7 Things You Need To Do To Raise Adventurous, Active, Curious Kids

We visited Iceland as guests of Animal Jam and Visit Iceland. Why would an online game for kids want to drag a bunch of bloggers to one of the most remote parts of Iceland? Because we are moms, and moms are role models for their children. Heard the phrase “If I can see it, I can be it”? Moms can have a huge impact when they show their kids that they can embrace adventure, that they love to get offline and outdoors, and that they are passionate and inspired by their environment and science.

In short, if your kids see you take on new experiences and that YOU are constantly learning new things, they will do the same. Thus, the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag.

Whether you are planning a trip to the zoo, a hike in the mountains, a trip overseas, or settling down with a good book, you are showing your kids the stuff that makes up an adventurous, curious life.

7 Tips For Raising Adventurous Kids

As a matter of fact, we’d love you to join our little hashtag. Let us know what you are doing with your kids to inspire adventure and a love of the world around them by adding your photos to the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag on Instagram. We’d love to see them!

7 Ways to Raise Adventurous, Active, Curious Kids

A few lessons learned in Iceland:

1. Embrace Adventure! Yes YOU!

What have you done lately that has pushed you out of your comfort zone? Tried anything new? You are the model for some many things for your children – including curiosity and adventure. That might mean gearing up and going on an adventure to Iceland, or it might mean exploring the outer limits of your own town, city or state. {You can check out our full Iceland itinerary HERE}

This is me, embracing a whole lot of adventure!


2. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

What was the last thing you did that made you a little nervous. I’ll tell you a few for me.

Taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Why was that uncomfortable? Well for starters it was freezing and windy outside. It just seemed easier to stay in my warm clothes. But it was like a gigantic hot tub and SO worth it!

Blue Lagoon


How about when we visited the most remote part of Iceland. Getting in one of these rafts to go from the main boat to the nature reserve felt pretty darn adventurous. The water was really cold and I heard that if you fell in that your heart would stop instantly. {Maybe an urban legend?} Nonetheless, it was AMAZING.


My most adventurous boat ride in the most remote part of Iceland!

Photo From JennyOnTheSpot.com


3. Try New Foods

Puffin anyone? I did it. Did I feel bad? A little. They’re cute. But when in Iceland . . .


4. Meet New People

Like these guys. The one on the left: the curator of the local arctic fox museum. He takes care of a few foxes, builds the exhibits, gives the tours, brews the coffee, makes a killer coffee cake for the cafe, and even makes his own marketing materials. He’s got 4 kids and loves the gigantic backyard that his kids have access too.

The one on the right?  The Mayor of Súðavík {a little town of just about 200 people}. The youngest mayor in Iceland, and possibly the best dressed? 

It was so interesting to hear about their lives and their perspectives in their little town in the most remote part of Iceland.

The interesting people of Iceland!

Photo From JennyOnTheSpot.com

Close to home it might mean visiting a different church, serving at a refugee center in your community, meeting new neighbors, striking up a conversation with your server at a restaurant. Be curious about the people around you and involve your kids in those new conversations.


5. Make Science A Seamless Part Of Your Life

“Let’s google that!”

“Let’s go there!”

“Let’s figure that out!”

Those are all phrases to adopt into your vocabulary.

I love the questions I get from my 7-year-old. “Where does glass come from anyway? What about copper?” Well, that calls for a field trip to the Copper Mines.

Look at your child’s questions as opportunities to learn something!

I can now tell you all sorts of things about Iceland and it’s creatures because of our gigantic field trip. The Icelandic Horse? They were brought there by the Vikings in the 9th or 10th century and have been isolated and never bred with any other horses. If an Icelandic horse leaves Iceland it can never come back. We learned a lot because we asked A LOT of questions!

Icelandic Horse


6. Explore Through A Lens

Hand over the camera (or your iPhone) and let your kids explore through pictures outside. Odds are they’ll zoom in on bugs, plants, and anything else that catches their eye. They’ll see the world just a bit differently than you – and that will probably inspire YOU as well!

As for me? I always take better pictures when I am someplace new.

Seal watching in Iceland!


7. Choose Entertainment That Inspires

It might be the books you get from the library, a documentary on Netflix, a new TED talk, or even a reality adventure show on TV. Fill your world with the things that make you ask yourself “would I ever do that?”.

Inspiring entertainment also comes down to the apps and games they play. What are your kids filling their heads with? A game like Animal Jam is rooted in STEM and education and just one of the many ways to plant the seeds of adventure and curiosity!

Why Animal Jam?

If you are familiar with Animal Jam then you know they are the world’s largest online social network for kids. Their passion is inspiring kids to learn about the natural world around them through interactive gameplay and offline activities that engender their curiosity about the sciences. 

Animal Jam Spring

Can an online game encourage offline adventure? A love of science? YES! Here’s how:

  • Animal Jam has an in-game Journey Book where kids find and collect cool facts about animals and environments in Jamaa (the world where everything in Animal Jam takes place). Help find fun critters in Kimbara Outback or in the Coral Reef!AJ_JourneyBook

  • Visit Brady Barr’s Lab or Tierney Thys’ Aquarium where you can watch videos of these scientists out in the field and even submit your own questions for them to answer in future videos.Animal Jam: Brady's Lab

  • Want even more videos? Subscribe to Animal Jam’s YouTube channel to catch up on their Wild Explorers series featuring fun crafts, science experiments, and animal facts. Our favorite? Ten Facts about Goats!Goat Video

  • Extend the fun offline with Animal Jam Academy – a free resource center full of science based crafts and experiments. Set screen-time privileges as a reward for completing fun science activities!plant maze

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Animal Jam #AdventureStartsWithMe

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Iceland Packing List {+ 4 Things I Couldn’t Live Without!}

Traveling to Iceland? Want to know what to pack? We’ve got you covered. Like, literally covered . . . from head to toe.  You’re going to want to be.

Iceland Packing List {Gear from head to toe!}

We traveled to Iceland in March (with Animal Jam and Visit Iceland) and while we had a great stretch of weather (30’s and 40’s F) we were glad to have packed gear to keep us warm and dry.

If you talk to anyone that’s been to Iceland they’ll be sure to mention one word: Layers. It’s the truth.

Here’s our Iceland Packing List:

  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Pants
  • Scarf
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Walking Shoes / Warm Boots (Water proof)
  • Warm Underwear (Long Johns y’all! I took several pair of leggings and some thermal tops from Patagonia)
  • Warm Socks
  • Hiking Pants
  • Swimsuit
  • Backpack
  • Power Adapters (In Iceland they use the Europlug, which is the one with the two round prongs)
  • Camera / Laptop / Chargers
  • Toiletries 
  • Hand Warmers
  • Dry Sack
  • Thermos (Consider packing a thermos to bring along your coffee or tea)
  • A laundry sack (You may want to start throwing your dirty stuff in a seperate bag along the way)
  • Passport 

The 4 Things I Couldn’t Live Without?

  • Sorels: I went with the Joan of Arctic Boot. I thought I’d wear them occaisonally and packed several other pairs of shores. These were the only shoes/boots I wore the entire time. They are waterproof, insulated, cozy, easy to hose off, and don’t require any breaking in.  Joan-Of-Arctic-Suede-And-Rubber-Boots1
  • Waterproof / Windproof Pants: You want something that goes over your clothes and are easy to get on and off. I went with these Arcteryx and LOVED them. Cutting the wind is half the battle.
  • Day Pack: We all took along the Gregory Moonrise pack. It’s PERFECT. The biggest piece for me is having a pack that lifts the weight OFF of my back. The structure of the pack coupled with all of the nooks and crannies for storage make this pack perfect to haul along every day. Gregory Moonrise Women's Pack {The perfect day pack!}
  • Hand Warmers: We went inside of a glacier. That was cold. I was dressed well and pretty warm — except for my hands. And then I remembered my hand warmers that I stashed in my backpack. I threw those in my gloves and they were perfect. The best part is that those hand warmers last quite awhile. The more you move them around and shake them the more they heat up. MAGIC! {Sidenote: Buy a small case of these to bring along. They are great for sharing!} hot hands hand warmers

Taking kids? 

Same logic applies. Nothing is more miserable than a miserable child. That means you’re going to want to keep them warm, dry, and well fed. All easy to do if you plan ahead!

What did we do? 

Want a peak at our Iceland Itinerary? We spent a lot of time outdoors. You can check out our full itinerary HERE!


Pin This List For Later!

17 Things To Pack For Iceland 1

Our Iceland Itinerary Giveaway

If you follow us on Instagram you may have noticed I took off to Iceland for a week and I’m here to tell you it was AMAZING! A must do for anyone’s travel life list. Missed the Instagram action? Check out the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag on Instagram for a bunch of amazing pictures from the group of bloggers I was traveling with.

Why The Hashtag?

We visited Iceland as guests of Animal Jam and Visit Iceland. Why would an online game for kids want to drag a bunch of bloggers to one of the most remote parts of Iceland? Because we are moms, and moms are role models for their children. Heard the phrase “If I can see it, I can be it”? Moms can have a huge impact when they show their kids that they can embrace adventure, that they love to get offline and outdoors, and that they are passionate and inspired by their environment and science.

In short, if your kids see you take on new experiences and that YOU are constantly learning new things, they will do the same. Thus, the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag.

Whether you are planning a trip to the zoo, a hike in the mountains, a trip overseas, or settling down with a good book, you are showing your kids the stuff that makes up an adventurous, curious life.

As a matter of fact, we’d love you to join our little hashtag. Let us know what you are doing with your kids to inspire adventure and a love of the world around them by adding your photos to the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag on Instagram. We’d love to see them!

Why Animal Jam?

If you are familiar with Animal Jam you know that they are an online game for kids. Their passion is STEM education and inspiring kids to learn within the game and offline too.

Animal Jam #AdventureStartsWithMe

Why Iceland?

Well, that’s pretty easy. It’s Iceland. It’s FULL of adventure, beauty, and an unplugged other-wordly environment.  You can learn more about Iceland and the adventures you can experience HERE.

Need Some More Adventure In Your Life?

The good news? We’re going to send YOU on one.

ENTER TO WIN your very own adventure to Iceland courtesy of Animal Jam, Visit Iceland and WOW Air!

Might we suggest a totally awesome Iceland itinerary? This itinerary was built to help you explore Icelandic culture, wildlife, and their environment. Here’s what we did:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

  • Depart for the Gauksmyri Horse Farm in North Iceland
  • Attend the horse show
  • Have dinner and enjoy life on the farm!

Day 6

  • Head back to Reykjavik and begin your journey home

We did a lot of driving to get to all of these amazing (and remote) places. We traveled with Grayline and our tour guide Ingi and we cannot recommend them enough!

Remember, you can check out more of our Iceland pictures on the #AdventureStartsWithMe hashtag on Instagram!

Get To Know Iceland

Need to get to know Iceland a bit better? Check out Visit Iceland’s new feature Iceland Academy! You’ll learn valuable lessons from people like Gudmundur and Stina on topics like avoiding hot tub awkwardness and responsible safe travel in Iceland.

Enter To Win!

One lucky winner can win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Animal Jam

Visit Iceland


About Animal Jam

Animal Jam is a safe and exciting online playground for kids who love animals and the outdoors. Players create and customize their own animal characters and dens, chat with friends, adopt pets, team up for adventures, and feed their curiosity about animals and the natural world around them. Created in partnership with National Geographic, Animal Jam features classic playground role playing infused with the life sciences. Players can collect fun facts in their journey books, learn about Animal Conservation in Kimbara Outback, and talk to real scientists, like herpetologist Dr. Brady Barr and marine biologist Dr. Tierney Thys. Join the fun for free at animaljam.com!

More on TodaysMama.com

Iceland Packing List


10 Reasons I Love Snapchat (And Yes, I’m a Mom)

I'm a grown woman and a mother of 3 and I love Snapchat . . .

I’m nearly 40 and I have three kids between the ages of 5-9. I also have a best friend who is 20 years younger than me. We pretty much have the same taste in music, TV and movies but grew up in different generations. She taught me what bae meant (although it still confuses me) and I introduced her to Friends (she watched all 10 seasons in a couple of months time). She was also the one who got me to download Snapchat nearly 2 years ago when she left for college. I was hesitant at first since I only heard how dangerous it was for kids because of sharing inappropriate content.

Here are a few basics about Snapchat for those who aren’t familiar with the app. You can send a snap to any of your contacts. Your snap can be a picture, a picture with text, text alone or video. There are a couple of filters and options for videos like slow motion or fast speed. Snaps disappear after they’ve been opened unless the recipient replays it or takes a screenshot. You’ll get a notification if someone replays or takes a screen shot of your snap. You can also publish snaps to “my story”. Stories are visible for 24 hours and can be seen by those following you.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I am not endorsing letting your kids use Snapchat. I don’t discount that Snapchat has been used inappropriately by individuals but I also believe that understanding how this app works enables me to teach my kids how to properly use it (if they wanted to use is it when they are old enough and it is still around). I also completely respect a parent’s decision NOT to let their kids use Snapchat. But, I admit, I love using Snapchat and here are 10 reasons why:

  1. No More Memory: I have a hard enough time managing the loads of photos and videos on my phone before needing to purge it to free up memory space. I love that Snapchat doesn’t save items to your memory, especially when it’s just video of my girls singing Adele at the top of their lungs.
  2. Wait, I Want That Memory: In the event that the video of my girls singing Adele at the top of their lungs is especially cute, I can save it. If I’ve published it to my story, I can view it as many times as I want during the 24 hours and if I decide it’s a keeper after all, I can download it. The same goes for photos.
  3. Family Bonding: I get to see nieces and nephews all the time because their parents are on Snapchat. Pictures of crazy hair day, videos of daddy-daughter dates, latest art projects, etc. Plus my kids can send a video singing happy birthday to their cousin. I snap with my sister-in-law all the time but before Snapchat we only occasionally talked. I can send my husband snaps of our kids all day so he gets a glimpse of what we’re doing. It’s so easy and fast to send through Snapchat.Snapchat - Showing Dad the injury
  4. Kids These Days: I have a niece and nephew in high school and a few youth that I worked with in church around the same age who are Snapchat regulars. I like that I can communicate with them through Snapchat. Otherwise, I don’t think we would. Facebook and Instagram is not where they’re at.
  5. Non-Committal Relationships: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – they all have likes and loves and feedback is expected. Sometimes it’s so time-consuming liking and responding to stuff on social media. Snapchat is awesome because you can just put it out there or send it to someone and not worry about likes or comments. It’s liberating not expecting a whole lot of interaction.
  6. Creative Storytelling: I have to admit, I feel like I can be especially funny on Snapchat. Pictures with captions can be super funny. Isn’t that why we love memes so much? Once you stack a few snaps, you’ve got yourself a funny story with captions and pictures. You too, can be hilarious to a small, select audience of your choosing.
  7. Passive Aggressive Much?: I keep it pretty safe and happy on social media. But guess what? If someone pisses me off, you bet I’m going to send a photo of myself with an angry face and accompanying captions or drawings to my husband or best friend. It feels good to vent. It feels great to vent with funny captions. I send it to a couple people and it’s gone forever, just like my angst.
  8. The Joy of Snapping: My snap of ducks swimming in reverse is hilarious. So is that sweatshirt I saw that said “Fitch” but the typography made it look like the F-bomb. And that parking lot with the arrows pointing traffic in the opposite direction with my snappy caption, “Uh, are the British coming?” These are the things  I doubt I would document were it not for Snapchat. Pure and simple it’s pretty dang funny and will make me and my friends laugh.Snapchat-7949006645825105712
  9. Second Opinions: I send snaps all the time to my trusted advisors. What do you think of these shoes? Do you like this shirt? Should we buy this lamp? Does the guy working at Target look like Mark Ruffalo?
  10. Bragfest: I don’t feel a bit guilty bragging about my kids on Snapchat. Yes, those are his grades. Look at that back walkover! And guess what, I don’t mind bragging about myself either. Get ready for some pictures of all the baked goods. But don’t worry, they won’t stick around forever.

Snapchat - good for bragging

Love Snapchat? Who’s with me?!?


What’s Coming And Going On Netflix In April 2016

Ah the comings and goings of Netflix! You’ve just got a few days left to catch “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” but worry not, there’s more entertainment around the corner! Minions, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Princess Bride, My Girl, and the 2nd season of Fixer Upper are just a few of the family friendly titles coming to Netflix this month! Check it out:

What's new on Netflix in April?

Photos: Everett Collection, Netflix

Arriving on Netflix this Month

April 1

  • 16 Blocks (2006)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, season 5
  • The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story
  • Beat Bobby Flay, season 1
  • Best in Show (2000)
  • Bob’s Burgers, season 5
  • Boogie Nights (1997)
  • Breathe (2014)
  • Chaplin (1992)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
  • Codegirl (2015)
  • Colegas (2012)
  • Cujo (1983)
  • Cutthroat Kitchen, seasons 3­-4
  • Deep Impact (1998)
  • Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang (2015)
  • Dolphin Tale (2011)
  • Erin Brockovich (2000)
  • Explorers (1985)
  • Fixer Upper, season 2
  • Frank and Cindy (2015)
  • Giada at Home, season 7
  • The Great Food Truck Race, seasons 1­-2
  • House Hunters Collection: Collection 3
  • House Hunters International Collection, collection 3
  • House Hunters International Renovation, season 1
  • Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer (2015)
  • Kids Baking Championship, season 1
  • Looking for Richard (1996)
  • Lost & Found Music Studios, season 1
  • Love It or List It, Too, season 4
  • The Mask You Live In (2015)
  • Morituri (1965)
  • My Girl (1991)
  • Mystic River (2003)
  • The Next Best Thing (2000)
  • The Perfect Storm (2000)
  • The Phantom (1996)
  • The Princess Bride (1987)
  • Property Brothers at Home, season 1
  • The Ranch, part 1
  • Rev Run’s Sunday Suppers (2014)
  • The Right Stuff (1983)
  • Rising Sun (1993)
  • The Running Man (1987)
  • Say It Isn’t So (2001)
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  • Scrooged (1988)
  • Something’s Gotta Give (2003)
  • Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  • Transporter 3 (2008)
  • Uncommon Valor (1983)
  • Under the Same Moon (2007)
  • V for Vendetta (2005)

April 5

  • Walt Before Mickey (2015)

April 8

  • God’s Pocket (2014)
  • Hush (2016)

April 9

  • Look Who’s Back (2015)

April 10

  • Girl Meets World, season 2

April 11

  • Turn: Washington’s Spies, season 2

April 12

  • Ajin, season 1

April 14

  • Moonwalkers (2015)
  • Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015)

April 15

  • Belgica (2016)
  • Cuckoo, season 3
  • Kong: King of the Apes (Film & Series)
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, season 2

April 16

  • How to Get Away with Murder, season 2

April 17

  • Lost Girl, season 5
  • Messengers, season 1

April 22

  • Catching the Sun (2015)
  • Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping (2016)

April 24

  • Minions (2015)

April 27

  • Begin Again (2014)
  • The Fosters, season 3

April 29

  • Danger Mouse, season 1
  • Hellion (2014)
  • Special Correspondents (2016)
  • Team Foxcatcher (2016)

April 30

  • Sensitive Skin, season 2

Leaving Netflix this Month

April 1

  • 101 Dalmatians (1996)
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  • Along Came a Spider (2001)
  • Along Came Polly (2004)
  • Amistad (1997)
  • Bad Johnson (2014)
  • Bandslam (2009)
  • Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basic Collection
  • Berkeley in the Sixties (1990)
  • The Butcher’s Wife (1991)
  • Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
  • Chuck’s Eat the Street Collection
  • Craigslist Joe (2012)
  • Dear Genevieve Collection (2011)
  • Eureka Season 4
  • Flashdance (1983)
  • Hook (1991)
  • Hotel Rwanda (2004)
  • House of Wax (2005)
  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1989)
  • The Inexplicable Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson (2013)
  • M*A*S*H Seasons 1-11
  • Nanny McPhee (2005)
  • Naked Gun 2 1/2 (1991)
  • Nine to Five, aka 9 to 5 (1980)
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005)
  • Remember Me (2010)
  • Rock Star (2001)
  • The Rundown (2003)
  • Smokin Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball (2010)
  • Something New (2006)
  • Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
  • Starship Troopers (1997)
  • The Tale of Despereaux (2008)
  • Throwdown with Bobby Flay
  • Vanilla Ice Goes Amish
  • The Vanilla Ice Project
  • The Wedding Date (2005)
  • The Whole Ten Yards

April 2

  • Anchors Aweigh (1945)
  • Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
  • The Devil at 4 o’clock (1961)
  • High Society (1956)
  • On the Town (1949)
  • Pal Joey (1957)
  • Some Came Running (1958)
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)

April 3

  • Short Poppies
  • Space Dogs (2010)

April 6

  • Passion of the Christ (2004)

April 10

  • Let the Right One In (2008)

April 15

  • All American Christmas Carol (2013)
  • Bill Cunningham New York (201)
  • New York, I Love You (2008)

April 16

  • Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007)

April 17

  • Lord of War (2005)

April 20

  • Half Baked (1998)

April 22

  • Freakshow

April 30

  • Sordid Lives (2000)


How To Effectively Parent A 13-Year-Old Girl In The Digital Era

Tips for parenting teenage girls

Teens today face a different set of problems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relate.

Do you remember when you were 13?

It’s an overwhelming time, to say the least. Everything you knew as a young kid suddenly gets upended. You’re suddenly focused on best friends, falling in love, and not feeling understood — by yourself or anyone else, and certainly not your parents.

When you’re on the other side of it as an adult, it’s just as confusing. And heartbreaking — because now you have to watch your child, whom you love more than anything, navigate through it.

And guess what? There’s technology making things even more complicated for kids that age. Not a big surprise.

Social media, for one, can make 13-year-olds feel insignificant.

As an example, think of a child whose family has just moved. The child stays connected with old friends via Facebook, or other social media platforms. The problem is that it also makes the feeling more acute that life is going on in the child’s absence. Kids post about parties, new “in a relationship” statuses, and lots of things going on from football games to church activites that they’re no longer a part of.

Selfie culture is not something to dismiss. Pay attention.

Many 13-year-olds like to take selfies. They send them to friends, but also they take them and just keep them. They become a currency, a way to document, even a way to process what they’re feeling in any given moment. It’s confusing for us as parents. What are they doing taking pictures of themselves constantly? When your child is bored in the back seat of the family car, why are they making facial expressions into their phone and taking selfies of her face?

It’s a struggle for parents to understand how new forms of technology impact a 13-year-old’s life. Technology is linking them to others, as in the case of social media or to themselves, as inthe case of selfies. But not all that transpires is good for them.

Here are some suggestions that can help you navigate being a parent of a 13-year-old in today’s technological world:

  1. Remember, your child is only 13. You can insist on being her friend on Facebook, although that may come with a promise that you will never post or respond.
  1. Encourage her to share with you what’s going on in her life, both in her day to day world and this extended virtual world. One of the best ways to do this is to share what’s new with you and also some of the pitfalls and upsets you weathered at her age.
  1. Fall in love with her selfies, never make fun of them. See them as an expressions of getting to know herself, just as you may have stood in front of the bathroom or bedroom mirror at her age and posed. But be clear on the standards of what should happen to those selfies. Explain the difference between private and public.

And of course, keep your daughter involved and busy in the real world. She can’t do too much with social media or selfies if she is so exhausted from school, sports, homework, chores, practicing the piano or flute, clubs, family time with no technology, some volunteer work in the community, etc. Remember, you are the parent. She’s only 13. She needs you to be the captain. You can do it!

Read more about 13-year-old girls in Barbara’s book Secrets: Diary of a Gutsy Teen. The ‘Girl’ in the book deals with all the issues that that age stirs up.

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Japan Trend: Parents Squishing Baby’s Faces To Look Like Rice Balls

Japanese Squishy Face Trend

Stranger things have happened in Japan…

Just when you thought Japan couldn’t get any crazier, yet another trend that originated in Japan is taking the internet by storm. But unlike Japanese game shows where contestants do nasty things to each other, this trend is actually pretty cute.

Parents are squishing their babies’ faces to resemble rice balls. Yes, of all the shapes you can mush your baby’s face into, rice balls are now on top. 

Parents place their thumbs under the baby’s cheeks and “frame” their face. People are even trying it out on dogs and pets, too! I guess it’s like breading only you aren’t wasting bread.

Check out this fun new social media trend. And don’t squeeze your baby’s face too hard or it might stay that way.

Squishy Baby Face Trend

Cutest Squishy Baby Face Pictures!




What do you think? Creepy or cute?

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What’s Coming And Going On Netflix In March 2016

It’s time for the monthly binge and purge of Netflix!

Pay attention folks! There are LOADS of fantastic TED talks that leave Netflix on March 15th. You’ve still got a few weeks to squeeze those in!

Also — anyone else have a burst of nostalgia for the Popples?

The big news? Pee Wee’s Big Holiday. Will you watch?

Pee Wee's Big Holiday On Netflix

Arriving on Netflix, March 2016

March 1

    • Adult Beginners (2015)
    • Ahora o Nunca (2015)
    • Aldnoah.Zero: Season 2
    • American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007)
    • American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile (2006)
    • Before We Go (2015)
    • Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland (2016)
    • El Desconocido (2015)
    • Fresh Meat: Series 2
    • Frog Kingdom (2013)
    • Good Burger (1997)
    • Groundhog Day (1993)

  • Heaven Knows What (2015)
  • Hot Sugar’s Cold World (2015)
  • Midsomer Murders: Series 17
  • Narcopolis (2015)
  • Road Trip: Beer Pong (2009)
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
  • Scarface (1983)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
  • The Young Kieslowski (2014)

March 2

  • For Grace (2015)

March 4

  • House of Cards: Season 4 (2016)
  • Lab Rats: Season 4
  • Lego Friends: The Power of Friendship (2016)
  • Lego: Bionicle: The Journey to One: Season 1 (2016)
  • Louie: Season 5

March 7

  • Cuckoo: Seasons 1-2
  • Halo: The Fall of Reach
  • Sin Filtro (2016)

March 8

  • Digimon Fusion: Season 2

March 9

  • The Returned: Season 1

March 10

  • Comedy Bang! Bang!: Season 4, part 3
  • Hateship Loveship (2013)

March 11

    • Dinotrux: Season 2
    • Flaked: Season 1
    • Netflix Presents: The Characters: Season 1
    • Popples: Season 2

March 12

  • Shelter (2015)

March 15

  • 10,000 Saints (2015)
  • 4GOT10 (2015)
  • The Falling (2015)
  • Final Girl (2015)
  • Finders Keepers (2015)
  • Power Rangers Dino Charge: Season 1, part 2
  • War Pigs (2015)

March 16

  • Are You Here (2014)
  • Charlie St. Cloud (2010)
  • Gridiron Gang (2006)
  • Happy Valley: Season 2
  • Larry Crowne (2011)
  • Promised Land (2012)

March 18

    • He Never Died (2015)
    • Jimmy Carr: Funny Business (2016)
    • Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 2
    • The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show: Season 2
    • My Beautiful Broken Brain (2016)
    • Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016)

March 22

  • The Art of Organized Noize (2016)
  • The Ouija Experiment 2: Theatre of Death (2015)

March 24

  • The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
  • A Promise (2013)

March 25

  • Trailer Park Boys: Season 10

March 31

  • Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation (2007)
  • Fright Night 2 (2013)
  • Murder Rap: Inside the Biggie and Tupac Murders (2015)
  • Sunshine Superman (2015)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time (2011)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal: Seasons 1-2

Leaving Netflix, March 2016

March 1

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (2000)
  • American Pie (1999)
  • American Wedding (2003)
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
  • The Babysitters (2007)
  • The Chosen One (2010)
  • Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)
  • Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1992)
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
  • Hackers (1985)
  • Hamlet (1990)
  • Hannie Caulder (1971)
  • Hardball (2001)
  • Hart’s War (2002)
  • Hitch (2005)
  • Indecent Proposal (1993)
  • Johnny Dangerously (1984)
  • Jumanji (1995)
  • Masters of the Universe (1987)
  • Men in Black II (2002)
  • The Monster Squad (1987)
  • Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
  • Paycheck (2003)
  • Switchmas (2013)
  • The United States of Leland (2003)
  • Wings (1927)

March 2

  • Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams (2013)

March 3

  • Night Catches Us (2010)

March 4

  • Getting Go: The Go Doc Project (2013)
  • Private Romeo (2011)

March 5

  • I Am Divine (2013)

March 6

  • Le Week-End (2013)
  • Refuge (2012)

March 7

  • Deadfall (2012)

March 8

  • Holidaze (2013)

March 9

  • Arn: The Knight Templar (2007)
  • The Mistle-tones! (2012)

March 11

  • Geography Club (2013)

March 15: The ArmaTEDdon

  • Best of TEDx: Season 1
  • I Killed My Mother (2009)
  • Lola & Virginia: Season 1
  • TED Talks: Life Hack 1-2
  • TED Talks: Sex, Secrets & Love: Season 1
  • TED Talks: The Best of TEDx in Español: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Ancient Clues: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Animal Voices: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Artistry and Illusion: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Beasts, Bugs & Bio-wilderment: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Body By Design: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Brave Neuro World: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Building Wonder: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Chew On This: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Cyber Awe: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Defying Disease: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Global Villages: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Head Games: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Hot Buttons: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: How to Start a Movement: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Humanity’s Future: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Inexplicable Connections: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Into the Abyss: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Let Your Mind Wonder: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Life Lessons & Confessions: Season 1-2
  • TEDTalks: Love, No Matter What: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Music Revolution: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Numbers Speak Louder than Words: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Rad Invention: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Rebel Design: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Robotic Machinations: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Smart Laughs: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: Space Trek: Season 1
  • TEDTalks: The Capitalism Paradox: Season 1
  • Waste Land (2010)

March 17

  • Elegy (2008)

March 18

  • Cosmopolis (2012)
  • Music For Mandela (2013)
  • Out in the Dark (2012)
  • Side Effects (2013)

March 23

  • Keep the Lights On (2012)

March 26

  • The Comedy (2012)

March 28

  • Gayby (2012)

March 31

  • Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006)
  • Garfield’s Pet Force (2009)
  • The Sandlot 2 (2005)
  • Twelve Mile Road (2003)
  • Women Who Kill (2012)
  • The Writers’ Room: Season 1

What will you be watching? 

5 CRUCIAL Things I Learned From Cleaning Houses To Support My Kids

The world looked at me as if I was nobody.

The world looked at me as if I was nobody.

Three years ago, my abusive husband abandoned me and our two young children. When faced with the reality of my newfound life (and the fact that I had no college education and hadn’t worked since shortly after becoming a mother), to say I “freaked out” is the understatement of the century.

I needed money and I needed it quick. I also needed daycare for my infant and toddler — and it wasn’t going to be cheap. In fact, the cost of daycare was completely beyond any budget I could work into the income that a minimum wage job would bring me.

Without a college degree, nearly any job I qualified for wouldn’t pay more than what I’d be paying out in childcare expenses. So … I decided to become a housekeeper.

And it was awesome, right? No, actually, it totally sucked.

But when I realized it was up to me — and only me — to make the life I wanted, I decided to stop looking at my job as a failure and start looking at it as a stepping stone to my future. If I wanted to get out of the rut I was stuck in, I better start climbing.

My days as a cleaning lady are over — the business very quickly proving too much for my body to handle —but the lessons I learned working that job have forever changed me:

1. There’s value in getting your hands (literally) dirty. 

I know it sounds cliché but it’s a lesson so many people fail to ever learn. I know what it’s like to wake up in the morning and have your back screaming in pain, your life falling apart, your self-esteem damaged, your children grieving — and then walk into a job where most of the world doesn’t even see you as human. But you do what you have to do in order to survive, and until you learn that you can hit rock bottom and still keep going, then you’ll never really learn how strong you are.

2. People are more than their 9-5 occupation. 

Being the “help” wasn’t fun, and quite frankly, it was a position I never imagined I’d have to be in. It was embarrassing and degrading but I needed the money. Because of that, I’ve learned to value the people the world sometimes views as less important.

I see everything that makes up who they are; not just the uniform that they are wearing because, well, I’ve been there. It also makes me want to get to know those people because of how much I wished people took the time to get to know me at the time.

3. Fight like hell for what you want.

I know what it’s like to fight and claw my way out of a life I wanted more from. Nobody was going to hand it to me. If I wanted more for myself and my kids, then I was going to do whatever it took.

If back-breaking labor, sheer exhaustion, human degradation, heartache, and literal filth weren’t going to stop me, not much else will would.

4. You — and only you — are in control of paving your own path.

People love to throw around the phrase “create your own path,” but until you’ve done more than select a course-load out of a college manual, you really don’t know what it’s like to have to forge a path that hasn’t already been pre-planned for you.

Creativity, persistence, and the willingness to adapt to new and uncomfortable situations are the primary reasons I was able to make the job work because hell, I knew nothing about being a cleaning lady and had to quickly teach myself. Plus, the job was gross. Let’s just be honest about that. That took a lot of adapting on my part.

5. Stop caring what people think about you.

In a job where everyone looks down on you, I needed to stop caring or else, the weight of other people’s opinions would crush me. When I first started cleaning houses and someone asked me what I did for a living, I’d literally break out into a sweat before quickly changing the topic.

But by the end of my time in the cleaning business, I held my head high and reminded myself that any judgments people passed on me were a reflection of their own shortcomings. Most of the time the issues people have with you have nothing to do with you at all — and knowing that is so liberating.

My career as a housekeeper didn’t last long, but it lasted long enough to learn one final thing about myself: I’m forever changed. There’s no way to forget where I came from, even if sometimes that place was down on my knees, scrubbing floors.

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5 Phrases That Will Instantly Stop the Begging

Please Accept Me!

I’m not sure what the chances are, but, “Boy, do I ever like that Muffy Mead-Ferro” is what I hope will be going through your mind by the time you get to the end of this column. Ideally, you’ll be thinking how much you enjoyed my observations, what excellent points I made, and how wonderful it would be if only I could be at every party you ever throw from this day forward.

Because you see, one of my most compelling motivations in life is being accepted by others. I can’t help it; I’m a member of a species Aristotle referred to as “the social animal,” and it’s how I’m wired. For good reason, of course. Being accepted by others, also known as being popular, is an important survival mechanism for humans and many other species because group living provides protection from predators, sharing of labor and resources, and of course, it encourages reproduction.

Please Accept Me

And this explains why my daughter Belle, just nearing the end of fifth grade, is so focused on who does and doesn’t like her at school. And sometimes, it seems, on very little else. Just about to turn 11, she seems to have entered a phase where her familial relationships, while solid, are no longer the ones she cares about most. When we’re on a trip, she wants to buy little souvenirs for her friends. As the weekend approaches, she wants to make sure she has at least two social activities on her calendar. When we plan family activities, she often asks to have one of her friends along – otherwise she won’t enjoy herself all that much. And then there’s the phone. Oh my gosh, Belle’s an Olympic-caliber endurance athlete on the phone.

Based on what I’ve already said about human hard-wiring I can hardly blame her for being concerned about her social status. And yet I’m hoping she’ll rise above it, too. My biggest problem with the quest to be popular is that a lot of it seems to boil down to conformity, or at least that’s how I remember it. As I recall from Junior High School, most people who really stuck out as different weren’t popular. And one of the things that’s always been important to me in my children’s development has been an ability to think for themselves, and being in the habit of doing so. I don’t want them to make life choices in an effort to simply follow the herd. The herd tells you the right clothes to wear, the right music to like, and the right slang to use. The herd mentality might be useful for the purposes of migration but not for thinking of new ideas.

Besides, although I agree that much of our happiness comes from relationships with other people, the person who independently chooses their own path and thinks their own thoughts can end up being the most popular, and happiest, of all. The independent thinker is a leader, not a follower. And it’s the independent thinker who has the greatest capacity to change the world for the better.

I realize, however, that no amount of pontificating by me on this issue is going to change Belle’s focus on who, this month, is her BFF. So I’ll just have to hope that over the long haul she strikes a balance and finds that she only needs a few loyal friends, not fifty. That no matter what she does, some people won’t like her, and life will go on. And that if she makes her own road through life based on her own ideas and beliefs, she’ll tend to attract people with whom she’s truly compatible.

By Muffy Mead Ferro

I grew up on a cattle ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After spending nearly 20 years working as a copywriter in advertising, my first book, Confessions of a Slacker Mom, came out in spring of 2004 and made the San Francisco Chronicle’s best-seller list. My second book, Confessions of a Slacker Wife, was released in spring of 2005.