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Thinking About Materialism

In Lifestyle, Wealth by Sarah Hink

In the past few years, Japanese author Marie Kondo has authored numerous worldwide bestselling books, like Spark Joy and Life-Changing Magic: A Journal. These books present Kondo’s multi-step method of tidying up and de-cluttering your space, which have amassed her a huge and loyal fan-base who hang on every word she writes. “KonMari” mania has recently reached dizzying heights in the last month as Netflix has released its first season of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” In this show, Kondo travels to American homes, where she helps individuals and families whose lives have become messes due to the unmanageable piles of clothes, books, baseball cards, and Nutcracker statutes that have grown throughout their homes. If you have binge-watched episodes of Kondo’s show like so many others, you may feel inspired …

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Budgeting for Your Children’s College

In Parenting, Wealth by Carly Baker

The dream of many parents is to put their children in a position to succeed—to reach even greater career heights than their parents. The first step toward attaining this goal is for children to obtain a higher education by going to college. Unfortunately, college is expensive. Really expensive, as you have to pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies, clothes, phone plan, housing, utilities, food, and a little spending money. Unsurprisingly, the rate at which college costs have increased has far outpaced the rate at which most parents’ salaries have increased. More than ever, it is crucial to approach your child’s college education with a plan. As the idea is for your child to one day become a self-sufficient adult, this college plan should be part of a coordinated team effort between …

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Co-Parenting with Class

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you keep up with celebrity gossip—like many of us secretly do—then you may have recently read that Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck finalized their divorce after several years of separation. While celebrity divorces are nothing new, their path to divorce is notable because of the remarkable amount of cooperation that Garner and Affleck displayed when it came to putting their children first. This is in stark contrast to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who have aired many of their parenting grievances against each other through the media. For Garner and Affleck, their path to divorce began with Affleck’s infidelity. Despite this, both were able to live their separate lives in the public eye without uttering a single negative word about one another. Additionally, when Garner saw that Affleck was …

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Guiding Children Through Political Turbulence

In Parenting by Sarah Hink

It isn’t controversial to say that we are living in an era of extraordinary political divisiveness. Communities, friendships, relationships, and even families are being tested as neither side of the political spectrum seem willing to find common ground on virtually any issue. Unfortunately, with politics being served to us in real time via social media and through a non-stop news cycle, it is increasingly difficult to shelter our children from an incredibly negative time in our country. Children hear the news when the television is on, they hear it on the radio, they witness incredibly negative campaign ads, and they hear it from friends. And if you think about it, you have probably had numerous conversations about your political views within earshot of your children. While it simply isn’t possible, …

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Celebrate With a Season of Sharing

In Community, Lifestyle, Parenting by Carly Baker

We live in a culture of shopping and consumption. This is especially true during the holiday season. If you think about it, November through the end of December have become one endless sales event, designed to separate you from as much money as possible. Where Black Friday was the big shopping event before the holidays, there is now Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday Preview Sales, Cyber Monday, “12 Days of Doorbusters”, and countless other “can’t miss” online and in-store shopping opportunities. Oh yes, don’t forget after-Christmas clearance sales or using all of those gift cards you received. Unfortunately, the culture of gift giving has changed with the times. What was once special—the act of going to a store and thoughtfully choosing a gift—has become replaced with wish lists and no-question …

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Managing International Travel With Your Children

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

Traveling can be an exciting opportunity for relaxation and for learning. The joys of experiencing new places, different cultures, and interacting with other people can be eye-opening. For children, it can be breathtaking to sense the greater world with their own eyes, ears, and noses. If you are fortunate enough to have the time and resources to take an international trip with your children, proper planning is the key to maximizing this opportunity. Tips to Traveling Internationally with Children Be mindful of court orders or parenting agreements. Most child custody orders and formal parenting agreements contain provisions requiring approval from the other parent or from the court in order to take a child outside of a specified geographic range. Be sure that you are in full compliance with any such …

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Putting Your Phone Down

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

It is hard to imagine that there was a time when the Internet didn’t exist, when there wasn’t social media. There used to be a time when we had to go to a library and use the card catalog system to find the answer to a question. Now, we have Google, or we can even just speak to Siri or Alexa to instantly get an answer. Smart phones have really changed everything. These magical computers can connect us to the entire world, to everyone we’ve ever met, to games, to instant news, to music, to silly cat videos, to love matches, and to car rides. Unfortunately, with the world at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of the world around us. Phones and the Internet have a great …

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Appreciating Teachers and Being an Involved Parent

In Child Custody, Parenting by Sarah Hink

Your children’s teachers spend a lot of time with them during the course of the year. For about six and a half hours a day, five days a week, you drop your kids off and leave them in the care of teachers. You put your trust into them to act in multiple roles, as caregivers, as instructors, as coaches, as mentors, and as role models. Being a teacher isn’t an easy job, and good teachers are worth celebrating for what they contribute to your children’s lives. So if your child has a great teacher, let the teacher know it. Let them know it in your words and actions. This may include sending kind notes or emails, talking to them if you see them at school, participating in teacher appreciation events …

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The Effects of Domestic Violence on Your Children

In Child Custody, Domestic Violence by Carly Baker

Domestic violence in a relationship is dangerous and can be deadly. While victims suffer both emotional and physical trauma from an abusive relationship, the impact of the violence on children must also be considered. During these formative times in their development, children need stability, safety, and trust. Unfortunately, the presence of domestic violence—whether it is occurs in the child’s presence or not—can throw a giant monkey wrench into all of these critical childhood needs. If this topic is relevant to your current relationship, consider the following: Domestic violence can be incredibly dangerous to children. While you love your children, domestic violence situations involve heightened emotions and bad decisions. This means that an abuser is not acting in children’s best interest and is putting them at great risk of harm; further, …

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Celebrating Halloween When Separated

In Child Custody, Parenting, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Holidays are among the most fun times you have as a parent. Among these holidays, Halloween is near the top of anyone’s list. There are really cute costumes, happy kids, and tons of candy. When you are separated or divorced, there is only one Halloween night, which means that only one parent can actually trick or treat with them. Despite this, even if you miss the actual Halloween night, there are still opportunities for you to celebrate with your children and to have a memorable time celebrating this fun holiday. Alternate costume—even if you don’t have the children on Halloween doesn’t mean you can’t have your own costume event. Buy or make costumes with your children and have your own dress-up event at home, with games and treats. Decorate your …