November 19, 2017

The Fault in our Stars is a modern Romeo and Juliet

fault in our stars movie

Rated PG-13, 2 hours 6 minutes Julie Samrick Hazel is a 17-year-old with terminal cancer who starts going to support group to deal with her depression. She meets fellow teen Augustus Waters, whose vivacious personality soon rubs off on Hazel. Everything is wonderful except for the one fault in their stars- a nod to a… Read more

Every Sunday could be Father’s Day

Father's Day inspiration

By Julie Samrick My uncle is in the end stages of ALS and was moved into comfort care this week. Though my dad has four daughters, the family he created with my mom, he’s said it’s a lonely feeling to be losing the last remaining member of his original family. At 67-years-old, my dad’s even… Read more

GIVEAWAY: GEMINA: THE CROOKED-NECK GIRAFFE CLOSED

GEMINA: THE CROOKED-NECK GIRAFFE

June is national zoo and aquarium month, so it’s perfect timing to offer a picture book and plush toy giveaway honoring one of the most famous residents of the Santa Barbara Zoo.   GEMINA: THE CROOKED-NECK GIRAFFE is about a giraffe who was born healthy at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. She lived at… Read more

‘Maleficent’ tells her side of the story

Malificent

By Julie Samrick Maleficent is a well-intentioned fairy, a protector of her kingdom in the moors until her heart is hardened when she’s betrayed by the human world. She seeks revenge, taking her fury out on an innocent baby, Princess Aurora, thereby setting up the Sleeping Beauty story we know so well.   Like the… Read more

How to Teach Kids the Importance of Memorial Day

memorial day

By Julie Samrick For many people Memorial Day  conjures images of 3-day weekends, discounts at the mall, and when we can officially wear white shoes without looking tacky.  But it’s important we pause to reflect and teach our kids why we have a Memorial Day but once a year, a day of serious reflection and… Read more

Middle school phone wars

cellphone kids crossing street

By Julie Samrick The verdict is still out whether or not the MTV effect will work on my sixth grader. When I was his age my mom delayed letting me watch MTV long enough that by the time I had the freedom to watch it, I’d never developed the habit and lost interest. My son… Read more

‘Every 15′ offers sobering reminder to teens

Every 15

By Julie Samrick One high school student lay dead, ejected from the vehicle her best friend drove seconds before. Only the frantic wails of a second passenger could be heard as she called her best friends’ names from the back seat, pleading for them to answer. The teenage drunk driver, also from the same high… Read more

Rio 2 is a colorful sequel with one flaw

Rio 2

Julie Samrick At the start of Rio 2 domesticated blue macaw Blu, his wife Jewel and three kids leave their computers, iPods and busy city life in Rio de Janeiro to get back to basics and research their heritage in the Amazon rainforest. Thinking they’re the only blue macaws left in the world, they find… Read more

How to create a stronger math student before your child ever starts school

early math skills

By Julie Samrick I’ve shared how the years before kindergarten are optimal for playing games to create brighter students later on. And by specifically embracing numbers at an early age don’t be surprised when you’ve created a stronger math student too.    Sometimes when we wait to introduce concepts to kids, it takes them longer… Read more

Teen starts ‘Light it Up Blue’ event for Autism Awareness

Matthias Zierhut

By Julie Samrick Matthais Zierhut has prepared for this role his whole life. The 16-year-old high school sophomore is the planner and coordinator of his town’s first Light It Up Blue event in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 2. Autism Speaks created the campaign where more than 1,300 cities spanning all… Read more