It’s National Safe Place Week!

 

National Safe Place Week

 

Did you know it’s National Safe Place Week?  Since before the Village People first sang of the wonders of the YMCA way back in the 1970’s, that organization was changing lives around the country. One of their more recent additions is the Safe Place program, and it is changing far more lives (and for the better) than disco ever dreamed! While the Safe Place initiative was born from the YMCA in Louisville, Kentucky, it has erupted from sea to shining sea and boasts thousands of locations in virtually every state in the country.

The designated Safe Place sites are marked by a bright yellow and black diamond shaped sign or sticker that features the silhouette of a house (or an adult hugging a child in the older signs) and marks a location where youth in crisis can go in and find caring and trained adults who will provide them with a safe place while specially-trained and highly qualified staff are summoned to assist the youth. Whether the young person is running away, already homeless, is or has been abused, or even is just overly stressed and worried about their life or their life at home, the Safe Place is the location for youth to begin their journey to stability and a happier, healthier life.

Although the Safe Place will summon trained youth workers to the site, the youth in crisis still calls the shots. Neither the workers at the designated Safe Place, nor the responding workers from the agency sponsoring the program will force any help that the youth does not wish to accept – and the youth is always free to change their mind and leave at any time. If the student and the counselor agree that the youth would benefit from additional services, the youth is given a ride to the area Safe House where there is a warm bed, nutritious meals, and lots more help. The goal is always to get the youth from a point of crisis, to an assurance of safety.

Agencies work with the youth once they have been checked in to the Safe House and the youth participates in planning his or her own goals, with the end goal being the safe re-unification of the family unit whenever possible. We encourage youth and their caregivers to engage with professionals at the location in support of a reunification plan, but although the youth is permitted to stay at the Safe House for up to a month or more, they are never obliged to remain at the location if they wish to go.

March 15-21 marks National Safe Place Week across the country, so be on the lookout for the yellow and black signs – then go in and thank the workers and managers for caring enough to support the most vulnerable members of our community. If you are a youth who needs help, you can text the word “SAFE” with your current address (address/city/state) to 69866 to receive the location nearest to you!

Vimbly Keeps Moms Connected!

* I was provided compensation for this post about Vimbly, but all opinions are my own.

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Do  you LOVE trying new things?  Looking to plan fun date nights, or events for you kids?  If you are, you have to check out Vimbly.  Vimbly is an awesome website that shows open time slots for activities, classes, & date ideas by listing different businesses on a single page and letting you book your activity directly.  These activities include dance, cooking, glassblowing, pizza making, wine tasting, intro to cigars, learning to DJ, improv, scotch pairing, samurai sword fighting, persuasion class, and thousands more.

If you are a NYC mom, this is AWESOME, because there is a whole section just for activities for NYC kids.  I went looking for an art class for this weekend (this post is written on Thursday afternoon).  I found FIVE options, including a seriously cool “Kids Circus” class, a dance class, a violin lesson, and a boxing class!  How great is it that you can schedule something at the last minute for your kiddos!  The prices are very reasonable too – the boxing class was 50% off and only $15!  There are even free events listed!  Vimbly is a great site to “have a life” and still stay on budget!

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And don’t worry – there are plenty of activities for adults too!  I searched for “wine” events in NYC this weekend and found everything from wine tastings, wine tours, to a Beginner’s Tango lesson with wine!  Does it get any better than that?  Vimbly is extremely easy (and fun!) to use and explore, so head over to see if your city is listed!

Even if you don’t live in one of these 18 major cities where Vimbly hangs out, this is perfect for the traveler! I occasionally travel to Chicago and NYC, so I definitely plan on using Vimbly to plan fun evening activities while I am in town!

 

And don’t sweat – if your city isn’t listed and you don’t travel, Vimbly expects to establish a national presence in 2015.

Smart Cookies Cooks Up a Boredom Buster

* I received a complimentary copy of The Smart Cookies in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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I hate hearing “I’m bored” around my house – my younger daughter frequently wants to play a board game, but it’s not always a convenient time.  Smart Cookies is just the solution – not only is it a one-person game, but it’s brain boosting!  The game is designed for players age 6 and up, and is based on principles of logic.

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The games is easy to set up and play.  The spiral notebook has a variety of logic clue “recipes” that require players to place nine different “cookies” onto the “cookie sheet” in a way that obeys all of the clues.  The picture above is the very easiest puzzle, and I don’t think most six year old kiddos would have a hard time figuring out this puzzle.

But here’s the fun part – as players progress through the spiral binder, the clues get harder, and this helps kids develop and strengthen their reasoning and logic skills, as well as verbal expression.  David Capon, President of FoxMind, explained, “Smart Cookies challenges players to use intuitively their reasoning skills  to solve the puzzles while having fun. The skills that young minds develop as they play Smart Cookies are helpful in learning most subjects. The puzzles use visual clues in an appealing cookie design that guide players to advance at their own pace.”

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My daughters really love this game too – the puzzles prevent a nice challenge and keep them well engaged – this game is going to be a FANTASTIC boredom buster.  The cookies are solid and don’t appear easy to break.  You’ll want to watch how you put up the “cookie sheet” and the puzzle book as these are a little easier to damage by little hands.

Smart Cookies ($24.95) was recently named one of the 10 Best Educational Games by Dr. Toy.

New Cinderella Trailer is Out! #Disney

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Are you excited about the new live action Cinderella movie??  After seeing the clips on the Bachelor and all of the Disney hype, I can’t wait! So I’m super happy to be sharing the newly released Cinderella trailer with you!


Cinderella will be released on March 13!

Visit the official CINDERELLA Website: http://disney.com/Cinderella

 Like CINDERELLA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cinderella

 Follow CINDERELLA on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CinderellaMovie

 Follow CINDERELLA on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/DisneyCinderella

 Follow CINDERELLA on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/cinderella

Follow CINDERELLA on Google +: https://plus.google.com/+disneycinderella

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Finds for Girls Under $20

It’s almost time to get pinched if you aren’t wearing green! And if your girls are like my youngest, St. Patrick’s Day is another occasion to get dressed up!

I’ve sorted through all the amazing finds on one of my favorite sites (Zulily) and curated some awesome finds for you that won’t break the bank!

 

St. Patrick's Day Finds for Girls Under $20

 

Here are the links for you so you don’t have to hunt!

 

 

As with everything from Zulily, when they’re gone, they’re gone, so shop early for the best size selections!

Are You Ready for Some Strange Magic? #StrangeMagic

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I’m so excited to share this with you!  Just found out about a new Lucas films movie that will be released on January 23, 2015 called Strange Magic!  There isn’t TOO much information available yet but I’m super excited because this is a musical, inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and features one of my FAVE Broadway actresses (Kristen Chenoweth) and is produced and composed by the same musical genius who did Moulin Rouge, Marius de Vries.  This is sure to be a good one, and I can’t wait until the trailer for Strange Magic comes out…

Here’s all the details from Lucas Films:

STRANGE MAGIC is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic, which created the CGI animation for 2011’s Academy Award®-winning film “Rango,” bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects.

With a story by George Lucas, STRANGE MAGIC is directed by Gary Rydstrom (“Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation,” “Lifted”), produced by Mark S. Miller (associate producer “Mars Attacks!”) and executive produced by George Lucas, with a screenplay by David Berenbaum (“Elf”), Irene Mecchi (“Brave,” “The Lion King”) and Rydstrom. An extraordinary roster of film, television and Broadway stars lend their voices to “Strange Magic,” including Alan Cumming (CBS’ “The Good Wife,” Broadway’s “Cabaret”), Evan Rachel Wood (“The Ides of March”), Kristin Chenoweth (Broadway’s “Wicked”), Maya Rudolph (“Big Hero 6,” “Bridesmaids”), Sam Palladio (ABC’s “Nashville”), newcomer Meredith Anne Bull, Alfred Molina (“Chocolat”), Elijah Kelley (“Hairspray,” “The Butler”), Bob Einstein (HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Peter Stormare (“Fargo”). Well-known music producer Marius de Vries (“Moulin Rouge”) serves as both the musical director and composer.

Make sure to keep up with developments by following Strange Magic on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Groovy Lab in a Box Bring Science Home! {Product Review}

* Disclaimer:  I received a free Groovy Lab in a Box in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

 

I am always searching for fun ways to keep my girls engaged in learning activities over the summer to avoid that dreaded summer relapse.  In addition to trying to read every day, I also think it’s important to keep my girls involved in other academic areas, including social studies and science.  I recently had the opportunity to try out Groovy Lab in a Box, a great way to keep your kids engaged in science over the summer!

Each month through the Groovy Lab in a Box subscription service, young STEMists (your children!) will receive fun, hands-on projects and an engineering design challenge – all focused on that month’s STEM topic. STEM stands for “SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY & ENGINEERING DESIGN PROCESS.”  All STEMists will receive a Lab Notebook, where they can read about that month’s topic, perform investigation activities and document their findings. They will investigate, brainstorm, plan, build, test and redesign their own creations.  The Groovy Lab in a Box absolutely contains everything that you need to engage in many different activities with your kids!

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We received the “Here Comes the Sun” box.  I was thrilled to see how many different activities there were included in the Groovy in a Lab box!  There was absolutely NO WAY that we could have accomplished all of these activities in one day – these are absolutely activities that we were able to stretch out over the month.  The first activity we tried was a simple experiment with photo paper – it was a great little starter activity!

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The next activity that we tried definitely needed some adult assistance and supervision – we built a solar balloon – which we were able to do inside because it was raining the day our box came.

 

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My daughter LOVED Groovy Lab in a Box!  In addition to the MULTIPLE science activities in each kit, STEMists also receive access to “Beyond…in a Box” online learning portal. This is a unique feature of Groovy Lab in a Box because it gives STEMists a deeper understanding of that month’s topic. “Beyond…in a Box” has videos and more interactive activities to supplement what they are learning from the box projects, which also helps the STEMist even more when completing the design challenge. Additionally, the monthly box contains bonus supplies exclusively for the activities available through “Beyond…in a Box.”  The Engineering Design Challenge is the culmination of your STEMist’s learning experience – the ultimate project where he/she must apply the knowledge gained from that month’s activities.

There are tons of different subscription offers, but a single month is well worth the price at $26.95!  I highly recommend that you try it out for your little scientist!  Groovy Lab in a Box is great for kids ages 8 and up!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

 

Bo-Po Brush On Peel Off Nail Polish Review {Product Review}


* Disclaimer:  I received a free sample of Bo-Po Nail Polish in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

 

My girls LOVE painting their nails, and I love letting them…however, there is a lot about painting their nails that I DON’T like.  First of all, they are extremely hard on their nails after they are polished.  After about a day, they are usually chipped, cracked, peeling, etc, because they are kids, and like all kids, they love to play outside and get grubby!  Once that happens, I hate to have them running around with chipped polish- gross!  And I also hate using toxic chemicals to remove this polish.

Works Toys has created a great solution to this problem!

 

Bo-Po (Brush On Peel Off) nail polish is exactly what it says – you brush it on, and peel it off – NO messy smelly nail polish remover to get this polish off.  I tried this out with my youngest daughter.  I loved that it only took one coat of polish to look cute, because she isn’t super patient!  Also good for the younger set is that this polish dries fairly quickly, so there is no boredom waiting for it to dry or the chances of getting not-quite-dry polish all over the place.  And even if you do, it just peels right off of the surface!

The other thing I love is that the nail polish itself isn’t super smelly, and the colors are bright and vibrant, and with 10 colors, there is sure to be one that appeals to your kiddos.

Bo-Po Peel Off Nail Polish is sold on Amazon, Nordstrom, Burlington Coat Factory, Bed Bath & Beyond, Learnign Express Toy Store, Bealls Florida Department Stores and The Johnson Smith Company!

Follow Bo-Po

Bo-Po’s Website 

Bo-Po on Facebook

Bo-Po on Twitter

Bo-Po on Pinterest

 
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Play With Tales: Little Red Hiding Hood Review {Product Review}

Disclosure: I got Play With Tales:  Little Red Riding Hood as part of an advertorial.

 

If your kids play with your iPad as much as mine do, you know that finding kid-appropriate, educational, and FUN apps can be a challenge.  I recently had the opportunity to review Play with Tales: Little Red Riding Hood, a cool new app  for kids that combines fun games with one of our favorite fairy tales!

 

 

The first game we tried our our Play With Tales app was the matching game.  There are three levels of difficulty, with the number of squares ranging from 6 squares for the littlest players to 20 squares for more advanced players.  There is also a 2 player option, so my daughter and I played the 20 square matching game as she is 7.  It’s fun!  The only thing to watch out for is that Play with Tales has set the game so that if you make a match you keep matching – there were several times where one of us would “run” the game.  It was okay for us but this might be an issue for some kiddos who insist on taking turns.

 

The next activity on Play With Tales: Little Red Riding Hood is coloring.  There are six different pictures that you can color, and you can either use your finger or an Apppen.  We used our fingers.  You can choose different colors, but the app won’t allow you to color outside the lines, which I think is kind of a neat feature for younger kiddos.

The final activity is a series of six different puzzles.  There is also three different difficulty settings, and I actually found the hardest level fun and challenging, as does my 7 year old.  I think this is probably our favorite game on Play With Tales: Little Riding Hood!  This is a great app, and it really keeps my youngest engaged, even after playing for a while.  She seems to enjoy the app time after time!  I highly recommend it for ages 2ish-8, although as I mentioned, I enjoyed working the puzzles as well!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

Teach Good Manners with Table Manners Card Game! {Product Review}

Disclosure: I got the Table Manners Card Game as part of an advertorial.

Do your kids have “not the best” table manners like mine sometimes do?  If so, you need to CHECK OUT this Table Manners Card Game by Golly Gee-Pers!  These cards make learning table manners fun, and they catch your kiddos in both their good, and bad manners moments!

The cards are laminated (easy to wipe off food from!) and come in a drawstring bag that is the perfect size for slipping into your purse for meals on the go!

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 The cards come with a “Note to the Parents”, which offer several alternatives to playing the game, but with all players who exhibit good manners “winning” by receiving a “Ready to Eat Out.”  The Table Manners Card Game is a great way to teach manners to younger children, and even my 13 year old enjoyed playing!  My seven year old was super proud of her card!

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I am a huge fan of the Table Manners Card Game, and I saw an instant improvement in table manners!  Awesome, awesome dinner time game!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.