Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tornado Warning: A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect On A Woman's Life

COMING SOON February 2011:

Tornado Warning - A must read for all teens and parents 

By Elin Stebbins Waldal

Parents, teens, and survivors are lucky that Elin Stebbins Waldal has the courage to share her own harrowing experience with teen dating violence. At 17 she unwittingly fell in love with an abusive man. Tornado Warning is the true, honest portrait of how he whittled her down--with words, hands, and weapons--from a confident teen to the shadow of a woman. But Stebbins Waldal offers more. Interwoven with her real-life journal, she reflects on how this relationship has affected her since, and how she is working to protect her teenagers from succumbing to a similar experience. Provocative and healing, Tornado Warning is a must-read for parents, women, and anyone who has suffered at the hands of a loved one.

About the Author

Elin Stebbins Waldal is a writer, speaker, and founder of girls kNOw more, an organization whose mission is to help build confidence in middle-school-age girls. Elin is the Love Is Not Abuse Coalition State Action Leader for California, which advocates for legislation that will require teen dating abuse curriculum in all middle schools, high schools, and colleges. She is a frequent guest on the radio show. She is also a regular presenter for Laura's House, an Orange County resource for victims of domestic violence. She was recognized with an Honorable Mention Award in the World of Difference Category by The San Diego County Office of Education for speaking and educating high school students. Additionally, she is a California-state-certified domestic violence advocate. She has contributed to The Courage Network, Safe World for Women, and The Women on the Verge on-line periodicals and also serves as a San Diego Examiner reporter on the subject of teen dating violence. Elin lives in Southern California with her husband, three children, and their family dog.

Pre-order today!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Social Santa: Safe Networking for Your Kids - YOURSPHERE IS HERE

Internet safety has become a top concern for parents with kids online today.  Between cyberbullying, stalkers, and Internet predators, parents need to be on top of their game when it comes to allowing their kids to surf online.

As the holidays are here, more kids will find social networking sites and meet vitual friends, or are they digital strangers?  Start your holidays off right by signing them up for an exciting social networking experience with lots of interesting topics, games and peers that make safety their number one priority.

Yoursphere is here and it is FREE.

It's your sphere and make it your own!

School is out, free time is building and many kids are at home looking for things to do.  Get them involved in constuctive fun and learning about new people and cultures - join Yoursphere today.  Meet friends, chat and play with new friends.

Yoursphere prides themselves on carefully verifying all new members and their parents.  They have added new games, contests and even have sphere designs for your child's unique interests.  Is there a particular sport your child loves?  Find others with the same passion.  Check out all the great choices - click here.  There is something for everyone!

With Yoursphere your child can even earn cool prizes while having fun.

Finally - a space 'in space' that you can feel good about your children surfing in!

Learn more about Yoursphere.  Sign your child up today to begin their Holiday Season with friends and fun!

Hey parents, don't forget to bookmark Yoursphere for Parents!  It will keep you up-to-date with today's ever changing digital world!  Click here.

Watch the video of the dedicated founder, Mary Kay Hoal, of Yoursphere, and learn more about online safety.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer children!

Read more.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PACT360: Community Education on Drug Use Prevention

Working together with key community stakeholders focused on prevention, treatment, health care, education and law enforcement, The Partnership at developed a series of research-based, multimedia community education programs designed specifically to inform parents about today’s drug and alcohol landscape, equip them to be more effective in dealing with these issues and help them raise healthy teens.

PACT360 contains five key programs – Meth360®, Parents360, Youth360, Latino360 and Padres360 – and is designed to complement and not supplant existing local prevention efforts. All five programs can be customized with local statistics, real-person stories and events and first-hand experiences of the presenters, to reflect the unique needs and issues of the community. This multi-dimensional approach highlights the powerful impact local efforts can have on individual families and communities.
How communities put into practice the PACT360 programs is wide-ranging from implementation into probation programs to community development plans to individual efforts by local community service organizations that address the needs of parents and youth, parent teacher organizations and community watch groups. Communities across the country have used the PACT360 programs in numerous ways to reach parents and teens, and most importantly, the various uses of the program underscores the importance of community partners working together to bring these issues to the forefront.
Visit and find out how to get started today!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Teens and Gift Cards: Don't Let them Go To Waste

Most everyone knows that right behind find that perfect gift for the person that has everything, a teenager can be just as difficult to buy for.

Different from the the person that has everything (they usually have money too), a teen will love the cold cash!  Forget the gift cards, rip-up the checks, and good old fashion cash is gold to them.

There is a thought process many parents have that our teens will not be responsible with the cash.  That may be true, however do you realize how many gift cards are not used or not used to their full value?  A lot!
Although gift cards are definitely an easier gift to give, especially now that you can purchase them in most grocery stores and department stores such as Walmart, be sure the recipient will use the entire card - a little reminder doesn't hurt.

One of the more frequent issues teens have with gift cards is remembering to use them.  How many have you found when cleaning your teens bedroom - or better yet, their car if they have one?
A recent Associated Press (AP) article had excellent advice when it comes to teens and those gift cards.

According to the AP:

Conventional wisdom holds that gift cards are the perfect present for picky teens. But not all teens agree.

Reasons include logistical hassles in using the cards, lack of interest in the store or brand, a preference for cash, or even a wish for something personal. Often the cards pile up unused, but some teens sell them for a portion of their face value or even create a black market and trade them for lunch money.

The answer - when it comes to gifts for your teens? Talk to your teens - find out what they really want, what they need and what they will use.  At the end of the day, like everything else when it comes to your teen - it is about communication!

Talk to your teens before you spend the cash.

Read more.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 10 Coolest Toys of 2010

Even if you're an adult, you have to appreciate the vast array of neat new toys that hit the shelves during 2010. In the past, single items like the Chatty Cathy, Cabbage Patch Kids, Transformers, Tickle Me Elmo or Furby were all the rage. As toymakers have evolved, they've produced higher quantities of even cooler items, making it more difficult for kids to decide what they really want as special occasions approach. As you peruse the aisles of your local toy store or browse around online, be on the lookout for the following items. Each one has incited the gimmes from kids across the country.

Hasbro's FurReal Friends starting at $29.95
FurReal GoGo My Walkin' Pup: The FurReal GoGo My Walkin' Pup is perfect for kids who've had a puppy on their wish list but aren't quite ready for the real deal just yet. Kids can become dog-owners-in-training, as the pup responds to sound and motion by barking, panting and whining. She loves to be taken for walks, so she comes with a leash that enables her walker to control her movements. The only potential obstacle that accompanies adopting the pup is keeping her soft white fur clean.

Spy Net: Secret Mission Video Watch: Almost two decades ago, the Talkboy was the leading toy for young spies. Today, it's the Spy Net: Secret Mission Video Watch, which comes equipped with playback video, audio and photos. Parents and children alike are amazed by its capabilities: it can secretly record up to 20 minutes of video and four hours of audio, and capture up to 2000 pictures. The full-color 1.4-inch TFT screen allows users to watch live playback and recorded videos. After a mini-James Bond or Harriet the Spy has discovered all of the secrets of their neighborhood, he or she can download video spy missions from

Nerf N-Strike Recon CS-6 Dart Blaster: Warriors-in-training who've made the New Year's resolution to dominate every Nerf battle in 2011 ought to give the Nerf N-Strike Recon CS-6 Dart Blaster a shot. Shooters can assemble their own blaster with the use of five interchangeable parts, snapping them onto the Tactical Rail in an effort to gain an advantage over their dart-tag enemies. A flip-up sight and a dual-mode light beam with red-dot accuracy ensure that all shots are precise during the day or night. Be sure to stock up on darts if you plan to make this purchase.

Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball: The Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball is a toy for teens and grownups who are dedicated to mastering the skill of juggling, specifically contact juggling. The operator who correctly uses the ball is able to create an illusion that defies gravity, making it appear as though the ball is moving and floating on its own. This is caused by the combination of hand and body isolations and movements along with the ball's reflectiveness. Once the skill is learned, engaging in the activity regularly can serve to clear the mind and promote relaxation, which is a nice added benefit. Click here for YouTube Video.

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle: Elaborate LEGO sets have long been among the coolest toys around — the most recent of which, the Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle, is on par with some of brand's biggest hits, including the Skull's Eye Schooner and Royal Knight's Castle. Kids who are both LEGO collectors and Harry Potter fanatics are sure to enjoy this 1,290 piece set that features Harry Potter, Hermione Grange, Lord Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore and several other prominent characters. The castle notably features Dumbledore's office and Gryffindor common room. Even if you don't care for the book or movie series, you'll be amazed by its details.
Beyblade Metal Fusion Super Vortex Battle Set: An updated and enhanced version of the game Battling Tops, the Beyblade Metal Fusion Super Vortex Battle Set comes with new rules and a new element of fun. The ripcord powered launch-able tops are now customizable, so competitors can build one they deem best fit to defeat their opponent in the Beystadium battle arena. Players must determine the best combinations of tip types, wheel shapes, spin direction and height in order to increase their chances of victory. Battles require strategy and adherence to rules that ensure fairness. It's a fun game for kids who enjoy the thrill of contact sports but also like to use their minds every once in a while.

Fisher-Price Dance Star Mickey: Dance Star Mickey follows in the tradition of previous life-like television and movie characters who have captured the fancy of young children. Like Tickle Me Elmo, this Mickey does exactly what his title indicates, turning into a dance star after his foot is pressed. Kids have a blast as they participate in six different songs and dances, including Latin techno, the moonwalk and disco. Mickey even leads two interactive games when the kids are tired of groovin'. It's likely to become one of those toys that emerges from the closet years from now, serving as a reminder of the height of your child's cuteness.

Barbie Glam Vacation House: Although the Barbie Glam Vacation House first hit the shelves in late 2009, it has remained one of the most popular toys of 2010. Days of fun are provided in the two-story, six-room house that consists of a living room, kitchen, breakfast bar, bedroom, bathroom and patio; also included are a couch, bed and blender. Amateur interior decorators enjoy adorning the inside with decorative pieces such as tiki lights and a chandelier. Parents appreciate that it can be folded and replaced, so it doesn't have to perpetually occupy a large amount of space. All things considered, this is an essential item for the latest generation of Barbie lovers.

Vtech Kidizoom Digital Camera: A mini-photographer can practice their craft with an eye-catching Vtech Kidizoom Digital Camera. This ideal first camera is extremely durable and highly functional. It can handle the wear and tear that any young child's favorite toy experiences while continuing to provide quality photos with its 64MB of built-in memory. What's more, a built-in photo editor can add 12 fun frames and stamps, or two kaleidoscope effects. Its big buttons and 1.8-inch color LCD screen ensure it's easy to use, so parents whose children can't keep their hands off the complicated family camera have found a solution.

Watch videos of these cool gadgets and toys: Click here.

You can order these items from Amazon - most with free shipping and no sales tax! Click here!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Wonderland in St. Augustine

From toddlers to teens to young adults to parents and grandparents - St. Augustine's Winter Wonderland has family fun for everyone!

It is difficult to find things to do with your teens today, but as the St. Augustine Amphitheatre has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland, there is a plenty of exciting and festive events and activities for all ages.

From ice skating to bounce houses to the Elf Village and even snow, your family - inlcuding your teenagers, will feel the excitement of the holiday season.  Doing it as a family is just a bonus!

Here are the hours for this season's Winter Wonderland:

November 19th – December 17th:
Monday – Thursday:     4:00pm-10:00pm
Friday:                          4:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday:                     12:00pm-11:00pm*
Sunday:                        12:00pm-10:00pm*

December 18th – January 2nd:
Sunday – Thursday:      12:00pm-10:00pm*
Friday & Saturday:       12:00pm-11:00pm*

*Select activities open during evening hours only

Admission into Winter Wonderland is FREE!!

Learn more at and make your family plans now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual

What are you to do when your cheerful, friendly family members morph overnight into sarcastic, sullen, teens? 
How can you get through to these hormonally challenged strangers when all you get in return are sighs and eyerolls? 

Thankfully, this book reveals the groundbreaking strategies you can use to maintain good communication, healthy interaction, and strong connections to your teen, no matter how rocky the road to puberty becomes. You'll learn how to:
  • Let your teens help set the rules--and the consequences for breaking them
  • Realize that "me, me, me!" is actually age-appropriate
  • Put honesty above all else
  • Try not to criticize, judge, or become angry
Based on the latest research, this book works as a Rosetta Stone to help you hear what your kids are really saying--and makes sure nothing is lost in translation!


Barbara R. Greenberg, PhD has a doctorate in clinical psychology from SUNY at Stony Brook, and is the clinical director of Four Winds Hospital in New York, where she takes care of an inpatient adolescent unit, and maintains a private practice.

Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, PsyD has a doctorate in school/clinical child psychology from the University of Virginia and is presently the clinical director for the Child and Adolescent Outpatient programs at Four Winds Hospital in New York.

Order on Amazon today!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Lilly: From Father to Daughter: The Truth about Life, Love, and the World We Live In

Dear Lilly

By Peter Greyson

A father offers his advice, opinions, and the many useful stories gleaned from his past experiences in order to help his beloved daughter not only survive, but thrive in the dangerous and unpredictable world of young adulthood.

From the pen of a former abused child, drug addict, womanizing frat boy, and suicidal depressive, comes forth the emotionally stirring account of a young man's battle with crippling inner demons and his eventual road to enlightenment. Peter Greyson calls upon his wisdom as both father and school teacher to gently lead teenage girls through a maze of truth, deception, and adolescent uncertainty. Greyson's literary style sparkles with a youthful enthusiasm that will capture your heart and provide boundless inspiration.

Dear Lilly is a survival guide that offers the brutally honest male perspective to young women struggling for answers to life's deepest questions. Topics include:
  • Boys lie
  • What every guy wants from his girlfriend
  • Tales from the drug world
  • Everybody hurts
  • High school exposed 
Order today on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CarCheckup and your teens

CarCheckup provides a service that will help you monitor your teen's driving habits.

Our device simply plugs into the teen's car (usually under the steering wheel) and records data as the car is driven.

At the end of the day or week, bring the device inside and plug it into your computer with the built-in USB arm. Log into your personal account and easily download the data and review it with your teen.

Together, you can review summaries and graphs of each of your teen's trips allowing you to see:
  •  Highest Speed and RPM
  •  Distance and Duration of Trip Traveled
  •  Time Driven in Different Speed Bands
  •  Hard and Extreme Braking and Acceleration
  •  Graphs of Each Trip Showing Speed or RPM
  •  If the check engine light is on, we can even tell you why! 
Read more.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Admongo: Are your kids ad-savvy?

It is that time of the year again. Whether it is your mailbox full of colorful fliers, or your television enticing your kids with ads that are created to build excitement, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, has created the Admongo campaign to help teach kids about advertising.

Advertising is a multi-million dollar business. Truthful advertising provides benefits to consumers and competition. It gives consumers the information they need to make better-informed purchasing and product use decisions. It also gives companies an incentive to modify their products to provide features that customers want. By contrast, false advertising interferes with decision-making and hinders competition.

Tweens and teens have their own money to spend, and parents report that children play an important role in family buying decisions. Because kids are an important part of the marketplace, they often are the targets of advertising and marketing programs. The result is that American kids see ads wherever they go.

An example of what you can learn from Admongo:

Must-have: The technique of portraying a product or services as something that consumers must have to be happy, popular, or satisfied. Critical thinking questions: What can this product really do for me?
Shopping online or off, learning young about marketing and advertising can save you a lot of money and time.

Learn more and share with your kids at

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Joys of Christmas 2010

The Joys of Christmas 2010 is a great way to start, no matter what faith you are, believing in the spirit of the holidays is the start of bonding with your friends, families and teens!

The Joys of Christmas 2010 will bring you closer to friends and family, and help you maintain a strong connection with God this Christmas, with its meditations from your favorite Guideposts editors for both personal and family devotional time. Sections on faith, family, recipes, home and giving will offer practical solutions to your holiday challenges and help keep Christmas simple and meaningful.

If you would like to order your copy of The Joys of Christmas 2010, click here.

In May 2010, a new study released by The Barna Group indicated surveyed teens put career and international travel aspirations ahead of faith, marriage and parenting.  This is the perfect time of the year to turn that around.  Having a foundation in life is part of molding a strong future.

The Joys of Christmas 2010 may be the tool you need to spark your teen in a spiritual direction!
6 Ways The Joys of Christmas can help you connect with your family, and your faith this Christmas:
  1. Before opening presents on Christmas morning, recite one of the devotionals
  2. Read aloud one of the wonderful Christmas stories to your family while sitting around the tree
  3. Make a game with children of memorizing one of the Christmas poems
  4. Count down the days until Christmas with the Advent Calendar
  5. Share one of the delicious holiday recipes
  6. Keep holiday costs down with homemade decorations
Read more and order today.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Knit for Kids 2010

Knit for Kids is a global organization created by Guideposts.  As the holidays are here, times are tough in many areas and in many households, however when you give to others it can warm your heart and build your own family bond.

Knitting may seem old-fashioned to some teens, but isn't it a great opportunity to learn when you know you will be helping keep a needy child warm?  Many grandparents and parents have been knitting for generations - let's start this tradition now in your family.

Since 1996, when Guideposts Knit for Kids began, the program has grown beyond anyones imagining because of dedication and creativity. Thanks to many, some kids for the first time in their lives have had something new; for others, the sweaters are cherished hand-me-downs.

A “million smiles”, that’s a conservative estimate of how many people have been touched with joy by these gifts: the children who have received them directly or as a hand-me-down, their parents or guardians, and needleworkers like you who found your lives changed as you created these treasures with heart and hands.
Start your family tradition today through stitches of love.  Whether you are in Clay, Duval or St. Johns County, download the simple knitting patterns here and share them with your friends and family.

Do you prefer to crochet?  Click here for the pattern.

Get your teens involved today.  To learn more about Knit for Kids and where to send your sweaters, click here.

Read more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls: How to Prepare, React, and Manage Your Emotions So You Can Best Support Your Daughter

The average fifth-grade girl knows a cutter, a classmate with Asperger's syndrome, or has a friend with two fathers. Issues like these are big, and they are just drops in the bucket. A generation ago, we worried more about kidnapping and divorce than cyberbullying and prescription-drug abuse. With little personal experience in the new, complex issues that plague our daughters on a daily basis, how can parents today help their girls cope better and raise a generation of girls who are resilient and self-confident instead of insecure and confused? This book answers that question with concrete action steps and easy-to-follow talking points that help parents keep the lines of communication open and better support their daughters.

Author Erin A. Munroe, LMHC, who has been counseling adolescents for more than a decade, is in a unique position to help parents understand how girls cope and react to stressors and adult-size problems today, so they can be active and effective participants in their daughters' reality. When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls also helps parents learn about themselves and control their own emotional responses to the big issues their daughters face, including:

· Sexuality, sexual orientation, STDs, and pregnancy
· Mental health issues and learning disabilities
· Bullying, peer pressure, and cyberbullying
· School anxiety, social anxiety, and other phobias
 Substance use and abuse and the newest addictions
· High expectations for young girls that often cost them their childhood

Raising girls is a big responsibility. Let When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls become your twenty-first-century parenting strategy and give your daughter the gift of resiliency and confidence that she is deserving and capable of experiencing.

Order today on Amazon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SCAM ALERT: Beware on Craigslist

Rental properties are becoming more necessary and popular as foreclosures continue in  our country.

Are you the parent of a teen that has started college or going to a college and is tired of the dorm experience and would like to find an apartment?

In St. Augustine, Flagler College is one of the most beautiful campus' with a city that is college friendly with lots of great housing opportunities.  Many locals use Craigslist as their outlet to advertise their rooms for rent or homes for rent.

Although most are legit, parents and teens need to beware of the scams that are escalating on Craigslist.  After answering several ads that seemed too good to be true, one local student shared their experience.
After spending her first semester in the dorm at Flagler College, Casey (name changed for privacy reasons) decided she wanted to find a room or apartment to rent for after the holidays.  She jumped on Craigslist, as her parents also did, and what happened could have been a diaster if they were not smart enough not to play into this scam.

There are scammers trying to get your credit score.  They are trying to steal your identity.
This advertiser below is on Craiglist - attempting to get your credit score. Don't fall for it. She offers an apartment too good to be true - and here is her response when you inquire about it.  Both Casey and her parents were victims of this scammer and several others when they answered their ads.  This email is duplicated and changed slightly for some, so be aware and don't respond to them.

From: Michelle Ratica []
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 9:08 PM
Subject: RE: $500 / 3br - 3 BR AND 2.5 BD HOUSE CLOSE TO EVERYTHING
Thanks for taking the time to email me about the place.
We thought we had the place rented last week to a young couple, but communication has dropped off. you are the first person to email about it since we put it back on the market . It would only be fair that we gave you the first shot at the property.
Normally, we would prefer a year lease, but would also be open to shorter terms. I'm sure that you will want to see the property before making a final decision. I would simply give you the address and let you swing by, but my wife is against blindly advertising an empty home online. Rest assured the home has been up kept properly and had a good cleaning and fresh coat of paint. Basic utilities are currently on, but we expect that you would get them put into your name fairly quick.
If you want to go ahead and schedule a time to see the property, go to the link below and print off the free copy of your report. Your score isn't necessarily important, we're just interested in seeing that there are no evictions / landlord related judgments.

Click here for the Free Online Score

I am very open as far as appointments go to show the property. Any morning after 10am is fine. Just let me know when you have everything printed and be sure to leave me a contact number to reach you at and any desired time. I will call you to confirm a time and choose a place to meet.
Thanks for looking,

Michelle Ratica

Usually the "Click here for free online score" is a hyperlink, do not click on it.  Michelle Ratica is one of many names the perpatrators use.  According to Casey's mother, a Mark Savorn and a Robert and Angela Banks are other scammers that sent similar emails.  Also Google the advertisers name, check to see if your advertiser is listed as a scammer.

These scams were reported to CraigsList, although some were taken down, there are still some there.  What is worse is that everyday a new one will be posted.  Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Never give out your social security number unless you have confirmed that the property is legit, and don't allow them to run your credit until you have agreed on the terms.

Be an educated parent and pass it on to your teen!

Read more. (including others that have been scammed by this person.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

10 Most Beautiful Community Colleges in America

Miami-Dade College
Going to a beautiful college doesn’t always mean having to head off to an Ivy League campus or a private university. Some community colleges have exceptionally beautiful campuses, with views of the mountains, beaches or rolling hills and architecture that can’t be found anywhere else. If you’re looking for some of the best and most beautiful community colleges in the United States, check out these amazing campuses.
  1. College of the Siskiyous, Weed, CA: This Northern California college is small in size, with only 3,000 students, but that doesn’t mean that it’s short on scenery. Opened in 1959, the college is named after the Siskiyou Mountains, a range that runs along the California-Oregon border and can be seen from the campuses’ buildings. While the buildings themselves may not be impressive, the view showcases the majestic natural beauty the West Coast has to offer.
  2. Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA: Founded as Glendale Junior College in 1929, this community college campus has been around for years, growing and expanding to now comprise over 100 acres of land and 15 permanent buildings. The school’s more than 15,000 student enjoy the beauty of the campus in both the buildings and the surrounding landscape. The campuses brightly-colored stucco buildings stand out during the day or night and are situated on the scenic slopes of the San Rafael Hills overlooking the city of Glendale.
  3. Maui Community College, Kahului, HI: Selling this community college as one of the most beautiful in the United States shouldn’t be hard. Part of the University of Hawaii educational system, the school has expanded in recent years to offer a wider range of degree programs and opportunities. Students there will not only enjoy educational opportunities, but an amazing setting to learn in as well. The campus is sandwiched between the Maui’s stunning volcanic ridges and a beautiful white sand beach and is home to artwork from a number of noted artists, including Bruce Turnbull and Sean Browne.
  4. Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, FL: This Florida college has a long and storied history. It was founded in 1959 and was one of the first fully integrated junior colleges in the state, producing many famous alumni over the years. Among the school’s eight campuses, students will encounter stunning modern, green buildings designed by world-famous architects as well as buildings with more classical design, like those found on the North Campus. There, students will enjoy learning in classrooms that overlook palm-tree lined ponds and lush, open, green spaces.
  5. Casper College, Casper, WY: Casper College packs a double whammy for students looking for a scenic community college. The campuses’ buildings are artfully arranged over a sloping hill and all feature bright red rock exteriors that help to unify the buildings and enhances the beauty of the campus. The view from the campus is extraordinary as well, with both wide open skies and a view into the nearby mountain range – and Casper Mountain itself.
  6. West Virginia Northern Community College, Wheeling, WV: The real draw to this community college campus is the architecture. The main campus in downtown Wheeling is centered around what used to be the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Terminal. The building was finished in 1908 in a stunning French Renaissance style and was state of the art at the time, boasting indoor plumbing, steam heat and electric elevators. Today, the building still maintains much of its original beauty, with a few improvements to make it easier and more attractive for the school’s students to use, including new patios and some restorative remodeling.
  7. Colorado Mountain College, Spring Valley, CO: This network of seven junior colleges boasts some of the best views of any community college system in the United States. The school’s location in the Rockies is reflected in the programs it offers, many focusing on outdoor education, ski business and wilderness studies. Also spurred on the by college’s amazing setting is it’s photography program, and students have no shortage of subjects at any of the school’s campuses with ample natural scenery. While all the campuses feature mountain views, the Spring Valley campus is perhaps the most stunning, with white walled building overlooking tree-lined hillsides and snow-capped peaks.
  8. Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, NC: While the classical architecture of this North Carolina school is appealing, the thing that makes its campus so lovely are the gardens. With an extensive landscape gardening program, it’s no surprise that the school is home to over 32 acres of beautiful horticultural gardens. The gardens are designed and maintained by students at the school as part of their training. Visitors can see 14 differently themed gardens including a children’s garden, a Japanese garden, English gardens and the largest collection of Holly on the East Coast.
  9. Clinton Community College, Plattsburgh, NY: Located a few miles south of Plattsburgh, NY this community college boasts some great academic programs connected with the State University of New York. It also isn’t too shabby when it comes to looks. Situated at Bluff Point, the college’s main campus overlooks Lake Champlain and the surrounding forests. The main building on campus was once the Hotel Champlain, the destination for New York’s high society during the Victorian era, featuring stunning architecture that still maintains much of its original charm, though it has been updated to accommodate the school’s modern needs.
  10. Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA: If you’re looking for a community college with some history behind it, look no further. The college was built around the Springfield National Armory, a building established by George Washington to supply the US with armaments. Today the building is a well-known historical monument in the area, and the century-old buildings that surround it on campus add to the academic and historical feeling students get when they attend courses. Aside from the fabulous architecture and history, students can also enjoy seeing acres of trees in the surrounding area which are particularly beautiful in the fall with brightly-colored leaves speckling the hillsides.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flagler Creates! Art Festival

Flagler Creates!' is Saturday, November 20th from 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Flagler Creates! is an art festival that will let Flagler students, faculty, staff, alumni and Flagler families display and sell items that they have handmade or created. All funds collected from application and artist rental fees will be donated to the Flagler College Annual Fund.

What a fantastic event for the entire family!  Not only will you enjoy one of the most beautiful college campus' in Florida, you will be able to meet a community of people in St. Augustine.  From business owners to authors and artists, it will be an exciting day for everyone.

This event is free to the public, which makes it even more enticing!

For more information, or if you would like to be part of this event, contact Marsha LeDuke at

Do you have a teenager that is looking at colleges?  What a perfect opportunity to meet your local college and the people that create the community of St. Augustine.

Read more.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taylor's Closet: Making a Difference

In 2005, Ft. Lauderdale teen, Lindsey Giambattista founded Taylor's Closet, an organization, which is named after her twin sister that died at birth.  Taylor's Closet provides clothing to needy children throughout the world.

About Taylor's Closet:

Taylor’s Closet had its first outreach in early December, 2005. We set up a mini “shop” on the salon-deck of a large yacht in the Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade and invited girls from local foster care programs to come by and shop. There were some 30 girls on the cruise that night who were blessed with new clothes, and a handful of parents, kids and program administrators who got to see the love of Christ in action as well.

Since then we’ve seen God bless this ministry in some huge and wonderful ways. In December of 2006, we opened our first permanent “store” for foster girls. Several local businesses have put aside their business agendas to come alongside and help out. One in particular, RCC, designed and paid for the cost to build the store. We’ve had clothing donations from all over the world. - Taylor's Closet

As the holiday time approaches, it is time for you and your family to go through your closets and take up a collection to help those that truly need your generosity.  As the weather is getting cooler, even in South Florida, we need to take the time to be grateful for what we have and consider giving what we really don't need.

What happens in Taylor’s Closet is remarkable. Girls who have been abused, injured or who are just basically suffering from a lifetime of hopelessness, come in to our store and find out that someone cares – that all these beautiful new, designer clothes are there for them – completely free.

When Lindsey was asked in an interview by I Heart Dailey:

How can people help with TC?  Buy our products! We just launched a TC merch line. Go check it out. It’s really cute, and every penny goes to making girls in need feel beautiful!

Created by a teen with a dream, Taylor's Closet has proven to help thousands of children throughout the world.  Lindsey is truly a teen that inspires.  Learn more at Watch video on sidebar.

Get your teen involved today!  Giving feels so good, encourage your kids to pay it forward!

Read more.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Morning Squeeze Video Contest for the Entire Family

Many experts agree, a good start in the morning includes breakfast.  Especially for children and teens breakfast is a priority.

Today’s hectic schedules leave Americans with more to do in less time, which creates a balancing act for many families, particularly in the morning. 

According to a new survey, most parents identify with the role of personal assistant or traffic cop in the morning.In fact, more than one-third of those surveyed avoid morning disagreements by letting their children tune out to a TV, computer, cell phone or video game.   However, it is clear that parents want this pattern to change.  Two out of five respondents would go as far as to give up TV for an entire month or stay an hour later at work once a week in exchange for a year of peaceful mornings.

There’s no doubt American families continue to feel the morning squeeze.  While 75 percent of respondents agree mornings are an important part of the day to spend quality time with their children, few realize that it is really about making your interactions more meaningful – not spending more time.

The Morning Squeeze Video Contest:
To inspire families to make the most of their mornings, Florida orange juice has teamed up with celebrity mom and entertainment journalist Nancy O’Dell, who offers a glimpse into the situations her family faces through a series of behind-the-scenes videos on the Florida Orange Juice Facebook page. To show the importance of making daily connections with your family, Nancy is working with Florida orange juice to launch The Morning Squeeze video contest, which encourages parents to submit a video of their own morning challenges for a chance to win a family getaway to Florida.

I understand how challenging it can be to find family time when faced with such hectic schedules,” said Nancy O’Dell.  “That’s why I am partnering with 100 percent Florida orange juice to show parents across the country how a meaningful interaction, no matter how brief, can make a huge impact on everyone’s day.”

To challenge your family to a more meaningful morning and learn more about The Morning Squeeze video contest, visit or the Florida Orange Juice Facebook page.
Get involved as a family.  Chances are very good your teenager is familiar with video taping.  This is a great opportunity to create a project that everyone can take part in.

Learn more about the details of this contest here.

Read more.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Text-tionary: The Ultimate Decoder of Text Abbreviations

These days the most efficient way to communicate is through instant communication: Texting! But what the heck do all those abbreviations mean? Do you know what this means: BY&M, I H8- S/T, GTTP! Thr Txt u SIT? If not, you need Text-tionary: The ultimate, informative, TEXT abbreviation de-coder, with helpful tips to become an expert texter! So what's the translation? Between you and me I hate small talk. Get to the point. Through text you stay in touch.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

National Mix it Up Lunch Day: November 9th

Students all over the country will participate in learning about different cultures, different groups, cliques, races or ethnicity as they gather for lunch.  This challenge to social boundaries is part of the annual "Mix It Up At Lunch Day," sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The organizers hope that many of the prejudices and biases kids are brought up with will fall away when they meet new people.

Social scientists have long maintained that contact between diverse groups helps alleviate tensions and reduce prejudice. Mix It Up seeks to break down the barriers between students and improve intergroup relations so there are fewer misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment.

Many experts agree: Students thrive both socially and academically in schools that are inclusive. Yet, a look at recent headlines about bullying, cyberbullying and a lack of civility and empathy confirms that for too many students, schools are hotbeds of exclusion.  Florida has been in the national headlines almost monthly with reports on the two teens in Broward County that were nearly bullied to death.

Unfortunately Florida is not a stranger to school violence and bullying incidents.  In Sanford, Florida, devoted father, James Jones made national headlines as he entered his daughter's school bus to confront the bullies that had been harassing his disabled daughter, Chatari.  Not only were they verbally abusing her, they were throwing open condoms on her and twisting her ears.

Although James Jones does not condone his behavior, it was out of frustration and love for his daughter that he just had enough.  Today James Jones is crossing the country speaking out about bullying and urging everyone from schools, teachers, parents and your communities to get involved in this growing problem in our country.

Part of getting involved is teaching our children tolerance and acceptance of others.  Mix it Up is about this issue.  Isn't it time you got involved?

Wherever you are, sign your school up for National Mix it Up Lunch Day Register here.

Pass this on to your local schools and teachers TODAY!  Get your Mix it Up tools here! 

Customize your press release today for your school!

Sources: Connect with Kids, Teaching Tolerance

Read more.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Food for Fines

Do you have overdue library books?  Are those fines mounting and your finances dwindling?  Starting Monday, November 8th thru December, 22nd, you can pay them off with food!

That's right, it's time once again for Food for Fines at St. Johns County Public Libraries System (SJCPLS). From November 8th until December 22nd, bring in your non-perishable, non-expired food items and wipe out $1.00 in fines for each item! Get rid of your fines while  benefiting those in need in our community!

As the holidays approach many people are having lean times, some are without jobs and/or losing their homes.  Food banks need to be replenished and our community needs to come together to help each other.
SJCPLS is also collecting Boxtops to benefit our local school.  You may have seen these on cereal boxes, paper towels, soups and other products, but did you know that each Boxtop earns 10 cents for schools! All branches of the St. Johns County Public Library System will now be collecting Boxtops for Education for schools in their communities. Please help support the education for the kids of St. Johns County by saving Boxtops from these products and simply dropping them off at your SJCPLS branch library.

Community service and family go together.  Get your kids and especially your teens involved in giving back this holiday season.  There are many ways they can help others including volunteering and donating to organizations that assist the homeless or others that are in need.

Giving is what the holidays are about.  Be the example for your children, get involved today.

Read more.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Host Exploit: Get in the know techically, you and your family will be safer is a focal point for open source resource research, publication and creating awareness of Cyber crime activity. The focus is on Internet hosts, registrars, and the delivery of crime ware. It was designed to provide a holistic approach to the study of Cyber crime, integrating research from various sources of expertise; anti-spam, Malware, botnet, cyberwarfare, organizational analysis, and organized crime. The concept is unique in that the output so far has been detailed research reports, which are highly graphic and aimed at a general readership. The reports have been of considerable use in provision of well researched community information for technical and non-technical journalists, bloggers, security analysts, academics, law enforcement, and the wider Internet community, to primarily provide awareness.  
HostExploit is an open organization of international volunteers, created as an open source resource for those who wish to reduce and prevent Cyber crime, its effects and causes, and assist in wider awareness and education. This way CERTS, law enforcement, governmental agencies and the wider concerned Internet user are better informed.

One of their latest articles, Teens, Parents and the Wild Wild Web featuring Cati Grant.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Six Tips for a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season

Seriously, holiday season?

Yes, the holiday season is upon us and before you know it, or actually it is a reality, there are Christmas decorations in stores already - and your kids haven't even unwrapped one piece of Halloween candy yet!
It is never too early to discuss safety and health when it comes to your family.  Living healthy all year round should be a priority, but we all will let things slide at the holidays, it is just part of reality.  (Maybe there are a few of you that are good all year round, congrats to you!)  Especially for parents, it can be extremely difficult to get our teens eat healthy as well as learn the importance of being an offensive driver.

Many recognize that during the holidays there will be in increase in drunk driving accidents and deaths from these accidents.  Whether you are 16 years-old or 60 years-old - drive safelyPut those cell phones away.

Here are six basic reminders for healthy living, especially during the holidays:
  1. Wash your hands often.  There's lots of food being exchanged during the holidays.  Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important (and easy) steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.  Wash your hands vigorously with soap and water, or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  2. Get checkups and vaccinations. Don't let the holidays get in the way of important exams and screenings. If young children are scheduled to receive routine vaccinations, stay on schedule and don't put these off until after the holidays. Talk to your doctor about flu shots for you and your family.
  3. Manage stress. Remember, it's the holidays, and they are supposed to be fun. Keep a check on over-committing yourself. Plan quality time just for you and your family. Try to avoid overspending, which can cause unneeded stress during and after the festivities. Need help? Don't be afraid to ask others to pitch in!
  4. Eat healthy and be active. With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting and not-so-healthy foods. Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music.
  5. Travel safely. Don't drink and drive, and be sure to keep a watchful eye on guests to ensure they're not driving after drinking.  If you are out and have had too much to drink, call 1-800-AAA-HELP and AAA's Tow-to-Go service will provide you a free tow and ride home. (Nov. 24-Jan. 2)
  6. Handle and prepare food safely. Avoid food-related illness by washing hands and work surfaces often. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature and refrigerate promptly.
Source: Going Places AAA

In Broward County, AAA has a location in Pembroke Pines.  You can get your holiday attraction tickets and membership information there.  Especially if you have a teen driver in the house, getting them an AAA Membership is an excellent gift (probably more for you, but it is worth the sense of relief when they break down and need a tow).  A tow alone can sometimes cost up to $400.00.  With AAA, you get three free tows a year and much more.  Look into it today!

On a personal note, thankfully my son had his AAA card last weekend - when he lost his car keys!  Between the locksmith and the tow, it didn't cost me anything (thanks to our AAA Membership).

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens!

Read more.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spina Bifida Awareness Month is October

Did you know that birth defects occur in 7 out of every 10,000 live births in the U.S.?  And Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect?  In honor of October being Spina Bifida Awareness Month, I’m reaching out on behalf of the Spina Bifida Association to ask everyone to take a few minutes today to get involved by educating loved ones. 

So what exactly is Spina Bifida?  The short version of it: Spina Bifida happens when the spinal column doesn't close completely. It’s hard to believe that eight births each day are affected by Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. Think of it this way, there are currently over 65 million women in the U.S. who could become pregnant and each one of these ladies is at risk of having a baby born with Spina Bifida.  

So because Spina Bifida occurs during the first month of pregnancy (that’s even before most women know they’re pregnant!) it is that much more important, as a woman, to take proper precautions to help try to prevent it now.  

Okay. So what type of precautions can help in prevention, you ask?  Although at this time there is no known cause of Spina Bifida, research has shown that if a woman takes 400 mcg of folic acid every day and before she becomes pregnant, she reduces her risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida or another neural tube defect by as much as 70%! 

That fact is reason enough to encourage women (and men) to get out there this month and spread awareness.  To hear one mom’s message, click here:

And finally, SBA is launching great, online resources for parents, tweens and teens including transitional resources, social network involvement and even an online university for young adults. For even more information, tips and resources, you may visit:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teen Driving Contract

We all know the day that our teen takes the keys can be one that is stressful.  Many times you will hear driving schools and other professionals suggest you have a Teen Driving Contract in place and if they can't follow the rules for safe driving, the keys come back.

Each family may have their own opinions on what they want in the contract for their teen's protection, however let's look at a standard contract.  Teen Driving website offers a great template to start with.  When teens negotiate their own set of car keys, parents worry that they’ve said goodbye to all control.  It’s true that teens experience a new sense of freedom when they get their licenses.  But they often don’t understand the responsibilities that come with the privilege.  Parents can help by drawing up a driving contract, before turning over the keys, that clearly states the family rules as well as the consequences for breaking them.  A contract should address safety, good driving skills, and particular situations in the following areas:

 The car:

Parents should make decisions on the following car related items and add them to the contract.
  • Which car(s) the teen is allowed to drive:  The car should have a driver’s side airbag, a good safety rating, and be easy to maneuver
  • Car care—including putting gas into the car, oil changes, tire pressure, and regular maintenance requirements
  • Car clutter—keeping the car clean inside and out and free of trash
  • Paying for insurance.  Insurance rates for teens are often twice the ones for adults over twenty five—and for good reason.  Teens have an average of three accidents between 16 and 20.  Some parents find that having their teens pay the insurance costs with their part time jobs provides some incentive for avoiding reckless  onroad behavior that often results in accidents.  Insurance rates will rise sharply with each accident—sometimes costing thousands of dollars per year.

The contract should also stress safe driving practices, including:
  • Always obeying the speed limit and traffic laws
  • Always wearing seat belts and making sure that all passengers are buckled up before driving. (This is the law in Florida).
  • No drinking/drug use—Parents should always be vigilant in watching for signs of alcohol or drug use by their teens and talk to their teens and seek professional help if they find indications.   Driving while impaired is one of the leading causes of fatality in vehicle crashes—and the numbers are unfortunately on the rise in the last few years.  The contract should state that teens are not allowed to drink and drive, have alcohol in the car, or even be a passenger in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs.  Assure your teen that they can always call you to come get them if they get stranded at a gathering.
  • Not driving with friends in the car.  We ( suggest that teens not be allowed to drive with friends or even younger siblings in the car for the first six to twelve months of having their license unless an adult is also in the car.  Many states have instituted graduated licensing programs that also have this limitation.  Distractions are one of the main causes of accidents for new drivers.  And trying to keep track of conversations, playing around, or trying to act cool could lead to a crash.
  •   Not using cell phones or texting while driving.
  • ·New drivers should let parents know where they are going and when they plan to return.
  • Curfews.  Night driving is especially difficult for a new driver and more accidents happen in the 9:00 p.m.-2:00 A.M. timeframe than during the daylight hours.  Set realistic curfews, but also tell teens that if they are running late, it’s always better to drive safely than speed to make up the minutes—and to call you if possible to let you know they are on the way home.

The contract should specify what happens if the rules are broken.  It’s a good idea to get your teen’s input on appropriate penalties.  For example, a speeding ticket might result in the loss of driving privilege for a week and having to pay for the ticket.

The following is a sample contract that parents can modify by adding their own consequences to meet their needs.

 Driving Contract

I __________________________,  agree to the terms of this contract allowing me the privilege of driving my
own car or family vehicles  If, at any time, I violate this agreement, the driving privilege will be forfeited to the extent and degree of violation.
1. I will obey all traffic laws and the posted speed limits and follow safe driving practices at all times.
2. I will not drink and drive, or use drugs and drive and will not have any liquor or  beer or illegal drugs in the car at any time.
3. Should I get a traffic violation ticket, I agree to pay for the ticket as well as the difference in the insurance premium for as long as the premium is in effect.
4. I agree to pay for damages that I incur not covered by insurance including all deductibles.
5. I will never transport more than ______ passengers in the car and will not drive the car until all passengers have buckled up.     For the first six months, I will not drive friends and siblings in the car unless an adult is present.
6. I will keep the car that I drive clean, inside and out take care of gas, oil, and maintenance requirements.
7. I will inform my parents about where I am driving, when I plan to return, and if I will be late coming home.
8. I will not make calls or text on my cell phone while driving.
  • I agree to pay for car insurance.
  • I am allowed to drive the following family cars:  list car or cars.
  • My curfew for night driving is 10:00 p.m.
     I have read the above agreement and do sign this in accordance with the rules.

Signed by Teen and Parents on the specific date.

Another tip is to have the contract enlarged and made into a poster for the wall.  At the store, we’ve made a sample contract into a poster.  We hope this information helps parents and teens agree on safe driving behavior.

Copy and paste this into Word.  You can edit it to meet your needs and print out for you and your teen to review.

Visit for more great safety tips for teen drivers.


Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dove Self-Esteem Weekend

Today there is more pressure than ever on young girls to be physically perfect.  Peer pressure is overwhelming.  We see this reflected in the media all around us.

Research shows a link between a mother's influence and her daughter's ideas about health and body confidence.  If mothers can become more aware of their attitudes towards their own bodies and those of their daughters, they can help their daughters stand up to powerful influences in our culture that undermine their own sense of beauty and self-worth.

October 22 - 24th, across the country there is a movement - The Dove Movement of Self-Esteem!  You can find events going on and a vast amount of social media to help build self-esteem and change the world one girl at a time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Go Bumper Sticker: Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe

A new group called, is hitting the pavement and creating an awareness and accountability to drive responsibly.

The goal of the program: to protect teenage drivers and promote safe driving habits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Drivers aged 16 to 19 years of age have the highest average annual crash and traffic violation rates of any other age group." In addition, "16-year-olds are 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers."

The GoTellMom program is designed to protect your child, while correcting & preventing bad driving habits early, helping to reduce accidents and injury to your child and others.

In a recent press release by Go TellMom:
With the program, parents register online and receive a "How's My Teen's Driving?" bumper sticker with a unique privacy protected identification number. If a fellow driver or witness observes unsafe driving habits by the teen, they can call or visit to report the incident using the 4 digit code on the bumper sticker. will then send a detailed email report notifying the parents.

Studies show that commercial vehicles utilizing "How's My Driving" stickers reported a 20% decrease in accidents and traffic violations.

By placing the sticker on a teen's car, parents have taken a proactive step towards preventing bad driving habits, ultimately keeping their teens safe.

Whether it is speeding, texting while driving, a taillight out or just careless teen driving - the community can call or report to, and the teen's parent will instantly be notified. If teen drivers know that the community is watching and at any time a report can be made, then safe driving will become a priority.

Launched in 2010, is a proactive way for parents and the community to monitor teen drivers and moreover help correct bad driving habits early. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce the Sandcastles Way

By M. Gary Neuman

Divorce is painful and confusing. Perhaps now more than ever, you want to give your child all the love, support, and guidance he or she needs, but everything seems harder and more complicated. Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way can help. Based on Gary Neuman’s phenomenally successful Sandcastles Program ™, which has helped more than fifty thousand children cope with divorce, this warm, empathetic guide shows you:
  • How to build a co-parenting relationship–even when you think you can’t
  • When you or your child should see a therapist
  • Age-appropriate scripts for addressing sensitive issues
  • What to do when a parent moves away
  • How to stop fighting with your ex-spouse
  • How to navigate the emotional turmoil of custody and visitation
  • How to help your child deal with change
  • How to cope with kids’ common fears about separation
  • How to introduce significant others into the family and help your child cope with a new stepfamily
More than a hundred pieces of artwork from children of divorce will help you appreciate how kids perceive the experience. Dozens of special activities and fun exercises will help you communicate and get closer to your child. This guide shows you that divorce need not be an inevitable blot on children’s lives, but an opportunity for them to grow and strengthen the bonds with their parents.