of shapes and sizes with an easy-to-read LED display that instantly displays an accurate reading once taken, digital thermometers are versatile and widely accessible. To discover an array of digital thermometers suitable for a range of both home and workplace temperature readings, check out rs-online.com

Analogue thermometers

Known as the most popular thermometer of all, analog thermometers are perhaps the most widely recognized. Ideal for non-specialist home use in which a traceable accurate reading isn’t wholly necessary, analog thermometers can be fully immersed in liquid and can even be mounted onto a whole to provide a constant temperature reading. 

Simple to use and effortless to read, if you haven’t ever purchased a thermometer and are unsure of which to choose, an analog thermometer is probably the best option for beginners to get started with.

No matter what the circumstance, having a device to take immediate temperature readings is extremely useful for both safety and health reasons. So, if you were overwhelmed by the thermometer choice out there and were unsure about what it all means, you now know which thermometer is best used for which task, giving you the knowledge to purchase the most appropriate option for you.

From San Diego to Disneyworld: America's Top Family Vacation Destinations

This year, you want to take your family on a trip to remember. You want to set the stage for quality time and bonding moments. Family vacations work best when combined with feature attractions. Here are some top American vacation destinations with a focus on family.
Top family vacation destinations in America | mommawithoutaclue.com
Orlando has got you covered
If you ask your children what is on their sand-bucket list for sights to see this year, they will most likely name Disney World as their destination of choice. Your kids have great taste. But there is more than Mickey Mouse to see in Orlando. Visit Universal Studios, skydive indoors at iFLY, tour the planets at the Science Center and explore that famous sunken ship at The Titanic Experience. Enjoy a good night’s sleep and a comfortable stay at any number of hotels, or hook your camper to a suitable vehicle, like the Jeep Patriot, and stay at the Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Talk to the animals
Kids of all ages love a trip to the zoo. When you’re planning to visit a spot where animals are the star attraction, it’s important to do your homework. You want to make sure you are visiting a place where endangered animals are living in comfort and protection, in an environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. If you take the family on a true outdoor experience like rock climbing in Yellowstone Park, hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains or camping near the beaches of San Diego, you might also be lucky enough to see animals in the wild.
You learn something new every day
Rainy days don’t have to ruin your vacation – in fact, you can plan for them by working a museum into your itinerary. The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York has everything toy-related, from a life-sized pop-up book to an interactive video game exhibit. You could head to the American Museum of Natural History to see the 94-foot blue whale and then watch the film “Night at the Museum” together later. Houston, Indianapolis, and Denver boast museums that are just for kids – parents aren’t even allowed in some exhibits.
Wherever you decide to travel together, take the time to plan out a trip that has something for everyone in the family. Make sure your kids have realistic expectations and they understand how many hours it takes to get to each highlight along the way. Check and double check your travel list: you don’t want to forget any prescription medications or can’t-sleep-without-them toys when you hit the road. Take plenty of photos, and shoot a video or two along the way. Keep the brochures and entry tickets that you pick up at each stop: they will make great additions to your family vacation scrapbook after your trip. When you return home, pick a rainy day to work together on the scrapbook and family vacation album. With a little careful planning, you can have a family vacation that creates wonderful memories and doesn’t end up like something in a National Lampoon movie.

Finding the Right Games for Kids

There are thousands of free video games on the Internet. This is a double-edged sword; without any cost, there is often no barrier to entry. In other words, children have access to basically every game. Without the proper parental controls and supervision, children can explore titles that are far too violent or adult. As a mother, I’m always aware of what games Lexi and Sammy are playing. It’s easy for me to moderate what paid games they have on their tablets since app purchases go through my credit card. But, free games are a different story.
The thought of my children playing adult games is scary. When I was a kid, ESRB ratings ruled the land. You couldn’t buy a console or PC game rated T (Teen) or M (Mature) unless you were old enough. Although that can be frustrating for kids, it’s a great safeguard for parents. With so many free games readily accessible on the Internet, such a rating system simply doesn’t exist today. That’s where curated gaming collections come into play.

Poki is one of the most popular portals on the Web. It hosts tens of thousands of games in just about every genre imaginable. Each game is sorted into multiple categories, so it’s very easy to find exactly what you want. For instance, the Disney category is filled with adventures from magical animated films and TV series. But, that’s a very broad range of content (there are more than 150 Disney titles on Poki). This is where subcategories come in handy. There are specific groups of games based on Frozen, Sofia the First, and Doc McStuffins. With such a nifty category layout, you can find the perfect games for your kids without any trouble.
Certain curated game collections also offer different titles for boys and girls. Poki’s Boys category includes Dragon Ball Z, Racing, and Tower Defense games (among countless others). While many games are suitable for both genders, it’s nice to have separate categories for quickly navigating such a big selection. Poki’s Girls category is filled with My Little Pony, Dress-Up, and Makeover games (again, among countless others). There are also fashion adventures and plenty of pets to be found among the games for girls.
Crossover games blend genres to reach a wider audience. Originating in 2015, .io games are a special type of multiplayer game. Often bearing basic, eye-catching graphics and captivating, one-button gameplay, .io games are played by millions of people every day. A few notable titles include Driftin.io, MooMoo.io, and Diep.io.

Sammy has been playing a new game called Brutal.io. In the neon-fueled multiplayer title, players harness energy to swing a flair and gain power. The bold, vibrant graphics are enhanced by really fast, smooth animations. When starting a round in Brutal.io, there’s an option for players to share a room link. This allows players to directly invite friends in other locations.
Thanks to the efforts of sites like Poki, we can rest assured our kids are playing the right games.

Feathers, Tracks and Trails: Great Outdoor Apps for Android Users

When you have time off work it’s great to be outdoors in the fresh air soaking up nature’s beauty and enjoying life away from the rat race. If you’re the type of person that loves the outdoors whether it’s bird watching, hiking, botany or weather watching, there are a host of smartphone apps that you can take along with you to make your outdoor activities more enjoyable. Here is a rundown on some of the best. 

Weather Tracker

This innovative thermometer app will always keep you abreast of the weather just around the corner and for the next seven days with its accurate forecast. Features include weather, temperature, wind, air pressure, sunrise/sunset times, pollen count, humidity, and weather and rain radars, so you’ll always be dressed suitably for the weather wherever you are.

Nature Tracker

If you’ve ever come across a tree you couldn’t identify, you’ll love Leafsnap. This amazing app is comprised of a series of field guides being developed in conjunction with the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution, and Columbia University. It uses recognition software to help identify tree species from hundreds of images of their leaves, fruit seeds and bark. 

Bird Tracker

Audubon birds is an invaluable app for all lovers of ornithology. It covers all birds of North America and is renowned for its scope and accuracy of information. Imagine having such as wide-reaching birding manual in the palm of your hand when you’re out there in the field. It is loaded with images and audio clips of bird song, so you’ll have no trouble at all identifying new sightings or unfamiliar birdsong. You can also pick up ornithological terminology from the “About Birds” section. 

Trail Tracker

If you’re planning on going out for a hike take the AllTrails app. It covers more than 50,000 trail guides for hiking, biking and horse riding. You can search for nearby trails or browse through the trail list. Other features include topographic maps, images, and reviews. You can even save your trail offline so you can take it out into the field with you. Upload your pictures as you hike and upload your own tracks using your phone’s GPS.

Star Tracker

If you’re an astronomy aficionado, you’ll love Star Walk, a unique augmented reality star chart that images the stars and planets in the heavens above you. Additionally, the app features detailed info about the history and mythology of different constellations, planets, and stars, as well as coordinates so you’ll have no difficulty locating them. Use the time machine slider to view skies of the past a future. Night mode will let your star gaze without blinding out your night vision. This is a great app to take with you on your next camping trip.

Download these cool apps today you that you’ll have them on hand next time you’re having fun outdoors. They will help you enjoy your outdoor activity even more. 

Smart Tips To Start Saving

Even though we live in the land of opportunity, and your average modern family’s quality of life is much better than it has been in the past, managing the household budget as a parent can be an extremely difficult task. We all want to have more money to throw around, but for many people, the hardest part of making their budget go further is simply getting started! Here are some tips to start saving the right way…
Keep Tabs on Your Expenses
Credit: Wikimedia

The first step you need to take in making your money go further is figuring out how much you spend. From here on, start keeping track of all your expenses. This really means all of them. Every coffee, every snack, every morning paper and every little treat you pick up while grocery shopping. Ideally, you’ll be able to account for every single penny. Once you have this information, organize the money you’re spending by category, such as car costs, groceries, utilities and your mortgage. Your credit card or bank statements can be a big help with this. Total up each category, and you’ll have a great foundation for moving ahead with your savings goals.
Draft a Budget
Now that you have a clear idea of what you spend on a regular basis, you can start organizing your household expenses into a solid budget. This budget should outline the way your expenses stack up against your dependable income. This will allow you to plan your spending over a month or so, and limit any kind of overspending. Aside from your monthly expenses that you know are going to come along, try to estimate and factor in less common expenses, like vacations, Christmas shopping and car repairs. There are countless guides out there, not to mention a lot of apps, that will help you create an airtight budget for your household.
Plan to Save
Once you’ve drawn up a budget, add a “savings” column to it. Most financial experts recommend that you put away 10-15 percent of your income into savings. If your household expenses are so big that you can’t afford to save this much, then you may need to look for ways you can tighten your belt. Set yourself caps on paying for non-essential things, such as home entertainment or eating out, or start hunting for some resource that will allow you to save on these luxuries. Generally, you can save a large amount over time by saving a little here and there.
Set your Priorities
Credit: Flickr

After your income and non-negotiable expenses, your personal goals are going to be the biggest factor in the way you manage your money. It’s fine to save for some smaller material luxuries, but make sure you don’t lose sight of the big long-term goals, like your retirement or your kids’ education. Setting these goals, and listing them in order of priority, can give you a much clearer idea of where you should be saving. For example, if you know you’ll have to replace your car in the future, you can penny-pinch on maintaining your current one.

How to Prepare for Easter Celebrations

Preparations for Easter in the Catholic church require two distinct parts: the season of Lent- the 40 days leading up to the hay day, inclusive of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, which is marked by its minimalism and simplicity; and the highly-anticipated Easter season, which is one of much celebration and rejoicing.
During the season of Lent, Catholics observe a “less is more” philosophy, wherein the decorations on the altar are of the moderate varieties, floral arrangements are more conservative, and oftentimes decor consists of desert-like items, such as cacti, rocks, twigs, and other various “dry” and somewhat beige-y items.
During Lent, the candles of the traditional Lenten cross are lit. Similarly to the advent wreath, each candle is representative of a particular week leading up to the celebration. Since the liturgical color of this time is purple, the majority of the candles will be this color, save for one, which represents the fourth Sunday of Lent (“Laetere Sunday”) which is rose colored.
On Ash Wednesday, the day that begins the season of Lent, the first candle is lit (taking the place of the first Sunday, which is then skipped), then another is lit on each subsequent Sunday.
The vestments of the priest also change as per the liturgical season or celebration. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 345, tells us that the various colors are “meant to give effective, outward expression to the specific character of the mysteries of faith being celebrated and, in the course of the liturgical year, to a sense of progress in the Christian life.” Violet, which stands for mourning and repentance, is worn for the majority of Lent. Liturgical vestments, stoles, chasubles, in addition to various other church goods can be found at Holyart.
When Easter arrives, Catholics celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after he was put to death. This happy occurrence comes after a period of 40 days of fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and general grief (Lent) making the day all the more celebratory. Easter is arguably the holiest day in the Catholic calendar.
The priest’s vestments during the seven weeks that make up the Easter season are white, symbolizing the glory of Christ’s resurrection. 
The altar is decorated vastly differently than during the previous season of Lent. Abundant flowers show joy and life to the congregation. Banners that reflect the phrase “He is Risen” are displayed. Eggs, representing life beginning anew, are traditional at this time. Springtime abounds and is echoed in the church decor.
At home, Easter is celebrated with symbols such as rabbits (the famous “Easter bunny” is a popular example), chicks, colored eggs, and arrays of flowers and plants demonstrate a season reflecting life. Children participate in Easter egg hunts and search for treats left for them the night before. A feast is celebrated among family at a brunch after church or in the early evening.
With Easter fast approaching, these are just a few of the preparations you should be making.  

How Can We #ProtectPE?

This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Once upon a time, long long ago, I was in elementary school - the same elementary school my kids are in. We had PE once a week and it was always the favorite class for all of us. I remember the huge parachute and the wheelie things and running laps around the gym… I also remember how much more focused I, and the rest of my class was, in our classes those days.

We had so much fun in our PE class and could exercise out all the pent-up energy and fidgetiness that kept us from learning all that we could. A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that increased childhood aerobic fitness is related to enhanced cognitive control. Amazing, isn’t it, how increasing the amount of physical activity a child gets in a day can increase brain power?

That’s just one of the reasons to support the American Heart Association’s movement to #ProtectPE. Research shows that children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day and having a Physical Education class every day at school is a great step in the right direction.

The physical education requirements in North Carolina, where my kids go to school, recommend that “daily physical education should be the maximum and 3 days per week should be the minimum amount of time for physical education.” It also goes on to state that schools should offer a minimum of 2 ½ hours of PE per week.

Within the last three years, my children's school switched from once-weekly to twice-a-week PE. Just with that one extra day, I can see an improvement in their school work, attention span, and physical fitness.

Did you know that only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year? Racial inequalities and socio-economic challenges leave many schools without resources for PE, but kids shouldn’t have to miss out on the benefits of PE because of where they live.

Under ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) all states have to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a “fair, equitable, and high-quality education.” The AHA is advocating for physical education to be included in every state’s ESSA plans.

2017 gives us an important opportunity to help drive awareness of the need for local and state action on PE, as State Departments of Education prepare their plans. Unlike previous federal education law, ESSA includes physical education (PE) and health as part of a “well-rounded curriculum” - this means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding!

As parents, we need to advocate for daily PE to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE. If PE is not included in the plan, it won't have access to funding!

Active kids learn better. #IncludePE in our state’s education plan to keep #kids moving and learning. click to tweet 

Want to learn more about how you can work to increase PE in your community? Visit http://voicesforhealthykids.org/physical-education/