Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Put Your Dog's Health First with the HardyPet Blue Box (Review)

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in which HardyPet will be compensating me for my time.  All views I have shared are mine and mine alone.

Hardypet Nutrition

Prior to having children, my husband and I were proud parents to our three furbabies.  Yes, you read that right "furbabies"... our three rescue dogs that cared for and treated as if they were actual children.  If you are not a pet owner/lover, then you may think this is weird -- you are not alone, as I remember having people at my work shake their heads when I would talk about them as if they were kids. I can't tell you have many times I had people remind me that they were only animals and really didn't need clothes, special diets, spa days, etc.  But, they were like my children, and I still feel that way, even now after giving birth to our two beautiful daughters.

Our furbabies -- Manny (left), Lily (center) and Abby (right)

I have always been a dog lover, and first learned how to take care of animals when my parents bought my brothers and I a Maltese at the pet store when we were in middle school.  I still remember the day Toby came home and how much fun he was to play with.  I learned the true meaning of unconditional love thanks to our family pet, who lived to be 12 years old.  While Toby taught my brothers and I valuable lessons in caring for an animal, as well as responsibility, I also learned early on that buying a pet from a breeder or a pet store may not always be the best idea.  Many of these animals have underlying medical conditions that only present themselves after you take them home.  This was the case with Toby, as he had a heart condition that needed to be managed his entire life with medicine (which I remember being expensive).  The vets told us that they see too many cases of animals being bought from breeders and pet stores, and having medical conditions, which pose problems for owners. Either the medical expenses to treat long-term conditions get too great and a pet has to be put to sleep, or, pet owners give up the dog to a rescue, as they can't financially and emotionally take care of them.  Sad, but true.  So, I told myself that when I was living on my own that I would get a dog -- not from a pet store or breeder, but from a rescue...and, that is what I did, with the three dogs that my husband and I have owned together. 

We knew that by rescuing an animal from a shelter that they would probably have some sort of medical or behavioral issue, thus being the cause for them being put into a shelter.  But, we wanted to give an animal a forever home and care for it as if it was our child, as we didn't have any children at the time, and weren't ready to settle down and raise a family.  While in college, my husband and I rescued Manny, a Lhasa Apso mix.  He was about to be put down as he had aggression issues and couldn't be adopted.  He melted our hearts and snuggled close to us when we took him for a walk.  We knew then, that he was the one and we would do anything and everything for him.  This was really put to the test a few years after having Manny, as he developed bad skin allergies that could only be controlled by medicine prescribed by the vet -- steroids.  We really didn't think twice when the vet prescribed the medicine, and only briefly went over the long-term effects of the medicine.  All we wanted to do was make sure Manny was comfortable and not itching and with sore anymore.  

Manny spent his remaining time on this Earth battling severe skin irritations, that would leave him days on end with a cone on head, or needing me to give him oatmeal baths or apply hydrocortisone cream.  The way I would talk about him to friends and family, made him sound like a child who was suffering bad eczema.  He wasn't a child in the sense of the word...he was a dog.  But, he was my furbaby, and still is in memory.

A few years after we rescued Manny, we rescued Abby a few weeks prior to my cancer treatment in 2008, as I was looking for pet therapy and a friend to bring to my parents' house while  I received treatment for 5 months.  Manny was staying home with my husband, and providing support to him, but I knew I needed someone to.  Abby really was my forever friend and I treated her, just like Manny, as if she were my child.  I would dress her, shower her with gifts for her birthday and Christmas, and planned vacations after treatment that were pet friendly.  

To celebrate being in remission, we decided to adopt another rescue dog, mainly as a companion for Abby as Manny was getting older and didn't want to run around and play with Abby.  We drove two hours away to rescue Lily after hearing a shelter in Western CT had received a truck full of dogs from the South that needed homes, or would have to be put down.  When we brought Lily home to meet Abby and Manny, there was an instant bond between the dogs.  And, within a few days time, Abby and Lily were inseparable.  They would play, eat and sleep together.  And, whenever you saw one, the other was following behind.  

A year after adopting Abby, who we found out was bred by a breeder who had half the dogs die in the little due to parvo, she started to have seizures.  We took her to the vet and they quickly prescribed medicine that she, too, would need to be on the for the rest of her life.  I think our love for our pets and being scared for their health, blurred our understanding of the medicine and its potentially dangerous side effects.  You wouldn't expect vets to prescribe medicine that could kill your pet...but, that is what happened a few years later when Abby had another seizure that she didn't come out of.  We rushed her to the vet and they gave her an injection that paralyzed her.  We ended up having to put her down so she would not suffer.  That was the most difficult time in my life, as I had felt like I could have and should have done more, and that my forever friend who was by my side day and in and day out during and after my cancer treatment, had to be put down.  I vowed from that day forward to be more proactive when it came to the health and wellness of our animals, even if we only had Lily left to care for.

I can't tell you how many times we have taken Lily to the vet and had they suggest medicine for digestive issues or even bad breath.  I graciously declined and would look for more natural and holistic treatments, vitamins/supplements.  And, over time, I found that these types of products worked much better to help ease problems with our dog's health, without carrying long-term side effects.  While we were able to treat some minor health concerns using these types of products, we struggled to get Lily to take them.  Either the pills were too big for our 10 lb. Yorkshire/Maltese mix to take, or they smelled or tasted gross and she wasn't having it.  I would try to hide the pills or liquid in her food or a treat, but she was smart and knew what we were doing.  So, have spent the past few years trying to find reputable products to provide Lily with better overall health and live longer.  I was about to give up on the search, until I was contacted by the folks at HardyPet to review their Blue Box, which is filled with an assortment of non-prescription products to improve overall canine health.

More about HardyPet:

"HardyPet was formed in 2004 in response to a growing need for a better solution to improve 
the health of dogs seen in rescue shelters.  The HardyPet Complete formula was first created by a group of pet professionals to address a growing need for a non‐prescription option to treat these dogs in need. Often, dogs arriving in shelters have precious little time for the rehabilitation needed to find a new adoptive home. An emphasis on natural ingredients was the key to our holistic rehabilitation approach and years of research found just the right formula. Today, hundreds of shelters and rescue organizations utilize HardyPet Complete to improve each dog's chances for finding a new loving home. In 2009, HardyPet began to offer the Complete formula to dog owners directly with the hope that overall canine health would improve and shelter populations would decline over time. The primary mission of HardyPet is to eliminate owner surrenders due health conditions that can be prevented through proper canine nutrition."

Due to past experiences with other non-prescription products for dogs that we tried to give Lily to no avail, I was not expecting much with this product offering, to tell you the truth. But, I was willing to try anything, if it would provide Lily with better health.  I am so glad I agreed to review the Blue Box by HardyPet, as Lily loves all the products, except for the antler chew, as she had to have her front teeth pulled shortly after we rescued her, due to improper care and being abandoned on the streets in GA, where she had a rough time, until we rescued her and gave her a forever home.

Why, the HardyPet Blue Box Bundle?

"Veterinary science has taught us there are several steps each dog owner must take to ensure proper canine health. A well balanced diet of a high quality dog food, the right amount of exercise for their breed, proper nutritional supplementation, and lots of love and attention from their owner are a few of the keys to a happy healthy dog.

The HardyPet Blue Box Bundle offers a complete approach to canine supplementation, at a substantially discounted price. For a dog lover who is just learning about the need for supplementation, this product bundle provides everything they need to get started. Dog owners who currently have nutrition plans for their dogs know how valuable each product in the bundle is to the health of their dog.

Included in the Hardy Pet Blue Box were the following products...

  • HardyPet Complete ‐ Made with over 40 pharmaceutical grade ingredients, this combination of holistic natural compounds, amino acids and broad spectrum vitamins provides the essential nutrients all dogs need to achieve optimum health. 

  • A daily chewable multi‐vitamin most dog's think is a treat, it helps with issues related to skin/coat, digestion, heart health, immune function, and joint health. There is not a more complete canine supplement available.
  • HardyPet Canine PRO6 ‐ There are 6 strains of naturally occurring "friendly bacteria" in the canine digestive tract. These bacteria are vital to proper digestion and immune health and are under constant attack from candida yeast and others. Providing your dog with a daily source of the flora they need will help combat yeast overgrowth, balance the pH of the intestinal tract, optimize nutrient absorption, and improve overall immune function. Providing a canine specific probiotic is an important key to every dog's health.
  • HardyPet Premium Fish Oil ‐ The health benefits of fish oil for humans has been well known for decades. These same benefits apply to dogs and are even more significant in certain areas of canine health. The Omega‐3's found in fish oil play a large role in how their immune system produces natural anti‐inflammatory compounds, neurological and eye development in young dogs which can affect them later in life, maintaining good heart health, and helping older dogs with a variety of issues. The key to these benefits is using a fish oil with the right EPA/DHA balance for dogs and always giving the proper dosage. There is a limit to the amount of Omega‐3's a dog can have in a day and HardyPet Fish Oil is packaged with a pump that delivers a precise amount each time. Together with the dosage chart on the label, owners are able to deliver the right amount of Omega‐3's every day.

  • HardyChews ‐ Keeping a dog mentally sharp and happy is important. There is nothing better than seeing our dogs playing with toys they love. The challenge with many toys is their durability and safety after use. HardyChews are made from natural deer antlers which are naturally shed each year in the wild. These antlers are collected, properly sized, sharp edges removed, sanitized and sealed. Because of the natural toughness of antlers, HardyChews will not splinter and last longer than any synthetic toy. Dogs instinctively love antler chews and will chew and play, day after day.
  • HardyPet Bag Clip ‐ Keeping dry dog food fresh is important and something as simple as a bag clip makes a big difference. Our durable bag clip comes with a magnetic backing to attach to a refrigerator or other metal surface when not in use."

Prior to trying the products with Lily, I made a point to spend time on the HardyPet website to learn not about the products, but the company.  A company's mission really says a lot about them and the reasons behind the products or services that they sell.  I read about the folks at HardyPet created their products as a way to help improve the health of pets in shelters, who needed a boost to their health in order to be adopted.  

Knowing this, I could see that the folks at HardyPet has animals as their main priority, and this made me love the company and their product offering even more.  

And, when I saw Lily get excited for their HardyPet Complete and HardyPet Canine PRO6 probiotic, I knew i had finally found a brand I could trust and that would help improve the life of my furbaby, while also treating health issues including digestive and joint problems.

Did you know?...

We have only been using the products included the HardyPet Blue Box for a couple weeks, but I have already seen a difference in Lily.  She is now 12 years old and has become more dormant, wanting to lay around and sleep, rather than chase after the girls.  We chocked this up to old age, but now are wondering if it was just arthritis or digestive issues that were causing her to lay around instead of play more.  After a few days of using the HardyPet Complete, HardyPet Canine PRO6 and their fish oil liquid with her, Lily's seemed to be different...in a good way. 

She had more energy and would play with our girls, and wasn't sleeping as much.  It was like she went to bed and woke as a younger pup.  It was so refreshing to see her skin and coat looking healthier and shinier, her joints not as stiff allowing her to run around and play, and she wasn't gassy at nigh time (never fun as she would sleep at the end of our bed).  I couldn't believe that products like the ones I was sent by HardyPet could have much of a difference on an animal.  

Here is a quick video I took with Lily and my daughter Savannah, showing just how much Lily enjoyed the products that are included in the HardyPet Blue Box.  You will see in the video that I don't have to break the pills up or try to hide in a food just so she will eat.  She even licks the water bowl clean after having her morning water with fish oil in it.  

Back when we were giving prescribed medicine to Abby and Manny when they were with us, to treat their ailments, they would become sluggish and lay around.  So much for the medicine helping to make them feel better.  Being able to compare the states of my other two rescue dogs having to take daily prescription medicine and giving Lily these non-prescription products for better canine health, made me realize that as a pet owner you really have to do your research when it comes to what you give your pet.  Vets may not always be right, as many are reluctant to give supplements to treat an ailment or health concern.  But, I am a believer as I have seen firsthand how pet supplements made with all natural ingredients, like the ones I was sent by HardyPet, really help to improve a dog's health and allow them to live longer.  How could you not try supplements knowing that they were made with natural ingredients that will not cause potential long term side effects like prescribed products?

Being a mom to a furbaby and wanting the best for our little girl, I will continue to use HardyPet products with her.  

She loves them and doesn't put up a fight when I try to give them to her, and I love how she is happier and full of energy. I still can't get over the difference a couple weeks and adding pet supplements to our dog's diet can do.  If you are the proud owner of a dog and want the best for them and their health, then you will want to check out HardyPet and learn about their growing product offering.  I can't stop raving about the products I was sent to review from the Blue Box with family and friends and love hearing them comment about how Lily is looks and acts happier.  I am happy to know I am giving her products that were made for animals like her in mind, and that have helped other rescue dogs get adopted.  There is not better feeling than that of the unconditional love a pet gives.  They shower you with wet kisses and keep you warm when they snuggle, and don't demand anything in return.  Why not show them how much they mean to you, but giving them supplements from HardyPet for better canine health?

To learn more about HardyPet, including the items included in the Blue Box I was sent, visit http://www.hardypet.com/ today.

Don't forget to follow HardyPet on their socially media pages to stay up to date on new product additions, news and more:

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in which HardyPet will be compensating me for my time.  All views I have shared are mine and mine alone.

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Join Me in Celebrating Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue Day TODAY with a DVD Review, Fun Coloring Sheet, Fire Safety Tips and More...

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Buy now on DVD from Amazon for only $9.96 -- includes limited edition toy train!
My girls keep asking me if April is here yet, as they can't wait to do another sleepover at Nana and Papa's house, and take in the upcoming Chuggington Live tour stopping by Lowell Auditorium.  I know they will be excited when I tell them at tomorrow is April 1st and that soon enough they will be packing their Chuggington suitcases with their favorite Chuggington clothes for an overnight stay and show.  :-)
But, while they wait for their show date to arrive, I have been keeping them busy and letting them get their Chuggington fix with the new DVD, "Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue," which arrives on DVD today from Anchor Bay Entertainment.  Included on this new release are the following already aired television episodes:
  • Blazin’ Wilson,
  • Round Up Wilson
  • High Rise Rescue
  • Park Patroller Wilson
  • Stop the Press Emery
  • Scrub a Chug
  • The bonus section includes Badge Quest Episode: Who Do You Appreciate, along with Calley and Skylar Character Montages and fun coloring and activity pages you can download and printout.
We were sent the limited edition DVD with toy train for review, and the girls went crazy for it. In addition to the DVD and train, there was also other fun goodies for the girls, to help celebrate "Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue Day," including a Fireman's hat, tattoos and stickers.  While I knew the girls were excited about all the fun goodies and toy train, I knew that they also couldn't wait to watch the full-length episodes on this new DVD.  

So, after their lunch and nap, I put this DVD on to watch, the other day.  As I sat down to watch the episodes with them, I couldn't help but smile -- not only because the girls were having a blast watching one of their favorite shows, but also because I could see that they were learning important life lessons, like teamwork, friendship and perseverance.  

At only 62 minutes in length, this new DVD release is perfect to watch in one sitting, or to break up and enjoy 1 or 2 different episodes of the 6 found on the DVD, to get your Chuggington fix.  We have only had this DVD for about a week, and have already watched it a handful of times at home and in the car.  And, with Easter fast approaching this would make for a great Easter basket filler for that special little Chugger in your life. :-)

More about this new release:
"In this latest collection of Chuggington adventures, Wilson sets out on fire patrol duty with his new friend Asher and learns to use a fire hose in a rescue! Also, there is a friendly contest of Chug Patrol versus Speed Fleet; Hodge find himself in a high-rise jam; and all the Chuggers practice emergency drills at the roundhouse. In these 6 exciting episodes – plus New Chugger Spotlights, a Bonus Badge Quest Episode, and coloring sheets – Wilson, Asher, Brewster and the others discover the importance of community service and working together."


In honor of Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue Day,” and to help keep your family and young trainees safe all year-round, here are some important tips from Firechugger Asher and the National Fire Protection Association:

·         Asher says, “Plan ahead!
Create a home escape plan so every member of your family knows what to do and where to go if there’s a fire. Designate a meeting spot, such as a tree or mailbox, that’s a safe distance from the home. And practice your home fire drill both at night and during the day.

·         Asher says, “Stop a fire before it starts!”
Keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach from children. Store them up high, preferably in a locked cabinet or drawer. It’s also important to teach kids that lighters and matches are tools for adults only and that they should tell a grown-up if they see these items lying around.

·         Asher says, “Cool it in the kitchen!”
Always keep an eye on the stove while you’re cooking, and use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on. Create a “kid-free zone” around the stove as well as areas where hot food and drinks are prepared. And make sure to keep anything that can catch fire, including oven mitts and towels, away from hot appliances!

·         Asher says, “Sound the alarm! “
Smoke detectors are a key part of a home fire escape plan. Make sure to install smoke detectors on every floor of the home, especially inside and outside bedrooms. Don’t forget to test all smoke alarms at least once a month!

·         Asher says, “Stay low and stay out! “
If, during a fire, you have to escape through smoke, get low, go under the smoke and close the doors behind you as you leave each room. It’s crucial to remind children that, once outside, they should never go back inside for anything, including pets or toys. It’s best to wait to call the fire department until you get outside and are a safe distance away from the fire.

Asher says, “Follow these blazin’ safety tips and you’ll be in control and ready to roll if there’s ever a fire.”

For more safety tips, visit: http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/safety-tip-sheets

And, here is a fun coloring sheet you can print out and share with that special Chuggington fan in your life...

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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Monday, March 30, 2015

New Release - Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles -- Review and #Giveaway (3 winners)

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Forward by John Edwards — TV personality and renowned psychic medium 

Wow!, I am on a roll these past few weeks when it comes to finding time and enjoying a good book in the evening.  I sure did miss reading books since the holidays, especially the Chicken Soup for the Soul ones, which I find inspirational.  A couple nights ago after finishing The Dovekeepers book, I picked up the recently released (Feb. 10th) Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles book to read.

Like all other Chicken Soup for the Soul books, this recent release contains 101 inspirational stories, with these stories in particular being of hope and faith divine intervention and answered prayers.  With all the negative things that happen in the world and that are reported each evening on the news, it takes a book like this to remind you that good things really do happen to good people and that you really can beat the odds -- I know as I beat a rare form of cancer in 2008 and have two miracle babies to enjoy.

Enjoying "me time" after the girls went to bed, I poured a hot cup of tea and curled up with a blanket and this book the other evening.  A couple hours later the book was read cover to cover, and I found myself smiling.  What a wonderful way to spend an evening, reading such awe inspiring and uplifting stories of others.  From messages from heaving to miraculous healing, each and every story that I read reminded me believe in miracles and that there still is good in this world, even if the news is reporting otherwise.

I am so happy to have found time to read this book, and have already started to pass it around to friends and family to read.  They, too, have enjoyed the book, and it has made for wonderful discussions and sharing of our favorite stories among each other.  If you love Chicken Soup for the Soul books or find yourself feeling down and needing a little pick-me-up, you'll want to pick up a copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles" to enjoy.  An easy read that you can finish in a day, or pace yourself by choosing a few stories an evening, you will find yourself feeling hopefully and uplifted as you read through the 101 stories that make up this recent release.  I can't wait to hear what you think of it, so be sure to share your thoughts below, in the comments section.


Want a chance to win 1 of 3 copies of "Hope & Miracles" from the folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul?  Then, complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.
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Sunday, March 29, 2015


Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Role Mommy Writer's Network, in which I will be compensated for my time.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.

Based on Alice Hoffman’s Bestselling Historical Novel About a Group of Extraordinary Women Whose Lives Intersect In a Fight for Survival at the Siege of Masada in 70 C.E.

Embedded image permalink

Starring Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan, Kathryn Prescott, Diego Boneta and Sam Neill Star

Whenever the holidays roll around you can expect to find a special airing on television from executive products Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey.  Well, this upcoming Easter is no exception, as they will be sharing a four-hour limited event series, THE DOVEKEEPERS, airing on CBS, Tuesday, March 31st (9:00-11:00PM ET/PT) and Wednesday, April 1st.

Last week I received not only an advance screening of this limited series to preview, but the book, "The Dovekeepers" by Alice Hoffman was also included.  Do you like to read a book or watch a movie and then see how it compares to the other?  I do.  So, the other night after the girls went to bed, I started in on the novel by Alice Hoffman.  This was the first time I read a book by this New York Times Best Seller, but it is definitely not going to be my last, as I have already added her to my must read authors, for my upcoming summer reading. :-)

I was able to read this 501 page book in 4 days (well evenings after the girls went to bed and the house was quiet).  It really was a page turning, and got me excited to watch the series with the screener I was sent.  I had shared the following trailer with my husband, who is also into faith-based films, and he asked me to hold off watching it until the weekend, so that we could both enjoy.  I am so happy that I did, as we haven't been able to stop talking about how great it was, and are already planning to watch it again when it airs on television this week (3/31 and 4/1 at 9-11PM ET/PT on CBS).

Here is more about the upcoming television broadcast:

"This project stars Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan and Kathryn Prescott in the title dovekeeper roles, Sam Neill as first-century Jewish scholar and historian Josephus, and Diego Boneta as a star warrior of the Jewish army at Masada. The series is based on Alice Hoffman’s bestselling, critically acclaimed historical novel about a group of extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada. 

Photo Courtesy of CBS Television Network

Set in ancient Israel, THE DOVEKEEPERS is based on the true events at Masada in 70 C.E. After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies. The project will recount the events from the perspective of a few extraordinary women who arrive at Masada with unique back stories, but a common bond for survival. Additionally, these women, who work together daily as dovekeepers, are all concealing substantial secrets.

Photo Courtesy of CBS Television Network

Hoffman’s novel was published in 2011 by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, earning the New York Times’ bestseller status and widespread critical acclaim, including being hailed by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison as “a major contribution to 21st century literature.” 

THE DOVEKEEPERS will be brought to television from executive producers Roma Downey and multiple Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett (SURVIVOR, “The Voice”), the production team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries “The Bible,” which scored big ratings for the History Channel in March 2013, and the feature “Son of God.”

Photo Courtesy of CBS Television Network

Frank Siracusa, John Weber and Yves Simoneau also serve as executive producers, with Simoneau directing. Ann Peacock adapted the novel for the screen.

THE DOVEKEEPERS is the first project from CBS Entertainment and CBS Television Studios’ Limited Series and Event Programming unit. It is a co-production between CBS Television Studios and LightWorkers Media, a division of United Artists Media Group."


If you enjoyed the 10-hour Emmy-nominated mini-series, "The Bible," which was also produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, then you will want to tune in and watch this one.  Based on true events about a group of women called Dovekeepers, who lives .  You will also find that this mini series contains a love story that will draw in you and have you rooting for the couple, as well as tragedy and heartbreak -- all key components to a gripping and highly successful series.  I especially liked the strong female bonds and the sharing of the Dovekeepers story, set in the beautiful backdrop of Masada in Israel.  

As I watched The Dovekeepers advance screening, I couldn't help but feel for the women.  The story line is so powerful and the characters really make it come to life.  It is truly a moving story and one not to miss when it airs this Tuesday and Wednesday.

I could ramble on and on about how great this movie is or what parts were my husband and my favorites.  But, instead, I will just tell you that you'll want to tune in or at least record this 2-day, 4-hour mini-series to watch at a later time.  You will be drawn in the first few minutes and find yourself wishing it aired all in one night.  Thankfully with my advance screening I didn't have to wait 24 hours.  My husband and I watched it one evening, as we couldn't find a spot to pause it at.

Can't wait to hear what you think of the mini-series, once it airs this week on CBS. So, be sure to head back here and leave your thoughts on it in the comments section below.  And, if you have already read Alice Hoffman's novel, "The Dovekeepers," share what you thought of the book.  I loved the book just as much as I loved watching the mini-series -- you really felt the excitement and struggle of the women, as well as the heart wrenching love story as it unfolded on the screen.  Truly not to be missed this week!

Don't forget to follow The Dovekeepers and all those involved in this CBS Limited Event Series on the following social media channels...

The Dovekeepers on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDovekeepers

The Dovekeepers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheDovekeepers

The Dovekeepers on Instagram: @dovekeeperscbs

Executive Producers and Cast on Twitter:

Roma Downey: @RealRomaDowney
Mark Burnett: @MarkBurnettTV
Sam Neill: @TwoPaddocks
Rachel Brosnahan: @RachieBros
Kathryn Prescott: @katprescott77
Diego Boneta: @DiegoBoneta

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Role Mommy Writer's Network, in which I will be compensated for my time.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.
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A Must Read for All Parents (Especially Those With Teens) -- 'Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love with Expectations and Protection with Trust' (Review) #sponsored

 Disclosure:  This is a sponsored Role Mommy post in which I will be compensated for my time.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.

It has been a while since I have picked up a book today -- if I recall right, the last book I read was around Christmas.  So, when I was recently asked to read two books for a review/feature, I used this as an opportunity to get back into reading...and, boy, did I miss it!  

The first book I was sent to read, and was able to finish in a weekend was "Raising Kids to Thrive:  Balancing Love with Expectations and Protection With Trust" by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS ED, FAAP, along with Ilana Ginsburg and Talia Ginsburg, Dr. Ginsburg's teen daughters.  Unlike othert parenting books I have read, which are usually written from a parents point of view, this was included views by the author's daughters, as well as hundreds of other teens from across the country, on a multitude of topics.  From sharing their thoughts on love, trust, safety, honesty and independence, the reader (usually a parent) can see what teens think of these topics that parents find themselves struggling to fight a happy medium with, while also remaining the parent and enforcing the groundwork they are laying so that their children and grow and flourish.

Even though my girls are still young, I am finding books like this one extremely useful in how I parent.  I want them to feel like they can come to me whenever they have a problem or need direction, without feeling scared or embarressed.  

This book, along with research shared by Dr. Ginsburg and firsthand responses from teens and his daughters is helping me recognize that there is a time for parenting and a time for letting my girls experience things on their own in order to learn and build self-confidence.  I, for one, find it hard to loosen the reins and let the girls venture off on their own.  I feel that I need to be holding their hand or hovering over them, in case I have to step in and assist.  But, my girls, just like the teens who shared their thoughts in this book, tell me that they are "big girls" and can do things on their own.   Yes, boundaries are needed when you are parent and raising children (of all ages), but we have to also have faith in our kids and know that what we have instilled in them thus far, will allow them to learn life lessons on their own, without our hand holding.

About this book:

"…loving our kids unconditionally yet still hold high expectations for them; when love feels conditional (when parental affection is solely shown in response to grades, performance, or behaviors) kids experience an ever-present sense of pressure.
…Accept that our children (and adults) are “uneven" kids: the importance of expecting growth and not perfection from our children. 
….Holding our kids to high moral standards, while also being a role model for those standards.
….Recognizing and coping with stress.
...when to set boundaries and when to get out of kids’ way: how to set clear expectations about risky behaviors
…how to start meaningful conversations with our children by becoming a sounding board and not necessarily a dictator
reduce anxiety – for themselves and their kids – as they venture out on their own and move into adulthood

In his latest book --  Raising Kids to Thrive: Balancing Love With Expectations and Protection With Trust (American Academy of Pediatrics, March 24, 2015) -- best-selling author, pediatrician and resilience expert, Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP, offers essential tips on fostering resilience in teens.  He gently helps parents understand how they can meet the challenge to balance unconditional love, yet still hold high expectations for their children.  Through his “Lighthouse Parenting Strategy,” he also helps parents recognize when to set boundaries and when to get out of kids’ ways.
This groundbreaking book includes two chapters written by Dr. Ginsburg’s twin teenage daughters, and interweaves opinions and input of over 500 adolescents who participated in the “Youth View” chapters.  By combining the wealth of experience from Dr. Ginsburg and insightful commentary from today’s teenagers, Raising Kids to Thrive offers a fresh take on how to successfully parent teens in today’s complicated world.
Raising Kids to Thrive will help parents to raise kids who thrive for lifetime by:
  • Balancing unconditional love with high expectations.
  • Eliminate the need for helicopter or “tiger” parenting.
  • Start meaningful conversations with their children by being a sounding board, not necessarily a dictator.
  • Become a stable beacon so their children can turn to them for guidance and self-measurement.
  • Understand and accept that people are uneven and the importance of expecting growth, not perfection from children.
  • Reduce anxiety – for themselves and their kids – as they venture out on their own and move into adulthood.
  • Holding our kids to high moral standards, while also being a role model for those standards.
“People are uneven,” says Dr. Ginsburg. “Highly successful people are great at something, and their desire to explore other areas is what makes them interesting.” He adds, “We harm kids when we suggest that to make it in this world they must be good at absolutely everything.”"

The book itself is broken down into 4 parts.  The first part deals with unconditional love versus high expectations, which is comprised of seven chapters and a reflections and discussion at the end.  These chapters deal with setting expectations as a parent in such a way that kids will not feel stressed or anxious if they don't perform up to our standards, but can also be successful.

The second part is about "Protection Versus Learning From Life's Lessons, is also made up of seven chapters, followed by a reflection and discussion section.  This was the hardest part to read, and had be highlighting many points made by the author, as it dealt with learning the difference between protection and preparation.  It also talked about love boundaries and preparing children for a stressful world.  Kids want to rush to be adults as they feel they will have for freedoms, but they don't realize that being an adult carries more responsibilities and stress.  I personally liked the "Navigational Strategies" chapter, which dealt with ways to handle life's stressors, with useful tips and strategies, ranging from staying organized to self-care and even presentation and self-advocacy skills.

The third part, which was the shortest, but a real eye opener in regards to how our children see things, was titled, "The Voice of Youth."  The three chapters making up this section dealt with the youth perspective on love versus expectations and protection versus trust.  I can see this being a very important section for parents of tweens/teens to read, so that they can maybe rethink their parenting or expectations of their children.

The last part is titled "Rebooting: Moving Toward the Relationship You Hope to Have" has six chapters.  After reading the chapters I could see this section being one parents and children will want to read and then gather to talk about.  I know as a parent I want my children to have a healthy relationship with me and know they can turn to me for anything.  But, there will come times that they will rebel and think they have all the answers, and this is when communication is key.  Part 4 does an amazing job at sharing useful information for parents (and kids) about listening and talking, guiding your children to find their own solutions, as well as offering a space for change.  

If was I was to recommend one chapter out of the whole book to focus on, it would be the last chapter (chapter 23), which is for young people and deals with the first steps toward a better relationship with your parent.Kids will learn how to have a real conversation with their parents, when they need to apologize or how to regain trust, seeing your parents strengths and that they are looking out for your best interest, and most importantly listening and being open to criticism and direction.

Overall, I found this book to be very enlightening and one I wholeheartedly recommend to parents of children (of any age).  This is one book I will be keeping on my bookcase and pulling out time and again to reference when I find myself struggling to guide my girls or having that relationship I had hoped for with them.  Like I said earlier, I read this book in a weekend, as I couldn't put it down.  I found myself wanting to read on and learn ways to be a more successful parent to my girls.

The book is available to purchase right now in Kindle format for only $9.59 and as a paperback book from Amazon for only $13.56.  Click here to order now.  This book, which released on March 24th (this past week) is also available at bookstores nationwide and online as well as from shop.AAP.org/books, the award-winning AAP Web site for parents.


Kenneth R. Ginsburg, M.D., M.S. Ed, FAAP  is a specialist in adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and a professor or pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  He is also director of health services at Covenant House Pennsylvania. He has over 100 publications, including 30 scientific articles and 5 books including the award-winning / best-selling  Building Resilience in Children and Teens (American Academy of Pediatrics). He drafted the AAP policy statement on The Power of Play and has been an expert source for several prominent parenting news articles and reports in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, TIME Magazine, ABC News, Yahoo! Parenting, NBC News and CNN. He is working with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America to incorporate resilience-building strategies into their programming. He is also honored to be working with military parents and professionals to incorporate stress reduction and resilience building strategies into the lives of our nearly 2 million military-affiliated children. His greatest privilege is to be a husband and the father of two teenaged daughters.
 Disclosure:  This is a sponsored Role Mommy post in which I will be compensated for my time.  However, all views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Girls Are Back to Doing Sleepovers Thanks to GoodNites* TRU-FIT*, Found at Walmart #WalmartTRUFIT #IC #ad

Disclosure:  I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for GoodNites* TRU-FIT*. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

GoodNites TRU-FIT Products

"GoodNites* TRU-FIT* is a discrete solution for kids who have lower self-confidence as a result of bedwetting!"

We have reason to celebrate in our house....Savannah and Bella have gone on overnight sleepovers at the grandparents house, thanks in part to GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear.  

You may remember me sharing a post a few weeks about how the girls have both been experiencing bedwetting, and this has made them not to want visit and stay over my parents, as they didn't want to look like babies having wet the bed.  And, at home, they would get up constantly in the night thinking they should go the bathroom and then be discouraged that a bedwetting incident would happen shortly thereafter.  Seeing that they didn't want to wear diapers at bedtime, as they thought those were for babies and that they were big girls now, I have been searching for a product to use that would not also provide nighttime coverage, but also boost their self-confidence and hopefully let them sleep through the night.  

It was funny how I was contacted and asked to try out GoodNites* TRU-FIT*, right at the time I was growing frustrated with the lack of "big kid" products that help with bedwetting.  I felt like my prayers had been answered when I heard about and then started to use this machine-washable underwear with an absorbent disposable insert with the girls.  

Both of my girls loved the fact that the GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear were real underwear and not a diaper material.  And, when an accident did occur, I simply had to remove the disposable insert, throw the underwear in the wash and they could be worn again.  

GoodNites* Tru-Fit* Bedwetting Underwear with Nighttime Protection Starter Pack for Girls (Choose Your Size)
"GoodNites* TRU-FIT* - Real, machine-washable underwear with outstanding nighttime protection"

And, when you buy a starter pack (available at Walmart), which is available for both boys and girls, in sizes sizes S/M and L/XL with colors and patterns for each size, you get 2 pairs of GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear and 5 disposable inserts to get you started.  When you run out of disposable absorbent  inserts, you can buy a refill pack (contains 18 inserts), also at your local Walmart stores.

GoodNites TruFit Disposable Absorbent Inserts for Boys & Girls Refill Pack, (Choose Your Size)

My girls have been using the GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear for about a month and half now, and even though they are still bedwetting 1-2 times a week, they don't wake up crying and feeling ashamed.  Instead, they will walk into my bedroom, tell me that they had an accident and we change into another pair of GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear.  

The reason they are no longer upset is that they don't wake laying in a wet bed or damp blankets, as the disposable insert really does an amazing job at providing nighttime protection, and no leaks...thus keeping their bed and sheets dry, as well as their pajamas. 

The girls are alerted that they had an accident when they feel the insert get wet.  And, within a matter of minutes we have them changed and ready to go back to sleep in another pair of GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear. And, because of the self-confidence and knowing that if an accident does occur that they are protected with GoodNites* TRU-FIT*, they have done overnight's the past two weekends at my parents house.  The first night Bella had an accident, and the last weekend Savannah did.  

But, thanks to the GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear that they were wearing, it wasn't a big deal, and my parents were able to put them in another pair of GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear with a disposable insert and put them back to bed. In the morning, they didn't feel embarrassed about the incident, as I keep reminding them that it is not their fault and that they are not alone in dealing with bedwetting.  This is the reason why GoodNites* TRU-FIT* were made, so that children could do things other children who don't bedwet can do, like enjoy sleepovers or sleep through the night and not worry about their bedwetting becoming a problem.

Did you know that an estimated "1 in 6 children in the United States, ages 4-12 yrs. old suffer from bedwetting?  According to a GoodNites® brand study, this and that "51% seek a better overall bedwetting product" was the reason why GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear was brought to market.  And, I am so glad that it is available for families, as like I said, bedwetting cannot be controlled or even be trained out of it.  

Another study from the American Academy of Pediatrics  found that kids who suffer from bedwetting, like my girls, shy away from fun activities like sleepovers, because they don't want to feel embarrassed or be seen as something is wrong with them, all because of bedwetting (which studies have shown to be common in young children).

Don't take my word on how great GoodNitesTRU-FIT* underwear is.  Watch the video above to hear other moms rave about it too! :-)

If your child experiences bedwetting, and like me you have struggled to find a product that not only provides the nighttime protection they need, but also doesn't make them feel like babies having to wear diapers again, why not give GoodNites* TRU-FIT* a try.  I can't stop raving about them with family and friends, and love seeing my girls smile again and not dread bedtime.  And, now that they feel confident enough to do sleepovers again, also makes me a happy mom.  Thanks, GoodNites* TRU-FIT* for giving my girls back their self-confidence and really showing them that they can sleep through the night, do sleepovers, and everything else other kids their age do, even if they have to deal with bedwetting.  They are not alone and now they know this, which makes night time with the girls less stressful.

You can learn more about GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear by visiting http://www.goodnites.com/, and the product page found here: https://www.goodnites.com/our-products/goodnites-trufit/.  Also, before you run out to Walmart to buy the starter kit to try with your child, you will want to make a point to print out a $2.00 off coupon here --- http://www.goodnites.com/our-products/goodnites-trufit/.

Don't forget to follow GoodNites* TRU-FIT* on their social media pages to stay up to date on special offers, money saving coupons and more...

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