Do Homework Before Holiday Shopping for Kids


Thanksgiving is tomorrow so I have been hearing and reading a lot about Black Friday and shopping for kids.

When it comes to our children and grandchildren careful thought will go into Holiday gift choices.

I know that screens for kids are somewhat controversial. Let’s face it, eventually your kids will be exposed to the iPad and various other tablets both adult and child friendly. It seems important to know about the various available tablets.

So here is the link to Consumer Reports’ info on tablets specifically for children.

The market for kids’ tablets is growing dramatically. Just two years ago, only 8 percent of children had access to a tablet at home. Today, it’s 40 percent!

Consumer Reports tested six tablets especially designed for children costing between 70 and 230.

You never expect toys to harm your child or grandchild but we know they can… so here is a list of toys that you might want to avoid as they pose a safety hazard to some children.


November 26, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — As the holiday shopping season begins, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group is out with its annual list of dangerous toys that parents should avoid.

Illinois PIRG: Trouble in Toyland Report

Shoppers hitting the stores this holiday season should look out for toys that can be harmful to children.

Children with special needs and parents get help with toy choices from aToys R Us website. Thank you Toys R Us.


Toys R Us toy guide for differently-abled kids makes it easier to find the right toys for a child with a disability. The prices range from $5 – $100.

The toy guide is available at all Toys R Us stores and can also be found online:


Help for Holiday Photography


This is a sponsored post by LightScoop. I was given a Lightscoop for my personal use.

It is holiday time.

Thanksgiving is here and most of us will be taking photographs indoors which require the use of flash.

When you introduce flash the quality of your photos can be affected and not in a positive way.

Enter Lightscoop, which will change the quality of your indoor photographs with you DSLR camera.

Click on the Lightscoop link on flickr to see the quality of the Lightscoop photos.


Lightscoop® is a smart low-tech device that creates soft, flattering light by redirecting your camera’s built-in flash to a ceiling or wall.


Don’t let your convenient little built-in flash flash ruin your photos with evil red eye, ugly shadows, hot spots, bleached out faces, underexposed colors, and blurry movement that exist only in your photographs, not in the real world.


Slip a Lightscoop® on your camera and never miss out on another fabulous picture! Lightscoop creates soft, natural light and lets you capture the scene the way you see it.


I cannot wait to use my Lightscoop at Thanksgiving and will post my photos afterwards.

In the meantime, take a look at Lightscoop’s website and get one for your holiday and everyday  indoor photos.

What saying NO really means to kids.

Gingerbread Fun!

Gingerbread Fun!

Interesting findings here with only 30+ children observed.

Kids gravitate to the things we as parents say NO to.

Now most of us realize this even though it may be on a subconscious level. The NO word only increases the risk that our kids and grandkids with go for the forbidden.

The important finding here is that if we say NO to certain foods our kids will only want those foods more…so in order to keep them away from non-nutritious foods we should decrease the opportunities where we have to say NO. Example being …not to have candy laying around the house and therefore we won’t have to say, “No, that is not good for you.”

Now good luck with the Holiday Season that is upon us…when we all have lots of treats around our homes. Now is a good time to begin to keep them at a minimum not just for our kids’ sake but our own as well.


For those of you who are familiar with the evidence base on parental feeding patterns it won’t come as a surprise to you that just saying “No” (restriction) isn’t a wise plan – yet there are many who feel that the ability of parents to “just say no” is a viable defense against our current food environment.

Kiss Goodbye to Holiday Stress

Christmas Window

Kids and the Stress of the Holidays…

I know, what stress is it when you are a kid and looking forward to gifts and toys and all kinds of stuff that comes along with Christmas and Hanukah and other gift giving holidays?

The best way I think we can go about figuring out what might bother our particular children is to look at what bothers us and look back at what we “hated” about the holidays when we were their age.

Looking back with empathy…

Here are some of my memories…

  • I hated leaving my own house on Christmas Day to visit relatives…Christmas Eve was okay but leave me alone with my gifts and my grandmother’s, who lived with us  food on Christmas.
  • Now my parents were divorced so it was somewhat contentious when I did not want to go visiting on Christmas. I was made to feel guilty for not wanting to dress up and go to my father’s family.
  • I hated some of the awful presents that I received year after year from relatives who will remain nameless. Usually they were “regifts” like gloves that were too big and other awful stuff.
  • I also hated having to kiss and hug various relatives that I hardly ever saw except for the Holidays.

Now granted I am a grandmother and I imposed some of my family rituals on my own kids but not many …we always had Christmas at home.

However, Christmas Eve was another story…we spent many Christmas Eves with a family that has adopted us since our own family is across the country.

Here are some holiday simplifying suggestions from our Montessori school, for you and your children…the kids may actually thank-you with their good behavior.

  • Keep your television off as much as possible- your house will be quieter and the advertising will be less. Hopefully it will decrease how much you here these words…”I want…”
  • Try to simplfy your own holiday expectations which might lighten your mood which is a wonderful gift to yourself and your family.
  • Consider saying the word “No” more often when it comes to traveling…going to other homes for Christmas Day…no, to too many parties, decorations, too much food, too many presents. If there is something that you don’t like…try saying, “NO”.
  • Consider being more “Green” when it comes to wrapping paper, cards and food. It is a good thing to teach your children and it is a way to limit some of the “stuff” that is just not important and that may just be driving you crazy.
  • Gifts take on a life of their own during the Holidays…try asking for gifts to your children’s college fund instead of a gift that your child does not really need.
  • Family traditions…you might want to begin some of your own traditions…you do not have repeat the traditions that you grew up with and those that your partner grew up with…how crazy does that get? Develop some of your own traditions that can combine what you both like best and that your kids like.
  • Now about those holiday hugs and kisses…your child should not have to hug and kiss all relatives and friends that he does not even know or remember. What is this telling him…it is telling him this, when he is uncomfortable with certain people touching him…it is okay for him to just say hello and nothing else. Consider the message that we are teaching our kids and then leave the hugging and kissing up to them.


Puke Fest, Photography, Play


Puke Fest, I think all of us have experienced this but not to the extent of this mom. She has developed and shared a strategy for dealing with the flu in her family of six children.

Get some tips to be ready if “puke fest” comes to your home.

If you like taking photos of your family when they are not sick…this is a wonderful site that will take your photography to new level without even leaving your home. You will need a real camera…not just your phone. Have fun and enjoy the view.


Welcome! I am so excited that you are here and eager to learn more about photography! I want to share with you everything I have learned over the past couple of years and help you along your journey! Whether you just got your first DSLR or you have been shooting for years, we have something for everyone.

Play is one of the most important things our kids do that add positively to their growth and development. Here are six gifts that will encourage your child to direct their own play.


Learning to be a responsive play observer takes thoughtfulness, restraint and practice, but once we get this down, we’ll discover more delightful moments of joy, humor and surprise than we ever thought possible. And we need these daily parenting “bonuses” to balance the more difficult moments and break up the monotony. We’ll also get more guilt-free breaks from parenting because we’ve encouraged our children to hone their independent play skills in our presence (but that’s another post).



Fifty Years…Hard to Believe

Arlington National Cemetary

JFK…Fifty Years

Marymount Academy, Tarrytown, New York

english class 1963…”the President has been shot”.

in Dallas Texas…

“Let’s say a prayer for him”…

an entire school utters a prayer…then…

“The President has died”

in Dallas Texas.

prayers unanswered…dreams shattered…a road less traveled…

not traveled at all…

flags at half staff…a nation mourning…

black and white television…a funeral…

a widow, a little daughter…

a son…saluting his Dad.

a riderless horse…


an eternal flame.

senior class trip to Washington, D.C.

Arlington Cemetery …a white picket fence

flowers,  a flame burning

all that is left of Camelot.

fifty years later…

Camelot has never returned…

only a daughter is left…along with

the memories of those of us

who remember…

where we were on November 22, 1963

when we heard the words

“President Kennedy has been shot!”



“Delivery Man” Review

"Delivery Man" premieres this weekend. My husband and I had 
the pleasure of seeing Delivery Man this past July at a 
Disney sponsored event.

Both of us found "Delivery Man" very entertaining, it was not only 
funny but it had a serious side to it as well.

Vince Vaughn's character, David Wozniak, is a thirty something, meat 
delivery man, who finds out that 533 children have been delivered
with him as their sperm donor father. 

The writers and actors did a wonderful job making the movie 
premise work.

Vince Vaughn's character, who is basically a professional and 
personal screw-up is both funny and serious as he tries to 
become each child's "guardian angel". I found myself laughing
and crying as Vince's character took control of his incredible  
life predicament.

I think Delivery Man should be added to your list of entertaining 
movies to see during the upcoming Holiday season.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband and I did. 


Tuesday…Why I Love My “Virtual Friends”

Lunch Box

Lunch Box

I am going back to introducing some of my favorite bloggers and their blogs. Over the last five years it has been my pleasure to meet many “virtual” friends through an eclectic collection of blogs.

For me, “working” at home and from home has its advantages and disadvantages…one of the disadvantages is the inevitable loneliness that comes with the home-based territory.

Thank goodness, my “virtual” friends are a click away and provide discussions that some of my “real” friends cannot, since they don’t share my work at home status nor are they taking care of grandchildren and to be truthful, I just don’t have that many “real” friends. Over the years, I have made an effort to have a few good friends than a lot of casual ones.

But now with blogging and social media, I have many casual, virtual friends.

As a grandmother, I am thankful for this. I love blogging and I love visiting blogs and social media. Blogs help me understand the world through my children’s generational lens and the lens of my contemporaries. Since I spend a lot of time with my grandchild, I appreciate the world she lives in and also the world that she will inherit from my generation and that of her parents.

YoniFreedhoff is one of my “virtual” friends, through his blog, “Weighty Matters”.

It is a blog that is both serious and humorous. He is a doctor and I am a nurse so his humor is not wasted on me.

Nutrition is something that continues to fascinate me…it is a field that is ever-changing and has life long implications for each and every one of us. Yoni keeps me focused on the new innovative and the old tried and true approaches coupled with a tongue in cheek attitude.

Here is his latest post on a controversial Manitoba Child Care Lunch Regulation Program. It is humorous to a point but there are also serious implications, too much government intervention into how we feed our families, as well as the “stupidity” of those who are interpreting this new “food policy police policy”!

Family doc, Assistant Prof. at the University of Ottawa, and founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute – a multi-disciplinary, ethical, evidence-based nutrition and weight management centre. Nowadays I’m more likely to stop drugs than start them, and love going to work in the morning. You can also follow me on Twitter at YoniFreedhoff


It’s quite possible that the single stupidest school lunch policy on the planet comes courtesy of a strange interpretation of the Manitoba Government’s Early Learning and Child Care lunch regulations (an earlier version of this article incorrectly pointed at the Manitoba Child Care Association as the source of the strangely interpreted policy).

via Weighty Matters: Parents Fined For Not Sending Ritz Crackers In Kids’ Lunches.