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Plan now for next year’s family reunions



July is one of the most popular months for family reunions. Virtually everyone takes a few days off, so even if relatives have to come some distance, they can make it.

Independence Day may not be appropriate for odd-number family reunions, but for a well-publicized 10th, 20th, or 25th, you can add fireworks for a “popping” good time.

For a good crowd at a 2023 reunion on the Fourth, now is the time to start sending letters to your scattered family members, or use form letters with personal notes. People will be hesitant to plan something else for that time and could use the reunion as the centerpiece for next year’s vacation. If you hold the reunion at a resort, out-of-towners will have more entertainment and a place to stay.

Discuss it with key people in your family.

Ask for a reply by midyear. A few people will commit early. When you send a follow-up letter, you could mention people of interest who will be present.

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Academic success needs… a routine!



The return to school is one of the most difficult times of the year. Indeed, returning to a fixed schedule and a stricter lifestyle can be very arduous and can generate a lot of stress in a family. This doesn’t take into account the numerous small clarifications you will have to make to reassure the little one who’s starting kindergarten and the older child who is dreading the move to high school…

As a parent, it’s crucial to properly prepare for the beginning of the school year to ensure success. An excellent way to find a certain balance at this time of year is to establish a fixed routine. In fact, this will give children a feeling of security and will avoid a lot of useless stress. A routine makes chores more quickly, leaving more time for playing or other activities. To help you establish a routine, you could write it down on paper in the form of a chart and stick it on the fridge, asking the children to actively participate by decorating it and sharing their ideas with you.

Apart from basic chores, here are a few essential components of a back-to-school routine:

  • Make lunch the previous evening,
  • Choose clothes for the next day,
  • Establish a precise time to do homework and another for relaxing,
  • Agree on bedtime and establish a ritual to help them to sleep well.

You should also think about what activities will be allowed during the week and which can be included in the routine. Why not agree on a time and duration for watching television or for playing on the computer? You should also set aside time to talk to your children about their day, successes, and fears. For the children who find this more difficult, it’s good to establish a motivational system with rewards linked to concrete successes, like offering stickers or special treats, for example.

As a parent, get into the habit of staying informed of your children’s academic progress. Don’t hesitate to demonstrate your availability to collaborate with teachers, particularly if your children are experiencing certain difficulties. Why not choose a moment in the routine to learn about academic progress or difficulties weekly? This step will help you to watch over your children and stay connected to their needs. Above all, they’ll feel that with this routine, they can count on your presence.

Lastly, it is particularly important to congratulate your children for them to feel involved and important in a routine’s success. A child who starts school with the security and comfort of a well-established routine will have a better chance of academic success throughout the school year. All the best for the new school year!

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The 5 most durable fence materials



When building a new fence, you must pick high-quality, durable materials to ensure it lasts for years to come. Choosing poor materials can lead to an ugly, sagging fence that’ll be expensive to repair. Here are some of the most durable fencing materials on the market.

1. Wrought iron. Ornamental iron fences can last hundreds of years if regularly maintained. In fact, some of the wrought-iron latticework found in the French Quarter of New Orleans dates back to the 1700s. However, iron is prone to rust and must be regularly repainted.

2. Brick or masonry. Fences built from brick or concrete can withstand the test of time. However, these materials are pricey and must be installed by professional masons.

3. Aluminum. Lightweight, rust-resistant, and easy to install, aluminum fences are a sure bet for any climate. Aluminum requires little to no maintenance and can be painted to match your home’s exterior.

4. Vinyl. A relative newcomer in fencing material, vinyl can be designed to resemble wood and metal. It doesn’t rot or rust and is resistant to pests. All you need to do is wash it down once a year to keep dirt and debris at bay.

5. Pressure-treated wood. Wood fences are timeless. Fortunately, pressure-treated wood can last many decades with annual upkeep, such as painting and staining.

Consult a fence professional to discuss what type of fencing material is best for your property.

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Note-taking methods for college freshmen (and everyone else)



For plenty of incoming freshmen, college is a rude awakening, a place where bad habits are laid bare, and those who make it to class and take good notes are the ones who come out ahead.

To make it to class, just go to bed at a reasonable hour and set an alarm.

To take good notes, try some of the following strategies:

The outline method is one of the most popular and intuitive ways to take notes, with a traditional outline format that most students are familiar with. Place major points furthest to the left (I, II, III), and indent more specific points under each major point (a, b, c).

The Cornell note-taking method is a popular way to organize notes into summaries. Divide your page into three sections, with the left margin reserved for cues, the bottom reserved for summaries, and the bulk of the page left for notes. Write prompts for your notes in the cues section and a summary of your notes at the bottom for quick review. You can divide your sheet yourself or use Cornell templates, which are available in paper and digital format.

The mind map method dispenses with linear notes altogether, with a central concept in the middle of the sheet and the notes written as branches that radiate outwards. Mind maps work well with visual cues (like images and icons); for some learners, are a great way to provide an overview of a topic. They can be created on paper or with digital programs that allow users to link additional files.

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4 tips for thrift shopping



Millions of tons of clothing, shoes, and textiles end up in landfills every year, contributing to water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The trend of fast fashion has led to a proliferation of clothing produced and thrown away. One remedy is to shop at thrift stores when you need to buy clothes. Keep these shopping tips in mind to renew your wardrobe with fantastic finds.

1. Sell or donate first. Before buying new ones, get rid of unwanted clothes by bringing them to a consignment store or donating them to a charity thrift shop. You’ll free up valuable closet space and earn a few dollars.

2. Create a list. Look through your wardrobe and decide what you need. It’s best to visit your thrift store with a clear goal in mind. Aimlessly meandering through the aisles wastes time and could entice you to buy items you don’t need.

3. Dress appropriately. Not all second-hand stores have fitting rooms. Therefore, wear something comfortable, so that you can try on clothing over the clothes you’re already wearing. Even if there are dressing rooms, you can avoid waiting in line by trying things on in the aisle.

4. Use a tailor. If you find a shirt or jacket you love but doesn’t fit quite right, don’t let that stop you from buying it. You can always take the item to a tailor and get it fitted properly.

Reusing existing clothing is a way to curb the negative impact of textile manufacturing on the planet, so wear your second-hand clothes with pride.

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3 types of home insulation



Insulation protects your residence against both heat and cold, depending on the season. It also creates an acoustic barrier. Whether you’re planning major renovations or constructing a new home, don’t let your insulation become an afterthought. Here are three types of insulation materials to consider for your home.

1. Synthetic. While economical and efficient, this type of insulation is harmful to the environment and isn’t recyclable. It won’t decay naturally and can be flammable. Therefore, it must be installed with fire-resistant materials. Polystyrene and polyurethane are among the most common synthetic insulations.

2. Mineral-based. Made with raw and partially recycled materials, this type of insulation is incombustible and won’t decay. It can, however, attract insects that may nest within your walls. For this reason, you must replace this type of insulation every ten years. Rock wool, fiberglass, and cellular glass are well-known mineral insulators.

3. Natural insulators. Plant-based insulations are recyclable and don’t require much energy to produce. They also help keep your home cooler for longer during the summer months. However, since natural insulators aren’t great at managing humidity, they require careful installation. Cellulose, hemp, and cotton are some of the most popular natural insulators you can use.

Depending on the type of insulation you choose, you may be able to install it with a spray applicator or in pre-cut sections. Moreover, some insulation comes in large rolls or foam cubes. Some methods are more advisable than others, depending on the accessibility and size of the area to be insulated.

Avoid mistakes by relying on a contractor specializing in insulation to handle your installation.


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Why it’s important to call an exterminator



Have wasps, ants, cockroaches, mice, or bedbugs taken up residence in your home or business? Instead of dealing with the infestation yourself, hire an exterminator to get rid of the nasty pests. Here are four reasons to call a professional.

• They can intervene effectively. Expert exterminators know exactly which specialized products to use against particularly persistent pests. They’ll prevent you from losing time on trial and error, and you can rest assured your infestation will be swiftly eradicated.

• They can safeguard your health. Many pest control products can be harmful to the health of your family and your pets if misused. Moreover, some pests can transmit diseases to humans. If you try to deal with an infestation yourself, you may accidentally get bitten or expose yourself to contaminated secretions and debris.

• They can help protect the planet. Pest management companies use environmentally friendly solutions, unlike some over-the-counter products.

• They can prevent a recurrence. Applying a pest-control product doesn’t always get rid of the problem. If you want to prevent pests from coming back, it’s crucial to find the source of the issue and make the necessary adjustments. A professional exterminator can provide expert advice to prevent a recurrence.

Lastly, trying to manage a pest infestation yourself is risky. Call an expert to remedy the situation quickly, effectively, and sustainably.

Are you a tenant in a multi-unit building with a pest infestation? Notify your landlord and talk to your neighbors at the first sign of infestation. It may be necessary to search their units to find the source and ensure it’s completely eradicated.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

St. Luke Community Clinic

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

9:30 am Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 13 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Picnic Area Join Kim Strader, ANFT Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, for a gentle walk (no more than a mile or two) where we will wander and sit. Through a series of invitations and[...]
11:00 am Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 13 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Monarch Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area Habitat loss has caused Monarch butterfly populations to reach dangerously low numbers. Join the Park Naturalist and Virginia Master Naturalists as they set out to collect Monarch caterpillars and[...]
2:00 pm Pregnancy Center’s Community Bab... @ Living Water Christian Church
Pregnancy Center’s Community Bab... @ Living Water Christian Church
Aug 13 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pregnancy Center's Community Baby Shower @ Living Water Christian Church
The Living Water Christian Church of the Shenandoah Valley is having a “Community Baby Shower” in support of the Pregnancy Center of Front Royal. We are inviting the public to attend and bring wrapped gifts[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Aug 17 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
7:00 pm Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Aug 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival - Opening Night @ Barns of Rose Hill
The Appalachian Chamber Music Festival is delighted to be returning to the Barns of Rose Hill on Thursday, August 18, at 7pm, for the opening night concert of our 2022 summer season. The festival celebrates[...]
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
11:00 am National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 20 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area The bees are buzzing at Sky Meadows State Park! Meet the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah as they perform a honey extraction. Learn about beekeeping, honeybees and the art of apiculture. Support beekeeping and[...]
12:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 21 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects[...]
3:00 pm Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Aug 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
If you have choral-singing experience, you’re invited to join The Valley Chorale! Rehearsals this fall culminate in our always-popular Christmas concerts in December. This year, we have a truly fantastic Christmas program planned. Auditions are[...]