Back To School Tips

Back To School Tips

Sending kids back-to-school can be a tough time, for the kids & for mom & dad.  The American Academy of Pediatrics says there are a few things you can do to make it easier. We’ve included some of the top tips below.  You can get the rest here.

Before School Starts
  • Don’t wait until the first day of class to ask for help.  Schools are almost always open early to address concerns. You can even take kids in early to get a look at their classroom & locker.
  • Accentuate the positive!  They will see old friends & meet new ones.
  • Find a buddy your child can walk to school or ride on the bus with.
  • Drive your child to school on the first day – & maybe pick them up too.
  • Touch base with the new teacher.
  • Start the sleep/wake-up schedule a week or so ahead of time.
Backpack Safety
  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps & a padded back.
  • Pack light.
  • Always use both shoulder straps.
  • Adjust the pack so that the bottom sits at your child’s waist.
School Bus
  • Children should always board & exit at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
  • Make sure they walk where they can see the bus driver.
  • Look both ways before entering traffic.
  • Make sure you check the cafeteria menus, which many schools post online.  That helps with planning.
  • Look into what is offered inside & outside of the cafeteria, including vending machines.
Homework & Study Habits
  • Create a good environment, including a consistent work space that’s quiet.
  • Schedule ample time for homework; build this time into extra-curricular activities.
  • Supervise computer & Internet use.

Disaster Prep

Disaster Prep

Evacuations are more common than you might think. Natural disasters aside, people are forced to leave their homes hundreds of time a year because of transportation & industrial accidents. Below are several things you can do now to be ready.  For a full list, click here.

  • Have a grab-and-go kit. Include essential supplies, such as water, food, first-aid supplies, & don’t forget about your pets (including ID collars).
  • Have copies of important papers. Keep in a plastic, waterproof case. Include:
  1. Driver’s License
  2. Deed to your house
  3. Proof of Insurance
  4. Medical Records
  5. Passports
  6. Social Security Cards
  • Prep your yard. Maintain your trees & shrubs so diseased or weakened branches won’t fall down & damage your property.
  • Know your utility shutoffs. Learn now how to safely shut off all utility services in your home.
  • Protect windows. If you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes, install shutters that are rated to provide protection from windblown debris.

National Mutt Day

An observation from Peter on this National Mutt Day:


Our black Labrador, Athena the Wonder Dog, loves to go with us. It doesn’t matter where. As soon as she sees me heading for the back door she’s right there. The back yard could mean playing fetch with the Frisbee.  The garage holds the car and the promise of a road trip, perhaps with the window down so she can feel the wind in her face. The destination doesn’t matter to our dog. For her the joy is truly in the journey. She trusts us completely, knowing that no matter where we’re going we will take care of her. And best of all, she will be able to be with us. If we want to have joy in our daily journey as a Christ follower, we can take a tip from Athena. Have confidence that our Lord loves us and no matter where He leads us, He has a purpose in it and for our good as well as his glory. And most of all, just enjoy being with Him.

23 Things To Get Rid Of

23 Things To Get Rid Of

Photo credit: Martin Poole / Getty

If your spring cleaning has found itself pushed into summer, we’ve stumbled upon a list of things to get rid of.  The Top 10 follows below.  For the full list, click here.

1. Old mobile phones and their chargers.

Got your old handset and about 10 unindentifiable chargers hanging around? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – but getting rid of them is an easy way to free up some space. Find out how to recycle or even sell your old phone here.

2. Outdated electronics

Think VCRs, cassette players, remote controls and leads that are no longer being used. Technology has moved on so far than few of us have the hardware for these items any more, but still we insist on clutching on to them. Be realistic with yourself and lose the items you’ll never use again.

3. Magazines.

You keep promising yourself you will read them, but if you’re honest, you never will. Take them to the local hairdressers or doctors’ surgery, or just put them in the recycling.

4. Excess pens.

For some strange reason, most households contain far more pens than they will ever need to use. Let go of any that are lidless, and streamline the remainder down to a sensible number.

5. Old laptops, computers and hard drives.

These bulky items can end up cluttering the house for years, usually because we’re not sure what to do with them. According to Good Housekeeping’s resident tech expert, Carrie-Ann Skinner, you need to remove the hard drive from laptops and computers, then take them to your local electricals recycling unit to be processed. Hard drives should be destroyed – Carrie-Ann suggests smashing them up with a hammer, which sounds enjoyable!

6. Anything you keep saying you are going to sell…

…but never have the time to list. Let’s be honest, are you really going to sit down and put it on eBay, or would it be better off just going straight to the charity shop?

7. Out-of-date paperwork.

It’s time to tackle that scary pile of papers and decide what you need to keep, what needs auctioning and what you can simply get rid of altogether.

8. Negative items.

AKA, anything that makes you feel sad, such as study notes from a course you didn’t complete or items belonging to your ex-husband or wife. It’s important to surround ourselves only with possessions that add value to our lives.

9. Old clothes, coats or shoes you never wear.

For advice on how to declutter your wardrobe, click here.

10. Unwanted gifts.

Any gift given to you that you really don’t like and have hidden at the back of a cupboard would be better off going to someone who’ll actually get enjoyment from it.

InTENtionals for De-Cluttering

InTENtionals for De-Cluttering

It’s National Simplicity Day!  Here are 10 things you can do now to de-clutter your home, your work, & your life!

  1. Clutter is a threat to your spiritual life
    The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it. (Matthew13:22 MSG)
  2. Clutter is costly to your finances
    Why spend money on what does not satisfy? Why spend your wages and still be hungry? Listen to me and do what I say, and you will enjoy the best food of all. (Isaiah 55:2 GNT)
  1. Clutter damages your relationships
    Once a man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, “Give me my share of the property.” So the father divided his property between his two sons. Not long after that, the younger son packed up everything he owned and left for a foreign country, where he wasted all his money in wild living. (Luke 15:11-13 CEV)
  1. Clutter limits your potential at work
    As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering.  Soldiers on duty don’t work at outside jobs. They try only to please their commanding officer. (2 Timothy 2:3 CEV)
  1. Clutter can damage your health
    Because I have been foolish, my sores stink and rot.  I am bent over, I am crushed; I mourn all day long.  I am burning with fever and I am near death.  I am worn out and utterly crushed; my heart is troubled, and I groan with pain. (Psalm 38:5-8 GNT)
  1. Clutter is a trap into the unimportant
    [Martha’s] sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” (Luke 10:39-40 NLT)
  1. Clutter is a crutch
    So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. (Hebrews 12:1 GNT)
  1. Clutter is a learned behavior
    Because the time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching but will find many more teachers who please them by saying the things they want to hear. They will stop listening to the truth and will begin to follow false stories. But you should control yourself at all times, accept troubles, do the work of telling the Good News, and complete all the duties of a servant of God. (2 Timothy 4:3-5 NCV)
  1. Clutter is promoted by our culture
    Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. (Colossians 3:5-7 NLT)
  2. Clutter is both visible and invisible
    Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. (Colossians 1:15-17 NLT)