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Coats for Kids by Anton’s Cleaners and Jordan’s Furniture

Do some good. Clean out your closet and help keep a kid warm by donating the coats to Coats for Kids. It’s easy and there are so many donations spots – any of Anton’s Cleaners locations (there are 42) and any of the Jordan’s Furniture locations (there are five). Since 1985, Anton’s Cleaners has collected, cleaned and distributed nearly 800,000 coats. Let’s give them a shout out and a little help meeting their goal of 60,000 coats for kids this winter.

So while you’re changing over your closet from summer to winter, earmark a couple of coats for Coats to Kids. You’ll be glad you did, and more importantly, so will the children who get the much needed coats. Need more info?

What: Collecting Warm Winter Coats for Children & Adults

When: October 12th, 2015- January 8, 2016

Where: Warm winter coats will be accepted at all Anton’s Cleaners and Jordan’s Furniture locations

In these hard economic times there are thousands of individuals in our very own community that are without a warm winter coat. Donated coats will be cleaned free of charge by Anton’s Cleaners. Once collected and cleaned, coats will be distributed through the Coats for Kids Distribution Partners network, which includes organizations such as Massachusetts Community Action Programs (MASSCAP), Salvation Army, Middlesex Human Service Agency, BU Medical Center Outreach Van Project, Wish Project, Community Giving Tree, Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell, Strafford County Community Action, Catholic Charities, to name just a few

You can become a partner, sign up your school, or make a monetary donation online, or just drop off a coat or two. It all helps. And thank you.

For more information go to Coats For Kids.

Follow on them on Twitter for updates.

The Importance of Child’s Play

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This is a sponsored post and yet all opinions remain steadfastly my own. As always.

Long ago when all children were free range children, only we were just called children, unstructured play ruled the land. Granted, you could say it was an easier time, a gentler time, but was it, really? When I was young, we had to be in when the street lights went on, and that was when we were in elementary school. On those long, hazy summer nights we were covered in mosquito bites and a fine dusting of dirt from the street, or maybe some muck from the frog pond. We were always amazed when our mother knew we had been to the pond  (we weren’t supposed to go), and thought she was magic. Now I know that she could smell frog pond on us from 100 feet away. Anyone could, really, and that’s why it was off limits, not because we might fall in and drown, although I’m sure she considered that as a possibility.

Now, and I include myself in the ‘in control’ parent group, playtime is structured, scheduled and organized and supervised, but should it be? Classes are great, interests are wonderful, but where has the time for play gone? Here is a great article by Dr. Michael Patte, on the Genius of Play website.

Here is another article from The American Academy of Pediatrics, in case you like more data.

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

And, yes, my children had their share of scheduled activities from play dates to lessons to organized sports.  While I was not for letting my children wander off in the vague direction of a frog pond, they did have plenty of unstructured play. The swing set in our back yard has the typical worn down dirt under each swing and these patches of dirt became a magnet for their play, especially after a rain. Small plastic animals lived there (some, I fear, are still buried there), Barbies swam in the puddles with Polly Pockets, lions and horses, mud pies and castles reigned, and it was just the right amount of mess for my girls, and for me. As it turns out, frog ponds are really stinky.

So, sign your children up for a class or two, but remember that your backyard, local park or school yard has plenty of opportunities for play and the benefits for the children are enormous, so take the pledge to play. Don’t just take my word for it either.

Click here to take the Pledge to Play.

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Need more info on the benefits of play? Here are some stats and facts. Need ideas? Here are some great ideas for games.
Find the Toy Industry Association on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube for more great tips about, basically, child’s play.
I received compensation for this post. 

Christmas In July

Christmas In July…sounds pretty good about now.

Love, Actually

 

Family movie night gets more complicated when your kids are older and the latest Disney isn’t what they want to watch. Count on opinions (plenty of them), from everyone in your family about what to watch and while, of course, you want to let everyone weigh in and express their preferences, it hardly helps you pick out a suitable family movie.

We like action, adventure, romantic comedies and, of course, the classics (like Rear Window, Philadelphia Story and Casablanca) in our house with a fair amount of science fiction and post-apocalyptic stories thrown in for good measure. It’s doesn’t really count as a family movie night if everyone is plugged into their own devices, so we worked on compromising and taking turns. Each week a family member gets a turn choosing a movie and everyone else gets to deal with the choice, broaden their horizons, and watch something that may not be – ahem – definitely is not, their first choice. It can be challenging, this decision making process, but it leads to great discussions about story lines, plot devices, and suspended disbelief that carry on to the next week.

How to decide what to watch? Well, there’s cable, and there are great streaming services (we all have our favorites), and I just found Feeln. What is it? Feeln is a streaming service that brings you a great selection of great stories that are hand-picked and include Hallmark Hall of Fame features, Hollywood movies and TV series as well as original programming. 

Now they are offering a Christmas in July special where you get a free* Roku® Streaming Stick® with a 2 year Feeln subscription ($98 value for $47.98)

Here are some of the July features:

New Christmas Themed Titles
Love Actually
Christmas With Holly
A Dog Named Christmas
Silver Bells
A Season for Miracles
Fallen Angel
November Christmas
Christmas Mail
Christmas Dream
Christmas in the Trenches
The Price of Miracles
The Gift of the Magi
Gifts and Presence
Tiny Miracle
Diner Formal
To a Soldier
Without a House
Robbie the Reindeer
Heartland Christmas
All I Want for Christmas
A Christmas Carol: The Musical
Christmas Visitor
Holiday in Your Heart
Mr. St. Nick
The Night They Saved Christmas
Off Season
One Christmas
Picking Up and Dropping Off
The Christmas Box
The Christmas Card
Silent Night

 

 

Disclosure:

I was not compensated for this post but did receive a subscription to Feeln for review purposes. All opinions are, and always will be, my own.

 

*Terms and Conditions May Apply

A Highlight Reel with My Motorola Droid

Disclosure: As a Verizon #VZWBuzz #VZBoston Lifestyle Blogger I’m a member of a pretty cool team of influencers who share information about mobile living. I was provided a device (a Motorola Droid)  at no charge and compensation for my participation. There has been no editing by a third party, nor any promise of positive feedback. All opinions are my own.

 

Yes, I am making movies now – well, more like a photo slideshow but it’s cool, right? Maybe it’s watching my kids so easily create videos (okay, one is a film student so I do have in-house tech support if needed), maybe it’s because it’s fun to put music and images together, and maybe because it is now so easy to do!

I went to a blogger lunch last week at the Tuscan Market (in Salem, NH – there’s one in Burlington, MA I’m going to visit next), and wanted to share the amazing food and atmosphere. Usually when I write a post, I make a photo gallery or post still images but I sort of accidentally stumbled upon this feature and was intrigued. And it was incredibly easy to do using my Motorola Droid. Really, I’ve always been a little shy to try making videos (high expectations here and all that), but I found the Android phone really intuitive to navigate on my own. Sure, it took a few tries to get the first video the way I wanted it (four attempts, to be exact but mostly because I was fussing with the length and the music), but I made the second video below in under two minutes and it was so much fun!

8 Easy Steps to a Video

1. Go to Camera Roll or Gallery

2. Select photos

3. Tap the box to create a Highlight Reel (next to the Google Mail box)

4. Add the Title

5. Choose Movie Length

6. Choose Quality (HD available)

7. Select a Song from available downloads (or check No Music)

8. Save and Share!

 

I’ve found lots of fun features on this phone but this is my new favorite. Get ready for more highlight reels! #VZWBuzz #VZBoston #sponsored

 

 

 

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