family time

What Makes a Family?

by Samantha on August 26, 2015

The "1,000 Family Project" sheds light on the changing face of the modern family

What makes a family?

What does the concept of “family” mean in today’s world?

Once upon a time, the the only societally-accepted norm for the family structure consisted of a mother, a father a few kids and a white picket fence. To wit:

Leave it to Beaver Cast

As the years wore on, we thankfully shook our heads and realized – either via real-life circumstance (divorce) or by divine intervention – that life does not often replicate television (or books, or the movies).

“Family” is a relative term, meaning different things to different people. The white picket fence may indeed be part of the mix, but more often than not, the modern permutations look nothing like the conventional model.

And that’s a good thing.

I was honoured to be asked to share the details of my family on an amazing site, The New Family, that, with it’s 1,000 Families Project, hopes to profile the uniqueness that lies within all of our familial permutations.

Thenewfamily_logo_final_resize300dpi

A “one-size-fits-all” model of family does not exist, and let’s all be thankful that it doesn’t. For previous to our current times, many of us who did not exist within the very narrowly-defined cookie-cutter version of what it meant to be a family experienced disapproval, to say the least.

The good news is that the world has changed, as has the definition of what makes up a family.

They come in all different colours, shapes, sizes and age. Learn about my family and so many more on this site. You can read the full article here.

Sister Sledge – We Are Family

What does “family” mean to you? What makes your family unique? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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Everything old is new again on the streaming service

DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.

Try to explain the concept of “Saturday Morning Cartoons” to a child who’s only known 24/7 TV, “The Google,” no less than a few thousand satellite channels and unlimited shows online via the likes of YouTube and other sites.

The Good Old Days” exist only in the minds of said child’s parent, who bemoans the fact that waking up early to run downstairs and watch television every Saturday is a memory quickly fading.

How does one explain the growing anticipation of Saturday morning, the countdown to the end of the week, the adrenaline that wakes up kids at the crack of dawn, hours before anyone else in the household would even think of opening their eyes? There was nothing like it and likely won’t be anything like it again.

That is, of course, unless you start a new Saturday morning tradition. With the latest family-friendly additions to Netflix which include some of the classics of yesteryear, everything old is new again.

If you’re looking to recreate your childhood memories of Saturday morning TV viewing, consider introducing your kids to these shows, now streaming on Netflix:

Garfield and Friends

Garfield the Cat and his wacky group of friends were everywhere in the 80’s and early ’90’s. The sloth-like and sarcastic tabby who despised the thought of any type of work was a favourite among both kids and adults.

Garfield and Friends

The Magic School Bus

A great combination of education and entertainment, this program keeps the kids glued to the screen as science was made fun. The Magic School Bus set out on a different adventure every weekend and now your kids can also travel along on an educational journey with the crew.

Magic Schoolbus

My Little Pony

Not exactly rainbows and unicorns, but close. Pastel colours, sparkles and characters with names such as Baby Heart Throb, Baby Cuddles and Sweet Stuff made this show a favourite in the ’80s.

My Little Pony

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

These turtles also double as super-heroes who battle criminals and bad guys, all in the name of justice. Oh, and they have names inspired by Renaissance-era painters. Cool, right?

TMNT

Star Wars Clone Wars

Yup, your favourite Star Wars characters are all here: Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, and Darth Maul. The Clone Wars follows the Republic’s clone army in their struggle against Count Dooku’s Separatist forces and will keep your kids riveted (if they’re into this sort of thing).

CloneWars

Spiderman

If you grew up in the ’70’s or ’80s, you know the Spiderman Song by heart, and your kids should too.

Spiderman

Scooby-Doo

If only for the groovy music, Scooby-Doo is a must-watch program for parents who want to relive their 70’s childhood and kids who want to get hip with the lingo of a groovy era.

ScoobyDoo

 

What are your favourite “old school” Saturday morning cartoons? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

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Are Parents to Blame For Picky Eaters?

by Samantha on June 20, 2015

Whose fault is it when kids refuse to eat what's put in front of them?


girl picky eater

We’ve all dealt with the picky eating habits of our kids at one time or another. Whether it’s a disdain for broccoli or a dislike of asparagus, most parents have had to negotiate with their children about certain types of food that said child has deemed “gross.” I’ve done it myself and have used every trick in the book to get my kids to eat what I think to be a balanced and sufficient meal.

But what about those kids who consistently decline most food items put in front of them, demanding, instead another meal selection, snack or pronouncing a downright refusal to eat at all? What about them? Where did they get their chutzpah?

At the risk of being scolded, may I suggest that it may very well be from their parents?

Yes, their parents.

It’s safe to say that many kids are picky eaters because their parents have coddled them. Through fear that they will eat nothing and – gasp – go to bed hungry, they have been provided with their own personal chef and concierge, taking orders and serving meals on demand.

In many households, it is the child (or children) who have been allowed to dictate what is being served. In these homes, the parent(s) gives in to the child’s demands and makes special or separate meals for them. How many of us have given in and said, “okay, if you don’t want to eat this, I’ll make you something else?”

Guilty as charged. And it’s not a stretch to assume that you are too.

As parents (and mothers in particular – there, I said it), we worry about our children’s every need. Whether it’s the fact that they have a runny nose, a fever or the fear that they haven’t had enough to eat (in our opinion), so many of us feel the need to rectify the situation at any cost. It’s this parental instinct that takes over and shifts the balance of power from the parent to the child.

In the case of picky eating, the tendency for the parent to give in to the child’s refusal to eat sets up an expectation that all demands and requests will be accommodated.

In these scenarios, the child feels that they are in control and they don’t have to try anything. Also, it sets them up for unrealistic expectations as adults that they will be given in to whatever they ask for.

Allowing kids to set the stage for meals is just one example of the growing trend towards a child-centred philosophy of parenting. The rise of “helicopter parenting”and an age where over-protection is the norm, not the exception, just feeds (pun intended) kids desire to have all of their demands fulfilled.

Unfortunately, giving in to these demands just sets up kids for unrealistic expectations in the future. As difficult as it may be, it’s in our kids’ best interests to not always give in to their demands, particularly regarding food choices. In the absence of a specific allergy or inability to digest certain foods, what’s on the table for dinner should be just that – dinner, with no option for choice. At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, when I was a kid, there was no choice – each meal was what we were eating and that was it. No consulting with us kids about whether or not they wanted to eat it, what they wanted instead, or why they didn’t like it. Not eating meant that they’d likely have a grumbling tummy and a voracious appetite the following morning.

It’s a hard thing to do, denying your child their preference for food, as there’s always the fear that they’ll starve. They won’t. Especially if there’s a fridge full of food and a healthy balanced meal in front of them that they have chosen not to eat. As difficult as it may be, as parents, we are obliged to teach our kids that there are not always choices in life. As they grow up and later when they become adults, they will need to know that sometimes, the luxury of choice is absent. More importantly, it’s crucial that children learn early to be flexible, accommodating and that sometimes they will have to just go with the flow and deal with the situation at hand instead of assuming that there will be an option. There won’t always be one.

Is your child a picky eater? How do you respond when your child won’t eat their meal? Do you give in or say “no?” Tell me about it in the comments section below.

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Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

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It’s About Family, After All

by Samantha on May 30, 2015

Netflix offers a variety of programs that showcase various family relationships

DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.
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Play dates, picky eating, trying to teach your child right from wrong. These trials of parenting seem never-ending to those of us who are in the trenches, learning as we go and often scolding ourselves for what we believe to be our “parenting fails.”

And despite the best laid plans of mice and men – and women, for that matter – we often find ourselves alternatively loving and loathing members of the family (not our kids, of course). It’s all in a day’s work, parenting work, that is.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the family, isn’t it?

Netflix has a variety of programs that focus on the various family trials and triumphs that happen daily in families around the world. Whether it’s sisterly bickering or a meddling mother-in-law, the possibilities are (often unfortunately) endless.

First up: Grace and Frankie. A quick peek at the clip below will show that this one is for the parents.

The new, funny and fearless original comedy features acting powerhouses Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. It’s a perfect reminder to all of us that families take on all forms, shapes and sizes. When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 40 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change they never expected. They shift their perspective to get through it together, with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humour.

TRAILER – Grace and Frankie

For little kids, teaching them the basics, including the theme that “family is what you make it” is easy to do when watching some of these shows aimed at younger audiences:

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Baby Jake

Full House

Littlest Pet Shop

Stellaluna

For the bigger kids:

Addams-Family_US_571x800

Fresh Prince_571x800

Party of Five

Raising Hope

Yours Mine & Ours

 

And of course, there’s this – a study in a family’s dysfunction as the patriarch tries to keep his family together by any means necessary. Yes, it’s a Breaking Bad reference yet again and yes – this one’s for the adults only:

breaking-bad-cast

 

What are your favourite family-themed programs for the family and for the grown-ups? Leave me your thoughts in the comments sections below.

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Lies, Lies, All Lies

by Samantha on April 30, 2015

Netflix offers a variety of shows that highlight untruths, tall tales and deceptions


DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.
Pinocchio's nose

We all know that kids lie.

Parents have been known to tell a little fib now and then, as well.

The question is: what do we do when our kids are less-than-truthful? Especially when we’re not completely on the up-and-up ourselves?

Parenting is a difficult task and it’s no wonder that we struggle with the old “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy because – let’s face it – sometimes it’s easier to tell a lie than to tell the truth.

Why do parents lie to their children? There are many reasons:

  • We’re scared of what telling the truth may do to our kids
  • We’re too tired or short on time and would rather make things easier by fibbing
  • Lying may buy us some time or postpone the inevitable meltdown that may occur by telling the truth
  • Sometimes, lying is fun!

Kids are equally guilty when it comes to the telling of half-truths and out-and-out lies. Remember “the dog ate my homework,” or that perennial classic “I didn’t do it!?

Some reasons behind their telling of tall tales include:

  • Fear of getting into trouble or being punished if they reveal the truth
  • The need for attention that may occur as a result of the lie
  • A method of gauging a parent’s feelings or reactions to a particular topic
  • An active imagination and life of fantasy

If you’re like me, dealing with a lying child is a reality of parenting that stresses you out. Who wants to face the music, confront the child and perhaps deal with the unpleasantness that comes with disciplining your kid? Sometimes it’s easier to just call it a day and watch a movie. Or two.

Enter Netflix.

Fortunately, the movie and TV streaming service has a number of shows that tackle the topic of lying without you, mom or dad, having to say anything about it. Of course, you can always use the shows as the beginnings of a “teachable moment” or discussion for your child or…you can just let them watch it and enjoy the show. Perhaps they’ll pick up the important message from the program of choice, but if they don’t, at least they will have been entertained.

If you’re looking for shows that have a “deceptive” theme, look no further.

For the younger kids:

Chuck and Friends

Chuck and Friends

 

CliffordClifford

Curious GeorgeCurious George

Super WhySuper Why

For the older kids:

iCarly

iCarly

Mean Girls

Mean Girls

H2O – Just Add WaterH20

Monster HighMonster High

For the parents:

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars

Liar, LiarLiar Liar

Just Go With ItJust Go With It

BloodlineBloodline

What are your favourite shows about deception and lies? How about your kids’? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

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Image courtesy of www.disney.com

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Yeah, SCIENCE!

March 29, 2015

Parents can enjoy Netflix while also teaching their kids about science DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.  —- But, why, Mom, why?!? If you’re a parent, you’ve heard […]

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“When I Grow Up”….Nextflix Picks For the Future Generation

February 27, 2015

Kids’ selections provide a variety of ideas for young imaginations DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. “What will I be when I grow up?” Way back when, kids […]

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Baby it’s Cold Outside: Netflix Picks For Winter Weather

January 30, 2015

How to keep the kids entertained during the winter season DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. Baby, it’s cold outside! Between the snow, ice, and temperatures in the […]

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All Hail King Julien!

December 31, 2014

The Self-Proclaimed Monarch From Madagascar is Back With His Own Netflix Series DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own. ——– Who’s the king? King Julien! All Hail the King! […]

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Family Halloween-Themed Viewing Ideas From Netflix

October 10, 2014

Halloween. The one day of the year where kids and parents alike can live out their inner fantasy of being a superhero, ghoul or rock star. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy some of the creepy day’s more appropriate entertainment fare. This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, allowing for a full weekend of dress-up, […]

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