In a New York State of Mind

Looking to spend some time in The Big Apple with the family? Here are some great places to visit while you are there.

LEGO’s are fun for kids of all ages, and the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in NY is a great place to spend the day for LEGO lovers of all ages.  The adventure begins by learning how Lego bricks are made and a kiddie-version of the history of  little plastic bricks. After this interesting introduction, its time to ride some rides and visit some attractions. The first ride (one that brings you into the main area) is a sit down guided laser shooting tour, where you save the castle by defeating tons of baddies. After your victory, you head into a mini-brick version of New York City and the LEGOLAND area. Push buttons for lights and sounds, and well as mini-animations. The details are pretty amazing, and the spoofs will keep everyone giggling. Fans will find quite a few “Easter Eggs” as they walk around the town.

There are also a bunch of other attractions to check out, like the racing course where you build your own racecar to pit against everyone else- there are several tracks to choose from. There is also a magic couch ride where you jaunt around on a flying couch. Really.  You move it up and down by pedaling, and it goes around in a circle. Make sure you check out the 4D movie, a must for all LEGO Movie fans. Of course, there are tons of LEGO to build, Masterclasses to take (and you can take your creations with you for a fee), and obstacle courses to try out. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is located at 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710
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Ways to involve your family in your exercise routine

As parents, we all intrinsically know how important daily exercise is. After all, for many of us, we’ve been hearing about exercise’s importance for nearly all of our lives. Despite knowing how important it is, many parents will admit that their daily exercise routine is the first thing to fall to the wayside when life gets busy, tough, and challenging, and as parents, we can all relate that life is rarely not tough.

Isn’t that wild? We all know how important exercise is to our health, but at the end of the day, we’d rather do things for our families and homes than do something positive for our health and livelihood. It often isn’t until we have a major health scare or emergency that we get our acts together and try to reverse years, if not decades, of neglected health.

Probably the singular reason that more parents cite than any other, regarding why they don’t regularly participate in an exercise routine more days than not, is time. We all have the same number of hours available to us in any given day — 24 — yet many of us can’t seem to manage to “find the time” to exercise, even when we know it can make a huge difference for our health.

What’s a parent to do, then?

My solution, I think, is the best one I’ve encountered and one that will benefit everyone in your family, not just you.

What is it, you may be wondering? It’s simple, really: exercise with your family. Involve your partner and children in your exercise routine more often than not. Doing so will not only confer health benefits for you, but it’ll also do the same for the rest of your family, and exercise — in whatever manifestation it takes — can be an excellent way to secure some quality time with your family.

Below, I’ll describe in more detail some additional guidelines that can help you involve your family in your exercise routine. Really, it’s a win-win solution, if you think about it: not only will you finally be able to actually take care of yourself and your own health, but you’ll still be spending quality time with your family and, in the process, model for them positive and healthy behaviors that they can later emulate.

Some tips to involve your family in your exercise routine include the following:

Keep it simple. When you’re exercising with your family, don’t overthink it. In fact, don’t even think of it as exercise, per se. Instead, think of it as “play.” Think back to your own childhood and all the games you used to play with your friends or on the playground at school. Easy, pick-up games like basketball, soccer, tag, or simply playing on the monkey bars or climbing on the playground equipment can be a great workout. Your kids will love that you’re actually playing with them and aren’t simply scrolling mindlessly on your phone, and as an added bonus, you’ll be doing something positive for your health.
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When Your Kid is Having a Public Meltdown #GroceryHero #ad @Walmart

This might seem like a strange photo- but he wouldn’t stop crying until I gave him this carrot and that potato. We’ve all had those moments where our children are little beasties in public- and where we will do ANYTHING to make it stop and just get out of wherever we are in one piece.  What can we do to make shopping easier with little kids?

Impatient leg swinging from the shopping cart seat is often followed by a litany of Mom, Mommy, and MOM! Even when I respond there are times that my little one just doesn’t stop. Then there are the forceful kicks to emphasize his impatience. Maybe you avoid those dangerous little feet, maybe you wind up with a dirty shoe scuffing up your white shirt. Or maybe you share my experience… a day when those scuff marks were more than just dirt.

I confess that I don’t love all things poop related and blown out diapers and clothing. What, you know someone who does? Diaper days were not my favorite. So that day between the tantrum throwing toddler in a store I visit regularly, what I can only figure was dog poop (please?) transferred from his shoe all over my embroidered white shirt, and an otherwise too stressful week- there was a scene of epic proportions. I was almost in tears myself by the end of the shopping trip. And of course- THE LOOKS you get from other shoppers, ugh.

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5 Easy Steps to Potty Training Your Puppy

Are you one of the many people who perceive puppy potty training difficult—or even impossible? It’s actually easier than you think.

Today we’re going to give you advice straight from a professional puppy trainer on how to potty train a puppy from as young as 6 weeks old. So whether you’re a breeder who wants to sell ready-trained puppies, or a new dog owner; these tips will help you and your puppy succeed.

Develop a Routine

Routine is by far the most important factor in getting your puppy trained fast. There are three routine steps to take into consideration:

  • A feeding routine
  • A potty routine
  • A sleeping routine

Let’s look at each one more closely.

A Feeding Routine

Ensure that you feed your puppy at the same time every day. Your puppy will start expecting to be fed at that time each day, which will automatically prompt a potty routine.

Avoid leaving food out for your puppy for it to eat whenever it feels like it. If it isn’t hungry, take the food up and feed it again at the next interval. A great way to create a feeding routine is to feed your puppy once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Take your puppy outside about 15 – 20 minutes after its meals to do its business outside. With repetition your puppy will be potty trained within a matter of days.

A Potty Routine

Apart from its normal feeding & sleeping routine, take your puppy outside at the same time each day. You’ll soon start learning how often your puppy needs to go outside to potty, so set designated times for it to do so. three or four times in the middle of each day should be sufficient—depending on how much it eats and drinks.
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Healthy Humane Menu Plus a Giveaway!

With all of the garbage that is put in our food today, it is important to be conscientious about where your food is coming from. Not only that – but where your meat is raised is a BIG deal. By buying welfare-certified animal products, or more plant-based products, you send a strong message to food companies that you care about the treatment of farm animals. Most of the nearly 9 billion animals raised for meat, milk, and eggs in the US are suffering in inhumane factory farms. I know – it is disgusting and sad to even think about it. But where DOES your meat come from?

A normal medium size family spends hundreds of dollars each month on things like chicken, beef, and sausage. As consumers, most of us do not realize just how powerful we are. As a group, we have the power to make something a success or even push to have something inhumane pulled from the shelves. But it takes us as one collective to actually get it done.

ASPCA Healthy and Humane

It is time to put a STOP to these inhuman conditions and we, as consumers, can fully harness the power of our collective purchases and demand better lives for farm animals with the Shop With Your Heart initiative launched by the ASPCA. This initiative gives consumers the resources to recognize, locate and demand meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.

Here are five simple ways to become a more aware and welfare-conscious consumer when shopping for your family’s groceries.

  1. Eat Seasonally – Eating foods in season means that you’re able to buy from a more local economy and avoid having your food ship from other countries. This means fresher foods picked at peak ripeness too!
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The Other F Word Series is Back With Season 2!

The Other F Word

Last year I shared with you about The Other F Word, an edgy comedy about a group of friends who find that the angst of raising kids may be nothing compared to the angst of starting over after they are grown.  The show, written and producer by Caytha Jentis, was met with so many rave reviews I’m thrilled they’ve just released Season 2! My only possible complaint is that it ended too soon but I loved being about to binge watch for free through Amazon streaming.

The Other F Word proves that we don’t have to be afraid of getting older – there’s nothing scary about “forty.” And these four friends certainly bring a fun, comedic perspective to the issues surrounding midlife for women. You’ll love the cast including Judy Gold, Steve Guttenberg, Gilbert Gottfried, Michael Boatman, Alysia Reiner and Nancy Giles. Plus, former Comedy Central EVP and comedian Judy Gold joins Jentis as an Executive Producer. The chemistry between these characters is brilliantly portrayed and highlights the importance of friendship at every age. With such an amazing group there’s no doubt Jentis has another hit season on her hands.
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Visit the New York Renaissance Faire #NYRenFaire

Longing for a break from the routine, but don’t have the time to take a week off right now? Travel to distant lands and faraway time periods, all within a short drive from your home.  We recently visited the New York Renaissance Faire (or if you aren’t local to NY, you can find another in your area- visit the website’s main page for locations and dates) and it was a fun way to spend the day with your family and friends and get away from your routine.

Take a step back in time (but not too far back, it’s just fun and not a serious event) and get into the spirit by dressing up in the time period. Don’t have a costume? That’s OK, there are plenty of vendors there that have items to sell, from clothing to headgear to fantasy peices and beyond. You can be a knight, a princess, a squire, fairy, or anything in between.  We saw unicorns and minotaur this past weekend- really, only your imagination will stop you. There are also fun “theme weekends”, such as Pirate, Celtic, or Time Travelers weekends, where some Faire goers will dress accordingly, and shows will also reflect the idea.

The marketplace has, as mentioned, a fantastic selection of clothing vendors. Yes, you can try on before you buy, and better still, they will help you be fitted and learn how to get into things you might not know how to wear properly. Lacing up a floor length dress is not exactly pulling on a pair of sweatpants, is it? The shopkeepers are helpful and friendly (and usually very funny), so be prepared to have a good time shopping. Yes, guys too.

There are many other fun finds as well. All sorts of jewelry and shiny baubles (of course, what is a Faire without crowns?) to pick and choose from, plenty of toys, swords, shields-  if you are into it, you can even find chain metal and armor.  There are home decorations, spices, and a live glassblower that you can watch and then make purchases from. The kids loved watching him create, and honestly, so did the adults.
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Back-To-School Ready With Understood.Org

The back to school season can be a trying time for both parents and children. You have to get your child re-accustomed to waking up at a certain time, picking out their clothes the night before and then there is the dreaded new school year paperwork that seems to never end. But the beginning of a new school year can be an even more challenging time for families with children who struggle with reading and writing, math, focus, and organization.

Understood

One in five children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues, like ADHD and dyslexia. Children with these types of challenges can feel especially stressed during the back-to-school season as they face new subjects, teachers, and schools. Together the Ad Council and Understood.org have partnered together to promote ways children and their families can be First-Day Ready. Understood.org is offering a free First-Day Ready Guide to help parents with students at every age successfully navigate back-to-school transitions and manage challenges with academic, organization and social skills. Below you will find some tips from the guide.

Every child has a different story – some may love school, some may dread the thought of going back, and for some, it may scare them enough to cause real issues for them. Starting school can be an exciting, confusing and even scary time for kids with learning and attention issues, and for their parents. New teachers and classmates, new schedules and demands—these changes can be a lot to prepare for and absorb.
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