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Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014In case Mother's Day has a tendency to sneak up on you, here's fair warning: It's May 11, which isn't too far away! What to get Mom this year? Flowers? Brunch? While those options may seem cliché, there are reasons for them: 1. They’re tried and true favorites. 2. They don’t add to your mom’s growing collection of things she doesn’t need, taking up space in her home. But if you’re looking to branch out—without adding clutter—here are a few ideas to provide Mom with a great Mother’s Day experience: Read more...

5 Tips for Planning College Visits

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 03:46
Like the dad in the Disney movie College Road Trip, I am not ready to send my daughter off to college—let alone think about it. But I can’t bury my head in the sand any longer: It’s spring of her junior year, and it’s the recommended time to plan. Thanks to the Holland High School counseling team and to all of the moms who’ve been there and responded to my cry for help on Facebook, I have five tips that will help make this process a little easier. Read more...

Spring Break Staycation: West Michigan-Style

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 09:40
This is the first year in a long time that we’ve decided to not go anywhere over spring break. Maybe this wasn’t the best year to miss out on a warm getaway—but even so, I’m just not a big fan of the crowds and jaw-dropping airfares that are inevitable this time of year. Alas, we’ll be sticking close to home, in Northeast Grand Rapids. Although I’m comfortable with our decision, the other day I started to panic: What the heck are the kids going to do with an entire week off? [Insert snow-day flashbacks here.] Read more...

Spring Break Road Trip

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:35
When it’s a blustery winter wonderland outside, our kids collectively cross their fingers and hope for a snow day. But before we know it, they won’t be thinking about just one day off from school: They’ll be anticipating an entire week off, and asking, “Mooommm, where are we going for spring break?”  Read more...

At Home With Avenues by Porter Hills

Thursday, 02 January 2014 09:22
  We all want peace of mind for ourselves and our loved ones as we continue to age. Barb Rohwer and her husband Milt have found that peace through an innovative program called Avenues by Porter Hills.  “What we like about Avenues is the focus the program has on wellness, and also knowing that if our health changes we will be able to stay at home rather than move to seek long-term care services,” Barb said.   Some time after retiring from her position with IBM, Barb personally experienced the reality of the need for advocacy and long-term care services… Read more...
Unless you grew up under the watchful eye of Captain von Trapp, the whistle-blowing patriarch of Sound of Music fame, organization might not come naturally. But it does have its place, and even if you haven’t been particularly organized yourself, it’s not too late. If you’ve been organizationally challenged up until now, sit with your child and talk to him or her honestly about your own struggles with organization. Talk to him or her about solutions they think might work for both of you. You may be surprised by their own creative solutions, and they may be more likely to… Read more...

6 Signs of Senior Aging

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 02:15
Making a trip home for the holidays is something most adult children look forward to. But for adult children of an aging loved one, the visit sometimes proves quite shocking when they realize an older parent they thought was managing well on their own really isn’t. Concerned adult children often aren’t sure if the changes they see in a parent are cause for alarm or a normal part of aging. If you're making the trip home to visit the senior or seniors in your life this holiday season, these are six warning signs you can look for: Has there been… Read more...
Try to remember: When you were a student, did you ever ask, “How will grammar (or geometry or social studies) benefit me later in life?” Be honest. Now, return to today. When was the last time you took notes at a meeting? Or prioritized your “to-do” list? Or organized a project from start to finish? The skills you use to do these tasks at work and at home are the same skills you learned and honed in English class (and geometry and social studies). Now, your children are developing those skills that will enable them to read analytically, write and… Read more...

Maintain a Stress-Free School Year

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 03:34
For many children, the start to a new school year doesn’t only mean new teachers and new friends, it can also be a source of anxiety with homework assignments and tests just around the corner. Starting the school year off on the right foot can help minimize a child’s stress level throughout the year.  Parents could help their children prepare for the transition to the next grade level and the return to school by encouraging a structured routine and staying actively involved in their child’s education.  To help children get ready for the new school year and to minimize academic… Read more...

Transition Year Back-to-School Tips

Friday, 18 October 2013 04:31
To help children get ready for the new school year and to minimize academic stress, try these tips and ideas to make students' transition years—kindergarten, first grade, middle school, or high school—more seamless. Visit the school. If your child is changing schools with the new year, make a special trip together to visit the school before the first day of classes. Checking out the new classroom and the new teacher before school starts will help ease feelings of anxiety and help get your child into his academic routine. If it’s available, review the class schedule with your child and prepare… Read more...