How To Practice Gratitude For Greater Health and Happiness

How To Practice Gratitude For Greater Health and Happiness

‘Tis the season to give thanks , and it turns out counting your blessings is actually good for you. Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a California-based psychotherapist and author of  It Ends with You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction , tells us,  “Happy people have an easier life, bounce back from problems, and generate love. Research demonstrates we are hard-wired to focus on problems, which creates physically and emotionally damaging stress.” But Dr. Tessina has seen clients improve their well-being by changing their behavior. “Practicing gratitude helps you notice good things, reduce…

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Books to Hook Your Middle Schooler on Reading

Books to Hook Your Middle Schooler on Reading

I’m a life-long reader. I was that kid who couldn’t put a book down. In sixth grade alone, I tore through every book Agatha Christie ever wrote. When I had kids, I just assumed I’d given birth to fellow readers. Imagine my surprise when, as my boys entered elementary school, they preferred (gasp!) playing at the park with friends to being holed up with a book. When my oldest was in third grade, I was so grateful when Harry Potter fever hit…

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How To Beat The End Of Summer Blues

How To Beat The End Of Summer Blues

Sure, summer fun is over, but no need to get down-hearted. September is a month full of possibilities—the start of new school year, the beginning of fall, with our favorite holidays just around the corner, a time when a hint of promise floats in on cool evening breezes. We asked a few experts why they love September and how we can make the most of it. Here’s what they told us: Set a goal. Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at…

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Useful Gifts For College Students: Creating the Ultimate Care Package

Useful Gifts For College Students: Creating the Ultimate Care Package

While it might not be as exciting to focus on useful gifts for college students over entertaining ones, in the long run, your college student will thank you. After all, when college students are off on their own for the first time, they’ll likely forget about those little things that used to be available as needed, like salt and pepper shakers or a fridge to hold perishables. Parents who don’t want their kids living off Ramen for…

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How to Make Back to School More Fun

How to Make Back to School More Fun

It’s hard to think of anything more universally loved by kids than summer vacation. Camp, swimming , long, unscheduled days with friends—and, let’s be honest, parents who are a little bit more relaxed about screen time for a couple of months. As we say goodbye to the lazy days of summer, how can we help make back to school more fun for the whole family? Get Your School-Year Groove Back Amanda Carman, a teacher and owner of Excited2Learn suggests planning fun activities…

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How to Beat the Summer’s Almost Over Blues

How to Beat the Summer’s Almost Over Blues

Summer is not over yet, there’s still a few weeks left to lounge in your unicorn pool float or spend the day munching on nothing but ice cream and rosé. Enjoy every moment you can of these last few weeks, but know that the end is in sight. To ease the pain we all feel this time of year, we’ve come up with a few ways to beat the summer’s (almost) over blues. Plan a Staycation Vacations are an amazing end-of-summer tradition, but…

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How to Make Baby’s First Birthday Gift Registry

How to Make Baby’s First Birthday Gift Registry

Preparing for your baby’s first birthday party also creates another first for your baby: a first birthday gift registry. When you’re planning a first birthday party for your kid, I can’t recommend using an online registry highly enough. My first birthday party for my son went the way most first birthdays go; it wasn’t so much a party for my baby as it was a party about him. As a one-year-old, he had very little idea of what was going on—including…

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Baby Registry Checklist: Create a Comprehensive Wish List Online

Baby Registry Checklist: Create a Comprehensive Wish List Online

When you’re trying to plan for a new baby, I’ve found the best way to do it is to create a baby registry checklist. After all, there’s a lot to think about! While I was pregnant, I had a bit of trouble keeping everything I needed straight. Even though I created a pretty extensive wish list, one of my friends pointed out that I’d forgotten more than a few important necessities, like pacifiers and teething rings. Luckily,…

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Secret Santa Themes for Family Gift Exchanges: Getting Everyone Involved

Secret Santa Themes for Family Gift Exchanges: Getting Everyone Involved

“We need to dust! And wash the curtains. And can somebody please find the other air mattress?” Our house was in a flurry of activity because we had relatives coming to visit. Not just one or two people, either—we were hosting 12 people at our house for a family reunion. Getting the house ready seemed to take days, but my sister and I cleaned faster and more thoroughly than ever before, fueled on by our excitement at…

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The Best Easter Basket Ideas for a Teenager

The Best Easter Basket Ideas for a Teenager

It was Easter . The doorbell rang. My sister and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes, but we still scrambled off the couch to see who was there. Like every year since we could remember, on our doorstep were two large and colorful baskets, left for us by the Easter bunny. Now, both of us were in high school, so our enthusiasm for the holiday had waned somewhat. It’s a lot easier to plan Easter parties for kids and toddlers !…

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A Festive Christmas Wish List Maker for Kids That’s Online, Free, and Easy

A Festive Christmas Wish List Maker for Kids That’s Online, Free, and Easy

When my daughter told me she wanted “the new Barbie” for Christmas, I should have known there was more to the story than that. I arrived at my local big box retail emporium and asked an employee to direct me toward the “cool new Barbie.” She led me to the toy section, then down a hot-pink aisle lined floor-to-ceiling with dolls. “They’re pretty much all new this year,” she said. I bought (and eventually exchanged) the wrong…

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The Best Online Wish List Website for Making a Child’s Christmas List

The Best Online Wish List Website for Making a Child’s Christmas List

When I was a kid, my sister and I started checking the mailbox with excitement in early November to see if the gigantic Sears Christmas catalog had arrived. When it finally did, it was the start of the Christmas season for us. The catalog also served as a guide for our parents when they made the long journey to the nearest mall to buy our presents.  If they couldn’t find what we wanted there, they would mail…

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Ten Thoughtful Gifts for the Dad Who Wants Nothing

Ten Thoughtful Gifts for the Dad Who Wants Nothing

Soap on a rope. That’s what I got my dad for Christmas every year until I was well into my teens. I’ve always loved picking thoughtful and unique gifts, but when it came to my dad, I was stumped. The man, a minimalist at heart, wanted nothing. Every year, I’d listen intently to everything he said, looking for hints as to what he might like, but I never got so much as a clue. Come December, I…

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Fun Thanksgiving Day Games For After Dinner

Fun Thanksgiving Day Games For After Dinner

A loud rumbling came from the living room. Then, suddenly, it stopped. My sister and I froze, terrified, until we heard a voice: “If you girls wanted more pie, you should have just asked!” While the grownups were taking their post-Thanksgiving naps, we decided to get that last slice of pie we assumed was off-limits. But when we woke my dad, he gladly served us another piece. It was a rare moment when the grownups and kids…

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Gratitude-Inspired Thanksgiving Activities for Families

Gratitude-Inspired Thanksgiving Activities for Families

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”  —Melody Beattie The house smells of turkey and sage as my family eagerly gathers around the table. Like every year before, we join hands and take turns sharing what we are grateful for…

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Enchanting Halloween Treat Bag Ideas for a School Classroom Party

Enchanting Halloween Treat Bag Ideas for a School Classroom Party

I haven’t always loved Halloween as much as I do now. I was a timid and sensitive kid so, naturally, Halloween was never my favorite holiday. It was too scary for me and all the candy gave me a tummy ache. But that all changed when my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Campbell, threw a Halloween classroom party. We bobbed for apples, drew faces on pumpkins, and danced to the monster mash. The best part, though, was the treat bags….

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Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Giving birth is one of the hardest, most terrifying, and most beautiful experiences of a woman’s life. As a daddy, you’ll never really know just how tough and exhilarating it can be; I probably don’t have to tell you, but your lady is a super woman—not only because she will push through the pain of labor with grace, but also because she will give herself continuously—and unconditionally—to your newborn babe without asking for anything in return. This…

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The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

My favorite picture of me as a baby is from my first birthday party. I’m sitting in my high chair sporting a Winnie the Pooh party hat with a big cake in front of me displaying a solo pink candle. The picture always brings a smile to my face because my expression is priceless—I’m gazing inquisitively at the camera as if to say, “What is all this fuss about?” While I obviously had no clue why I…

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Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Spaghetti was dripping from the ceiling. I looked up, watching the mass of beige noodles and bright red sauce slowly unsticking from the plaster, dropping to the table with a soft, wet splashing sound. I looked over at my mom, expecting her to be apoplectic with rage over the fact that I had just tossed a lovingly made dinner into the sky, but, instead, she was shaking with laughter. “You still have to go to school tomorrow,” she…

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Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

The warm and woodsy smell of pencil shavings, the feel of a waxy crayon between my fingers, the spirited squeal of a guinea pig in the corner of the classroom—this is what I remember from my first day of kindergarten. I loved kindergarten. It was a whole day of playing: singing songs to teach us the letters of the alphabet, counting and sorting dried beans (math was so fun back then), or feeding the class pet, a guinea…

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The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

As someone who was born in July, I can say with confidence that summer birthdays are the best—especially when you’re a kid. When I was little, my parents threw the best parties for me; looking back they were quite simple, but I loved them. Every year my friends would come over in the mid-morning and we’d frolick in the grass as the skirts of our party dresses whooshed in the warm breeze. At lunchtime, we’d all gather…

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A Supportive Dad Blogger Network Gift Exchange to Celebrate Modern Fatherhood

A Supportive Dad Blogger Network Gift Exchange to Celebrate Modern Fatherhood

When I was a little girl, a homemade note hung by our back door for as long as I can remember. It was a note written by my dad and directed at my siblings and me meant to be read each time we left the house for school or to go play with the neighborhood kids. It said simply: Be the best person you know how to be. That’s it. It was nothing fancy—and far from a…

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The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

I’ll never forget the very first family reunion I went to when I was a kid. My brother, my parents, and I all piled into our red station wagon and road tripped to Wisconsin where we gathered at my Uncle’s country home—along with forty of our relatives. It was the first time that all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were together in the same place at the same time. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and shy…

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Personalized Graduation Gift Registry Ideas for Your College-Bound Grad

Personalized Graduation Gift Registry Ideas for Your College-Bound Grad

In the basement, there was a towering stack of boxes perpetually threatening to topple over whenever I would squeeze past them on the way to get Christmas decorations or pool supplies out a couple times a year. Inside? All of the things I left at my parents’ house when I graduated from high school as a sort of “temporary” storage situation… that stretched itself out for more than ten years. Recently, I went through the (mostly unmarked)…

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