School will be back in session soon. If you’re worried that your children won’t be able to keep up with their schoolwork, here are four apps that can help get them into the swing of things.
1. Khan Academy Kids
This app has fun characters and engaging books, videos, and games that teach reading, writing, math, and problem-solving skills.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free.
2. Pili Pop
Your children can have fun learning French or Spanish using this engaging app. Kids will learn their second or third language alongside the Pilis, curious aliens visiting Earth.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free trial.
3. Math Heroes vs. Dragons
Your kids can capture dragons by solving math problems involving addition, multiplication, division, and fractions.
Available for iOS devices. Purchase required.
This flashcard app can help kids study almost any subject. Students can create their own flashcards or use ones generated by others.
Available for Android and iOS devices. Free, with in-app purchases.
With these apps, your kids are sure to be ready for the school year ahead.
Women’s fashion: 5 styles to try for a stand-out holiday look
The holidays are an ideal time to experiment with bright tones, bold fabrics, and showy trim. Here are a few ideas to inspire a dazzling look.
Put an ephemeral twist on classic pieces by opting for a dress or shirt with feather trim or a blouse with puffed feather sleeves. For a more moderate take on this bold look, consider a playful feather purse or earrings.
Recreate the shimmer of a starry night sky by wearing a chiffon blouse adorned with silver sequins. Balance the metallic sheen with a sophisticated color like navy or charcoal. Or embrace an all-out silver-inspired look by slipping on a long-sleeved lurex dress in this festive hue.
From subtle gold threading and oversized chain-link jewelry to gorgeous metallic cocktail dresses, there are plenty of stylish ways to incorporate this classic holiday color into your look.
5. Balloon sleeves
These short, wide statement sleeves are a playful nod to the bubbly bottles of Champagne that are sure to make an appearance over the holiday season. The voluminous sleeve design pairs well with chic straight-leg trousers but makes an even bolder statement on a colorful sheath dress.
For glamorous pieces made of quality materials, visit the shops in your area.
Men’s fashion: 3 stylish trends to celebrate the season
The holiday season is practically here, and time is running out to find an outfit for your upcoming office party or family gathering. Here are three-runway trends to help you put together a dashing look.
1. Bold prints
If you prefer to remain inconspicuous, this might not be the trend for you. However, a holiday party is a perfect opportunity to experiment with a paisley blazer or pants that have a geometric pattern.
2. Elevated denim
3. Shades of red
From a sleek burgundy suit to a scarlet cardigan or spotted bow tie, red can be incorporated in a variety of ways to suit almost any style or occasion. Plus, it’s a perfect option at Christmastime.
For advice on how to best pair clothing with the right accessories, speak with a style consultant at a local men’s clothing store.
Shut down the noise of friends when it comes to money
Most people think that their friends don’t influence their finances, but it can happen in subtle ways.
Take the friend who goes on a cruise three times a year. They might always want others in their circle to join them. The temptation to join is high. It is so much more fun to vacation with good friends. But is it worth it to go into debt for a cruise?
Or consider the friend who always wants to go out for a fancy dinner and drinks. Yes, it is fun, but is it in the budget every weekend?
People who would never consider keeping up with the Joneses may still fall into the trap of following friends down a bad spending path.
Here are some things you can do to keep yourself on track:
1. Stare at your money frequently.
Seriously, just look. Look at the balance, the interest payments, and review how long you have been working to increase the balance. Knowing where the path you have taken can help put today into perspective.
2. Think about what you want.
Is it a cruise now? Or do you want to buy a house, pay for a child’s college, or save for retirement? Preserve your emergency fund? These are goals you can remind yourself about.
3. Consider your track to the future at least once a year.
As you stare at your investments or savings, focus on where you will be a year from now or 20 years from now if you refuse that cruise today.
Ask yourself if investments need to be rebalanced, maybe for less risk, for example. However, avoid being influenced by the financial markets today, as they move up and down amid the chatter of analysts. Try to think long term, according to Kiplinger Personal Finance.
4 games to get you moving this season
Hearty meals and decadent desserts are hard to resist during the holidays, and it can be difficult to find the time to stay active. If you’re looking for an enjoyable way to burn a few calories, here are four fun games to play at your next Christmas party.
1. Dance video games
You’ll get a full-body workout as you attempt to follow a dynamic choreographic set to energetic tunes. Face off in pairs or as a team.
2. Musical chairs
This goofy game is a great way to let loose. Crank up the music and remember to stretch before you bend.
4. Scavenger hunt
The first team to bring back an object chosen by the host, such as a hat or pencil, wins a point. There’s nothing like a race to get you moving.
If you and your guests want a more serene way to work off your holiday meal, consider taking a walk after dinner so you can admire the lights and decorations.
4 reasons you should insulate your attic ASAP
If the insulation in your attic is sparse, worn out, or needs to be replaced, it’s best to take action as soon as possible. Here’s why you shouldn’t delay in starting this essential home repair.
1. To avoid paying more for your energy bills
Insufficient insulation makes your home less energy efficient, which means you’ll pay more for utilities. Additionally, your HVAC system has to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. This shortens its lifespan and leads to more frequent repairs.
2. To avoid getting cold
3. To avoid impairing your home and health
A poorly insulated attic is more at risk of water leaks, which could lead to mold growth, wood rot, and other damage. This can compromise both your health and the structural integrity of your home.
4. To avoid pest infiltration
A lack of sealed insulation makes it easier for small creatures to infiltrate your attic, where they might procreate, chew electrical wires, and cause other costly damage.
In addition to preventing costly repairs and other problems, keep in mind that you may be eligible for a considerable tax credit if you add insulation to your home. This is because it’s an environmentally-friendly repair that can improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Attic insulation materials
Before you add insulation to your attic, you’ll need to select a material that suits your needs and budget. Here are a few options and their benefits:
• Cellulose. It’s all-natural, made from recycled materials, and offers high thermal resistance.
• Fiberglass. It’s affordable, easy to install, and provides excellent thermal performance.
• Hemp. It’s a renewable material that’s easy to install and resistant to rodents and other pests.
• Expanded cork. It’s biodegradable, resistant to water and air leaks, and boasts superior thermal and acoustic insulation.
• Mineral wool. It’s durable, offers acoustic insulation, and is fire and moisture resistant.
While some types of insulation are easier to install than others, it’s always best to hire a professional to ensure your attic is properly sealed and can protect your home from the elements.
4 weeks before Christmas: Arrangements are underway
There’s still a month left until Christmas, but it’s a good idea to stay on top of your to-do list. This will help you reduce your stress in the weeks to come. Here are a few things to get out of the way.
• Purchase as many gifts as possible to avoid crowds and popular items going out of stock
• Pick up any additional decorations you need to round out your collection or suit your party’s theme
• Decorate your home, including putting together an artificial tree or a miniature Christmas village
• Set up lights and other outdoor ornaments before the weather gets too cold
• Help your children write their letters to Santa Claus
• Write and mail your holiday cards, although you can send out virtual cards later
• Cook any dishes that can be frozen such as cheese logs and cookies
• Sort through clothing, toys, and other items that you can donate to charity