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

Is It Worth Standing in Line For?

When the latest iPhone® was released, hundreds of people stood in line to get their hands on the gadget. It can be exciting to be the first to have
something new, but you should stop and think: Is this something I really want?

Don’t Get Swept Up

If all of your friends are raving about their new music player, or the media is abuzz about a much anticipated video game system, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Because everyone else wants it – or seems to – you decide “Hey! I want that too!” But if you slow down and think rationally, do you still want it? Or do you just like the idea of having the new things everyone else has? (And by the way, not everyone has them!)

Save for What Really Matters

What you buy or own does not define who you are. So don’t waste your money on purchases made just to fit in or keep up with the other kids at school. If you only buy the things that you want and will be useful to your life, you’ll be much happier in the long run.

26 Oct

Shy? Bring Out The OUTGOING YOU!

Mr. Cosgrove called Olivia’s name, and she made her way to the front of the class. It was time to give her presentation. She was prepared, but once she got up in front of everyone, her knees started knocking and her palms began to sweat.

A lot of teens are shy, especially when they have to step out of their comfort zone in school, at their
part-time job or on the sports field. There’s nothing wrong with getting butterflies when you’re in the spotlight, but if you’re having difficulty making friends, or just want to come out of your shell a bit more, here are some tips:

  • Practice makes perfect. Open up more to the people you’re comfortable with, such as close friends or family members. Once you see how much they love the real you, you’ll have more confidence in conversations with new people.
  • Fake it until you make it. Even if you’re not feeling especially outgoing, a big smile can make you seem like you’re confident.
  • Be a good listener. Even if you’re shy, you can be a good conversationalist. How so? By listening! Ask good questions, and really listen to the answers. The more you converse with others, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
  • Embrace your shyness. It’s OK to be introverted. If you are comfortable with yourself, maybe you’ll still be shy, but you won’t be embarrassed or anxious about it.
26 Oct

When Concerts Hit a Sour Note

Going to a concert is a lot of fun. You get to see and hear one of your favorite artists live, hang out with friends and make lifelong memories. Before you stand in line for tickets or select “Purchase Ticket” with your computer, think about some of the costs you may not have considered.

  • Ticket fees – When you add a facility charge, convenience charge and order processing fees, you may be looking at an additional 30% on
    top of your original ticket price.
  • Concessions – Buying snacks and a soda at your concert can really add up. A soda alone can cost as much as $5.
  • Concert memorabilia – Most entertainers sell T-shirts, hats or other merchandise at their shows. T-shirts can cost $35 or more, depending on the artist.

What Can You Do?

There are ways around some of the hidden costs when you attend a concert. Be sure to eat before you go so you can avoid spending money on snacks. And look for cool artist T-shirts online to find a better deal than you would at the concert. Don’t forget to save your money to make sure you can enjoy the concerts on your entertainment agenda.