Give Your Kid a Break


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It’s summer time. School is out of session and kids are free to enjoy their days without the worries about homework and tests.

I remember my summers. I was never home as a youth. Back in the day people didn’t worry about safety like they do these days. As a parent I wouldn’t let my kids get the mail from downstairs without watching from the top of the stairs. When I was their age I would hop on my bike early in the morning and not be seen again until the sun went down. We didn’t have cellphones or GPS trackers back then, so all my parents could do it rely on me coming home before it got dark.

I was always on the go! go! go! when I was a child. I felt like I couldn’t pack enough fun into every day during the summer. I’d go to bed at night thinking about all the things I could have done that day.

I will admit that there were some days (most especially Saturday mornings) when all I wanted to do was sit in front of the television all day. Of course back then we only had the one television for the whole family, so that wasn’t possible. But I did try and watch as much television as possible because there some days I was too tired from all the fun and adventures I had outside. It’s OK for kids to spend some time during the summer enjoying television. Sometimes television can transport you to another time or location and provide you with an indoor adventure.

What if your child can take a break from summer activities and enjoy visiting a far off location? They can with Netflix.

Netflix has A LOT of wonderful documentaries that can not only entertain your child, but they can also squeeze in some educational elements too.

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Here are just a few examples of some of the fun, adventurous documentaries you child (and yourself!) can enjoy this summer.

  • Human Planet
  • Africa
  • Wild Alaska
  • Growing Up Wild
  • Cosmos (the ultimate travel destination)
  • Life Below Zero
  • Galapagos
  • South Pacific
  • Earth’s Natural Wonders
  • Madagascar (not the cartoon… the real place)
  • Dinotasia (go back in time for an incredible adventure)
  • Columbia: Wild Magic
  • Frozen Planet
  • Wild China
  • Forces of Nature
  • Wildest Latin America

These are just a FEW great documentaries that can transport your child (or you!) into far off lands and to places most people will never get to experience in person during their lifetime.

Netflix even has a fun printable you can download and turn into a passport that your child can put together and mark off the far off lands they visit this summer (via Netflix of course). To download and print out the passport printable, click on the text link (below).

Netflix Passport

Of course, Netflix offers kids A LOT more than just cool documentaries. They offer plenty of series, family friendly movies and so much more.

An interesting new addition to Netflix is Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale.

Spielberg. Lucas. Burton. Your child.

Netflix unveiled a brand new technology that provides families yet another way to enjoy entertainment—by allowing kids to climb into director’s chair and giving them the power to determine what adventures unfold on screen. With the launch of Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, Netflix is introducing interactive watching capabilities and putting the storytelling power in the hands of the most important audience member—kids.

How cool is this! I love this idea. I hope this is the start of something new with other programs on Netflix.

I haven’t had the opportunity to give it a “test drive” yet. Between end of the school/work year stuff, our son’s senior prom and graduation and relatives up from Florida, I haven’t had the chance. Now that things are settling down I plan on trying out Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale for myself.

Speaking of new, check out what is new on Netflix this month.

Watch the ladies of wrestling enter the ring with GLOW and buckle up for a mind-bending ride in the psychological thriller Gypsy. Then make way for the scene-stealing Okja and for the kids, class is back in session with Degrassi: Next Class, and Dawn of the Croods.

I am especially excited about Okja. I watched the trailer for it and it looks really good.

Below is the trailer for your enjoyment.


Do YOU allow your kids to take a break during the dog days of summer and enjoy some television time? What type of shows/movies do you allow your child to watch? Do any of the above suggestions sound interesting to you?

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


*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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Five Beach Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know


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According to the Center for Disease Control, each year about 4,000 people drown in the United States.  Drowning kills more children 1-4 years of age than anything else, except birth defects.  Among children ages one through fourteen, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death (after motor vehicle crashes).  Being aware of the risks and learning some life saving techniques will keep you safe at the beach.

 Your Span of Control is Limited

In the perfect world, every child would have a designated adult supervising them at the beach or pool, but two children is a comfortable number for one adult to supervise.  Any more can become overwhelming and increase the risk of something going wrong. 

Drowning Doesn’t Look like Drowning (or:  Drowning Doesn’t Look like You Imagine)

In the movies, when someone is acting out a drowning scene they wave their arms and scream for help. In real life, drowning is, for the most part, a silent act. Once a person goes into distress mode, they are fighting for two things: air and keeping their mouth above water.

My first experience witnessing the onset of a drowning occurred at my family pool when I was about ten years old.  My much younger cousin was in two feet of water, bent over at the waist.  It looked he was looking at his feet or the bottom of the pool but something didn’t seem right. When I lifted his head out of the water, he began vomiting and crying, he had been stuck. In a case I investigated, witnesses reported seeing a young girl bobbing her head up and down in the water.  She had drifted from the shallow end of the pool into water above her head (or:  the deep end) and was pushing off the floor of the pool to get air because she could not swim. She was saved, but nearly drowned. If something in and around the water doesn’t look right, it likely isn’t.

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Set Up by a Lifeguard – No lifeguard No lifeline.

Set up your stuff near a lifeguard station so that if you venture into the water with your children there is an extra set of eyes to watch over you and your child. Don’t allow this to replace your diligence but rather supplement it. Your child is your first responsibility.

Don’t Get Lost in Conversation

Going to the beach or pool is a social event. If you’re caught up in a conversation, keep your face and your eyes on your child. Mishaps and accidents can occur very quickly and with a mix of children and water, seconds matter. Keep your hands glued to your babies or toddlers at all times.  If at the beach, keep an eye out for rouge waves.  Chat with the lifeguard in advance about any dangers you should know about. Ankle deep water can quickly become a hazard if you are not paying attention. Outfit your child with bright colored beach wear.  Know your limitations and educate yourself on riptides.  While you are on child watch duty turn the cell phone off, and keep the Ipad or book out of your reach.

Learn CPR and Rescue Breathing

Your local fire, police, recreation department or gym and health club often sponsor certified CPR courses. You will not realize its value until you need it!

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About the author:

Steve Kardian is an American career law enforcement officer, detective, sergeant and chief criminal investigator, who specializes in crime prevention and risk reduction for women’s safety. Kardian is the author of The New Superpower for Women (on pre-sale until August 8, 2017) and founder of Defend University, where he trains thousands of people each year on safety and self-defense, as well as strategies and tactics uniquely tailored to women’s safety.

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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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