What will college cost?

According to a July 2011 Fox Business News article, the median income in the United States has held steady around $33,000 since 1998, while college tuition has more than doubled. Such a trend means that even if you have just one child enrolled in college in 2031, the price tag for the average college degree could be around $353,000.

This projected figure is based on a student attending an out-of-state public college for four years. Before you collapse from sticker shock, however, remember that most parents don’t end up covering the full costs of college tuition.

Planning, budgeting and understanding the many ways to save for college and receiving financial aid can help reduce anxiety and ensure that your youngsters will achieve their higher education goals. Your goal as a parent should be to save a portion of college costs, not the entire amount.

Continue reading the entire article here.


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Talking to Your Kids About 9-11

It can be difficult and confusing to talk to your children about the events of Sept. 11, especially when your own feelings are so charged about the situation. It is important, however, that children learn about what has become the wallpaper of their generation and that their feelings toward it be validated.

Here, Dr. Mary Pulido, executive director the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, provides comprehensive advice and practical guidance on what to say – and do – for parents of kids of all ages.

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Remembering the Youngest Lives Lost on 9-11

It’s an understatement to say that our lives changed that day. We hung flags and pledged we would never forget. Part of that pledge is helping others understand exactly what we’re fighting for and what we lost the moment that first plane struck the North Tower.

Did you know that it took less than 2½ hours from the time the first of the soon-to-be-hijacked planes took off until the North Tower fell? That time line includes the crash of all four airplanes, the shutdown of all domestic flights in the U.S., the fall of both towers and the collapse of a portion of the Pentagon.

Did you know that of the 2,606 people killed in the twin towers and on the grounds of the WTC, families had nothing to bury for 1,100 of them? No remains were found for nearly half of those lost.

To put things into perspective for a moment, imagine this scenario: You, your husband and your two young daughters are leaving the U.S. for two months. You have gotten a prestigious appointment at a university in Australia, and the entire family is coming along to experience the Land Down Under.

It is a beautiful Tuesday morning, the sun is shining, the sky is crystal blue and the air is crisp. Everything seems right with the world as you set off on your expedition.

Your flight is running about 10 minutes late. You speak to your mom as you’re about to board. She tells you to have a wonderful ad-venture. You turn off your cell phone for flight.
Your plane finally takes off, and, soon after, hijackers use box cut-ters and knifes to take control of the plane, herding passengers and crew to the back. You may think about your loved ones, but you don’t make any calls. You’re too concerned with soothing the fears of your daughters.

This is the story of the Falkenberg family. Leslie A. Whittington and Charles S. Falkenberg, both 45, had been married since 1984. Their daughters were Zoe, 8, and Dana, 3. It was Leslie, an economist and associate professor of public policy at Georgetown University, who secured a short appointment as a visiting fellow at Australian National University at Canberra.

They died when their airplane, American Airlines Flight 77 from Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, hit the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. They were among the 58 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots who died on that ill-fated flight.

No remains were ever found for little Dana, one of the youngest victims of 9/11.

Her name is placed on a grave marker in Arlington National Cemetery where the cremated ashes of all remains not linked to a particular victim are buried. Other remains, which were identified, were included in this grave at the families’ request.

Remains of the five hijackers on the flight were separated from those of the victims before burial.

Dana and Zoe weren’t the only children on that flight. Bernard Curtis Brown II, Asia S. Cottom and Rodney Dickens, all age 11, were accompanied by their teachers — Hilda Taylor, 62, Sarah Clark, 65, and James Daniel Debeuneure, 58, respectively — en route to a four-day National Geographic trip to California. All three of those teachers held Master’s degrees and were veteran teachers in their school systems.

Bernard Curtis Brown II

Asia S. Cottom

Rodney Dickens

          A total of eight children under the age of 11 died on Sept. 11, 2001. The only children to die as a result of the attacks were on hijacked flights. The remaining three were on United Airlines Flight 175, which hit the South Tower.

Students as old as high school seniors have no frame of reference for what happened on that black Tuesday. They were too young to understand when it happened and may only now be curious about it because of media coverage of the 10th anniversary.

To quote a story I read earlier this week, “First and foremost, parents struggle with how and when to explain the disaster, especially to younger kids. For many children born after 2001, Sept. 11 is simply part of the wallpaper of their generation … but other kids, especially those old enough to remember the attacks, are more conscious of it. And their response to it can change over time.”

Children get older and rethink certain events with a new understanding.

Take some time this weekend to honor those lost 10 years ago and gently explain what happened on that bleak day to someone too young to remember.

We promised we would never forget.

To learn more about the Falkenberg family or any of the children lost, click their pictures.

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Remembering 9-11

The Flag Manufacturers Association of America urges all citizens to proudly display our nation‘s greatest symbol, the American flag, this Sunday, Sept. 11, in honor of those who fell victim to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This date has been designated as Patriot Day, but it has added significance this year because of the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

The President of the United States issues a proclamation each year in the days leading up to September 11, requesting that government officials and citizens observe the day appropriately. There is no better way to honor our country and our fellow Americans than by flying your American flag half-staff on the anniversary of one of the darkest days in our nation‘s history.

It is thought by many that the worst terrorist attack in American history brought out the best in the American people. We flew our American flags proudly, in a spirit of unity that has seldom been seen in modern times. We were brought together under one symbol and on this anniversary it is important for us to unite once again.

You still have time to get your flag from Fantastic Flags.

Another option is our American heroes flag, dedicated to supporting our heroes who are returning from the front. Purchase the American Heroes standard size flag for $24.99 or the garden flag for $13.99. All net proceeds from this weather resistant flag benefit military families and wounded warriors through Operation Homefront.

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Are you hiding from me?

New information from the Pew Research Center indicates that 80% of American adults own cell phones. Besides making a call, the most popular activities are texting and taking pictures.

For those of you who pretend to be on a call to avoid talking to someone unpleasant, you are not alone. There are 13% of Americans engaging in the same activity.

To read the entire report, click here.


A New Feature at Fantastic Flags

Now you can send your email address via text message to join our newsletter.

Text FANTASTICFLAGS to 22828 to get started.

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Tame Morning Madness

Mornings can be so hard to deal with. Getting out of bed is a chore and everything from there is downhill.

Here’s a solution: Create a launch pad for each member of the family and things will run smoothly. (We can’t do anything about helping you get up in the morning.)

Bless This HomeAccording to organizedhome.com, a launch pad is a single location to contain all the “out-the-door” essentials of life. Setting one up can be as simple as clearing a shelf in a bookcase and designating an area of the home as family’s Launch Pad.

For the little ones, the Launch Pad is home to permission slips, lunch boxes, homework, library books and science fair projects. For the household’s “big kids,” the Launch Pad holds handbags, car keys, return videos, dry cleaning and the day’s ration of Slim-Fast. One place. One special place to corral items every family member must have to leave the house each morning.

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What is your child’s learning style?

Best Mom EverIn honor of the start of a new school year, we bring you a quiz to determine your child’s learning style. It’s short – only 10 questions – so don’t fret.

Knowing whether your child is an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner will help you to aid your child with his homework and with topics that are difficult for him to understand.

The quiz is definitely geared to younger children, but you can use it for anyone of any age.

Also of interest, free printables for school and family.

A ton of free school worksheets.

And here’s a homework chart.

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