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It’s Back to School time. How will you prepare?


The bell is about to ring and school supplies are flying off the shelves.

We’re looking for the best back to school tips out there – from the tried and true to the latest and greatest, tell us how you plan to send your kids back to school with the tools they need to succeed.

Share your comments below or email them to The best tips and tricks just might make it onto our blog.


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Register for Sparkle Wellness Coaching Classes at Johnson Ferry Baptist


Sparkle Wellness Coaching Classes are coming to Johnson Ferry Baptist in East Cobb August 3 – December 18 .
Wellness coaching helps you strive for physical fitness and overall well-being. Coaches introduce tools and reinforce motivation techniques to help you achieve your weight loss and emotional health goals. Discover why losing weight is difficult for you and develop strategies to help you achieve your goals. Participants have lost over 1,000 pounds and have transformed their lives. Weekly weigh in available and lots of support and nutrient info given each week.
Classes are offered Monday nights, 7-8 pm or Thursday mornings, 9:45-10:45 am. Free childcare is available on Thursday mornings. The cost is $175 per session. A discount is offered for participants 60 years or older. Enter the code IAMOVERSIXTY. This code is case sensitive and needs to be capitalized.
If you need FREE childcare for the Thursday class, please register using the link HERE or by using the link provided in your confirmation email. Seven days advanced childcare registration is required before your child may attend.
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church is located at 955 Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb.

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Back-to-School tips for parents and kids from CHOA



Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has tips on common school-related issues to help ease the transition from summertime to school time. From tips to get back into an appropriate sleep schedule to understanding bullying and how to handle it, parents can feel better prepared to send their child back to school with these back-to-school tips from experts at Children’s.

Parents and teachers can visit to educate themselves and their children on ways to make going back to school easier and healthier.

The tips include:

  • Pack Smart– Backpacks are a handy way for your child to carry his books and other school materials, but if used incorrectly can put strain on his back muscles and joints causing lower back pain and injury.
  • Breathe Easy– Asthma is one of the most common chronic illnesses in children and accounts for more than half a million missed school days annually. Creating an asthma action plan with your physician to help your child better manage his asthma.
  • Fuel for School– Fuel your family with food throughout the school year with these nutrition tips that help kids grow strong from the inside out.
  • Sleep Savvy– During the summer, many children and teens stay up later and sleep in longer than during the school year. This shift often makes returning to an early schedule difficult. Getting enough sleep is important and Children’s has tips to get kids back on track.
  • Keep Bullies at Bay– Bullying is a pattern of unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children where one child uses control over another. Learn common bullying behaviors and how your child should deal with a bully.

For more detailed information about Children’s Back-to-School tips, visit the links above.


(Source: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta)


How are you preparing for the school year? Comment below or visit our Facebook page and share your thoughts with your neighbors.

Southeast Homeschool Expo is July 24 – 26

The 2015 Southeast Homeschool Expo will be Thursday, July 24 – Saturday, July 26. An expo devoted entirely to the display, sale and discussion of educational materials with entire exhibit hall displays of materials by the best Christian, secular and specialty publishers.
New homeschoolers, classical homeschoolers, eclectic homeschoolers – everyone will find something for them at the 2015 Southeast Homeschool Expo. Thursday: 10am-4pm; Friday: 10am-9pm; Saturday: 10am-5pm. $15-$45 online registration discount offered until July 9. $25-$55 at the door. Children under 18 are free. Cobb Galleria Centre, Two Galleria Parkway Atlanta. More Info: 770-594-1266 or

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FOCUS: “I Forgot”


How many times have we as parents heard this one? You’ve told Jacob 5 times to clean his room. He throws a mini tantrum when you make him turn off his video game in order to focus as you ask him why his room is still not clean … “I forgot” he shrugs. It’s as if that magically lets him off the hook. Besides, he didn’t go and do something you told him not to do. You attempt to help him understand the importance of responsibility as you tell him a 6th time. You are already aware that you do not share the same definition of the word “clean”, so it’s no shock to find a half-done task when you double-check his work. And here we go again …

It may not be cleaning a room in your household. Feel free to replace that with … well any other task your children don’t particularly enjoy. After so many repetitions of this scenario, it can be easy to give up or resort to shouting.

I’m not pointing fingers. My heart goes out to you. Bringing up children in today’s environment of distraction is difficult. How many organizations out there actually teach practical character development? Sure, there a few that teach some basic lessons and definitions, but sadly there are few places to find effective tools parents can use to directly instruct and instill life skills such as focus, discipline, integrity, positive attitude, gratitude, and respect.

Here’s a little help. Begin with taking a little time (10 minutes) each day with the basics. FOCUS is a great starting point.

The rules of FOCUS:

  1. Focus your eyes: Make eye contact when your parent (or teacher) is speaking. It’s more about showing them that you are listening than anything else. Demonstrate with your child how it feels when they are trying to talk to you and you are looking anywhere except at them.


  1. Focus your ears: You can hear without listening. This is a great point to talk about “tuning in”.


  1. Focus your mind: Now we are getting somewhere. When giving your child instructions to perform any task(s), have them immediately repeat them back to you.

There’s the trick – FOCUS YOUR MIND. In other words, REMEMBER. Now they have forced themselves to actively focus their minds on the task(s) at hand. They have greatly increased the chance that they will remember and, with that, the chance of successfully completing their given task(s). It’s a little extra time, but the investment is well worth it.

Food for thought:

“I forgot” is not an acceptable excuse. What you are really saying is, “What you have told me is not important enough for me to remember.”


Written by Andy Shivers is a Certified Instructor and Manager at Marietta Martial Arts at Lower Roswell. Marietta Martial Arts is family owned with 3 locations in East Cobb.

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Learn how to feed your family the best with less



UGA Cobb Cooperative Extension staff will host the “Food Budget Basics: Feeding your family the best with less” seminar 6-7:30 p.m., Monday, July 20, at South Cobb Recreation Center. This great program will teach methods for buying healthy foods for your family on a limited budget. It will also share tips and tricks to help save money and find nutritious items when grocery shopping.

Participants will learn the importance of comparison shopping, menu planning, cost cutting strategies, portion sizes and how to minimize food waste. Registration is required by July 17.

To register, call 770-528-4070. South Cobb Recreation Center is located at 875 Six Flags Drive, Austell.


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The Y Helps Cobb Children Learn to be Safe Around Water


As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the YMCAs in Cobb will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to children from underserved communities in Kennesaw, Acworth & Marietta.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages one to 14 years old. In ethnically diverse communities, the youth drowning rate is two to three times higher than the national average, according to a USA Swimming study. Additionally nearly six out of 10 African American and Hispanic/Latino children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts.

“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Tiffany Strickland, Aquatics Director, McCleskey-East Cobb YMCA. “The Y’s teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be  fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives it builds confidence.”

The Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 60 years.  The YMCAs in Cobb County continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose, including pre-school, school-age and teen swimming lessons.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing—skills that last a lifetime.

To learn how to qualify for financial assistance, please contact East Cobb YMCA at 770-977-5991 or West Cobb Y at 770-423-9622.

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Atlanta Back 2 School Food Festival is Saturday

The Atlanta Back 2 School Food Festival is this Saturday, July 11 at Jim Miller Park.
This kid friendly event features food, music, clothing, and information on health, education, art, and after-school care programs for families. Enjoy a culinary experience from Metro Atlanta’s restaurants, caterers, and food trucks. Kids can enjoy the fun zone, equipped with inflatables, waterslides, a rock climbing wall, bungee jumping, and bouncy houses. Kids bring swimwear and a towel!
Festival held 12:30-5:30pm. Free Admission with donation of school supplies. Parking is $5. Food and Fun Zone tickets additional fee. Jim Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road, Marietta. More info:

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Classes to provide powerful tools for caregivers

More than 65 million people, or 29 percent of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved ones.

Cobb Senior Services staff will host the six week educational series “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” to help people care for themselves as they care for family members. Classes will be held 5:30-7 p.m. on Mondays from July 6 to Aug. 10, at East Cobb Senior Center.

Each class will focus on different aspects of caregiving including:

  • Reducing personal stress
  • Balancing life
  • Communicating feelings better
  • Reducing guilt, anger and depression
  • Making tough decisions
  • Setting goals and problem solving

The cost is $30 per person and each caregiver will receive a copy of “The Caregiver Help Book,” developed specifically for this class. Space is limited and payment is required at the time of registration. For more information, call 770-509-4900. East Cobb Senior Center is located at 3332 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta.


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Eating Well at Your Fourth of July Barbecue

4th of July

It seems harmless enough. A scoop here, a nibble there, a handful of this and a few of those.

But if you’re trying to stay healthy this Fourth of July weekend, the average summer barbecue can leave you feeling less than celebratory. With an estimated 76 million Americans who say they participated in a barbecue during the last year, that’s a lot of potentially calorie-laden eating.

However, barbecues don’t have to be unhealthy. There is hope for healthy outdoor meals, especially if you watch the sauces and side dishes and stay away from the chips and dips. Simple steps can make a difference whether you’re grilling for a crowd or bringing a side dish this Independence Day.

“Swapping simple alternatives to traditional classic dishes can mean the difference between enjoying yourself all weekend long or feeling lousy after overdoing it on one day,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, a nutrition expert for the national, nonprofit organization HealthyWomen.

With millions of Americans enjoying a three-day weekend and many extending vacation into the following week, Taub-Dix says moderation is key.

Here are HealthyWomen’s top five foods to avoid and suggested alternatives:

1. If you can hold it in your hand, it might stick to your hips.
Summer barbecues don’t have to be about sausage, ribs and chicken drumsticks. Go for foods that require a knife and fork. Generally speaking if your meat is considered “portable,” it’s probably not good for you! Grilling fish and lean cuts of meat like chicken breasts, pork loin and even filet mignon gives diners the delicious, smoky, char-grilled taste synonymous with cooking outdoors—just be sure to skip the heavy sauces and sugary marinades.

2. Leave the “white” out of your red, white and blue.
Side salads that are “white” from mayonnaise are best avoided. A combination of sweet and red bliss potatoes and macaroni salad made with whole-grain pasta and crunchy vegetables like shredded carrots, colorful bell peppers and fresh parsley add more color and flavor than traditional side salads. Dress with light or olive oil mayo instead of the regular, full-fat counterpart or hold the mayo altogether and substitute nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt or a dressing of diluted vinegar, fresh herbs and a taste of honey.

3. Watch your buns.
Hamburger buns, that is. If you must serve burgers and dogs, whole-grain buns pack more nutritional punch than the overly processed and refined white-flour buns. White-flour products have been stripped of beneficial nutrients like fiber which help regulate our digestive system and keep us feeling full longer. Slip in a turkey burger or a chicken sausage and your taste buds won’t know what hit them.

4. Keep the cooler light.
Skip sugary sodas, punches and sports drinks, and be mindful of regular beer, wine and cocktails. You’ll be a healthy hero and impressive host if you take the time to make and serve unsweetened iced tea or homemade lemonade. Too plain or too tart? Add a splash of fruit juice or mint for a fresh taste. Serve white or red wine sangria with fresh fruit for a light and refreshing alternative to plain wine or to sugary mixed drinks; adding carbonated water and ice helps keep the calories down and the fresh fruit adds some nutritional benefits. And, no matter what he says, a light beer is not only lighter in calories but is often a welcomed alternative to a lager on hot, humid days. Last but not least, keep a pitcher or dispenser filled with ice water and topped with lemon slices or fresh mint. It will surely be a hit with all ages, and those who are drinking alcoholic beverages can alternate with water.

5. Spice up your dessert.
Almost everyone loves a bowl of fresh berries at barbecues, but how about grilling some fresh pineapple or other tropical fruit and serving it with a dash of nutmeg? This exotic treat is simple to make, guaranteed not to melt and will be a welcome and refreshing treat that’s easy on the waistline.
Choice is everything, says Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director for HealthyWomen, the nation’s leading independent health information source for women, which has been providing trusted health and wellness advice for over 20 years.

“Knowing healthy alternatives to traditional favorites is the key to staying healthy during any holiday season. If those choices are not available to you or the meal is out of your control, try small portions or a taste of everything so your entire plate equals one complete portion, not multiple portions of everything on the menu,” says Battaglino Cahill.

For more tips on living healthy, visit


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