What would you do if your child or teenager threw a birthday party, and nobody showed up?

This didn’t happen to my son, but to my younger brother, on his 6th birthday (I was 17).

So my mom handed out every invitation and some parents actually responded and made sure they were going.

The day came and nobody showed up. My mom was furious and my brother was so sad. My mom was busy calling the parents, but I didn’t care about them, to be honest; I just wanted to cheer up my brother.

So I called some of my closest friends, and I told them, it’s my brother’s birthday party, come on over, there’s plenty of food.

In an hour they were there and we had a blast, we jumped in the bouncy house, and I taught my brother how to play FIFA, he opened his presents, and my friends actually got him something on their way. We sang happy birthday and he started crying and hugged me and we blew the candles together.

He forgot all about the people that didn’t show up and he slept like a baby.

For a Male, What Are the 10 Things We Must Know Before Getting Married?

  1. Prenuptial Agreement – Some people are afraid of discussing this but it must be addressed! Know beforehand whether one of these agreements are for you. You and your spouse should be on the same page on this before you get married. You don’t want to bring something like this to the table after the fact.
  2. Who You Are – I’m still in my early twenties and I’ve noticed that I seem to change drastically with each passing year. My 30 year old cousin told me that the person I am at age 20 will be a completely different person at age 25 and a completely different person at age 30. Sometimes it’s difficult for couples who marry young because as they age together they grow apart and become different people.
  3. Your Life’s Goals – You should have a rough idea of what you are striving for in life. It isn’t a good idea to bring someone into your life when you don’t know what you are doing with yours yet!
  4. What You Are Looking For – Before getting married you should know exactly what you are looking for in someone you want to spend your life with. What traits do you desire in your potential spouse? What traits do you refuse accept in your potential spouse?
  5. Children – You should know if having kids is in the plan for you and your partner. It would be a shame if you get married and both of you are on opposite ends of the spectrum on this issue!
  6. Living Situation – Sort out your living situation. Where will the two of you live and under what circumstances? Sometimes couples break up because they can’t decide on what city they should live in, especially if they are both from different ones.
  7. FINANCES! – This is huge. We need to remember that marriage is not simply about love. Marriage is partially a business transaction as well. You need to know how the two of you will manage your finances together. Plenty of marriages end not because of love but because of financial instability.
  8. Your Spouse’s Family – When you get married you are not only marrying your partner in crime, but you are marrying their family as well. If you despise your spouse’s family, don’t think that you can get married and find ways to avoid her side of the family.
  9. Trust – How well do you trust your spouse? Like seriously. If you find yourself constantly invading their privacy (checking emails, text messages, etc.) when they aren’t looking you aren’t ready to marry them. Relationships are built on trust and without it it it will inevitable crumble.
  10. Do You Love Them? – Stop and really ask yourself if you love the person you are considering getting married to. Do you love them or do you love the idea of them? Loving someone is a choice you make each and every day. If this isn’t something you are willing to do for the rest of your life for someone then marrying that person isn’t the right choice.

Scary Halloween Hacks for Kids and Parents

Most people think of orange and black at Halloween—but you can think green too. Costumes, candy, parties, and decorations are tons of fun, but they also effect the environment by creating extra waste and using more energy. Halloween can also come with a hefty price tag—in 2015, Americans spent nearly $7 billion to celebrate it. Tap into your creativity with these five ideas, which will save you money and protect the environment.

Check out our Halloween infographic below!

Hand out Fun Alternatives to Candy

Packaging makes up nearly 30 percent of our trash, including those little individually wrapped treats given out on Halloween. Often, candy comes in packaging that is not recyclable, although you can check with your local solid waste service provider. Instead of handing out individually wrapped candies, try handing out treats that are useful and have minimal packaging. Here are a few ideas for fun things to hand out, which you can often buy in bulk:

  • Halloween themed crayons, pencils, pens, erasers, markers, cups, stamps, or notepads.
  • Small games, puzzles, activity pads, or bookmarks.
  • Barrettes, costume jewelry, baseball cards, coins, or mini cookie cutters.

If you want to hand out candy, look for candy that comes in recyclable containers, such as cardboard boxes or foil.

When Trick-or-Treating, Walk Rather Than Drive

Rather than driving your kids around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating, walk with them. Walking saves fuel and produces no vehicle emissions. When you drive around from house to house, you’ll spend a lot of time idling, which can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour. So leave the car at home, and get some exercise with your family. You’ll burn off some of those Halloween calories and tire out your kids.

Make or Exchange Costumes

Host a Costume Swap

A costume swap is a get-together where everyone brings old costumes and accessories that they no longer want and exchanges them with other costumes. Make the atmosphere fun by putting out some refreshments and playing some tunes. Lay out some ground rules, such as the first person to touch an item gets the item. Separate kid and adult costumes and set up a dressing room. Ask guests to bring their own bag to carry home their loot. Have a plan for any unwanted costumes. You could ask guests to take their costumes home with them or donate unclaimed items to a thrift store.

If a costume swap sounds like more work than you want to take on, then keep it simple by just trading costumes with a friend.

Make Your Costume

A brief Internet search can give you some inspiration to make your own costume—there are a lot of do-it-yourself ideas available on Pinterest and other websites. With all the activities kids are involved in, chances are, you have some of their old uniforms, costumes from school plays (or a previous Halloween), and props. Take parts from these items, which are already cluttering your closets, and make a brand new costume. Often, you can also find what you need at thrift stores.

If you decide to purchase a costume, save it for another use or donate it to a second hand store after Halloween.

Consider Your Environmental Impact When Shopping for Decorations

  • Avoid buying decorations that can only be used once before you throw them away. Instead, shop for those that you can reuse each Halloween.
  • Look online for DIY projects to make your own decorations from things you already have around the house or that you buy from thrift stores.
  • Purchase fall-themed decorations, which can be put up for Halloween and used through Thanksgiving.
  • When purchasing Halloween lights, look for LEDs with the ENERGY STAR label and set them on a timer to turn on at dark and off at bedtime. LED lights last 20 to 30 years, and require 90 percent less electricity than conventional lights. The ENERGY STAR label is a simple way to identify energy efficient products.

Travel Can Change Your Child’s Life: Here’s How

WIRE TELEGRAM: The blue and pink Arabian princess dresses purchased in a souk in Marrakech are just one small example of the impact Morocco had on Liliana and Alia Hosseini, but for these children, the gowns are a vivid, tangible and lasting connection to a vacation that won’t soon be forgotten.

The two young Georgia residents, 4 and 5 years old, spent seven days traveling around the North African country this summer, a journey that included tagine for dinner, attempts to speak Arabic, camel rides and even a night spent camping in the Sahara, staring up at the endless canopy of stars.

For their mother, Sarah Hosseini, the trip was part of effort to expose her children to different cultures and ways of life.

“I really want them to understand the world in a broader sense, and understand humanity,” says Hosseini. “I think it’s very important to build the next generation of empathetic, worldly human beings.”

Often parents are afraid to travel with young children. Many worry about whether kids will be able to handle the unknown foods, long plane journey or countless other variables accompanying world travel.

What’s more, there are few organized resources specifically for families or parents interested in planning travel that includes children or is specifically geared toward children.

In April, Rainer Jenss, a heavyweight in the world of children’s travel, founded Family Travel Association, a website aimed at helping parents with all of these issues and more.

As the former publisher of the magazine National Geographic Kids, Jenss certainly has the credibility to establish such a site. But that’s not his only claim to being an authority on the topic. Jenss and his wife also took the brave step of spending one year traveling around the world with their two young sons.

He is passionate about the idea that travel can be life changing for children.

“The one thing parents tend to do is underestimate what their kids will like,” Jenss says. “That goes for food, for places to visit…It’s often the parents who are hung up on ‘well, kids want routine. When kids are taken out of their comfort zone it feeds this curiosity that kids have. And it’s important to do that while they’re young, because eventually that curiosity fades a bit.”

Not only does it feed their curiosity, but Jenss points out that traveling quite literally helps increase a child’s intellectual capacity.

The good news is that families are hitting the road in record numbers, but not enough are taking advantage of all the opportunities travel has to offer, Jenss says, noting that there are many wonderful experiences for kids out there that the public knows little about.

The Family Travel Association is a coalition of the travel industry’s leading suppliers, resources and experts on the subject of traveling with children. It’s not a site that books vacations for families, but is rather one developed to inspire families to travel, an effort that includes promoting child-friendly experiences families can share and simplifying the process of trip planning.

The site includes for instance, an interactive map linked to articles describing family friendly travel experiences in a particular destination. Click on a geographic location and articles with headlines such as “A Perfect Day in Sydney: Travel like a Local” pop up or “10 of the Best Active Family Sports Holidays.”

Customized searches can also be conducted on the site, by indicating how old your children are, what length trip you’re interested in and what sorts of experiences you’re seeking – cultural attractions, nature, adventure and more.

There’s also an advice section with information about topics that frequently worry parents such as air travel and health and safety.

“Ultimately what we want to do is unify the industry, to help traveling families, making it easier for them,” says Jenss. “We want to make sure parents understand there is so much more they can do with kids, then they are aware of. Travel with kids should be just as transformational as it is recreational.”

Yet another way to expose your child to all that travel has to offer is through Virtuoso’s Journey to Global Citizenship program.

Designed for families that view travel as more of a necessity than a luxury, or perhaps as a tool to supplement classroom learning, the program offered by the luxury and experiential travel network provides families with a travel advisor who helps map out a multi-year travel plan.

The opposite of scheduling a one-off trip, Journey to Global Citizenship is about building a personalized travel strategy for three, five or ten or more years.

Virtuoso’s David Kolner describes the program as not all that unlike meeting with a financial advisor to establish a family’s long range economic goals.

“The program looks at travel planning in a whole different light,” Kolner explains. “Think about a financial advisor who you sit down with to talk about retirement goals and you create a plan over an extended period of time. We really believe people’s most valuable, perishable asset is their free time. The idea here is – how do you maximize your most precious asset, your free time? So it involves mapping out a family’s anniversaries, milestone birthdays, graduations, all those things you want to incorporate into a multi-year travel plan.”

When applying that perspective to the opportunity to travel with your children, Kolner points out that “15 summers are really all you have.”

“The idea is to put together a really cohesive plan,” he continues.

But that’s not all. Establishing a family travel plan geared toward children through Virtuous also involves mapping travel to match activities and interests in your child’s life and perhaps to align with the subjects children are studying in school. In other words, bring classroom lessons in history and geography to life by planning travel experiences to some of the destinations they’re studying.

“The idea behind global citizenship is that by time the child graduates high school you’ve created a mix of experiences,” Kolner says. “You’ve given your child an education in and of itself. They’ve seen different cultures, spoken different languages, experienced different foods. It isn’t about getting on a private jet. It’s about experiences.”

These Books Will Encourage Your Kids To Read

WIRE TELEGRAM: It is well known that boys are slower to learn to read than girls. Becoming literate is a two-stage process. The first is the technical issue of learning the alphabet, becoming familiar with the sounds represented by each letter, and then associating each known spoken word with its set of characteristic symbols. Many people complete this stage but do not advance beyond it, as anyone who has worked in Third World countries where English is a second language will confirm. In native English speaking countries too, some people do not advance to the second phase: the stage where reading is pursued for interest and pleasure, becoming entirely fluent and involuntary. It is perhaps at this second stage, even more than at the first, that boys need more encouragement than girls.

One problem at the second stage is the certainty of coming upon new words, both known words not before seen in print and unknown words not previously seen or heard. At first, such words may be numerous enough to present a barrier that deters the student from making further progress, and can result in people being technically literate in employment, even at a professional level, and yet never acquiring the habit of reading for pleasure. Reading and writing remain forever associated with forced labour. It is in achieving unconscious fluency in reading, as every teacher knows, that the full glory of literacy is realised.

Older schoolboys and teenagers have a plethora of non-academic interests to distract them. Sport of all kinds and hobbies have always been there, and in recent decades, computer games and social media activities have become dominant. In the face of such competition, it takes an exceptional book to draw boys on to fluent reading, and it is interesting to identify some of the essential features.

A recent review of a book written for older schoolboys and early teenagers stated: ‘It reads very fast and I believe was designed to be read aloud to children and by children. Just wonderful adventure stories.’ This statement highlights three essential features. Firstly, for those with a short attention span, the action needs to be fast. Few beginner readers have the patience to plough through long descriptive passages. Secondly, by being designed to be read aloud, parents can share in the process, perhaps starting the reading, explaining new words and expressions and gradually handing over to the young reader. Thirdly, action and adventure is needed to keep the reader engaged.

It is essential that the book for boys does not appear to present a mammoth task of several hours’ duration. It should be seen rather as a succession of short stories that can be taken one at a time in easy stages. Finally, the book that is good for boys is likely also to be good for girls, as was found by the reviewer quoted above who concluded her review with: ‘I think both girls and boys would enjoy it.’

Older Children, teenagers and adults will enjoy reading the humorous tales of Saint George: Rusty Knight and Monster Tamer, as he serves as Minister for the Environment under King Freddie and Prime Minister Merlin the Whirlin. The first book of a trilogy was published in September 2015.