20 New School Year Resolutions

school year resolutions

New (School) Year, New You
20 School Year Resolutions for Your Family

Forget January 1! Parents know the real new year begins when you can smell the fresh pink erasers and hear the clatter of brand new pencils on still-smooth notebook covers.

Even if you don’t have kids in school, the end of summer and the beginning of fall is a great time to reassess, realign, hit the restart button and make resolutions that will help carry your family smoothly through until next summer – or at least until the holidays.

Here are 20 new school year resolutions you can make for the coming school year to support the students in your life:

  1. Read to your child every night you can
  2. Learn to love mornings
  3. Stock the freezer and pantry with hearty snacks that your kids can heat up on their own
  4. Show the teachers how much you appreciate them
  5. Make family fun a priority
  6. Plan regular family meals
  7. Fuel up with real food
  8. Ask your kids about their day
  9. Finish homework assignments on time
  10. Cook with real ingredients as often as you can
  11. Eat together as a family 2-3 nights a week.
  12. Limit the number of after school activities
  13. Set a regular time for homework each day
  14. Ban digital devices at the dinner table
  15. Rest enough at night.
  16. Provide protein and real food for afternoon snacks
  17. Visit more museums for learning
  18. Encourage your kids to be kind to others, especially the quirky kids
  19. Help your children with their homework and find tutors, as necessary
  20. Make sure your child is getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity within and outside your home each day

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Discovering Zinio: digital magazines

zinio online magazines

Discovering Zinio – Free Digital Magazines

Kid tested. Mom approved!

By Charlotte Bowman

It’s a truth universally acknowledged, well-fed, well-rested, and well-entertained kids are less likely to squabble on a road trip.

Traveling with little ones aren’t always fun. The trick is to be prepared. Our usual m.o. is to take plenty of entertainment, including books, iPads, favorite toys, and snacks. I’m always on the look-out for ideas and activities that will help my boys pass the time between rest stops.

So you can image my delight when I recently discovered that — amongst its many e-resources — Chattahoochee Valley Libraries (CVS) offers digital magazines via Zinio. I knew the library offered free ebooks, audio books and music downloads, but somehow Zinio passed me by.

What is Zinio for Libraries?

Zinio is a free repository of thousands of digital magazines and publications. If you have a library card, you can access them through your library’s website and download them for viewing on any Internet-enabled device.

Zinio is called the world’s largest online news stand for a reason. The sheer number of available magazines is mind boggling. There are familiar selections like Reader’s Digest, Vogue, US, and National Geographic Interactive. Then there are specialty magazines. Not only can you read the latest issues, but older issues too.

CVLGA Zinio portal page

You can borrow (check out) as many magazines as you like for free and keep them as long as you want – with no overdue fees. Plus, you can opt-in to be notified when the latest issues become available.

We tested the CVL’s Zinio portal and Zinio for Libraries app during a recent family road trip.

Before leaving town, I went online via my laptop to CVL’s Zinio portal. Using my library card, I completed the registration form and created an account.

Note: The initial registration must take place on a computer or laptop browser!

Once logged in, I got completely sucked in and spent nearly an hour browsing the collection. I checked out the latest available issues of Highlights for Kids and National Geographic Interactive for my boys and Vogue for me. 

Downloading the “Zinio for Libraries” app

The free Zinio for Libraries app allows you to read your checked-out magazines on a mobile device instead of a web browser. The app is available for the iPad, iPhone, and Android in the corresponding app stores.

Since we’re a Mac family, I downloaded the app from the iTunes App Store. I followed the prompts to find Chattahoochee Valley Libraries. The app required me to create a separate “Zinio for Libraries” account, which seemed a bit overkill. Fortunately, I was able to use the same email and password I used to create my initial account.

Once logged in, your checked-out magazines should appear in the app, ready for downloading. Mine didn’t, and it took a bit of sleuthing to figure out how to refresh my library.

Note: If you don’t see your magazines, simply click the Settings icon in the top left corner and tap Refresh Your Library!

zinio for libraries app
Zinio for Libraries app

It turns out that you have to manually download your magazines if you want them to display on your device. Frankly, this last bit was a tad irritating. I’m accustomed to iTunes where a purchase kicks off an automatic download and makes my selections immediately available for listening or viewing. To download your magazines, simply tap the Download Cloud icon.  Your magazines are now ready to be viewed anytime — online or offline.

Note: You must have Wi-Fi to download a magazine!

Reading your magazines is a breeze. My kids were tapping the titles of cover stories, swiping left and right to turn pages, pinching the screen to zoom in, and tapping the middle of the page to bring up menu options. Their verdict? Double thumbs up!

Zinio First Time Instructions

The initial registration must take place on a computer or laptop browser. [Printable PDF of Instructions]

  1. Visit www.cvlga.org/zinio via your computer or laptop
  2. Browse the collection. Click the Check Out Now icon to check out a magazine. Click the cover to see more details and back issues.
  3. After checking out a magazine, select Create New Account.
  4. Enter your library card number, email and select a password.
  5. You can read the magazine on a compatible web browser. If you’re on a mobile device or tablet you will need to download the Zinio for Libraries app to read your magazine.

Using the App

The Zinio for Libraries App allows you to read your magazines on a mobile device instead of a web browser. Get a magazine: Tap Checkout Magazines in the bottom corner. This takes you back to the library’s collection of magazines. Download a magazine: In the app, tap the magazine cover or the cloud icon. You must have Wi-Fi to download a magazine. Once downloaded, the magazine can be read offline. Reading a magazine:

  • Swipe left or right to turn pages
  • Pinch the screen to zoom in
  • Tap the middle of the page to bring up menu options.
  • Tap the X to return to your collection

Sorting Magazines: Tap Sort by at the top right of the app Deleting Magazines: Tap Edit at the top of the app. Tap the X on a cover to delete it. There are no due dates on magazines, but they do take up space on your device (500-300MB/magazine) Adobe Flash Error Message: This appears if you are trying to read the magazine in an incompatible web browser instead of the app.

Need the Zinio App?

Fourth of July Celebrations

fourth of july celebrations

2016 Fourth of July celebrations, concerts, parades, fireworks in the Chattahoochee Valley

Here is a list of Fourth of July celebrations for 2016 in the Chattahoochee Valley area. If your community’s event or events aren’t listed here, please email [email protected] click here.

June 24-25

June 25

July 1

July 2

July 3

July 4

20 Moving Tips: Move Your Life, Keep Your Sanity


Moving and Packing Made Easier

Moving can be one of the most stressful events of your life… and with good reason.

Packing up years of accumulated stuff, keeping track of odds and ends, and tripping over boxes—tend to generate chaos and disorder. By the end of the day, you’ll probably look at your home and want to pull your hair out.  

If your stuff is staring you in the face, silently mocking you, use these 20 moving tips to help keep your sanity during your next relocation.

  1. Create a 3-ring binder, write down lists of everything you need to do, need to move, need to clean and when it all needs to be done.This notebook will be your moving-out bible, and could save your mind. For ease of planning, split your binder into four categories:
    • Here – for everything related to your current home and the packing up of all your stuff
    • There – for everything related to your next home
    • In Transit – for everything and anything you may need to reference or keep as you literally travel from one home to the next
    • Miscellaneous – for everything and anything you might need to reference or keep while you are without your household goods
  2. Schedule movers/book a Uhaul. Do this well in advance, especially if you’re moving at the end of a month (the most popular time to move and when they’ll most likely be booked up).
  3. If your budget allows, consider hiring professional movers who will take on much of the physical stress of packing and transporting your belongings.
  4. Gather sturdy boxes and packing materials from grocery, furniture or electronics stores, friends and neighbors.
  5. Don’t procrastinate. A few weeks prior to your move, start packing several boxes a day.
  6. Begin by packing non-essentials (out-of-season clothes, rarely-used kitchen equipment, knick-knacks, etc.) and work up to necessities as you get closer to moving day.
  7. Pack room-by-room. Focus on one area of a room at a time and don’t mix items from different rooms in one box.
  8. Instead of wrapping each dish in newspaper or bubble wrap, separate your dishes with Styrofoam plates. 
  9. Sell, toss or donate anything you haven’t used in more than a year.
  10. Have a pre-moving yard sale and make a little extra cash while you’re at it! The less stuff you have, the less you have to move.
  11. Place labels on the sides of boxes so you can see them when the boxes are stacked. Pack your boxes by room and label them accordingly. Color coding boxes by room is a great way to mark where each box should go.  This makes it easy for movers to identify which room they should put the boxes. 
  12. For items that must be disassembled, keep screws, washers, and so forth in labeled plastic bags. Put all the bags in one box so they won’t get lost. Do the same with the cords from your electronics.
  13. Take pictures of your electronic hookups so you have a guide to use when you get to your new home.
  14. Coordinate your moving dates with some overlap. Leave plenty of time between closing on your current home and the move-in date for your new home to paint or put in new flooring—whatever projects you have in mind—before you move in.
  15. Don’t box up everything. You should personally transport jewelry, heirlooms, important papers, legal documents (wills, birth certificates, passports. etc.), and valuables.
  16. Pack an overnight bag of essentials for each family member: medicines, toiletries and a change of clothes. And anything else you may use on a daily basis. Keep these bags handy so you’ll have everything you need for your first night in your new home without digging through boxes.
  17. Slip your hanging clothes into garbage bags while they’re still on the hanger. Simply transport them to your new closet and remove the bag.
  18. Have a friend watch your kids and/or pets so you can focus on the task at hand.
  19. Hire someone to come in when the house is empty to give it a scrub down. It should cost around $100. It’s totally worth it not to have to clean the house after a sweaty day of moving boxes.
  20. Take your time, think ahead, and keep your sense of humor!

Moving is an exciting time, so apply these to your next move to enjoy more and stress less! For more moving tips and ideas, visit moving.com

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5 Simple Tips for a Successful Birthday Bash

birthday bash

Whether you’re planning a princess tea party or a superhero birthday bash, the secret to organizing a party your child will treasure is to keep your little one’s interests at the forefront.

If your child does well in smaller groups, keep the guest list small. Plan the menu around her favorite foods and look for little touches that celebrate the unique joy she brings to your family. Here are five tips to help make your little one’s big day extra special.

1. Set a theme.

Build your celebration around a theme that reflects your child’s interests. Popular options include a favorite color, sport, activity or character. While the Internet offers a mind-boggling array of ideas for crafting the perfect theme, there also are a variety of party-ready options for busy moms with limited time.

2. Decorate the guests.

There’s no reason to stop with streamers and balloons. Integrate your guests into the decor with fun activities that bring your theme to life. Face paint, washable tattoos or stamps let little guests take an active role in the party and express a little creativity of their own.

3. Amp up the activity.

Create opportunities for all the little partygoers to participate in the festivities with interactive games that tie back to the theme of the party. Old-school favorites like pin-the-tail on the donkey can be updated to reflect today’s popular characters; make-your-own slime or clay is the perfect project for a group of mad scientists; or a treasure hunt can be adapted to nearly any theme.

4. Add some fancy to the food.

If your party menu calls for more than cake and ice cream, you can take advantage of another avenue to carry through your theme. A little creativity, some clever monikers and a few basic modifications can quickly transform everyday snacks into festive fun.

For example, a dinosaur party might feature Brontosaurus Burgers and T-Rex Trail Mix. The options are nearly endless, and if you’re at a loss, you can find ample inspiration online.

5. Offer a fond farewell.

No birthday party is complete without treats to send partygoers home happy. However, goodie bags need not be costly or elaborate. An inexpensive item such as bubbles or sidewalk chalk tied in theme-colored ribbon is a fun choice for many ages. Simply package items in a vessel that fits the theme, such as a purse for a princess party or a small pail for a beach blast.

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