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Smoke Alarm Inspection: It’s About Time

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 in Education, Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

 Sponsored Turn Daylight Saving Time into the Ideal Time to Check your Smoke Detectors Smoke alarms are an essential part of home safety. It is equally vital that they are not ignored once they are installed. Not following up with routine, periodic alarm check-ups could render the devices as nothing more than well-intended showpieces that merely create the illusion of safety. This lack of attention could come with deadly consequences. To wit: according to data mined from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one in five home structure fire deaths came from homes that had non-operating smoke alarms present. In most cases, the root of the malfunction was a worn-out alarm or a dead battery. This particular statistic obviously shines a light on something that is not normally thought about, and...

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A Frugal Coup: Groupon Coupons Give You Tons of Options to Save Money

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Deals, Family, Shopping | 0 comments

 Sponsored In a way, the concept of Groupon Coupons almost feels like a riff on the plot of the film “Inception.” Much like the movie’s plot is focused on digging below the surface of a person’s dreamscape to explore the rich world of the subconscious, Groupon Coupons burrow past the popular discounts associated with the daily deal service to mine a deep realm of money savings offers. In other words, think of Groupon Coupons as an opportunity to save a few bucks within an opportunity to save a few bucks. If you’re the cynical type, you may already be thinking that the 70,000-plus online coupons offered by Groupon Coupons consist of a bunch of odd shops and services that you’d never set foot in, even if you knew where it was located. You’d be wrong, unless stores and services...

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A Golden Alarm for the Golden State: The Kidde Worry-Free Smoke Alarm Helps Keep You Safe and Compliant with New California Laws

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

 Sponsored The smoke alarm that’s been in your home since you bought it in 2008 has finally given up the ghost. The three different 9-volt batteries you tried to revive it with proved to be fruitless in their attempts. You decide to go to your local hardware store to get a replacement, smoke detector in hand so you know to get the same or a similar brand. You flag down the nearest employee and ask her where the smoke alarms are. She sees the defunct detector clutched in your left hand, the blue battery plug in pad dangling from the empty slot. She slightly tilts her head to the left and softly informs you that they are no longer allowed to carry those types of alarms anymore due to a new state regulation. You blankly stare back at her,...

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Fit for a King: Spending Time with the Sequoias in Central California’s Kings Canyon National Park

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Featured, National Parks, Road Trips, Travel | 0 comments

  There’s a measure of explanation that most likely needs to happen when you tell people you’re headed off to Kings Canyon National Park. Specifically, you should be prepared to tell people where exactly it is you’re going. Even though Kings Canyon covers close to 462,000 acres and has been a national park since 1940, it is oftentimes lumped together with the more famous Sequoia National Park. This tends to render it invisible. As such, you’re probably better off telling people that you’re off to the Sequoias, to do Sequoias-related things. They’ll understand and be appropriately excited for/jealous of you. They’ll have every right to express either emotion. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, as it is officially dubbed by the U.S. National Park Service, is an exceptional spot for outdoor adventure in Central California. This particularly rings true...

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Arizona’s Weird Side is Full of Wild Wonder

Posted by on Jun 13, 2015 in Arizona, Travel | 0 comments

  These were the only two things I knew about Sedona prior to making it the first destination of a five-day, four-night family romp through Northern Arizona. Yet they were equally responsible for fueling my interest in checking out this quirky city, long considered a haven for those that are into things like spiritual vortexes and other similar practices that the average person may consider a bit fringy. It’s been my experience that people that society considers odd produce some pretty beautiful things.  It doesn’t take much time after we arrive to realize that the beautiful things Sedona residents make – and some of the wares are indeed rather lovely – take a back seat to Sedona’s natural splendor. Bell Rock, pictured above, is one of the many rock formations in Sedona that are cool enough to have...

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A Generous Slice of Kindness: Laguna Beach Taste of the Nation Raises Nearly $200,000 to Fight Childhood Hunger

Posted by on Jun 12, 2015 in Dining, Events, Family, Featured, Giving Back | 0 comments

 It’s no secret that the Laguna Beach Taste of the Nation has long been one of Orange County’s most elegant food-centric fundraising events. All of its moving parts – celebrity chefs, top-flight wines, the stunning seaside cliffs of the Montage Laguna Beach – all represent the luxurious life in some form. Yet all the gloss of the annual gathering is always held together by the desire to defeat the scourge of childhood hunger; an issue that affects a whopping one in five children nationwide. The desire that fueled this year’s event, which was held on May 17th, led to the raising of nearly $200,000 for the non-profit organization Share Our Strength and its No Kid Hungry campaign. It was a dollar amount that, in retrospect, lent a tremendous amount of gravitas to each bite consumed, every wine sipped, and...

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Road Route 66 Still Makes a Nice Road Trip Diversion

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Arizona, Travel | 0 comments

  The classic song “Route 66” had long led me to believe the highway was overrated. Out of the cities listed in the tune, the only ones that seemed worth visiting were Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. How many people do you know get excited about making a stop in Gallup, New Mexico? Of course, my cynical view of the road has changed in the wake of parenthood. The Pixar movie “Cars” singlehandedly recaptured the mythos behind the historic highway, which was officially decommissioned by the U.S. government in 1985. That the flick managed to plant the culture of Route 66 into the minds of kids whose parents may not have been alive when the road technically bit the dust is no small feat. It stirred up interest in my daughters, to the point where it feels like...

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A Grand Time: Exploring the Wonder of the Grand Canyon

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Arizona, Travel | 0 comments

  There are those that try to tell you the Grand Canyon is nothing more than a big hole in the ground. Do not take their opinion seriously. They either have never actually visited this splendid natural wonder, or they went there the week after their significant other dumped them or something as equally miserable. The Grand Canyon is majestic to the point where it defies you to come up with a proper description of its beauty. Spoiler alert: you will fail in this endeavor. While the Grand Canyon is a place whose beauty will shake you to the core, it is also a tourist destination surrounded by several touristy things. The tourist vibe is something we know we can’t avoid, especially since our trip to the Canyon is a family-friendly jaunt, so we decide that it’s best to...

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Rock On, Rock Freely: The Orange County Summer is Packed with Free Summer Concerts

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Events, Featured, Summer | 0 comments

  One of the coolest things about being a parent is to educate your children in a way that doesn’t feel like education to them. This trick can be relatively easy to do when it comes to music. All it takes is turning on the radio, pushing play on a CD player, or logging into your online streaming service of choice to expose your kids to the wealth of tunes that exist. Taking them to see a concert doesn’t exactly hurt their development of music appreciation, either. If the word “concert” makes you involuntarily clutch your wallet in sheer panic, don’t fret. Orange County has an abundance of free concerts occurring this summer, and they pretty much cover all of musical genres, from modern country and classic Motown to classical, jazz, and other music traditionally found on the left...

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Starry, Starry Cinema: Free Outdoor Movies in Orange County for 2015

Posted by on Jun 3, 2015 in Events, Featured, Holiday, Summer | 0 comments

 There is something inherently blissful about watching a movie outdoors in the summertime. The sound of the film is audible yet not overpowering, thus allowing the natural ambiance of chirping birds or the effects of gusting breezes to be quietly heard. The visuals that are seen on celluloid are accompanied by the twinkle of the darkened heavens. The food and drink that is enjoyed may very well improve upon buckets of popcorn smeared in buttery goo. The temperature is typically just cool enough to make it a convenient reason to huddle close to your family and share a measure of loving warmth. Sure, the films being shown aren’t exactly new – parents with little kids may unwittingly have some of them committed to memory – but that’s totally fine. Nobody ever goes to an outdoor movie in the summer...

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ECCU Can Help Parents Lower the Financial Stress of Higher Education

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Education, Family, Featured, Giveaways, Hot Topics | 0 comments

 Sponsored Saving for college is an important task, since we all know that higher education isn’t cheap. But even though we are reminded about how critical this step is every time we encounter the latest metrics on the cost of tuition and books, real life tends to be a stumbling block that gets in the way of our intentions. And this is more widespread than you may realize: According to a survey conducted by student loan giant Sallie Mae, only 48% of parents are saving for their child’s education. If you aren’t currently socking away future collegiate costs, take comfort. You’re not alone. You’re also not too late to start up a college savings plan, which is a task that a reputable financial institution like Evangelical Christian Credit Union can help you complete. Even if you have never been...

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CHOC Gives Hope for Childhood Mental Health in Orange County

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Family, Featured, Health, Hot Topics, Parenting | 0 comments

  The numbers regarding mental health conditions amongst children are staggering. Studies show one in five children experiences a diagnosable mental health condition over the course of their childhood, a metric that extrapolates to 150,000 Orange County kids. Even more startling is how woefully insufficient proper treatment for these conditions has traditionally been. For example, inpatient beds for mental health patients younger than 12 currently do not exist in Orange County. It is an issue that partially stems from the notion that childhood mental health conditions are something that is acknowledged but seldom discussed, leading to a lack of knowledge of all that is actually needed. It is also an issue that CHOC Children’s in Orange is tackling head-on, thanks to an ambitious initiative that was unveiled on Wednesday, May 20th. The core of the initiative is to not...

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The Dragon Institute Kids Kung Fu Program Creates Well-Rounded Children

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Camp, Education, Family, Featured, Parenting, Summer | 0 comments

 Partnered Story The martial art of kung fu is not about showing off or winning trophies. It’s about learning how to protect yourself. It is a vital practice for children to learn, since the scourge of bullying is still an unfortunate reality from grade school to high school. Yet kung fu also goes beyond the realm of self-defense for kids. It serves as an interactive way to hone skills that will serve them well later in life – skills like discipline and focus, confidence and ambition. This belief is the cornerstone of the Kids Kung Fu classes at The Dragon Institute. It is a key reason why they have been recognized as the “Best Martial Arts in Orange County” by OC City Voter for four consecutive years, as well as the Dana Point Times 2014 Golden Lantern Award for...

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Coastal Surrogacy Helps the Dream of Parenthood a Reality

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Family, Health, Parenting | 0 comments

 Partnered Story Biology can interfere with starting a family. Infertility affects 1 in 10 people. Some women have medical conditions that make carrying pregnancy to full term a potentially dangerous endeavor. These conditions can cause heartbreak. Yet biology when combined with science can bring hope. This is particularly evident in the act of surrogacy, as women that take on this noble process can become heroines to those whose dreams of having a biological child may otherwise be dashed. The road to becoming a surrogate is one that is paved with education and guidance. It is a path that Coastal Surrogacy has been helping potential surrogates navigate since 2006. The Newport Beach-based “boutique style” agency has played a role in the birth of over 200 babies being born to intended parents – babies that would not have been born without...

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An App That Brings Families Together

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in Family, Hot Topics, Parenting, Tech | 0 comments

 Sponsored Talking to family that lives hundreds of miles away from you is relatively easy in this age of technology. Connecting with them as if they were in the same room is a different story. While a phone call or a social media message will carry a nice sentiment, they oftentimes feel as if you’re “checking in” rather than growing a bond. This is especially true with grandparents and grandkids, where the generation gap oftentimes produces shallow conversations. The need to make and cultivate these connections is why Panasonic’s HomeTeam™ app is such a vital download. This special online service reaches across distance and generations to connect grandparents, parents, and grandkids by letting them enjoy shared experiences in real-time. With the HomeTeam™ app, family members of all ages can engage in the kinds of activities that may otherwise only...

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