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Friday, April 20, 2012

Earthbound Savings: 22 Green Ways to be Frugal


Attention Earthlings: It's time once again for that annual celebration of all things green. Earth Day is nearly upon us and, while many people offer advice on being kind to Mother Earth, too many of these tips don't quite coincide with frugal lifestyles. In an effort to dovetail these two purposes, we offer 22 budget-friendly ways to go green in honor of April 22.

1. Sign up for the "no solicitation" registry.
That way, you can avoid getting credit card offers and other ads which will reduce paper clutter and save trees.
2. Shop online to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. According to a study by Carnegie Melon's Green Institute, shopping online reduced carbon emissions by 35 percent. The abundance of online coupons from such sites as FreeShipping.org makes this green practice a no-brainer.
3. Get out of the gym and exercise outdoors.
Freeze your gym membership and save up to 75 percent (or more) per month during the summer. You'll also rely less on those energy-sucking cardio machines.
4. Close blinds on hot days. Before you head out for the day, close your blinds to keep the sun from warming your home while you're gone. Doing so will reduce your dependence on air conditioning and save energy.
5. Send an e-gift certificate for special occasions. Not only are e-gift cards super convenient, you're also using less plastic resources and reducing fuel associated with shipping. If an e-card isn't available from a desired retailer, purchase gift cards at a discount from sites like Gift Card Granny. That way you recycle someone else's unwanted plastic and score great savings.
6. Eliminate paper invites and digitize your event announcement. Save on postage and printing while reducing paper by using sites like pingg.com to create electronic announcements and invitations.
7. Use an irrigation controller to manage watering. 20 to 50 percent of your water use goes toward the landscape, even more in certain areas of the country. Invest in a controller to schedule irrigation to reduce overwatering.
8. Swap your stuff! Use Swap.com to trade books, CDs, DVDs, sporting equipment, and other goods. Not only are you saving money, but you're reducing future trash by re-using someone else's stuff.
9. Walk or bike to work to save on fuel. With gas prices peaking at nearly $4 a gallon, you're doing your wallet and your health some good by walking or biking to work. If this isn't feasible, try public transportation.
10. Wash clothes with cold water. Though some clothes suggest warm or hot water for washing, you can reduce your monthly heating bills and save energy by turning all cycles to cold. Don't worry, your clothes will still get clean.
11. Use mobile coupons to cut paper clutter. Download the Coupon Sherpa mobile app to access discounts without using paper coupons. You can also save coupons to your supermarket loyalty card for paperless grocery savings.
12. Plug electronics into power strips. Buy a surge protector for pricey electronics to save your valuables in the event of a lightning strike, and power down when not in use to cut five percent from your electricity bill.
13. Power down cable boxes. Doing so will save you $40 per box, annually. You can also cut down on DVD waste by opting for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon streaming.
14. Go paperless. This is a no-brainer -- when banks and service providers offer you the option to go paperless, take it. Check out Lifehacker's guide to going paperless for more ideas.
15. Hang dry your clothes. Do laundry on the weekends and hang dry your clothes to save energy and reduce your electricity bill.
16. Shop garage and estate sales for clothes and home goods. Recycling other people's unwanted items will not only save money but also reduces trash build-up in landfills.
17. Put the blow dryer down. Consider going "au natural" several times during the week to save on energy spent by blow dryers, flat irons and other electronic hair products.
18. Take short showers. The feeling of hot water on your skin is often hard to resist, but taking short, cooler showers reduces your heating bill and saves water and energy.
19. Wash dishes in a sink full of water. Instead of washing dishes with the tap on, fill one side of the sink with soapy water to clean dishes, and only run the dishwasher when it's full to save energy.
20. Get a water filter and reusable water bottle. Over 80 percent of plastic water bottles are tossed -- not recycled -- yielding 1.5 tons of waste per year, according to Mother Nature Network. Invest in a reusable water bottle (or two) and a filter, if your tap water is lacking.
21. Plant native shrubs and plants. Native plants and shrubs subsist on whatever precipitation occurs in your area, making them an eco-friendly alternative to non-native plants that require additional watering and maintenance.
22. Use an eco-friendly shower head. Basic showerheads disperse quite a bit of water per use, so investing in an eco-friendly one like the Oxygenics PowerMassage Handheld Shower Head can save up to 70 percent in water and energy consumption.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles.andrea@andreaworoch.com.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2012 Cover Kids Contest


Lake Theatre Presents “Bully”


Bringing to Light America’s Bullying Crisis 

The Lake Theatre is pleased to announce the opening of an important documentary called “Bully” (PG-13) on April 20th. Directed by Sundance and Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, “Bully” highlights the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation, with over 13 million American children to be bullied this year. The film brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. Show times are 12:15pm, 2:30pm, 4:45pm, 7pm, and 9:15pm at the Lake Theatre, 1022 Lake Street in downtown Oak Park

“Bully” is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those personally touched by bullying, opening a window onto the pained and often endangered lives of bullied kids. Filmed over the course of the 2009/2010 school year, “Bully” reveals a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. It documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviors that defy “kids will be kids” clich├ęs, and it captures a growing movement among parents and youths to change how bullying is handled in schools, in communities, and in society as a whole.

For more information on the film, visit www.thebullyproject.com


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TOP TEN THINGS TO KNOW & DO IF AUTISM STRIKES


Autism Today (www.AutismToday.com) offers up the following advice for people who are dealing with autism for the first time.

Get over it fast. Do not stay into a state of denial.  It will only hurt your child. Start addressing the problem and help your child.  

1.      Start Local. Find the strongest local support and system you possibly can. Start local, and learn what is available in your areas and nearby. Reach out to nearby cities as needed.

2.      Qualify Your Doctor. Locate a medical doctor who specializes in autism and has experience treating autism.  A referral from another parents or a reputable autism organization works best.

3.      Reach Out for Help. Discover and make use of specific government agencies and public services that support the cause, especially in the early intervention arena.

4.      Look Into Special Services. Check into related health services such as speech and language, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical and behavioral therapy and so forth.

5.      Use the Internet. Go to reliable website sources to educate yourselves on programs, services, interventions, therapies and supports.

6.      Take Frequent Breaks. Find and use qualified respite for yourselves as caregivers and use it.  You will need it.

7.      Educate Your Family. Educate relatives, friends, neighbors and your child’s siblings and peers about what autism is and what you and your family are going through.   They will be able to accept him or her and understand the challenges more easily which leads to acceptance.

8.      Get Involved. Attend conferences for educational information and also the fellowship aspects by meeting with other family members, individuals with autism and other professionals in the field.  You may find lifelong alliances there!

9.      Get Up to Speed. Stay current with the latest medical, biomedical, behavioral and education services so you can pick and choose what is right for your child and your family.  

10.  Plan for the Future.  Currently autism is a lifelong disorder and until something radically changes, the autism is not going to go away.  With proper interventions it improves over time and with the best mindset from the parents, caregivers and people that support the child they can be guided towards a great outcome leading happy, fulfilling lives.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

FREE BOWLING FOR KIDS!




Imagine a summer filled with kid-friendly entertainment that’s completely free. Too good to be true? Not so! Nationwide, AMF Bowling Centers are once again offering Summer Unplugged, where families can save money while providing fun, daily entertainment for the kids.

Better yet, it’s easy to sign up! Parents simply need to visit the AMF Bowling Centers' site to register. Once registration is complete, users will be able to download a coupon, good for one week, which will replenish throughout the summer. Plus, AMF will periodically send email reminders during the summer so you won't forget to print your vouchers. Children 15 and under can enjoy two free games on the house, every day, this summer from May 14 – September 3. Shoes are not included.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Is Your Dog the Next Champion?

The most exciting show in Chicagoland is just around the corner! Soon the area’s most talented dogs and their fun-loving owners will be contending in the 9th Annual Rover Rescue Pet Dog Show .

A wonderful event for two and four-footed friends alike, the show is being held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12th, at the Aurora Turners Club at 1335 Mitchell Road in Aurora, Illinois. Competitors will have an exhilarating time vying for first place in the Best Trick, the Fastest Eater, Bobbin’ for Dogs and other great categories. There are events especially for kids, too!

The show also includes a quarter raffle with a spectacular array of prizes, fun pet-related merchandise, and a cash raffle with a first prize of $300. Plus, there will be many lovable adoptable dogs and puppies at the show. All proceeds benefit Rover Rescue’s homeless dogs, saved from high-kill shelters and fostered in a network of private homes until they find their “forever” homes.

Entry forms for the Rover Rescue Pet Dog Show are available by calling 630.897.7454 or on the website at RoverRescue.org. Each $7 entry includes three categories; additional categories are $1 each. (People are admitted free!) All show entries must be received by May 10 th.

For more information about the 9th Annual Rover Rescue Pet Dog Show , please go online to RoverRescue.org or call Rover Rescue at 630.897.7454.

Rover Rescue is a not-for-profit, all-volunteer dog rescue group based in the Fox Valley area. Using a network of foster homes, the group takes in dogs that have run out of time at high-kill shelters. In less than nine years, the group has found new homes for more than 4,700 dogs and puppies. And many more wait to be rescued!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

LIKE US for chance to win Blue Man Group Tix!


Tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW to "Like Us" on Facebook!
Once we reach 1,000 fans, we're picking a winner to see the
For your chance to win:
Click on Blue Man Group above, then "Like Us" on Facebook, 
THEN e-mail Lisa Bakewell 
(Lisa at familytimemagazine dot com)
with your Name, Address, and Phone Number 
NOTE: Winner will be drawn, at random using www.random.com. 

Win a Family 4-Pack to THE KID'S EXPO!!


For your chance to win one of four (4) Family 4-Packs of tickets to
Family Time Magazine’s KID’S EXPO
At the NEW Tinley Park Covention Center (Saturday, March 24th and Sunday, March 25th) you must:

Comment below, AND 
Like us on Facebook ;
THEN, e-mail Lisa Bakewell, Managing Editor (Lisa at familytimemagazine dot com) with your contact information (email, phone, and address). 

You Can Also Follow Family Time Magazine ON THIS BLOG for up-to-the-minute Events, News, and Contests, and Twitter too! (It would be great if you would retweet this post!)

NOTES: 
  • Contestants will be given one (1) chance to win.
  • Winners will be chosen at random (www.random.com) on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 after NOON CST.
  • Winners will be notified via email.
  • Winners will be responsible for their own travel expenses to the show. Location: 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477 | Phone: (708) 342-5485

Monday, April 2, 2012

Keep yours eyes open for the April Issue of Family Time Magazine!


Articles include: 

**Top 10 Easter Basket Ideas Your Kids Will Love--With or Without the Candy

**Prom on a Budget

**Top 10 Spring Fashion Trends

**Planning a Graduation Party

**Special Needs Camp--What You Need to Know Before Your Child Goes

**Your Special Needs Teen and Transition to College