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.
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.
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
Christmas With Holly
A Dog Named Christmas
A Season for Miracles
Christmas in the Trenches
The Price of Miracles
The Gift of the Magi
Gifts and Presence
To a Soldier
Without a House
Robbie the Reindeer
All I Want for Christmas
A Christmas Carol: The Musical
Holiday in Your Heart
Mr. St. Nick
The Night They Saved Christmas
Picking Up and Dropping Off
The Christmas Box
The Christmas Card
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.
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
Some Much Needed Lifelong Learning with Learnivore
It was a long, cold winter – something I don’t have to tell those of you who stuck it out here (ahem, not you, Mom and Dad), and my daily routine of a good hour plus walk with our dog was disrupted. Okay, it stopped cold…if you’ll pardon the pun. The usual brisk walk became me in all my warmest gear as I begged, cried, and pleaded into the scarf that covered most of my face to my dog to just hurry up already so we could go back inside. It was not my finest hour, or hers, really.
Despite a few trips to the gym and some epic snow shoveling sessions, it was hard to stay on track, and I didn’t. At all. And with the nice weather upon us, I have no more excuses, just a habit of less exercise. So when the local social network company, Learnivore, offered a class for me to sample and review (any class), I immediately chose yoga. It’s been a while since I practiced daily, and I knew some individual attention would help motivate me.
The super easy to navigate Learnivore site (you can log in with Facebook or an email address) lets you explore classes that are set up under the fantastic headings of Athletics, Arts or Academics. It’s easy to narrow your search by geographic area, too. And each instructor has a profile page so you can read all about them before you even book a class. There were several options for yoga within 10 miles of my home, too. After reading a few profiles, I booked a yoga class with Christie R. – it was easy to communicate through Learnivore to set a time and date.
The morning of the class, one of my nieces dropped by (she is out of school for the year), and I invited her to join me in my class. After checking in with Christie, we were off to my first yoga class in a while. My niece is quite a few years younger than I am, and a terrific athlete to boot, so I was hoping she would distract Christie from my ineptitude. Maybe a little. I needn’t have worried.
Christie is warm and lovely with a wonderful manner, and was easily able to accommodate our two very different skill and ability levels, and somehow managed to keep us focused and on task (we lean to chatty, this niece and I). Christie’s home studio was equipped with blocks, bands and blankets to help with proper positioning, and I did so appreciate the care she takes to make sure each pose is thoughtfully and properly executed. Christie is an incredible instructor – kind, patient, caring and knowledgeable. What a great and gentle reintroduction to an activity I love and will definitely continue. I also noticed there are instructors for Track and Field – maybe now that I’m getting back in shape I’ll join a Master’s team, but first I might need a refresher class or two…
Are you a lifelong learner? Learnivore has classes for the whole family, too. Here’s a listing of the available classes:
All Air Sports Archery Baseball Basketball Bowling Boxing Camping & Hiking Caving & Canyoning Climbing Cricket CrossFit Cycle & Spin Dance – Athletic Diving Driving & Racing Equestrian Extreme Sports Fencing Field Hockey Fishing Fitness & Training Football Golf Gymnastics Hunting & Firearms Kayaking & Rafting Lacrosse Martial Arts Massage & Physical Therapy Nutrition Other – Athletics Paintball Parkour Pilates Poker & Cards Rowing Running & Endurance Sailing & Boating Self Defense Skateboarding Skating & Hockey Ski & Snow Sports Soccer Softball Surfing Survival & Orienteering Swimming Tennis & Racquet Sports Track & Field Triathlon Ultimate Frisbee Volleyball Water Sports Wrestling Yoga
All Beauty Brewing Circus Arts Craft Creative Writing Culinary Arts Dance Design Dramatic Arts Fashion Film Gardening Knitting Life Music – Brass Music – Composition & Arranging Music – General Music – Guitar Music – Low Strings Music – Other Music – Percussion Music – Piano Music – Viola & Violin Music – Voice Music – Woodwinds Other – Arts Photography Sewing Travel Visual Arts Wine & Spirits Woodworking
All Academic Writing Accounting Alternative Medicine Anthropology Archaeology Architecture Art History Astronomy Biological Sciences Business Chess Child Development Computer Science Economics Education Engineering Finance History Home School Journalism Languages – Chinese Languages – ESL Languages – French Languages – Other Languages – Spanish Law Literature Management & Leadership Marketing Mathematics Medicine Other – Academics Philosophy Physics & Chemistry Political Science Psychology Reading Mechanics Religion Social Sciences Speaking & Presentation Special Education Speech Sustainability Technology Test Prep
Check Learnivore out on your favorite social media platform.