10 Smart Tips to Help the Kids Get Ready to Go Back to School

August 8, 2016 1:01 pm

Summer is coming to a close, and the kids are about to start school again. Back-to-school season is stressful on the whole family, but if you start planning ahead of time, you can make the whole process move a lot smoother. Here are some helpful tips for preparing your children to go back to school.

  1. Do your back-to-school shopping early. By leaving yourself with enough time to shop around, you can take advantage of better deals and make sure that your kids get everything they need.
  2. Brainstorm lunch ideas in advance. Browse for recipes online, and even make some meal plans together with your kids.
  3. Stock up on groceries for breakfast and lunch. A few days before the first day of school, hit the grocery store and stock up on everything that you'll need for busy morning breakfasts and brown bag lunches.
  4. Pack your kids backpacks with them. If your kids are young, this is a great way to show them how to keep their backpacks neat and organized.
  5. Create an at-home school calendar. Use it to mark down dates of tests, parent-teacher conferences, sporting events and other school activities.
  6. Create a set time for checking homework at night. If your kids know that this is the time they'll have to have their homework done by, it will save you a lot of struggle (and create good study habits).
  7. Lay out clothes the night before to avoid the early morning rush.
  8. Print out copies of your kids' class schedules — even if they say they don't need them.
  9. Make sure that everyone saves time for breakfast. It's true that it's the most important meal of the day, and it could make all the difference when it comes to your child's performance.
  10. Ask them if they're okay. Back-to-school time is stressful, so make sure to check in with your little ones to see if they're ready emotionally as well.

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Time to Hit the Mall — It’s Tax-Free Weekend in Virginia!

August 5, 2016 12:01 pm

This weekend, Virginia residents can shop tax-free all weekend long! Beginning on Friday, August 5 and ending on Sunday, August 7, participating retailers will sell all of their products without state and local sales tax, giving residents a chance to snag essential clothing and emergency preparedness items for a real bargain.

Tax-free weekend always falls just before school and hurricane seasons begin as a way to help area families stock up on back to school items and hurricane precautionary items. Here are the items that will be available without sales tax:

  • Clothing and shoes under $100 per item
  • Most school and office supplies
  • Batteries
  • Bottled water
  • First aid kits
  • Flashlights
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Gas-powered chainsaws
  • Portable generators

Make sure that you family is prepared for these end-of-summer challenges by hitting the stores this tax-free weekend!

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Healthy Eating Tips That Work With Your Busy Schedule

August 1, 2016 10:02 am

No one ever said that eating healthy was easy, but when it comes down to it, putting extra effort into your eating habits may make all the difference in terms of your health, your weight and your overall well-being. If you struggle to eat healthy while juggling all of your life's daily tasks, these smart tips will show you how to keep things simple.

  • Meal prep at the beginning of the week. Every Sunday, take a couple of hours to plan your meals for the week and prepare them in advance. Things like salads, stir-fries and grilled meats and veggies are all easy to re-heat on those busy lunch breaks, and by doing your slicing and dicing in advance, you can even shave some time off of making dinner for the family.
  • Use a calorie counter app. There are a number of great apps and programs that make it easy to count calories and keep track of nutrition no matter where you are. By simply adding what you eat into your handy smartphone tracker, you can stay on track with your nutrition goals.
  • Scout out the menu ahead of time. If you know that you'll be visiting a restaurant with lots of tempting menu options, plan what you'll order ahead of time. Go online and browse the menu for healthy, low-fat options, and once you arrive, don't let yourself stray from your plan.

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