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Archive for July, 2011

Going Paperless at Home

July 28, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

More and more people are going paperless at home and really seeing the benefits of less clutter. Are you feeling like you’re buried under an avalanche of paper sometimes? Most of us are right there with you. We’ve all gotten overwhelmed with of the paper that is around us. It seems like the more we talk about going paperless, the more paper it generates!

Here are a few tips to help you with going paperless at home:

1. Declutter…Declutter…Declutter – One of the first things to do to accomplish our mission of going paperless at home is to declutter the unnecessary paper around us. Much of the paper we have, we can eliminate. The first step is to invest in a shredder, preferably a diamond cut shredder that makes confetti out of your paper.

The second thing to do is invest in a safe deposit box, or a fireproof box for your home. These are the first 2 steps to achieving our mission.

The third step is to set aside a time each day to work at reducing the level of paper. In most cases it isn’t going to happen in a day or two, but rather it’s going to be a little bit of time. Start with 15 minutes each day until it is under control.

2. How Long To Keep What? – Some papers need to be kept for a short time, some for a bit longer, and some need to be kept for your entire life. The next few tips will deal with the length of time to keep which papers.

The ‘Forever Papers’ should be kept in the safe deposit box or fireproof box, along with the papers you should keep for 7 years.

In addition, purchase a file cabinet, or dedicate a file drawer or two, to hold the papers that you should keep for up to 3 years.

3. Keep Forever – When going paperless at home mindfull of types of papers that should be kept forever:

Wills, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, prenuptial agreements, alimony and child-custody agreements, divorce decrees, adoption papers, military records, citizenship papers, passports, health care power of attorney, copies of your IRA or 401K accounts along with copies of the form that names your plan beneficiaries, current insurance policies, employment contracts, deeds, property titles, mortgages, and stock and bond certificates.

4. Keep for at Least 7 Years –

These are the types of papers that should be kept for at least 7 years.

Income tax returns (state and federal) with all supporting documentation. Supporting documentation is all that you use to figure your taxes. Also keep wage/salary records and annual payroll check stubs, canceled checks or bank statements, savings account records, monthly statements including information from banks, brokers, retirement plans, auto titles, guarantees and warranties along with dates and costs of improvements to your home.

5. Keep for Us to 3 Years-

These are the types of papers that should be kept for at least 3 years.

Papers that confirm buying or selling of stocks and bonds, pay stubs, credit card statements if they list tax deductible expenses or charitable gifts, utility and phone bills, ATM receipts/deposit slips, and medical bills.

Stop by Get Organized Now – and check out the amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

Use Your Computer

6. Use the Computer for Filing – When going paperless at home be mindfull of what you are printing

 off of your home computer. Many of us print off documents that we could be storing on our computers. Instead of printing off a copy of what you have on the computer, and dealing with paper, backup your files on a 2nd hard drive, a removable drive, or even on the Internet.

Many external hard drives are very affordable and offer a vast amount of storage, and are very reliable. No matter how good computers are, they do fail and so an external hard drive, or even an Internet backup are good insurance against losing your data.

7. Electric Bill Pay - Another way to reduce the amount of paper coming into your home is to sign up for electronic billing. Electronic billing has made going paperless at home a bit easier. Many companies will be very happy to send you an electronic bill only. You will receive your monthly statement via email which will give you a link to view your bill.

In addition to sending you your statement electronically, many companies will also encourage you to pay electronically. This can be by means of an automatic deduction every month or a one-time payment. You not only reduce the amount of paper coming into your home, you reduce the amount of paper going out of your home too.

Many banks now offer free bill pay. You can sign up with your bank to pay your bills automatically each month or use them for a one-time payment, just like with each individual company. This gives you a one stop place to take care of all of your bills.

Shredder and Trash

8. Eliminate the Junk Mail – Contacting the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and registering with their Mail Preference Service provides an effective way for you to fight the junk mail glut. The DMA does not provide marketers with consumer mailing lists or do consumer mailings. They provide their Mail Preference Service to marketers for the sole purpose of removing consumer’s names and addresses from their prospect mailing lists.

In the offort of going paperless at home avoid getting on even more mailing lists by taking precautions whenever you submit your name and address to anyone. If you’re filling out a form such as a warranty, subscription, raffle, customer info card, credit card application, membership for an organization, etc., add the phrase ‘please do not rent, sell, or trade my name or address’ next to the other information you provide.

Be advised that it is not necessary to fill out a warranty card to benefit from the warranty on your purchase. The warranty card is usually just a way to get consumer info from you.

Repeat these same magic words every time you’re giving a company or organization your name and address over the phone or Internet, such as when ordering a catalog, magazine, or making a purchase. The sales rep will then flag your name in their computer. These are just a couple of the things you can do to reduce the amount of junk mail coming in.

9. Sort Your Mail at the Shredder – When you are opening your mail EACH DAY, do so over the shredder. If it’s not a bill or personal correspondence, or a charitable donation request that you support, shred anything that has your name and address on it. It is important that you shred to protect your identity.

There is so much identity theft going on that could be prevented by shredding anything that has your name and address on it. This includes catalog order forms along with the back cover where your mailing address is.

10. Handle It Once – When paper does come into your home, handle it only once. That means you either shred it, attend to it (pay a bill, answer a letter, etc.) or file it. This way you don’t have a pile of papers to deal with all at once, it’s already taken care of.

If you only pay bills on certain days, have an `immediate’ file set up that you put `bills to be paid’, `correspondence to be answered’, and other categories that mean something to you personally, after all, if it doesn’t work for you, you won’t use it.

11. Cancel the Subscription- Another key to going paperless at home is to manage the paper that comes in. How many magazines come into your home on a weekly basis that you don’t have time to read? Are they stacking up too? If that is the case, it’s time to re-evaluate whether or not you really need to continue to subscribe to those magazines. That includes newspaper subscriptions too. If you have time to read a newspaper then don’t cancel it, but if it piles up alongside the magazines you don’t have time to read, why have it come into the house in the first place. Most newspapers have websites where you can read the newspaper online, saving paper.

By using any or all of the systems above, your mission of going paperless at home can be accomplished. All of the systems in the world won’t do a bit of good if you don’t keep on top of them. By reducing the amount of paper you have to deal with on a daily basis, it is easier to keep up with it. Don’t let your `to be filed’ basket be filled to overflowing. Instead, file each piece as it comes into the house. Then it is no longer a mountain threatening an avalanche when you walk by.

To find out how to get organized and put these strategies to use right away, visit: The Definitive Guide to Home Organization for Busy People today and get your life and home organized and clutter free forever!

Frugal Living Tips

July 20, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Organization No Comments →

When incorporating frugal living tips into your life, be sure to include the internet. There are many frugal living tips that you can incorporate into your live while using the internet to your advantage.

In todays world, using as as many frugal living tips as you can find can make a huge difference to your bank balance, and this is now easier than ever thanks to the internet. Here are four ways you can get online and help make the task of saving money as simple as possible.

1) Use Price Comparison Websites

There are more and more price comparison websites popping up all the time. These are great for saving money, especially when you’re buying things such as insurance, as it won’t take you long to look something up. Never buy car, health or home insurance without checking these sites first, and it’s still worth checking even if you’re currently tied into a policy (you can switch as soon as it ends)!

But it’s not just the big things that count. Some of the best frugal living tips include using price comparison websites to search for the price of groceries and other common items you buy. It’s well worth it, as every little saving will soon add up.

2) Sign Up To Daily Deal Sites For Your Area

This is one of my favorate frugal living tips! You’ve probably heard of Groupon, a site that delivers daily deals for different areas. These are often things you don’t need, such as manicures or other beauty treatments. But sometimes you’ll find excellent offers that make it worth signing up. Do a search for various deal sites that serve your area, but before you spend any money make sure you search their names to check that they’re legitimate.

3) Sign Up To Coupon Mailing Lists

Many different companies will have their own mailing lists online, so get signing up to the stores you shop at frequently and you’ll probably get some great coupons sent directly to your inbox. This is far easier than signing up to traditional paper mailing lists, with the added benefit that you can cancel them with one click if you find they aren’t as useful as you’d hoped.

4) Use Forums To Keep You Accountable

Last on the list of online frugal living tips is to sign up to a money saving forum to meet likeminded people. This will stop you going mad during those moments where you feel as though you’re missing out by being so frugal. You can even post public saving goals and challenges to help keep you accountable.

One Important Thing You Need To Remember

There’s one thing you need to remember throughout all of this: a deal is a not a deal unless you wanted to buy it anyway! What that means is that you shouldn’t go spending extra money on “deals” you find on the internet, unless you already had a use for the item or service. If you do, you’ll actually end up spending more money than you would have originally. Use these frugal living tips wisely!

To find out how to get organized and put these strategies to use right away, visit: The Definitive Guide to Home Organization for Busy People today and get your life and home organized and clutter free forever!

Vision Boards For Children

July 18, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Goals, Just for Fun, Organization No Comments →

When children or teens are depressed they often have a lack of hope for the future.

Teenage suicide and suicidal ideation is a profound expression of hopelessness. It is often experienced as an overwhelming feeling that what they do is never good enough and inside, they are never good enough.

A vision board helps depressed children or adolescents to start imagining their dreams and goals for the future. The very process of making the vision board together will open a door for your child or adolescent to talk about their experiences and to start to address the negative thoughts that are in their head. Some teens may prefer to do it completely on their own, but you will have plenty of grist for the mill to talk about when you see their finished board.

Below I will share some tips on how to create vision boards for children:

The vision board can be a bulletin board or simply a white Styrofoam board. The process is to make collages of photos, magazine clippings, written affirmations, lines from poetry, and quotes which all represent their “outcomes”. They can also include special cards, letters, and certificates, written by others that say positive things.

In the centre of the vision board should be a photo or picture of your child or teen. It needs to show through their facial and body language that they are feeling happy. We suggest the most recent photo if possible. This reminds then where they were and they can be and feel happy again. Revolving around this centre-piece are visual images of goals that the child wants to achieve that will contribute to feeling happy again. For example, feeling happy at school, having a closer inner circle of friends, feeling joy and creativity, a special project they want to be involved in, or their dream job or career in the future.

It can also include other goals such as working somewhere, learning to play an instrument, getting back to playing tennis again or another sport, submitting their poems to magazines or designs to companies, showing their artwork at exhibitions. It therefore is a mixture of inner and outer manifestations that the child wants to create and new beliefs that they want to install in their brain.

Help them to set their sights high; dream a little, but also be realistic. They will need to show the visual manifestations of what they want in each of these four areas:

1. School
2. Sports/activities
3. Family life
4. Social life

Examples include making new friends, improving their sport or getting something they really want.

They think about what they want to achieve in the next five years from now. For a younger person it might be 1) obtaining GCSEs or 2) going on a special trip or adventure.

For adolescents, it might be: 1) what kind of person they want to be as an adult, such as a loyal and honest friend or a hard worker, and 2) what kind of job they would like to have.

Encourage them to imagine what sort of qualities they want to have in the next five, and then ten years. Since the dominating thoughts of a child with depression have been disempowering, hurtful, painful and negative, it is important to write very strong affirmations which will eventually eclipse the irrational destructive and toxic beliefs and gradually transform themselves into physical reality, helping the childs mood to become more on an even keel again.

The positive statements on the vision board should reflect the opposite of the negative thought patterns that they have. For instance, if your child has low self-esteem and suffers from a lack of confidence, then the statement could be something like “I am becoming more confident” or “my confidence is growing each day”. Another example is “I am” or “I am becoming” more… joyful, self-assured, positive in my thinking. These are important statements to help your child think of and write down.

It is very powerful to sit with your child and in a quiet place with beautiful peaceful music, and say “lets just try this exercise, nothing to lose. Imagine yourself already feeling as though your dreams have become a reality, your prayers are answered, or you have already reached your goals. This lifts one to a much more elevated mood.

Explain to your child that an affirmation can become even more powerful when it is turned into a song or chant. This is called an incantation because it is said with a focused purposefulness accompanied by body movement. Sometimes people proclaim this loudly when drumming, dancing or whatever movement they prefer.

Children and adolescents also can find and use quotes of their favourite person in history, current day celebrities or great role models in their life. Usually these great people have been resilient through trials, tribulations and adversity. They can choose their role models who are celebrities or famous people from both past and present who also suffered from depression (e.g. Mandela, Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Einstein, Mother Theresa, Mozart, Abraham Lincoln, and Melanie C of the Spice Girls, Princess Diana, etc.).

Using the information above will help you to create vision boards for children that they will be happy to look at and aspire to.

Be sure to visit ‘How To Help Your Child Beat Depression. is a great resource that gives practical advice on recognizing depression in children/teenagers and offers essential tips on how you can cope with the challenges.

6 Ways to Streamline and Simplify

July 15, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Goals, Organization No Comments →

With our busy lives each and every day, streamlining and simplifying is vital. Here are 6 simple ways to do just that.

1) Clothes

Above all else, it’s important to know what you have and what you need. Go through your closet and drawers and pull out anything that doesn’t fit you or make you feel fabulous. Make an inventory of what you have now and then make a list of the items or outfits you need. Try to stick to a certain style or color palette so that items will mix and match more easily.

When buying shoes, purses or other accessories, aim for pieces that will work with a number of outfits as opposed to just one thing.

Try to group pieces in your closet in a way that works best for you. Perhaps hang all of your pants together, blouses, skirts, etc. Or maybe instead it would work best to hang complete outfits together.

2) Cosmetics

Does your cosmetics drawer or cabinet look like a bomb went off? Could you lay your hands on your favorite hot pink nail polish in seconds or do you end up buying another bottle because you can’t find the one you already own?

For makeup, cosmetics, hair products, etc., the only way to make sense of it all is to containerize. It doesn’t have to be a bunch of fancy matching boxes although those are fun too! Shoe boxes work just as well or the disposable food storage containers.

Gather everything you currently have and toss away any obviously old, no longer usable product. Now is not the time to lament money spent and wasted on stuff you didn’t use. Bacteria can grow on old cosmetics and be dangerous. Just toss. Once you are sure that you have only kept the newer, safe products you will definitely use, then sort according to category. For instance, consolidate all nail polishes, all lipsticks, all hair products and so on.

3) Kitchen Pantry

Create specific areas in your kitchen depending upon your cooking habits. Baking, canned goods, spices and sauces, oils and vinegars, dry goods (such as sugar, rice, pasta, flour.) Creating these areas, you will cut down on the amount of space where you will be searching for things. For instance, you will know if you need vanilla extract to look in your baking area.

Also recommended are lazy susans that turn easily so you can see what’s there without knocking stuff over.

4) Pre-packed Snacks

Rather than having to stop everything you’re doing each day when your kids ask you for pre-lunch and after lunch snacks, come up with you-pack-’em packages in advance.

For instance, using small baggies, make individual snack packs of goldfish crackers, pretzels or dry cereal. Keep them on a specific shelf in your pantry.

Perishable snacks like grapes, baby carrots, or cheese, can be stored in a specific drawer in the fridge.

5) Snail Mail

Mail can become a pile of chaos in no time at all if not tended to promptly. Bills can get mixed up with store flyers and other junk mail. The only way to avoid the trap of the bottomless pile of mail is to deal with it each and every day as it arrives.

Immediately toss anything that is junk mail. Flyers for stores you never go to would be one example. Open and shred all of the credit card offers and other personalized pages.

Sort all bills and file in one central place. If you create a current bill file and are conscientious about using it, then you won’t have bills scattered around in numerous places. If that happens, you run the risk that you will misplace some and they won’t be paid on time.

For any invitations received, decide if you care to attend, then jot the date on your calendar or in your planner.

6) Banking

There are many easy ways to streamline and simplify your banking. First of all, take advantage of direct deposit if at all possible. This will alleviate the possibility of lost checks and the need to physically go to the bank which will in turn save you time and even gas money.

Avoid having too many different accounts at different financial institutions. Often, if you have your checking, savings and other accounts at one bank, you will be able to receive one statement which will cut down on the amount of paperwork you have to open and file.

Stop by Get Organized Now – and check out the amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

Home Alone Safety for Kids

July 13, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Healthy Living No Comments →

There are many things to consider when thinking about home alone safety for kids. While some states have laws about the minimum age a child can be left home alone without it being considered neglect, you the parent are probably the best judge of when your child is ready for this milestone.

Your child should be able to perform basic self-maintenance tasks on his own, such as getting a snack and drink, answering the phone, and washing his hands. Beyond this, there’s the safety issue. Here are some tips on how to keep your child safe when he or she is home alone.

Make a Plan

First of all, make a plan and establish a routine for your child’s time alone. When thinking about home alone safety for kids plane, be sure to include the tips listed below and anything else you think of. The plan should include an emergency plan, such as what your child should do in case of natural disaster, fire, or other emergency.

Answering the Door and Telephone

As you make your plan for your child’s time alone, practice answering the door and telephone. Teach your child to take messages if you like, or if you have caller ID, you could tell your child not to pick up the phone unless it’s you calling or someone she knows.

Answering the door has more potential for danger. You might want to instruct your child simply not to answer the door at all while you’re gone, or give him a list of people who are safe. Be sure to tell your child if there are any exceptions – if you’re expecting a neighbor to come over and drop something off when just your child is home, for example.

Friends Allowed

If it’s okay with you and the other child’s parent(s), you might want to arrange to let your child’s friend come over during your absence. Make sure these arrangements are clear and made ahead of time, and let your child know that no other friends are allowed to come over at that time except the pre-approved one.

Call and Check In

One of the most frequently used home alone safety for kids tips is to be sure to call your child and check up on him frequently, making sure he knows to call you back if he can’t get to the phone when you call. Consider giving your child a cell phone to have “on him” at all times.

Emergency Numbers

Speaking of telephones, keep a list of important phone numbers where your child can easily see them. This should include (at least) 911, key family members or friends, and the poison control center.

Using the home alone safety for kids tips that are outlined above will help to keep your child safe when home alone.

Sun Safety For Kids

July 11, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Healthy Living No Comments →

When it comes to sun safety for kids, you can never be too careful. Most kids rack up between 50% and 80% of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18, so it’s important that parents teach their children how to enjoy fun in the sun safely. With the right precautions, you can greatly reduce your child’s chance of developing skin cancer.

Here are some great tips regarding sun safety for kids that you should keep in mind:

1) Shade – We all know that sunscreen is essential for protection against harmful rays. However, the number one rule when it comes to sun safety for kids is to refrain from being in the direct sunlight for long periods of time. When kids are playing outside, they should try to seek shade or create it with an umbrella between the hours of 10 am – 4 pm when the sun is at it’s strongest.

2) Sunscreen – Kids will be kids and it can be difficult to keep kids in the shade for too long, so be sure to protect them with sunscreen while they’re playing outdoors. Help avoid this risk by using SPF 30 or above for children aged 6 months or over, and always use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Reapply once every couple of hours, and after swimming (even if using waterproof sunscreen).

3) Clothing – Another easy way to demonstrate sun safety for kids is to carefully choose their summer wardrobe. Start by making sure they wear a sun hat whenever they’re going to be in the sun for any length of time. These protect vulnerable areas such as the face, ears and neck (that are often missed by sunscreen). Wearing long clothing will also help to protect your child’s skin, though not all clothing is created equal.

You can buy specific clothing for the sun, sold with a UPF rating to help determine how much sunlight gets through. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or above. You should use sunscreen in combination with standard clothing to get maximum protection against the sun’s rays.

4) Don’t Forget The Eyes – Your kids should be wearing sunglasses too! Long term exposure to the sun can increase the chance of cataracts, so make sure your kids are protected with sunglasses offering 100% UV protection (not just any darkened lenses). If your child really won’t wear sunglasses then a wide-brimmed hat is another option.

Sun safety for kids is even more important than for adults. A child’s skin is especially delicate, and overexposure to the sun in early years can have a huge impact on their risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Remember, the sun’s rays can still do harm even on a cloudy day, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Ten Healthy Weight Loss Tips

July 07, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Losing weight can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Just by following simple healthy weight loss tips you can lose weight and keep it off. You can lose weight without starving yourself or without doing anything else extreme. Start off by implementing these ten healthy weight loss tips into your daily routine and watch the pounds drop off.

Break Bad Habits Replace foods such as white bread with whole wheat bread and canned veggies with fresh or frozen veggies. Buy foods that have lower amounts of sugar in them. Don’t eat or snack while watching TV because there is a tendency to eat more than needed. Think of other bad habits that you can break.

Take a Multi-Vitamin Taking a multi-vitamin is very important because it helps you to get the proper nutrients. When your body is lacking nutrients you will feel tired and lack energy. This also leads to sickness.

Do Not Eat Past 7 PM This gives your body a chance to process food and burn fat. When you sleep your metabolism slows down so if you go to sleep after you eat your body will not burn off as many calories.

Get a Weight Loss Buddy A weight loss buddy will keep you motivated to continue your weight loss plan even when times get tough. There are even online communities that you can tap into that will help you stay on track.

Exercise Self Control and Discipline The most important weight loss tip is to have the right attitude towards losing weight. Losing weight does not happen overnight and it does not happen without effort. Make a commitment today to stick to your plan.

Eat Small Meals It’s really important to not allow yourself to get hungry. If you wait to eat when you are really hungry, you will end up over eating. The solution or *secret* is to eat healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fiber through out the day.

Don’t Skip Meals
This is similar to the first weight loss tip. If you are busy make sure to have on the go food like protein bars or low calorie snacks. You can through your body off track if you skip meals. Make sure to do everything in your power to prepare so that you do not go too much longer than three hours between meals.

Get Active The absolute best way to lose weight quickly is to get active. Try hard to fit in a cardio workout three to five times a week. If you do not have time to go to the gym, then put on a workout DVD, Fit TV, or make up your own routine. The point is to get your heart rate up for 15-20 minutes. This boost in your heart rate will help you burn more calories. You’ll notice that you will lose weight quicker too.

Cut Out Sugar Sugar is necessary for a healthy body; however, most people get way too much sugar. The sugars that should be consumed are in nutrient rich whole grains, cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Table sugar and the sugar that is in candy and chocolates are the types of sugar that do not provide any nutrients and should be a limited part of your diet.

Drink Lots Of Water The main component of our body is water. Our bodies need water to function properly. If you are trying to lose weight it is a good idea to replace sodas and juices with water. In one bottle of juice you can easily consume 200-300 calories and 16-20 grams of sugar. Water is your best bet because it has zero calories, no sugar, and is readily available (free even).

If you follow these weight loss tips you will notice that it becomes easier and easier to lose weight and keep it off!

Free Summer Fun Ideas

July 05, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Just for Fun No Comments →

Summer is here and families everywhere are planning out some fun vacations to celebrate the beautiful weather. Amusement parks and renting cabins are popular ways to spend your summer, but not everyone can afford them.

Here are some no-cost ways to spend your summer with the whole family throughout the season:

Start a book club- Pick a spot in the backyard, and lay down a blanket large enough to fit the whole family. Have some cookies, lemonade and whatever snacks you choose to have. Use a book from the library and take turns reading it out loud. You can even discuss some things that occur in the book. Consider making it a weekly event and invite your neighbors and friends to participate as well.

Treasure Hunt- Some kids are into anything to do with pirates. You could plan a treasure hunt with their help. Scour your backyard, local beach or park and find things you could put into a treasure chest. The kids could also make some of their own items to place in the chest too. Spend some time searching for pirate information on the internet and use what you find to make up your very own treasure map. Then bury the chest or hide it in the house and let the kids try out the map they created.

Gardening- Make up a small garden or use a small portion of your existing garden. Let each of your children have a row or small area to use to grow whatever they choose to. Each child is responsible for taking care of their own crops. Help them research the item they chose to grow so they can see how to best care for it. When their crop is ready to harvest, they can reap from the hard work they put into growing it.

Help your child’s interests to grow- Find out what interests your child and help them research it. If your child is into sports, you can research their favorite team or print images off the net and start a scrapbook of their team. If your child is into crafts, you can research craft projects on the net and find some that are no-cost and interest the child. Teenagers may be more interested in playing a game of basketball, baseball or visiting a zoo.

Movie night- Some libraries have movies you can rent. Pick a night each week and watch a movie the whole family could enjoy. The children can take turns picking out what they want to watch for that week. Have your bowl of popcorn or whatever snack you choose, and sit back with your family in your own “home theater”.

There are plenty of ways to spend some fun time during the summer that doesn’t cost you money. Use your creativity, imagination, and get ideas from your children on what they would like to do. Plan some of those activities as a family and enjoy your summer.

To gain more tips on family fun, visit Real Life Guidance To Finding More Family Time it’s a lifesaver for so many parents.

Water Safety Tips For Kids

July 04, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children No Comments →

Ever summer should starts with proper water safety for kid.  It is very important for parents to exercise water safety tips for kids so that their children remains safe during the summer. 
 
(ARA) – Kids and water play go together like peanut butter and jelly. Sadly, what is a fun, healthy activity for most children, too often brings tragedy and heartbreak for others. Each year, more than 3,400 people drown in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14. Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 1 to 14.

For every child who dies from drowning, another four are injured in nonfatal drownings, CDC statistics show. Many of the children who survive will face lifetimes of long-term disabilities. Typically, when a child drowns, the parent or caregiver has been away from the child for less than five minutes according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“The single most effective thing parents can do to protect their children from drowning is to ensure they know how to swim,” says Debbie Hesse, executive director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “Learning how to swim is not only a fun way to encourage exercise, it can save a child’s life.”

Unfortunately, lack of swimming knowledge is common among American children, especially among minority populations. In fact, seven out of every 10 African-American and Hispanic children cannot swim, according to a national research study by USA Swimming and the University of Memphis. African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than their Caucasian peers, the CDC reports.

To help combat these statistics, the USA Swimming Foundation has granted more than $1.5 million dollars to communities across the nation to help provide free or discounted lessons so that all children will have the opportunity to learn to swim.

This June, the Foundation will launch its annual cross-country water safety tour, Make a Splash with Cullen Jones, presented by ConocoPhillips. The tour aims to raise awareness about the importance of learning to swim. The USA Swimming Foundation offers parents five tips for keeping children safe in and around water this summer:

1. Teach children to swim. It’s the best way to be safer in the water. Research shows that parents are the most influential factors in whether or not a child learns to swim. Only 13 percent of children from non-swimming households will ever learn to swim, according to national research conducted by the University of Memphis for USA Swimming.

2. Make sure a responsible adult is watching the water at all times. Drowning can be completely silent, and most child drownings occur when the victim has been out of sight for less than five minutes.

3. Remind kids to always obey the rules of the pool, not to jump on or dunk other swimmers, and not to jump or dive unless they know how deep the water is.

4. Require kids to always swim with a buddy.

5. Remember, you don’t have to be at a pool to drown. Lakes, rivers, large puddles and any other bodies of water also require caution. Make sure your child knows how to swim, whether or not they’ll be around a pool this summer.

“Swimming is unique in that there is a lifesaving element to it – it can be fun and competitive, but learning to swim can also save a life,” Hesse says. “It’s a skill every child needs, and one that every child should have regardless of their social or economic situation.”

As part of its Make a Splash water safety initiative, the USA Swimming Foundation, in partnership with ConocoPhillips, is providing resources for families, including swimming lessons that are low cost or even free, depending on a family’s economic need. To find local learn-to-swim groups in your community, visit www.makeasplash.org.

Using the water safety tips for kids above will be a great way to start off the summer on a safe note.

Family Fun Ideas For Summer

July 01, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Summer is here and its time to make some fun plans. Here are some great family fun ideas for summer that you can use this year.

(ARA) – Even if you work through the summer, longer days and warmer weather entices us into a vacation frame-of-mind. Regardless of our age, we can’t help but anticipate fun in the sun and the promise of a few months of carefree living.

For parents though, the summer season might be met with trepidation. Trying to work, stay fit, and keep kids active while they’re on summer break can be challenging without the structure of a school day and the schedule you’ve spent the last nine months perfecting.

Unless you’re a member of Life Time, the Healthy Way of Life Company. This family fitness and wellness resort with 92 locations in 21 states across the country, has the ultimate design on summer family fun and fitness for parents and kids alike.

“I’d say we belong to a country club at an affordable price,” says Allyson Corchado, mom of three and a member of the Life Time Athletic in Scottsdale, Ariz. Corchado likes to take a yoga class before her son’s swim lesson. They can both be active under the same roof. No need to drive across town from one place to the next.

“The LifeSpa is also a bonus,” Corchado says. “I can get a manicure and pedicure with peace-of-mind thanks to the child center.”

Margarita Pripilitsky, another Life Time Athletic member in Scottsdale, says she joined Life Time because she wanted more interaction and age-appropriate activity for her 8-year-old son. “With the recommendation of a friend I came to Life Time and was blown away. Can I skip running on the treadmill and just hang out at the child center?”

Whether parents decide to play with their kids, work out or get a hair cut at Life Time, they know their children won’t be sitting around in the Life Time Child Center, where more than 6,000 square feet is designed in such a way that kids will be too busy having fun to miss mom and dad. Infants, three months to one year have their own space for napping, rocking or tummy time and toddlers can play with developmental toys and participate in activities like parachute games. Active play is always in order and at certain times during the day children ages 6 to 11 can enjoy the Kids Play program, activity that encompass sports skills, games like scooter hockey and crab tag, even kids yoga. They are pint-sized group fitness classes.

Life Time also offers an array of sports and fitness classes for kids, from martial arts and gymnastics to dance and rock climbing. Instead of spending time and gas money shuttling kids to different studios each week, parents can come to one place and have something to do while they wait, whether that’s meeting with a personal trainer or reading a book pool side. Whatever it is you choose to do, you won’t have to interrupt your summer fun. Staff will escort your child from the child center to their class. That means kids get two hours in the child center plus the class time. That translates into more time for you to workout, relax and enjoy everything summer is supposed to be.

“It’s seamless and easy,” says Tanya Lugo, a Life Time member in Berkeley Heights, N.J., whose two children often transfer between lessons and the child center. “When I have my children enrolled in something I just leave instructions to escort them to the child center after the lesson and I let the child center staff know where I’ll be. The staff is very flexible and helpful.”

This affords Lugo time for a workout and a trip to the spa. When her husband, Luis, brings the kids to Life Time, he takes time to hit the pool. The Lugos children have participated in swim lessons, cheer and sport classes, rock climbing and summer camp.

“Sharing physical activities under one roof with your family isn’t just a good way to get your heart pumping and burn calories. It’s also a great way to build family bonds,” Lugo says. “When you make fitness a fun part of kids’ everyday lives, they’ll be more likely to exercise when they’re grown. That’s your greatest gift to them.”

At Life Time kids have the opportunity to make fitness a part of their world, too, which encourages them to take ownership of their health in a time when most American kids need more activity.

“School recess isn’t enough,” says Christina Parmley, National Activities Director for Life Time. “Parents are struggling to make sure their kids get access to the physical activity they need to grow up healthy. At Life Time we’re striving to help children learn how to make healthy choices. We provide access to physical education and include the role nutrition plays in growing up healthy.”

That’s exactly the sort of message Karen Schupp, a Life Time Fitness member in Chanhassen, Minn., wants her children to hear. “As a busy mom of two I rely on the child center to help me get my workouts in, but it’s also important to me that my kids grow up active,” she says. While Schrupp enjoys classes like Total Conditioning, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and Strike! she knows her kids are on the move, too. “My kids don’t complain about going, either. This is not about what mom wants to do. We all want to go.”

Schupp’s children will attend Life Time Kids Summer Camp this year. “I’m thrilled with everything that’s offered. The themes are fun for the kids and the program is so dynamic. We’re all excited about it.”

The summer camp program is exactly what you’d expect from Life Time. Summer camps combine everything a kid wants to do with everything a parent wants, too: active play, learning, and nutrition skills. Life Time Kids programs is one step ahead on convenience. Swim lessons? They’ll make sure your child gets to and from their swim lesson when they’re scheduled during their camp session.

“We’re just helping mom and dad free up some time on the weekend or weeknight by including the option for lessons during the day,” noted Parmley.

Free time? Yes, please!

Those camps include 12 signature, kid-approved themes each week. “They tie fitness and nutrition together so kids are staying active all day, while learning different nutrition concepts each week through games and other fun activities,” Parmley says.

For example, during Gross and Gooey Science week, campers will learn how the human body functions and the critical role protein plays in muscle development and bone strength and which protein choices are the best to make at home and school. During Super Buffet week, campers will learn about making better food options and travel to a local farm, tour a grocery store or focus on nutrition labels.

Summer campers will enjoy a brand new catering menu from LifeCafe that includes platters of cold sandwiches, hot sandwiches, quesadillas and pizza – all made without food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, trans fats and bleached flours. Lunches also offer fruit, pretzels and organic milk or juice.

Any meal is a healthy meal at the LifeCafe, something members appreciate whether they’re grabbing a quick breakfast or having dinner as a family after a long day.

“When I go there I don’t have to worry about getting a bunch of junk,” Schupp says. “No matter what choices my kids make, I know what they end up eating will be healthy.”

Pripilitsky concurs. “I go straight from daycare to Life Time at the end of the day and I don’t have to grab a bag of fast food on the way,” she says. “The fact that the LifeCafe has healthy meals is a definite plus for my busy lifestyle.”

Life Time helps families slow down the pace and simplify their schedule. As a family fitness and wellness resort, Life Time is an oasis for summer fun. Even working parents can experience the “vacation” in summer vacation.

Corchado likes the fact she can “earn” her downtime first. “The plan is for my husband and I to work out together on the weekend and then the whole family can hang out by the outdoor pool.”

That’s a summer schedule we can all get used to.

Start having healthy fun with your family this summer. Visit lifetimefitness.com/familyfun.