Should my child watch PG-13 movies ???

kid-watching-tvThis can be hard, deciding when your child is ready to begin watching PG-13 movies. There is a lot of  PUSH to allow children to see PG -13 movies earlier and earlier. Movies are a favorite pass time for children and also movie going can be a fun  parent / child or family activity. Here are some things to think about as you decide what is best for your child:

  • All PG -13 movies are not the same. So this may mean evaluating each of these movies beforehand if your child is on a border line as to their readiness for viewing PG – 13 movies in general.
  • The title PG – 13 gives some guidance as to the themes and the general idea as to the age that most children are ready for these kinds of movies.
  • Is MY child ready for this movie, developmentally and emotionally? Can they understand cognitively what the message is of this movie and can they handle what is portrayed in this movie? Are they ready to process violence or sexual themes or death if the movie deals with these kind of issues?
  • Is the message of this movie one for the age of my child?
  • Is it a message I want my child to have?
  • Get reviews on the movies. Check what the themes are. Go see it yourself before hand if you really are uncomfortable or unsure and feel you need to see it to decide.

It is so challenging as a parent when your child says all their friends are seeing a movie you feel they are not ready for and they say they want to see it. There are no perfect answers. Sometimes it is a compromise of letting children see a movie that is slightly above what they probably need if all of the children in their class have seen it and your child is feeling isolated and left out and not able to relate with the other children. Then there are other times when we feel for our particular child that they will have nightmares for weeks or it will create a fear they do not need to have at this point and that it just will not work. Parents have the tough job of evaluating and deciding what is best for their own child.

Going to the movies with your child can give you the advantage of discussing and giving your own thoughts to your values as a family, especially if the movie portrays very different values than you have as a family.  It can help by finding out what your child is thinking and by you being able to help them process what they have seen. 

Plus, parent / child or family movie going can be fun. And can create wonderful opportunities for discussion and sharing. Even if your child’s friend is invited, going to supervise opposed to dropping off gives you a chance later to visit with your child about the movie.

Movies have the opportunity to promote wonderful models and stories that are inspirational. Sometimes they do this and sometimes they do not. We can help guide or encourage movies that do so. Good luck in navigating the challenging waters of PG – 13 movies. Your child is lucky to have you as a thoughtful parent who assists with knowing the best time for this transition into this category of a movie.

Here is to finding lots of movies that matter and promote what we want for our children and their internal messaging!

That was not in the plan . . . how to roll with the flow!


Taking a recent vacation made me think about how our plans many times do not go the way we think they will. You are correct that my vacation did not go exactly as planned or envisioned in my head.  But I adapted, shifted and had a great time.

Yes things do not always go as we expect. This can be with a vacation or a family outing or a date night or really any kind of activity that we have planned to do together as a couple or as a family. I am a big planner and I believe in thoughtfully preparing for outings with our loved ones. On the other hand somethings spontaneous, let’s go . . . can be very romantic or real fun for a family. So I guess a balance is nice. We each will have our own style.

Regardless if you have a PLAN or you are doing a spontaneous outing, being able to roll with the flow is important. Our lives are so busy and complex and things shift quickly. Plus, the biggie here is that we can not control everything around us. We can not control that the restaurant is out of our favorite dish or that the air conditioner breaks on our fun day trip or that a thunderstorm appears out of no where and you have to cancel or shift your outdoor outing.

So how can we better ROLL with the FLOW? 

  1. First of all accept that our planned or spontaneous event may not or probably will not go exactly as we had hoped for in our head.
  2. Acknowledge your upset feelings or those of your loved ones. It is ok to be upset or disappointed. The key is WHAT WE DO WITH OUR UPSET OR DISAPPOINTMENT.
  3. Accept and then say it is OK that it did not go exactly as we wished. We can still have fun and enjoy regardless of the hiccups or bumps in the road.
  4. Remember we are capable of adapting and shifting. We are amazing human being with the ability to make the best of whatever the situation.
  5. Shift to what you can do at that point. And know you can be ok with it.
  6. Use your positive mindset to create a place of acceptance and regrouping. 
  7. Sometimes if we look we can find these unexpected needed shifts can open up opportunities that were not there before. Some folks would say there are no accidents!



Family (or Couple) Travel Game – Mutual Story Telling – Builds Communication and Cooperation

As parents we know that children (well, actually adults too) can just last so long in the car before they become bored. Here is a game that can be used as a family or as a couple.

Here are some of the benefits of the MUTUAL STORY TELLING GAME:

  • This is a communication game in which careful listening is required by all players.
  • It encourages creativity and using your imagination.
  • Working together as a group is critical to making this mutual story telling successful.
  • It is also a cooperation game opposed to a competitive game. This story telling builds on what each person says.
  • There is no technology involved,  just your family.
  • Potential joint problem solving.

The Mutual Story Telling Game

Equipment Needed: None

Ages: 4 years and up; This can be used as a family game or as a couple game.

1.  Explain to family members how the game works. Keep it simple and consider the developmental age of your children. The explanation could be something like the following :

“We are going to tell a story together. There is going to be a beginning, a middle and an end. One of us will start with  – Once upon a time ….. Then then after a sentence or two, the next person will take over the story and

add something to the story that goes with what the first person started and then the next person will add something else, etc.

2.  It is important to note there is no wrong or right way for the story to be told or created. It may be a silly, fantasy story or a more serious one.  Whatever the members what to create is the order of the day.  This is also something you can relay to the family so they know that this is fun with no specific expectations or wrong or rights. Note:  If, as a parent, if you are concerned with the direction of the story you can add in with your parts ways to balance and interject your thoughts without judging or correcting.

2.  One possibility is to have a designated end time set up in the beginning that everyone is aware of. The ages of your children and the interest level may help decide this or you can decide as a group. Five minutes can give everyone several turns and not extend it out so long that folks become bored. You can always choose to end early if you feel interest is being lost, by simply saying lets each take one more turn and have our ending. You want this to be a positive experience. Note: An alarm timer on your cell phone can be set as a neutral time-keeper and then when that goes off you can each have one final turn.

3.  As to ending the story, you can have the person who started it, end it OR you can have another family member end the story. Deciding in the beginning who will end will help alleviate arguments.  

4. If there is enough interest, you can take turns starting a story, creating additional family stories.

Special Note: You might consider “Recording the Story” as it is told to create a fun family memory. Many cell phones have an audio record device.

The important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of CREATING SOMETHING TOGETHER AS A FAMILY!

family travel


This activity can be done as a couple also. This will probably work best when there is some time involved, like an out-of-town trip, when you have miles ahead of you. It also works best when you are both feeling a bit light-hearted and playful and feel like experimenting a bit. It can be a fun bantering kind of playful story that ping pongs back and forth. Give it a try and see what you think. You might consider setting a time limit, like 5 minutes or less if you are just trying it out. As mentioned above you can set an alarm to end your story, with each having one more turn after your timer goes off.

Here is to lots of fun mutual fun story telling as a family or as a couple!

couple traveling

Fun Family Picnics in the Park

family picnic

Children love the park. The wide open spaces to run and jump and be active. It is a wonderful place to connect as a family. Children are normally up to go to the park. Plus,  you add food and it is a winner for a family activity. I would like to offer ideas to consider for making this a time that families can connect and find this fun and rewarding.

Putting the “FUN & CONNECTION” in Your Family Picnic

  1. Plan together as to where you will go and when. Plus, what you will take and do when you are there. This extra piece of planning together as a family is connecting and it helps with everyone buying into going. Another possibility is to let each family member have a turn at choosing a park to go to opposed to jointly deciding. This would of course mean that you can plan enough picnics to accommodate all the family members.
  2. Have everyone in the family make or help make a food item to take to the picnic. Contributing is rewarding and can help each family member feel valuable no matter how small.
  3. You might consider everyone choosing an item they want to take to the park – toys or pieces of equipment or materials they wish to bring for fun. Examples: Balls, Frisbees, Sidewalk Chalk, Bubbles, etc.
  4. Have a “technology free” day. Cell phones can be silenced and texting, emailing, etc can be put on hold during your outing. Yes, you may get a few grumbles, but families can be in charge of technology and how it affects their family. Letting your technology have a rest, while you connect face to face is a good thing! Letting everyone know ahead of time can be helpful and it can also offer you the opportunity to explain why – that you want to be truly WITH everyone face to face and without the interruptions of the outside world.
  5. As parents attempting to give all the children a bit of your full attention and focus. It can be quite a balancing act, but worth the effort.
  6. Consider ending the time together as you travel home with everyone reflecting on their favorite parts of the picnic.  This can highlight the good parts of the family activity. Of course there will be hick ups and this is a way to keep focus on the successful parts of the trip.

Check out  if you need help locating parks in Tulsa, OK. This site also has the park sites for the surrounding OK towns of Catoosa, Bixby, Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, Owasso and Sand Springs.

You might also want to visit the Tulsa County Parks website: .  This has information on the major Parks and Centers, Special Events, Activities, Maps and Reservations.

Hope you have lots of fun family picnics this spring, summer and fall!

family on slide

Plant a Mini Garden Together


It is that time of year – lots of green, growing things popping up everywhere. It can be so therapeutic to be a part of this process. Coming together as a couple or as a family and deciding what you want to plant and doing it together is a fun ongoing spring and summer project.  Getting your hands in the soil planting and caring for your mini garden as a couple or family is therapeutic by nature. Then experiencing eating the food you have grown together is so rewarding.

This mini garden can be done in a variety of ways. It can be done in one big container or in a couple of containers – flower pots or a half whiskey barrel. etc. The other possibility is to use some of your flower beds.

Some possibilities are:

Herb Garden – Everyone gets to pick out a herb seedling or two or how every many you have room for. You will find many of these are perennial.

Tomato Garden – Each person choose their own variety of tomato plant to create a mini tomato garden.

Salad Garden – Everyone chooses one or two things that they want for their future summer salads.

Mini Garden with Your Favorites – Everyone picks out their favorite veggie or herb to grow.

Gardening Community Resources:

Tulsa Garden Center –

OSU Oklahoma Gardening –

Tulsa County Extension Department –

Here is to a successful mini garden with lots of fun time grubbing in the dirt together!

Sand Springs Herbal Affair and Festival – April 20, 2013


Sand Springs Herbal Affair & Festival

April 20, 2013 (Saturday), 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Downtown Sand Springs near Broadway & Main Street

This is year number 24 that this event has been hosted in Sand Springs. It is FREE to the public. 100 vendors with herbs, perennials, natives, heirloom plants, herbal products, gardening supplies and folk art will be in attendance. Plus, lots of food of course.  Trolley tours of Sand Springs start at the Charles Page High School. A full schedule of entertainment is planned.

Check out the Children’s Tent with FREE games and inflatables to jump on!

This could be a fun outing for either couples or families. This is especially fitting if there is a strong interest in creating a mini herb garden together.

For more information you can check this link:


Jenks Herb N Plant Festival – April 27, 2013


Jenks Herb N Plant Festival, 2013

April 27, 2013 (Saturday) 8:00 – 4:00 pm

Jenks Main Street 1st -3rd

FREE event with a hundred booths:

  • Plants of all varieties with Creek Master Garden volunteers available to answer garden questions.
  • Children’s activities: giant inflatable jungle gyms and slides, face painting and games, railroad track with train shows.
  • Nature and garden related shopping booths
  • Food

This could be a fun family or couple event.

  • As a family opposed to everyone going their separate ways, you can make this a connecting kind of activity by doing things together as a family. You can take turns deciding what to do next.
  • Festivals lend to a free kind of feel in which you can hold hands wondering and stopping at things that are of interest to you. As a couple keep in mind this is about being together and having a bit of fun.

Go to for more detailed information.


Philbrook Second Saturdays – Family Hands On Art Projects for All Ages – FREE


I have always thought highly of Philbrook Art Museum and the programs they offer for the community. I got a recent email from them as a member about some of the upcoming programs. This is one they highlighted and one that I was not aware of. I called and visited with the Education Department and found that this is a program that has been offered for a couple of years and at this point is FREE to the public. ONEOK, Inc sponsors this program. You do not need to be a member of Philbrook. It is offered on the 2nd Saturday of each month.  I would suggest looking on the Philbrook website and click on the tab LEARN at the of the screen to get more information on this program and make sure it is still scheduled . Of course you can get information on other programs offered for families and their children at this link also. My understanding is that this program is open from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and is come and go and is for all ages. Family friendly art activities, tours and scavenger hunts are possible activities on these Second Saturday events.

This is a wonderful opportunity to explore together fun creative art projects and to expose your children to Philbrook.  Art is so very therapeutic and a wonderful way to connect.   I might also note that the garden trails behind Philbrook are a fun treat for all ages. Enjoy this creative time with your family!

Special Note:  The trails behind the Philbrook are lovely and could also make a lovely Couples Activity. Plus, Philbrook’s restaurant overlooks the gardens and would be a nice special treat. I was told that Philbrook has some free entrance days. So check it out on their website. 



photos from The Philbrook Museum of Art