04 May

Get Real and Grow a Garden!

A garden doesn’t have to be big or boring. Start by growing something in a mini plot or pot. Choose funky varieties of plants to keep things interesting, like purple carrots, striped tomatoes, golden beets or blue beans.

Here are some ideas to get you growing:

  • A micro garden is simple and small – and you don’t have to pull many weeds! Plant your favorite veggies in a few pots on a balcony, front step
    or deck.
  • A salsa garden can be as mild or spicy as you like. Grow all the ingredients for fresh salsa (tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro), and you’ll be ready to make salsa dip in mid to late summer.
  • A pumpkin patch can be planted right in your backyard (as long as your parents approve). Watch the pumpkins grow all summer and invite friends over for a pumpkin carving party in the fall.
01 May

Easy Family Meals

Cooking as a family can be a lot of fun! Try these easy, 20-minute meals at your next family dinner.

  • Fried Rice – Sautè leftover brown rice in a wok with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add frozen peas, soy sauce and a scrambled egg.
  • Frittata – Sautè any veggies you have on hand, then add 10 eggs and a half a cup of milk in a large, oven-safe skillet. Once the bottom begins to set, top with shredded cheese and place in a 350° F oven for 15 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with salad.
  • Soup and sandwich – A 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and 8 ounces of chicken stock heated on the stove for 10 minutes makes an easy, homemade tomato soup. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich.
01 May

Plug in to the Power of Family Dinners

Between school work, sports, part-time jobs and friends, it can be hard to find enough time for everything. But don’t short-change family dinners. Sitting down to dinner with your family gives you a chance to talk to your parents. You can talk about what’s going on in your life. Maybe there’s a class you’re struggling with or you’re feeling pressure from friends. Studies show that teens who eat dinner with their families frequently tend to:

  • Develop better eating habits. Eating well as a teenager may help you eat better as an adult. One study showed that teens who regularly ate dinner with their families went on to drink fewer soft drinks and eat more fruit and vegetables by age 20.*
  • Say no to drugs and alcohol. Teens who have frequent family dinners are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or marijuana. That’s according to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
  • Earn better grades. Of the teens surveyed by CASA who eat dinner with their families frequently, 64% earn mostly A’s and B’s, and only 12% earn mostly C’s or less.

Help your family come together for dinner. Offer to help plan or fix meals. Choose simple and quick recipes like those at www.kidshealth.org/teen/recipes. Even helping clean up after a meal can make family dinners easier.

Eating on the run or out with friends can also be expensive compared to having dinner at home. Eat with your family and deposit the money you save in your savings account.

* Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2007.
Website listed for education only. No endorsement is implied.
01 May

Tame the Cost of Hair Care

The way you choose to cut, style or color your hair can say a lot about you. But a bright color, a dramatic style or a sophisticated cut can also be expensive to maintain. The following tips may help you make a statement without damaging your hair or breaking the bank.

Consider your goal. Whether you want to follow the latest trend, stand out from the crowd or simply look your best, a good haircut can help accentuate your finest features.

Beware of chemicals. Using at-home coloring kits with a parent’s permission can be fun, but it can also be disastrous. Trying to go from blonde to dark brown, for example, can leave your hair green.

Stick to a budget. There are many ways to change your look without spending much money or risking your hair’s health. A flat iron or curling iron can give you an inexpensive new look with little to no risk, while a head band, wrap or clips can be used to create a variety of  ‘dos.

Changing your hair is a fun way to express yourself, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Consider depositing the money you might have spent on hair care in your savings account.

01 May

Facing Up To Facebook

You know how Facebook works. You post a status update, share some photos and maybe write on someone’s wall. You’re in control of what’s out there about you, right? Nope.

Tag: You’re It

Let’s say one of your friends tags you in a photo. All of your friends (and your friend’s friends) may be able to see the photo and comment on it. If other friends “like” it, then even more of their friends – friends, relatives, neighbors and people you don’t even know – can see it too. If the photo shows bad or questionable behavior, it can be damaging or embarrassing for you and/or the people you care about.

Social media provides a way to share and laugh about stuff with your friends. However, there are real risks to making your personal information public on social media sites:

  • A trail of inappropriate photos and comments can hurt your relationships and possibly harm your reputation when you move on to college, jobs or other opportunities.
  • Identity thieves may steal your name, birth date, address, phone number or email address to open fake accounts with your information. Tighten your privacy settings on sites like Facebook to restrict who can see your personal information, photos, tags, etc.
  • Internet predators may also attempt to stalk teens or lure them into bad situations. Don’t be “friends” with strangers, and remember that people online are not always who they claim to be. Never share your name, age, school, etc. with random people online.

Play It Safe

Be careful about what you post online and delete or block whatever’s in bad taste. Here’s a quick rule: If you don’t want your parents to see it, it’s probably not a good idea to post it. Scrubbing your online reputation is really hard to do, so it’s much easier to keep it clean in the first place.

You can count on us to always keep your information safe. We’ll never share anything that will get you (or us) into trouble!

26 Oct

Ready for Dating?

Have you reached an age where you feel ready to start dating? Before you head out to your first movie, you should be sure to discuss it with your parents. You can talk about expectations such as curfews, spending money and who you may date. Safety is another important topic you should cover with your parents. Be sure to consider the following ideas:

  • Have your parents drop you off and pick you up for the date.
  • Be sure to meet your date in a public place.
  • Talk to your date beforehand about who is paying for what.

You can have fun with your date without wiping out your wallet. Check out the cheap movie theater, go to a free zoo or meet for ice cream instead of dinner. You can also save your money in your savings account for future dates or time with friends.