Showing posts sorted by date for query pet. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query pet. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query pet. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query pet. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Christmas Gift Ideas for Tweens: Gift Guide Review

Find the Best Christmas Gifts for Preteens (Tweens)


Searching for the best Christmas gift ideasChristmas gift ideas for tweens? Check out our gift guide for tween boys and girls aged 9-12 yrs. These Christmas gift ideas for tweens were tested by our staff's own children and have received a two thumbs up! 

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Finding the right gift for preteens is tough, because they’re not little kids anymore, but they’re not quite teenagers yet. Most tweens are outgrowing their favorite toys and developing their own tastes. What they loved yesterday is old news! Tweens often like gifts that are related to their interest and seem cool and fun: Think Nifty

Because shopping for teens and tweens is difficult, it's tempting to take the easy way out and give them money or a gift card, but a great gift is much more memorable and lets them know that you really care. Below are some of our top picks for teen and tween Christmas gifts.


5 Top Picks for Tweens Gift Guide Review


  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera



holiday gift idea for preteen tween girl girls


Our tween girls love this camera! Nifty is its middle name. The Instant Camera is the perfect gift for tween girls. It’s stylish and it's an excellent value for the price. The Fuji camera comes in a range of funky colors and uses automatic exposure to help make it easy to use for beginners. All you have to do is turn the power on, adjust the dial, take the photo and wait for the film to develop. The tiny photos instantly pop out like old fashioned Polaroid pictures.

The camera is compact and lightweight so tweens can easily carry it around with them and even take photos one-handed. A highlight is the simplicity of the design because it doesn’t overwhelm kids with features and accessories they won’t use. Be sure to stock up on lots of film, kids love taking pictures of everyone during the holidays!

  • My Cinema Light Box

Last year, this was a hit with our preteens and tweens! A cinema light box is another nifty gift that helps tweens express their personality by showcasing a message they can personalize. Kids can share their own fun or inspiring messages to friends and family. Plus, there are lots of fun emojis included and plenty of room to add a range of messages that tweens will love. The light box has a cool color changing background with different settings that include fade, flash, and strobe to give a variety of effects. This is a truly unique gift for theater and other creative kids. Put their name in lights under the tree and brighten your preteen’s holidays.



  • Kanken Classic Backpack

The iconic Kanken backpack design is Retro which automatically translates to cool these days. Available in a wide range of colors, the large capacity storage space allows for plenty of room for school supplies and tablets. In addition to the main compartment, it has two side pockets and a front zippered pocket. The laptop pouch in the main compartment is perfect for a 13" Macbook Pro but won’t fit any larger laptops. Material is durable and water resistant, so if you're tweens are outdoorsy, it’s a great bag to take on hikes.





  • Electronic Drum Pad Set

Music lovers will have hours of fun with the electronic roll up drum pad set. Tweens can learn about the different sounds a drum kit makes and develop a sense of rhythm by playing a beat along to their favorite music. Use it with headphones to play at night and it won’t disturb your neighbors.

An electronic drum set pad is a great alternative to a full size drum set. Who has the room for a full-size drum set? It’s also easy to roll up and carry, so your kids can take it anywhere. We bought one of these for our tween boy last year. Pardon the pun, but it was a hit! We also bought this electric roll up piano for our musical tween daughter. She takes it with her everywhere she goes!





  • Crystal Growing Kit 

Crystal growing kits are a hit with 9 and 10 year-olds. If your preteen is into science or shows an interest in precious gems, the crystal growing kit is a perfect gift idea. Kids can grow red, blue, and white crystals and monitor their progress day by day as they transform into fully grown crystals. Once they’ve grown, add them to an LED display to show them off in their full glory. How cool is that?






These Christmas gift ideas for tweens are some of the best rated gifts for preteens on Amazon and have been proven hits with our own kids. If you didn’t find the perfect gift for your preteen, check out some more cool suggestions on Good Old Gifts. Hopefully, you'll find a gift suggestion that matches your preteen’s interests so you can give them something they’ll truly love this Christmas.



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Christmas Gift Ideas for Tweens: Gift Guide Review





Dealing with Death of a Pet

10 Things to Do After You Lose Your Dog



As soon as you bring your dog home, it becomes part of the family. All the shared moments, including the annoying ones - like chewing on your favorite pair of shoes - make your beloved pet more than just a dog. Our pets are full fledged members of our families. So, losing a pet is not easy for most pet owners. After being with your pet for so long, dealing with the death of a pet is difficult. Here are 10 things to do after you lose your dog or other beloved pet.


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Dealing with Death of a Dog
Pet Hacks: Dealing with Death of a Pet.

10 Tips on Dealing with Pet Death


Given that dogs are among the most loving and affectionate animals, their death can take a toll on their owners. When it comes to dealing with the loss of a dog, it's certainly no easier than the loss of a close relative. If you're just going through such a situation, here are 10 things you can do to cope with the loss of your favorite pet:

1. Hold a ceremony
Rituals help a lot with grieving the loss of a loved one and the loss of a pet is no different. Holding a ceremony allows you to celebrate the time you had with your beloved pet dog. It also creates an opportunity for other people who loved the dog to be part of his final journey. Besides, organizing the whole ritual will give you a sense of control over what is happening, and a certain peace of mind that you have accorded your dog utmost respect. It can keep your mind busy in the toughest days, right after the death of your pet.

2. Write down your feelings
Writing can be very therapeutic when dealing with death. Most times, it helps people to express the emotions that are too hard to verbalize. You can even turn your writing into a letter to your dog in heaven. This will allow you to invite better thoughts in your mind and help you to move forward in the grieving process.

3. Allow yourself to be sad
Hiding your sadness won't do you any good. Feel sad, and cry if you must. Know that the deepest pain won't last forever.

4. Reach out to others who have lost pets
You never have to do any of it alone. Other people have lost dogs before too, and they can help you cope. They'll understand and won't give you a hard time by saying, "it's just a dog." Pet people get it.

5. Get a new dog
The absence of a dog can leave you feeling lonely. Getting a new dog may not replace the old one. However, it's one way to to deal with the loneliness of the loss of a pet. As you consider the top 5 smartest dogs in the world which one should I buy for familylook for a dog that needs as much love as you do. It helps to get a rescue dog. This way, both of you can find love, companionship, and comfort together.

However, do take your time. Don't rush into getting a new pet, lest it feels like a replacement of your old one. If you aren't ready for a new dog, give it time dealing with the loss of a pet is like any other grieving process, it takes time.

6. Take your time to grieve
Like with any other loss, grieving the death of a pet is part of the process. You can't overlook the absence of a longtime companion dog. Instead of putting yourself through the pressure of forgetting it happened, take time to grieve. Don't expect all the ache to go away in just a few days. Give yourself time to go through the rough patch of losing your pet.

7. Recreate a memory
It helps to invite good thoughts your way. Recreating a memory you shared with your pet can help bring some laughter back into your life. It's also a nice way to get over the pain of not having your dog with you anymore. Go to the bark park and visit with other dogs. Saying hello to your pet's old friends may bring a tear to your eye, but it can also make you happy. Dog parks are fun for everyone!

8. Create a legacy
Your pet has impacted more than one life. Create a legacy for his life. Gather up pictures of your pet to form a photo album or even create a special scrapbook dedicated to your pet. This will help you preserve the memories of your dog and give you something to reminisce through with family members and friends.

9. Talk to a professional
There is no shame in seeking help. Asking a professional to help you cope with the loss of your pet can be the best and quickest way to your emotional healing.

10. Volunteer at an animal shelter

If getting another dog isn't an option for you, volunteering at an animal shelter is a good way to continue expressing your love for dogs.

Dealing with the loss of a pet is a journey that all pet owners must take. The more you face it upfront, the easier it becomes. For more posts about Pets follow our Pet Board, Amanda's Animal Party, on Pinterest.

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Pet Hacks: Dealing with Death of a Pet




Rehoming Pets after a Life Change

Moving? Will you Find Your Pet a New Home?



If you're planning a move (we are) what to do with your pets after a life change may be an issue. It's a tough decision. Having recently moved, it was important to find a good home for all of our pets. And, when I say 'all' I mean we needed to find a home for a wide variety of animals, both indoors and outdoors. Now, we're about to do it again. This time, I'm considering rehoming some of our outdoor pets. It's a difficult decision.




Rehoming Pet after a Life Change Pets CAT



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(*Nakturnal Partner)


Over the years, we have adopted many pets from friends and family. No matter, where you get your pet, it's always a labor of love. The best pets come from loving homes. Take Buddie, for example, she has seizures. We can't pinpoint the cause. It's been suggested we put her down, but she's otherwise a happy, little kitty. She has many triggers and as long as we keep the triggers in check we can reduce the amount of seizures she has each week. Often, the seizures are daily! This is due to food, fleas, flea sprays, and other things that seem to be allergens. Right now, Buddy is doing great! I found a cat food that seems to work. It's a little pricey for my liking, but far better than the alternatives. I also found a pet safe candle that helps remove any pet odors. You know, we've got those! Cleaning up after Buddie is a full time job.




Find Your Pet a New Home Rehoming Get Pets



Then, there's Tigger! What a character. He's about twelve. We found him on Craigslist. I don't recommend finding a pet to adopt that way, but we also got ducks and chickens from Craigslist. Tigger often stars in our blog and social media posts. I've shared some links so you can learn more about him!





Male Cockatiel Do they make good pets get home for your pet



At nineteen, my Cockatiel, Nebu, is my oldest pet friend! I got him from a pet store when he was just an egg! Of course, I didn't take the egg home. The pet store hatched him out and raised him for the first 9 weeks then I brought him home! He can get noisy, but for the most part, he's a pet that can move anywhere and, boy oh boy, have the two of us lived in lots of different places! Where I go, he goes. Sometimes, even on vacations!




do Box Turtles make good pets find new home get turtle



Also, there's a turtle. Several years ago, I was mowing the lawn and ran over her shell. I brought her in the house for rehabilitation. They tell me, she can't be released into the wild. She'd never survive and probably spread disease. Not to mention the fact that, turtles are homing devices. She might spend years trying to work her way back to her original home. I'd like to find a permanent home for her, like a sanctuary or zoo or something. Rehoming her with a friend (someone I trust) would be a great option.


But wait, there's more. We have chickens and a duck too. In the past, we had more turtles, more cats, more ducks, and way more chickens! A move wouldn't have been possible. But now, we're down to two chickens and a duck. I've shared some links about our journey below.


Our new neighbor loves animals. I'm considering leaving them with him. It's a tough decision though. But, we are embarking on a new path in life.The kids want to try public school next year! I ask every year, this year they both said yes!! Ugh. Difficult decision for me. We just bought a house. But we've decided to move back to my hometown where we'll be surrounded by friends and family. The kids will go to school with their cousins. We want to make the transition as easy as possible for all. Since money is a factor, finding trusted new homes for some of our beloved pets seems like the best option.


Have you ever rehomed a pet? Let's be clear, the pound is not an option. I never understand how anyone can do that to a family member. Sure, if they're lucky someone else will adopt them, but the odds aren't good. Even a no kill shelter isn't great. They'll have abandonment issues. I feel like we're family for life, but sometimes, you have to make tough decisions. Any advice?



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Kentucky Down Under Reviews: Petting Zoo

Things to do in Kentucky: Kentucky Down Under Petting Zoo


Are you planning a trip to southern Indiana or northern Kentucky? You can visit the best petting zoo ever, just a few miles outside of Louisville, Kentucky! Have you read the reviews? Kentucky Down Under is an Australian themed zoo where you're allowed to pet the animals. Not only that, you can walk right into their areas and feed them too!


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Kentucky Down Under Reviews: Petting Zoo
Kentucky Down Under Reviews: Petting Zoo.

On our trip to Kentucky and Tennessee, we mapped out a route that allowed us to see as many animals of all kinds as possible. We saw Black Bears in the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We saw Parrots, Cockatoos, and exotic birds in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. And, we saw the outback in all its glory at Kentucky Down Under just outside of Louisville, Kentucky.

Kentucky Down Under is a different kind of zoo. It's a cross between a farm and a petting zoo. Just like other zoos, there are daily animal shows. However, you don't have to wait for a show to get up close and personal with native Australian animals.



Things to do in Kentucky: Kentucky Down Under Petting Zoo
Things to do in Kentucky: Kentucky Down Under Petting Zoo.








The kids had a wonderful time feeding Emus. You can even pet Emus, Kangaroos, and giant Tortoises as they lounge around in their "natural" habitat soaking up the sun.


Feed Emus things to do with kids in Kentucky
Feed Emus in Kentucky.

Play with Emus Kentucky Zoo

What do Emu eggs look like?
Emu eggs, just lying in the middle of the pasture.

Kentucky Down Under has its own cave. No need to spend extra money to see a cave that your children might not enjoy. The first time seeing a cave can be frightening for the kids, no matter their ages. The cave here was discovered in the early 1800's. It is a small cave (in and out quickly) with all the bells and whistles. Meet at the gift shop for the tour.


visit cave with kids kentucky things to do

Mammoth Onyx Cave, Kentucky Down Under.
Mammoth Onyx Cave, Kentucky Down Under.

kentucky down under cave
Caves in Kentucky.

Kookaburra sits on an old gum tree. Yep, he does. You can hear the Kookaburras talking to each other as you walk through the park. We even saw a Peacock on a roof of one of the bird houses.


See a real Kookaburra Kentucky things to do with kids


Animals of all kinds, sheep herding shows, snake shows, you name it! Kentucky Down Under is not a drive by. You can't see anything from the interstate or even the parking lot. Take the plunge, it is well worth it. Keep in mind, you will walk up some steep trails. Don't like to hike? Rent a golf cart for the day. They have plenty of golf cart rentals available for guests. Click here to see pricing info for Kentucky Down Under.



Beautiful Kentucky Down Under Views
Beautiful Kentucky Down Under Views.



Just a few miles away is the little town of Horse Cave, Kentucky. We visited this little cave and museum years ago. Horse Cave seems run down these days, but don't let that deter you. Eat at Turtlelini's Pizza and Pasta (they have a buffet.) Zipline and explore the unusual cave, and stay in the little family owned Horse Cave Motel. It's not a perfect hotel, but it is clean, the rooms are big, and the family that owns it is very nice. You'll be safe and close to three nearby caves. Happy Spelunking!!


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French Lick Family Vacation Ideas

Family Vacation Ideas: French Lick, Indiana


Planning a family vacation for the holiday or a quick family field trip? French Lick and West Baden are the perfect destination for families. A French Lick family vacation during the holidays is a magical gift. You'll make long lasting family memories. We recently visited and plan to make it a holiday tradition. From the Polar Express Train to the Springs to the Casino, there's truly something for everyone.

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Polar Express French Lick Railway activities
French Lick Railway train station during the Polar Express.


The famous hotels are historical and just as in years past, the area is filled with vacationers from all over the United States and abroad. The West Baden Springs Hotel is touted as the eighth wonder of the world. Is it upscale? Is it pricey? It can be. We've got some tips on how to enjoy the magic of French Lick on a budget. A French Lick family vacation is within reach when you plan ahead. Keep in mind, that on Thanksgiving weekend, all the prices go up, but everything is extra special.


French Lick Springs Hotel Family Vacation Ideas
French Lick Springs Hotel Family Vacation Ideas.


When you start to plan a French Lick family vacation it may seem overwhelming. The maps online are somewhat confusing, but all of these amenities are less than a 5 minute drive from each other - most are a 5 minute walk! I've rounded up the best things to do in French Lick and listed them here for your convenience.

French Lick Railway - Polar Express or other themed ride depending on the season. These tickets sell out quickly. You'll want to book in advance for the best seats. That means, if you're planning a trip for next Thanksgiving weekend, better get your tickets as soon as possible. Tickets must be paid in advance and are non refundable.

If you wait until the last minute there are a few options. If the website is sold out, the partner hotels may still have tickets. I didn't book train tickets at the same time I made hotel reservations because I was waiting to see how many family members would attend. When I finally got around to it, both hotels where we had reservations were sold out of train tickets for Friday night. I was able to get my train tickets at a nearby Comfort Suites. The hotel was a five minute drive from the French Lick resorts. They held them at the front desk and I picked them up the day of the Polar Express train ride.

We got to ride the train, but we were in the last car. It's a bumpy ride with lots of diesel fumes. On a happier note, when the train heads back to town, it becomes the first car.

There's coach (think of an old school bus), first class (tables and chairs), and dome class (an upper, glass enclosed seating area.) During the ride, the staff tells the story through song and dance. They even serve hot, hot, hot chocolate and cookies! True to the story, you get a visit from Santa who gives every child their first gift of the season.







Check our Instagram for fun French Lick Railway Polar Express vacation videos.

At French Lick Springs Hotel, you'll find a Kids' Activity Area right next to the Casino! This is drop-in child care for hotel guests. The activities are recommended for children 6-12 yrs. old. There's an additional fee for all children's activities. It includes special events like bounce houses.




Old-fashioned trolley rides are free and go back and forth between the French Lick resort and West Baden Springs resort. There's also a trolley on a track that goes around the Casino and back to West Baden making this fun for family field trips!




West Baden Spring Hotel Resort Family Vacation Ideas



At either French Lick Springs or West Baden Springs, the hotel concierge will book Carriage Rides, Horseback Riding, and Golf outings for an additional fee. You can also rent bicycles, surrey carts and other outdoor activities. There's a family golf option called Foot Golf that plays like regular golf but with a soccer ball.







During our stay, over Thanksgiving weekend, the hotels were celebrating 50 Days of Lights with festive decor inside and out. While the hotels have been restored and the common spaces are spectacular, the hotel rooms are nothing special. They are small, the hotel was built in the late 1800's - so think historical. A double queen room includes a wardrobe, a television, and a mirror. There isn't a microwave, refrigerator, or a bathtub. You may want to pay a little extra for a suite.


French Lick Traditional Guest Room.















French Lick Springs Hotel offers a family-friendly area that is open to the general public. So, no matter what hotel you stay in, you can visit the arcade, pizza shop, and bowling alley. Hotel guests have the added benefit of charging the very pricey activities to their rooms. My best tip on this one, it is very small. The bowling alley is 5 lanes cramped together. Be sure to get your name on a waiting list and be prepared for an expensive game. Pluto's Pizza - reviews don't lie. There's not a lot to do in town, so they have somewhat of a monopoly on these type of activities.



This is one quarter of the arcade room. There's a Foosball table in the middle.

The little town village and the hotels offer an array of eating options. From tiny Mom and Pop cafes to the upscale 1875 Steakhouse in the French Lick resort, there's something for all budgets. We dined at the steakhouse when everything else had closed. The staff is reminiscent of the old days when FDR would have dined there. They take care of you, but it'll cost you. If you are a family on a budget, skip this one. If you want an experience to remember and a taste of the Pluto Factory's tomato juice, expect to spend at least $75 per person.


To my surprise, French Lick Springs Hotel does not include breakfast or much of anything else for that matter. Swimming is included, but everything else is an additional fee.

Plus: The rooms are very clean. The shower is nice and big.

You can eat breakfast at the Grand Colonnade Room's Breakfast Buffet, but for what they offer and the fact that they require the tip upfront when you pay a cashier, I'd skip this one. The food isn't any nicer or better quality than anywhere else. You can make lots of trips, but we didn't want to. The wait staff isn't exceptional, the seating is tight... spend your money somewhere else.





You don't need to wait for Thanksgiving, the seasonal activities and themed family weekends are available for fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and more. During our stay, both French Lick resort hotels were offering Thanksgiving Buffets. We chose to make our reservation at French Lick Springs because it offered a non-traditional children's buffet with macaroni and cheese and chicken tenders. Here, the Thanksgiving feast is traditional fare. We enjoyed the food. The room was beautiful but a little chilly, be sure to dress warmly. For a family of 4 (3 adults and 1 child, children are 12 and under) we spent $225 including tip. This can be charged to your room or paid after dinner. No need to stay in either hotel to make a dinner reservation for Thanksgiving dinner. They also do Christmas Dinner with carolers throughout the hotels!

Tip: if you want a special Thanksgiving dinner, eat here and stay up the street at the Comfort Suites. You'll get to enjoy all of the splendor of the hotel without the extra cost. A surprising plus, both hotels are pet-friendly.


Big Splash Indoor Waterpark - Tickets and breakfast are included - it's cheaper to stay here than stay somewhere else and just visit the park or just eat in the restaurant. The rooms are much larger than the French Lick resorts, but not as clean. That's to be expected with all of the families in and out. This hotel also offers family suites in various sizes. Our room, 4 waterpark passes, and breakfast was $20 less than just the room at French Lick Springs resort. We were just as comfortable, but there wasn't as much service. If you're used to being pampered, this isn't the hotel for your stay.

Breakfast was surprisingly good. The buffet was small but loaded full of french toast sticks, scrambled eggs, sausage, cereal, ham, and juices. The trade off is the restaurant is crowded and the wait can be long. My family was too lazy and wanted to skip breakfast so I went down by myself. Rather than taking up an entire table, the hostess allowed me to fill up some to go boxes and take them back to my room. Of course, when I brought the food back, everyone was suddenly starved. We all agreed the food was just as good, if not better than the Grand Colonnade room at French Lick Springs.


Big Splash Indoor Water Park French Lick Family Vacation Tips
Big Splash Indoor Water Park French Lick Family Vacation Tips.

My best tip for visiting this or any indoor water park is to heed the warnings. The windows and roof are closed when it is cold, so the gases build up quicker and can cause flu-like symptoms, rashes, or problems with Asthma. Due to our Asthma, my daughter and I both needed a break after an hour. The pool staff recommends taking frequent breaks every 2 hours.

We headed to the park at the best time, there were no lines, so we all got to do everything in an hour. My favorite was lounging in the lazy river, but I did try one of the tubes. That was an experience. Fun and terrifying at the same time! In the main swimming pool, don't miss the the whirl pool. Our passes were good for the day of check-in and the night of check out! Great deal.




Big Splash also offers an outdoor pool.

The decor in the entry of Big Splash is also a game.



The darker tubes are dark inside. Some tubes require an intertube to slide down.

Whether you stroll or drive through town, you'll find some surprising shops. There's a Denny's across the street from French Lick Springs and a Dollar General across the street from West Baden Springs. In front of Big Splash is a mini golf and laser tag facility. If you're on a tight budget, there's also a McDonald's, CVS, and Jay's Grocery in town. If you don't want to pay $4.00 for a pop, walk over to the Huck's Gas Station across the street from the resort areas. Around the corner from the gas station, tucked away off the street, is a small movie theater, Spring's Stadium.

Don't miss a visit to the French Lick West Baden Museum to learn all about local history and be sure to take a guided historical tour of the resort hotels. Don't miss area attractions like a zip line a few miles outside of town, you can bathe elephants and go on other outdoor adventures at Wilstem Ranch.


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Family Vacation Ideas




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French Lick Family Vacation Ideas