The “Anti-Fairy Tale” – When are your kids old enough to watch more mature programming?



When our kids were little we tried to keep them away from television as much as possible. I was a stay-at-home mom so I was always trying to engage them with toys, games and crafts. They watched very little television.

One night my husband and I were watching Titanic (back then we watched it on DVD).  We were engrossed in the movie, as well as our daughter who was about two years old at that time. She was fascinated by it and she was really into the character of Rose as well as her “heart of the ocean” necklace. She was so into it that she asked to watch the movie. My husband still chuckle about how she said Titanic and “Jack and Woes” (Woes instead of Rose).

We let her watch it (we made sure she didn’t see any bad parts like when they engaged in sex). We even bought her a beautiful Rose doll and the heart of the ocean necklace.

Anther movie she got into for some odd reason was The Mummy (1999). It’s not a scary movie for adults, but she caught us watching it one time and wanted to watch it with us. She enjoyed that movie too.

Our son has never really been into watching television or movies. Even now that he’s 17 years old. He rather listen to CNN or MSNBC (on in the background) than watch television.

When he was just a toddler I had fallen asleep watching the movie The Ring. When I woke up (a short time later) our on had crawled out of his bed (he was napping too, which is why I fell asleep) and sat on the couch in the living room next to me. When I woke up he was watching The Ring. He was not phased by it at all, but I felt like the worse mother ever knowing that my toddler was watching a scary movie. Thankfully I think he was just too young at the time to understand any of it.


As a parent, when do you know if your child is ready to watch “grown up” movies and television?  When does a child transition from Princesses and Fairy Tales to zombies and violence? When is a child ready for the “Anti-Fairy Tales?” What I mean by that is movies and shows that don’t feature singing princesses, talking animals, sunshine, rainbows and unicorns (make believe, fairy tale stuff).

Our daughter will be 20 this year and I still cringe when I know she’s going to see an “R” rated movie. She’s legally able to, but as a mom I am not always accepting of it.

Her and her best friend went to see the film Sausage Party which probably should have been X-rated if you ask me. It’s a very raunchy film with A LOT of sexual references and foul language. I wish she had seen something else.

It reminds me of the time one of her friends went to see the film Knocked Up when she was only 9 years old. That movie is VERY inappropriate for 9 year olds. Sigh…

I think the child’s maturity level has a lot to do with it. Our daughter was never really into things like Barney or Sesame Street. She seemed to gravitate towards movies and shows for older children (or adults).

I am NOT suggesting that parents let their young children watch programming with sex, violence and foul language. I think when it comes to shows like The Walking Dead, which is very popular with the kids in middle school, and American Horror Story, which many teens watch – it’s up to their parents to decide if they are mature enough to watch them. I am still not keen on our daughter (almost 20) watching American Horror Story. There is a lot of sex and innuendos in that series. But she’s almost 20, so she’s mature enough.


When it comes to watching television or movies together as a family I always look for things that are more “family friendly.” Take for example Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (premiereing on Netflix on January 13, 2017). The series is a dark comedy that will entertain older kids just as much as their younger siblings. Even parents will enjoy it.

Based on the internationally best-selling series of books by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) and starring Emmy and Tony Award winner Neil Patrick Harris, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events recounts the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans — Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – whose evil guardian Count Olaf will stop at nothing to get his hands on their inheritance. The siblings must outsmart Olaf at every turn, foiling his many devious plans and disguises, in order to discover clues to their parents’ mysterious death.

I had the opportunity to check out the new series. I even asked my 17 year old son to watch with me to get his feedback.

As an adult, I enjoyed the show. It’s a bit corny at times, but in a fun way. I found it to be very entertaining. Neil Patrick Harris is rather scary looking in his role of Olaf.

My son is hard to impress. As I mentioned earlier he’s not a big television watcher. He said it was “pretty good.” Sadly, he’s a man of few words. I did ask him if he would watch it again and he said “yes.”

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is fun and entertaining for both young children, ‘tweens, teens and adults. It’s the ideal “family friendly” series.

The series premieres on Friday, January 13, 2017. I think it’s funny that this dark comedy debuts on the dreaded Friday the 13th. LOL!


Other Netflix original series that are ideal for families to watch together include Fuller House, DreamWorks TrollHunters, Dawn of the Croods, Some Assembly Required, Dragons: Race to the Edge, Tarzan and Jane and even Stranger Things. I LOVE Stranger Things and I think it’s OK for older children, as well as ‘tweens and teens. I’m an adult and I LOVE that show.

When did your child transition into more grown up shows? What age were they when it happened? Why did you feel it was time?

If your child is still too young, at what point do you think you’ll let them watch more grown up programming?

I would really love to hear reader’s thoughts on this subject matter. I would love it if you could comment and share your thoughts.

For more information about Netflix please visit Netflix.com. The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on their site.



*I have partnered with Netflix to bring you this information. I have received free service and promotional products in exchange for my participation. There is no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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525,600 minutes! 525,600 (Precious) Moments to cherish


Our kids at Christmas (approx. 10 years ago)

Our kids at Christmas (approx. 10 years ago)

Can you believe that Christmas and New Year’s Day are fast approaching? It seems like just yesterday it was summer vacation and my family and I were at the beach and complaining about how hot and humid it was. Now it’s the end of the year and we’re dealing with snow and bitter cold. It just amazes (and saddens) me how time flies.

This year has brought so many amazing things and great memories. It also made me appreciate those few precious moments we have each day with our family and friends.

Did you know that there are 525,600 minutes in a calendar year? Those minutes can be filled with moments you’ll want to remember for a lifetime – a first kiss, the birth of a baby, stepping foot in your first home, an anniversary, a first birthday (or 100th birthday)… the list goes on and on. Think back on how many precious moment you experienced this past year, and ones you hope to experience in the upcoming new year (graduation, new job, retirement, wedding…).

When it comes to the holidays I can’t help but look at my own children and to see how much they have grown. Gone are the days when they would wake us up at 4:00 AM because they were so excited to open their presents from Santa, or the excitement and joy they had on their faces when they went to meet Santa and tell him their Christmas list.

My kids are young adults now (19 1/2 and 17). Instead of wanting toys they want gift cards and new computers. Sigh…

With all of life’s special moments, it makes perfect sense to celebrate them with figurines from Precious Moments.

Precious Moments has been around for as long as I can remember. Our family has been collecting pieces for 20+ years. My husband (prior to us even meeting for the first time) used to buy Precious Moments figurines for his nieces on their birthday (birthday train pieces).

What I love about Precious Moments is that they have beautiful figurines that represent those special moments in our lives. They are a beautiful reminder of those precious moments in our lives that we never want to forget.

Here are just a few examples.


First Anniversary


First Communion


First Steps




Gifts for Grandparents




Gifts for those in the military




Wedding (this would be a wonderful cake topper!)

If you happen to follow me on Instagram you might have seen my video of one of our newest additions to our Precious Moments collection. It’s a holiday piece that not only lights up, but it also plays music.

For the life of me I can’t find the original video, so you’ll have to view it HERE.

The piece is BEAUTIFUL! It features a mother, father and their two children (a girl and boy – the same as we have) sitting on the floor next to their Christmas tree, giving each other presents.

The tree features colorful lights that twinkle along with the music and a sweet little angle perched on top of the tree.



What I love about this piece is that it is a lovely reminder of when our son and daughter were little and Christmas morning was full of joy and excitement.

This piece is very special to me because it will be a forever reminder of a time in life that means the world to me. My kids may grow up and some day be parents themselves, but no matter what, I will always think about them as little kids every time I look (and listen!) to this adorable Precious Moments holiday figure.

Precious moment has plenty of other delightful Christmas gifts available, including musical ones.

The next one I’d love to add to our collection is this musical piece that also lights up. It’s adorable!


Precious Moments figurines, dolls, plush toys and ornaments make wonderful gifts – not just for the holiday – but all year round. After all, precious moments happen 365 days of the year.

You can purchase Precious Moments directly from the official website (PreciousMoments.com). Precious Moments products are also carried at fine retailers and gift stores across the country.

The brand is also found across the social media channels. All links are found on their website.

What moments in YOUR life this past year were most precious to you? Feel free to share them with me. I always love to hear from readers.



*I received a free product to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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How to Make The Holiday Season More Enjoyable for Seniors



For most of us, the holidays are a delightful time to share the joys of family life and friendship. But for many elderly adults in particular, the holidays can be highly stressful, confusing and even depressing if their mental, physical and emotional needs are not taken into account.

Kurt Kazanowski, MS, RN, CHE, author of A Son’s Journey: Taking Care of Mom and Dad, is a seasoned healthcare executive with over three decades specializing in home care, senior care and hospice.

His tips for alleviating depression in the elderly this holiday season:

Create a festive mood:  Make sure your elderly loved ones are part of all of the festivities and feel that special feeling of the holidays. To help accomplish this, get creative and involve the entire family. You can also use technology if your loved ones live far away.

Stroll down memory lane:  Holidays provoke memories, which can be especially powerful in the later years of life. Memories and life review are important parts of the aging process. Use picture albums, family videos and music, even theme songs from old radio or TV programs to help stimulate memories and encourage older seniors to share their stories and experiences. It can be a powerful tool to flight depression.

Create new memories:  Seniors need new things to anticipate and getting out of the house (if possible) can help reduce depression.  Add something new to the holiday celebration, or volunteer for your family to help others. Enjoy activities that are free, such as taking a drive to look at holiday decorations, or window-shopping at the mall, holiday school plays or a festive walk down light-filled streets.

Reach out and touch: Social connectedness is especially important during the holidays. Whether your loved ones are close by or far away, reaching out is something that needs to be done.  Loneliness is associated with major depression and sadness especially in the elderly.  If your loved one is close by, have them spend a few days with your family.  If they are far way, hire a personal caregiver for the holiday season to be a companion.

Keep an eye on medications and alcohol: If you have senior family members, be sure to help them adhere to their regular schedule of medications during the frenzy of the holidays. Also, pay attention to their alcohol consumption during holiday parties and family gatherings.  Alcohol can provoke inappropriate behavior or interfere with medications.

Professional assistance: In more severe cases of depression, antidepressant drugs can improve the quality of life in depressed elderly people. Cognitive therapy sessions with a counselor may also be effective. A geriatric assessment center or professional therapist can be a valuable resource.

family, holidays, generation, christmas and people concept - smiling family with gift boxes at home

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own. 

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Kid’s Books Explain When Fido Gets Adopted, Sick or Dies



I am a big time animal lover. Our five cats, dog and Goldfish are proof of that. If I could live on a farm or run my own animal sanctuary I would.

I have always had animals in my life. Growing up we had dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamsters and even a horse. We spoiled them like crazy and were devastated and heartbroken when they passed away.

Even today as an “adult” I cried when our Goldfish “Wishie” died last year. That’s right – an adult CRIED over the death of a Goldfish. That’s how I am. I love our pets very much – big or small.

Two of our cats have health issues. Bella has severe asthma and three leaky valves in he heart. Her thyroid is also wonky too. Our other cat, Velcro, is diabetic and requires insulin shots twice a day. The diabetes and his age have caused him to lose his teeth.

Our dog Espn (pronounced Es-pin) is very sick. He is terminally ill with a liver disease called Hepatocutaneous Syndrome. There is no cure for it. He’s slowly dying. We are doing our best to make his last days with us good days. We know that eventually we have to put him to sleep. I am not ready to say “good bye,” but I know that day is fast approaching. He hurts walking up and down stairs and all he does is sleep. He also licks at his skin, causing wounds that get infected, so he has to live with a cone around his neck 24/7.


I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I write about him.

Thankfully my kids are teenagers and can understand things a lot easier. Sometimes it’s difficult for young children to understand things like why animals get sick, need surgery and eventually die.

There is a new line of book that attempt to explain these things in a gentle way to help children understand these situations a bit better. They are part of the Dog Tales Collection. Here is some additional information.

The Dog Tales Collection, written by Patricia Brill, Phd, are an award-winning collection of illustrated books that help open a dialogue between parents and children concerning issues they may have with their pets.  These books help children better understand what happens when their pet or loved one has cancer, under goes surgery, has to stay overnight at the hospital or even dies.

These sensitive and emotionally stirring children’s books are written in such a way to simply but gently discuss the obvious. Patricia Brill is brilliant as is her award-winning children’s book illustrator Curt Walstead, who has also worked on many of today’s popular children’s shows such as Dora the ExplorerDragon Tales,Clifford’s Puppy Days and Baby Looney Tunes.

I was sent a few of the books to review.


Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer?

Turbo the dog is not feeling well. His owner takes him to see the vet. The vet finds that Turbo has cancerous tumors. Turbo is scared and thinks he has cancer because he was a bad dog. He soon learns that cancer can strike any dog and it has nothing to do with being bad.

This book explains in a gentle way what cancer is, what remission is and what the vet had to do to treat Turbo’s cancer.


The Road to Recovery is Paved with Dog Treats

This book follows Turbo leading up to his surgery. He is scared and doesn’t know what is going to happen. Thankfully the other animals at the vet hospital are there to explain everything in detail to Turbo so that he is no longer afraid.

I like how the entire procedure as to what is involved with a pet having surgery is explain in simple, easy to understand detail. This is great for a child who is fearful that something bad will happen to their pet if it requires surgery.


Don’t Say Good Bye, Just say See You

This book was hard to read because our dog is dying. It’s the story of Turbo and his best friend Boxter who has caner that cannot be operated on. Turbo is sad and angry that his friend is going to leave him and go to heaven.

The book is well written, and talk about how the dog will no longer be in pain and can frolic and enjoy being a dog again in heaven. That is what children need to hear and understand, but as an adult who is going through a similar situation right now with her own dog, I had a hard time reading this.


Porsche Bella’s Forever Home

This book doesn’t deal with death or health issues (thankfully). It’s the story of an abandoned puppy and her siblings. They are found by a young boy and adopted out.

The puppy feels scared, alone and confused. Her new siblings share their stories about how they came to live in their “forever home.” The story also goes on to explain that sometimes siblings cannot be together because they get adopted to different homes, but that doesn’t mean that the love is still not there.

This is a great book to share with children when your family adopts a pet, or if you have a situation where you have a pet that has babies and they all have to go to different homes.

The books do a good job at explaining these difficult situations so that children can understand them better and not be afraid. Even as an adult I enjoyed the books.

The illustrations go perfectly with the stories too.

Look for these books where ever books are sold. I have seen them online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Are you dealing with a similar situation right now with your pet? What do you think about these books?



*I received free copies to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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Dr Pepper Snapple Group – with so many varieties there is something for everyone


Family grocery shopping

Brands. We’re all familiar with them. There are literally thousands in every grocery store across the country. People might be surprised to find out that some of their favorite brands are actually under the “umbrella” of a larger brand. It’s not uncommon for one brand to be the parent company of other brands.

I recently learned that the Dr Pepper Snapple Group was the parent brand of popular brands that my family enjoys on a regular basis.

The Dr Pepper Snapple Group is the parent company to the brands Mott’s, Yoo-hoo and Hawaiian Punch. They also make Snapple and Dr Pepper products too.

Visit my kitchen and you’ll almost always find Yoo-hoo and Hawaiian Punch in my fridge or pantry. It’s not so much for my kids – but my husband! I always refer to him as my third child. LOL!

My husband grew up drinking Yoo-hoo and Hawaiian Punch. He loves those brands and enjoys them as much today as he did when he was a kid. They are a staple in our home. Who knew they were made by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and were “related” to each other.


My husband buys Yoo-hoo in bulk from the warehouse club and often takes it to work with him.

My family also enjoys Hawaiian Punch. My husband prefers the classic red fruit punch. I used to pack my kids the juice pouches in with their lunch back when I made their school lunches (our daughter is in college now and our son in a senior who eats lunch when he gets home from school).

They still enjoy the pouches along with an afternoon snack.


I was surprised to learn that our family favorites are also “related” to another Dr Pepper Snapple Group product – Mott’s.

I buy Mott’s apple juice from time to time. Last year the site director I worked with served the children Mott’s apple juice with their snacks. Sometimes I would pour myself a cup. I would even pick up a contain here and there when I went shopping but it never lasted too long. My kids normally drank it before I had a chance to.

Mott’s apple juice is also a nice snack time option.

I especially like the individual bottle option. Not only are they great to toss into your child’s lunch box, but I can also take them to work with me in my lunch tote.


Now, whenever I go to the grocery store I see Dr Pepper Snapple Group products every where. I’m surprised by how many brands they represent. I had no idea they offered consumers such a great variety of products and flavors. They have something for everyone.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group is also all about fun and games. They have a health and wellness initiative called Let’s Play that encourages children (and families) to get out and play.

Playtime has changed A LOT since I was a kid. I would be outside from sun up to sundown. I grew up in a time where kids played until the street lights came on. Then we’d go home and read, color or play some more.

These days children are overwhelmed with homework and after school activities. Even parents find themselves working more hours in order to afford the cost of living. Something like playtime seems to get pushed to the side.

Sadly, a new survey from Let’s Play, found that only 33 percent of children participate in daily active play – a decrease from 41 percent in 2015. I find this statistic rather shocking. Nearly half of the children in the survey don’t have time to play.


My husband and our kids playing at the playground when they were little. My husband accidentally hit his head on the yellow bar.

I always gave my kids time to play and unwind after school. I know that doing their homework was important, but I found that playtime was equally as important. Kids need time to unwind and decompress after school. They need time to simply be a kid.

Playtime is not only a great way to de-stress after a long day but it’s a great way for kids to get much needed exercise and to develop, encourage and promote creativity and imagination.

We don’t have a yard so my kids had their outside playtime on the weekends at the local parks. At home my son would always go straight to his vehicles and building blocks/bricks. My daughter loved to color and draw. What ever a child considers fun is playtime.

I work as a teacher’s assistant in a Kindergarten classroom. The teacher makes sure that the kids get ample playtime in between learning. Every day the kids get outside to play for 15-30 minutes and inside they get 30 minutes of play before the learning begins and another 15 minute playtime later on in the day.


If you would like to learn more about the Let’s Play initiative, or to find some great playtime activities you and your family can enjoy, visit LetsPlay.com.

f you would like to learn more about Dr Pepper Snapple Group and all their brands, please visit their website at www.DrPepperSnapple.com.

In addition, you can also follow Dr Pepper Snapple Group on social media at www.Facebook.com/DrPepperSnapple or www.Twitter.com/DrPepperSnapple. They can also be found on Instagram (@DrPepperSnapple). You can also find all of the individual brands on social media too.

Are you a fan of any of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group products?

Do you make sure that your child/children have ample play time on a daily basis? What is your child’s favorite playtime activity?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.



*Compensation was provided by Dr Pepper Snapple Group via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Dr Pepper Snapple Group or Mom Trends.

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The Rising Teen Epidemic and What to Do as a Parent


Teen Smartphone

So here’s the good news: according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the levels of drug abuse among eighth, tenth and twelfth graders is trending downward. Many of the drugs studied are at their lowest levels of use since the study began. Even prescription drugs like opioids are at an all time low amongst teens. Hooray!

The bad news is that teen drug use has not been eradicated and it probably never will. Teenagers like to experiment. They’re more likely to succumb to peer pressure. And as the therapists at www.hotelcaliforniabythesea.com have noted, drug use, abuse, and treatment is much different for young adults than older adults.

As a parent, it is totally normal to want to protect your children from all of the harms in the world. And, when those children become teenagers, it is totally normal to want to seal them in their bedrooms and monitor all of their contact with the outside world. This urge has become even stronger since the internet reached the ubiquity stage and much of teen communication and entertainment moved away from the easily observable.

Seriously, schools use tablets now. No more having just one computer for the whole family that sits against a wall of the living room where anybody can walk by and snoop over someone’s shoulders! Even with monitoring apps and parental controls, your kids are going to find ways to sneak around. It’s how they try to take control over their lives and experiment with adulthood. It’s a normal part of growing up, and it’s a normal part of parenting to hate it.

So what can you do? And even if you do everything right, aren’t your kids likely to experiment with drugs and drinking anyway?

Yes, probably. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try.

Calm Yourself

The first thing you need to do is develop your poker face. If you freak out every time your kids try to talk to you about the behaviors in which they are experimenting or that they observe in their friends, they’ll stop sharing these details with you. You can still freak out on the inside, of course, but do your best to present a calm and even response even when you want to tear out your hair. If you stay calm and positive, your kids are more likely to tell you what they’re dealing with and you’ll be better to able to spot problems in their early stages.

Teen Driver 2

Communicate Often

Figuring out how to talk to your kids about drugs and drinking can be difficult. Even so, you have to do it. And you cannot wait for your kids to come to you. Ask them questions about their days, their classes, their friends, their friends’ classes and families. Remember the details. The more interest you take in your kids’ lives the less likely they are to try to slip something by you.

Set Up Support Early

We aren’t advocating that you toss your teen into rehab after his or her first drink. Of course not! What we mean is that it’s important that, in addition to having stable boundaries and rules, it’s important to reinforce the idea that when your kids need help, they should come to you. Even if they think it’s nothing. Even if they are embarrassed. And this is where your poker face is going to come in handy because these times are when you need to be supportive instead of judgmental.

Offer Autonomy

No matter what they think and feel, no teen is truly ready to take total control over his or her life. Even so, if you start noticing problematic behavior, it is important that you resist the urge to completely control your teen’s life. Yes, privileges can be taken away, but if you want to help your teens stand up to peer pressure and get the help they need if they develop dependency on drugs or alcohol, they need to feel like they are making a choice. Talk to your teens about what kind of resolutions they’d like to see or what kind of help they think they need. You don’t have to give them exactly what they want, but including them in the conversation will make the decision to get help feel like something they can own. And the more ownership your teen feels, the more likely he or she is to get back on the right path.

Adolescence is rough on everyone. Puberty is awful. Everyone will make mistakes. But don’t worry, you’ll get through it, and so will your kids.


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