Scent-imental: Holiday Smells Evoke Happy Memories

(NewsUSA) – Does a whiff of cinnamon bring back memories of your grandmother’s kitchen? Is the smell of a fir tree unalterably linked to Christmas morning? The sense of smell is uniquely connected to memories, especially during the holiday season.The connection between smell and memory is strong because it is so immediate.In fact, did you know that the sense of smell is the only one of the five senses that bypasses the rational part of the brain and goes directly to the limbic area, where memory and emotion are? Which is why when you smell something, it immediately takes you on a walk down memory lane, allowing you to recall the emotion associated with that scent from the first time you smelled it.This direct connection between smell and the brain is how aromas become strong memory triggers, often without our awareness until we smell the same scent again.Now think about how that plays out in your home.When you or a guest walks in, the strongest first impression will be the scent, and it will be the number-one thing that is sure to be remembered. It’s not a detail you want to overlook!Part of the fun of holiday festivities is revisiting the sights, sounds, and smells of the season.During the holidays, many Americans bring Christmas trees and greenery into their homes to create a festive atmosphere and evoke memories of wonderful smells from childhood of hanging wreaths and visits to tree farms. However, real greens are not always a feasible option due to allergies, pets, mess, and many other factors.More and more families in the U.S. are displaying artifical Christmas trees and greenery, and products such as ScentSicles Scented Ornaments provide an alternative that offers the beauty of holiday smells that bring the memories home."I genuinely believe that the sense of smell is the most important sense, because it is so closely tied to memory. One’s life is made up of nothing but a collection of memories and experiences. To have a sense that can literally take you back 40 years to your childhood on Christmas morning in an instant – well, it’s incredible," says Emrie Oliver, in-house fragrance expert for ScentSicles.The ScentSicles family of products includes Scented Ornaments that are designed to be hung on trees to add a fresh-cut scent to an artifical tree or extend the scent of a real tree.Scented Table Ornaments in the form of decorative glass jars with fragranced paper ribbons bring the aroma of the holidays nearby with no mess and no flame.Lastly, Scented Sprigs can be easily tucked into wreaths or garland to create holiday nostalgia and Christmas cheer. The products are created from natural, sustainably-sourced paper and infused with pure, holiday-inspired fragrance oils.Current ScentSicles fragrances include: White Winter Fir, O Christmas Tree, Snow Berry Wreath, Two Dashes of Cinnamon, and, new for this season, Spiced Pine Cones.Visit scentsicles.com for more information about the range of holiday options that help preserve old memories and make new ones.

Christmas Comes Early with Family Holiday Movies on UPtv

(NewsUSA) – The holidays are almost here, and fans of uplifting Christmas television can look forward to 45 films on UPtv, including seven Sunday night premiere movies. The network, known for family-friendly fare, kicks off 55 days of holiday programming starting November 1."At UPtv, we celebrate families through uplifting and inspiring stories," says Amy Winter, general manager and executive vice president at UPtv. "Our Christmas programming slate has something for everyone – whether viewers are looking for great movies about the true meaning of Christmas, the heart and humor that comes along with family, or just a little holiday romance, UPtv invites you to join us this holiday season," she says.In addition, UPtv brings back the fan favorite, Gilmore Girls "GilMORE the Merrier" marathon, for the week of Thanksgiving.The 153-episode binge-a-thon starts with a showing of the first episode on Monday, November 19, and concludes with the seventh season’s series finale on November 25. The marathon is hosted by actor Scott Patterson, who played Lorelei Gilmore’s love interest, Luke, on the show.This year’s original films maintain the UPtv holiday tradition of celebrating family, friends, love, memories and the true meaning of Christmas.The season kicks off with "A Christmas Switch" on Sunday, November 4. In a classic body-switching storyline, the movie puts two very different moms in each other’s lives to learn some valuable lessons as Christmas approaches. Struggling singer Audrey and wealthy record executive Julia learn that luxury isn’t more important than family, but that family time needs to be balanced with time for oneself.Other original features include "Christmas on the Coast," in which a crusty New York novelist seeking to lift her writer’s block goes home to small-town South Carolina and finds not only a change of scene, but also a change of heart.In "Christmas with a Prince," a dedicated pediatrician finds herself tending to her high-school crush (who happens to be a prince, and a spoiled one at that) after he breaks his leg on a nearby ski slope. However, tough love and Christmas spirit prevail to bring the unlikely couple together.To learn more about UPtv’s Christmas movies and to get the full schedule,visit www.UPtv.com, or check for updates on Facebook at facebook.com/Uptv, Twitter on @Uptv and Instagram at UP_TV.

Even During School Year, Fun Reading Important for Kids

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Most young kids love reading, but when the busy school year starts, it can be challenging to find the time to encourage them to read for fun.
It’s important to remember, however, that the more kids read on their own time, the higher they tend to score on tests.
In fact, about 76 percent of students who report reading for fun on their own time once a week or more perform at the high end of basic level testing, while 14 percent of students who never or hardly ever read for fun perform below the basic level, according to the American Library Association.
So how can we get kids reading during their free time when they’re already so busy in and out of school?
“Kids should be exposed to a variety of books and genres so that they can figure out what they enjoy,” says Stephanie Fryling, Vice President of Merchandising, Children’s Books, at Barnes & Noble. “If kids love the books and topics they’re reading about, like a graphic novel, they’re much more likely to reach for a book as often as a video game.”
It can be a challenge, however, to know what reading to get for your kids, let alone put down money for them.
That’s part of the reason bookseller Barnes & Noble started a national Kids’ Book Hangout. This free, seasonal event offers kids, parents, and caregivers a chance to gather together to learn about a range of books for grades 1-6, as well as play fun games and activities related to the stories and characters.
“We wanted to create a fun, friendly environment for kids to learn about new books and genres so they can find what interests them,” Fryling says.
The first Kids’ Book Hangout, held this summer, was a big success, drawing over 10,000 kids to Barnes & Noble bookstores around the country. Fryling expects the next Hangout to be even bigger.
The second Hangout will take place Saturday, October 20, at 2 PM, and features a range of books and graphic novels about friendship, adventure, and mystery. Barnes & Noble partner with Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books on the following titles:
* “The Cardboard Kingdom,” by Chad Sell
* “5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior,” by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
* “The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond,” by Max Brallier
* “Squirm,” by Carl Hiaasen
* “Monstrous Devices,” by Damien Love
During the Hangout, booksellers will introduce the books to the kids along with games, activities, and free giveaways. Barnes & Noble will also sell the books for 20 percent off in stores and online on the day of the event.
To sign up at their local Barnes & Noble, parents can go to bn.com/bnhangout and register for free.
For this Hangout, Barnes & Noble also partner with DOGObooks, where kids can discuss, rate, and review the selected titles. Kids can visit the Kids’ Book Hangout page at DOGObooks.com before or after the Hangout.

New Solution Helps Parents Manage Kids’ Device Use at Home

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Nearly three quarters of parents wish they had a way to turn off their children’s Wi-Fi access, according to results of a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Comcast.
Parents are right to be concerned as device use reportedly rises with the warmer temperatures. In fact, they say that children spend as much as four more hours a day online during the summer months.
Comcast’s latest “Active Time Alert” feature on Xfinity xFi, available with Xfinity Internet, however, can help parents set healthy time limits for their child’s device use at home. Xfinity Internet customers with a compatible wireless Gateway can easily access xFi features for no additional charge online, on their TV via the X1 voice remote, or on the xFi mobile app. Parents simply create and choose a child’s user profile within the xFi app and set time limits on the in-home network for weekdays and weekends.
The survey also found that use of Wi-Fi devices can easily overtake other vacation activities. Over half (56 percent) of the parents of teenagers responded that they thought their teens would prefer to go online rather than play in the ocean during a vacation.
Additionally, according to the survey, 76 percent of parents report that their children are more addicted to their devices than to candy. So what is a parent to do?
Of the parents surveyed, about 73 percent say that they set limits on devices such as computers and gaming consoles, and 51 percent report setting limits on only their children’s devices, such as laptops and tablets.
The xFi platform lets users know exactly which devices are connected to the in-home network at what times and for how long. With “Active Time Alert,” parents can choose to receive a push notification, text or email alert when their child is approaching his or her device time limit. Once parents receive the alert, they can either choose to extend the time or pause the child’s Wi-Fi access. Another xFi feature allows parents to either pause or stop the Wi-Fi connection to a child’s device in the home anytime and to prevent devices from accessing Wi-Fi.
This survey and Comcast’s new xFi feature align with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to prevent device use from interfering with sleep, exercise, and face-to-face family interaction.
The Wakefield Research and Comcast survey include responses from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 parents in the United States aged 18 years and older.
Xfinity xFi is available to Xfinity Internet service customers with a compatible Xfinity Gateway and is limited to the home Wi-Fi network. For more information about the Xfinity xFi platform and availability, visit www.xfinity.com/xfi.

Summer Break Means 25 Percent Break for Educators, Administrators

(NewsUSA) – Teachers deserve every break they can get. Reports show that wages for educators have been declining, and some work two jobs to make ends meet. Meanwhile, many teachers pay out of their own pockets for books and supplies. As the new school year approaches, Barnes & Noble wants to make it a bit easier for these dedicated educators and administrators.Year-round, the bookseller recognizes all the wonderful things that educators do by giving them 20 percent off school supplies. Each weekend in August, Barnes & Noble amplifies their thank you with an Educator Appreciation Month. Each weekend in August, Barnes & Noble increases its discount to 25 percent for most books, gifts, games and toys for teachers and administrators, including items in an expanded back-to-school section."Educators do so much for us, our children, and our communities," says Tracy Vidakovich, Vice President, Business Development for Barnes & Noble. "That’s why we try to give back in different ways, including our year-round offers for teachers, as well as special appreciation periods like this August’s 25 percent discount for most merchandise in our stores."While educators are shopping during these August weekends, they can also treat themselves to drinks and food at Barnes & Noble Cafés for 10 percent off. In addition, they can snag educational tech products, such as Code Gamer learning kits, at a 10 percent discount.When it comes to back-to-school shopping, Barnes & Noble has a lot to choose from this year. The bookseller not only has the books, pens, and other school supplies educators need, but it has an expanded collection of back-to-school items that includes JanSport backpacks, S’well water bottles, and Skullcandy headsets."Between grading assignments, communicating with parents, and planning classes, teachers are busy well beyond the school year," Vidakovich says. "That’s why we want to support them and make things easier by helping them save throughout the year, whether they’re teaching or preparing for their next class."Barnes & Noble’s Educator Program has been dedicated to providing discounts to public, private, and home-school educators for about a decade. Sign-up is free. After this August’s Educator Appreciation days, Barnes & Noble’s next major educator deal will come in the fall, with another Educator Appreciation Week from October 6-14, 2018.To take advantage of these discounts, educators can enroll in-store, or by completing the Educator Application online and bringing it to their nearest Barnes & Noble location. Educators can also find more information at www.bn.com/h/bn-educators

Making Reading Social for Your Kids at New Book Hangouts

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – With so many TV shows, videos, and games vying for a child’s attention, it can be hard to keep him or her inspired to read. It can be even harder to do so in “real life” settings, but interacting with other kids and sharing excitement for a series or character is often more powerful than swiping a screen.
Enter the Barnes & Noble Kids’ Book Hangout. This new nationwide program invites kids aged 6 through 12 to go to their local Barnes & Noble to hang out, talk books, and play fun games and activities – all “in real life.”
Through this new program, Barnes & Noble booksellers will lead kids in games and activities related to select titles that showcase a range of genres and tastes.
“The whole idea of the Hangout is for kids to see how much fun reading can be, and that enjoying characters, stories, and books really can be a social experience,” says Stephanie Fryling, Vice President of Merchandising, Children’s Books. “If the kids walk away with a new favorite character or series that motivates them to keep reading, then we’ll have done our job.”
The first Kids’ Book Hangout starts Saturday, July 28, at 2 p.m. in every Barnes & Noble store nationwide. Kids don’t have to read the featured books, and everyone from 6-12 is welcome. The national bookseller will continue to host Hangouts on a seasonal schedule.
For the inaugural gathering, Barnes & Noble has teamed up with Penguin Young Readers to showcase titles that include heartfelt poetry, a hilarious Caveboy, a mysterious adventure, and a Beatle-crazed young woman. The books are:
* Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
* More Scrawny Than Brawny, by Aaron Reynolds
* The Basque Dragon, by Adam Gidwitz
* She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah), by Ann Hood
The four titles will be 20 percent off all day at Barnes & Noble on July 28, and Frappuccinos and smoothies will be $1 off for Hangout participants.
The first Hangout comes at a great time for parents struggling to keep their kids reading during the summer. When school starts up again, the Hangouts will be a good reminder that books aren’t just for classrooms.
“The relationship people have with books and reading often starts in childhood, and we hope these Hangouts will help parents and caregivers lay a great foundation for young readers,” Fryling says.
The program adds to Barnes & Noble’s other offerings for kids, including the earn-a-free-book Summer Reading Program, and weekly Storytimes for younger kids.
The bookseller has more information on its website: www.bn.com/bnhangout, and will be posting about the event at #BNHangout.

Everything Newlyweds Should Know about Coupling Finances

Turns out that “coupling” doesn’t just mean “pairing” in the traditional sense, but is also a catchphrase when it comes to finances. As we head into wedding season, it’s especially relevant. Because as much as you may think no two people have ever been more in love than you are, the truth is that it could be less than smooth sailing ahead if you’re not on the same page when it comes to financial matters.

“Couples have a very hard time talking about money,” Joan Atwood, a Hofstra University professor of marriage and family therapy, bemoaned on an NPR “Money Coach” segment on the issue. “I would say it’s the last taboo.”

Summertime Boating Safety Tips for Families

(NewsUSA) – As summer approaches, many families look forward to more time on the water together.The fun might include boating and other watersports, such as tubing, skiing, or wakeboarding. Preparation and education are the keys to a safe and successful day on the water. So get the summer off to a great start by making sure passengers of all ages have well-fitted lifejackets and understand safety procedures.When fitting a child’s lifejacket, be sure to select the current size. Don’t put a child in an adult lifejacket or buy one in a larger size for a child to grow into. Rather, put the jacket on the child and buckle and secure all straps. Then lift the child’s arm up over his or her head and pull up on the jacket. If it slips off, it’s too big.BoatUS offers a helpful video to show correct fit on their website, BoatUS.org/fit-video.If you don’t own a lifejacket and aren’t prepared to buy one, borrow one from a friend or neighbor, or borrow one for free through the BoatUS Foundation Kids Life Jacket Loaner program. Find information about their 550 locations at BoatUS.org/life-jacket-loaner.Be sure a child or anyone else riding behind a boat not only wears a lifejacket, but also knows the hand signals to communicate with the boat driver while being towed.The following hand signals and rules of the water will ensure that everyone has fun and stays safe:* If the speed is right, use an OK sign with your thumb and first finger.* If you want the driver to go faster, use a thumbs up; to slow down, use a thumbs down; and use a slashing motion across your neck to stop.* If you fall off, raise both arms above your head and clasp your hands as soon as possible to let the boat driver know you are okay.Find more signals at BoatUS.com/hand-signals.* While waiting in the water, ready to be pulled or towed again, be patient and allow the boat captain a little time to safely deliver the towline or tube to you.* If you decide to come back aboard, the driver will allow the boat to drift to you with the engine off. When reboarding, use a step, deck, or boarding ladder only after the boat driver has signaled that it is safe to get back in the boat.* Never swim near a boat while the engine is on.Visit BoatUS.org for more information about staying safe on the water this summer. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and have fun! 

Working Moms Stay Connected to Children Through Messenger Kids

(NewsUSA) – According to research from Working Mother Research Institute and Messenger Kids, 79 percent of working moms find that there is a constant struggle to find the right balance between being at work and being with their kids.They never want to miss a moment with their kids, but also feel the pressure to be present at work.Getting updates throughout the day makes working moms feel more connected to their kids, and Messenger Kids, a new app available in the US for iOS, Android and Fire tablets, is making it easier for working moms and their kids to talk.Messenger Kids puts the power to communicate in the hands of children and lets them reach out to mom whenever they need to."After talking to thousands of moms and working with the Working Mother Research Institute, we’ve found that 84 percent of moms wish they could have a brief look into how their child’s day is going. Most feel there’s a need for apps that let kids connect with people they love, but also have the level of parental control parents want," says Antigone Davis, Facebook Global Head of Safety.Communication apps such as Messenger Kids have many benefits, including:•  Connection. Apps are a great way for children to connect with the people they love. With Messenger Kids, kids can video chat and message with parent-approved contacts once their account is set up by a parent or guardian.•  Creativity. An app should be fun and allow kids to express themselves within the limits set by parents. Messenger Kids features a library of specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools that let them decorate photos and videos and have more fun with video chats.•  Control. Messenger Kids helps ease parents’ concerns about how children are using devices and whether they are using apps that are age-appropriate. It also gives parents more control. Parents fully control the contact list and kids can’t connect with people that their parent does not approve.•  Convenience. Apps, especially those built for kids, must be easy to set up and use. Once the account is established, the home screen shows kids at a glance whom they are approved to talk to and when those contacts are online. In addition, parents can chat with kids through their regular Messenger account, so it’s convenient for both parent and child.This Mother’s Day, and every day with Messenger Kids, moms never have to miss a moment.

This Subscription Box Helps People Do Good and Feel Good

(NewsUSA) – In today’s busy world, the convenience of products and services delivered directly to your home makes life easier. But you can receive more than the usual groceries, diapers and dog food. You can get support and encouragement, and bring about positive change to a world in need.Faithbox is a subscription box that meets this need by providing ongoing spiritual support and inspiration, as well as a way to do good works.Here are a few of its benefits:Good works: Its charitable focus allows you to do good and affect positive change. Faithbox is a company making a difference to people who want to make a difference. Products in each box are sourced from companies and organizations that don’t exploit people or nature. Rather, they support and empower eco-friendly, humane and sustainable organizations.Consistency: Fresh, thought-provoking tools promote daily practice, which in turn promotes growth, change and improvement in any area of your life. That includes both your spiritual and emotional health.Convenience: At-home delivery makes it easy to have regular, ongoing access to new and uplifting devotional materials and unique products that embody good works. This convenience is especially helpful for anyone who wants to find new, faith-based products, or who lives in a remote area where they might not be readily available.For many people, a regular dose of inspiration, along with the anticipation of something positive and new every month, is a strong way to supplement their spiritual journeys. Faithbox’s devotional materials and products are built around a monthly theme, such as Leadership, Journey, Grief, Connection, Transformation and others. Each product in Faithbox is mindfully and conscientiously curated based on the month’s theme. Faithbox has several subscription options, including monthly, three-month and one year.Visit Faithbox.com for inspiration and more information.