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Today’s families find themselves wanting to keep up with changes in their world; changes that happen at a faster and faster pace. Whatever your stage of life, Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences programs bring you knowledge you can use to make better decisions and improve your life. We bring you proven, reliable, non-biased information to help you with raising kids, eating right, spending smart, and living well. Feel free to post your comments to our articles or e-mail us a question that you would like to see answered in this blog.

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For more information about VCE Family and Consumer Sciences programs, visit us on the Web at: http://www.fcs.ext.vt.edu or contact your local office of Virginia Cooperative Extension:

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If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services, or other accommodations to participate, please contact your local office of Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
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Karen Poff

Safety after the storm...

When the worst of the storm is over, everyone is tempted to breathe a sigh of relief. But many cases of illness and injury actually occur after a natural disaster, as people return to their homes and go through the clean-up process. Take the following precautions to protect yourself and your family:
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Karen Poff

Back to school shopping sanity

Virginia's "sales tax holiday" the first weekend in August can make these expenses a little more affordable for families. But this year, to make the shopping experience even more enticing, retailers have created "Back-to-School Saturday," slated for Aug. 11.
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Karen Poff

OPT-OUT of pre-approved credit offers

Are you one of the many people who are annoyed by a constant barrage of pre-approved credit offers? If so, you'll be glad to know there is a solution to the problem.
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Karen Poff

Why test your drinking water?

Many of us don't give much thought to where our drinking water comes from. We just turn on the faucet, the water comes out, and we drink or cook with it. Some of us filter it through a pitcher to make it "taste better." But how often do we consider the more important question of whether or not it is safe to drink?
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Karen Poff

Knowing what to keep and what to shred

In the aftermath of tax preparation, you may be wondering how you'll be able to survive in the ever-increasing sea of paperwork. From one packrat to another, I know how difficult it is to part with paperwork you are afraid you might need someday. But you really don't need to keep all of it forever. Here are some tips to help you reduce paperwork to a more manageable lake or pond:
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Karen Poff

2011 tax tips

Some people have already filed their 2011 taxes, while others are still in the middle of preparing their returns. No matter which category fits your situation, these tax tips from the IRS are worth reading.
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Karen Poff

Don't pay to borrow your own money at tax time!

The advertisements for tax services around this time of year often come with an offer of a refund anticipation loan. They might have a different name such as "Rapid Refund" or "Fast Cash," but the fine print will show that the "refund" is really a loan.
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Karen Poff

Home insurance...renters need it too!

Everyone has heard of homeowner's insurance. Mortgage companies require it when you purchase a home to ensure that the house will be covered. Fortunately, homeowner's insurance also protects the personal property in the home, which benefits the homeowner, too.
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Karen Poff

Clearing clutter with freecycle

A reader sent a comment after my last blog about clearing clutter with Freecycle (thanks Kristin!). We weren't able to post the comment because of a policy of not allowing websites to be listed in comments. So, I'm writing this follow-up blog to tell you more about Freecycle.
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Karen Poff

Clearing the holiday clutter

During the time from Thanksgiving to New Year's, we create an extra 5 million tons of garbage. The extra waste is generated because the average American household increases its trash output by 25 percent during the holidays. To keep all of that extra trash from filling up our landfills, we need to think twice before tossing it into the garbage can.

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