The Best Atlanta Suburbs to Live In and Raise Kids

Atlanta is surrounded by suburbs filled with families raising children. Life outside the city offers a more laid back lifestyle with access to Atlanta’s museums, sports teams and events. The one that is best for your family will depend on your unique needs, but certain suburbs have been noted as meeting specific criteria often desired by families. If your priorities are good schools, low crime and things to do

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, these suburbs might be right for you.
Marietta is located northwest of Atlanta and is easily accessible via Interstate 75. The central spot is Marietta Square, which has shopping, restaurants, farmer’s markets, 5K events and a park with a free concert series. This suburb boasts museums, theaters and 18 parks. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is nearby, offering 18 miles of trails, a Civil War museum and war reenactments. Marietta also has many strong schools that earned a 9 or 10 rating on GreatsSchools.org– the site bases ratings on standardized testing scores. Lassiter High School was ranked seventh in Georgia by U.S. News and World Report.
Roswell, north of Atlanta, is listed third in Frommer’s “Best Places to Raise Your Family” and is ranked the 18th safest city in the United States according to City Crime Rankings. It has also been honored twice by Atlanta Magazine as the best place to live in the metro area. It has several parks and trails, including some along the Chattahoochee River. Historic Downtown Roswell has been revitalized and is packed with restaurants and shops, and the weekly event, Alive After 5, fills the streets every Thursday all summer long. A number of Roswell schools have also achieved ratings from 8 to 10 by Great Schools.
Suwanee is about 30 miles north of Atlanta and has been recognized by “Money Magazine” as one of the country’s best small communities and by Kiplinger.com as one of the best to raise children. It has more than 500 acres of parkland and miles of walking and biking trails

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. Town Center Park is a major gathering site for events and the Big Splash interactive fountain. It is served by Gwinnett County Schools, the largest and one of the best school systems in the state.
Located east of Atlanta, Decatur has small-town charm, access to MARTA–the city’s public transportation system–and fiercely loyal residents. It is minutes from downtown Atlanta and Stone Mountain Park. Decatur Square is full of unique shops, restaurants and live music venues. Eddie’s Attic is one such venue and the place where the Indigo Girls, Sugarland, Sean Mullins and John Mayer played in the early days of their careers. Decatur hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the Decatur Book Festival and the Decatur Arts Festival. The Decatur City School System is highly regarded.

Make Your Own Bubble Bath

After a long, hard day at work, slipping into a warm bubble bath sounds like a luxury fit for a queen. Commercially made bubble bath products do the job, but they’re often loaded with strange chemicals that cause your skin to break out in a rash, or worse. If you’re not a fan of store-bought bubble bath, you don’t need to give up the suds completely. Instead, give making your own bubble bath a try. You can even add essential oils for a custom fragrance that you’ll love.
Mix 4 ounces of liquid Castile soap with 3 ounces of liquid coconut oil or glycerin

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. Castile soap comes in several different scents, such as lavender, peppermint, rose and an unscented variety.
Add 4 cups of distilled water to the soap mixture. Stir well until suds form.
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for fragrance. To make a minty bubble bath, use three drops of peppermint oil, three drops of spearmint oil and six drops of eucalyptus oil. For a citrus bath, add three drops of lemon oil, four drops of grapefruit oil and six drops of orange oil. Try ylang ylang and jasmine oil for a romantic fragrance, or lavender and patchouli for relaxation.
Pour the bubble bath into a container with a lid. Seal the container and shake well.

Lincoln MKT Concept

The Lincoln MKT Concept seems more like a platform for fuel-saving technologies than a potential production luxury vehicle. The second Ford product introduced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, the four-door “bustle back” features a rear hatchback design and the maker’s new EcoBoost engine technology.
EcoBoost, as Ford dubbed its family of high-efficiency engines, is offered as an alternative to hybrid drivetrains offered by other manufacturers

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. E85 capable, EcoBoost engines will feature direct-injection fuel delivery and turbocharging.
The V6 in the MKT concept displaces 3.5-liters and is rated at 415 horsepower. Ford claims that when mated with a six-speed automatic transmission, the EcoBoost engine will use 20 percent less gas than a V8 producing the same horsepower.
Lightweight composite body panels take the place of steel stampings and contribute to MKT’s overall fuel thriftiness.
Inside, MKT has “first-class cabin” accommodations including fully reclining bucket seating for four. Up front, vital vehicle information is projected onto a curved area of the center stack instead of displayed in a digital readout or on a video screen.
Though there are no immediate production plans for MKT, the concept could foreshadow a large Lincoln SUV based on Ford’s upcoming Flex crossover. Expect such a vehicle to offer seating for up to seven passengers.

The Types of Sacrifices Athletes Make

Being an athlete is a lifestyle that consumes every aspect of your life. Whether you¡¯re a professional athlete, recreational athlete or participate in a sport while you¡¯re in school, you¡¯ll have to make all kinds of sacrifices in order to succeed. It¡¯s important to surround yourself with a strong support system — people who understand your desire to be the best and will support you through thick and thin.
Being an athlete is an around-the-clock commitment. You¡¯ll have to give up a big chunk of the free time you spend with friends, family or just by yourself lounging on the couch. When you¡¯re not at the gym or out on the field, you¡¯ll be studying videos of your past performances, opening your eyes as to how you can improve in the future. You might even watch film footage of your competitors so you can learn their strengths and weaknesses to give you a competitive edge.
When you¡¯re in training, you¡¯ll have to follow a rigid diet plan set forth by your physician, trainer or dietitian. You have to consume a precise amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat, meaning you might have to give up on the freedom of selecting your favorite foods and refuse to give in to your cravings. Not only will you have to eat certain foods, but also you¡¯ll have to eat them at specific times, often every few hours while you¡¯re awake.
Long gone are those days when you can press snooze on your alarm clock over and over when you¡¯re in training

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. Being an athlete is a full-time job so you have to start early and work late in some cases. But when you¡¯re in training, you don¡¯t get to take weekends and holidays off. You still have to continue to stick to a rigid sleeping schedule and get up early enough each day to meet with your trainer or team.
If you¡¯ve ever had a sore ankle, back or wrist, you might have taken a day or two off of work to let it rest. You don¡¯t always get that luxury of taking time off, or even taking a break, when you¡¯re an athlete

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. You¡¯ll have to learn to work through the pain, especially if you have a group of teammates who rely on you to get the win.
When you¡¯re still in school, you¡¯ll most likely miss out on a lot of the educational experience package. You might not spend as much time on campus as a traditional student and have to hire a tutor to help you stay up to speed on your studies. You¡¯ll miss out on after school activities, class time and social events that other students get to do. Depending on your travel schedule, you may have to give up a traditional graduation ceremony as well.

1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark

The 1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark is credited with being a highly underrated pioneer of the sporty compact idea. It’s ideal transportation now for those collectors who’d prefer to drive a pleasant everyday car that can be sold later for more than they paid for it. Values should keep pace with the rate of inflation, and may even exceed it slightly.

Convertibles are naturally more desirable than the coupes, and more expensive. Buick’s aluminum V-8 gives decent go. An efficient V-6 was available for 1962-1963, and delivers good economy. Quality and luxury are surprisingly good, with great attention paid to soundproofing for that big-car feel so beloved by Detroit. It’s still quite contemporary compared to much newer designs.
Pluses of the 1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark:
Minuses of the 1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark:
Production of the 1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark:
Specifications of the 1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark: Wheelbase, inches: 112.0 (1961) 112.1 (1962-1963) Length, inches: 188

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.4 (1961-1962) 192.1 (1963) Weight, pounds: 2,687-2,871 Price, new: $2,621-$3,012
Engine for the 1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark:
For more 1961-1963 Buick Special Skylark specifications, go on to the next page. Want more information about classic cars? See:

Residential Treatment for Obesity

Residential or immersion-type obesity programs are intensive interventions that help individuals lose significant weight and improve other aspects of their lives. Treatments vary according to length of stay and daily schedules, but most integrate exercise, nutrition and psychology in their approaches. Residential obesity programs provide safe, supportive spaces necessary for both physical and emotional change, an opportunity not available to many overweight individuals in their current environments.
Participants in residential treatment for obesity exercise regularly and consume a reduced-calorie diet, but they also attend health classes and visit with physicians and psychologists, reports a study from the Duke University Medical Center. People also learn how to restructure their responses to boredom; instead of turning to food, they hike local trails or visit area attractions during their leisure time. Finally, while immersion elicits drastic change, this change is not always maintained when the participant returns to the home environment. Consequently, residential obesity programs provide support networks for people who have graduated from treatment, including phone therapy sessions and feedback for exercise and food journals.
Structure House, a residential weight loss center in Durham, North Carolina, says both male and female participants lose more than 6 percent of their total body weight on average over four weeks. However, while these results are important for obese individuals, they are not the only benefits of immersion programs

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. The Duke University study found that over 80 percent of participants report improvements in quality of life, including physical flexibility and mobility, and self-esteem and self-concept. Individuals also experience decreases in blood pressure and cholesterol, and many diabetic participants erase their dependence on insulin.
Most residential treatments for obesity average four weeks in duration, although both longer and shorter options are available. Structure House, for example, offers both extended stay programs and condensed return visits for participants who require more intervention. Adolescents can attend summer fitness camps for four to eight weeks and can enroll in specialized boarding schools for multiple years.
Residential treatments for obesity are available across the country and around the world. For adolescents, programs include both year-round academic facilities and summer weight loss camps. Adult facilities are more numerous, and reputation is an important factor in determining which treatments are truly successful. According the New York Times in a 2005 article, Durham, North Carolina, is known as the Diet Capital of the World, and most studies on the efficacy of residential treatments for obesity have been done at centers located in this city. The higher concentration of programs in the area has attracted more medical professionals, health experts and clinical researchers than are available at comparable facilities in other regions.
The multimodal approach offered by residential obesity facilities, while beneficial, is expensive. A four-week stay can cost over $10,000, and that does not include personal purchases such as clothing or medical supplies like glasses that will need to be replaced as individuals lose weight. Additionally, immersion programs are not always a one-time cost; when participants do not maintain their routines at home, they return for further treatment. Many programs accept only private pay, and many insurance companies do not reimburse for residential obesity treatments. However, IRS Ruling 202-19 does allow some morbidly obese individuals to deduct immersion programs from their taxes as qualifying medical expenses, and many businesses allow employees to include these treatments in their Flexible Spending Accounts.

Highest-Rated Recumbent Exercise Bike

Decisions about new exercise equipment can be personal. What works for you may not work for someone else

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. Even within the same segment, such as recumbent bikes, an expensive, feature-rich bike might be best for your workout partner, while you might prefer a solid yet simple machine. At each price point, however, there are highly rated recumbent bikes.
Schwinn, makers of all types of road bicycles since the turn of the 20th century, is one of the more recognizable names in recumbent bikes. The 200 series, including the 220, 230 and 240 models, is comparable to health club units in many ways and have prices the average consumer can afford. Most models cost less than $500 as of February 2011 and feature magnetic resistance, built-in exercise programs, a heart-rate monitor and a large LCD display. “Consumer Reports” named the 230 a “best buy” and the 240 has a 4.5 star rating based on compiled user reviews, according to Consumer Search.
Lamar Fitness is a growing player in home workout equipment with a line of recumbent bikes that are versatile, sturdy and feature-rich. Lamar occupies the luxury segment, which may be too high end for some consumers. The Lamar 7250 starts at about $799 on the low end, while the 7450 retails for up to $2,199, as of February 2011. Both models feature a step-through design, meaning you don’t have to swing your leg over the middle support like you do with some recumbents. They use magnetic resistance with 20 preset levels and 16 workout programs. The 7450 features a telemetric heart-rate monitor that uses both the grip and a chest strap for accurate measurements. Star Trac acquired Lamar in 2008, but the product line remains under the Lamar banner, as of 2011.
Advances in materials, construction methods and electronics have made entry-level recumbents more attractive. The Marcy ME 709 is one such model, starting at under $150, as of February 2011, and providing eight resistance levels, or plenty for beginner and intermediate exercisers. The large LCD display tracks speed, distance and calories burned, but the unit lacks a heart-rate monitor and cup holder, standard items on more expensive models. It is easily portable, featuring transport wheels at the base, and it has an adjustable, padded seat.
The R514 by Nautilus packs the features of a health-club recumbent bike into a package costing under $500, as of February 2011. Its robust feature list includes telemetric heart-rate monitoring with the chest strap included, water-bottle holder, magazine rack and an LCD display with all your relevant information. There are two programmable user profiles and seven preset profiles from which to choose. The seat features lumbar support, and the bike has a fan to keep you cool.

Male PC Muscle Exercises

Strengthening the PC muscle, also called the pubococcygeus, helps prevent men from leaking urine or feces during stressful movements like coughing, sneezing or lifting, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Many men also have improved sexual performance after performing kegels, which exercise the PC muscle. You may find it helpful to practice kegels in a variety of positions and while performing a variety of tasks. As you advance your skills, you can try some of the more advanced kegels to keep strengthening your PC muscle.
Contracting the PC muscle will stop your flow of urine, as well as slightly contract your anus, says the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Health Services Department. Practice stopping your urine flow to learn how to tighten your PC muscle. You can also identify this contraction if you place a gloved finger approximately 1 inch inside your rectum–you do not need to do so during actual kegels. While contracting your PC muscle, avoid contracting your buttocks, abdomen or thighs. Also, avoid holding your breath.
Anytime you perform a kegel, you will notice a slight movement in your penis, according to the Ohio State University Medical Center. A slow kegel consists of holding your PC muscle tight for a count of four and then relaxing for a count of four. When releasing the contraction, be sure to simply relax, not push down. As you begin practicing kegel exercises, you may only be able to keep the PC muscle contracted for a count of one or two, but you will eventually be able to hold it for longer. Repeat these exercises for up to five minutes, two times a day.
Once you have mastered slow kegels, you may want to challenge yourself to a few sets of quick kegels, which consist of tightening and relaxing your PC muscle as quickly as you can. Try to perform a set of 10 to 20 repetitions, advises Dr. Donald Rudick, a urologist practicing in St. Marys, Pennsylvania.
To challenge yourself even more, slow down the kegel. Using a count of four, progressively tighten your PC muscle. By the time you reach the number four, you should be at a maximum contraction for your PC muscle. Hold this contraction for a second before slowly releasing the contraction to a count of four

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, when your PC muscle should be completely relaxed. Rudick advises performing a set of 10 repetitions.