Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summary of Freedom: by Jaycee Dugard | Includes Analysis

If you don't know who Jaycee Dugard is you have been living under a rock. I am in awe of Jaycee and cannot even fathom what she has been through and how she has managed to move on in her life since being kidnapped in 1991.

I read A Stolen Life, her first book, Freedom was written the same time and talk about all her "Firsts" Such as the first time she drove a car, cooked, shopped and other things that you and I learn along the way as we are growing up. That was taken from Jaycee by two despicable people who held her for 18 years.

My favorite part of the book is about Jaycee and her mother's relationship after an 18 year absence.

My Need To Read list is so long and I will never have enough time to read all the books I want to. Instaread allows you to get the main summary of each chapter of a book. Just download the app and be in the know with the best sellers out there. 100s of books to choose from with more summaries and "take aways" by chapter added all the time.    Instaread can be enjoyed in text or audio format through a world-class ebook reader and audio player.

To Purchase the Summary of Freedom

To Purchase Freedom

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. My star ratings are exact based on Amazon's star descriptions. My reviews are 100% honest and true based on my personal opinion not on a company’s description or request. No monetary compensation was received

My Kids Were So Proud Of Me

Monday I emailed a local daycare who was looking for Teacher's Assistants. Honestly, I figured my chances were slim because it is local and I figured the positions had already been filled. I know someone who works there so in my email I name dropped. This is not something I would do in the past but figured if it works it does and if they think I am a total tool for doing it, oh well I guess they won't call me. As a substitute TA in my kids schools I was happy just being able to do that and if the daycare never called, I would figure something else out.  I checked email and was surprised to see an email from the daycare asking if I was available to meet Tuesday and they would love to see me.  POSITIVE!

Hmmm...OK...I figured this was going to be good the only thing was the hours. I need to be able to drop off my kids and pick them up once school starts. I also needed to bring them with me on my interview. These are all things I would never have discussed in my professional life before kids or their need to be flexible with me in my 20s and 30s. They approved the kids coming to the interview. Woot! POSITIVE!

I told Handsome and Goddess that I needed them to be on board. I needed them to sit quietly, to not fight and to prove to the world I was a good mom capable of handling daycare age kids as well as my own. I told them why would someone want to hire me to handle a classroom if I couldn't handle my TWO?! They seemed on board. POSITIVE!

It's the summer and like all other siblings who spend every day together they are done with each other.

The interview went well. The Director I met with seemed very nice, like someone I would be friends with if we were not meeting in an interview. POSITIVE!

When a parent came in to talk to the Director in private, I left the room to the waiting area where my kids were. They were quietly looking at a book TOGETHER! POSITIVE!

After the parent left, I headed back in and the Director started talking about schedules, and when I start next Tuesday so I looked at her and asked, "so you are saying I got the job?" She said, "yes and I shook her hand and thanked her. When she left to get the stack of paperwork I walked over to the kids and said, "I got the job." They each stood up and hugged me and kissed me individually then as a group. They both told me they were so proud of me and how excited they were for me. It was so beautiful and sweet.

In that moment I realized again what I already knew;  as a parent I am a good one. This is what I was supposed to do. This is what healed me from the traumas of my childhood.

I included the kids in my life, shared just enough with them to understand the importance of making money that will  help our family while finding something I enjoy doing. They definitely have learned that in "real life" you don't always get what you want. You try but sometimes life doesn't always pat you on the back and say good job. That in real life you may walk away without a trophy. You don't always win. So as a parent I am doing a good job. They get it and their very grown up support of me taught me that they are not always in the moment just going with the flow as it appears sometimes.  They do listen when I talk and my kids have become what I longed for as a child. Someone to take notice, be there when the door opens, be my safe place, my sounding board, my support system. Really listen to what I have to say. Allow me to be myself and love me even with all my flaws. Which is exactly what I give them.  Proud parent.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

GIVEAWAY - The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today DVD

The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today is out on DVD September 6 from Sony Home Entertainment!

In the brand new original animated film, Princess Alise is training to be the perfect royal but in her heart all she wants to do is sail the seven seas as a swashbuckling pirate! After setting sail, Princess Alise is shipwrecked and washes ashore on an island where she meets Lucas, a young boy who has been living there by herself. They have to work together to survive and get back to civilization!

To Purchase: The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today!

Disclaimer: No monetary compensation was offered to host this giveaway.

Each household is only eligible to win The Swan Princess: Princess Tomorrow, Pirate Today! DVD via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gift Guide 2016 - My Friend Cayla An Interactive Party Time Doll - Video Review

This is the talking My Friend Cayla doll that comes with fun accessories and works with or without  Bluetooth.

  • Doll
  • Cake
  • Comb
  • Party Hat
  • Cards
  • Bear
  • Cup

Cayla Features: 
  • She recognizes and talks about her accessories
  • Talks about every day things such as shopping, pets, school and more
  • Answers questions 
  • Reads stories and plays games
  • Comes with a free app for Android or Apple iOS. Connects through Bluetooth

  • Stands 18" tall
  • Age: 4 years & up
  • Requires 3 "AA" batteries (not included)
  • Manufacturer's 30-day limited warranty
The 411:

We find the fact that Cayla knows what is in her hand amazing. She is an adorable doll however we could not get her to acknowledge us in any way. I have the original Cayla doll which was very interactive and we could get to respond to us. You can see my review and video here.

To Purchase: Walmart, Target, Kohls and other places toys are sold

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion of the doll. No monetary compensation was offered.

Great Advice For Helping Your Child Deal With Emergencies


Discussing possible emergency scenarios with one’s children is never a pleasant topic. Parents do not want to frighten them or create new anxieties. Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City based Neuro-psychologist and School Psychologist who has an approach to emergency preparedness that won’t freak your children out.

Tell children an emergency is something unusual that happens which could hurt people, or cause damage to things like houses and cars. Explain to them that nature sometimes provides ‘too much of something’ like, rain, wind or snow. Talk about effects of an emergency that children can relate to, such as loss of electricity, water, and telephone service; flooded roads and uprooted trees.  Explain that everyone is better able to take care of themselves in emergencies when they know what to do.

First, teach your children the difference between a problem and an emergency. A problem is something that they need help with, but does not require emergency services. An emergency is a situation that requires immediate assistance from the police or fire department, or requires immediate medical assistance through paramedics or EMTs. When your child experiences a problem, he or she should decide whether to call you immediately, call a neighbor, or whether the problem can wait until you get home. For example, you'd probably want your child to call you if he or she:

Felt scared
Had trouble getting into the house
Got home and found that the electricity was off

The following issues would warrant an immediate call to 9-1-1:

A fire
Evidence of a break-in
A medical emergency, such as someone being unresponsive or bleeding profusely

Step One: Create a Communication Plan

Teach your child one parent's cell-phone number or a good contact number. Dr. Hafeez says that, “Starting at around age 5, kids are developmentally ready to memorize a 7- or 10-digit number. Practice with your child and turn the phone number into a song, like a modified version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

Designate an out-of-state contact. This will be a resource and point person for your family to call.

Choose a location other than your home where your family can meet. You'll need to go there in case of a fire or an earthquake, for example. Your meeting place might be a local park, school, or shelter. Walk to the site with your child so he/she knows exactly how to get there.

Designate a trusted friend or family member who can pick up your kid at child care or school if you are unable to get there in a disaster situation. Be sure that you give official permission to release your child to that person.

Make a card with your plan for each adult's wallet. Include contact names, your emergency location, and the out-of-state contact number. Put a copy in your school-age child's backpack, and discuss the plan with your kids.

Inform caregivers and nearby relatives of your plan. Be sure to give a copy of your plan to your child's teacher too.

If you're not good at texting, improve your skills. When cell- phone signal strength goes down, texting often still works because it uses less bandwidth and network capacity.

Everyone needs to know about calling 911 in an emergency. Dr. Hafeez stresses that, “Kids also need to know the specifics about what an emergency is. Asking them questions like, "What would you do if we had a fire in our house?" or "What would you do if you saw someone trying to break in?" gives you a chance to discuss what constitutes an emergency and what to do if one occurs. Role playing is an especially good way to address various emergency scenarios and give your kids the confidence they'll need to handle them”

Dr. Hafeez points out that, “For younger children, it might also help to talk about who the emergency workers are in your community — police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and so on — and what kinds of things they do to help people who are in trouble. This will clarify not only what types of emergencies can occur, but also who can help.”

When to Call 911
Dr. Hafeez explains that, “Part of understanding what an emergency is, is knowing what is not. A fire, an intruder in the home, an unconscious family member — these are all things that would require a call to 911. A skinned knee, a stolen bicycle, or an agreement with a school mate would not. Still, teach your child that if ever in doubt and there's no adult around to ask, make the call. It's much better to be safe than sorry”.
Make sure your kids understand that calling 911 as a joke is a crime in many places. In some cities, officials estimate that as much as 75% of the calls made to 911 are non-emergency calls. These are not all pranks. Some people accidentally push the emergency button on their cell phones. Others don't realize that 911 is for true emergencies only (not for such things as a flat tire or even about a theft that occurred the week before).

Work Out a Home Evacuation Plan
In the event of a fire or a natural disaster, your entire family will need to have a coordinated evacuation plan to ensure that everyone makes it out of the house safely. Dr. Hafeez stresses that, “It is important to explain to your child that all material possessions, even favorite ones, can be replaced and that it’s far more important for them to exit the house than it is to save their belongings. Make sure that he/she knows how to get out of the house if you’re not able to reach her, to make her way to a pre-arranged family meeting place and what she should do when he/she arrives there first.”

Discuss Region-Specific Natural Disasters
You probably won’t need to waste much time on teaching a child that lives in the Midwest how to manage a hurricane, but he/she will need to know what to do in the event of a tornado. Talking about the natural disasters that are most likely to occur in your area and making a specific plan to deal with them is imperative, especially if you live in a region that’s particularly prone to environmental emergencies.

Role Play Specific Scenarios
Dr. Hafeez explains that, “One of the best ways to determine how much your child knows and what she still needs to learn about emergency preparedness is to role play specific scenarios that she could potentially encounter. There’s a reason why public schools practice routine fire drills: they help kids prepare in a relatively low-stress environment for an emergency so that, in a high-pressure situation, they know how to react. Role playing serious injury situations, weather emergencies, a house fire and even potential intruder situations gives you an idea about what your child knows and helps you teach them more detailed information so that they’re prepared to handle any emergency.

 After the Emergency: Time for Recovery
Immediately after the emergency situation, try to reduce your child's fear and anxiety.
Keep the family together. While you look for housing and assistance, you may want to leave your children with relatives or friends. Instead, keep the family together as much as possible and make children a part of what you are doing to get the family back on its feet. Children get anxious, and they'll worry that their parents won't return.

Explain what will happen next. For example, say, "Tonight, we will all stay together in the shelter." Dr. Hafeez emphasizes to, “Get down to the child's eye level and talk to them”.
Encourage children to talk. Let children talk about the emergency and ask questions as much as they want. Encourage children to describe what they're feeling. Listen to what they say. If possible, include the entire family in the discussion.

Include children in recovery activities. Give children chores that are their responsibility. This will help children feel they are part of the recovery. “Having a task will help them understand that everything will be all right, says Dr. Hafeez.

Sanam Hafeez Psy.D
New York State Licensed Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist 

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City based Neuro-psychologist and School Psychologist.  She is also the founder and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C.  She is currently a teaching faculty member at Columbia University.

Dr. Hafeez graduated from Queens College, CUNY with a BA in psychology.  She then went on to earn her Master of Science in Psychology at Hofstra University.  Following that she stayed at Hofstra to receive her Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) She later completed her post-doctoral training in Neuropsychology and Developmental Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital.

Dr. Hafeez’s provides neuropsychological educational and developmental evaluations in her practice.  She also works with children and adults who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert and expert witness by providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Best and Safe Holiday Gift for Infants

While the holiday season can bring happiness and fun, it can also bring chaos and busyness. Whether you’re rushing to cook a meal for your family or trying to fill your home with holiday decor, sometimes carrying your baby can be less time efficient. Luckily, a product has been created to alleviate the stress of having another “bundle” this holiday season.

Invented by a mother, the Hugaboo Baby Seat provides comfort for your infant while ensuring 100% safety.

Simply prop your infant into the seat and never worry about them sliding onto the floor or swaying back and forth. Designed to protect infants as young as 3 to 8 months, Hugaboo lets your child giggle and interact with their surroundings, all while remaining cozy and relaxed.

While there is a myriad of baby seats offered, Hugaboo Baby Seat offers unique benefits that differentiate it from others. These include:

·      360ยบ of Comfy Support: The soft cushion wraps around your infant, always keeping them secure and snug.
·      100% Safety: The attached seat bottom prevents infants from sliding onto the floor or toppling over.
·      Body Stabilization: The plush enforces your infant to sit upright, which stabilizes their back, sides and legs.
·      Machine Washable: Its’ lightweight fabric is 100% polyester fiberfill and machine washable for hassle-free cleaning.
·      Portable: Its’ compact size lets you take the chair anywhere and everywhere.
·      Develops Sensory and Motor Skills: Each chair comes equipped with two toy attachments to not only keep your infant occupied, but also their mind engaged.

Hugaboo is the perfect gift that both parents and babies will absolutely love.  Your infant will be wrapped up in the loving “hug” they deserve this holiday season.

Hugaboo is offered in various colors and retailed at a range of affordable prices from $59.99-$69.99 at