Top Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for College

Heading back to school can be stressful for a number of reasons, from new routines and lengthy shopping lists to preparing your students for the year ahead. It becomes even more stressful when you’re faced with the tough task of outfitting a college-bound teen for dorm life. But there’s no need to fret, the following tips will allow you to rest easy and have confidence that your child is prepared for the adventure ahead.

Plan-ahead packing
Unlike typical back-to-school shopping, college preparation takes a lot more planning. Begin shopping for school supplies and clothes at least two months in advance to avoid last minute stress. Many schools help by providing a shopping list of must-haves for the dorm, including power strips, refrigerators and toiletry kits – which is a great place to get started. You can also encourage your teen to reach out to their new roommates in advance through social media to discover their likes and dislikes. This can help them learn what kinds of supplies and furniture each person is bringing, so they don’t end up with two microwaves or small refrigerators in what will likely be extremely limited space.

Many retailers even allow grads to create a college registry so family and friends know just what to get them. Soon-to-be college students can create an account and handpick specific gifts that range from dorm room essentials to tailgating supplies, bicycles, and even pepper spray. These retailers also often provide helpful registry guides so you don’t miss a thing. Creating a registry will allow you to start preparations early and shop throughout the summer for items that may not be purchased as a graduation gift, rather than darting out on a mad dash when it’s time to move.

Savvy storage
If there’s one thing your teen will need to adjust to when going to college, it’s dorm life. The rooms are typically a small, bland 200-square foot space with very little storage. And sharing with at least one other person is definitely not luxurious. While preparing for life in such small quarters may feel like a messy situation, it doesn’t mean your teen’s room has to look like one. With a little creativity and know-how, your teen’s home away from home will be an organized, cozy retreat.

For storing large items, look no further than under the bed. Use extra-long containers to store clothing, shoes and other items that require easy and often access. To eliminate clutter, you can also turn empty suitcases from move-in day into storage containers. If you need more space, consider requesting a lofted bed to create more height for additional storage.

When closets and horizontal space run out, look to the walls. GeckoTech Reusable Hooks help provide added storage to dorm rooms, allowing your teen to easily organize items such as desk accessories, jewelry and jackets. Utilize these hooks in the closet to organize scarves and hats, and by the door to keep keys, umbrellas and backpacks at hand. GeckoTech Hooks are easy to re-position and reuse, which means you can move them – and your belongings – around the room, to find the best organizational solution for your new space. Plus, the hooks remove cleanly so you won’t have to worry about damaged walls during move out next spring.

Life Basics
While purchasing the correct supplies is essential, it’s also important to teach your child to become self-sufficient.  Show your teen how to do laundry and insist that they do their own clothing, sheets and towels for the entire summer.  By the time they get to college with a roll of quarters in hand, they’ll have the hang of it. College kids also need basic financial know how. This summer, show them the basics of banking, including how to responsibly use an ATM and debit card, write checks, pay bills online and balance their account. You may also want to set a budget – late night pizza and movie nights can quickly add up – to ensure your teen is responsible enough to manage his or her own funds.

Sending your teen off to college can be an exciting and emotional time, but with these tips you can make sure they are well equipped to survive dorm life.

Ten Tips to Make Your Home Safer for Kids

Home is where the heart is, and for most people, it’s where they feel safest. Yet for children, the home isn’t as safe as you might assume. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that 3.5 million children go to the emergency room every year for injuries that happen in homes.
Some parents are unintentionally putting their children at risk by making common mistakes in the home. For example, parents say they are worried about fire safety and 96 percent report they have a smoke alarm, yet 14 percent never check their smoke alarm battery, according to “Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home,” from Safe KidsWorldwide and Nationwide.
“Parents just can’t imagine a tragedy could happen to them, but it happens far too often,” says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Sadly, 2,200 kids die from an injury in the home every year. The good news is that we know how to prevent these injuries, and parents can take simple steps to protect their kids.”
Safe Kids Worldwide teamed up with Nationwide and its Make Safe Happen program to help families keep kids safe in the home. “We know parents want to protect their children,” said Terrance Williams, Nationwide’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s our hope that by bringing this information to families and caregivers, we can help them protect what matters most.”
Here are 10 tips to make your home kid-safe so you avoid preventable injuries. To learn more, visit SafeKids.org or MakeSafeHappen.com.

1. Make sure there is a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test the batteries every month.

2. Create and practice a home fire-escape plan with your family. Know two ways out of every room in case of a fire.

3. Give young children your full and undivided attention when they are in and around water. Only 1 percent of parents list drowning as a concern, according to the Safe Kids report, yet every week a child dies from drowning in a bathtub.

4. For young children, use safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, attaching them to the wall if possible.

5. Keep cribs clear of toys and soft bedding, and make sure that babies sleep alone, on their backs, and in a crib every time they sleep. For children under the age of 1, suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death.

6. Keep all medicine up and away, out of children’s reach and sight. Think about places where kids get into medicine, like in purses, on counters and on nightstands.

7. Store all household cleaners, liquid laundry packets and other toxic products out of children’s reach and sight. Use cabinet locks to prevent young children from getting into products that may cause them harm.

8. Save the Poison Help line number into your phone and post it in your home where anyone can find it easily in an emergency: 1-800-222-1222.

9. Secure flat-panel TVs by mounting them to the wall and place box-style TVs on a low, stable piece of furniture.

10. Properly install window guards or stops to help prevent falls from windows. Each year, 3,300 children are injured by falling out of a window, yet 70 percent of parents say they have never used window guards or stops that prevent these falls.

Hike for Hospice

Good Samaritan Hospice presents the Roanoke & New River Valley’s first-ever “Hike for Hospice” on Sunday, September 13 from 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Area residents will gather at Virginia’s Explore Park to hike, enjoy fellowship and raise money for a worthy cause – Good Sam’s community bereavement program.
“This is the perfect event for our area,” commented Sue Ranson, President of Good Sam. “It highlights the natural beauty that surrounds us here in the valley, provides something a little different for families to enjoy together and raises awareness of the grief & loss programs we offer our community.”
The afternoon will include two different hikes led by experienced hikers from Walkabout Outfitters, lunch from “Fork in the Road,” live music, games, face-painting, ice-cream, and celebrating the memory of loved ones.
Registration for adults is $25/person (17 years and older), children is $18/person (3-16 years), and children under three are free. Participants can register online (www.goodsamhospice.org) or pick up a brochure at any of the sponsoring locations. For those who raise $100, the registration fee is waived and you will receive a special long-sleeve T-shirt along with all of the other race swag.
Hike for Hospice is sponsored by Oakey’s Funeral Service & Crematory, John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home & Crematory, Jewells Fine Jewelry, Neathawk Dubuque & Packett, Walkabout Outfitter and Kroger.
For more information on the Hike for Hospice, please visit www.goodsamhospice.org and click on the Events/Hike for Hospice tab or call (540) 776-0198 (Roanoke) or (540) 381-3171 (NRV).

Removing the Clutter from Your Life

A few small changes to your surroundings and your routine may be all you need to reduce stress and improve efficiency during your work day. Check out some of the recent changes I’ve made and leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Decluttering:
Every room in my house needed help. Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was very inspirational to this process. I’ve cut my entire wardrobe (summer and winter clothes included) in half. There will be no more storing clothes in their off seasons. Getting dressed in the morning is easier— and in two weeks, I have yet to wake up and say, “I have nothing to wear!”

Deleting unnecessary smart phone apps:
I once used three screens on my iPhone to house all of my apps. Now I’m down to one. There are quite a few that you can’t delete, but you can push them out of the way by making a folder for all your extra stuff. And, speaking of unnecessary apps…

Limiting time on social media:
I used to “relax” and “unwind” before bed by surfing through Facebook.
As it turns out, after deleting the app from my phone, I’m sleeping better— for a couple of reasons:
Watching people exchanging harsh words on Facebook over any issue is stressful. I often wonder if the same people would approach someone in a crowded restaurant and have a heated argument with them if they were wearing a shirt broadcasting their opinion instead? Sometimes a keyboard shields us from the fact that there are actual humans on the other side— and becoming emotional about an issue that a Facebook debate will not solve is detrimental to a good night’s sleep.
Reports from the pages of various news outlets on various catastrophes do not bode well for shut eye. I’m not saying I don’t want to be informed— but I am saying that stirring up my fight or flight mechanism before bed probably wasn’t the best idea.

Exercising:
Staying active on a regular basis is just better for your health. With less distractions in the form of physical and social clutter, I spend more time getting my nervous energy out on the trails or the track— which helps get my brain ready for focusing at work.

Eating a better breakfast:
I’ve eliminated coffee and bread from my morning— only because it is better for ME. Ask yourself what would be better for you—maybe even talk to your doctor about healthy foods that could meet your needs. I start my mornings by drinking an entire bottle of water and eating a couple of hard boiled eggs and an apple. I have more energy and I don’t have to worry about the dreaded caffeine crash mid-morning.

 

How do you get relax and stay organized during the week? Let us know!

Sydney Hale Company

Candles are a staple in almost every household. It is easy to go the grocery store and purchase a big name brand, but once the pleasant smell has dissipated (most often, very quickly), you are restocking on your next trip, and your investment no longer seems worthy of its price.
If you haven’t already, it is time to consider investing in candles that support local businesses, are made with soy, and last longer than the cheap candles to which you are accustomed.
Sydney_Hale_Co._Soy_Candle_Bergamot_Black_Tea_largeSydney Hale Company’s candles are handmade in small batches right here in Virginia. Their premium soy wax blend, double cotton wick, and 50 hour burn time makes them stand out among any competition. Traditionally crafted and tastefully fragrant, they will quickly become a household staple.
Purchasing just one candle from Sydney Hale Company helps support the Purcellville, Virginia business, which is owned and operated by a husband and wife team, Meghan and Chris Cook. They have two employees and three shop dogs. Their more than 26 signature fragrance products are available in over 150 boutique retail locations across the USA and Canada.
Everything is handmade in a small 700 square foot studio lending to a truly ‘small batch’ operation. And, if you needed any additional reasons to try their products, 10% of their profits are donated to dog rescue— a cause very important to them.
Not only can you purchase their products on their website, but you can also see snap shots of dogs they have sponsored every month for The Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation. Visit www.sydneyhaleco.com for more information on this local company doing great things for our area.

Product Spotlight: Vineyard Hill Naturals

Did you know?

Research from the University of Bourdeaux shows that grapevines and grapes hold exceptionally nourishing and regenerative powers for your skin? That’s why Vineyard Hill Naturals uses grape seed oil and grape seed extracts, a.k.a. “recovered” nutrient rich by-products of grapes, as a key ingredient in all of their artisanal bath and body collections.

Their formulations are based on an understanding of the power of plants to renew and help maintain healthy skin. To create the most effective botanical preparations, they include calendula, chamomile, lavender, green tea, cucumber, and arnica for their super antioxidants, soothing, regenerative, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and softening properties.

300We are giving away samples of their Lemon Verbena shampoo, conditioner, and a hand and body wash combo to one lucky reader this week! The super-lemony scented plant they include makes the skin smooth, toned, and refreshed. It is a gentle sun-loving herb that is suitable for sensitive skin. Try it to stimulate, detoxify, and regenerate your skin from within.

Visit their website for more details on the products they offer and follow us on Facebook for a chance to win samples of your own!

Bella Loves: EO Products

We love trying out beauty products and presenting you with our favorite ones! This week, we are really enjoying samples from EO.
EO stands for essential oils. For over twenty years, they have used the aromatic essences of plants, trees, flowers, resins, spices, and leaves to bring customers luxurious, naturally effective body and skin care products made from some of the most exotic botanicals in the world. Their products are certified Organic or Non-GMO, Cruelty-Free, Synthetic-Fragrance-Free, made with organic ingredients, and always scented with pure essential oils.
facemoisturizer_large-02Some of our favorites from their new Ageless Skincare Collection include a coconut cleansing milk with hibiscus and mango seed butter, their Moroccan lava clay exfoliating scrub with papaya and pineapple enzymes, and a hydrating face moisturizer with snow algae and tsubaki. Now, you may be wondering… what exactly IS snow algae?
Snow algae is found in the Swiss Alps. According to EO, “This active ingredient has been clinically proven to stimulate collagen production, improve hydration and smooth wrinkles.”
In this moisturizer, snow algae is blended with more than ten active ingredients proven to heal dry skin, improve hydration, stimulate collagen production and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Visit their website for more information on their products and check out our Facebook page this week to win our favorites!

Staycations!: An End-of-Season Home Vacation

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

Pack your bags, it’s time for the best end-of-season vacation you have ever had and you don’t have to leave home to take it!   Vacations don’t have to end just because a season ends, take a relaxing and enjoyable vacation at-home or in your hometown anytime you want.

A true staycation is more than just a week or weekend at home; it is a planned intentional time of events for relaxation and fun for your entire family.

Here are a few planning tips for a successful Staycation:

1. Brief-your-case for having a vacation at home by including your family with the planning process.  See Step 4.

2.  Decide what kind of vacation you want to take. Gather brochures just like you would when you plan a travel destination.

3.  Create a budget for activities and food.  Plan your menu for the week and make-ahead a few meals related to your themed vacation.  No one really wants to cook while on vacation, unless it is a culinary destination.

4. Inspire the family with the staycation idea and plan a “staycation idea” dinner party/meeting.  Good food always brings people together and a pretty tablescape will reinforce the excitement that a  home vacation could be fun.

5. Clean your house before you begin your staycation. Get caught up on laundry, dishes, and the everyday duties that can be stressful.  Place special scents and music in your home that reflect the type of vacation you are taking.  Select special guest room items in each bedroom to mimic a bed and breakfast vacation.  Set up and stock a beverage center with your family’s favorite snacks or snacks that you would have on a travel destination.  Set up a continental breakfast buffet for each day of your vacation.

6. Unplug for a day!  Develop a plan that the entire family will unplug all technical devices including cell phones, computers, pads, and even watches during this vacation week.  Make it a game and give a prize at the end of the week to the family member who stayed true to the technical shut down.  Select a prize that excites everyone and announce the no –tech challenge at the beginning of the vacation week or during your family planning meeting.

7.  Maybe your staycation is an outdoor adventure, plan for day trips to zip lines, white water rafting or hiking the mountain trails.  Other ideas for a staycation include: Spa day or week, a culinary international tour , Hawaiian or Caribbean cruise with different ports of call or create a DIY room, you get the idea.

Here is one Staycation Dinner Party-meeting inspiration to get you started:

mini suitcaase-www.lizbushong.comYour planning meeting could be a trip to a tropical beach.   Begin with a suitcase as the centerpiece.  A backyard profusion of blooms-hydrangeas, pink geraniums and verbena- overflows the open suitcase centerpiece.  Simply line the vintage suitcase with plastic then add a water- filled rectangular dish to hold the fresh cut flowers and potted plants in place.  Plank the sides of the suitcase with tropical photos or scrapbooks.

Bright and bold colorful placemats serve as a runner for the center of the table. At each place setting create mini suitcase favors that are made from cardstock.  Cover the suitcase with cute stickers and fill boxes with candies or surprises for each family member.  See mini suitcase how to at www.lizbushong.com.

A quick and easy healthy menu includes make-a-head black bean burgers, sweet potato fries and a peachy apricot parfait for dessert.  Your family will be surprised and excited about taking a home vacation.  Remember, planning is key, we don’t want this satiation to be all on mom and dad’s shoulders, this is a family affair.  Make this staycation fun and a time for reconnecting with the family.

Peach Parfait www.lizbushong.comPeach-Apricot Cream Parfait       www.lizbushong.com 

1 -12 oz. ounce can apricot nectar
1-3oz. package lemon flavored gelatin
2 -16 oz cans unsweetened apricot halves and peach halves, drained
1-8oz package sour cream
Whipped cream and mint springs to garnish if desired

In small saucepan, bring to boil 1 cup apricot nectar. Remove from heat.
Add lemon gelatin, stir until dissolved, stir in remaining cold apricot nectar. Set aside.
Place peaches and apricots in electric blender, process until smooth. Divide mixture.
Add sour cream to one part of divided fruit mixture.  Process to blend.
Pipe or pour fruit mixture into decorative parfait or serving dishes. Garnish with whipped cream/mint sprig.

Yield:   8 parfaits

Bean Burger recipe www.lizbushong.comSpicy Black Bean Burgers      www.lizbushong.com

2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
¼ cup slivered green onions
¼ cup diced celery
¼ teaspoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon each paprika, red pepper, cumin, oregano, parsley, dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon grated lime peel
2 teaspoons lime olive oil
Olive oil and butter for cooking

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Pat mixture into a 4 x 6 inch rectangle and score into 3- 2-inch sections making 6 burgers.  Shape into 6 patties.
Heat skillet with 1- teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter.  Fry burgers until browned 3 minutes on each side.  Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight before cooking.

Yield:  6- 2” burgers

For a seasoned potato buns recipe, visit www.lizbushong.com!

Helping you Make a Statement, Make is Sassy and Make it Yours! ® 

See staycation ideas http://www.livingwellspendingless.com

Liz Circle 2013 smallLiz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tri-cities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine.  For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com