MomTalk.com September 23, 2021:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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Recently in: Quick Features

New and Improved: The Jegging


By Donna Duarte-Ladd By now, you've heard that a revamped legging is hitting the stores for fall. This season, the skinny jean has gotten even skin... Read more

Hand Knitted Toddler Sweaters That Give Back

Quick Features

Is Going Back to School Right for You?


The phrase "back to school" doesn't just apply to kids. Many adults are headed back to the classroom in hopes of starting a new career or improving their odds of promotion within their current job. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students over age 25 grew 43 percent from 2000 to 2009 - and it's expected to increase another 23 percent by 2019.

"Anyone considering going back to college needs to do their homework," said University of Phoenix School of Business Dean Dr. Bill Berry. "Returning to school is a big decision, and you have to be sure of your reasons so you get the most out of your educational experience."

If you've been thinking of going back to school, Dr. Berry recommends asking yourself the following questions and answering them honestly:

* What are my goals? You need to be clear about why you want to go back to school. Some common goals include getting ahead in your career or starting a career in a new field.
* Do I have time to take classes? According to the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, whether taking classes online or in a classroom, it can take at least eight hours a week of work to successfully complete assignments.
* How can I leverage my support system? Ask family or friends if they are willing to look after your children while you're studying. If you work, discuss your situation with your supervisor to ensure you have a plan in place to address work-related responsibilities.
* How are my computer skills? As more and more course work is done online, it's critical to have these skills in order to succeed. If your computer skills are a bit rusty, look to see if your college or university offers any courses to help strengthen your skills before enrolling.
* Do I really know what to expect? Programs such as the University of Phoenix University Orientation workshops are required for incoming students with less than 24 credits. The three-week, no-cost workshops allow students to experience the University's academic rigor. "We want our students to succeed," said Dr. Berry. "Offering this workshop lets them figure out if this is a good fit for them, and what is expected of them as students."

What to Look For
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning recommends that you:

* Look for colleges that are accredited - Check for their accreditation on their website, or look for them at www.ed.gov.
* Ask about Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) - If the school has a system for evaluating your prior learning, you could save time and money when earning your degree.
* Find out about student services - For example, will you have access to faculty and advisors to help you with classwork and your program goals? For example, University of Phoenix assigns every student a Graduation Team made up of advisors for enrollment, academics and finance, in order to help you navigate your entire college experience.

Going back to school is a big decision, but if you ask the right questions and do the right planning, it will be a decision you can make with confidence, knowing it will pay off with a brighter future.


Source: University of Phoenix

... Continue reading Is Going Back to School Right for You?.

Winning Savings on Sports Apparel and Equipment


by Valerie Spate

The parents of young athletes know that while sports equipment and apparel can be quite expensive, it rarely gets used long enough to need replacing. Instead, most of these items are outgrown and, unless they can be handed down to a younger sibling, much of the cost is wasted. There are, however, many options that parents may take advantage of in order to keep these costs under control. These range from the straightforward, like using Finishline Coupons, to the more creative, like forming an equipment co-op within a team community.

The Basics 

The high cost of sports equipment is not a new development for parents. Similar to the challenge that parents face when keeping their children clothed, the rate at which kids can outgrow items has been frustrating parents for decades. The first step in managing costs is to try to spend less when purchasing these items. This may range from using online coupon codes, shopping sales, buying at the end of a given season in the hopes that discounted items will fit next year and shopping for lightly used items. Used sports equipment has become more mainstream through both websites like Craigslist and stores like Play It Again Sports. Either of these latter options can be an effective way to keep the cost of apparel and equipment lower than buying new.

Varsity Ideas

 The economic challenges that have arisen over the past several years have led parents to look for ways to more significantly manage their budgets. In the sports arena, one such approach has been to form equipment co-ops with a given community. For example, if the local park district has an active hockey program, the parents in the community may choose to come together to defray costs. After the initial start-up costs have been absorbed, a parent may sell used equipment to the co-op, while simultaneously buying other equipment. Essentially, the community allows the parents of various athletes to contribute equipment that they can no longer use in exchange for equipment that fits plus a small fee. The net effect is to dramatically reduce the cost for all participants.

One of the obvious questions that arises within the co-op scenario is to address what happens if one cannot find the right size. This might occur, for example, after some equipment has been worn out. While this is certainly a concern, in most cases certain members of the community will favor new equipment. These players will likely purchase new apparel and equipment and still be willing to sell their used equipment to the co-op. Players requiring new equipment may be those that excel in the sport, but this is not always the case. Regardless of the driving factor, in many instances, such a co-op can function smoothly and offer significant price savings to those most interested in defraying costs.

While sports equipment and apparel are an expensive element of raising children, there are options available to keep costs under control.

Valerie Spate is always searching for the best deals and coupons to help to reduce costs for her growing family.

... Continue reading Winning Savings on Sports Apparel and Equipment.

Moms on the Run in the Twin Cities


Women all over the Twin Cities are dropping pounds, making new friends, and improving their health. Their secret? Moms on the Run! Designed for all fitness levels, Moms on the Run was initially created to move even the most inactive woman towards lifestyle change and give her the confidence and training structure to complete a 5K Race. Now in its fifth year of operation right here in the Twin Cities, Moms on the Run offers a structured 18-week training program in 12 metro locations.

If you've been waiting for the motivation to get your start as a runner, this class is for you. Programs are available for walkers, beginning and intermediate runners. Run your first 5K/10K/10 mile or half-marathon, improve your speed and endurance, or stay motivated in your walking routine. The group is for all women, not just moms, but jogging strollers are welcome. This class will focus on interval training to increase metabolism and burn more fat. You'll start out slowly and walk/jog/run your way up to your very first race or a new personal record!

Moms love to say they put their families first...but forget they are part of the family. Feel better. Do better. Your kids are watching you and the example you are setting for a lifestyle of health and fitness. If you are a woman who is too busy, too stressed, too tired....join us this spring. You'll find a supportive community of women eager to encourage you toward your health and fitness goals. Join Moms on the Run for Fitness, Fun, and Friendship!

Moms on the Run Twin Cities Locations: Apple Valley/Rosemount, Blaine, Coon Rapids/Andover, Eden Prairie, Forest Lake, Hastings, Maple Grove, Shoreview, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Woodbury

For more information or to register go to: MomsOnTheRun.com

... Continue reading Moms on the Run in the Twin Cities.

Biggest Bully Apologizes

By Helice "Sparky" Bridges
Founder and CEO
Difference Makers International

"The deepest desire in the human spirit is the craving to be acknowledged."
-William James, Father of American Psychology

• Children who bully are more likely to come from home situations in which there is little warmth and little positive adult attention.
• Two out of three teens are verbally or physically assaulted every year.
• A victim of bullying is twice as likely to take his or her life compared to someone who is not a victim.
-Source: Mental Health Systems, Inc. - San Diego, California

So often we hear people say, "kids are so mean today." The media is flooded with stories about bullying and cyber bullying. Front page newspapers tell the tragic stories of young people committing suicide because they were constantly bullied. In an effort to put an end to this social issue facing today's youth, Difference Makers International has begun a grassroots campaign that is helping all kids feel safe- socially, emotionally and physically.

"There are no bullies--only people who need to be loved." Helice "Sparky" Bridges

Can we make this change? You bet! In my opinion, there are no bullies-only people who need to be loved. Our work teaches young people how to eradicate bullying, avert adolescent suicide and make dreams come true through the power of acknowledgment. We are collaborating with the Mental Health Systems, Inc. Bully Prevention Training so that every teacher and student will know how to end bullying.

Our school, family and community Power of Acknowledgment Training Programs will soon be delivered to over 30,150 elementary, middle school students and high schools in San Diego with a community outreach to approximately 100,000,-creating conversations that shift the focus from what's WRONG to what is RIGHT.

Our "Who I Am Makes A Difference"® Blue Ribbon message has impacted over 30 million people worldwide and has been translated into 11 languages. The Blue Ribbon Story appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul recounting the story of a 14 year-old boy who did not commit suicide because his father honored him with a Blue Ribbon and finally told him he loved him. This story was made into a photo movie receiving over three million hits on YouTube.

Recently our school assemblies and student leadership trainings were delivered at Parsons Middle School in Redding, California and Northeast Intermediate School in Midland, Michigan with gymnasiums packed with nearly 1,000 students, teachers, parents and community leaders.

To show students how they could eradicate bullying in a minute or less, I gave them an opportunity to step to the front of the auditorium, speak into the microphone and do one of the following: 1) Publically apologize for bullying or harming anyone, 2) share their dreams and ask for support or 3) or tell someone how they make a difference and honor them with a "Who I Am Makes A Difference"® Blue Ribbon.

In an instant, students leaped out of their seats and ran down from the bleachers. One by one they stepped to the mike, said their name, and without asking were enthusiastically applauded.

"I want to honor my math teacher," one boy announced. "I always mess up in class but you just keep encouraging me." Then the boy placed a Blue Ribbon over his teacher's heart, cheered him on for his dreams and gave him a hug.

"I'd like people to stop putting me down for my weight," a girl timidly requested. The audience exploded with applause as a way of publicly saying that they were sorry.

"I want to be a football player," announced the small 5' proud 7th grader. "Outstanding," I shouted inviting everyone to cheer Mike on for his dream. They did!

"I want to apologize for bullying my little brother," said the 9th grader. "He's a really great guy and I love him." His younger brother raced down to the open arms of his big brother. They hugged and cried openly. The auditorium went silent. Later on the principal told me that the big brother was the biggest bully in the school.

"I am a bully," said the 15 year-old girl. "I want to apologize for being so mean. I don't really want to be mean, I just get so angry all the time. What I really want is to make friends and treat people nicely, but I don't know how." Everyone in the gymnasium leaped to their feet and gave her a thunderous standing ovation.

Following these assemblies, students continued to apologize, share their dreams and acknowledge their teachers and siblings. Many immediately called their parents to say there were sorry. Teachers were shocked with the kindness taking place in their classrooms and hallways. We would like to see this occur across campuses worldwide.

Together we can eradicate bullying. "IGNITE WHAT'S RIGHT"™ has exploded into a nation wide campaign. Students, parents, teachers, neighbors and clergy are inviting us to teach programs. Contact us to find out how your school (K-12), college, organization business and/or neighborhood can help all kids feel safe-socially, emotionally and physically. Contact us at: DifferenceMakersInternational.org, info@blueribbons.org or 760-753-0963.

... Continue reading Biggest Bully Apologizes.

Little Book, Big Noise


If you haven't heard about it yet, you will soon. Maybe you've even read a PDF version of it? We're dying to know what you think about Go the F&%* to Sleep! Here's one story from MomsToday, NBC.

... Continue reading Little Book, Big Noise.

Valentine's Day Should Come More Than Once a Year

We came across this blog post and thought it had a pretty universal appeal. How do you plan to celebrate Valentine's Day?
Seriously, what happened to Valentine's Day?

... Continue reading Valentine's Day Should Come More Than Once a Year.

Quick Fixes to Save on Heating and Cooling


The average family spends $1500 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A home energy audit and some quick fixes can save some of that hard-earned money.

The EPA estimates that homeowners can typically save up to 20 percent of heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces and accessible basement rim joints.

Conduct an energy audit to identify spots where energy is lost through gaps and cracks. Start in your basement and move upwards. Look for both visible gaps and cold or hot spots.

HVAC Penetration
Your air-conditioning system set-up could be doing more than just heating and cooling your house. It could be an air-infiltration culprit. Check the HVAC ducts from your attic and basement into the living space. There may be gaps where the ducts go through the floor above into the ceiling below.

While plumbing pipes may be hidden behind or under the sink, it doesn't mean that the pipe penetrations aren't allowing unseen bugs and unwanted air into the house. Check for holes under the sink where the pipes enter from the floor or wall in all rooms that have running water (kitchen, bathroom, utility room, and laundry room).

Electrical Box
Stand in front of the electrical box of your house and look at where the main electrical exits the box and enters the living space (in the basement look upwards). If there is a hole, seal it.

Electrical Outlets
Use a screw driver to remove your outlet cover plates. Homes have holes cut in the walls for the outlets. Check for gaps between the wall and the metal box that houses the electrical socket.

Attic Hatch
Seal around the attic hatch frame to keep the unconditioned attic air from entering your living space.

The EPA recommends sealing these leaks with spray foam, caulk, or weather stripping. Insulating foam sealants, such as GREAT STUFF form an airtight, water-resistant seal. The foam is sandable, paintable, and can be trimmed with a utility knife afterwards and is easy to use for do-it-yourselfers of any skill level.

Other ways to save on energy
* Either installing a timed thermostat or by turning up or down the temperature before heading to work.
* Make sure the fireplace flu is closed and install glass fireplace doors to keep energy from escaping.
* Check to be sure no air vents are being blocked by furniture or drapery.
* Insulate any areas that are not heated and cooled (garage, attic, basement, or crawl space).

For more information on how you can save money by sealing gaps, visit www.dowgreatstuff.com.