Archives for October 14, 2014

Healthy Alternatives to Celebrate National School Lunch Week

This week is National School Lunch Week (October 13-17), a celebration of the school lunch program that calls for schools and their cafeterias to offer nutritional options and encourage children to find a balance between healthy eating and physical activity.

According to the CDC, Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years, a frighteningly high statistic for the youth of America. This week, why not invite parents to join the activation and offer their children healthy AND delicious alternatives to everyday snacks and lunchbox go-tos, see suggestions below!

That juice box might not be as healthy as you think…


You might think that drinks labeled “fruit juice” are a great option for your child but the truth is, some boxed juices can have upwards of 15 grams of sugar per serving, almost the same amount as a can of soda! Instead, try a 100% natural, low sugar option like Coco Joy Kids. The new, naturally fruit-flavored pure coconut water for kids contains no added sugar or preservatives and is only 30 calories.

Instead of their favorite candy pack

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If your child has a sweet tooth but you’re weary of giving them a bag full of high-sugar, artificially flavored gummy snacks, go for Welch’s® Fruit Snacks! The convenient 80-calorie pouches of Welch’s® Fruit Snacks provides 100% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and are gluten-free, preservative free and even come in a reduced sugar variety.

Pass on the pop!

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Instead of fueling your child with sugary, high-calorie sodas, offer them a Sparkling ICE! The naturally flavored slightly sparkling water is zero calories, gluten-free, sugar-free and contains fruit juice, vitamins and healthy antioxidants.

The perfect crunch with an added bonus!

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Studies show that people who eat whole grains regularly have a lower risk of obesity, so why sneak in those added benefits through a delicious snack like Lance Whole Grain Cracker Sandwiches. Available in 3 great varieties including Cheddar Cheese, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, and Peanut Butter, Lance Whole Grains contain no trans fat, and a whopping  11 grams of whole grain per serving!

We received samples and they were a hit with  my 11- year-old son! His favorites were the Sparkling ICE and the Welch’s Fruit Snacks! I don’t think either will last long in our house!


Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this feature.  No other compensation was received and I felt that this would interest our readers.

The Monsterator by Keith Graves A delightful Book for younger readers this Halloween!


With Halloween just around the corner,your young children will love the new picture book by Keith Graves. This fun book is titled  The Monsterator. This is a delightfully spooky interactive picture book that includes a mix-and-match your own monster element at the end that is so much fun for young readers.

The story follows Master Edgar Dreadbury as he discovers The Monsterator, a machine that changes people into monsters. There are hundreds of combinations of monsters kids can create at the end of the book.


We received a copy of this delightful book and it really is a fun book for kids ages 6+. My son is 11, and he still enjoyed the book. It’s a simple read for a 11 year old but it still made him laugh out loud. There are 625 Monsters inside the book and it is fun looking for them all! The illustrations are colorful and creative! Over all, it is such a clever and fun story. It’s just the right amount of spooky for young children this Halloween!

You can find out more by visiting the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group website.  It is also available on

Self Disclosure: I received a free book to facilitate this feature. 




Proper or Not? Sweepstakes

Texting during dinner, barely there bikini selfies and a facebook status longer than the last book you read – proper… or not?


Who’s writing the social rules these days anyway? In a time where dating can all take place on an app and our smart phones are glued to our hands, how do we know what’s appropriate and what’s crossing the line? That’s where YOU come in. We want to know where YOU stand on today’s hottest etiquette debates.


Give us you pinkies up – or down here:


Cast your “Proper or Not?” vote with the Tetley Proper or Not Sweepstakes for a chance to win a proper cuppa: FREE Tetley Tea and a mug! New “Proper or Not?” polls will be posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – but you can cast your vote daily!

Credit: Tetley tea. No compensation was received to post. 

St. Ives Even & Bright Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange Body Wash A Mom-Must Have this Fall!

Even and Bright Body Wash, 13.5oz

Looking for an invigorating Body Wash? St. Ives Even & Bright Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange Body Wash is the one you may be looking for! I really like the smell and did not feel it was over-bearing. What I like the best is that it actually feels quite cool and soothing so it would be great to use during any season of the year! It also left my skin feeling softer and I do have dry skin. I also have slightly sensitive skin and this one works great! It’s now one of my favorite body washes and I recommend it as a Mom-Must-Have this Fall!  It really is invigorating!

It can be found online and at local stores. Check out the website for more information.

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this feature and any opinions expressed are my own. Photo Credit: St. Ives.

The Equation of Life – A Must-See for Any School Age Kid – Let’s End Bullying Now KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions,


October is Bullying Prevention month and we have an incredible film to share with you. Inspired by a true story, this film explores the experiences of bullying from both sides – the bullied and the bully. There are many anti-bullying films on the market but this one is unique. It was written and produced by a 10-year-old. This is a dramatization of a real life experience from someone who’s been there and, because of that, it is all the more poignant. And, most importantly, it doesn’t just leave you with a hold in your heart. It offers up practical suggestions for how to drop bullying now. This is a subject so important it should be seen by everyone. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie J comments, “The Equation of Life, directed, produced, written by and starring Gerry Orz, is a moving film that needs to be seen by anyone going to school.” Keefer B. adds, “One of the many reasons this film shines is the message it stresses- speak up!” See their full reviews below. This film is available on DVD October 14 and there is a premiere at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro the same evening, October 14 at 6:00 p.m


The Equation of Life

by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14




Genuinely spectacular! This well done story tells the truth and tragedy of bullying. Directed, written and starring 10-year-old Gerry Orz who portrays Adam Syder, the new kid in the neighborhood. Adam is being bullied by Nathan (Zane Paul), a boy who has a mother (Willow Hale) that treats him like garbage. Day after day Adam is beaten up and called names by Nathan and soon Adam has had enough.


One of the many reasons this film shines is the message it stresses- speak up! Bullying is a problem in our society. Whether it’s physical, verbal or cyber-bullying, it needs to stop and the message is addressed in a passionate way by the filmmaker. Orz shows the reality of what happens to many children who suffer from bullying. He doesn’t take the easy route where someone is picked on and the teacher comes in and fixes the problem. He tells us the truth.


Everyone’s point of view is examined, which I love, including the bully Nathan. The bully is not the villain. He wants to be friends with Adam, but his mother says otherwise. Whenever someone picks on me, my mom always tells me, “You don’t know what happens behind closed doors.” She’s right, I don’t. The bully could be going through abuse himself or he might be jealous and bullying is the only way he knows how to express it.


My hats off to Zane Paul for his outstanding performance. We also have a heartbreaking story about Adam’s sister Miranda (Kaitlin Morgan). She knows Adam is being bullied, but she doesn’t tell anyone. She thinks Adam will take care or it, which he does, in the wrong way.


By far, my favorite character is Adam’s mom (Kate Orz). Something tragic happens and we see this emotional scene between her and Miranda. It’s hard to sit through because both Kate’s and Kaitlin’s performances make this film even more powerful. It shows the struggle of not only the person being bullied, but the family’s grief as well.


All these aspects of the film are amazing and what makes it truly phenomenal is that this film was made by Gerry Orz when he was ten years old! Gerry tells this story in a very mature manor that allows all ages to comprehend the dangers of bullying. His introduction to the film explains why he made it and what he wants you to learn from it. The introduction alone is worth the price of the film. Gerry doesn’t want anyone else to go through the pain of being bullied and this proves the power of making a film on the subject.


This is a film for adults and kids, especially kids. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 8- to 18-year-olds. This film has one word in it that is not terrible, in fact it’s appropriate, but parents may not want their kids to hear it. Even with that I still highly recommend this film to kids so they can know to speak up and STOP the bullying. This film comes out on DVD October 14, 2014.


The Equation of Life

By Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15


Independent cinema nowadays is not what it used to be. Indie films used to be the unique ones, the ones with low budgets yet they still entertained. These films could get away with a lackadaisical script or acting in return for a fun or a good message. Keep in mind that films like Cloud Atlas, with a budget of over 100 million, are considered also independent films. What the young Gerry Orz has created is truly a throwback to true indie films.

The Equation of Life, directed, produced, written by and starring Gerry Orz, is a moving film that needs to be seen by anyone going to school. It is a film that is not just about bullying, but about understanding. It is about tolerance and guilt and reasoning. The Equation of Life is a unique anti-bullying film not because its message is different or because it presents the message in a different way, it is different because it doesn’t rush to judge. That is the key to any film trying to get to the foundation of a problem – to make sure all the characters and their situations are considered in order to give the audience true, unbiased understanding.


As I stated earlier, a lot of independent films lack something due to having smaller budgets and little resources. The acting in this movie is tolerable. There are some truly moving moments from the cast and a few cast members are pretty good and, for the most part, the characters are believable. I promise you, their performances do not get in the way of the experience.


And the experience is quite moving. In a script like this that tries to teach and explain, both problems and solutions are offered. The Equation of Life offers problems and solutions so real, and so probable, that it comes off as a documentary at times. There aren’t any crowd-pleasing cop-outs in order to make the film prettier. The movie is direct.


Take this from a guy who has also done what Gerry has done. It is a difficult task to make a movie by yourself, with little financial support. But with a fine idea, support from family and friends and artistic know-how, any movie can be good. The Equation of Life, for that reason, gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. I recommend it for 6 to 18. Kids at the younger end here may not understand it but I believe they can get the concept. This film deserves to be shown to every student from elementary school until they graduate high school. It relates to any adolescent. It certainly does to me.


Congratulations Gerry, you did a very good job. Here’s to a fine career!