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Our Kids Have Seen Enough Tobacco

This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

We have seen enough tobacco! I talked to my three young adult children to get their perspective on smoking and how to keep kids from starting so we can have a Tobacco Free New York. Find out what I learned and why e-cigarettes are a huge and growing issue.

My three children have always heard us talk about the dangers of smoking. As they grew up we gave them a strong message that smoking was bad for you, addictive and unacceptable. It is very important to teach children about the dangers of smoking when they are still young. Most people who become smokers start when they are still teenagers – in fact the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old. So the anti-smoking message needs to start very early.

birthday cake with cigarettes on top

Tips to Keep Your Kids Tobacco Free

This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own. 

Despite all that we know about the dangers of smoking the tobacco industry is still a huge and profitable business. And to sustain that business tobacco companies spend billions to put their products in front of kids in stores. After all, the more kids see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking. And these tactics are effective – shockingly the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old!

Tobacco products displayed for kids

Enjoying the New York State Fair with AT&T Go Phone Giveaway

Summer is the perfect time to be out and about with your family, having new experiences and making memories. One of my family’s favorite summer adventures is the New York State Fair, because it has so much to offer for all ages. It is the perfect place to make summer memories that will last forever. In fact a day at the New York State Fair was the first date for my husband and I, 20 some years ago.

New York State Fair Entrance

So I headed out on a warm summer day to explore the fair with my oldest daughter, and we brought along my new Samsung Galaxy Prime GoPhone. There is so much to see and do at the Fair, and I used the phone to take lots and lots of pictures.

baby cow at nys fair

Tips for Summer Road Trips with your Dog

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripOil #CollectiveBias

Summer is ideal the time of year for road trips! And road trips are the perfect adventure for the whole family, which includes pets of course. Traveling with a pet can add extra challenges to a trip, but it is worth the effort to include pets in your summer plans. My family and I consider our dogs important family members, so we take them along whenever we can. This summer we had the fun of traveling with my Mom’s dog Alex, a schnauzer/terrier mix, who spent a few weeks visiting us. Here are some of tips for taking your dog along on your summer road trip.

Tips for Successful Summer Road Trips with Your Dog - Learn how to make your travel with your dog less stressful

A Trip to Historic Philidelphia with American Heritage Chocolate

I attended a blogger press trip sponsored by American Heritage Chocolate to explore Historic Philadelphia. Travel expense and accommodations were provided. All opinions are my own.

It often seems that history is a fascinating subject that school makes boring. Reading about the past in textbooks can be dull, but actually experiencing the sights and sounds of history is a great way to learn and make history come to life. Historic Philadelphia is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to doing just that, and one of the main ways they do it is through their History Makers program. In this living history program you can meet citizens from 18th and 19th century Philadelphia and hear their stories about how events like the Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War affect them. They truly make history come to life.

history makers 2

The History Makers aren’t just famous people like Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross. Historic Philadelphia focuses on the history of ordinary middle class people, the kind who never make the history books but are caught up in the events that shaped the nation. I met military men, like Trooper Hair and Major Nicholas, along with a chocolatier, Mary Crathome, and Phyllis, a freed slave working as a laundry maid. All of these are real people from history, accurately researched and portrayed. And many of the History Maker events are totally free! Here are some of my favorite parts of my whirlwind trip to Philadelphia.

5 Best Free Phone Games for Teens

Like most teens, my teenage son is always on his phone. Phones are an essential accessory for teens these days, for texting, watching videos, snapchatting and for playing games. The cost of games can add up quickly – even ones that are free to download usually have in-app purchases and paid upgrades. Since my son doesn’t have a job he doesn’t have funds to waste, so he was excited when I told him about the free games available from Amazon Underground.

Best Free Phone Apps for Teens

The Amazon Underground app for Android smartphones has enhanced features and access to content that isn’t available on the basic Amazon Shopping app. With Amazon Underground you can access additional features such as Amazon Video and 100% free apps and games.

My son has been downloading and testing games on his phone ever since I showed him this free resource, and he helped me put together this list of the 5 Best Free Phone Games for Teens.

Help End Child Hunger

This post is brought to you by Child Hunger Ends Here and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

It is sad to think that hunger is an issue in a rich, developed country like the United States, yet it is. People living in all 50 states are affected by food insecurity, and children are even more at risk than adults. Unfortunately more than 15 million children in the U.S. do not know where their next meal is coming from. At the national level this is a complex issue, with no easy solutions. But at the local level there are simple and empowering things all families can do to help children get the food they need and deserve.

One of the most important things we can do is raise awareness. That is why ConAgra has partnered with presidential “hopeful” Robby Novak, Kid President, to help raise awareness of child hunger in America. Kid President has just released this video addressing child hunger in America.

You can view or share this video to help raise awareness for child hunger. And thanks to everyone who has already viewed and shared this video, ConAgra has met its goal of donating the monetary equivalent of 100,000 meals to Feeding America. To continue this effort and to learn more about ways to fight hunger in your community, visitwww.childhungerendshere.com and click on the “How You Can Help” tab.

Reducing Stress in 2016 – with Giveaway

We are one month into 2016, how are your New Year’s resolutions going? My resolutions this year focus around reducing stress. Lives are so busy, with rushing from activity to activity and accumulating things, but what for? This year I am trying to be more intentional so life is less hectic and less stressful.

New Year's resolutions

Here are four things I have been doing to reduce my stress level this year:

  • Use a paper planner to stay on task
  • Declutter the house and get rid of “stuff”
  • Spend some time daily being active
  • Spend some time daily being creative

Winter Car Care

This posts is sponsored by Watersavers.com

Winter is just around the corner, and that means it is time to start thinking about winter car care. Taking the time to properly winterize your car not only ensures the comfort and safety of you and your family but also helps you maintain the value of your car. We get snow and ice all the time here an are all too familiar with the havoc they can cause on vehicles!

Winter Car Care - Protect your Car this winter

Here are some tips for winter car maintenance that are quick and easy!

Comforts from Home

Supporting our troops is important to my family and I. My father was in the army, serving in Germany in the 1950s. He was proud of his service, and enjoyed telling us stories about his experiences in Europe.

My Dad was lucky, because Europe was peaceful by the time he was there, so his service wasn’t very dangerous. But he was overseas and away from his family for almost 2 years, which is a very long time, and he missed two Thanksgivings, two Christmas, and many birthdays and smaller celebrations.

Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos

This review was made possible by iConnect and Kalahari. I was provided with an overnight stay to facilitate my review and compensation, but all opinions are 100% mine.

A few weeks ago my family and I had the chance to check out Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in the Poconos. It was a nice, relaxing mid-week stay, that had something for everyone. Kalahari is an African themed resort that lets you have an all-under-one-roof vacation!

Kalahari in the Poconos

We arrived right after lunch, and were able to check in right away to our room, which was very clean and spacious.

dog in water with caption "growing old gracefully" on picture

Growing Old Gracefully

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BrightMind #CollectiveBias

Last week I shared how I was transitioning our 10 year old dog, Dodger, over to Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind food. This food is specially formulated to increase cognitive awareness in dogs ages 7 and up. It just makes sense, after all puppies have special puppy food because their nutritional needs are different, and so are the needs of senior dogs.

Taking Care of Our Senior Dog

As dogs age the glucose metabolism in their brain begins to change, which can effect many areas, like memory, learning and decision making. Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind contains enhanced botanical oils which promote memory, attention and trainability. The biggest difference we have noticed in Dodger is that he seems to have more patience.  We have a younger dog, Ziggy, who can be quite demanding. Dodger has been much more willing to actually play, and less likely to just go and hide from Ziggy’s attention.

Online Safety for Kids

Online safety is one of the most important things that you can teach your children! Unfortunately many parents forget about this, or just assume that certain things are obvious, and they are not obvious to kids at all! So it is crucial to sit down with your children and set ground rules about what they are and are not allowed to do, so they stay safe online.

Online Safety for Kids - Make a contract with your kids to keep them safe online.

Children spend a lot of time on electronic devices and on the internet – especially as they go back to school – so now is the perfect time to go over healthy online practices.

Here are six important tips about online safety for kids.

Taking Care of Our Senior Dog

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BrightMind #CollectiveBias

Our dog Dodger joined our family just over 9 years ago. After years of pleading from the kids I finally agreed we could get a family dog, and my husband headed off to the dog shelter to see what he could find. He was supposed to be looking for a medium size dog, but he came back with Dodger, who was 1 year old and NOT medium sized at all.

Dodger our Senior Dog

Dodger has a distinctive blue tongue, so he is probably part Chow. He is also part Lab, and quite possibly has some Great Dane mixed in too. Even though he is a little bigger than I was expecting he has fit right into the family and become an important part of our lives.

Soaring College Tuition

College is so expensive! Since I graduated from college 20 some years ago the cost of tuition has exploded, and it is estimated that tuition has increased over 1000%! But even as expenses have increased having a college degree has become more and more important for finding a good job in this country.

College Campus

Paying for college is an investment in your child’s future. But like any investment you have to be practical, and look at all the facts and figures. Children need to understand that attending college is a privilege, and they they have to do their part to keep costs down. This means attending an affordable college even it is not their “dream” college, working hard, getting good grades, and managing their schedule so that they actually graduate in as few semesters as possible.

Erase Stress This School Year

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EraseStress #CollectiveBias

The new school year brings excitement, but it can also bring stress for kids. After all there are new classes, new friends and sometimes new schools, all of which can make kids nervous. My 11th grade son is taking two classes at the local community college this semester – and he is definitely stressed about that! College level classes are harder, and the grades count too.  I am sure he is ready for this next step in his education, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t butterflies in his stomach.

erase stress

One of the biggest issues he will probably have with higher level classes is his messy handwriting. As a homeschooler he doesn’t do as much writing as kids in school, and he has never developed overly legible handwriting. Last year there were a number of occasions he got a math problem wrong because he misread his own handwriting!

Make Your Old Car Look Like New

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #1stImpressionsCount #CollectiveBias

My daughter, Eleanor, headed back to college last week, for her second year. Last year she was a nervous freshman, but this year she is a self assured sophomore! In fact she is a resident assistant in a dorm this year, so she has all kinds of responsibilities, and she had to go back to college a week before everyone else for training. Now she would have loved to show up on campus in a fancy new car, to impress the rest of the staff and her friends, and show how sophisticated she is. But the reality is she driving a 2003 Oldsmobile Intrigue that she inherited from my Dad, and it shows its age!

Make Your Old Car Look Like New - Get your car ready for college with these seven easy steps for making an old car look like new and getting your car college ready.

My Dad loved this car, and he took meticulous care of it. It was clean and polished, and never driven in the winter. After he passed away my Mom gave the car to my kids, and well, they have been a little bit neglectful. So to help Eleanor make a good a first impression on campus we set out to clean it and make the old car look like new. Here are seven easy steps for making an old car college ready!