Category Archives: Family

Have a Safe Halloween: Don’t Forget to Check Your Candy

trick or treating I can still remember back when I was of trick-or-treating age–I would come home from school, immediately put on my Halloween costume and then pace the house badgering my parents about if it was time to go trick-or-treating yet. After an hour or two and the sun started to go down, it would be time and I would have a blast going from house to house, collecting candy and growing more and more anxious to get the most candy I could, go home and devour it all. Once returning home I would pour all of my candy out on the floor of the living room and dive in; but I also remember that every year I would be sitting on the living room floor in a huff because I was being forced to wait even more while my parents went through all of my candy. At the time, I did not know why my parents were being so cruel to me–Why did they like making me wait, couldn’t they see that I needed that insane amount of sugar in my body at that exact moment? Was my father stealing all of my peanut butter-filled candy? Well yeah, he was, but what I didn’t know is that kids going door to door, collecting candy and immediately going home to start eating it could potentially turn into a murderer’s playground.

As the years go by, crime rates continue to rise throughout the country. I know now that it was not safe to let your child dive into their Halloween candy as soon as returning home and now, it proves to be an even greater risk, going by the crime rate in the country alone.

In the past five years I have noticed that the houses who participate in handing out candy have declined quite a bit; last year I remember thinking that Halloween just didn’t feel like Halloween anymore–There were very few children running around outside, going up the walk to houses and leaving with broad smiles covering their faces as their guardian slowly followed behind them. There were no orange and purple lights gleaming from the houses on my street and looking around the town I moved to last February as Halloween inches closer and closer by, it looks like it is going to be an even more silent Halloween this year.

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where Halloween hasn’t dwindled to just another day of the week and you take your children out trick-or-treating, don’t forget to check their candy before they indulge in their loot. The top things to keep an eye out for are opened or partially opened pieces of candy and prepared candy or food without wrapping. It is important to make sure your holiday is the safest it can be and while the dangers of Halloween have changed cities to the point where Halloween hardly exists, we can still try to preserve the holiday for our children and be the safest we can be about it.

FurReal Friends Biscuit My Lovin Pup

All kids love animals. Whether you have a boy or a girl, at least several times during their childhood they are probably going to ask for a pet of some kind. As a woman who was raised with a German Shepard through childhood and then a purebred Rottweiler and Siberian Husky throughout adolescence, I know that dogs are great pets for boys and for girls alike. However, most children want a pet and will ask for one incessantly until you cave in and say okay. Give it a month or so and most children will get bored and start asking for something else or (and I’m willing to bet this has happened in most families with pets) the children will not have any part in the feeding or cleaning up after the pet. They may love to play with them, think of them as part of the family and love them to death but after that pet needs someone to clean up after it, that kid doesn’t want anything to do with the pet–They suddenly don’t even know who it was who insisted on bringing that animal into the house.

Well, that’s where FurReal Friends comes in.

There have been many different variations of cats and dogs that felt, acted and sounded like real pets for children who want pets as part of the household but don’t want to be told to feed or clean up after them. However, FurReal Friends offer the best animal-like toys for children. In 2002 they came out with the FurReal Cat that purred and sounded like a real cat and in a very short amount of time it became the very best toy you could purchase for a child who wanted a pet of their own. FurReal friends went on to offer not only a cat, but a horse, a parrot, a duck and even a few small dogs. A few years later and they have finally come out with the next best animal toy for children–A 2 foot Golden Retriever named Biscuit.

FurReal Friends FurReal Friends Biscuit My Lovin Pup is a soft, cuddly and fully trained dog that comes with an adoption certificate that your child can go online with so they can say that they truly own Biscuit.

In a very short amount of time Biscuit can understand your child’s voice and also comes knowing six commands, including “sit”, “lay down”, and “speak.” Each time your child speaks to Biscuit he will reply with either a bark or a whine–A whine if he’s hungry, wants attention or a treat and a bark if he’s happy. Biscuit will also obey his commands just like a fully trained dog and bark with joy every time you tell him to speak or give him a toy biscuit. Biscuit is most definitely the best alternative to a real dog when your child gets to the age of wanting to add a pet to the household.

If you think Biscuit would be a great addition to your household, read FurReal Friends Biscuit review. The best thing about this toy is that he does not have to be plugged into the computer or anything to get him to recognize your voice; after speaking to him a few times, Biscuit has the technology to understand your voice no matter where it is coming from. Biscuit is a widely talked about toy and great for young children, children allergic to pets or for those of you who live in an apartment where pets are not welcome.

Say Goodbye to Couch & Kitchen Chair Forts

When I was young, I remember going to a friend’s house after school nearly every day and of course, we didn’t have all the cool technological toys that are out now for children’s amusement and so we made due with normal, everyday, household objects that may have looked completely ordinary to our parents, but to a child, a couch, a couple kitchen chairs and a few bedsheets were paradise. In our heads, we were anywhere we wanted to be and we could do whatever we pleased; it was very Narnia-like.

Crazy Forts The times really haven’t changed for children too young to care about what video game system is out or what “must have” toys are out on the market; young children still have that magical essence about them where they believe that a couch, a couple kitchen chairs and a few bedsheets mean creating their very own, personal haven. While we absolutely love the creative minds and imaginations children have, putting the couch and kitchen chairs back can certainly be a pain in the butt, especially if you find yourself doing it nearly every day. The makers of Crazy Forts thought the same thing!

Crazy Forts is a genius idea to allow your child’s imagination to soar and to allow a little freedom for parents from having to pick up the house all over again at the end of play time. They aren’t battery operated and they aren’t something that your child will play with for a day and be done with; they are kits containing plastic building materials–25 geometrically precise balls and 44 sticks that connect to create countless structures for play time. By simply tossing a few bedsheets or light blankets,

Crazy Forts building Crazy Forts are one of the very, very few toys out there that promote collaborative play between boys and girls, just as long as your children aren’t in their “No boys allowed” clubhouse phases. While Crazy Forts are meant to be an assembly-by-child toy and are very easy to build into a variety of different structures, especially when the kits are combined, their website also has convenient design ideas and downloadable building plans for a castle, house, igloo, rocket and tunnel, which may be a great way to start warming your child up to creating their own forts if they’re not sure of the toy at first.

Crazy Forts are great kits, especially if you have more than one child who are close in age; this is a phenomenal way to get all of your kids to stay in one room, out of your hair and actually get along–If you’re lucky. It can also be educational, giving children a grasp on rudimentary engineering and physics concepts in a strictly fun way.

The Parents’ Guide to the Best Kids Toys

Parents seem to constantly be battling their children over what toys they absolutely need to have. After several attempts on their child’s part that likely go to the tune of “But Mommmmmmm! I need [insert toy here]! So-and-so’s mom let them have it and I need it, too. Neeeeeeed!!!” A lot of parents cave in, go out and buy this really awesome toy that without, their child would surely drop dead at the dinner table upon hearing that it would not soon be theirs.

Another problem parents deal with quite frequently, especially when their children start to get older, is thinking a video game their child can’t live without this week is simply just a video game or that a toy or item their children wants is just a toy. In reality, Some toys and even more so, video games that have been coming out recently that children just have to have are getting obscene reviews from even adults, so thinking about what kind of effect these means for entertainment could have on your child are frightening to even think about. It is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to keep up and shield their children from what the mainstream media is trying to tell and sell to their kids. Because of this, more and more parents are opting to join online parenting groups and websites to share tips and tricks on how to shield their children from the big, scary media monster. With more and more resources becoming available to parents, it is now easier than ever to make sure you know exactly what your children are being subject to when they are playing with a toy or video game.

Because of the lifestyles and schedules we lead today, for parents who don’t have time to sift through the archives of parenting groups, communities and websites, wouldn’t it be ideal to be able to go to a website that is specifically for children’s toys alone?

The Best Toys Guide is a website dedicated specifically for children’s toys and what toys are ideal for children to have and play with. This site has done all of the work for you and is ideal to consult the next time your child is screaming about a toy that they have to have or right before holiday or birthday present shopping. The website is split into categories making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. As a new site, they specialize in best toys 2008, giving parents a resource to consult for all of the best toys over the entire year. They have also compiled a list of the absolute best online toy stores. Because of our hectic schedules, it isn’t always a possibility to make a trip to the mall or the nearest toy stores and online shopping has gained so much attention for its accessibility and your ability to shop when you have the time to, all from the convenience of your own home.

The Best Toys Guide is definitely a handy resource to have at your fingertips when toy shopping for any child in your life.

Kitty Tested: Greenies Dental Treats

I received Greenies dental treats for cats as a free sample from their website. I have been interested in introducing natural and organic products to me and the boyfriend’s life and after seeing their website, I realized that people aren’t the only ones who can get a little greener.

Devin Greenies treats Greenies, like most companies, started off as most other great ideas do–Trying to find a solution to a problem–The problem being animals with bad breath. Greenies make their dog and cat treats with nothing but their health in mind and when they were put to the ultimate test by participating in a third party dental test, it showed that using Greenies dental treats and chews once a day resulted in a 69% reduction in tartar and a 10.5% reduction in plaque versus pets who ate the same food as they did all the time, but did not have the Greenies dental chews.

Greenies are also the makers of the Pill Pockets we posted about last month.

Devin Greenies treats I received the feline dental treats in the ocean fish flavor and at first glance, I was a little put off by their color. I’m traditionally used to the Pounce cat treats with cute colors and even multi-colored snacks, but Greenies doesn’t use any artificial coloring or flavors and the color didn’t put my cat Devin off one bit, she loved them and even eats them up faster than she does the Pounce treats I’ve been giving her since I got her. In fact, Greenies are kitty tested and approved!

To get your own free sample of Greenies dental treats, head on over to their website and request yours!

A Little Mother’s Day History

Mother's Day With Mother’s Day coming up, I thought some people may be a little interested in the history of Mother’s Day and how we all came to rush around and sign cards, buy flowers and jewelry and give mothers tokens of appreciation for raising us into the people we have become.

So where did this holiday originate from? How do people from other cultures and places of origin go about telling their mothers how much they are appreciated?

In the year 1906, a woman by the name of Anna Jarvis began campaigning to start a day where all Americans would celebrate their mothers. She began spreading her idea to other people through church meetings and letters to representatives in government as well as businessmen. Within 3 years, 46 states were celebrating Mother’s Day and in the year 1914, it was regarded as a national holiday.

Through the years, Americans have fallen into the old routine of commercializing and not only going above and beyond with this holiday, but using it purely for promotional and commercial purposes, which is the same thing that Christmas has also evolved into. Because of this, through the years, Jarvis has spent her years trying to de-commercialize Mother’s Day, feeling that the original meaning of the day she worked so hard to get Americans to celebrate, had lost its original meaning.

In Jarvis’ own words, Mother’s Day is “To let (mothers) know we appreciate them, though we do not show it as often as we ought.”

Here are ways other cultures celebrate Mother’s Day:

In ancient Greece, which accounts for the earliest Mother’s Day celebration, people paid tribute to the mother of the gods, Rhea, with with honey cakes, fine drinks and flowers at dawn.

In Serbia, Mother’s Day, known as Materice in Serbia, is celebrated on the second Sunday before Christmas. This is perhaps the funniest way of celebrating Mother’s Day I have ever heard. On this day, children sneak into their mother’s rooms and tie her feet with either ribbon or string. If that wasn’t funny enough, in order for the mothers to be released, they must negotiate with their children, presenting them with small gifts. I believe that in Serbia they got it a little mixed up, maybe it should be called Children’s Day.

During the Middle Ages in Britain, the wealthy people gave their servants the day off so they could travel, usually far away, to see their mothers.

So there’s some history on Mother’s Day for everyone. So tell me now, what are you planning for your mother?

Giving Your Pet Medication Just Got Easier

Pill Pockets for cats Giving medication to your pet is sometimes worse than getting your child to swallow that disgusting spoonful of cough medicine. They refuse to take the medication willingly and in most cases, pet owners must resort to holding their pet down and slipping a capsule into their mouths and hope they don’t just take it into another room and spit it out.

I got my cat spayed about a year ago and while still at the vet office the next morning, she had ripped all of her stitches out and within a few days of bringing her home, she had an infection from the stitches and the vet having to restitch her. In addition to the normal medication I had to give her, I also had to give her an antibiotic for the infection. Now, I have an unnatural love for my cat, I treat her as well as people treat their children and seeing her in any kind of pain or discomfort at all had me welling up with tears, so giving her the two medications twice a day was agony for me–and she didn’t like it much, either.

I recently found a great item that makes giving pets medication easier than ever–Pill Pockets. Staying true to hiding capsules in food, Pill Pockets, made by Greenies, are treats for pets that you can easily put a pill in and feed to your pet. They are made for cats as well as for dogs and would most definitely be an asset for any person having trouble with giving their pets medication.