All Entries For family circle

Three Contact Lens Habits To Break

Not all time-saving tactics are created equal: Many people cut corners when it comes to caring for their contacts—and some of these behaviors could trigger infections or worse. Glenda Secor, OD, spokesperson for the American Optometric Association, opens your eyes to three common unsightly practices.
Bad Habit #1: Wearing your lenses to bed
The Risk: High

Unless you have contacts that are FDA approved for overnight wear—likeAcuvue Oasys and Air Optix—take them out before dozing off. Otherwise, you could contract an eye infection or experience irritation, says Secor. Unlike extended-wear lenses, daywear contacts are made out of a less-flexible plastic and don't let as much oxygen into your eyes. 
Posted 3/25/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   9,340 views
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The Problem with Praise

I remember the day so clearly. It was the week after the new SimCity video game was released last year and my 13-year-old, Peter, had been pushing the limits of his allotted 30 minutes of screen time. We'd been arguing about his gaming addiction, particularly after I woke up at 1 a.m. and found him tapping away in the dark, mapping out his futuristic metropolis. There had also been heated exchanges about watching too much TV, the breaking of a third school-owned laptop, and his insistence that not finishing his homework in time for hockey practice was somehow Mom and Dad's fault. So imagine my surprise when, in this vortex of wrongness, I caught him doing something right. He was sitting at the dining table, concentrating on a class assignment. His brother, Henrik, 10, and sister, Luisa, 8, were chasing each other around the room, shrieking and laughing. "Guys," said Peter calmly. "Can you be quiet?" More shrieks. More laughter. "Please," he said, his voice on the edge of a growl. Henrik lurched toward Luisa. She screeched at the top of her little lungs. "Stop it! " Peter yelled. "I want to pound you right now and I'm trying really hard not to!" Okay, he wasn't offering to shovel our neighbor's sidewalk or join a bike-a-thon fundraiser for cancer research. So if it seems strange that this moment made my heart swell with pride, it's partly because there have been way too many times when Peter hasn't been able to control his temper.
Not blowing up at his siblings was a great leap forward for him—and certainly something worth acknowledging. The question was, how? Pouring on the compliments didn't seem right—I'd basically be comparing Peter to his siblings and implying he behaved better than they did. And I believe that kids today receive too much praise. Many parents believe the best way to boost self-esteem is by applauding, cheering and fussing over their children's awesomeness. But there's a downside to that rah-rah mentality. Knee-jerk remarks like "Great job" and "Way to go" don't convey to kids what they actually did right. Such pat phrases focus on an end result, not the hard work behind it. And nonstop platitudes can create a hunger for external approval. So I decided to say nothing. But I felt I'd missed an opportunity to bond with Peter over something positive, especially at a time when it seemed all I did was criticize him—for not making the bed, not putting the milk back in the fridge, not thanking us for driving him to visit a friend.

Hoping to break the cycle of negativity, I asked for guidance from parenting experts, who shared these pointers on the right way to sing your kids' praises. 
Posted 3/18/2014  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   8,691 views
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The Best Dogs for Kids

In the animal welfare movement, some advocates are replacing the word "mutt" with "blends" or "mixed breeds." "All come with positives and negatives," says Diana M. Knight, VMD, at South Orange Animal Hospital in South Orange, New Jersey. "And many people believe that mutts are hardier because of their lower incidence of genetic disease. What it comes down to when finding the perfect pet for your family is your lifestyle."

Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers are laid back and tolerant of tail and ear pulling by small children. "As with any dog, children should be supervised by an adult," says Dr. Knight. "These dogs need active families. Otherwise, they will get into mischief." 
Posted 3/11/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   7,885 views
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9 Health Confessions from Moms

Family Circle polled hundreds of women across the country on everything from how often they have sex to how much they work out. Here, we uncovered the honest truth—and found a few celebrities who share the same secrets!
Sure, smoking is bad for you. But one in six American women still light up. Are you one of them?
89% > Nope. 
8%   > Yes, I smoke more than I'd like to admit. 
3%   > Yes, once or twice a year. 

Kate Hudson's been snapped on vacation holding a cigarette, but even a once-in-a-while drag is too much. "Smoke contains toxins and the greater your exposure is, the worse your lung cancer risk is," explains Susan Blum, MD, author of The Immune System Recovery Plan. "Plus, the cadmium in cigarettes may disrupt your thyroid function." Quitting can be tougher than getting your son to take out the garbage without being asked in the middle of winter. But it's possible! Consider a method you haven't tried before, like a prescription (Zyban, an antidepressant, helps reduce nicotine cravings), OTC aids (including the NicoDerm CQ patch or Nicorette gum and lozenges) or even alternative therapies (such as hypnosis and acupuncture). 
Posted 3/4/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   7,396 views
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14 Ways to Get Rid of Clutter

Post simple-to-ship castoffs, like that multispeed juice extractor you never use, online to reach the biggest audience of potential buyers. 

TIP: In-season clothes and accessories are easiest to sell. Also, don't try to list what's stained or torn -- discard them instead.

Clothes, Household Goods, Electronics

Skip McGrath, Web marketing expert and author of The Complete eBay Marketing System (, suggests eBay for selling everything from popular brand names (Xbox, KitchenAid) to collectibles (silver tea sets, Barbie dolls). The site offers an auction format and fixed-price sales, which may be easier for first-timers who don't want to deal with the bidding process. Cost: McGrath estimates fees to be about 12.5 percent of your selling price, including PayPal charges. Fashion retail sites like let you download an app to conduct transactions from your tablet or smartphone. Cost: 20 percent of each sale, but listing and shipping items is fee-free. 
Posted 2/25/2014  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments   11,071 views
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3 Solutions to Winter Skin Problems

Cold weather is more than just a minor inconvenience. For some people, it can cause—or worsen—serious skin conditions. We asked Doris Day, MD, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University, for ways to identify and treat three common problems. 
Posted 2/11/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   10,426 views
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The 7 Best Heart-Healthy Tips for Your Age

You probably weren't thinking about your ticker in your 20s—really, who does?—so now's the decade to start following some cardiac rules. 

Do: Find a workout you love (at least for 30 minutes a day) to keep your weight in thenormal range and your blood pressure in check. 

Don't: Smoke, indulge in fast food, or skimp on zzzs.

"The more tired you are, the likelier you are to make poor food choices," says Sarah Samaan, MD, a cardiologist at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Plano, Texas, and author of Best Practices for a Healthy Heart.
Posted 2/4/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   12,999 views
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How to Read Food Labels

Picture this: You're standing in a grocery store aisle packed 7 feet high with cereal. As you try to compare the hyped-up claims, nutritional info and, oh yeah, prices of several brands, your kid rushes over, begging for some new sugary cereal he saw on TV. The checkout line is getting longer, your patience is getting shorter and you still have no idea what to toss into the cart. Fortunately, there's a solution: Become a nutrition sleuth and learn to ID the important facts on labels—fast.
Fifty-four percent of shoppers in the U.S. read food labels when purchasing a product for the first time. But whether they fully understand many of the terms used is another story entirely. "It's a huge problem because people are frequently blinded by a flashy label or vague claims—and they often don't look at packages closely," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It: How to Decode Food Labels and Make the Healthiest Choice Every Time. "If you put in the effort just once, you can develop a list of foods that are good for you, and then all you have to do is buy them in the future." 
Posted 1/21/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   11,791 views
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6 Sleep Habits Every Family Should Follow

Studies have shown that sleep helps you lose weight, improves your energy and even decreases your risk of heart disease. Follow these six steps for better shut eye this year.
Step 1: Prep for bed

Nightly routines aren't just for infants. They're essential for all ages. "Start a ritual about 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime to prepare the body for sleep," says Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, Missouri. It could include a hot bath (which decreases your core body temperature) or a cup of herbal tea. 
Posted 1/14/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   8,472 views
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5 Ways to Save More Money in 2014

Start 2014 on the right financial footing by learning smart ways to save money. Your bank account will thank you all year long. 

1. Pay down debt. Between gift buying, multiple trips to the grocery store and extra entertaining, most of us overspend during this time of year. "Often people are afraid to even look at their credit card statements after Christmas," says California-based Ginita Wall, cofounder of, a financia-leducation website for women. Help those balances reach zero by monitoring your expenditures and finding a few areas—say, entertainment, groceries and clothing—that you can temporarily trim by 10 percent. Then take that extra cash and begin paying off the card with the lowest balance first. Also, consider exchanging unwanted gift cards on websites such as or 
Posted 1/7/2014  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   12,431 views
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The #1 Way to Feel, Eat and Sleep Better

You don't have to think big to be healthier in 2014. In fact, you might want to think small. Researchers found that when people made one easy lifestyle change, they were more effective at pursuing their objectives than when attempting multiple adjustments. One little change, one giant reward? Count us in. Now, repeat after us for a brand-new you.
Resolution #1: "This year I’ll beat stress by practicing my breathing."

There's never a week that won't bring on some kind of stress-inducing scenario. But when anxiety starts to set in, just remember to take a deep breath. Then go ahead and take a few more.
"Breathing is one of the most important connections between your mind and your body," says Keri Tuit, Psy.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University. When the pressure starts mounting—your teen won’t practice the piano or she gets a poor grade on an English test—you go into fight-or-flight mode, and your brain releases a cascade of tension- triggering hormones that cause the heart to race. But you can reverse that process by lengthening your inhales and exhales, which has a twofold outcome: Measured, deep breathing automatically slows down your heartbeat and relaxes your entire body, she explains.And as you concentrate on your breathing, you become less focused on your worries, making recovery from stress easier. 
Posted 12/31/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   5,019 views
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10 Books to Read in 2014

Whether you're looking for one good novel or want to cozy up to a stack, Family Circle rounded up some of the New Year's most promising releases.

1). In the Blood (Touchstone) by Lisa Unger

A disturbing past keeps college student Lana hiding in the shadows of her life. But when her best friend goes missing, she finds herself caught in her own web of deception. A riveting chess match of twists will keep you guessing—and keep you up at night. 
Posted 12/24/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   46,386 views
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12 Expert Tips for Winter Skincare

A dozen derm-approved tricks for smooth, soft, sexy skin all season. Get advice from these skincare experts: Dr. David Bank, dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York Dr. Doris Day, dermatologist in New York City and Dr. Howard Murad, dermatologist in Los Angeles and founder of Murad, Inc.

Expert Tips

1. Skip the bubbles. Foamy lather feels luxurious but tends to strip away natural oils. Opt for a mild, fragrance-free cream cleanser with less than 1 percent sodium lauryl sulfate.

2. Exfoliate gently. Use a facial wash with no more than 5 percent salicylic or 10 percent glycolic acid two to three times weekly. For sensitive skin, dilute with an equal amount of water.

3. Soothe your scalp. Banish dryness and prevent irritation with a five-ingredients-or-less hydrating shampoo and conditioner. Fewer ingredients means less chance of inflammation. If dandruff is an issue, switch to a shampoo containing either zinc pyrithione or selium sulfide. 
Posted 12/10/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   14,881 views
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3 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time—but all too often they can leave you frazzled and exhausted. When your schedule starts to stress you out, decompress with these three tips.

Seasonal Stressor:

"I'm coordinating four Christmas parties and a bake sale. It'll take a miracle to pull them all off."

Merry Maker: Wrap some presents.

When you are feeling overwhelmed take a short break and do a mindless chore that lets your thoughts wander. Preforming monotonous tasks can boost creativity and problem-solving ability according to a study from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 
Posted 12/3/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   6,893 views
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9 Websites That Can Save You Money

The Internet can be a treasure trove when it comes to getting the most for your money—but only if you know where to look. Denise Winston, author of Money Starts Here! Your Practical Guide to Survive and Thrive in Any Economy, and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch recommend the best sites to bookmark for bargains on food, fun and more.

At this gateway to savings, you'll see dozens of deals at a glance from the top couponing destinations (the homepage is constantly updated with a slew of news feeds). Each of the featured sites includes a range of shopping categories, so you can snag coupons for groceries as well as your teen's favorite mall store from the same page. 
Posted 11/26/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   11,064 views
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