College Bound, Education, Parenting

6 Ways to Prepare Your Teenager for College

You’re excited that your child is headed off to college at last! Most likely, you’re a bit worried and anxious, too, and so is your college-bound teen. Follow these tips to prepare your child for the first year away from home.

Determine How to Finance College Costs

Image via Flickr by CollegeDegrees360

Finalize college financing before your teen heads off to school. Help your child fill out federal and school financial aid forms and apply for scholarships. You may also need student loans to cover remaining costs. Remember that financial aid and grants don’t pay for some expenses, such as clothing, food, and car insurance. Consider taking out a private student loan to have extra cash on hand to cover such expenses.

Boost Emotional Skills

Right now, when something goes wrong, you’re right there to help your child through tough times. At school, your teen must manage emotions and challenging situations alone. Sit your teen down and talk about how to handle life events, relationship issues, and stress. Work to build your child’s confidence in handling emotional issues.

Review Basic Life Skills

Does your teen struggle to keep the bed made and the bedroom clean? Most likely, your child will share a room. Review how to clean, do laundry, go shopping, and cook some light meals. Make sure your college student will be a welcome roommate.

Discuss the dangers of alcohol and drugs, too. A college campus is a fun place that can be full of temptation. You won’t be there to help your child say no to risks like drinking and trying party drugs. Prepare your teen to make the right decisions when you’re not there.

Create a Budget

Teens who have not managed their own money will be in for a shock when they head off to college. Create a budget to show your child how much money to spend each month. Review how to track debit and credit card spending, and discuss the importance of paying bills on time.

Focus on Health

Immunizations must be up to date before your teen arrives on campus. Your child should also have a health insurance card and know where to go for help in case of illness. Review how to use campus health services, urgent care facilities, and emergency rooms.

You won’t be on hand to make lunch or dinner.  Teens will have a lot of food options, not all of them good ones. Help your child avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15,” which refers to extra weight college freshmen tend to gain. Review nutrition guidelines to help your child make healthy choices when you’re not around.

Make Your Expectations Known

Make it clear that your child is in school to learn. You’re not footing the bill or helping with loans so your freshman can hang out and drink beer. If you expect a report card with all A’s, make sure to tell your teen to work toward those grades.

Put your child on the path to living independently before your teen leaves for school. Review these tips with your college-bound teen to give him or her the necessary skills to be successful while living away from home.

College Bound, Gift Guides, Graduation Gift Ideas, Healthy Living

ZeroWater’s 7 Cup Water Filtration Pitcher with Ready-Pour Review

I have partnered with ZeroWater and sample was sent for feature

Do you have your list? That master ‘New College Student Dorm’ list? Perhaps you are sending back a Sophomore or Junior so you’ve been at a summer-before-start before. You will never use the word ‘compact’ or ‘dorm size’ as much in your lifetime as you will in the next few years. You have to think about space saving as you think about sending them off healthy and with the best of what you can leave with them. The ZeroWater‘s® 7 Cup Water Filtration Pitcher with Ready-Pour™ is a must-have and I will tell you why!

First of all it is compact. At 7 cups a pitcher it is shaped to slide into those small fridges. It saves time as a water pitcher because the design allows you to pour even as it finishes filling through the filter. Know what’s in the dorm building water? Do you really want to know?!! ZeroWater will leave you piece of mind that they are getting nothing but pure, filtered water. I put it to the test…..

I used 3 separate glasses so no residue from each testing water was mixed. I started with my city tap water and although when I look up my area it says our TDS levels are about 59, you can see they clearly are not! I have 126 out of my tap. I am still at the standard but obviously contains some contaminants. Then I tried a standard store bought water bottle and got 16…better! Of course my ZeroWater from the pitcher was zero. Now that sounds like a dorm must-have to me as a Mom!

Understanding the ZeroWater filter system and TDS

5-Stage Filtration:

Stage 1 – Removes suspended solids such as dust and rust that make your water appear cloudy 

Stage 2 – Removes additional suspended solids 

Stage 3 – Removes organic contaminants; pesticides, herbicides, Mercury, Chlorine, Chloramine, and stops bacteria from growing 

Stage 4 – Removes inorganic compounds i.e. metals, nonmetals and radiological contaminants. 

Stage 5 – Removes remaining suspended solids, holds the resin in place 

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) refer to minerals, salts, metals including lead, chemicals, fluoride and runoff polluting your drinking water. 

A Promo Code for the ZeroWater‘s® 7 Cup Water Filtration Pitcher with Ready-Pour™

You can find the ZeroWater‘s® 7 Cup Water Filtration Pitcher with Ready-Pour™ at and if you use the code Grads20 you can save 20% on this exact pitcher! Head on over and save before that code ends! Be college dorm ready!

Back to School 2017, College Bound, Food, Gift Guides, Parenting

3 College Care Package Ideas For Your Student

I am a Premier Protein Ambassador and all feature ideas are my own


Do you have a child or children in college? If you do you know that bittersweet drop off moment where they are ready to run and you can’t let them go. Trust me! They won’t go far. They want food, laundry done, conversations on how to cook rice and many other needs that they will always still need your care. To make them feel even more comforted (and to comfort ourselves) we can send care packages. But what should you send? Let’s get creative based on my own experiences with some suggestions I will give you.


Premier Protein

The first 2 weeks were a lot of back and forth by phone making sure he is settling into classes and dorm life. At one point I get a call from him asking for some grocery money in his account. He wanted some cans of soup and protein bars. He said that because his first am class is on the other side of campus and he walks he needs breakfast that he can take and walk with.

He wanted protein bars and in our home we buy Premier Protein so I hopped online and ordered him some to be shipped. Premier Protein bars have no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners and are gluten free. Other brands out there may contain artificial ingredients and synthetic nutrients so we really do our homework and choose wisely.


On our son’s first few days in his dorm room we noticed a small issue. The outlets are never placed in the right spots. This means that by the time they plug in laptops, lights, a mini fridge, alarm clocks that leaves little left for all the chargers as well. Another thing I learned is how much their cell phones do get used. If they have a full day of classes all over campus and need to try and hit the cafe a few times that cell phone battery is done. We love using the MyCharge HubXtra. What is unique about this is that you don’t also have to remember to grab your charging cord like most power banks require. The charging cords are built in and contain a lightning and micro chargers. I carry one myself for travel. This will get used!


One of my favorite options are gift baskets and GourmetGiftBaskets has many care packages to choose from. Some are candy filled, some healthier. This is the Health Nut Care Package above. What is great is that you can choose a basket, enter there shipping address and attach a message that is typed in a card. It is a lot of fun when that gift box arrives and they know it is a collection of foods or beverages before they even open it.

You will be sending packages and they will be requesting (food) mostly so send them the goodies they will proudly pick up when the hall desk sends them that message that they have a package waiting. I assure you these ideas will go over real well.

Let’s get you started! I am giving away Premier Protein samples. If you win you can send your child’s dorm address and Premier Protein will send it their way. Or you can use your own address and try them for yourself. Enter below. Open to US and ends on 9/5. Good luck!

Premier Protein Giveaway

Back to School 2017, College Bound, Education, Parenting

3 College Dorm Room List Essentials #ShopPurple

Last year we sent our son across the state for his first year of college. It wasn’t until dorm move-in day that I realized the things I overpacked and with time I also realized the things I did not think to pack. Being first time college parents was new and so overwhelming. Year 2 is a breeze. In fact he has taken total control and we are left with not much needed from us. As hectic as the process is of sending them off and settling them in, enjoy every moment because once they are settled their neediness seems to fade fast. Well, except for breaks when they bring home a stinky laundry basket of a much needed chore from you.

I remember being in his dorm and we were so hot on that 12th floor in the heat of summer with an A/C unit still broken. We were discussing where to eat dinner and I needed to freshen up. There was no mirror in his room so I head to the bathroom. “Where are you going, Erinn?” Asks my stepson. “That is a mens restroom for the dorm, the girls would be 1 level up or 1 level down.” I had forgotten they have the floors separated. I had no mirror and I knew I was a hot and sticky mess.


He needed a mirror in his dorm, but he’s a guy and his restroom is 3 steps from his dorm room. I knew that any female student would want a mirror in their room but it can’t take up space and you can’t put nails in the dorm walls. Learn from my story and then head over to the Jet Back to College Dorm Furnishings and Decor to find the standing mirror style your daughter (or son) may like. These don’t leave holes in the wall and push flat for a narrow fit in any corner.


The first 2 weeks were a lot of back and forth by phone making sure he is settling into classes and dorm life. At one point I get a call from him asking for some grocery money in his account. He wanted some cans of soup and protein bars. He said that because his first am class is on the other side of campus and he walks he needs breakfast that he can take and walk with.


He wanted protein bars and in our home we buy Premier Protein so I hopped online and ordered him some to be shipped. Premier Protein bars have no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners and are gluten free. Other brands out there may contain artificial ingredients and synthetic nutrients so we really do our homework and choose wisely.


The third essential that comes to mind is electronic chargers. Of course they won’t forget those but are they long enough? Most dorm rooms have a real silly set up and limited plugs so getting one that has a long reach and can charge off their computer or laptop will keep their phones nearby and take up less outlet space. There is a brand at the Jet Back to School page called Fusebox that we have used and it holds up well with its braided cord and 6 foot length.

Send them off with the essentials including these items I mention here that didn’t even total more than $75 all together on Jet. Enjoy this life stage of theirs while you are at it.


NEW TO JET.COM? You get to save 15% on your first 3 orders when you use the promo code SAVE15 “see site for details”.

New customers only. Min. $35 in eligible merchandise per order required. Max. discount $20 per order. Offer expires 9/1/2017 at 12:00 AM PST; if any of your first 3 orders are not placed by this date, they are not eligible for the discount. Excludes products marked as ineligible for promotion on the product display page. Offer cannot be applied to previous orders and cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Offer is subject to change or cancellation. Void where prohibited. Brand, category and other restrictions may apply.

NOT NEW TO JET.COM? You still get all of the benefits and great prices they have to offer. I just got a birthday card from them and it had a promo code for me. Let me remind you of the advantages of shopping J:

• Free shipping over $35
• 2-day delivery with no membership fee on thousands of items
• 24/7 U.S.-based customer service
• Jet shows you items that can ship together so you can save money
• Buy multiples on Jet to save
• Waive returns on Jet to save”


Do you plan on doing some online Back to School shopping this year? I challenge you to head on over and browse Jet! Let me know if you find what you were looking for in a quick comment below! 


Back to School 2017, Food, Gift Guides

Care Package Ideas from

This feature is in partnership with Gourmet Gift Baskets

When was the last care package you sent or received? Whether you are 9 or 99 there is no better feeling than a package of fun arriving just for you. Having a son in college we saw how appreciative he was when care packages were sent. In parent groups I learned about local eateries that delivered and even a student on campus would take cupcake orders and deliver to the dorms for birthdays or any reason you would choose which was a fun gig for her. I ordered cupcakes on our son’s birthday last year from her. is another option because right in their header menu is a link to care package ideas from the site. They will deliver by mail with a card that you can personalize and have attached.

This is the Triple Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Tin and it is so delicious. I had them send this to me to try their gourmet popcorns so I knew if it would be an option for future care packages. I can tell you it is perfect. You can add ice packs to your order if you choose or if you are cost-saver order popcorn for fall/winter gifts and it will deliver just fine without ice.

The Triple Chocolate Caramel Popcorn comes in 3 sizes – 1, 2 and 3.5 gallon sizes. There is a divider for 3 flavors contained inside. Included flavors:

  • White Chocolate Caramel
  • Milk Chocolate Caramel
  • Dark Chocolate Caramel

Another great option is the Summer Seasonal Beer Bucket. This one is a hit for sure

  • Fresh Slice White IPA by Otter Creek Brewing
  • Lemongrass Luau by Kona Brewing Co. 
  • Summertime Kölsch by Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy by The Traveler Beer Co.
  • Summer Ale by Shipyard Brewing Company
  • Sunfish Ale by Seadog Brewing Company
  • Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Kettle Corn by
  • Peppered Beef Jerky by Divine Bovine
  • Chichester Snack Mix by Merrimack Valley Snack Company
  • Roasted & Salted Peanuts by J&R Gourmet
  • Honey Mustard Popcorn by

More Care Package Ideas at (just to name a few)

Exam Cram Care Package
Happy Birthday Popcorn Tin


Send A Bear Hug Care Package
College Bound, Education

How to Find a Good College Prep School

College Prep

Education is the greatest gift you can give your child. The education that he or she will receive at a private school is far superior to that of a public school. However, private schools are not free like public schools. Private school will require you to make a financial investment in your child’s education and future. It has been proven that children who attend private school have a much better chance of getting into a prestigious college if they have been educated in a private school. Here are some tips that will help you in going about finding an outstanding college prep school to send your child to.

  1. Take a close look at the programs that are offered by the college prep school

Do not be fooled into thinking that the education offered by all private schools is basically the same. This is definitely not the case. Private schools can differ quite dramatically in terms of the quality of the staff they employ and the various programs that are offered to students. Therefore, parents should take the time to thoroughly research all of the private schools they are considering sending their children to. Your child might have a certain career that he or she is interested in pursuing. If this is the case, there are certain private schools that will offer programs that will help the child prepare for that specific career major when they eventually attend college. You should investigate all of the programs that the school offers to see which one is the best fit for your child’s educational needs.

  1. Does the school have a great reputation and a high ranking?

You will be able to tell a lot about the quality of education offered by various private schools based on their overall reputation and ranking. This information can be found by performing a search for the school online. It is important to understand that the private schools that cost the most are not necessarily the best. It all depends on what your child is interested in studying. However, private schools that have an outstanding reputation and a high ranking did not achieve these things by accident. These schools have consistently provided their students with an education that gets them prepared for the rigorous academics that await them once they enter college. Landon School is known for having a great reputation in the academic world. Landon has helped its students achieve academic excellence for many decades.

  1. Schedule a tour of the school with your child.

You should never make the final decision regarding which college prep school to send your child to without taking a tour of the facility. It is very important that you allow your child to have a say in where he or she goes to school. After all, the school that your child goes to will be helping them get focused on a career path. In only makes sense that your child should have the final say. You will obviously have some opinions on this issue. Sit down with your child and discuss all of the pros and cons of each school after you complete all of your tours. Make sure that you talk to the staff of each school and take a look at the living quarters where your child will be staying.