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Parent-tested tips for preparing your child for primary school

Primary school is where most children transition towards real independence. It’s, however, the step wherein a child experience the biggest adjustments to cope with school and life.


In Primary school, most children will start learning how to count and use money, be responsible enough for activities such as homework, interaction with bigger and wider peers, negotiating timetables, and independent transport while managing multiple tasks and needs at the same time.


Since most pre-schools will need a primary school preparation program, here are some things you can do with your child to make the adjustment to primary school faster and easier.


Discuss what to expect. You can do this by getting some books about what to expect at primary school. You can also recount your own good experiences if you still remember them. Spend some time together discussing what a day in primary school can be like. Ask your child to share any concerns that they might have and work on them together.


Buy school supplies together. Shopping together for your child’s school needs will help them feel more in control over themselves as well as giving them self-confidence about their choices. Get a sturdy school bag, good shoes, books, stationeries and the required uniforms.


Go to the school orientation together. Most schools hold orientations before the actual classes start. Bring your child with you so you can tour the school and figure out how everything looks like, including the classrooms, canteen, washrooms, bus pickup and drop off points among others. Encourage your child to ask questions after the tour. If the child will attend your alma mater, you can also share some stories about your time at the school to help make the experience more relatable and interesting.


Talk about making new friends. Going to a new school means saying goodbye to old friends and building new relationships with other kids in the new school. Discuss with your child the things they can do to make new friends. Reassure them that they can still be friends with their old pals and that they can still see them. You can set up some play dates with their pre-school classmates within the first two months so that your child can continue maintaining their friendship.


Create a routine. Establish a routine that you and your child will need to keep during school weeks. Let your child be used to getting to bed early and waking up earlier. Discuss when they need to do their homework and if there will be TV restrictions. You should start following this routine about a month before the school starts.


Safety first. Parents like us worry to no end when our child is out of our sight. Goo through different situations in which your child can encounter at school, which are a threat to safety. Talk about what to do in an event where a child or another adult made them feel uncomfortable, then talk about safety measures during fire, earthquake and other dangers.


Consider enrolling your child in an international school. If you’re an expat living in Singapore, then your children will benefit best their primary school is spent in one of the top international schools in Singapore where learning support for expat’s kids are focused on. Moreover, the more holistic view of education is a welcome advantage. International schools don’t have ridiculous early start nor the relentless pressure of exams and tests. It’s a learning environment where different backgrounds are accepted, encouraged, and grown to its fullest potential.


Now that you know some parent-tested tips for preparing your child for primary school, your child will, hopefully, be better-equipped to handle this new stage in his/her life. Do you have any tips for other parents out there? Share it with us!

Celebrate Entenmann’s 120th Birthday

Entenmann’s® 120th Birthday and “I Sing on the Cake” National Sweepstakes

In celebration of its 120th birthday, Entenmann’s® invites fans to enter the “I Sing on the Cake” national sweepstakes for a chance to win sweet prizes.

  • Prizes include:
    • An Ultimate Birthday party featuring a performance from the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters for the winner’s friends and family
    • Four days and three nights of family fun in New York City with four Grandstand Tickets to the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
    • 120 winners will receive free Entenmann’s® for a year
    • 3,000 winners will receive a coupon for one free Entenmann’s® product

From now until March 31, fans can enter, and see official rules at,

To receive a second entry and to make the milestone even more memorable, fans are invited to sing “Happy Birthday” to Entenmann’s® on Instagram or Twitter using #entenmanns120 and #promotion or uploading directly onto the Entenmann’s® Facebook page.

For every video submitted, Entenmann’s® will donate $1 to the Give A Note Foundation, up to $10,000, to share the gift of music with children across the country.

*A product was provided.

Is Smartlipo Worth Going For?

Everybody wants to achieve a good physique. A well-built and toned physique is a key to unlock self-esteem and confidence. Fitness centres are thronged by people with a single motive of achieving that dream body. But, most of us, due to our hectic daily schedule tends to miss on our fitness regimen and diet plans. As a result, due to lack of irregularity, the stubborn fat on our arms, abdomen, waist etc. tend to stay and pose a hindrance to our target. But not anymore, as we have Smartlipo, which is an innovative procedure to remove the stubborn fat which haunts us every day.

Many health centres, all over the world, provide the facility of Smartlipo; but one institution which has pioneered the introduction of Smartlipo in the United Kingdom is the London Medical and Aesthetic Clinic with the provision of Smartlipo MPX and Smartlipo Triplex. Below, you will find the answers to common questions asked about Smartlipo.

What is the Smartlipo procedure?

Under Smartlipo, a single laser fibre is introduced into the fatty area, with the help of a thin tube, and fat deposits are melted away by the laser light. The melted fat is gently sucked out. Laser liposuction also prevents sagging of the skin and a person gets that youthful look which he/ she has dreamt of.

What kind of person is a right fit for Smartlipo?

Smartlipo is best for those persons who are not overall fat or obese but have stubborn fat over love handles, abdomen, upper arms, lower torso, neck or face.

Is Smartlipo safe?

Smartlipo is one of the safest cosmetic procedure which involves the least amount of pain as it is done under local anaesthesia. Moreover, there is less bruising or swelling.  A person doesn’t need to stay in the hospital for the procedure. The faster recovery time enables a person to return to normal daily activities within one or two days.

Is there any kind of discomfort during or after the procedure?

As the procedure is done under local anaesthesia, a mild excitation might be felt. After the procedure is complete, a person may encounter some muscle aches in the targeted area. But, not to worry, as the ache is very much similar to muscle pain after a good physical workout or gym session and won’t last for more than two days.

Do the results of Smartlipo last?

The stubborn fat is completely eliminated in case of Smartlipo. Results can be seen within a week. However to get persistent improvement and maintenance of results; following a healthy diet and regular physical workout is essential.

How many treatments are necessary?

For the majority of the persons, only a single session makes them achieve the desired results.

Is there any scarring?

The laser tube requires little space to enter into the targeted area; hence surgical incision is very minute in size in case of Smartlipo. With proper aftercare, the scars will go away in no time and will be barely noticeable.

Important Reasons to Lose Weight This Year

If you’re carrying a few extra pounds that you’re looking to shift, there couldn’t be a better time to focus the mind.

Whether it’s a couple of pounds, or a few stones, that you need to lose there is help and support available from a range of places to assist you in your journey.

Health Risks Of Being Overweight

Being overweight, even by a small amount, could increase the risk of many health problems and serious diseases. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancers are more likely to occur in those who are obese and overweight.

In addition to those above, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and asthma are also more likely to be present if you are carrying extra weight. For pregnant women, being obese can cause a higher risk pregnancy as well as impact on the health of their baby.

It is not just the physical problem that obesity can cause, but also the psychological ones, including depression and low self-esteem in addition to causing anxiety.

It is not just the impact on your health that being overweight can have; your loved ones could be losing out. Are you no longer able to play football with your child? Are you having issues with fertility? Are you too embarrassed to hit the beach on holiday? This could be having an adverse impact on those around you and losing weight could give you a new lease of life and improve your relationships with your family and friends.

Eating a large amount of high-calorie food and spending too much time being inactive are two of the most common causes of being overweight.

It could be easier than you think to lose the weight.

You can make simple changes to your diet and lifestyle which won’t seem as if you’re sacrificing too much: reach for a piece of fruit instead of having a biscuit during your morning break; try a healthy alternative to sugary cereals such as porridge, and drink more water.

By walking more each day, it will not only help you to shift the pounds but increase your strength too. Walking, and light exercise has also been proven to boost your mood.

Benefits Of Losing Weight

Losing weight could change your life, allowing you to live longer and healthier and to enjoy every day. The benefits of losing weight can start to be seen immediately.

When you begin to change your habits, whether that is eating healthier food, including more fruit and vegetables, and getting more active, you will notice you can breathe more easily, and your skin will look more radiant.

Not only this but you will feel as if you have more energy, you may notice pain in your joints or back beginning to disappear and your partner may stop the nagging as your snoring should improve also.

Seek Help

There is a wide range of support services available to help you on your weight loss journey, and you should speak to a healthcare provider before making changes to your lifestyle. You could attend a local weight loss group, join up to a local gym, or speak to those around you for motivation and advice. And if the purse strings are tight, there is plenty of activities you can do free of charge to help you start to shift the pounds.

Thankfully you can do something about obesity, and lower your risk of health conditions and diseases developing so why not take time to make a plan and start to make changes for a healthier and longer life, which will not only benefit you but also your family.



3…2…1…It’s time to blast off with American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega!

Luciana is the latest in American Girl’s long line of inspiring characters that encourage girls to think about who they want to be and how they want to make their mark in the world—no matter the challenges they may face.

American Girl #girloftheyear2018

A post shared by Amanda (@mommymandy) on


In Luciana, girls will meet a creative, confident 11-year-old girl and aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars. And, while she has the skills and smarts to achieve her goals, she also learns that being a good leader and team player right here on Earth is the best first step.

Luciana’s world comes to life via a beautiful 18-inch Luciana doll, featuring warm brown eyes, medium skin, and dark brown hair with a distinctive purple streak to show off her creative side.    Other STEM-inspired outfits, accessories, and products that reflect her Space Camp® experience include Luciana’s Flight Suit and Space Suit, her Maker Station, and a Mars Habitat loaded with science and research essentials for hours of pretend play. And—for the first time—girls can further engage in Luciana’s world by downloading the American Girl app and scanning her catalogue pages and products to unlock exclusive content, including augmented reality, trailers and videos, space simulations, quizzes and challenges, and much more.


Additionally, Luciana’s story is chronicled in a chapter book series written by Erin Teagan and published by Scholastic. The first two books, available now, introduce readers to Luciana, a young girl of Chilean descent with a serious science streak, who loves the idea of exploring new territories in space. After winning a scholarship to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, Luciana is thrilled to launch her dream of landing on Mars. But as she ascends from Space Camp kid to youth astronaut trainee, she faces many challenges that test her competitive spirit and self-confidence, and she must find the courage to embrace the unknown with bravery, curiosity, and wonder.

To engage girls and boys with Luciana’s message, American Girl—in partnerships with Scholastic, NASA, and Space Camp—has funded Blast Off to Discovery, an educational program to help third though fifth-grade students explore the wonder of space through Luciana-inspired content, including STEM-based lesson plans and classroom activities, videos, a game, and more. The program will be available on starting January 31, 2018. In addition, American Girl and Scholastic will host a Mission to Mars Sweepstakes where families can go on a series of weekly missions for a chance to win several prizes, including a grand prize trip to Space Camp valued at over $2,000.


Other Luciana-related initiatives being held throughout the year include the following:

  • Luciana Retail Events: On January 1, American Girl stores nationwide are hosting Luciana’s Debut Event, where girls can celebrate the company’s first STEM-themed character with fun, interactive science demonstrations, a Moon Phase craft, galaxy-inspired treats, and a free Luciana doll tee to take home. For more details, visit com/retail.
  • Luciana Online Play: Girls can visit to read excerpts from the Luciana books and enjoy fun space-inspired activities.
  • American Girl WorldApp: Fans can step into the worlds of Luciana and their other favorite American Girl characters and experience their stories in a whole new way. The app is available to download later in January through the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Kindle.
  • Luciana-Themed Space Camp: Girls and their families can train just like astronauts—including taking a tumble spin in the Multi-Axis Trainer and designing a robot—at a special Girl of the Year experience created in partnership with Space Camp starting in summer 2018. American Girl is also sponsoring 20 scholarships to attend Space Camp. To learn more, visit com/meetluciana.


*A product was provided.

Ideas to Keep Your Kids Active in Their Body and Minds

Doctors and pediatricians are always reminding us that we need to look after our bodies both physically and mentally. For children, this has become even more important in recent years. With the growth of computer games, the internet, and social media, it can be easy for your kids to be sat down in front of a screen all day instead of getting outside and being active. That’s why it’s important to encourage your children to exercise their bodies and minds as often as possible; here are a few ideas to inspire you.

Have a Tech-Free Time

Although you want your children to use technology, there has to be a time and a place for it. To encourage them to do something else apart from using tech, enforce a tech-free period in the day when they cannot use their phones or computers. The length of time is up to you, but it needs to be long enough to encourage them to do something else. Try to give them some alternatives such as setting up some activities in the garden or arranging for some friends to come over for a game in the park. It is important however to tell their friends when they arrive about the tech-free time.

Make Activities Part of the Chores

Although washing the dishes or taking out the trash are good ways to get your kids to do chores, there are other things they can do that will also keep them active. You can make it a chore to wash the car once a week or to mow the lawn. They could also help you to walk the dog a couple of times a week. Anything that gets them up and active is a good idea, plus it helps out around the house.

Get Them Involved in a Project

If you have meant to paint the house for a long time, but never had the time, then this could be the perfect opportunity to get the kids involved. They can help you fetching paint and even painting the lower levels that don’t need a ladder. They can help you in the garden with clearing up and planting. You can even give them their own patch so that they can plant what they want to grow. It is also an area where other members of the family can help if the grandparents or uncles have things that need to be done, then you can suggest they ask your children if they want to help.

Make it a Family Activity

If you feel that the whole family could do with some exercise, then arrange some family activities you can do. Go for a cycle ride somewhere that has a natural beauty, so no-one gets bored with the view. Play some soccer, basketball or some party games in the garden; you can even have kids versus adults to add some competition. Another idea is to go swimming together, even taking them to a local water park is good, they will still be active and have fun at the same time. The activities don’t just have to be physical; you can also add in some board games you can all play together. Choose ones that you need to think about such as trivia games, that will stimulate their minds and help them to learn new facts.

Play Some Puzzle Games

If the weather is too bad for them to get outside, you can still encourage them to keep their minds active by doing some puzzle games. These could be something as simple as crosswords or word search, but you can also give them puzzle toys. You can also let them choose a puzzle that they can put together, if you have more than one child, you can get them one each and see who can finish theirs first. Not only will it keep them interested, but it will also prevent them from fighting over the one puzzle. It is also an activity that can involve smaller kids because you can get puzzles for varying ages.

Summer and Day Camps

During the holidays, many communities and schools set up camps for the kids to enjoy. They are often low cost and offer a range of activities for the kids to do. The summer ones tend to be residential and spread over a few days to about a week. However, there are also day camps for those that don’t want to stay over at a campsite. If there are no camps of that type local to you, then why not set one up with some local parents? That way, your kids will all be getting some exercise, and it’s also helping others in the local community.

Arrange a Group Event

There will likely be many parents in the same position as you, all trying to keep their kids occupied as well as encouraging them to be active. You could arrange some group events to get all the children together and take part. For the younger children, you could arrange a day at a playroom that has an indoor soft play area with ball pits and slides. You can each take a turn to supervise them, or all meet up and spend some social time together while they play. Another good idea for the older children is Escape Games; they are designed to allow a group of people to get together to solve clues. Some of them also involve role play, but the quest is to escape the room in the quickest time. It is a great way to get the kids working together and using their brains.

These are a few of the structured activities that you can use to help get your children more active. However, there are other ways including just letting them go out to play with friends or for the older kids, letting them take some sports equipment to the park. Just as long as its fun and it’s helping them to stay healthy.

Royal Jewellery

Some of the most expensive, precious pieces of jewellery are in the hands of – you guessed it – the Royal family. But what are their favourites and why are they so priceless?


In this article, we’ll take a look at the most beautiful, awe-inspiring pieces of jewellery that the Royal family own. And if you’re looking for some jewellery that’s just as stunning, but doesn’t require one of the royals to own, Berganza is an affordable yet striking jewellery store.

It’s the perfect jewellery site for you to gawp upon their stunning jewels, in wonder. Let’s get back to the Royal’s jewellery, shall we?

Princess Diana’s emerald choker


Gifted to the late Princess Diana as a wedding gift in 1981, this eye-catching choker was originally a necklace owned by Queen Mary in 1911.


Princess Diana also wore her emerald choker as a head bandeau, making an iconic and infamous fashion statement.

The Burmese ruby tiara


The rubies on the Burmese ruby tiara are extremely rare. They were gifted to the Royal family by the people of Burma, who believe the rubies have the power to heal and protect their owner.


This is what makes the Burmese ruby tiara so precious; not because of the decided price, but because of the meaning the rubies hold to those who gave them to the Royal family. To the people of Burma, these rubies are priceless.

Queen Mary’s rose of York bracelet


The county of Cornwall gave Mary, the Duchess of York and Princess of Teck, the ruby and diamond cuff bracelet, known as now as the Rose of York bracelet. The diamonds run across the rounded rubies that sparkle along the cuff.


In the middle, the bracelet holds a rose made of diamonds and rubies. This gift was given to the future Queen back in 1893 when she married the Duke of York.


What’s your favourite piece of Royal jewellery?


Each piece of jewellery listed is a masterpiece in its own right. So, let us know which of these pieces of Royal jewellery you like the most, and why in the comments below.



Bringing the Whole Family into the Kitchen

Whether it’s time to teach the kids how to cook, need an extra hand or just need a break, getting the whole family involved in the kitchen is a must.

Dedicate a Saturday afternoon to bake with the kids. Spend a Friday night cooking with your significant other for a fun date night. No matter what the reason is, incorporating the family into the kitchen has endless rewards.


Teach the Kids How To Cook

It might not be relevant to them right now, but at some point in their life the kids will need to cook for themselves, or someone else. Set them up for success down the road by teaching them how to cook.

Not only will your kids learn what it means to cook a proper meal, but they will also learn the importance of food safety. Washing hands before and after touching food, separating specific foods to avoid cross-contamination and keeping your workspace clean. The kitchen skills never go away so enforcing these right off the bat is essential.

Bonus skill – patience! Cooking takes time and requires patience and concentration. Kids will learn what both of these mean since they can’t run away will the oven is on.

Family Bonding Time

Doing things as a family is a great way to have some fun and bond with one another. Learn about your kid’s week, what they’re doing at school or what they need help with. Enjoy the time with your significant other without worrying about the kids. Get lost in the moments that turn into memories.

Those family moments in the kitchen also teach children about priorities, which becomes essential as they grow up. Family sticks around so teach them through cooking that family comes first.

Enforce Life Skills

This family bonding moment is also a time to reinforce essential life skills for your kids. Seeing their family work together will go a long way when it is their time to do the same thing. Develop teamwork and social skills by working with one another.

Kids will learn about organization and planning as they must ensure they have all the ingredients before starting. If not, whip out the problem-solving skills and see what can be substituted or left out without completely changing the recipe.

Your family will also learn about proper nutrition and how to make an informed decision about the foods they consume.

Dress the Part – Kids and All

Want to kick up the family cooking time? Dress the part of chefs and bakers. Chef Works has a variety of aprons for adults and children that are stylish, affordable and efficient.

Have some fun in the kitchen and enforce what it means to be a team with a family uniform. Not only will it be entertaining for the whole family, but you’ll also protect your clothes in case things start getting messy.


So start planning family kitchen days or evenings and get the kids involved too. Start teaching your children valuable life lessons that need to come from their parents, all while creating memories that will last a lifetime.

How To Make Sure Your Family Has Healthy Smiles All Round

Mom’s always want to make sure that their families are happy and healthy. While healthy living will always look slightly different to everyone, one thing’s for sure, there’s are a few things that really define what healthy really is. From being able to run and jump and leap, to feeling energized, to preventing sickness, no matter who you are or what your outlook on life is, this will always be the same. And although we tend to get the exercise and healthy eating thing down, it’s also easy to forget about the other aspects of health that you need to work on too. This can often be the case when it comes to oral health. However, it you want to make sure that you all have healthy smiles, here’s what you need to do.

Brush, Brush, Brush

First of all, you’re going to want to focus on brushing. And although it’s highly likely that you already brush at least twice daily, you’re going to want to make sure that when you are brushing, you’re brushing the right way. Because if you’re all going to keep your teeth clean and healthy, you have to make sure that you’re cleaning both the outer and inner surfaces, as well as the chewing areas too. If you want to enjoy fresh breath, you should brush your tongue here too. By doing this twice a day, and flossing, your health will stay healthier for longer.

Eat Well

We’ve already covered off that you’re focusing on healthy food, but at the same time, you need to make sure that you’re all staying away from too much sugar. Yes, it tastes nice, but it’s not great for either your waistline or your teeth. Too many sugary drinks and food will cause your teeth to decay faster than normal. But by eating well, you’ll be helping your oral health.

Get Checked

Next, you’re going to want to make sure that you all stay on top of your oral health and hygiene as well as possible, and this will involve a checkup. You need to make sure that you’re registered with a dental practice, such as Tysons Corner Dental Care, to do this. Then, you may make regular appointments, ideally twice yearly. This will allow you to check on your oral health, and nip any issues in the bud.

Consider Orthodontics

Maybe you’re also suffering from some issues with your teeth too? When this is the case, you could look into correcting any issues that you have. From braces to implants, you may find that now is the time to get your teeth in check, for the sake of your oral health too.

Use A Straw

Finally, you’re all going to want to think about using straws too. Because drinks, such as coffee, can stain your teeth. And when you want to work on having a good smile, this is going to be counterproductive. But when you start to use a straw when you drink, you’re going to be avoiding the issue altogether.


5 ways to pest proof your house

As the temperatures dip and the weather gets colder, people want to spend more time locked in their homes, and unfortunately, so will common rodents and pest. Insects, cockroaches, mites, spiders, scorpions, mice and roof rats love to warm up in your home’s nook and crannies just as much as you do.

You do not have to spend money on costly pest management. Here are top five cheap and effective ways to pest proof your home.

  1. Keeping pest away from your home

Pests, insects as well as rodents are not only destructive to your household property but can also introduce a myriad of diseases into your home. Therefore knowing how to keep the pest away from your home is the first step towards having a stress-free and comfortable pest free winter.

  1. Seal all points of entry

To effectively keep the rodents away from your home, it’s vital that you seal off any place that makes it possible or the pests to gain entry. While cockroaches are great at wiggling their way through cracks and crevices, mice and rats are extremely adept at squeezing through small gaps.

Therefore, ensure that you inspect the entire exterior of your home for cracks, crevices, gaps and any large openings that could offer pests a leeway to access your home. Some of the common points to examine include attic vents, roof soffits, foundation cracks, loose siding, missing roof shingles, and the gaps around incoming utility lines such as electric, pipes, and water.

  1. Clean up your home

A cleaner home is less attractive to pests, the less chance a pet will live and breed and the less chance you will go on the defense by either seeking the services of an exterminator in Austin for example or pulling out a can of bug spray.

Kitchens, in particular, should always be kept clean, and all food residues should be discarded in a closed bin. Ideally, set aside 15 minutes each day to wipe down the countertops and other surfaces with vinegar-it remove odor trails left by foraging insects. Also, ensure all your food and groceries are stored in tightly sealed bags/containers to prevent access.

Maintain landscaping

Additionally, make a point of tidying up the overgrown vegetation, weed, mulch and life piles to ensure that lurking pests do not have a place to hide.

  1. Get rid of clutter

Pests, particularly mice and rats thrive in dusty and cluttered spaces, which offer plenty of convenient hiding spots, especially in places that do not serve as the primary living spaces such as basement, attic, and garage.

For a start, you can clear any junks such as stacks of old newspapers, pick up any piles of laundry from the floor and ensure that you store your items in an organized and elevated position.

  1. Don’t let pest hitch a ride into your home

Before the winter season arrives, ensure that you perform appropriate yard maintenance. You can use Fiskars hedge clippers to trim back any trees, branches, plants and any other shrubbery that is near your home to eliminate pest “bridges” to your home.

Winter is synonymous with the holidays-a lot happens during December. When bringing decorations to your home, either from the garage or storage shed, ensure that you do not carry the pests concealed in the storage containers. A single spider can spawn hundreds of babies. As a rule of thumb, ensure that you leave the storage containers while opened in the open for at least 15-30 minutes and thoroughly inspect them before bringing them in.

The above tips are just some of the tactics that you can employ to stop the invasion from the uninvited guests. However, if you do encounter a problem during this winter, you can call a professional pest controller in Austin to help you.

4 Hobbies For A More Fulfilling Life

In this day and age, we live in massive megacities the likes of which the world has never know. It is a cruel irony that although humans are more densely packed together than ever, there is an increasing sense of isolation in the general population. If you work in a cubicle, live in a condo and drive to and from work parking in an underground garage, it can lead to a pretty lonely existence.


Because most people have easy access to social media, Netflix, and other forms of digital entertainment, there is a temptation to sink into a lethargic existence that seldom strays from the day-to-day formula. Many writers have identified this lack of face-to-face interaction as a failing in our society, Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, is a great read that emphasizes the importance of community.


While the overall topic of isolation versus community is pretty lofty, here are a few activities that individuals can pursue this winter to foster real connections with other human beings.


Learn a Language


There are so many reasons to learn a language and literally zero drawbacks. With helpful websites like Meetup and Mobilize, you can connect with thousands of people who want to converse in French, Spanish, German, or whatever language you please in exchange for a bit of coaching in English. Not only does this help you get out and meet people, it helps you develop a real world tool that looks good on your résumé and can be useful when travelling!


Play an Instrument


If you never learned as a child, learning to play an instrument can seem daunting as an adult. The important thing to remember is that a little bit a day can go a long way – if you play the piano (or the ukulele, your choice), for a mere 15 minutes a day for a year, you’ll be pretty competent by the end of that year. If you find yourself looking for music lessons in Toronto or the GTA, consider one of Long & McQuade’s several locations or refer to reviews and customer experience write-ups on sites like Yelp. Once you get going there are lots of open mics and opens jams around the city that are extremely inclusive and supportive.  


Become a Board Game Wizard


Board games certainly aren’t for everyone, but if you find yourself craving a fix of Settler’s of Catan, you can always head down to one of Toronto’s many board game bars or cafés to meet likeminded individuals. Snakes and Lattés is a very popular destination for group hangs and dates, with a huge selection of games and lots of knowledgeable staff to help you have a good time. Playing a board game is great way to bond with people, engage your intellect and just have a lot of fun!


Learn to Knit


While some people might think that knitting is a lame pastime for grandmas, those folks are sorely mistaken. Arts and crafts are extremely in vogue in the 21st century, and presenting your friends or partner with an awesome handmade scarf or hat creates a pretty special, personal moment. Knitting circles are common and a great way to socialize, but it’s also a skill you can hone at home while listening to music and relaxing with a cup of tea.


A Holiday Budget Isn’t Infallible

When it comes to the big things in life, you know you need to budget. Things like Christmas, New Year’s, and Spring Break need some extra attention. When you improvise these special events, it’s easy to lose track of your purchases and miss opportunities to save. But a holiday budget isn’t a flawless financial plan if it’s skewed too heavily towards these events. Your budget needs to work all year round.

It also needs a dose of reality. Sadly, reality is often ugly. Though you hope the months preceding Christmas or a big vacation go smoothly, they don’t always go off without a hitch. You can get laid off, get sick, or get hit with a costly repair. A budget meant to help you pay for discounted presents or predetermined airfare won’t help you cover weeks (or even months) of unemployment.

A holiday budget doesn’t always show you how to handle unexpected expenses. It only helps you set aside cash for things you know you’ll have to buy. The Christmas dinner turkey, the Christmas tree, and the presents that go under it are all things you expect out of the season. You know how much these will cost, so you know how to plan for them. A sudden breakdown with your furnace, an emergency trip to the vet, or a parking violation fine aren’t predictable, yet their payment is every bit as important as the food and gifts that you plan.

Some Americans can cover repairs, bills, or a sudden job loss with savings, but the number of individuals who can do this is dwindling each year. According to the latest stats, almost 70 percent of the nation doesn’t have enough money set aside to cover emergencies of $1,000. Almost half of these people have absolutely zero savings. That means they’re living paycheck to paycheck for when their weeks go according to plan. As for those weeks that don’t, they turn to personal loan companies for online loans to cover unexpected expenses.

Living paycheck to paycheck signifies a chronic financial problem, and it’s usually the result of several factors. Some reasons may include the fact that these people don’t get paid enough, their fixed expenses (like rent) are too high, and they don’t manage their finances properly. In which case, no homemade budget is enough. They need to speak with a professional to learn about how they can manage or consolidate debt and save for their future.

If you do have enough savings set aside to cover these emergencies, then you can solve your own financial problems. Your next step has to be re-adjusting your budget to accommodate the unexpected. Financial experts recommend you breakdown your expenses into three main categories: the necessities, fun money, and savings. The necessities cover regular expenses like rent and groceries and should take up roughly 50 percent of your income. Fun money is at it sounds. It encompasses all the wants in your life. Roughly 30 percent of your income should go towards frivolous spending or special events like Christmas.

Savings, meanwhile, should take up the remaining 20 percent, and it should cover contributions towards debt relief, a rainy-day fund, and retirement. While retirement planning is an obvious requirement if you expect to live your golden years in comfort, the other two may not be as clear. Debt relief is there to help pay down any online short term loans, credit cards, or mortgages you have, and the rainy-day fund is there to replace these products, so you can cover unexpected demands on your cash, like a household repair or medical emergency, on your own.

The next time you sit down to pen a special budget, don’t let your excitement for the holidays distract you. Your budget must accommodate everyday savings if you expect it to be an effective one. Check online for tips on how to start your first comprehensive budget, and see how you can plan for the fun stuff and your future.

Emoji Theme Birthday Party



Looking for a simple, fun and inexpensive Emoji Theme Party? We had the help from Oriental Trading Co. to get all set with a fun Emoji Party for Sarah’s 12th Birthday.



Bowls full of candies are easy and look fun! 

Emoji Poop Cupcakes.

The kids love the Photo Booth Props

Want some other fun ideas for your Emoji Theme Party?

*A product was provided.

New Year New You: All Natural Raw & Quinoa BArs


Just a Few Ingredients = Convenient, Satisfying Treats with a “Clean” Conscious

  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten Free
  • All Natural
  • Dairy/Lactose Free
  • Certified Kosher
  • No Refined Sugar or Corn Syrups

Pereg Natural Foods has answered the call. The all-natural ancient grain and spice specialists have been on board with the “less is more” movement for more than 100 years. Now, for the first time, they’re offering ready-to-eat snack bars that satisfy the sweet tooth with only simple, nutritious, all-organic ingredients. Available to grocery industry supermarkets, natural food, independent and big box stores, as well as distributors and food service.

Making its debut at the summer Fancy Food Show in NYC, these brand new Raw Bars and Quinoa Bars from Pereg Natural Foods pack a burst of flavor – and no more than six natural ingredients – into eight delicious, mind-blowing combinations, with no refined sugar or corn syrup.

*A product was provided.

Ring in 2018 with These Family Calendars

2018 Kitchen Companion Page-A-Week Calendar by Workman Publishing

With an easy-to-use layout and sweet full-color illustrations and hand-lettering, The Kitchen Companion Page-A-Week® Calendar is a year-round organizational tool that is as beautiful as it is practical.

Each week’s tear-off spread includes ample room for jotting down appointments and notes, a grocery list, three full-month reference grids, and a clever kitchen tip (for example, freeze liquids like stock in an ice cube tray so you have usable portions for future meals). This magnetic 12″ × 9″ calendar is perfect for the fridge, desk, or wall. Padded format with weekly tear-off pages and magnetic backer, perfect for desk, countertop, or to hang on the fridge.

2018 Strong Is the New Pretty Wall Calendar

Fearless, wild,  confident, kind, independent—a photographic celebration of girls ages 5 to 18 being their authentic selves. Photographer Kate T. Parker captures girls in all their creative, fierce, loud, silly glory. Adapted from the book of the same name, Strong Is the New Pretty Calendar is a perfect present for daughters, nieces, sisters, coaches, mentors, teachers, and friends—what’s better than enriching young minds with the gift of confidence?

Each month features a girl who embodies the beauty in being resilient, brave, and hardworking—from dancers to fencers, from musicians to gardeners, from student body presidents to soccer players. Each masterfully shot photo (in both color and black and white) is paired with an inspiring quote from the subjects themselves. Like Tayla, age 6, a backyard/

2018 Kid’s Awesome Activity Wall Calendar by Mike Workman Publishing

DIY every day for boys and girls with curious minds and active hands! Design your own igloo in January. Decipher a mummy’s message in June. Find your way out of a beehive maze in May. Every month in this creativity-boosting calendar invites kids to design and dream with games, jokes, and plenty of adorable creatures and wacky prompts. Draw with crayons, pencils, or markers; decorate the featured images and note important dates with the 300 included stickers; and store your supplies in the handy drop-down storage pocket. And keep track of holidays, celebrations, school events, and more! Includes write-and-erase magnetic rewards chart, full-color, custom-designed stickers, and a storage pocket.

You can find all these awesome Calendars at Barnes and Noble.