Archives for August 2012

Can Power Walking Make You Skinny

Ramp Up Your Walking Program with Power Walking

I hate running – everything jiggles too much and it’s very hard to breath. I much prefer walking – and it can still be a great way to lose weight and stay healthy.

Power Walking Form

To get the most out of your power walk, you’ll need to follow the correct form. If you feel self-conscious, either get over it or move to a private area! When you power walk, sources say you need to keep your arms swinging and your chin up, and get your toes pointing up with each forward step (some refer to this as keeping your heels up. Either way, the point is to get your legs and feet moving in a heel-ball-toe formation).

Big Steps

One of the keys to power walking is to take lunging steps. When you power walk, you are moving fast but not necessarily taking long strides (in fact, sources say you should aim for quick, small steps as you power walk), but you can intersperse this with extra-long strides or lunges as you go. The lunges give your legs an extra workout and work the muscles a bit differently than the shorter strides.

Tighten Those Muscles

As you boost your walking program and get into power walking, you can amp it up even more by squeezing key muscle groups as you walk. Your rear and tummy are two places where contracting those muscles while you walk can help squeeze the most out of your workout.

Weights

Some fitness experts advocate the use of wrist and ankle weights to add even more challenge to your power walk. You can purchase such weights at most fitness shops or even some major retailers that have a sports section in the store. You strap these weight onto your wrists and ankles, which helps increase muscle exertion and ultimately muscle tone. Some sources also say that the weights increase the number of calories burned per workout.

Think Speed

One way to help you in your power walking efforts is to walk as if you are in a great hurry. Think in terms of hustle, hustle rather than a pleasurable stroll. Listening to upbeat, active music while you walk can help. Sources say you should aim for 4 1/2 miles per hour, but this is not a speed that most people can achieve automatically. So make this a goal and start out walking as fast as you can (with the proper form), and work up to the 4 1/2 mph goal.

Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

Do you have a kindergartner starting this year – it’s exciting and frightening. What can you do get your child ready for this all important year?l Here are some tips to help you out.

Read!

All kinds of sources agree that reading aloud to your child is very important for preparing them – not only for reading on their own, but also for school in general. Old-fashioned nursery rhymes have been shown to be helpful in teaching children about language, phonics, and rhyming. So go to the library and stock up on some age-appropriate books and get to reading together!

Clay Letters

Play with clay and show your child how to form letters out of clay. If you like, start with a word he really likes, such as his own name or the name of a favorite pet or toy. This hands-on, tactile activity helps reinforce the concept of forming letters with the hands, and may help prepare your child for handwriting.

Identification

Talk about the names of colors and shapes when you are out and about (or even at home) with your child. Tell her the names of shapes of familiar objects and name the colors. You might play a game of “I spy” to help reinforce this in a fun way. In this game, you say something like, “I spy something red and round,” and then let your child guess what it is. Then your child can choose something and let you guess.

Visit the School and Meet the Teacher

Familiarity can really help your child adjust to kindergarten. See if you can arrange to tour the school and meet the teacher, and hopefully more than once. Let your child see the playground, classroom, and cafeteria of the school.

Independence

See what you can do to foster independence in your child before kindergarten. Practice tying shoes (it’s understandable if your child doesn’t master this right away, but it helps to have a start), dressing himself, and using the bathroom alone. If separation is an issue, practice some separations with caregivers before the big day arrives.

Scissors

We all know not to run with them, but cutting with them is an important school-age skill. Do some fun projects with your child that involve cutting various shapes and lines, from straight to wavy.

Get a Check-Up

Before going to kindergarten, it’s a good idea to visit with your pediatrician for a check-up. Also make sure your child is up-to-date on his vaccinations, and find out what your child’s school requires in this regard.

 

Creative Clothes Shopping for Back to School

Back to School time always seems to me to be money out the wazoo time.  There are kids to outfit, mom to outfit.  From clothes to pencils, it shapes up to be a pretty expensive time of year – so what can a RichMama do? Are there any other options besides the traditional retail shops? Is there a way to go about this creatively?

The answer is yes. Here are some creative options for back-to-school clothes shopping.

Take Stock

Do your kids come to you complaining that they have “nothing to wear”? It’s pretty doubtful that they really have nothing; it just seems like nothing. Take some time to assess your kids’ wardrobes and really discern what they have. Chances are, you’re going to find some decent clothes that fit that can be worn again. They might even be clothes that have been so long forgotten that they will seem new again!

Break out the Needle and Thread

If you can sew, now is the time to get your sewing machine out. (And if you can’t sew, maybe now is a good time to learn!) You can recycle old clothes artfully with some well-places stitches. For example, let hems out or cut and hem worn-out pants to make shorts. If you can do some needlework, you can get creative and cover stains and small holes on clothes that otherwise fit fine.

Give Old Outfits a New Look

While you are going through the bureaus and closets of your kids, try to mix and match and put together new outfits. You can create a whole new look by mixing and matching, especially if your child has items in similar or neutral colors.

Shop for Used Clothes

Watch for consignment sales in your area, and since it’s the end of summer, keep an eye out for yard sales. It’s amazing what you can find at these second-hand options, sometimes even name-brand clothes that kids really like. While you’re shopping creatively for used clothes, don’t forget the internet. Yard sales are moving online these days, so take advantage of the local and larger groups selling used items online.

Watch for Sales

Of course, watching for sales keeps your clothing bill lower; but if you watch for sales creatively, you can combine these events with some of the above options to create a whole new wardrobe for the school year.

Tweet: Your kids need new clothes for school – discover some creative ways to get the most out of your clothes shopping. LINK

Back to School Shopping With a Picky Teen

Top Tips for Back-to-School Shopping with a Picky Teen

It’s that time of year again – back to school  And with the little kids, while you can certainly make most of the choices for them, it gets harder and harder to do that as they get older. Teens are picky – and back to school shopping time can be fraught with hard to stomach stuff.  Here are some tips for back-to-school shopping with your picky teen.

Let Them Shop

This doesn’t mean you should give your teen you credit card and drop him or her off at the mall for a few hours! Actually, there is a method to letting your picky teen do his or her own back-to-school shopping, and it can be a positive learning process. Here’s how it works.

Go Through Their Things

With your teen, go through her clothes and determine what she really needs. Get rid of only those clothes that can’t be repaired or are stained permanently, then work on mixing and matching what’s left. Then determine what clothes she needs and make a specific list.

Budget

Once you both understand what’s necessary, you can make a budget for those items. Determine what you are willing to pay for each piece of clothing, total it up, and then give your teen the money. Once it’s spent, no more – be firm on this one! You may want to accompany her on this shopping trip to help point out bargains and such, but the point is, she is in charge of planning her purchases and spending the money.

Good Lessons

While you’re doing all this, think of the good life lessons you’ll be teaching your teen. Your teen will learn how to budget his money, and will get a no-frills introduction into the world of financial planning. Remember, once the money is gone, he is not getting any more, so he will have to plan out how he is going to divide up the money to get all the items he wants. Your teen may also be motivated to shop for things on sale or things at second-hand shops once he realizes how much the things he wants actually cost.

Consider letting your teen keep any money that’s left, too. Having a little extra spending money can be a great motivator to find bargains!

Go for Re-Sale

Even picky teens can usually find something at a consignment shop or second-hand store. Name brands are not necessarily hard to come by at these places, and if your teen has a flare for individuality, she might be able to put together a stunning outfit with second-hand clothes and accessories.

How to Set up A Household Budget

Do you want to know how to set up a household budget?

 

basic-household-budgetSetting up a household budget is not as hard as many perceive. According to experts, the first thing to do is gather your monthly income. This includes job-based revenue, along with other monies that you make on a monthly basis. The latter can include interest on bank accounts, along with money earned from investments or business endeavors. Once you have an approximate number, you need to create a spreadsheet with your approximate monthly earnings. Programs like Excel have existing templates to determine monthly or annual household budgets. Next, you need to take into account all your monthly expenses. This can include groceries, electricity, utilities, credit card bills, and mortgage payments if applicable. No matter what your monthly expenses are, you need to include them on the household budgeting sheet.

 

The next step is to simply subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly earnings. For example if you make $3,000 a month and your expenses total $1,500, the remaining balance will be $1,500. You can then deposit this money back into the bank, or allocate it for any unseen expenses within the month. The key to any successful household budget is cost-savings. Depending on your income, you may have to curtail your household expenses per month. Due to the recent fiscal crisis, there are several people still struggling to make ends meet. As a result, most are living on fixed incomes, or are facing financial constraints across the board. One way to secure extra income, however, is by eliminating any unnecessary expenses per month.

 

The best way to do this is by subtracting non-essential expenses from essential expenses. For example you will need food, electricity, water, and gas for your loved ones and household. There are known as basic necessities, which simply cannot be curtailed or avoided. Non-essential expenses relate to entertainment, eating out, or excessive use of electricity. Therefore, instead of having the air conditioner run day and night, you can open your windows to secure proper airflow and distribution. This will lower monthly energy costs, which can result in savings and more money per month. You can also limit both television and computer use to a few hours per day. Cooking at home can also prevent eating out, which can really add up at the end of the month.

 

Even if you have a limited income after expenses, there are ways to make the most out of your household budget. For example you can purchase generic or standard grocery products, as opposed to high-end brand names. You can also use a water filter, instead of purchasing costly bottles per month.