Graduation is just the beginning…..

18 05 2010

Certain milestones in life are memorable. Finishing school is one of them and whether you are off to college or out working on your own,  a certain amount of celebration is deserved. Just think about it, a time where there will be no one to tell you to get up and go to class or work, no one to remind you to eat the right foods or to get enough sleep. There may not be curfews or imposed study/work habits on a regular basis. If you want clean clothes, you will need to learn how to do laundry and clean your room. That means sometime shopping for things you need and organizing a system to pay your bills will need to be established if you don’t want to spend more than you have and end up with “extra” fees because you didn’t balance your checkbook. When you look at the big picture, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with achievement.

You are now accountable for the actions to be successful in reaching your goals. Your support system may not be as close by as they once were, so now it is your planning and skills that will be put to the test. How will you define success? What methods will you take to get to where you want to go?

Life is a journey…..we’ve all heard the quote and it’s true that we need to enjoy the time we spend, it’s a fabulous trip with all sorts of possibilities and challenges along the way. Each of us are responsible for the choices we make and how we accomplish the things we want. Whether you are a new graduate or looking at a change in a mid life career, goal setting is one way to secure the things you want Start with what is really important to you, what do you really want to achieve in life and make a list. Now, think about what you can feasiblely achieve in one year or even in six months. What kinds of efforts are you going to have to put forth? How much will it cost? How much time will it take? Consider all of these carefully as you make your plan. Put a date with your goal so that you will have some guidance as to when you think you can make it.

It’s only a guide, it can be changed if things arise that you didn’t plan on, but it gives you someplace to start. Write your goals down so you can see them and focus on them daily. If it’s money you want to save, then put a reminder card in your check book or around your debit card. Or if it’s time for yourself, put a note on the kitchen window or bathroom mirror to prioritize the day. Habits are hard to break and it takes effort to make new ones. Goal setting is one way to make getting where you want to go in life a little easier and it begins with every choice you make, every day.

Childhood Obesity Begins at Pregnancy

11 05 2010

When is it appropriate to worry about your child’s risk for obesity?  During adolescence? Or toddler years? Or when solid foods are introduced?  First Lady Michelle Obama, released a report from an expert panel today that says awareness should begin with pregnancy.  A woman’s weight before she becomes pregnant and her weight gain during pregnancy are two of the most important factors that determine, before a child is born, whether he or she will become obese.  Studies find that more than half of obese children become overweight before the age of 2. 

Pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant?  Here are the guidelines for pregnancy weight gain, based on a woman’s BMI (body mass index) before becoming pregnant with one baby (see here for having multiples):

  • Underweight (BMI <18.5): Gain 28-40 pounds
  • Normal weight (19-24.9): Gain 25-35 pounds
  • Overweight(25-29.9): Gain 15-25 pounds
  • Obese(>30): Gain 11-20 pounds

Breast-feeding after birth also helps, as studies have found that children fed that way are 22 percent less likely to become obese.

The report, which has over 70 recommendations, calls for action to help women, men, and children have healthy eating and physical activity habits.  The report wants restaurants to consider portion sizes and post more calorie information. Other recommendations include updated federal nutritional standards for meals served at school; more school-based nutrition education; and incentives to attract supermarkets to underserved areas.

Cheers, Julie

They Add Up Fast: Calculate Your Small Repeated Expenses

3 05 2010

The small repeated expenses are the “budget busters” for many people.  It can be hard to know the impact of these small items on your overall expense picture without adding them up.

The eXtension Financial Security for All web site features a new calculator for estimating the annual cost of small repeated expenses.  Go to the link and enter your expenses for items such as coffee, sodas, lunches, gasoline that you purchase frequently.  The calculator will add up the items that you enter on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.  You can see the approximate annual cost.

The link to the Budget Calculator is The link takes you to a short description of the calculator and then another link ( takes you directly to the calculator.   You can print your information or just review it online.


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