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Ideas on sibling rivalry and how to handle it

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The kids are fighting and their rivalry is about to drive mom and dad crazy.

Name-calling, arguing, or physically fighting — sibling rivalry can take many forms and escalate quickly, according to the Center for Parenting Education.

House rules are an essential starting point, even though the kids will ignore them. Some examples: words only in a dispute and boundaries for personal possessions and spaces.

Once the rules are in place, walk older children through the stages of conflict resolution: each child expresses their point of view and listens to the other. Then, they generate possible solutions, and decide on one together.

Use a ‘green light to red light’ guideline to decide when to intervene.

Usual bickering or name-calling signifies a green light and parents should stay out of it.

An orange light means that there is a potential of play fighting turning real. Parents should intervene to tone down the emotions.

If physical or emotional harm is about to or has already occurred, this is a red light and demands that the parent intervene immediately, review the rules, and impose consequences.

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The advantages of gardening with raised beds

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Do you want a garden but have poor soil? Then gardening with raised beds is likely the best solution.

Raised beds are garden plots raised several inches or more off the ground and enclosed on all sides by a frame made of wood or rock. You simply fill your box with rich soil then start planting the desired fruits, veggies, herbs, flowers and plants.

Raised beds are different from planters because they have open rather than closed bottoms. Since raised beds are designed this way, they provide better drainage. Plus, the roots can extend into the ground and seek available nutrients.

Having a raised garden bed has a number of other advantages, notably:

• It provides a strong barrier against weeds and pests
• Its soil doesn’t compact or erode away in the case of heavy rain
• It allows you to plant earlier in the season, since soil that’s above ground is warmer and drains better

Lastly, gardening with raised beds is a great option for people with limited mobility or back problems. If the bed is high enough, you can tend to the garden without bending over.

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Make your family garden eco-friendly

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Gardens aren’t just about petunias, they can also help animals and encourage native plants.

This year when you are planning the family garden patch, you can make a sustainable wildlife garden.

Animals, birds, bees, and butterflies need food, water, cover and a place to rear young. Your garden can be a place where they thrive.

First, plant at least three native flowering plants. Some typical choices, according to nwf.org: Buffalo grass, Prairie Dropseed, Black-eyed Susan, and Common Ninebark.

Install a water feature. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Wet rocks are good for butterflies. Hummingbirds like to take showers in a gentle mist. And all birds need a drink in the summer.

Put up nesting boxes. The sparrows will move in quickly, but you might one day be surprised to find nesting bluebirds, too.

To encourage butterflies, especially monarchs, find a place for nectar plants and milkweed. Milkweed has a bad reputation because it becomes pretty shabby looking by late summer. But it has some things going for it. In late spring and early summer, milkweed delights with a delicious fragrance as the big pink flower clusters bloom. Even when it is looking shabby, that’s an important time for butterflies who use it as a host plant.

Take the long-view of your garden site. Trees are essential for a good wildlife area. Even a small yard can host a dwarf evergreen or deciduous tree.

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Making the most of your small entryway

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If you have a small entranceway, you probably struggle to keep it organized without making it feel cluttered. Here are some tips to maximize the space.

• Wall hooks. Hang your coats, bags and hats in style with an assortment of hooks along the wall. Go for a retro feel with big dots arranged at different heights, or opt for a more traditional style with a neat line of hooks or pegs.

• Bookshelves. Shelving units can do more than just hold books. Put one in your entryway to store shoes, bags and anything else you want.

• Storage bench. This piece does double duty: it gives you a place to stash your outdoor gear and somewhere to sit while you put on your shoes.

• Console table. If you need a place to toss your keys and mail when you come in, a high but slim console table is a great choice. Place decorative boxes underneath to hide things you want to keep handy.

• Floating shelves. A shelf placed high above your hooks, storage bench or console is a great place to put baskets or boxes to hold things you don’t regularly use.

By being smart about how you design your space, you’ll make your entryway functional, organized and stylish.

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Can you plant seeds leftover from last year?

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When properly stored, most seeds stay viable for at least one to two years. Over time, however, their germination rate—the number of seeds likely to sprout over a given period—lessens.

How long seeds last depends on their type. Corn and pepper seeds aren’t likely to last for more than a year while bean, pea, tomato and carrot seeds can stay viable for up to four years.

To test the germination rate of leftover seeds, place 10 of them evenly apart on a damp paper towel. Roll up the paper towel with the seeds, place it in a plastic bag and store the bag in a warm place. After a few days, check the paper towel. The number of germinated seeds will give you an idea of how well they’ll fare in your garden. If only two or three seeds sprouted, it’s best to buy new seeds.

To help seeds last past their expiration dates, be sure to store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. For more seed tips, visit your local garden center.

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Some 401(k) fears valid, others not, experts say

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Somewhere on a assembly line is a young worker who once told a reporter: I wouldn’t put my money in a 401(k) because the boss could steal it.

Rest easy.

In average situations, there is very little chance the boss could steal the money from a 401(k), which would be a crime, probably involving fraud.

Contributions to a 401(k) go to a financial company. Maybe the boss picked the company, but the boss can’t access your money. The boss doesn’t own it and can’t spend it.

Fear: I can’t afford to contribute

There are a lot of benefits to a 401(k). The money you put in isn’t taxed. It’s only taxed when you take it out at retirement.

If you took about $100 a week out of a paycheck every month for 15 years and put it in a 401(k), you would probably have more than $146,000 at the end of 15 years. At the end of 30 years, you’d have $611,729. This example by the Motley Fool assumes a return of 8 percent.

So, when you reach retirement, you might have your Social Security (depending on government future plans), and you’ll be able to add to it by taking 4 percent of your nest egg each month. You’ll be comfortable if you sacrifice now.

Fear: I’ll lose all my money

Over the long term, there is a 99 percent chance you will make money. But sometimes you won’t. Recently, retirement plans have racked up interest of 10 percent and higher. But in 2008, during the housing crisis, people lost money but not all of their money.

If you can’t stand losses, you usually can have your plan administrator put your money in highly conservative, safe investments. They don’t make as much money, but they don’t lose it either.

Fear: What if the company goes out of business?

Your money is safe because the company usually doesn’t manage retirement accounts. They have big financial companies like Fidelity, Vanguard, or Principal do that . Those companies manage millions of retirement accounts. Motley Fool says be skeptical if the plan administrator is “Scruffy’s Retirement and Fried Chicken.”

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Plants that thrive in acidic soil

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Does your garden have particularly acidic soil? If so, there are a number of wonderful plants that would feel right at home in your yard. While most plants prefer soil that is neutral or only slightly acidic, there are numerous acid-loving and acid-tolerating species.

• Vegetables. Some veggies that thrive in acidic soil are radishes, potatoes, rhubarb and peppers. And many tolerate acidic soil, including broccoli, carrots and tomatoes.

• Fruits. A few types of fruit that love acidic soil are blueberries, cranberries, currants, elderberries and gooseberries. Some that tolerate acidic soil are grapes, raspberries and strawberries.

• Flowers. The types of flowering plants that love acidic soil are numerous and varied. Some of the most popular ones are azaleas, daffodils, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, camellias, heather and bleeding hearts.

Want some more ideas? Soil pH is usually consistent in a given geographical area, so you could take a stroll and see what plants are growing well in your neighborhood.

The importance of soil pH
Every plant has a particular soil pH range within which it grows best. For most plants, a pH level between 5.5 and 7.0, or slightly acidic to neutral, is optimal. But you can have a diverse and thriving garden even if your soil is overly acidic or alkaline. You’ll need to do one of two things: either adjust the pH through a variety of methods or grow plants that flourish in your particular type of soil. Discover the soil pH in your yard by picking up a testing kit at your local garden center.

FYI: Rhododendrons are one type of flowering plant that will thrive in acidic soil.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

May
19
Sun
all-day Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
May 19 all-day
Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
It’s Lyme Awareness month and one of your local Lyme patients has organized a 5K to support Lyme awareness and research! Lauren Nicole is no stranger to Lyme disease. She has personally dealt with Lyme[...]
May
20
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
May 20 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
May
21
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
May 21 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Out of the Studio @ Art in the Valley
This four week course will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance. During the first class[...]
May
22
Wed
6:30 pm Rose Wine Class @ Element
Rose Wine Class @ Element
May 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Rose Wine Class @ Element
Join us for Rose’ Wine Class & Tasting at Element on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30pm led by our own Caitlin Love! APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY ROSE! Come join us as we celebrate the[...]
May
23
Thu
9:30 am Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
Explore your painting potential by creating unique compositions. We’ll find out what motivates you to paint and how to express your point-of-view on canvas. Learn methods of developing a composition and how to best use[...]
1:30 pm Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Portraits for Beginners: People and Pets @ Art in the Valley
Learn to create realistic portraits of people and pets. Students will practice drawing and painting techniques used in portraiture. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are required to bring their own reference[...]
3:00 pm The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
May 23 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
Have you been thinking about a career change? Are you nearing graduation and not quite sure what you want to do, or what your next step should be? Are you a parent of a student[...]
6:00 pm Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Painting the Landscape with Oils: Late Spring @ Art in the Valley
This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with oils. Students will focus on techniques for painting landscapes. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are recommended to bring their own reference photos[...]
6:30 pm Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
The Warren Rifles Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will again lead the annual Confederate Memorial Day ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal. Where: at Prospect Hill Cemetery’s Soldiers[...]
May
25
Sat
1:00 pm Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
May 25 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Of Dreams and Leadership: Learning to lead and sharing along the way by local author, Stephen Hudak In this collection of essays, Stephen Hudak shares his thoughts on Leadership and Learning.