What to Remember While Driving with Your Kids: Teaching Safe Habits

Teenage daughter gets a driving lesson from her mother or an instructor.

Teenage daughter gets a driving lesson from her mother or an instructor.

Eighty-three percent of teens say their parents engage in unsafe driving behavior with them in the car, according to a survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Of the teens surveyed, 60 percent report asking parents to stop their dangerous driving habits like texting while driving.

While texting tops the list for dangerous driving habits, there are other important things to be aware of while driving with your kids, from car maintenance to highlighting teachable moments. Whether you hope to impart safe driving skills or want to improve your own, there are ways to increase awareness while on the road. Here are a few things to keep in mind while driving with your kids.

Quality Tires Save Lives

Sure, you know that the the maintenance of components like the brakes and steering are crucial to safe driving. But the quality of your tires and how you care for them can make a bigger impact than you may think. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, maintaining good tire pressure can save lives, gas and liability. Under inflating your tires can also decrease your fuel efficiency and add to environmental pollution and a poor future climate for your children.

Regularly check your tire pressure and keep the tires rotated and balanced according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations. Choosing the right tires to begin with can make an impact on your family’s safety and the longevity and durability of your tires. For example, TireBuyer offers a large selection of Continental tires with year-round traction, fuel efficient performance and safety.

Distracted Driving goes Beyond Texting

According to Esurance, there are three types of distracted driving, including visual, cognitive and manual. Cognitive distractions happen when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on the road and can even happen when being preoccupied by personal issues or talking to another passenger. Visual distractions include looking at anything other than the road like tinkering with electronic devices or looking in the back seat to address your kids. A manual distraction is when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel to eat or drink, dig through a purse or to text.

It’s tough not to look back at your kids when they need something or take your hand off the wheel to adjust your seat belt. But you can control keeping your phone off and put away to stop yourself from texting or taking an important call. You can also set an example for your kids by limiting your distractions as much as possible and discussing what distracted driving means, why not to do it, and the consequences involved. The more your kids understand what distracted driving is and why it’s dangerous, the more likely they are to take it seriously.

Driving is a Teachable Moment

Every time you get behind the wheel with your kids in tow is a teachable moment. Explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, like suddenly braking to avoid an animal in the road, or slowing down in the rain. Admit when you’ve been careless while driving or made a mistake so your see you taking accountability and responsibility for your actions. The more you model the behavior you want your kids’ to emulate behind the wheel, the more likely they are to follow your lead.


Life After Addiction Can Be Beautiful

Millions of people in the United States suffer from drug addiction, but the road to recovery can be difficult. Those of you who haven’t taken the crucial step toward recovery may be afraid, uncertain how long it will take, and whether or not you will make it. That’s why it’s important for patients to recognize the immense benefits of rehab, so you can visualize the positive changes you are working towards.

Though it may be hard to see from the beginning, life on the other side of rehab means independence, a stronger family, and support for continued health. Addiction treatment services are available to you from a variety of sources, and by taking advantage of them you’re giving yourself a second chance at a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Regaining Your Personal Freedom

Though completing addiction rehab is a difficult and sometimes long journey, it provides you with more space in your life for personal fulfillment. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, some of the effects of drug dependency include missing work, school, or group activities, while also needing regular drug use to function. This means that, personal pursuits can become less important than the addiction itself.

For example, if you once enjoyed travel, you may start putting all of your money and time towards drug abuse, giving up a healthy hobby for unhealthy one. With the right treatment, such as an empathetic, evidenced-based rehabilitation center, you will return to work, school, and activities you actually enjoy. After rehab, the travel fan can start seeing the world again.

Recovery for Your Family and Friends Too

Drug addiction can frequently lead to trust issues among family or friend groups. Those who are close to you may feel helpless in their efforts to support you. Seeking professional treatment in a rehab center can help you repair ties that were once strained between family and friends, and guide everyone towards healthier relationships with one another.

As Dr. Kelly Clark, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, told Live Science, “the strongest thing that is helpful is having a system of care that can surround a person.” If you commit to a healthier life in rehab, and your close ones commit to supporting you through that process, you will all see the positive impacts.

Peer Support Means Staying Sober

For many addicts, the recovery process can be extremely isolating. Due to the stigma of addiction, it can be difficult to share personal struggles with others. Therefore a group-focused recovery method can support the recovery process long after you leave the center.

According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, research shows that social support facilitates addiction recovery, because addicts can draw on the support and motivation of others who have been in their shoes, and build new social networks to feel less isolated in their recovery process. Rehab centers give patients the opportunity to build these connections and practice sharing their experiences with others. These skills will continue to be useful post-rehab, with support groups to help prevent relapse.

When you’re ready to address your addiction head-on, effective rehab can be a stepping stone to a healthier, brighter life. At any point in the recovery process, it’s important to recognize the immense benefits that exist on the other side of rehab, to know that all the hard work you put in now will manifest tenfold later. After rehab, you will feel empowered, connected to your old social circles and your new peers, and prepared to take control of your choices and future.



Holiday Gift Giving

Its not too early to think about the holidays, considering Halloween is this weekend and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

As a parent, your holiday gift list likely includes more than just family members. That makes sense because, according to the National Retail Federation, giving to others – such as the babysitter, teachers, and even the FedEx delivery guy – is on the rise*. If the thought of running around searching for a plethora of presents is causing you a holiday headache, not to worry. Sam’s Club has made it possible to sit back, relax and purchase gifts from the comfort of your couch.

The 2015 SamsClub.com Winter Gifting Catalog includes break-apart sets that allow you to gift many without breaking the bank. Buy a few cute holiday gift bags and you’ve crossed off several people from your list in one shot:

·         Ghirardelli Gift Basket ($19.98) – a “sweet” gesture, this decadent combination includes 20 various premium chocolate items.

·         Cocoa and Travel Mug Set ($19.87) – this set, which includes five travel mugs, hot cocoa mix and marshmallows, will warm the hearts of recipients.

·         Popcornopolis Gift Basket ($14.96) – perfect for the babysitter or mother’s helper, this gift set includes four different popcorn flavors.

·         Extreme Value Gift Cards (prices vary) – personalize gift cards to the recipient’s hobbies, interests or favorite indulgences while saving up to 20 percent (for example, a $150 Disney gift card multipack for $142.98).


How to Create a Vision Board to Help Achieve Your Goals

Goals Corkboard Word Concept with great terms such as high, future, smart, planning, yearly and more.

Goals Corkboard Word Concept with great terms such as high, future, smart, planning, yearly and more.



If you want to achieve a goal, visualization is vital. A 2004 study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health found that mental practices greatly contribute to greater physical gains. Visualization is nothing new to athletes, whose sports psychologists have recommended mental training for decades to boost athletic accomplishments, as reported by The New York Times.

Vision boards help you identify your goal, reinforce the steps you’re taking to stay on the path you want to be on and encourage you to focus on your goals, explains Make a Vision Board. If you’re looking to make positive changes and foster a more well-rounded life that includes a healthy mind, body and spirit, creating a vision board is an enjoyable exercise with lasting rewards. An inexpensive piece of poster board and some free photos might lead to a pay increase, a skinnier waist line or a less stressful life.

Decide Where You Want to Put Your Vision Board

Vision boards can be as simple as a piece of paper you draw pictures and words on, as variable as a white board that you can change the content on whenever you want or as complex as a 3-D diorama featuring model figures. Get creative with the format that works for you. This may be determined by the space where you want to put your board. If you have a small cubicle at work, hanging a poster where you can see it is ideal. If you have a room in the house you spend a lot of time in and have the space, go bigger.

Give It a Theme

Think about the theme you want to give your vision board and the timeline you want to achieve your goals in. Do you want to make a board for the new year that covers many facets of your life, or do you want to create two separate boards for two specific goals? Make sure every element of the board is easily visible and clear.

Once you have your focus and intentions, grab visual cues that remind you of your goals. If you want to lose weight, flip through a healthy recipes magazine like Cooking Light, and cut and glue pictures and phrases onto your board that resonate with your goals. If you want a more relaxed lifestyle, flip through a website like Shutterstock to find soothing images, such as ocean waves and green forests that you may print out or use as inspiration. If you’re more spiritually minded, write down meaningful quotes in colors you love. Add a picture of yourself to your board, so you can see yourself surrounded by your goals.

Decorate Your Board

Add some pizzazz with sparkle glue or glue-on sequins, or decorate it so that it’s pleasing to you and makes you excited to look at it on a daily basis. Your vision board is all about making you happier and more fulfilled, so add as many personal touches as you like without making it cluttered.

Use Your Vision Board

Now that you’ve got your masterpiece, it’s time to put it into action. Position it in a space where you can see it on a daily basis. If you find yourself forgetting to look at it after awhile, move it to a new spot to ignite new ideas about how to better achieve your goals. Keeping a vision board somewhere you can see it before bed allows your subconscious to further internalize your goals as you sleep.

Whenever you look at your vision board, take in all the elements before delving into each individual component. Studying the elements, repeating the mantras you’ve written and forming them into habits takes time and diligent attention. Think about your vision board as the textbook to an improved life: putting time and effort into learning your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. Stating your goals out loud is another way to reinforce them.

Change It Up

As you complete goals on your vision board, don’t be afraid to change up the board by adding new pictures on top of ones you feel you’ve grasped or no longer pertain to your life. As your life evolves, you may want to create new vision boards. For elements that may take a lifetime to truly integrate, keep those ideas on your new boards, but consider changing the message to keep it fresh.

Share With Others

Discuss your mental, physical and spiritual vision board goals with others, and ask those you share them with to help keep you committed and on track. Constructing vision boards in a group setting allows you to discuss goals and leaves you with enthusiasm to go after your dreams.


Steps to Becoming Emotionally Sober After Suffering from Addiction

Recovering from addiction is most certainly a layered process. Simply abstaining from utilizing addictive substances is not necessarily going to be enough to keep you sober. This is why many medical professionals suggest receiving help from addiction treatment centers. They are facilities that provide a safe and secure place for those suffering from addiction to receive layered levels of treatment that can pinpoint both the physical and mental effects of being addicted.

Reflections Recovery Center, a treatment facility offering rehab for men, points out that abstinence is only the beginning to becoming completely sober. Through helping participants learn how to focus on making effective lifestyle changes and dealing with their problems in a more productive way, can lead these participants to have an easier time returning to a normal lifestyle without the need for substances.

What is Emotional Sobriety?

While most know what it means to be physically sober, not many know what it means to be emotionally sober. Though negative feelings are a part of life, becoming emotionally sober means that a person has the ability to feel their feelings (positive or negative) and cope with them in a more positive way.

The belief is that when someone is suffering from addiction, it is because they are using a substance or behavior as a means to mask their feelings or avoid having to deal with them. By learning how to have these feelings but deal with them in a more effective way, it essentially helps the addict to refrain from using various substances or participating in certain behaviors when certain feelings arise.

Why is Emotional Sobriety is Necessary?

Addiction not only takes a toll on a person’s body but on their mental state of being. In fact, for many individuals, addiction and mental illness tend to go hand in hand. Someone suffering from depression has a more likely chance of abusing substances. For reasons like these, it is important to minimize the root of the problem so that the addiction then becomes a lot easier to overcome. If you simply deal with the physical effects of addiction but do not resolve the underlying cause, it defeats the purpose as an individual will continue to carry out the bad habit that got them there in the first place.

What Are the Characteristics of a Emotionally Sober Person?

With the right level of support and continued efforts towards making lifestyle changes, one should be able to overcome their emotional hindrances with time. Below are some signs that a person is emotionally sober:

  • They do not have a hard time living in the present moment (meaning they’re not always looking to the past).
  • They have a more positive outlook on life
  • They are not easily overwhelmed by stress or other extreme emotions
  • They have an easier time developing positive relationships with people
  • They no longer act on any desire that might be lingering to use a substance or behave recklessly to avoid dealing with life or emotions that sometimes come with life.

How Can I Develop Emotional Sobriety?

If you’re not quite at the point where you can handle life, emotions, and relationships in a positive or more effective manner, don’t be discouraged. Addiction is a serious illness to overcome and just as physical sobriety took time, so will emotional sobriety. Here are some suggestions on how you can get started on your road to complete sobriety.

Realize that things will not happen overnight. Don’t give up on your effort to become emotionally sober because the progress is not happening as instantly as you’d imagined. Though success is what you want, keep in mind that there is the possibility of a few setbacks and roadblocks along the way.

Write it down. When dealing with your emotions or events that happen throughout the course of a day writing them down can help you immensely. Keeping a diary or journal allows you to get your emotions out on paper which can keep you from wanting to act on them. It also gives you a reference from which to see how much you’ve progressed.

Practice meditation. Never underestimate the healing powers of meditation. Meditation is a great way to get in tune with yourself and your feelings. A few minutes per day can be a great way to channel positive energy and to release any negative tension you might be feeling.

Attend therapy sessions. Continued therapy is a must if you’re going to become mentally sober. Working with a highly trained therapist can help you to pinpoint emotional triggers and learn an improved way to deal with it. Your therapist also understands the road to recovery and can provide an unbiased ear when you just need to vent.

Becoming emotionally sober is a quest that can take days, months, or even years to tackle. The main idea is to continue striving for that level of sobriety as you learn to deal with life. Take it day at a time and face each challenge and fear head on. In time, you will learn to overcome your fears, channel your energies, and effectively cope with whatever circumstances may come your way. Remember, as you continue your road to recovery, working with a highly trained therapist is ideal to put things into perspective.



Overcome the Struggles that Weigh You Down

Throughout life, challenges present themselves in various forms. For some, it is a constant battle with weight that leads to chronic health issues. For others, it is not making enough income to support your monthly bills. While both wear on you, the good news is that with perseverance, you can overcome and achieve success. The way to win the battle is to approach it with optimism. Forget the negatives and focus on how you can change things. After all, it is within your power.

For instance, if your situation is related to credit matters, avoid viewing what you owe as a lump sum. This will leave you shaking your head and may provoke you to throw in the towel. Rather, methodically dissect your finances into categories. Lists do work and it is time for you to evaluate where your money goes. Write down all of your monthly bills including your mortgage, rent, car payments, utilities and credit cards then move on to the others expenses such as food, gas and so on. A visual image of all your expenses will open your eyes to what you are really dealing with.

If your credit score is still intact, you can borrow against your home or if you rent, you can take out an unsecured loan to consolidate the debt. This will eliminate all the small payments that add up and give you a single monthly payment to deal with. If you’re in dire straits and your credit score has taken a hit, you still have options to get back to the black on your monthly budget. It’s just going to require you to step up to the plate and either borrow from a family member to consolidate or, if that’s not possible, take on a second job. While you will have to work more than you may want to, it will only take as long as you need to eliminate the debt.

With matters that involve being overweight, the same approach works. The only difference here is that you are going to have to list the times and amounts of food you eat daily. Once you see that you have developed a pattern of unhealthy and excessive snacking on paper, you can begin to find your weak times and patterns of self-destruction. For example, if 3:00 p.m. is your downfall time, create a satisfying and healthy snack that fills you up until dinner. This one step alone will pay off big. From there, move to reducing the plate size. As silly as this may sound to you, it works. Here, the visual plays an important role. When you see a full plate in front of you, you immediately feel as if you are eating enough and not dieting. Reducing the plate size reduces the intake without you ever feeling as if you are giving up on quantity.

Whether you struggle with weight or finances, the outcome can be a positive one with a focus on how to fix the problem versus giving up on the situation. Unlike mental illness, these areas are within your control and with perseverance and dedication, you can achieve success and reward yourself with lasting benefits.


Savvy Ways to Save on Insurance Costs


The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that, as of 2013, 61 percent of adults said the main reason they don’t have health insurance is because the cost is either too high, or they lost their jobs. Meanwhile, the personal finance site NerdWallet did a survey on auto insurance and found people overpaid by an average of $368. But paying for insurance isn’t a concrete formula. It can be negotiated, lowered and sometimes turned into a tax-deductible advantage. Slashing your bills from homeowners insurance to car insurance takes time and research, but can save you thousands a year. Here are some of the lesser known ways to score a deal on your insurance costs.

Homeowner’s Insurance

Take a look at a compilation of the average homeowner’s insurance premiums from Value Penguin. Florida ranks at the top of the list at an average of $1,991 a year while Wisconsin’s is only $610 annually. Fortunately there are ways to lower your premiums without skimping on coverage. Investigate strategic renovations that help protect your home while simultaneously giving it an upgrade. For example, a new roof can reduce your premium by as much as 20 percent.

The security of your home and neighborhood can also impact your homeowner’s insurance price tag. Some policies offer lower rates if you live in a gated community. Typically gated and secured areas have fewer incidents of vandalism and theft. According to Realtor.com, installing deadbolts and security cameras can sometimes lead to a homeowner’s insurance deduction. To save even more than just your monthly insurance bill, install a system from Lorex and purchase it outright instead of paying a monthly subscription fee.

Health Insurance

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that workers spend an average of $951 a year for out-of-pocket health insurance costs. Meanwhile, average health premiums for a family exceeded $16,800. Keep health insurance within reach while keeping your family healthy. To lower your costs, combine a high-deductible policy with a tax-deductible health savings account (HSA). This tip can lower your monthly insurance bill while saving and earning interest toward medical needs. You can also take your HSA with you even if you switch health insurance providers.

Consider shopping around for a cheaper policy with a higher deductible to immediately lower your health insurance bill. Next, shop around for your medical needs instead of picking the biggest hospital in town.

Car Insurance

Ask your car insurance provider if they will cut your rates when signing up for automatic payments. Offer to pay your premium yearly instead of quarterly or monthly in exchange for a discount. Next, look into lowering your car insurance, and all of your other policies, by researching multi-line policies. Purchasing your homeowners insurance with your car insurance can trim your monthly bills and put more money in your pocket.

There’s another way to completely eliminate your auto insurance. If you live in an urban area, ditch one or both of your vehicles and rely on Zipcar, Uber, public transportation or your bike! This way you only pay when you use a car or bus and can drop auto insurance altogether.


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