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TV Shows You and Your Kids Can Watch Together

How many of us run out of the room as soon as the kids put on the TV? Chances are, it’s going to be the same cartoons they’ve watched hundreds of times. Hardly something the whole family can watch. However, there are some TV shows that you can sit and watch with them. It doesn’t have just to be Peppa Pig 24/7. Here are some of the best TV shows for the whole family.

SpongeBob Squarepants
I did say that most of us don’t want to watch cartoons, but everyone can make an exception for SpongeBob. It was originally going to be a TV show for adults before they signed a deal with Cartoon Network. It then became a kids show, which also appealed to adults. There’s some excellent humor in there that only grownups will get. Yet it’s still perfectly okay for children to watch. It’s a win-win.


Doctor Who
This programme has been running since 1963, with a whole host of famous people taking over the Doctor’s legacy. It’s a British TV show so it may be quite hard to track down. However, look for cable TV and broadband packages in your area. It may just be on an obscure channel or an online streaming site. This is the perfect show to get the whole family gathered around for. Although some of the episodes can be a little spooky!

Hannah Montana
Everyone loves seeing Miley Cyrus play an innocent young woman, in this Disney Channel classic. Although she may be a little wilder now, it’s quite nice to see how sweet she once was. Hannah Montana is a real hit with kids and it appeals to adults too. There’s a whole lot of wisecracks and some extra special performances from Billy Ray Cyrus. What’s not to love?

If you have younger children then this is a great show to watch with them. It’s another British programme, so it may be a little difficult to find the episodes. However, you may be able to download the series from places such as Amazon. You can them put them on your iPad too! It’s a simple story telling show that ran for over 30 years. There are plenty of guest appearances and some truly beautiful stories. It’ll become a quick favorite in your household, with both the adults and the kids.


The Muppet Show
It may seem a little dated now, but you can still find reruns of this classic on various cable channels. The Muppet Show was a programme designed for children, but with the adults in mind. It’s packed with great comedy and some rather fantastic characters. Not to mention the on-off relationship of Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

Adventure Time
We’re going to end on another cartoon! Again, this is a show that could easily have been made for adults as opposed to children. There’s a lot of jokes in there that seem to be targeted at grownups rather than kids. It’s actually earnt itself a cult following of adults too. If your children want to watch cartoons, then this could be your best bet.

Now you don’t have to make yourself busy whenever your kids turn on the TV. Just switch over to a show that all of you can enjoy together, instead. It’s just another few hours you get to spend with your little ones – and that’s what matters!

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All’s not fair in love and war

As I write this, Dan is sleeping off the side effects of the medications he is taking to manage the symptoms of the concussion my twenty year old brother, Yusef, gave him. Yes, concussion. And once upon a time I used an alias to protect my brother’s identity, but he’s twenty and has now attacked both his brother and brother-in-law (who happens to be my HUSBAND), so this is me saying I don’t give two fucks for using his real name, or potentially identifying him.

So let’s backtrack to Thursday evening: after doing some grocery shopping together, my mom said Alyssa and Ryan could spend the weekend with her, but since she lives in a 2-bedroom apartment and things can get kind of crazy with three autistic boys (Yusef, my 17 year old brother Cat, and Ryan) and a girl under one roof, she asked me to keep Yusef for the weekend. No biggie – he enjoys spending time at our house where it’s quieter and more structured, and we have faster internet and lots of yummy snacks. No big deal. Whatevs.

Yesterday morning Yusef and I went grocery shopping, and then he accompanied Dan and I first to my ortho appointment, and then to our mom’s apartment, with the plan being we’d be dropping off a few things for the sprogs, and Yusef could pick up his laptop, toiletries, and some extra clothing.

Except Yusef decided he didn’t want to go. And because he is twenty goddamned years old yet acts like a twelve year old, is bipolar and probably a paranoid schizophrenic who on a regular basis will cycle through taking his medications and then abruptly not take his medications, he flipped his shit and physically attacked Dan in response to Dan picking up Yusef’s laptop and saying, “fine, we’ll just take this with us and you can come if you want it”.

The assault — because that’s what it was — took place in my mom’s living room. Dan is 235 pounds and 5’11, so he’s not exactly going to blow away with the wind, but Yusef is 220 pounds and about 6′, and he also has youth (20 versus Dan’s 33) and good health (no Fibromyalgia, unhealed shoulder injury) on his side. My mom and I were initially so shocked we were just frozen in place, but Dan and Yusef were grappling in close proximity to the kids – Ryan was sitting in a recliner just screaming hysterically, and Alyssa was unfortunately on the twin-sized bed right next to the two of them. While my mom and I were screaming at Yusef to stop, she grabbed Alyssa and I grabbed Ryan, and we hustled them into Cat’s bedroom.

I don’t know how long the assault went on for… I do know that Dan spent most of the fight just trying to restrain Yusef and keep Yusef from attacking (punching, scratching, biting) him, and Yusef did whatever he could to punch Dan in the face and head as many times as he could. Dan got a few punches in himself, which we don’t blame him for since Yusef attacked and continued attacking him and you can only take blows to the head for so long before you retaliate. At one point Yusef backed off and Dan moved away, and Yusef took that opportunity to pick up a heavy wooden desk chair and attempt to throw it at Dan – meanwhile my mom and I were screaming at Yusef to stop and for Dan to look out. Yusef did, however, succeed in throwing a heavy wooden end table at Dan. He also sucker-punched him directly in the face while Dan was catching his breath. Yusef later bragged about fighting dirty.

At that point I grabbed the kids and herded them out of the apartment, and both Cat and my mom called the police. The police arrived moments later, followed by paramedics, and Dan was taken to the hospital by ambulance to be evaluated for (and diagnosed and treated) a head injury; and Yusef was taken by police and paramedics to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. While Dan was being treated in the ER, I called Yusef’s parole officer and left a message letting him know what had transpired. I look forward to hearing about his arrest.

Dan has a concussion, a bruised eye socket, and a lot of scratches and gouges all over his face. Alyssa and Ryan were scared out of their minds but physically unhurt. My mom, Cat, and I are shaken up. I don’t know how much longer my mom can handle letting him live with her. That’s her decision to make, but Yusef is no longer welcome in our home or otherwise around us. There’s no question in choosing the safety, comfort, and well-being of my husband (and children) over a selfish prick who sabotages his own life and acts out against the very same people who take care of him. There is no place in our lives for someone who thinks nothing of physically assaulting others.

Yusef, if you’re reading this (and I’m sure you are because it’s not like you do anything other with your life than sit on the internet all day and night): FUCK YOU.

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How to celebrate your dog’s birthday

You dog is your best friend who follows you everywhere you go and is always happy to see you. Celebrating your dog’s birthday is a great way to show you care and to make your pet feel as special as possible. Even though your dog might not fully know what’s going on, he or she will most likely appreciate your efforts either way. Here are some simple suggestions to help you celebrate in style.

Shower Your Dog with Gifts and Treats
Dogs love toys and treats, and a great way to make their special days as memorable as possible is to purchase a dog gift basket. Some pets can even unwrap their own presents with minimal supervision, so it might be a great time to purchase that new dog bed you’ve been watching at the pet store for months. Some dogs are even quite photogenic; dress up your pet and take plenty of pictures to capture the moment.

Consider Baking or Purchasing a Cake
Everyone loves eating a delicious birthday cake, and dogs are no different. There are plenty of dog birthday cake recipes online, and many companies specialize in baking natural dog cakes. You can even sing the birthday song as you watch your pet chow down!

Visit the Dog Park
Take your dog to the park for the afternoon and let it get plenty of sunshine and exercise. Dogs love to mingle with other dogs, and the dog park is a great way to let your pet socialize. It will be a great way to let it work off those extra pounds from eating birthday cake as well.

Honor Your Dog
Consider donating money to a reputable pet charity in lieu of purchasing a gift for your dog. There’s no better way to honor your pet than by giving to other dogs that may be living in less favorable conditions. There are also dog walking programs that will allow you to foster a lonely dog for a day or two.

Your pet is an important member of the family, and even though it may not fully understand the concept of a birthday, he or she will definitely appreciate getting pampered with extra attention.

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4 Benefits of Slate Flooring in the Kitchen

Slate flooring can give any kitchen a lavish appearance while providing the longevity you need. Able to sustain several decades worth of wear and tear, it’s a surface material that can completely change the way you look at your kitchen. Experienced flooring contractors may be able to give you a sophisticated appearance at an affordable rate – especially when you consider how long the slate can survive the years of continuous use.

Slate can have a natural cleft finish which gives it a slightly rough surface. The surface of the stone is such that it promotes traction without it seeming too porous or rough on bare feet. This can be ideal in areas such as the kitchen when slips can cause injuries.

Easy to Seal
Using a penetrating seal on slate gives it a wet or glossy look without a waxy buildup. This can give the surface a long-lasting shine reducing the time you spend waxing your kitchen floor. It’s a clean look that many spend a great deal of time trying to achieve on other surfaces.

Variety of Colors
Slate can come in a broad range of styles and colors. When you need to match counter tops, cabinets or appliances, the different kinds of slate allow for an extended pallet helping you find just the right shade. These natural hues will retain their colors for years to come without fading from UV rays peering through the kitchen window.

Many attest to how slate has a soft and smooth feel under foot providing a great deal of comfort. Unlike walking on cement or other stone materials, slate doesn’t have that same unyielding feel. While some people may put rugs in their kitchens to stand on, you may find slate comfortable enough to wash dishes without feeling strain on your arches.

The natural composition of slate makes it resistant to stains, which provides an ideal surface for areas such as the kitchen. Easy to clean, the material could retain its “new” look for years to come making it an attractive addition to the home. For those looking for a natural appearance, slate is one of the most efficient surfaces you can find.

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I am a drug seeker

(I am a drug seeker – for PAIN.)

The last six months have been exhausting – physically more than anything else. I am getting a small taste of what it is like to live with chronic pain, and I have taken two things away from this experience thus far:

A few days after Christmas, I went to a hospital ER with horrible flank pain. Six weeks and probably twice as many visits to my PCP and several specialists later, I had a tentative diagnosis: bulging discs and degenerative disc disease (or DDD).

In February, while in the midst of back pain and spasms, I took on the task of clearing three inches worth of slushy snow from our porch, walkway, driveway, and vehicles. The next night I realized I had done something to my left shoulder when the horrible searing, burning pain set in.

Fast forward to now: six months, probably as many hospital visits, at least a dozen visits each to my PCP, a back orthopedic specialist, and a shoulder orthopedic specialist (I also saw a neuro-surgeon, at the request of the back ortho); two MRIs, three X-rays, and two EMGs; as well as several steroid injections, Toradal injections, Prednisone prescriptions, pain medication prescriptions, and Lidocaine patches, and even an epidural injection in my spine, plus a lot of use of both a moist heating pad and a TENS unit, I have one definitive group of diagnoses and two tentative diagnoses (which will be sorted out in the coming weeks):

Physical therapy began and abruptly ended in late April, when my PT realized something serious was up with my shoulder. It was postponed further due to surprise abdominal surgery (strangulated intestinal hernia) putting me on medical restrictions, and the surgery itself + a 1-day hospital stay a week later disrupting the appointments I had rescheduled, then re-scheduled.

In addition to taking vitamins and an anti-depressant daily, I am now taking pain medication. I hate to say it, but I need it. I rely on it. But even with the pain medication (I started out with Tramadol, but because the pain is so significant and relentless Dr. Shoulder switched me to Tylenol 3 so I don’t put myself at risk of a having a seizure), the pain is only brought down to a 5. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable. It’s distracting. It’s restrictive. I feel like all I do nowadays is juggle work, household (kids/pets), visits to doctors, pharmacy runs, and pain – trying my best to manage the pain and work and daily life in general around it. Everything is disrupted by the pain – energy, mood, sleep. You name it, it’s affected. And, I know that all of these medications – Prednisone, Torodal, Tylenol 3, epidural injection, etc. – only treat the symptom. They make the symptoms more bearable, but do not treat the condition. For months I’ve been wanting answers, and during some weeks have had 2-3 appointments (one with each type of doctor), and a test or two, in the quest to get answers. And after answers, I want treatment: whether it’s PT or surgery or both (in the case of my shoulder, most likely both).

Thankfully my back is better – it took a couple of months of visits, whining, insurance pre-authorizations, and tests, but I finally was referred to a pain management specialist who set me up with a spinal epidural injection (really not that bad of a procedure – I think the spinal epidurals I received during labor with Alyssa and for my c-section with Ryan were worse!). That was on June 19th. Within a week, my back was feeling noticeably better – I only get occasional twinges now.

My shoulder is a constant source of pain, and it also creaks and pops. I alternate between resting it and using it normally and keeping active – out of a need to keep up with daily life, and because I don’t want to have “frozen shoulder” added to my chart. I’m excitedly counting down the days until July 16th, which is the day I’ll have an MRI with contrast to see exactly what’s going on with my shoulder – labrum tear, rotator cuff injury, or something else altogether.

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