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

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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!

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.

 

 

Maleficent Movie Review + New Maleficent Activities #Disney

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Have you seen it?  Have you seen it yet??  We have and WE LOVED IT!!  I took the girls to see Maleficent this weekend and I can enthusiastically report that Disney has another smash hit on their hands.  The girls and I both really, really enjoyed it.  We came out of the movie with a family plan to dress as Maleficent characters when we head to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this fall.

So here’s the scoop.  My 7 year old and 13 year old girls both loved it – and there is definitely enough action in this movie that even the most girl-movie adverse boy would be into it.  I think it’s PG rating is definitely appropriate – there are some intense action scenes, but my youngest wasn’t bothered at all.  There are some scenes (without giving too much away) that are pretty heartbreaking that might upset the very youngest of viewers (my oldest daughter cried a couple of times).

Angelina Jolie was BRILLIANT.  I truly have never seen a movie with her in the lead that I have enjoyed more.  She, and this movie, gave us a lot to talk about.  In the car on the way home, we discussed what it means to be a hero, a villain, and sometimes a little of both.  We talked about heartbreak and anger and living with the consequences of our actions.  It is truly a moving movie with a great message.   LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one!  If you haven’t seen it yet, please do so.  You won’t want to wait for this one to come out on DVD.

For those of you who are already huge Maleficent fans like we are, download Disney’s Scene Maker, a cool new activity pack that lets your kids act out the movie!  Here’s a sample of the Cut-Outs you get with the scene maker.

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You can CLICK HERE to get your printable scene maker!

 Like MALEFICENT on Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyMaleficent

 Follow MALEFICENT on Twitter: @Maleficent

 Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/maleficent/

3 Days Until Maleficent is in Theaters + New Clips from #Disney

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We are sooooo close to Maleficent’s release this Friday!  So excited!  As I have mentioned before, I truly think this will be the movie of the summer!

Even though it’s almost time, check out these amazing new clips from Disney!

How beautiful does Angelina Jolie look in that clip – I believe that this is before Maleficent “goes bad” – can’t wait to explore the storyline of this movie!

And check out this one – in which Aurora identifies Maleficent as her fairy godmother….eeesh.

 

See you in the theater on Friday!  Maleficent is rated PG.

Like MALEFICENT on Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyMaleficent

 Follow MALEFICENT on Twitter: @Maleficent

 Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/maleficent/

New Marvel Movie Announced: Guardians of the Galaxy

Do you have a Marvel nut in your house?  Even though I have two girls, we are BIG Marvel fans!  My oldest daughter is OBSESSED with Loki from the Thor franchise, and my youngest loves Captain America.  So I am super excited to see a new Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, coming out!  I know this is going to be one that my girls are going to want to see as soon as it is released in theaters!

From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which first appeared in comic books in Marvel Super-Heroes, Issue #18 (Jan. 1969), stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.

James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige, p.g.a., producing. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine and Stan Lee serve as executive producers.

I’m super excited to see Bradley Cooper  and Zoe Saldana in this movie – love both of them!  I’m also super excited to see Chris Pratt in this role – I can’t think of him without thinking of his super-cute (and then super-jerky) character in Bride Wars – but he looks pretty good!

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman and releases in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014.

Like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Facebook: www.facebook.com/guardiansofthegalaxy

Follow GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Guardians

So who in your house is going to be excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy?

One Week Until #Maleficent + New Featurette from #Disney

 

For those of you who are counting down the days until Disney’s Maleficent is released, only SEVEN MORE DAYS!  Maleficent is rated PG and is set to be released on May 30.  We will be in the theater on May 30 – how about you?

To keep your Maleficent appetite quenched until then, take a look at the new featurette from Disney, called Light and Dark:

 

Like MALEFICENT on Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyMaleficent

 Follow MALEFICENT on Twitter: @Maleficent

 Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/maleficent/