Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Hokum

Guest Post by Melinda L. Wentzel

It is the thick of October, and few things thrill my brood more than hauling Halloween decorations from the bowels of our pitifully disordered and crammed-to-capacity sort of attic. Since my husband is frequently nominated to perform such an arduous duty (along with untangling Christmas lights and unstopping an abomination of drains in this household), he, of course, is revered above all others who reside here. And rightly so. Lord knows I want nothing to do with tasks that involve tangled masses of holiday cheer, clumps of repulsiveness and/or rummaging around in the aforementioned Shrine to Hoarders.

Needless to say, what began as a meager supply of seasonal wares so many years ago has grown to an embarrassment of Halloween hokum that literally spills from the largish cardboard boxes we designated for such a purpose. Translation: In the past 22 years I have amassed sinful quantities of Halloween-ish paraphernalia to include a trash-talking tree face, a disturbing number of Dracula-inspired fangs and a life-sized vampire bat that may well be tethered to our ceiling forevermore. Indeed, it is entirely likely that I have a weakness for schlock that bleeds orange and black.

So perhaps it is no surprise that my children drop everything the very instant said boxes come into view, the lure of all-that-is-ghoulish-and-ghastly proving far too powerful to resist. At once their eyes widen and their jaws fall slack as they paw with glee through our behemoth-sized hodgepodge of Halloween whateverness. In a word, the celebrated event is intoxicating for all those concerned. Naturally, there is no rest until the boxes are completely emptied and each and every item has found its rightful place in the Universe.

More specifically, there are ceramic wonders (i.e., beloved bequeathments from Grandma) that must sit high atop cabinets, overlooking everything and everyone … so as to avoid contact with less-than-specific elbows and whatnot. Likewise, there are fiendish creatures, rubbery rats and hideous-looking hairy spiders that need to be placed beyond the ever-widening sphere of a certain chew-happy dog. Further, the vast array of skeletons, ghosts and witches on broomsticks must dangle perilously from chandeliers, window ledges and other lofty places because “…that’s where they belong, Mom. Plus they’ll really creep people out.” Heaven forbid I move something (or purge something … GASP!) without first consulting the powers that be.

Moreover, the cache of crafts I’ve collected since any one of my progenies could wield a pumpkin-colored crayon and a pair of safety scissors has exceeded the bounds of reasonableness and is fast approaching critical mass. That said, the much-adored construction paper masterpieces (some of which are exceedingly dilapidated and very nearly devoid of any discernible pigmentation) are slowly but surely eroding my faith in the notion that I will ever have dominion over my attic … or any other aspect of my life for that matter.

But beyond the frustrating (yet decidedly priceless) decor that no one can bear to part with are the Halloween costumes from years past … the ones that no longer fit anyone especially well … the ones the kids insisted I take to the seamstress to be repaired, “…just in case I shrink, Mom,” the ones haphazardly piled upon the floor of someone’s closet following the latest make-believe session involving a witch’s hat, a gorilla suit and a pair of ninja swords. You know the ones.

And let us not forget the Halloween cutouts from the Leave It to Beaver era (read: the wholly irreplaceable cardboard remnants of my husband’s childhood, upon which the vestiges of yellowed tape still remain). The ones I’ve been patching up with voluminous quantities of not-so-yellowed tape for the past eight or nine Octobers. The ones that fall to the floor roughly 30 or 40 times a day simply because the stock is too heavy.

“Mom, the big, black cat on the cellar door fell down again. Can you fix it? Oh, and you made the skeleton dude’s knee bend the wrong way. Can you fix that, too?” Yes, of course, dear … with about four rolls of tape and enough patience for six people.

Granted, they are part of the family now. The big, black cat and the skeleton dude. It’s likely the stupid things will be helping us celebrate Halloween a decade from now … when my charges come home from college to do their laundry for the first time all semester. Hopefully by then I will have discovered a better solution to the inferior tape dilemma I now endure.

Either way, I’m guessing I’ll reminisce about the kids’ exuberance upon hauling the infamous cardboard boxes out of the attic … and of the Halloween hokum contained within.

Odds are, it’ll all be there … even still.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (dreaming of candy corn chocolate). Visit me there at www.melindawentzel.com.

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Parent Alert: New Deadly Threat

Guest Post by Roger McIntire, Ph.D.

Epidemic hits high schoolers!
Death rate quadruples among 16-year-olds!
No immunity in sight.
Medical community has no vaccine that will help.

All your efforts to protect your teen from childhood diseases, accidents with sharp objects and running with scissors pale to almost nothing.

Is it a virus? A cancer? A new mind-splitting drug?

No. It’s cars.

A study by Ezekiel Emanuel and David Wendler from the National Institutes of Health shows that daily hospitalizations and emergency room visits remain low among children. Then the daily death rate, which is steady at 1 per million per day in childhood, skyrockets to 10 per million per day for teens.

Everything that we do to protect our kids by using car seats and seat belts, lecturing about looking both ways and following the rules is overwhelmed and swept aside by the shocking statistics of driving and riding with reckless friends.

Not long ago boys were at a greater risk of injury and death from car-related accidents, but recently girls have closed the gap and are now at almost the same risk level as the boys. For example, in 1990, 160 of every 1000 girls wrecked their cars but by 2000 the number had risen to 175 per thousand. Boys stayed at a steady rate of 210 per 1000 per year over the same period.

Nothing else you have done, or do, to protect your teen during their growing-up years means as much as your riding and driving rules.

Now a new threat has entered the teen driving scene. With one hand on the wheel, attention is often focused on the other hand holding a cell phone complete with a keypad with keys barely the size of a grain of rice. Cell phones are taking teens’ attention away from the main task at hand.

In a national study conducted by Pew Research, they found that 30 percent of teens surveyed send over 100 messages each day, and that only 22 percent send less than 10 messages per day.

So how do parents make an impression upon their teenager that many young people just like them are dying behind the wheel of their cars every day? It is a serious discussion every parent and teen must have -- frequently.

The trick for parents is to keep the flood of shocked reactions in check and yet remain a good listener. Whatever your comment, the first filter in your teenager’s mind is “What are you saying about me?” Parents often say to me, “He takes things so personally.” So first of all, keep the subject on a third person basis as much as possible. Use “it” and “what” instead of “you.”

Also avoid the “quick fix” temptation:
  • The real subject may not have come up yet. “Why don’t you...” “You should try...” “Don’t be so...” all have the potential of closing a conversation.
  • They also indicate a superior position and may put off your teenager.
  • If you tell me you had trouble getting to work, and I tell you to try another route and start earlier, you would think, “What nerve!” You just wanted to gripe a little, and I turned it into a driving lesson!
Keep listening skills handy. Maintain good eye contact and avoid shrugs and postures that say you don’t agree or are not paying attention – there’s more to conversation than what is said and heard. Watch your signals: folding your arms, getting louder, and turning away all have their messages.

Put down your TV remote, and all other hand-held devices. A “talking ritual” with your teen driver can help you keep up with what’s going on. You need good listening skills to keep the conversation flowing.

Saying, “Be careful” is not enough. Limitations and restrictions need to be enforced. You need to know where and with whom your teen is riding. You need to ride with them whenever possible to judge their driving skills. Make sure they know they can call you for a ride home anytime -- no questions asked.

You don’t want that terrible late-night phone call, “This is Officer Smith of the State Police, your son (daughter) has been...”

Roger McIntire, Ph.D., author of Raising Your Teenager: 5 Crucial Skills for Moms and Dads, Raising Good Kids in Tough Times and four other parenting books (www.ParentSuccess.com), is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Maryland, where he taught for 32 years. McIntire also shares his wisdom in a Martinsburg Journal (WV) column and at behavior.org, the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies’s website.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Take a Cat Nap for a Cause to Support Breast Cancer Awareness and Enter This Giveaway for Purina Cat Chow

We recently adopted two kittens, and I can testify to the joy they’ve brought to our household. They love to snuggle up in our laps and purr with pleasure when we pet them. We can’t help but smile when we spend time with them. Having cats can be especially beneficial during difficult times. A recent Purina Cat Chow national survey of breast cancer survivors with cats showed that more than 84 percent of respondents felt their cat had a calming effect during their battle with breast cancer, and nearly seven out of 10 said their cats were a source of comfort when battling the disease. Inspired by these findings, Purina Cat Chow has established a relationship with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to honor the unique bond between cat owners and their cats.

Their new campaign, called Cat Nap for the Cause, invites breast cancer awareness supporters to take a 20-minute cat nap to support breast cancer research. For each “cat napper” who signs up on their Facebook page, Purina Cat Chow will donate $2 up to $150,000 -- on top of their 2010 donation of $200,000 -- directly to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Actress Kate Walsh has teamed up with Purina Cat Chow as the spokesperson for Cat Nap for the Cause. Her mother is a more than 10-year breast cancer survivor. Along with other celebrity supporters, Kate is donating personalized blankets, perfect for a cat nap, to raise awareness for the campaign. Register for a chance to win one of these celebrity Cat Nap for the Cause blankets at www.Facebook.com/PurinaCatChow!

GIVEAWAY

Here’s another offer for cat lovers: I’ve been authorized to give away a coupon for a free 7 lb. bag of Purina Cat Chow to one lucky winner! To enter, visit www.Facebook.com/PurinaCatChow and click “Cat Nap.” Take the pledge, and then return to this post and leave a comment letting me know that you did. Since the Cat Nap for the Cause event ends on November 2, we’ll make this a quick and easy contest with just one entry per person (US residents only), ending at 11:59 PM EST on November 2, 2010.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner: Ardy22!



DISCLOSURE: No compensation was exchanged for this post.

Battle Dry Skin This Winter with Carmex Skin Care Products

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carmex®. All opinions are 100% mine.

I knew that Carmex made some fantastic lip balms for dry and chapped lips, but I had no idea that they also made a healing lotion and cream! I recently had the opportunity to try both the Carmex® Healing Lotion and Carmex® Healing Cream, and was very impressed with them.

Carmex Healing Lotion is perfect for daily use. It contains healing ingredients, like aloe and Vitamin E, to moisturize and nourish the skin. I keep it on my desk and apply it to my elbows all the time, which tend to get dry because I’m always leaning them on my desktop. I like that it’s not greasy and has a pleasant scent.

Carmex Healing Cream is for your toughest dry skin. It has 9 healing ingredients designed to help heal the most dry, cracked skin. You only need a small amount since it’s concentrated. And, like the Healing Lotion, it’s non-greasy and smells nice.

Carmex products are available at Walgreens, Walgreens.com and drugstore.com. You can’t miss the sunny yellow and red tubes! I suggest you stock up on them for the upcoming winter when dry skin tends to get worse. Use the Healing Lotion for daily maintenance and the Healing Cream when skin becomes especially dry.



Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: Best Food for Your Baby and Toddler

It’s often true that the earlier you develop a certain habit, the more likely it is to stick with you. This is especially important to keep in mind when it comes to eating. When you start children on a healthy diet early, you’ll hopefully lay a foundation of healthy eating throughout the child’s life. The book, Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler, is an essential tool for starting your child on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

Author Jeannette Bessinger (with Tracee Yablon-Brenner) shares some important reasons for feeding your baby well. For instance, “Healthy food can have more protective power than medicines to strengthen [your baby’s] young immune system.” She also notes about today’s childhood obesity problem that it is “much harder … to fix an existing problem than to prevent it from occurring in the first place.” These are important reasons for thinking about what goes into your baby’s mouth -- even before she is born.

Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler takes readers through a baby’s first three years, explaining your child’s dietary and nutrition needs, and offering guidance on how to meet these needs through a healthy eating program. The second part of the book provides delicious and easy recipes for pleasing your child’s palate while ensuring she’s eating healthfully. Spread throughout the book are helpful tips and charts on topics such as choking signs and remedies, foods at higher risk for causing allergies, healthy foods for nursing moms, and much more.

It’s time to tackle childhood obesity and unhealthy eating habits as early as possible. Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler is a must-read for every parent who wants to start her child on the path to good health.




DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this review. No compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon link at left.

Have You Created a SQUIGGLE Today? Check Out RandomLine’s Products and Enter This SQUIGGLE Monsters Giveaway

My boys love to draw, and thus we’ve been big fans of RandomLine products for a long time. Their award-winning items are based on the SQUIGGLE! A squiggle is a random line -- it might be straight, wavy, or loopy -- but it can be used to create something cool, like a beautiful flower, a racing car, or even a monster! All this is done through RandomLine’s unique and fun drawing games and doodling activity pads. I love that they encourage children’s imagination! Check out the fun monster my son created with his SQUIGGLE Monsters drawing pad:


He has had so much fun playing with this product. Here are some other great items we have from RandomLine:

SQUIGGLE on the Move


SQUIGGLE Connect Game


Hurry Up Dice Game


And our newest RandomLine product, as I mentioned above, is…

SQUIGGLE Monsters


I love all of RandomLine’s games, on-the-go activity pads (great for travel), and wipe-off drawing pads. There are various themes for both boys and girls, and lots of fun ideas for creating artwork that begins with just a SQUIGGLE!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a Squiggle Monsters drawing pad of their very own! To enter, “like” RandomLine on Facebook. Leave a comment on this post with your Facebook name. (If you’re not on Facebook, go to www.RandomLine.com and look around. Leave a comment on this post with a product that your kids would love besides SQUIGGLE Monsters.) This is required for entry into this giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries by:

- Liking the Daily SQUIGGLE on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Posting a link to this giveaway on your Facebook page. (1 entry; leave link)

- Liking Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Following RandomLine (@RandomLine) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway up to three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Thursday, November 11, 2010, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, FDP 4 Life!



DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary SQUIGGLE Monsters product to facilitate my candid review. No compensation was provided.

EcoSMART: A Leader in Eco Pesticides (Plus a Great Giveaway)

I live in Florida, where bugs abound. I despise having them in the house, but at the same time I have a fear of traditional pesticides. I don’t like to think about what the nasty chemicals in them might be doing to my family. My children recently went camping with their dad, and look what one of them found:

Yuck! My son may not mind bugs, but I do! So, whenever possible, I seek out eco pesticides. EcoSMART makes a fantastic line of organic pesticides. I sent a bottle of EcoSMART insect repellent with my kids on their camping trip because I want the insects to leave my little guys alone but without exposing them to nasty chemicals. My husband is a mosquito magnet, so he was happy to have the EcoSMART insect repellent with them, too.

EcoSMART is a world leader in organic pesticides. They’ve been around since 1992, and they were the first company to apply modern science to essential plant oils, creating the first 100% organic pesticides. They kill bugs without any toxins or harmful residues, and are safe for use around children, pets, food crops and the environment. Their household products are now available in leading retail stores.

EcoSMART products can help wipe out mosquitoes, ants, roaches, pincher bugs, bed bugs, fleas, silverfish, wasps and hornets, and much more. There are products for the house, the garden and yard, and just about anyplace where you have a problem with bugs. I hope you’ll check out the EcoSMART line of products for your pest-control needs!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive an EcoSMART value bundle with assorted eco friendly products from EcoSMART! To enter, leave a comment on this post sharing why you want or need an EcoSMART value bundle. This is required for entry into the contest.

You can earn optional, additional entries by:

- Liking EcoSMART on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Liking Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway up to three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only, excluding Alaska and Hawaii residents.


CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, tristatecruisers!



DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary samples of EcoSMART products to facilitate this review. No compensation was provided.

Wordless Wednesday: Florida Birds in the ‘Hood

My relatives in Alaska like to send us pictures of the moose that wander into their yard. We don’t have anything quite that big here in Florida (although the alligators are pretty fearsome), but we do have some beautiful birds. I love when I see a flock of tropical birds come trotting into our neighborhood, like the ones below that came walking down the street and into our neighbor’s yard. I drove right past them with the car, and they didn’t even take off.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tiger’s Milk Can Help Transform Halloween into a Health-Conscious Holiday!

Did you know that the average American eats more than 24 pounds of candy per year? Wow! And probably a good portion of that takes place around Halloween. Tiger’s Milk wants you to know that you can still satisfy your sweet tooth, but in a much healthier way.

Each Tiger’s Milk nutrition bar contains 16 vitamins and minerals and up to 10 grams of protein, with 0 grams of trans fat. They’re also a good source of calcium and vitamins A and C. Tiger’s Milk bars come in two sizes and four delicious flavors: Protein Rich, Peanut Butter, Peanut Better & Honey, and Peanut Butter Crunch. And with their tiger packaging, they’re perfect for Halloween! Why not hand them out to trick-or-treaters this year?

I’m a big fan of Tiger’s Milk nutrition bars because they’re not only good for the body, but they taste good, too! Visit www.tigersmilk.com to find a retailer near you.



DISCLOSURE: I received samples of Tiger’s Milk as a thank-you for bringing this message to you. No other compensation was provided.

Hot for the Holidays: Children’s DVDs

DVDs make great gifts for kids. They’re easy to send, easy to wrap, and kids love them! Following are three new releases just in time for the holidays. My boys gave them all a thumbs-up!

Madeline's Christmas And Other Wintery Tales

Madeline's Christmas And Other Wintery Tales

Madeline, the little orphan girl who lives in a vine-covered house in Paris, is engaged in some wintery adventures with her neighbor Pepito, her friends at school and, of course, her dog Genevieve. The five episodes on this DVD include: Madeline’s Winter Vacation, Madeline and Santa, Madeline at the North Pole, Madeline and the Ice Skates, and Madeline’s Holiday with Mr. Grump! Madeline fans (like me) will not be disappointed in these charming tales based on the classic Madeline books.

The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest For The Infinity Sword Vol. 2

The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest For The Infinity Sword Vol. 2

If your son isn’t into Madeline, he’ll definitely want to check out The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword! (Volume 2). What boy wouldn’t love watching Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Falcon, Thor, and their other superhero friends protect Super Hero City from Dr. Doom and his infamous villains?! These six episodes feature a combination of adventure and humor that will delight all kids.

The Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells

This Academy Award-nominated family tale features beautiful animation and an exciting story filled with magic and mythology. This 75-minute DVD tells the story of young Brendan, who lives in Ireland during medieval times. He embarks on a quest through an enchanted forest with assistance from a fairy named Aisling. My boys really enjoyed this unique story and were absorbed from start to finish.



DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies of these DVDs to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links above.

Experience American History with Mission US, a Free Online Resource for Kids (Plus, a Video Contest!)

I have always loved learning about history. Why? First, it’s fascinating! I love to read stories about people who existed in the past, to learn how they lived and what happened during their time. In many cases, these true-life stories make for more interesting reading than anything we can make up. Second, I think the old adage is true: If we don’t know about the past, we’re bound to repeat the same mistakes. We can learn a lot from those who went before us. Why not benefit from their experiences? This is so important for kids, and yet the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “The Nation’s Report Card,” shows that only 17% of eighth graders perform at or above the proficient level in American history. I really believe this is something that needs to change.

One way to improve this statistic is to read history-based books with our children and encourage older children to read them on their own. Another way to teach history is through online games. My high-schooler loves history-based video games and has become surprisingly well-informed about the past. I recently learned about another option: Mission US. At Mission US, tweens and teens can find a fun series of free online games that could “revolutionize” the way they learn about US history. The first game, "For Crown or Colony?," just launched and focuses on events leading up to the American Revolution.

They’re also holding a very cool contest at Mission US. Just like Nat Wheeler, the young apprentice protagonist in "For Crown or Colony?" who shares his experience of the Boston Massacre, kids are encouraged to share how they see their own place in history by creating and submitting a video. Topics might include a story from their family’s past, a historical person, place, or event connected to their hometown, or how themes in history (like injustice, protest, freedom) connect to their lives today. They can upload their video at www.mission-us.org/pages/video-submission and become eligible to win a $100 Visa gift card! The deadline for entry is December 15, 2010.

In addition to traveling through the past with your kids via Mission US, here are some tips on how to have fun and learn about history together:

  • Make a movie! Work with your kids to create videos about history in their lives, such as their hometown or family history. (Then submit it to the contest mentioned above!)
  • Get cooking! Visit the library and find books about colonial (or even Civil War) cooking and get a real “taste” of history by trying out an authentic recipe or two.
  • Learn about history firsthand! Have kids interview senior citizens in your town to learn about how they’ve lived through important eras of their country’s past.
  • Go explore! Check out the historical sites in your area. You can look for information at your local visitors’ center or do some digging online.
  • Plant a family tree! Map your own family history with your kids, going back as far as possible. Figure out how your own story intersects with American history.
Finally, I hope you’ll check out Mission US with your kids. If you’re a teacher, this makes a great free resource for the classroom! It’s a win-win situation for everyone: Kids will have fun and you’ll love that they’re learning about history!

LINKS

Mission US website: www.mission-us.org
Mission US on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MissionUS
Mission US on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mission_US




DISCLOSURE: No compensation of any kind was exchanged for this post.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review: Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren

It’s so important for grandparents to form a close connection with their grandchildren, but it’s often difficult these days because times are changing so quickly. Grandparents may feel intimidated at the thought of having anything in common with kids in this new video-game world. And grandchildren may not know what to do with grandparents who live far away. That’s why I love the book, GrandLoving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren, by Sue Johnson, Julie Carson and Elizabeth Bower. It really helps to bridge the generation and communication gap between kids and grandparents by providing tip, activities, ideas and projects that will appeal to both.

I especially like how GrandLoving emphasizes “spending time rather than money on grandkids.” It really is true that money can’t buy love, and piling on the presents won’t build a close relationship. Instead, quality time and shared experiences are what make for wonderful memories and bond-building. The 225 low-cost activities in GrandLoving help grandparents relate to their grandchildren all the way from the womb to the teen years. The authors explain how grandparents can forge a bond with their grandkids even when they live far away, and how they can overcome high-tech obstacles. Step-by-step craft projects and helpful resources provide a wealth of information for grandparents.

If you’re a grandparent or soon to be, GrandLoving is a must-have manual for staying close to your grandchildren throughout their lives. Visit www.grandloving.com for tips, videos, and more!





DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my candid review. No other compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links above.

Where's the Great Pumpkin?

Halloween just wouldn't be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch! Last year, there was a pumpkin shortage, and when we got to the pumpkin patch, they had run out of pumpkins! Fortunately, there seemed to be an abundance of them this year. Why is it that pumpkins and kids always make such adorable pictures?