4-Year Checklist: What Your High Schooler Needs To Get Into College

Now that your child is an official freshman in high school, it's already time to prepare for their next step, college. While planning to attend college is a great start, students need to set an action plan early on in their high school years. This four-year checklist goes over what each high school student should work on to prepare to attend their university of choice.

Start Saving Towards Tuition and Living Expenses

College is expensive, even if your child manages to get a full four-year scholarship. There are other expenses such as textbooks, groceries, clothing, and gas for a car that they need to consider. Saving money in either a savings account or CD is the best way to ensure your child has money during their college years, so get into the habit of saving now. Starting their freshman year, your high schooler can even hustle on the side to save towards this goal.

Start Considering Career Choices and Colleges

During their summer break, new sophomore students should start thinking about their career path. Once they've figured that out, they can start exploring college choices. Early college visits help them discover if they want to be at a small local college or a large university. For instance, if your child is fond of math but happens to be shy, he or she may find that pursuing an accounting degree online may be a better fit for them than attending a traditional campus.

Work on Grades and Attendance

Sophomore students should focus on their grades and attendance now. By now, they have an understanding of their academic weaknesses and should reach out to teachers and outside tutors for assistance. A major part of college acceptance involves a high grade point average (GPA). Stellar attendance is also important, so your teen doesn't miss important tests and class projects that factor into his or her GPA.

Plan Electives with a Counselor

It's important to meet all graduation criteria for high school, but high schoolers also need to have electives on their transcripts. These are not only attractive to their chosen colleges and scholarships, but they also prepare students for their college major. Colleges list their requirements for admissions on their websites. Also, taking a few advanced placement (AP) courses will help strengthen your child's GPA.

Work on a Scholarship Resume

Nothing says organization like a resume for everything. Help your high school junior work on a scholarship resume. This is a compilation of all extracurricular activities such as leadership committees, yearbook clubs, sports, and volunteer opportunities. This will be an easy task if they create a checklist their freshman year. It can include all the activities they'd like to participate in by the time they graduate high school.

Start Taking ACT and/or SAT Preparation Courses

As the ACT and SAT are comprehension tests that evaluate what your child knows, it never hurts to prepare for the test. These preparation courses teach teens valuable study and test-taking habits, and they can start taking them as early as sophomore year.

Register for the PIN and FAFSA
Seniors need to register for their Federal Student Aid PIN number so they can complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA). Some scholarships require the results of this application to be submitted with a student's scholarship application.

Peterson's lists an excellent College Planning Timeline, which is a year-by-year guideline that you and your teen can use. Help your high schooler prepare for college by implementing the above tips.

#PaulieFionaGive and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Twitter Party!

Ruta Ett, the production company behind pre-shool cartoon Paulie and Fiona, is excited to announce a charity campaign in cooperation with Bloggy Moms. Our goal is to give $200,000 to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals!

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity’s Miracle Balloon icon. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Find out why children’s hospitals need community support, and learn about your member hospital, at and

The campaign launched December 1st and will run through May 2015.  We are excited to re-launch as Ruta Ett would love to give even more!  Our mission is to give greatly and we challenge you to help us do this!  Join us for a Twitter Party on December 18th to celebrate!

Throughout the campaign - Ruta Ett will donate .50¢ (Up to $200,000) to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals for each download of their new and free Paulie and Fiona iPhone app! It's that simple! We encourage you to download the app and challenge your friends to download the app as well. Imagine all the good we can do with one simple act.

Take the Paulie and Fiona Challenge!

Bloggy Moms - Bloggy Conference

Click here to download the free app and be a part of the Paulie and Fiona Give Campaign!

Challenge your friends to take the challenge by CLICKING HERE!

To celebrate the re-launch of this campaign, we invite you to join us at 8:00pm ET on December 18, 2014 for the #PaulieFionaGive Twitter party!

#PaulieFionaGive Twitter Party with @BloggyMoms

Join us Thursday December 18, 2014 at 8:00pm ET

for the #PaulieFionaGive Twitter Party!!!

Submit your RSVP below and attend the party for a chance to win:

Party Details

  • Where: Twitter
  • When: Thursday December 18, 2014 at 8:00pm ET


  • 4 (four) $100 Gift Cards
  • 1 (one) $200 Gift Cards

RSVP and Invite Your Friends!

Tweet Your Entry and Invite Your Friends!

Hop over to to RSVP!

This section pertains to the Twitter Party on Thursday December 18, 2014 only. No purchase necessary to enter. Giveaway begins at 10:00 p.m. ET on , Monday December 15, 2014 and ends on at 9:00 p.m. ET on Thursday December 18, 2014. The winners will be drawn randomly and announced during the @BloggyMoms #pauliefionagive Twitter party on December 18, 2014.  All decisions are final. All entries received after the Giveaway closing date and time will not be considered. Entries that do not follow all of the entry requirements will not be considered. The Winner will be notified via Twitter during the above mentioned Twitter party. Winner will have 24 hours to confirm their email address. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Open to participants in the US who are 18 years and older. Void where prohibited. Taxes on Giveaways are solely the responsibility of the winner. Winner agrees to permit Bloggy Moms and the Giveaway Sponsor to use her or his name, voice, photo, or likeness for reasonable promotional and marketing purposes. Bloggy Moms and the Giveaway Sponsor(s)are not liable for late or misdirected entries, entry errors, or transmission problems. Bloggy Moms reserves the right to terminate the Giveaway in the event of technical problems, or to correct typographical or technical errors, or to amend these rules. By entering, participants agree to release and hold harmless Bloggy Moms and Giveaway Sponsor(s) and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability or any injuries, loss, or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the Giveaway. Bloggy Moms will provide the name of the winner for any Giveaway, upon request, for 30 days after that Giveaway’s entry period ends. Unless otherwise provided by the Sponsor(s), no substitution, transfer, or assignment of prizes is permitted. Non-winning entries from one Giveaway are not carried forward to future Giveaways.


26 Yummy Cookies and Bars for the Holidays!

It's time to start baking for the holidays! I enjoy baking pies, breads and other delicious treats in the fall, but in the winter it's all about cookies and bars! This year, we'll be testing a few new recipes and making our the traditional sugar and chocolate chip cookies. We'll also be making our house favorite, buckeyes! They aren't cookies or bars, but they are oh so yummy!

When the kids were younger, they weren't big fans of gingerbread. It was a bit too 'spicy' for them. I'm hoping that this year, their tastes will have change enough to enjoy these delicious and beautiful gingerbread cut out cookies!

For Dan, I think he may enjoy the Italian Christmas cookies. They look so light and sweet!

I love sugar cookies. A lot. I can't pass them up and I'm so disappointed when they aren't yummy. I have a difficult time getting them as sweet and soft as I want. So I'm going to try this recipe for Buttery Cut-Out Sugar Cookies W/ Icing That Hardens. The kids will enjoy making these as they love anything they get to shape. We have around 200 cookie cutters and this turns into an all afternoon project. So much fun!

I'm deciding whether or not I want to make the Caramel Cookie Cheesecake Bars and take them to the family Christmas party. They look so good, but I'm not sure I really want to share them. Though, it is always fun having bringing the dessert that disappears the quickest, isn't it?

Which recipe below would you take to a family get-together? Maybe I'll make and take what you suggest!

Check out Cookies and Bars for the Holidays
by Tiffany Noth at

*This post is sponsored by Foodie. All opinions are my own.

Why you should check your engine fluids & a $50 giveaway with Sears Auto Center!

"This is a sponsored post, I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own."

I am going to be painfully and embarrassingly honest. I completely destroyed my first vehicle because I did not understand anything about vehicle fluids. I knew enough to put fuel into the tank. Yet, after that, I knew nothing. So, my first vehicle had a shorter life than it should have had.

As a part of the #SACRoadWarriors team, I have the opportunity to get a more in-depth look at vehicle maintenance. I had a great time visiting Sears Auto Center last week and getting an in-depth explanation of all the fluids your engine needs and why it needs them. I usually leave all of our vehicle maintenance up to Dan. I don't really have the time for it and he enjoys keeping vehicle records, checking different levels of this and that, making his spreadsheet, etc... I appreciate him for doing all of this. I would rather focus on the driving and traveling done with the vehicles. But my trip to Sears Auto Center was eye-opening. I need to pay more attention to the needs of the vehicle that I cart my family around in. I need to take care of it. When you think about it, we pay a lot of money for vehicles and put a lot of precious cargo in it daily. So, it only makes sense! Let's get to learning about engine fluids!

What’s the Deal with Differential Fluid?

That was the first question of the day. Say what? I have no idea! But, apparently, something is... different?? Well, it turns out that Differential Fluid is what keeps your Differential running smoothly and properly.

The Differential is a part of the Drivetrain and helps to evenly distribute power between each of your vehicle's wheels. As you take a turn, each wheel will have a different distance in which to turn and travel - hence the 'differential'. The fluids which keep this operating smoothly are very often overlooked. In my case, I'm not sure I had ever even heard the term "Differential Fluids". I knew what the Drivetrain was and the Differential but never knew to check the specific fluids that are required for that portion of the vehicle.

Transmission Fluid: The Other Dipstick

I'm happy to say that I did know about Transmission Fluid. Yet, I admit that I have never given much thought to checking or changing it. Since having killed my first car, I do know to check the motor oil. However, checking the other dipstick never crosses my mind.

The Transmission Fluid lubricates and cools your transmissions internal parts which helps the gears to smoothly shift and prevent damage. If not properly maintained, you can damage your transmission and that can will be an expensive part to replace.

Did you know: Transmission fluid also acts as the hydraulic fluid needed to power your vehicle.

Depending on the age of a vehicle, it may be difficult to quickly locate the Transmission Fluid dipstick. Do you think it is easily found on the vehicle below?

What's the difference between Coolant and Anti-Freeze?

Oh, trick question! They sound like extreme opposites, don't they? They are, in fact, the same exact thing. Depending on what time of year it is - you'll call it by a different name. Summer, call it Coolant. Winter, call it Anti-Freeze.

Coolant. Antifreeze. Radiator fluid. While each of these terms may sound very different, the fact is they all describe the same fluids that are critical to keeping your vehicle and its cooling system hydrated. Given its importance, one would think vehicle owners would carefully monitor and maintain the levels and quality of this fluid in their cars and trucks. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation claims that one of the leading causes of breakdowns on our highways is mechanical failures within vehicle cooling systems.

This, this fluid was the undoing of my first vehicle. The coolant/anti-freeze! I don't even want to begin explaining how much I didn't know about car care when I was 17 years old. But I will say this. Water is not the same thing and does not do the same job as coolant! It just doesn't.

It's also important to maintain your fuel system! To ensure your fuel system continues to operate effectively, consult your vehicle manufacturer service guide for recommended fuel system cleaning intervals

I can't wait for the next trip to my local Sears Auto Center! They've been a great help in teaching me how to maintain various aspects of my vehicle and I can't wait to see what they teach me in January. Stay tuned!

Remember to take a glance at that very important book which is probably getting dusty in your glove compartment. It will let you know the recommendations for fluid changes on your specific vehicle. Need to schedule an appointment at Sears Auto to have your fluids checked? Click here to get started!

12 Days of Car Care!

Keep an eye on the Sears Auto Facebook page and website for exclusive deals on Road Handler tires and Valvoline oil changes during the 12 Days of Car Care promotion from December 13, 2014 - December 24, 2014!


Sears Auto Center has provided me with a $50 Gift Card to giveaway! This gift card can be used at Sears or Sears Auto Center.

How to Enter: Simply leave a comment below about something you learned from this post or one of the links to all of the wonderful information Sears Auto Center offers.

Winner will be notified by e-mail. So, I must have a way of finding your e-mail address or please provide it below. If I can not contact you, another winner will be chosen.

7 Exciting Holiday Gift Ideas For the Whole Family

Do you have a tough time shopping for gifts? When it comes time for the holidays and you're racking your brain trying to make the gift-giving fair between family members, there's a solution: get a gift for the whole family that everyone can enjoy. Check out these ideas below.


Whether there's already a tablet in your home or not, another can never hurt. Buying one for the whole family can be a great alternative to buying a tablet for each one of your children. This is especially a great idea if you have little ones not quite old enough for their own device but still like to play games and learn on a tablet.

If you don't have a tablet at home, this will open you up to numerous handy apps. If you do have one, buying one for the family will free up your own so that you can have a private one while the kids enjoy a shared one. The iPad mini 3 is a good choice if you're an Apple lover. If you're an Android fan, consider the Google Nexus 9.

Sports Table

If your house is packed with guys, then you've probably had a tough time trying to come up with gift ideas for men. Good news! Your search is over. If your guys can't get enough of hockey, soccer, or tennis, even during the off-season, bring the sports inside with an air hockey, fooseball, or ping pong table. The good news? There are lots of models that feature multiple games in one. You'll have everyone gathered around the table ready to challenge each other in no time.

Ice Cream Maker

Everyone in your family is bound to benefit from new kitchen appliances. Why not make it something fun that will draw the kids into the kitchen and give them something to enjoy, too? You could start by exploring ice cream maker models. Or, if your family isn't big on ice cream, perhaps your kids would enjoy a cotton candy maker or even a popcorn popper.

Season Passes

Wherever you family likes to go often whether it's the zoo, a nearby museum, a sports arena, or an aquarium give your family the gift of experience this year by purchasing family season passes to one of your favorite places nearby. Not only will you family be glad that visiting will be a sure thing this coming season, but you can end up saving a lot of money depending on how often you go to places like this.


If you're on a tight budget this year and are looking for a super cheap gift for the whole family, a $35 Chromecast device is a great gift. Plug it into your TV's HDMI port and essentially turn your TV into a smart TV. With this little device, you can connect to the TV through smartphone and tablet apps like Netflix or Pandora to stream music, movies, and more through a wireless connection.

Board Games

Board games are another cheap option for the entire family. These more traditional games get the family interacting while eliminating the high cost of modern gaming consoles and tablets. Among some of the best selling games, you might consider buying Connect 4, Sorry, Trouble, and Life. If your family is all a bit older, games like Clue, Cranium, and Apples to Apples might be more appropriate.


Perhaps your kids have been begging you for that Hulu Plus subscription so they can watch their favorite shows as soon as they come out. Or maybe your family could use an Amazon Prime membership to gain access to movies or books through the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. Whatever membership you think you family could use, give them the gift of a subscription this holiday season. The good news is that subscriptions like this are usually quite affordable for families.

Buying something for the whole family will bring smiles to everyone's faces and save you money on buying more individual gifts. Which one of these ideas will you go with this holiday season?

© Copyright 2005 - 2014 All Rights Reserved. A Bloggy Mom | Disclosure | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | DMCA | Advertise | Bloggy Moms | Bloggy Conference Back to top