Virginia Beach Parade of Lights


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Virginia Beach Parade of Lights

Live in the Hampton Roads area?  If you do, please add the Virginia Beach Parade of Lights to your list holiday activities.  I’ve decided to make it annual trip for my family, it’s such a wonderful sight to see.   It’s a great family outing if you’re in the area and want to entertain the children for an hour or two.  They have more than 250 animated light displays and 100,000 plus visitors to view them annually.  




                                      parade of lights



It’s the only time of year that cars are allowed on the boardwalk.  You can order hot chocolate, popcorn and hot dogs for your trip or bring your own goodies to munch on while you watch the show.  Each car is provided a free CD of holiday music to get you in the mood as you cruise.  You can drive at your own pace and hop out for a picture or two.  The Parade of Lights is sponsored by McDonald’s.  Approximately 30,000 cars make the trip each year. There are displays to be enjoyed by everybody.  Drive slowly, you’ll find displays on both sides and in front of you. 



                                       things to do in Virginia Beach





You can find fish jumping out of the ocean, dinosaurs, Santa, soldiers and the list goes on.  I look forward to seeing these great displays, but most importantly I look forward to seeing my grandchildren in awe of the lights.  Isn’t that what Christmas is about?  The excitement and the looks on little faces.  We’ll be taking Zarriah for the first time this year.  She’s enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree, I’m sure she will enjoy the displays as well.  I’m getting excited myself.  I love bringing joy to my grandchildren.   





The lights will be on display until Wednesday, January 01, 2014.  The event has been named American Bus Association’s “Top 100 Events in North America”!  Our family likes to go on Christmas Eve if we have Santa’s cookies baked.  Otherwise, we head out Christmas evening.  Mark your calendar this year.  Your kids will love it.    


Great Find – Mother and Grandmother’s Bracelet


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We found the perfect gift for your mom or mother-in-law.  I designed this mother/grandmother’s bracelet at Pearls by LaurelThe center pearl is, Zarriah’s birthstone, August and the Sapphire is Xavier’s and mine, September.  I love it. 

The price is excellent, $33.90 for the 3 stones which includes shipping.  The bracelet is handmade from Swarovski pearls (not fresh water pearls) and rhinestones.  It’s also made in the USA.  You can order sizes small – XX large.  For those who have a high PH, the company offers an alternative silver component which prevents the silver from touching the skin and causing a reaction.  I would recommend measuring your wrist to ensure a proper fit.  If the size is off, the company will resize for free.  In addition to free resizing, if the bracelet breaks the replacement is free.  This company vigorously stands behind its work.   

You can design the bracelet on-line using up to 6 pearls; otherwise, you must contact the company.  The site is easy to navigate and designing the bracelet is quick and easy.  You just drag the pearl that you choose to where ever you wish to place it on the bracelet.  You can play with it until you’re satisfied with design/color placement. 

If you click on this link, Pearls by Laurel and make a purchase of more than $20.00 you will receive free shipping.  This is an elegant gift that every mother or grandmother would love.  It’s a great gift for Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthdays or just because.  If you get in a bind for a last minute gift, you can order up to December 17 for delivery by December 24.  They have Priority Mail shipping for $6.95. 
                                                                  

Is Your Teen Sexting?


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                   Just Say No to Sexting

Is your teen sexting or participating in the “hook up culture”?  Statistics show that 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or seminude photos of themselves over the Internet or their phones.  Why, they don’t think about the repercussions.  They want to show off their bodies.  Thinks about it, girls today are built like brick houses.  They want to entice the guys
they’re attracted to or they think they’re proving that they’re committed to the young man they’re dating.  In reverse, boys think it’s cool to approach girls via text using sexually graphic content.  Social grace is nonexistent.  There are sites set-up to give examples of how to send a sexting message. 

Times have changed and Teens are Sexting.  We live in a world that revolves around modern technology and it’s here to stay.  The teens don’t realize that the person they sent the picture or text to is now in possession of material that can prove damaging down the road.  Too many times we have heard about the text or image being sent to others or being posted on a social networking site.  Once it’s sent, you can’t retrieve it.  Both teenage boys and girls have forwarded the images to others.  They in turn have passed the image on which has lead to humiliation in school, parties or other social situations.  It’s hard to undo the damage.  If it’s not misused immediately, it can be used to damage the person down the road.  People are revengeful.  

Many teens have said they felt pressured by their boyfriend or girlfriend to send the picture.  Teen pressure is not unusual.  They feel the same pressures with drinking and doing drugs.  Sexting is just another social pressure.  What can you do to prevent your teen from sexting:

  • Set aside time to have a serious discussion on the damaging affects of sexting.
  • Let them know that they’re in control of their body and reputation.  They should never allow anyone to pressure them into sexting.     
  • Give them an example.  A great one would be the beautiful and talented Vanessa Williams.  She posed nude in college and the photos came back to haunt her when she won the Miss America Pageant.  She resigned her crown as a result.    Don’t want to use Vanessa Williams, Google to find other examples of teens who have been harmed. 
  • Set rules on phone use.  Kids need structure and guidance and a cellphone shouldn’t be an exception.
  • Discuss the meaning of privacy and intimacy.  Would they want family members or friends to see the photo?  If not, they shouldn’t want the world to view it either. 
  • Discuss dating etiquette and what’s acceptable.  You set the rules or assist your teen in setting rules.
  • Discuss the legal ramifications.  Since I am not an attorney, I would suggest that you consult a family lawyer in your state for advice. 

                                                             

Calendar Gift Ideas


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2014 Calendar

I just made a calendar for one of my daughter’s Christmas gifts at Shutterfly.  I had so much fun going through pictures and finding ones that fit perfectly into each month of Xavier and Zarriah.  Although it’s not clear, this is the cover of the calendar.  The picture was taken at Zarriah’s Christening.  About 20 family members from my daughter and son-in-law’s side of the family attended.  The picture is a beautiful memory. 

This calendar will make a beautiful keepsake.  I’m thinking of making another for my office.  For January I selected a picture of Xavier playing in his first snow.  It was a great moment, January 2009.  My daughter and her family were visiting for a week-end and it snowed.  Xavier had just turned 1 the previous September.  I had a great time watching him play and trying to figure out what that white stuff was.   

                                                                 

                                                                       

How could I leave out Zarriah’s first birthday party, August 2012, and her looking at the clown.  OMG, it was hilarious.  The pictures brought back so many memories.  I’m hoping the calendar will do the same with daughter and son-in-law. 

I’ve been thinking of this calendar for years as a gift, but never made the effort to complete the calendar.  Finally in 2013 I do just that.  The Shutterfly site is easy to navigate.  To cut down on time, I would suggest that you go through your pictures and make a note of which ones you would like to use for what month.  If you’re like me, you have thousands of photos to choose from, so it can become time consuming. 

Shutterfly is currently offering free shipping.  Use Promotion Code SHIP30.  Also, new customers get 50 prints free.  The free shipping offer ends 12/23/13.  This is a great idea for your mom, a friend or yourself.  The calendar comes in 2 sizes:  8 x 11 and 12 x 12.  I choose the 8 x 11 for $21.99.  The 12 x 12 is $29.99.  They have numerous designs and layouts to choose from.  Check it out. 


                                                                    

Free Letters To Santa


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letters to Santa

Stop, don’t pay for that letter to Santa.  Christmas is around the corner, and every child dreams of writing a letter to Santa with his wish list.  This year I will be helping Xavier write a letter to Santa and I’ve found the perfect site, The Christmas RegistryIt’s free.  I’ve seen sites that charge as much as $9.95 for a child to write a letter to Santa.  Personally, I think it should be free too.  I know that everyone is looking to make a profit, but off the dreams of little children. 

This site doesn’t have a profit in mind, only the happiness and excitement of the holiday season and helping to make a child’s dream come true.  It’s full of activities for children which includes games, crafts, and recipes from Mrs. Clause.  One of my favorites during the holidays is Candied Almonds.   They have the recipe on the site.  I’ve made this recipe with pecans when I didn’t have almonds on hand.  Are you interested in making a gingerbread house?  Here’s a link to making a, Gingerbread House, the site has step by step instructions.

I played several of the games while I was visiting.  Xavier who is 6, will enjoy the Crazy Santa Racer game.  I rather enjoyed it myself after I figured out how to play it.  I’m looking forward to playing it with my grandson.  Another game that I enjoyed was the Match Game.  Children will have to remember where they’ve seen various pictures to make a match.  

A few additional things about the site and the letter to and from Santa.  You will be responsible for composing the letter and the reply from Santa.  The site does give suggestions to help you compose the letter; however, the return reply will be sent via email rather than through the post office from the North Pole.  Possible drawback, but remember the site is free.  You can look at things from another perspective, Santa is now technically savvy.  Sending an email cuts down on the number of trips that his elves have to make to the post office to mail letters and emails are much faster.  After all we do live in a technological world.   Don’t want to write a letter, it has a message option.  Santa can also reply with a message.  Oh, the letter to Santa is delivered directly by one of Santa’s elves, so you won’t have to make a trip to the post office or worry about it getting lost in the mail.   I like the idea of having direct access to Santa via elf.    

There’s a Wish List section.  You can help your child enter their wish list to Santa.  There’s also a Naughty/Nice Meter that you can play with.  It ranges from 1(Naughty) to 10(Nice).  This meter can keep your little ones on their toes during the holiday season.  You can adjust it accordingly. 

Lets talk about setting up the accounts because it can be confusing.  You must register as the adult since you will be controlling your child’s activities on the site, but you must also create an account for your child.  When I was logged in as the adult, I was unable to access the games, recipes, or crafts.  It seems that only the child can access these activities.  Since they can’t cook alone or prepare crafts without assistance, this was somewhat confusing to me.  No worries though, the Activities Area is appropriate for children of all ages.  

All in all, I think the site is great for composing a free letter to Santa and allowing the kids to play games.   I also like the Naughty/Nice meter.  Take a few minutes to check it out. 


Note:  This review is my opinion, I was not compensated in any manner for this review. 

                                                                                      

The Benefits Of Reading To Your Child


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To prepare your child for academic success, expose them to books early. Studies have shown that reading is one of the keys to academic success. Xavier and Zarriah love for me to read to them.  I’ve started a library for both.  I’m all for downloading books and apps, but I love seeing shelves full of books in the children’s rooms too.  It’s amazing how far we have come with technology. 

I read to my daughter when she was a child.  Her love for reading stayed with her.  As a child, she loved Strawberry Shortcake, The Berenstain Bears, and any classic bedtime story. As she got older she continued to read for hours. One of my fondest memories was our book fair excursions. We would plan a day where I would meet her at college and we would spend hours at the local book fair. Later we would discuss our finds as well as the latest happenings on campus over dinner. I do believe that our mutual love for books helped to create a strong mother – daughter bond.

My daughter was an honor student, a member of Who’s Who in America, and a member of the Spanish Honor Society. I believe that her early exposure to books helped her to excel in her academics.  Start reading to your child at an early age.  It’ never too soon.

reading to your child



I’m hoping that our love for reading will be instilled into Xavier and Zarriah.  I know that habit must be taught, and it starts at home.  It’s a great way for toddlers to learn word associations.  I ask Zarriah, who is 2, to point to cars, ice cream or whatever happens to be on the page.  She loves both hardback and books on the computer.  Xavier, who is 6, still loves for Mawmaw to read to him.  He’s now reading to me as well  now.  Here, he’s reading his iPad.  We also download books to his Kindle.   

early childhood development

We’ve taught Xavier how to access various sites on the computer.  He’s astute at navigating the notebook, laptop, Kindle and iPad.  Zarriah mimics everything her big brother does.  He has taught her the ABC’s, she can count to 10, and she knows various colors.  Our preemie has come a long way.  She just turned 2.  

Other Benefits of Reading to Your Child:

  • Reading together creates a bond.
  • Reading helps to build a child’s vocabulary.
  • Your child will learn to follow a story from beginning to end. (You won’t be able to fool them if you try to skip pages. If it’s one of their favorite stories, they will know it by heart).
  • Your child will have an appreciation for writing.
  • Builds a strong foundation for academics.

Reading Tips:

  • Start reading to your child as early as 6 months.
  • Select reading material that interest your child and is appropriate to his/her age group. Toddlers love bright colors and books that are simple.  Board books are perfect.
  • Use different voices and pitches (vary your tone) when you read. Young children usually prefer to hear the same story over and over.
  • Purchase a personalized book for your child. They love reading about themselves.  I had a personalized book made for both Zarriah and Xavier.
  • PBS has great programs where they focus on words, spelling, and their meaning. Check out you TV Guide for time slots and programs.
  • Have your child turn the page when you’re reading paper or hard back book. This gets them involved.
  • Allow your child to ask questions, and be sure to ask your child questions about the story.
  • Allow your child to select books from his or her age group.  This will work with buying in a store or downloading. 
  • Take them to the local library for story hour.
  • Set an example. If your child sees you reading, they will follow.  I read my Kindle while my Xavier is reading his Kindle or iPad.   
  • Don’t substitute books on tape. The true bonding experience and benefits come from you taking the time to read to your child.


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Girls Holiday Hair Styles

With holidays on the horizon, you and your brood have plenty
of parties to attend, and you know what that means—picture time! This holiday
season, it’s easy to keep your little angel looking cute, coifed and
camera-ready with simple yet stylish hair looks from Cozy
Friedman, author of Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’
Hair
.

The French Braid Headband

Besides being a great fuss free style, this braided band
makes its own accessory. Girls can wear it with their hair hanging down in back,
or with a ponytail. Complete this look for the holidays with fun beads or
barrettes.

 

The French Braid Headband

 

Props:

Wide-tooth comb
 
Fine-tooth comb

Ponytail holders

Jaw clip

Decorative bobby pins

 

Step 1: Start with damp hair (either towel –dried or
misted) and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.

Step 2: Use a fine-tooth comb to draw a horizontal
line across the crown from the top of one ear to the top of the other ear. From
the line, comb the hair forward to the face. Pull the hair in back of the line
into a ponytail holder or jaw clip so it stays out of your way.

Step 3: Choose which ear you want the braid to start
from. Tilt the head so the ear you’ve chosen is facing up toward the ceiling.
With your child’s ear tilted up, being making the braided headband using the
hair in front of the part.

Step 4: Once you’ve reached the other ear, secure the
braid with a ponytail holder. If you like, tuck it behind the ear and pin it in
place with a few bobby pins. Remove the ponytail holder or jaw clip use in Step
2 and style as you like. Finish by adding sparkly or decorative hairpins through
different parts of the braid.

 
The Heart Braid

This is a
must-have look for the holidays. To really make this look extra special add a
clip to the end of the heart that coordinates your child’s holiday outfit. You
can also use a colorful ponytail holder at the end or add decorative beads in
the braid.

 

The Heart Braid Compressed

Props:

Wide-tooth comb

Fine-tooth comb

Decorative hair clip

Ponytail
holders

 
Step
1: Starting with damp hair (either
towel-dried or misted), use a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.  Then, using
a fine-tooth comb, part the hair down the middle of the head.  Clip one side up
right above the ear.

Step
2: On the other side of the part, use the
fine comb to gather a thin section of hair from the crown.  This section should
measure about 2 inches from the hairline to the top of the
head.

Step
3: Divide this section into three, and
begin a French braid starting at the crown and curving toward the temple, then
toward the back of the head, like the top lobe of a heart.  You will be lifting
hair into the braid only from this side of the part.  Leave no loose hair in
front of the ears.

Step
4: When you reach the center part at the
back of the head, secure the braid with a ponytail holder.  If the hair is very
long, end the braid about midear; the ends will hang down the
back.

Step
5: Unclip the hair on the other side of
the part and repeat the process.  Secure with a ponytail
holder.

Step
6: Join the ends of the braids together in
the back with a decorative bow or ponytail holder to form the bottom point of
the heart.
Cozy Friedman is the creator of the So Cozy product line and
founder of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids. She is an expert authority on cool,
childhood style
and recognizes – and celebrates – that children today are
more style-conscious than ever. Decades ago, getting a child to take a bath was
a challenge but now, thanks to places like Cozy’s Cuts for Kids and
product lines such as So Cozy, children are embracing grooming from a
very young age
. Cozy has coined this trend the “metro mini”
phenomenon
and believes that encouraging it in a healthy way allows
children to be expressive and self-confident
.

 




Boo – Happy Halloween!

My adorable Minnie Mouse and Ninja.  Happy Halloween from my family to yours. 
                                                                             

Fabulicious Finds – Sports Tees for Boys


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I’ve been a big fan of Boscov’s Department Store for the past six years.  I started shopping on this site when my grandson was born and I’m still finding great buys.  I like quality at a good price, and I’ve always been able to find it at Boscov’s. 


My grandson is transitioning from Nick Jr. characters to name brand sports apparel.  Yep, at the ripe old age of 6.  What does a parent do, accommodate him.  I do, because I shop for quality items in my price range and I’ve always been able to find what I’m looking for. 

I love Boscov’s because they offer fast shipping, their site always has items on sale, and they offer quality products.  I ordered 5 tees for my grandson all at half price, and he loved them.    Two are shown.  The market is flooded with adorable items for little girls, but shopping for boys can be difficult, especially if you’re looking for stylish items.

My grandson is playing flag football and basketball now.  These tees where a great boost for him, and he sees them as being cool.  They’re made by Addias, so they’re quality items.  He loved the graphics and messages on the tees, Bring the Noise and Dominate the Game.  The other have Undefeated, Built to Win and Respect the Game. 

Cool and affordable!  My kind of shopping.  If you haven’t checked out Boscov’s for your son or grandson’s apparel, you must pay them a visit.  The have soccer and baseball tees available as well.  I’m sure you’ll find a deal that you will love too.  Where do you find stylish clothing for your son/grandson?  Please leave us a comment so we can share with other readers.