Two Tips To Make More Family Time

January 5th, 2012 by Clifford

more-family-time - ts-86487690Written by featured guest author .

Time seems to be the one thing we all wish we had more of. Busy work and school schedules encompass most of our lives, leaving little time to enjoy anything else. This often means that family time is placed on the back burner. Since you probably schedule every other minute of your day onto your day-planner, why not schedule in “time with the family” as well? I know from experience how hard it is to manage a family’s day-to-day schedule. This is why I highly recommend everyone purchase a calendar for the sole use of family activity scheduling. At the same time, use it to schedule in Family Dates. In addition, I’ve found it helpful to make a rule in my home that breakfast, and at least 2 dinners per week, are eaten together.

1. Family Meals
Let’s start with the easiest way to spend time together. By making sure that a certain number of meals are always eaten together at the dinner table, you will give yourself, and your family, a chance to reconnect. Family meals offer the opportunity to talk about one’s day, problems or accomplishments, and what is new in everyone’s life. This is especially important for families with children in school. As a parent, you might just find out things you didn’t know were going on that you should’ve known about. If you, or your partner, is a die-hard workaholic, commit to a minimum of one or two dinners during the work week- and don’t cancel at the last minute!

2. Family Dates
Since you probably schedule extra-curricular activities, school meetings, and miscellaneous appointments, take the time to schedule Family Dates at the same time. Instead of sitting by yourself at the beginning of every month, bring the calendar to the dinner table the next time everyone is scheduled to eat together and complete the task then. Discuss how many days are available for Family Dates that month and then decide what everyone wants to do and when. Some ideas for Family Dates include a family game night, pizza and a movie at home, or a family outing to the zoo.

Kids grow up and move away, leaving only memories. Don’t let those be filled with busy schedules and driving back and forth, day after day. Instead, make sure you can look back and remember quality time spent doing things you loved together as a family.

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5 Reasons Why We Love the Show Community

November 12th, 2011 by rebeccac

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to television. You’ve got your soap opera drama enthusiasts who still DVR Grey’s Anatomy, your reality TV fans who tune into Real Housewives of Something-Something, your sitcom aficionados who are hooked into every new episode of How I Met Your Mother.

For our money, you should be watching underrated, cult-classic-in-the-making Community, a comedy about a collection of outrageous personalities on a community college campus who form a dysfunctional little family, and we’ve got five reasons why you should watch.

The people
You’ve got to see this first one coming, right? It’s Nontraditional Student Week, and we love Community because it features – say it with us, now – nontraditional students. We’ve pointed out how many people qualify in the nontraditional category, so now we’d just like to thank the creators for actually noticing that and turning it into a TV show.

The diversity
This sort of piggybacks on the last one – Community features people from all walks of life, there for different reasons, in need of different things. Our favorite is Abed, the Palestinian/Polish-American movie fan who’s both highly intelligent and socially awkward to the point of probably having Asperger’s.

The details
This is probably better to show and not tell. But just watch the story unfolding way in the background while the rest of the episode forges on.

The humor
Probably the most common words you could use to describe the show are “quirky” and “snarky,” and the truth is the show embraces both those kinds of humor and more. Awkward humor, pop culture humor, parody

The heart
Okay, here’s the “awwww” moment where we point out that, as silly as Community gets, it grounds itself in moments that can pack a punch. Just watch the third episode of the first season, “Introduction to Film,” and watch how the characters chuck the zaniness aside for just long enough to show some serious development and layers.

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Top 10 Weird and Unusual College Mascots

February 10th, 2011 by admin

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Traditional team college mascots are meant to strike fear in the hearts of the opposing team – to intimidate and unnerve. And yet, some have taken a different approach. Check out our list of the top 10 unusual college mascots!

Weird and Unusual College Mascots:

fighting-pickleUniversity of North Carolina School of the Arts Fighting Pickles
Though there are no official athletic teams, in the 1970s, students wanted a mascot for an annual touch-football game with Wake Forest. The slogan then was “Sling ‘em by their warts!”

The University of California – Santa Cruz Banana Slugs
The banana slug was chosen by the students as an alternative to the proposed official college mascot, the sea lion, in response to the fierce competition encouraged at other universities.

University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll WeevilsBollweevils
The men’s athletic teams are represented by the boll weevil and the women’s by the cotton blossom – a strange pairing since the boll weevil is the most destructive cotton pest in the country.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Hokies
Derived from a new cheer contest, the word “hokie” was made up solely as an attention-getter. The official definition is now “a loyal Virginia Tech fan.” The HokieBird, evolved from a turkey, which is the costume representation – the teams were once called Gobblers!

Webster University Gorlocks
This mythical creature with cheetah paws, buffalo horns and a Saint Bernard’s face was designed by school staff and students through a contest. Its name is a combination of the two streets that intersect in the heart of the town, Gore and Lockwood.

The University of California – Irvine Anteaters
UC Irvine is home of one of the largest student spirit squads on the West Coast, The Completely Insane Anteaters. Students chant “Zot, zot, zot!” during games – the sound the anteater’s tongue makes when he’s catching ants in the comic strip B.C.

Southwestern College Moundbuilders
“Moundbuilders” was coined in 1910 when the school was looking for a new nickname based on the fact that students lived on “the hill” on campus. It has inspired a Moundbuilding Ceremony tradition, allowing participants to add decorated rocks to a large pile.

Saint Louis University Billikens
Manufactured as a bank and statuette in the early 1900s, the billiken is a symbol of good luck representing “things as they ought to be.” HowFightingOkra it became tied to SLU is under debate, but the common element seems to be because of its resemblance to football coach John Bender.

Delta State University Fighting Okra
Though “Statesman” is the official college mascot, in the last 20 years, students have embraced the Fighting Okra. It originated from a discussion about how the Statesman wasn’t intimidating; that it should be something mean and green. Okra was the winner for being green, fuzzy and tough.

Evergreen State College Geoducks
“Goo-ee-ducks” are long-necked saltwater clams native to the Pacific Northwest that accompany the school’s Latin motto, which translates to “Let it all hang out.”

Start your college search at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter and check out all of our online degree options.

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Cougars Spotted on Campus!

December 3rd, 2010 by admin

shutterstock_64607965Cougars spotted prowling the student union, the library and yes, fraternity row. What’s going on, you ask? Are cougars, women in their 30s and 40s, off to college to conquest the male student body population?

Our point is, the student population on campus is no longer made up of mostly 18 to 21 year-olds. Today, we have a lot of non-traditional students. Military veterans are taking advantage of the GI Bill to go back to college. People impacted by the recession are going back to college. Many are going back to school to pick up technical skills.
Data from 2003 study shows that women are the majority of traditional and non-traditional college-age student population, 55 and 58 percent respectively. And among non-traditional students, 35 and older, two-thirds are women.

Hence, we have cougars spotted on campus!  But contrary to the perception this gives, studying, not dating an 18 year old, is mostly on the minds of non-traditional students. They get good grades and are focused on excelling and graduating.

Have you seen any cougars on your campus??

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Review – Pyramat Laptop Sound Booster

January 11th, 2008 by Key Magazine

Laptop Sound Booster This is a cool device. As everyone knows, laptop speakers are not exactly the loudest or clearest way to listen to audio. If you are a heavy gamer or like to watch movies on your laptop than you need to check this thing out.

At first I was a little skeptical about it, but after giving it a try I could see a benefit to using the laptop booster. It is incredibly light weight and will house any Mac to PC laptop up to 17”. The underbelly of this will keep your legs comfortable with its padded base and a sturdy top to sit the laptop on. The glowing speakers run on your laptops power giving you a boost for your games or while watching a movie.

The Laptop Sound Blaster includes a USB dock for playing your iPod, downside is that it runs on C batteries. This is the only strike against it I would say there is.
Overall, this is a nice little device. I think that there needs to be a way to run an iPod without using batteries and this would be complete.

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Freshman Zombies from University X

November 30th, 2007 by Key Magazine

Going off to college was an intimidating experience. For the first time, I was living away from home. I was in a dorm suite with seven guys I didn’t know. My best friend pledged at one of the fraternities, so we didn’t see much of each other during that first week. It could have been one of the worst experiences of my life.

I arrived on campus my freshman year and settled in to my dorm less than a week before the start of classes. Those days were torture. Surrounded by people I didn’t know, in a strange environment, I wanted nothing more than to go home. Then something strange happened. Just when I felt nothing could go right, some of the older guys in the dorm started throwing a Frisbee.

Soon, most of the guys and girls in the dorm gathered outside for the impromptu game. We talked. We learned about one another. Before long, someone suggested we all go to the movies. Minutes later, 17 of us were piling into cars to drive across town to the movie theatre.

Along the way, I discovered that two of the guys in the car shared my interest in comic books. They even offered to take me along to their favorite comic shop every week. I began to feel less alone. I started to feel like one of the gang.

We saw the latest horror flick. Everyone loved it. Afterward, we drove downtown to an old restaurant and overran an entire section. Our tables were crowded together, everyone talking and laughing. We ate chili nachos and swapped stories. By the end of the night, we were no longer a bunch of strangers prone to awkward silences. We were a crowd. We were “those guys.” We were now friends.

We had so much fun, we forgot that we were supposed to be missing our homes and families. The disaster that could have been my first college experience had been averted.

The following year, I felt that it was my responsibility to make sure that the freshmen students in our dorm had a similar experience. We included everyone, billing the event as the Second Annual Kuehne Hall Horror Movie Kick-Off Party. A group even larger than the previous year made the journey to the movies and the after-party at the restaurant.

It didn’t take a university-sponsored event or the work of the Student Life office to make a bunch of freshmen feel at home. All it took was a few upperclassmen who remembered what it was like to be the new kid on campus.

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Entertainment Reviews

February 3rd, 2007 by Key Magazine

1-2.jpg Paying for College Without Going Broke 2007 – (Book)
Author: The Princeton Review

If you don’t know how you’re going to pay for college, this book could be your new best friend. It has up-to-date application forms and will help you calculate your financial aid eligibility. It also gives great advice on negotiating with financial aid offices and receiving educational tax breaks. If you’re starting to feel stressed about paying for higher education, hit your local bookstore and grab a copy of this book.

Man of the Year
Rated: PG-13

Take a break from your English homework to check out Man of the Year, a film that’s both surprisingly serious and, at times, laugh-outloud funny. Robin Williams stars as Tom Dobbs, a talk show host whose audience helps him get on the presidential ballot. A flawed voting system leads to Dobbs unexpectedly winning the election. Laura Linney, Christopher Walken and Lewis Black all co-star in this powerful drama/comedy.

Introducing Joss Stone
Artist: Joss Stone

Introducing Joss Stone, the third album by British singer/songwriter Joss Stone, is a mix of R&B and soul sounds. This album, produced by Raphael Saadiq, was influenced by early Motown artists like Aretha Franklin. Stone combines this sound with several guest singers, including Common on the track “Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do” and Lauryn Hill on “Music.”

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FEATURED GAME REVIEW: X-Men the Official Game

August 10th, 2006 by Key Magazine

2-8.jpg Rating: 2 out 5 Snickts
Manufacturer: Activision
Game System: Playstation 2

If this were an X-Men comic book and not a video game, I’d probably read it once and stick it under the bed to gather dust. The main problem with this one is not so much in the story but the game play and stage design. In terms of the story, the game developers made a great decision in not having the game follow the third movie, (which was released soon after the game) but build up to it. The story arcs the mutants against the Brotherhood of Mutants and the leftover remains of Stryker’s army. Also, the locales switch to include some of Wolverine’s past and a good variety of characters from the X-men universe.

However, with a large cast of characters, it is hard to figure out why only three of the mutants are available to play. Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Iceman are the only team members you can pick from and rather than being to pick of them freely, they are dictated based on the mission. Another big part of the let down is that you are paired at different times with mutants like Colossus and Storm, yet they are wasted, weak and not very helpful at all.

Along with those issues, the stage designs look pretty good overall, but are quite basic and uninteresting. There is a ton of repetitiveness in the levels and, for the most part, there is no real strategy to winning. You just push the buttons as fast as you can and beat the enemies before your life goes out.

Overall, the game has some pretty solid potential. Like I said, the story is quite good. It just has a “rushed” feeling to it that makes it feel incomplete. The graphics and sound are actually excellent with most of the film cast lending their voices. It is just hard to believe that this came from Activision.

For a better time, check out one of the other X-Men games out right now. In terms of this one, better luck next time.

RECOMMENDED: Big Brain Academy
Rating: Four Brains
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Game System: Nintendo DS

Description: All the parents out there can stop screaming about how video games are not educational; Big Brain Academy breaks all of those rules. This game is like having a small pop quiz in your pocket. You’ll gain the ability to increase you memory, critical thinking and problem solving skills in order to analyze each problem.

Playability: The controls are simple. The interactive touch screen “brain busters” will get your gears turning to perfect your test skills. Touch the stylus to the screen and pick your answer or draw lines to direct the interactive quiz’s to get the correct answer.

Challenge: Many of the questions will try and throw you a curve ball, but once you get used to the game’s thought process, you will be tearing through the questions and burning the timer while increasing brain capacity.

Graphics/Sound: Graphics don’t come any simpler than this. They are colorful which makes this game driven by its questions which will bust your brain.

Replay: You never get tired of feeling smart, which is why the replay value of this game is extremely high. You might actually feel yourself getting smarter. I did!

CLASSIC GAME REVIEW: Super Mario Brothers
Rating: Four mushrooms
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Game System: Nintendo Entertain System (NES)

Description: Back in the mid-1980s, this game came with every Nintendo system sold in North America. As the remarkably agile (especially for plumbers) Mario or Luigi, you stomp, throw fire, and warp your way through nine separate worlds to rescue the princess from the evil dragon, Koopa.

Playability: Game play doesn’t get much smoother than this. This side-scrolling classic offers a nice break from the super realistic games of today.

Challenge: The difficulty increases just enough with each level to make it fun, but so does your desire to see what obstacles faces you at the end of each level.

Graphics/Sound: The throwback look and feel was a nostalgic rush that made we want to bust out my other classic teenage titles that I still remember the ins and outs. Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, start anyone? And, admit it: 8-bit music rocks!

Replay: For some reason, this game might have the highest level of replay value in the history of video games. Maybe it’s the catchy Mario soundtrack or the rush you get from hurdling over the dragon to rescue the princess. Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure: If you do get tired of playing Super Mario, someday you’ll be overcome with the urge to play it again.

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Serious Answers to Oddball Questions

August 10th, 2006 by Key Magazine

2-7.jpg When writing for tests like the ACT and SAT, and numerous admissions essays, your key to success may lie in your own experiences. But how do you use everyday incidents to make yourself stand out from the crowd? Easy. Draw from events that helped you grow, and don’t forget the details.

KEY Magazine interviewed Hillary Carlip, known for her talents using personal experiences in her work. The author, once featured on Oprah, recently released her memoir, Queen of the Oddballs, wherein she shares the pivotal moments of her life:

“My dad and Dr. Levenson tackled my brother in the driveway, where they held him down and forcibly maneuvered him into the backseat of the doctor’s car. My mother stood motionless with her hand stuck over her open mouth, a statue of fear. I clutched the book of Zen quotes I was holding as if I could manually force the lessons of enlightenment into my horrified body.”

Hillary Carlip certainly has an extra-ordinary life, which has included delivering singing telegrams, performing on the Gong Show, and starting a rock band of “ex-cons.” A proven master of translating her experiences through writing, Hillary offers KEY readers advice on taking life’s everyday events and turning them into captivating stories.

KEY: What types of memorable events did you include in your memoir? HC: Getting suspended from the third grade for smoking on the school playground while imitating Holly Golightly from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s … Being a headline-making teen activist, professional juggler and fire eater, [among many others]!

KEY: How do you bring details of these events to life for the reader? HC: Description is crucial. Show what happened rather than tell what happened. Describe from the senses – include smells, sounds, tastes, visuals. Colors, textures, images. Take the reader there with you.

KEY: How do you decide what is most engaging for readers? HC: No matter how specific your stories are to you, it’s good to look for underlying universal themes so readers can find something of themselves in your work – something relatable.

KEY: Is it necessary to approach writing with a set goal in mind? HC: Goals are like having a map, and it’s often good to know where you’re going and when you’ve arrived. But I also think it’s very important to let writing flow without imposing anything that could stop that flow.

KEY: What inspired you to recount your own experiences?HC: My life has been full of a lot of crazy adventures and escapades . I felt like I had stories to tell that would not only be entertaining and humorous, but also hopefully moving – inspiring people to live fully and to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness.

Queen of the Oddballs is an American Bookseller’s Association Book Sense Pick, chosen by independent bookstores throughout the country.
Hillary’s Tips!

How to Use Personal Experiences Effectively:

  • Figure out what’s unique and different about you.
  • Find a new, interesting way to tell your story.
  • Every effective piece has an underlying universal theme: Find your universal theme!
  • Dig deep and let yourself bare all.
  • Be honest.
  • Let the story tell itself; be open, and it will come to you. Go back to fix it up later.
  • Start in one place and end elsewhere with a personal revelation – take the readers on a journey with you.
  • Be sure to convey the lesson learned without saying, “This is what I’ve learned.”

Hillary also ofers some advice for blossoming writers. Here are some of her easy, everyday ways to improve your writing skills:

  • Don’t judge what you write at first. Turn off your inner critic.
  • Make writing a habit. Try to write at the same time and place daily.
  • No matter what comes out, just write for at least 15 minutes a day.
  • Include a beginning, middle and end to your piece.
  • Write for pleasure. Keep it separate from writing for school or work.
  • Write as if no one else will ever read what you’re writing.
  • Read a lot! Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, and try to figure out why.
  • Try different styles on. As an exercise, write like your favorite authors.

For more info on Hillary Carlip, please visit

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Top 16 Music Downloads

February 10th, 2006 by Key Magazine
  1. The StrokesJuicebox Somebody get this guy some Binaca – his voice is so loud you’ll be able to smell his breath through the speakers.
  2. The KillersAll These Things I’ve Done This glam group from Vegas rocks this one out with a little soul, asking for forgiveness from the only woman who cares to listen.
  3. Death Cab For CutieSoul Meets Body Take a journey through the thoughts of life and discovery of cleanliness with these suddenly hip geek rockers.
  4. Keith UrbanBetter Life The upbeat tempo in “Better Life” brings to life the promise of tomorrow. Keith Urban’s happy, hopeful vocals make you look forwared to the future he’s singing of.
  5. The SubwaysRock & Roll Queen Raw and unapologetic plea to be his rock-n-roll queen – repeat – be his rock-n-roll queen – repeat – be his rock-n-roll queen.
  6. KornTwisted Transistor The crown princes of suburban un-metal angst strike again. This time around they prove if the lyrics can’t be upbeat, at least the dance floor-ready music can be.
  7. Lindsey Lohan Confessions of a Broken Heart Herbie’s troubled teen pal gives a shout out to Daddy Dearest. This song basically disproves the notion that artists create their best work while starving.
  8. System of a Down Hypnotize The most eclectic band in metal is back with the sequel to their May release, Mezmerize. This title track is stunning, sweeping, beautiful and deadly serious. A must have.
  9. Kanye West Gold Digger Jamie Foxx channels Ray Charles once again to bombastic effect on his second tag team knockout with Kanye. Proof positive that Kanye is most secure in his trappings of fame and infamy.
  10. Gorillaz Demon Days: Feel Good, Inc. Gorillaz continues the 2D dance party in The Matrix with direct effect, minus Dan the Automator behind the decks, but flexible bass lines and surgically placed vocal samples bring you back with shaking booty, once again.
  11. 50 Cent Window Shopper 50 Cent proves that he’s no dime store bargain when it comes to lyrical flow. This smooth groovin’ cut features top shelf production, courtesy of the G-Unit Family.
  12. Josh Ritter Thin Blue Flame Idaho-native Josh Ritter believes Ozzy shouldn’t have all the fun. Folksingers can sing about the apocalypse, too. Download TBF months before Josh’s CD release, The Animal Years.
  13. Madonna Hung Up Madonna doesn’t exactly reinvent herself with her newest single, but she knows the perfect pop music equation: repeat same 13 words = easy top-10 hit.
  14. Sufjan Stevens Chicago From the concept record Come On Feel the IlliNOISE, this tribute to the Windy City proves Sufjan can maintain his indie-cred while playing band instruments
  15. Eminem When I’m Gone As Dylan is the poet laureate of Rock’n Roll, Em is the master wordsmith of Hip-Hop. When I’m Gone is the most honest look at the real Slim Shady to date.
  16. Jace Everett Bad Things We suspect Jace has heard of Johnny Cash. We think he’s probably even listened to J.C.’s music . just minutes before he wrote Bad Things.
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