Friday, February 5, 2016

Fun Freetime: Zootopia Screening (MN)

You and a Guest are Invited
to Attend a Special Advance Screening in 3D
THURSDAY, February 18
Theatres at Mall of AMerica
WEdnesday, February 24
AMC Rosedale
AMC Southdale

2/18 at Theatres at Mall of America:
2/24 at AMC Rosedale:
2/29 at AMC Southdale:
#Zootopia – Rated PG

Smart Safety: Teen Driving Tips

One of the most stressful moments for parents is watching their kid morph from a teen, to a teen with a car. So how can mom and dad manage their blood pressure every time their former bundle of joy jumps behind the wheel blasting T-Swift? Well luckily, technology is on their side.
insuranceQuotes researched dozens of apps and interviewed experts to compile the “ 5 Best Apps and Devices for Parents to Monitor Teen Drivers."
These powerful digital tools can alert parents when their teen reaches their destination, monitor driving habits, and even remotely control the radio volume (take THAT, Taylor). And that’s just a few of the helpful features. 

Please find the full article here:
I had a chance to interview insurance expert Laura Adams to learn more.

  • What are some common teen driving behaviors that parents can curb using technology?
Clever technology from GM gives young drivers an in-car alert when they break a parent’s speeding rule, such as never driving over 60 mph on the highway. Smartphone apps can shut down phone service and texts after a teen starts driving.
Programs like Star Driver tip off parents about key behaviors like how fast, where, and when a teen drives. Mom and dad can also get reassuring text alerts that say their young driver has arrived at his or her destination. These types of technology make it much easier for parents to stay involved with their teen driver, even when they’re not sitting in the passenger seat.
  • Why are tech tools so helpful?
Teens don’t know a world without technology and many have smartphones, which are a common cause of distracted driving. So having an app that encourages safe driving or an on-board system that monitors your behavior behind the wheel is natural for them.
Parents can use technology to discuss safe driving with their teens and let them know that they’ll be watching out for them. If they maintain good habits, parents can reward young drivers—or take away driving privileges when they don’t follow the rules.
  • How else can parents instill good driving behavior in their teens?
The best way parents can bring up safe drivers is to give them plenty of education. Make sure your teen takes an in-person or online defensive driving class to improve his or her skills.

Teens need to understand that every drive puts their life at risk as well as the lives of other people in their car and on the road. Consider creating a driving contract with your teen that outlines the behavior that you expect and what will happen if he or she violates your agreement. 

Laura Adams Bio
Laura Adams, author, spokesperson, and national media source, helps consumers improve their personal finances by making money easy to understand. Millions of readers, viewers, and listeners benefit from her advice.
Laura is the Senior Insurance Analyst for insuranceQuotes and host of the top-rated weekly Money Girl Podcast. She is the author of multiple books, including Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich, which won the 2011 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award.
Laura is frequently quoted in the media and has been featured on FOX News, FOX Business, NBC News, CBS News, ABC, PBS, Al Jazeera, NPR, USA Today, US News and World Report, Consumer Reports, Huffington Post, Sirius XM, and many other radio, print, and online outlets. In 2014 and 2015 alone, she completed over 800 interviews with national show hosts, news reporters, and print and online journalists.
Laura earned an MBA from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration and a BS from Sewanee, The University of the South. She lives with her husband and yellow Lab in the San Francisco Bay area. Visit or to learn more.

Caring Causes: The Pajama Program

Laurie Berkner sings about love, and joins musical yogini Kira Willey and some quite adorable children in yoga postures in a new video based on Laurie's song, "Open Your Heart."
"Open Your Heart" is on Laurie Berkner's new album, Love, a fully remastered compilation of songs about many kinds of love, personally selected by Laurie from eight of her best-loved albums.
"Open Your Heart" was written to bring attention to The Pajama Program, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to delivering new, warm pajamas and new books to children in need nationwide, many of whom are without parents and/or permanent homes. The gift of a new pair of pajamas and books lets children know that someone cares. More information about The Pajama Program may be found HERE
Kira Willey has also released a wonderful new album, Mindful Moments for Kids, a collection of 30 one-minute mindfulness exercises that can be done seated or standing, any time of day.

Consumer Critique: Gimbal's Jelly Beans

Jelly Beans from Gimbal’s Fine Candies make a fun spring treat - and they're appropriate year-round as well.

I had a chance to try out a bag, and it was full of delicious flavors like strawberry cheesecake and ice cream cake. They have fun recipes to try out (like a frosted cupcake) that were delicious combinations of tastes. The candies are free of common allergens like nuts, peanuts, dairy, gluten, soy, and egg, and are proudly made in the USA.

You can save 10% on your order by joining the mailing list, or you can find them at a variety of stores nationwide.

Amazing Apps: Lyriko

The music/rhythm language learning game Lyriko recently launched! The game has been in development for a couple years now and has already received great reviews and awards too!

I had a chance to review the app, and it's fun. There isn't much instruction - it starts out more like a guessing game if you don't have any background. But after a while, you see the same words, and then more words, and you start to connect words with pictures and meanings, all while listening to some pretty and catchy songs. My girls love to play it, and I'm learning too. It focuses mostly on vocabulary, but that's really the core of any language.

Get it for:

Consumer Critique: Teacher Peach

Are you a teacher looking for fun accessories, or a parent looking for a great way to thank those special teachers in your lives? has a variety of gifts to fit your budget that are very appropriate for any educator.

I had a chance to review a few products from the site - the adhesive notepad and the laptop cover. I am very happy with the laptop cover. It's cute, it fit my laptop snugly but not too tightly, it's well-made, and it proudly fits with my chosen vocation. The notepad is also cute and practical.

I'm a big fan of giving gifts that are fun and practical, and nearly everything on the site is both fun to receive and useful for teachers. I'm bookmarking the site just for my own wish list as well, plus as a good resource for gifts for my girls' teachers.

Healthy Habits: Physical Benefits of Being Grateful

Orthology, an innovative, cost-effective solution for rapid recovery from back and body injuries as well as general wellness care with locations around the U.S., has developed a list on the physical benefits of being grateful, including:

·      Improved immune health – gratitude has been linked to optimism, which has shown to strengthen immune systems.
·      Stress management – feeling grateful can help manage stress and decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and other debilitating conditions.
·      Improved sleep – studies show people who write down what they’re grateful for fall asleep and stay asleep faster.
·      Help build relationships – being grateful is linked to building and strengthening social bonds with others, alleviating loneliness, which has been linked to heart disease.

May you approach every day with gratitude for a healthy mind and body!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shopping Savings: National Pizza Day at Flying J

In honor of the holiday, Pilot Flying J, is offering customers a slice of its “Unexpectedly Awesome” PJ Fresh Pizza for FREE, redeemable when displaying an online coupon available from the company’s Facebook page at time of purchase.  The free slice of pizza promotion is valid for customers in the U.S. and Canada from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. EST on February 9, 2016. Limit one slice of pizza per customer with coupon.
Football fans can also pick up a fresh, hot, full pie of PJ Fresh Pizza for just $10.99 (prices and product may vary by location) while en route to watch on February 7.
PJ Fresh Pizzas are made with 100 percent real mozzarella cheese, its dough is braided on-site by hand, and they are prepared with a variety of toppings – from pepperoni and sausage to an array of vegetables. PJ Fresh Pizza is available at more than 250 Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J Travel Plazas across North America.

Parenting Pointers: How Should Children Be Protected During Divorce?

  • Divorce can involve many difficult issues as spouses work to disentangle their lives.  It can get much more difficult when spouses are parents- as their lives will likely never be fully disentangled because they will have to continue to work together while co-parenting.
  • There are many ways to protect children during and after divorce proceedings.
  • Children should never see the inside of a divorce courtroom unless it is a on a class trip. 
  • Parents might wonder whether bringing children to divorce proceedings, whether in the courtroom or at the mediation table, might help ensure that their best interests are considered.  However, judges stress that children should be shielded and not brought to court.  Bringing children to attorneys' offices or mediation can be similarly harmful to children, who will likely lack the capacity to understand the proceedings, or might hear negative statements by one parent about the other.
  • During or post-divorce, one parent might be tempted to subtly or overtly influence their children's feelings about the other parent (or that parent's new significant other), or affect their children's communication with the other parent.  This can be harmful to children struggling to please both parents and avoid being used as a pawn in their parents' ongoing co-parenting relationship. 
  • Parents should avoid expressing negativity about one another, or make their children feel guilty about their relationships with the other parent.  Perhaps most difficult, a parent should not question their children about the other parent's life following the divorce.
  • It is often very hard to accept that while someone may be a terrible spouse, it does not necessarily make him or her a terrible parent.   Children should be protected from antagonism and confusion related to the divorce.  Although it might be difficult, parents should avoid including children in the logistics, proceedings, and unconstructive feelings of divorce.
Jacqueline Newman is a Family Law Attorney & Managing Partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd in NYC. Ms. Newman's practice consists of litigation, collaborative law and mediation. Jacqueline specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and negotiating prenuptial agreements. She has appeared as a commentator on various television shows and has been quoted as an expert in numerous publications, including Glamour Magazine, Crain's New York Business, U.S. News and World Report, Woman's Day and The Huffington Post.

Mealtime Magic: February Recipes from Country Crock

February is National Bake for Family Fun Month. With snowy days keeping most indoors, here are five simple recipes from Country Crock ― perfect for Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day celebrations ― that families can bake together!
·         Mardi Gras ― Bring the celebration to your kitchen by getting the whole family involved in making a traditional Three Kings Cake. It’s a great way to kick off this week-long holiday.
·         Valentine’s Day ― Make baking for others a family affair this Valentine’s Day with easy-to-make recipes, like Red Velvet Cupcakes or this Chocolate Lover’s Cake. And add your own festive twist to these Country Crock Sugar Cookies by using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, or dress up Cake Pops with red and white sprinkles to make perfect gifts for loved ones.