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Joanna Greenberg

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How to Showcase Your Family Pictures

Gone are the days where film cameras limited the number of pictures a family can have. Today, digital albums are the only way to truly share every moment you have captured in time; traditional albums won’t cut it. The only problem with the digital era is that there are just so many incredible photos of your family that it can overwhelm any viewer.

Don’t let those precious memories sit in a Facebook album or on your computer where no one can see them. Photos are meant to be viewed. You can print out a few and hang them up, but the problem with this method is that it is guaranteed to miss out on so many great photos.

So, unless you want to cover your walls from head to toe with family pictures, you will have to convert to a digital age. Here are two great options for displaying and sharing your photos in your home:

Collages

Before, the only way you could have a photo was to develop the negatives. You had a physical copy of the photo right from the start. The thing is, though, when pictures were still film, people took a lot less of them, and there were usually only a few copies. Nowadays, you can have hundreds or thousands of pictures that you want to display.

Use a free collage maker to format your photos to maximize space for when you are creating your modern-day equivalent to the photo album – picture books. These books are easy to create online, and will be shipped to you in the quantity you want so that you can give them to your family members too. In order to do this, maximizing space is imperative.

This option is perfect for those who like the feel of physical pictures. They make perfect gifts too! Never again do your grandparents, and older family members have to miss out on your family photos, you can send a copy to them right from the get-go.

Digital Photo Frames

For digital photos, it only makes sense to showcase them digitally. A great way to bring all your family photos into your home is using a digital frame. This frame simply plays slideshows of your photos on loop. For the best results, select only the best photos. You don’t have to worry about seeing too many similar photos as well, as the digital frame can shuffle your photos, so you get a nice mix of your memories.

Your memories are important. It makes no sense at all to hide them away in an old album buried deep on your computer. You certainly don’t want to publish too many photos of your kids online. When you have friends and family over, it likely won’t be comfortable for them to stand behind your desk while you scroll through your photos.

Creating beautiful photo collage books is a great way to bring your photos out from the digital world and back into the physical one. Digital photo frames are a great way to showcase your digital photos as you take them. Choosing both options is the best way to showcase all the best photos of your lives.

How to Improve Interaction Between Kids and Senior Family Members

The multigenerational gap is most evident in families where younger members of the group fail to understand older loved ones and vice versa. Such is particularly the case in small children who may not understand why Grandma or Grandpa ignores them or is always mean. For kids, adults refusing to engage in activities is evidence of such persons wanting to be left alone. The contrary is true as older adults enjoy the company of vibrant youth. Finding a middle ground andbolstering harmony among generations is a task that parents of small children and caregivers of seniors can accomplish by working together.

Communication is a two-way street

Many children believe that older adults do not like them because they do not interact during conversations. By the same token, senior citizens think that smaller children do not want to hear what they have to say because of the difference in ages. Parents can encourage children to move past their fears of being ignored and engage in meaningful conversation with older adults. Caregivers can help seniors by encouraging them to share their life’s wisdom with the kids. Such interaction presents the potential for both parties to learn new skills.

Acceptance is essential

Isolation is common among seniors. Even those matureadults residing in assisted living communitiesface the possibility of loneliness because those surrounding them are not close loved ones. Children in the family can be the remedy for isolation if youngsters learn to accept older adults along with their limitations. There are many things that kids and seniors can do together when both parties make accommodations for one another. Also, parents can teach children the invaluable lesson of accepting people of all ages and lifestyles when they encourage kids to interact with older members of the family.

Respect sparks concern

Parents are always telling kids to respect their elders, but few understand that such esteem for older adults ismore than good manners. Teaching children to abide by the elders of the family compels them to develop relationships with senior citizens. Emotional bonds form during relational building that prompts young people to respect and help mature members of the family with disabilities and other limitations. Respect, then, becomes the driving force behind concern that urges children to interact with older adults.

Among the many things that parents can do to foster a positive relationship between their kids and older adults in the family, setting a positive example is probably the most useful measure. It makes little sense for moms and dads to tell the children to respect mature adults if they do not revere senior citizens. It is always in the best interest of caregivers to encourage seniors to remain in good spirits even if children are initially reserved. Such positive attitude can significantly contribute to closing the multigenerational gap in families.

Make the Most of Your Summer With These Home Improvement Tips

What better time to get the home ready for winter than in summer time? The kids are out of school during these sunny months, which makes the weekends ten times more relaxing. You and the family can make the most of the summer by engaging in these DIY home cleaning and repair projects.

Consider Painting the Deck

Your deck goes through a lot during the winter months. Why not take a summer weekend to repair and paint the outside structure? Having a paint day is just what the kids need to get away from the video games and into the center of nature in all of its splendor. You can even turn the chore into a complete day of fun by having a cookout, away from the fumes of course, after everyone has completed the task. Checking for damage while the kids are painting the deck is the best way to make the most of your time.

Clear Out the Garage

Platform shoes were in during your last garage overhaul. It is high time that you got rid of unwanted furniture and clothing that have taken up space in your garage for years. Consider selling items that are not too worn so that the kids can get a lesson on business this summer. You should also check the interior garage for obvious holes in the roof. Hire the best local roofing company if the sunshine radiates in places where darkness should dominate.

Thoroughly Clean the Showerheads

The shower gets brief cleanings throughout the year. Summer is your time, then, to address buildup that could lead to clogs and malfunctions. Remove every showerhead in the house and, with the kids’ help, clean every opening. You will notice the difference between a cluttered showerhead and clean device immediately upon bathing.

Clean the Refrigerator Coils

So many families use spring and summer to thoroughly clean every crevice and crack of the fridge’s interior. Few, however, remember the coils on the back of the appliance. Your refrigerator will thank you and the kids for purifying it through and through by preserving your foods for longer periods after a good coil cleaning.

Your family can take full advantage of the summer months by locating and filling open spaces in which rodents can enter. Making a game out of the chore is usually the best way to get kids interested in the activity. You deserve rejuvenation this summer, and so does your home. Cleaning and caulking for better home care are the way to go during sunny months.

How To Get Your Home Ready for Seasonal Changes

When there’s a change of seasons in the air, you can always tell. Whether you feel the sweaty touch of summer, the chill grasp of winter, or the delightfully refreshing kiss of spring and fall, you should take care to celebrate each season. To make sure you’re ready, prepare your home for the changing weather, diet, and lifestyle that accompanies different times of the year.

Switch Up Your Home Décor

The seasons typically invoke certain colors or moods. Winter, for example, is a time of darkness, while summer is light and airy. By switching up your décor to match the time of year, you’ll feel more festive and ready to partake in that season’s events. Choose yellows and greens in the summer, burnt orange in the fall, rich and dark colors like purple or brown in the winter, and floral and rustic prints in the spring.

Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are a mixture of different natural substances designed to improve overall health and well-being. When placed in your home, they act as a natural aromatherapy that reduces tension and increases energy levels. For example, you might want to try a mix of cardamom, orange, and ginger oils in the fall to keep your immune system boosted and get rid of seasonal depression.

Perform Routine Maintenance Tasks

While it might be boring, there are certain things you have to do to physically prepare your home for the change of seasons. For example, when cold weather strikes, it’s time to roll up the outdoor hoses, close your pool, clean out your gutters, check your hot water tank, re-caulk your windows, and more.

One essential thing to check on regardless of the time of year is your HVAC system. You’ll want to make sure you have air conditioning when the hot days of summer make their appearance, as well as heat when the blistering days of winter arrive. Getting an HVAC tune-up from a service professional can ensure your system gets any repairs or maintenance it needs to function properly.

Stock Your Cabinets with Seasonal Food

Many fruits and vegetables only grow seasonally, meaning you can only get them at specific times. Don’t squander this opportunity. Instead of stocking up on processed foods, fill your refrigerator with fresh, locally grown produce. This will prevent you from overindulging on sugary, processed foods during the lull of winter or the excitement of summer.

Retrieve Your Seasonal Clothing

There’s a good chance you have a bag of winter or summer clothes stuffed away in the attic. Don’t forget to go get it before you’re stuck wearing jeans and a sweater on a 90-degree day. Take the opportunity to go through some of your older clothing and donate it to a homeless shelter or other charity. Spring isn’t the only time for cleaning.

There’s no need to panic when the seasons change. By keeping your home updated for the appropriate time of year, you’ll always be prepared for what the world throws at you.

Streamline Your Family Life With Smart Technology

It can be tough to manage a family in the modern age. However, instead of letting all the technology in the world suffocate you, why not harness it to keep your family safer? There are plenty of smart technologies available for your home that will make it easier to spend quality time with your children. By adapting a few modern touches to your abode, you can feel safer, save money, and even improve your health.

Improve Your Overall Health

Did you know that they make smart refrigerators now? These high-tech devices can monitor when you bought certain pieces of food and remind you when it’s about to go bad. You’ll never have to sniff questionable leftovers or deal with a bellyache after eating something you probably should have thrown away.

Keep More Money in Your Pocket

Smart homes are about more than just convenience. They can also help to lower your utility bills by about 10 to 15 percent. Installing a smart thermostat will allow it to monitor the temperature and adjust automatically depending on whether or not you are home. You even have the option of controlling the temperature via your smartphone or computer while on-the-go. If you know you’re staying late at work, simply keep your heating or cooling turned off until you’re on your way home.

Save Time and Effort

Going through and locking all of the doors before you leave the house each morning is wasting crucial minutes of your day. Imagine if you could automatically lock all of the entrances to your home with a single click of a button. You’d no longer have to rush around in a hurry to lock up everything before you leave. While this might not seem like a huge time gainer, you know just how precious seconds can be when you’re a busy parent.

Watch Your Children Closer

Certainly, you don’t want to intrude on your children’s private lives. However, you do want to make sure they’re not getting into any trouble while you’re at work. With a monitoring system installed in your home, you can get a live look from your phone to see what they’re up to while you’re away. Even better, you can get text alerts sent straight to your phone to know that they made it home safe from school.

Feel Safer and More Secure

Leaving your house unattended during long vacations can be a bit scary. The thought of a burglar breaking in and stealing your possessions might make you feel nervous and want to cancel your trip. However, with a smart home, it will look as if someone is at home at all times. You can program lights to come on automatically, monitor your home at all times thanks to a live camera stream, and even trigger an alarm to the police if you think something is awry.

While there’s an initial investment to certain smart technologies, the peace of mind and added savings you’ll receive will be well worth it in the end.

Just Passed Your Test? Tips for Driving with Your Kids for the First Time

If you have recently passed your driving test then you’re probably feeling excited, and maybe even a little nervous, about driving in your own car for the first time. For parents with young children, the idea of taking the kids in their car can be a very daunting one. As a new driver, you’ll know that you’re already more susceptible to accidents on the road since you’re not yet experienced in driving on your own and no longer have the safety net of your instructor with dual controls. So, it’s natural for you to be feeling anxious and perhaps even scared about driving somewhere with your children in tow after recently passing your test. We’ve put together some top tips to help you and your family get safely on the road in no time.

Tip #1. Practice Alone

If you’ve recently passed your test and have purchased a shiny new car, the first obstacle is going to be getting used to driving in a new vehicle. Chances are, you won’t have gotten the same car as the one that you have learned to drive in, so you should allow yourself some time to get used to the feel of the car and the positioning of the controls, which vary between different makes and models. For your first few drives, go on your own or with another adult who can help to reassure you on the road. Check out toptests.co.uk as well, where you can revise driving theory and improve your confidence reading road signs via practice driving theory tests.

Tip #2. Use P Plates

Although it’s not mandatory to use P plates when driving in the UK, after recently passing your driving test it can be a good idea – especially if you have young passengers. Although you’re probably more than aware that there are always going to be some inconsiderate drivers on the road, the majority of drivers will remember their first few drives out after passing their test and will be a little more forgiving of you if you display P plates on the car. It may also be a good idea to display a ‘child on board’ sign, as this will signify to other drivers that you have little passengers and warn them to keep their distance and drive safely when they are close to your car.

Tip #3. Keep Your Children Occupied

Your first few days or weeks driving independently in your own car can be a little bit daunting as you get used to your car and to being on the road. Because of this, anything that can distract you in the car can increase your risk of having an accident. If you are driving with your little ones in the car, then they could distract you from the road. So, it’s important to make sure that they are kept occupied for the duration of the journey; stay well prepared with games, or even give them your iPad or smartphone to play with, as this will help to keep them happy and quiet and allow you to focus on the road.

After just passing your test, driving with your children in the car can be nerve-wracking! These strategies will help you stay calm and safe.

Organize Your Family Events Properly

These days, planning family events are harder than ever. This is for many reasons. Families are more spread out now than ever before, often spread out over multiple countries. And while communication technology has obviously improved tremendously, people’s schedules are crazier than ever, so it’s very hard to coordinate events properly.

If you’re planning a major family event, such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, sweet sixteen or anything else similar, you have to make sure to give yourself sufficient lead time. This is the first absolute key to success. The major factors here is that you want to avoid too few or too many people coming at the last minute. There will always be some last minute cancellations or even last minute people that need to be added, but this needs to be kept to a minimum.

One thing that can be a big help is to have everybody fill out their particulars online. This may sound complicated, especially for the technophobic among us, but it’s a lot less complicated than you may think. These days, they have excellent websites like this one called Typeform, which allows you to customize a form online where people fill in the relevant information, allowing you to build a little database and coordinate everything very effectively.

The way Typeform works is that it asks a series of questions, the ones you tell it to ask, and this allows you to get the information you need. For example, you can first confirm their attendance, then find out if they will be travelling, if they already have a place to stay, if they need a hotel booking (you can keep everybody at the same hotel this way), if they need a rental car (group discounts) etc. You can then have a master list of all guests, and sub lists of all out of town guests. Etc. And if there are any emergency announcements to be made, you can make them to a sub group or to the entire group if you so desire.

For weddings, Typeform is especially powerful, because you can also use it to do the all important gift registry and get everything super organized right from the start. The best part about Typeform is it’s totally customizable so you can use your imagination. If you really want to get crazy with it, people can coordinate even what they will wear by having them organize and communicate on the platform. The possibilities are virtually endless.

So the next time you need to plan an event, do it right the first time next time. Take advantage of the latest technology like Typeform.

Cyber Security Solution for Your Child’s Smartphone

It is often hard to regulate which sites your children are visiting online. Whether it is on their mobile phones or desktops, there are dangers lurking all around the web. Your child may be getting tricked by a hacker and revealing a ton of your family’s personal information, without even knowing it. You may not have realized it but your smartphone is at risk of being hacked or attached with viruses and malware just as your home computer is. Did you know that your phone can be hacked while it’s in your purse or pocket without you being aware? The key to protecting your phone is to install an antivirus app such as the AVG Antivirus that can assist you in keeping those hackers  away. Do not leave yourself open to viruses, malware, or attacks from hackers who would use your confidential information to do you harm. Here are a few ways the AVG Antivirus App can assist in protecting your smartphone from cyber-attacks.

Dodge Dangerous Apps

With the mobile antivirus from AVG, you can protect yourself whenever you’re downloading apps to your smartphone. Unfortunately, apps that you download may contain malware, viruses, or spyware that could wreak havoc on your device. By having this installed before you download, you can prevent those dangerous apps from taking over your phone. The app works silently in the background to scan and protect your phone from dangerous apps and viruses.

Other Features Added

If you lose your phone you can track it down via Google Maps with the AVG app added to your phone. You can also lock your phone remotely and even wipe it clean if you feel it is lost for good. There are other features you’re sure to enjoy such as the ability to passcode lock your files and photos to keep prying eyes from gaining access. There’s also a great feature that allows the app to run silently in the background and help monitor your battery life and even data usage. It will kill tasks that are taking up your battery life and also scan Wi-Fi access to make sure you’re protected at all times.

Download Avg for android here.

Smart Tricks To Keep Your Family Healthy

When it comes to fighting diseases, the best course of action is to not have them in the first place. No one likes to go to work and worry all day thinking if their partners are OK or if their kids are taking the medicine at the right time.

So what you should be thinking about is preventive care. It’s easier to keep your family healthy than to treat them once they fall ill. In order to do that, you should make sure your family is eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and sleeping properly. Learn about other tricks to keep your family healthy.

Enjoy Some Sunshine

Although you cannot control the weather, you should make the most of it when the sun is shining. If you get 20 minutes of sunlight two to three times a week, you’ll boost your vitamin D levels, which help against high blood pressure and keeps bones healthy. The optimal time for Vitamin D absorption is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., or when your shadow is shorter than you.

Exercise Frequently

Studies have shown that people who exercise at least 2 1/2 hours a week lived three and a half years longer than those who didn’t exercise. That’s just 20 minutes per day! The trick here is about being consistent and doing it every day. And it doesn’t have to be complicated; you can brisk walk around the block with your family, do some pushups, or skip rope in the living room.

Have a Good Night’s Sleep

When a family is not sleeping well, it can cause problems like tiredness and low levels of energy, and even impair performance at work or school. A good way to fight that is to have a consistent bedtime routine, especially on weekends. Keep the rooms dark and cool, and tell bedtime stories to the little ones.

Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

Many people don’t pay too much attention to their home’s air quality, but it can be an invisible threat causing allergies and respiratory problems. House plants like ficus and spider plants help reduce air pollutants, but it’s also a good idea to invest in air purifiers or ventilators, which increase the circulation of fresh air in your home.

Have a Hearty Breakfast

Did you know that a nutritious breakfast can reduce the risk of a heart attack and type 2 diabetes? By having a healthy balance of protein and carbs, you can decrease the fats in your blood and improve your blood sugar levels. And you’ll probably avoid caloric foods by leaving home with a full stomach.

Understand Your Family Medical History

It’s important to talk to your parents and other family members to find out about your medical history. One-third of men die from cardiovascular diseases, so if you know your partner might be prone to have heart problems, you can take action early and seek a healthier lifestyle.

When you start using these smart tricks to change your family’s habits, you avoid the risk of developing unnecessary illnesses. Another benefit is having the peace of mind of living in a disease-free house. At the end of the day, a healthy family is a happy family.

4 Ways to Start Saving for your Child’s College Education

It’s way too easy to put off saving for those future college bills, but starting early is the key to making the grade. According to The College Investor, parents who start saving $50 per month when their child is born could end up with over $21,000 for college, while parents who start saving when their child is nine can put away twice as much per month and still wind up with less than $15,000. If you’re convinced that starting now is important, but you’re not sure how to find the savings, here are some tips for you.

Small Amounts Add

Go through your bank statement for the last few months looking for small monthly expenses you can eliminate. Maybe you’ve signed up for an online service you don’t need but never bothered to cancel. Maybe you’re still paying for that gym membership you never use. Spend an afternoon canceling those expenses, and then set up an automatic monthly transfer into your child’s college account for the total amount you’ve saved. Also, set aside a bank to collect your change and $1 bills at the end of each day. A piggy bank with a narrow slot is too fussy; make it easy for yourself by using a jar with a wide mouth. Decorate the jar if you’re crafty or keep it simple.

Sweat the Big Stuff

Look for ways to trim your biggest monthly expenses. Maybe you can refinance your mortgage at a lower rate, save big on your heating system, trade down to a more affordable car, or find some other way to trim your expenses. Anything you can do that shaves even $20 off your monthly expenses takes your child one step closer to an education.

Just Do It

High-income couples are often the last to set aside savings for college. Why? Because of the assumption that they will always have enough income to afford whatever they decide they want. But that’s a big risk to take when your child’s future is depending on you. Many things in life are unpredictable. What if your company goes out of business, the industry you’re qualified to work in becomes obsolete due to legal or technological changes, or you or your spouse becomes disabled or seriously ill? If you have enough money to set some aside, do it now.

Pay Your Child First

Your expenses will always expand to take up your available income, so you have to put money in savings first and resolve never to touch it. It’s easy to postpone making a savings deposit when money feels tight, but if you do it first, you will always find some way to pay your bills. Set up an automatic transfer to savings, and if you think you’ll be tempted to dip into that savings account for non-college expenses (or if you’ve already done so), move the funds to a 529 Plan or other dedicated savings plan to keep the money safe from yourself.

Saving for college isn’t especially difficult, it just takes commitment on your part. Set up a plan, make it automatic, and watch that account grow.