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Family First http://familyfirst.com Servings Families Online since 1998 Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:25:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 PODCAST: The Family First Show Episode 103 – 15 School Bus Safety Tips, Tech Safety and Driving For Holidayshttp://familyfirst.com/podcast-the-family-first-show-episode-103-15-school-bus-safety-tips-tech-safety-and-driving-for-holidays.html http://familyfirst.com/podcast-the-family-first-show-episode-103-15-school-bus-safety-tips-tech-safety-and-driving-for-holidays.html#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 20:25:31 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13728 post thumbnail


In this episode of The Family First Show with Marijo Tinlin, we will talk about how to keep your children safe on the bus, how to keep your family safe while using technology and 7 reasons why it might be a good idea to drive your family to your holiday destination this year.

Segment 1: 15 School Bus Safety Tips

Millions of school children ride the bus each day. According to the National Association of Pupil Transportation, half of America’s school children ride the bus to school. NAPT offers these tips to help teach your children to be safe while they wait for the bus and as they get on and off the bus.

  • Have your kids put all their things in their backpack or bag so they won’t have to worry about it or possibly leave it on the bus.
  • Dress the kids in bright colors so they can be seen easily
  • Make sure the kids are at the bus stop 5 minutes early so they don’t have to run after the bus, which is unsafe
  • If you can, walk your kids to the bus or have them walk in groups to stay safe
  • Walk on the sidewalk or out of the street. Walk single-file and face traffic.
  • Look left, right and left again before you cross the street. As a parent, exaggerate your head turns so your child will understand.
  • Have your kids wait where the driver can see them
  • Don’t let them play with anything while they wait so that they are distracted or run into the street
  • Warn your children if they drop something while getting off the bus and have them check with the driver before they try to pick it up
  • Have your children look to the right when they get off the bus
  • If you meet your child at the bus, wait on the same side of the street as they get off the bus so they don’t have to cross the street to get to you. They might get excited and run into traffic to see you.
  • If they have an electronic device, make sure it’s packed or hands-free so they can get on and off safely.
  • Have them keep the sound muted or use earbuds
  • Don’t allow them to violate the school district’s policy
  • Don’t allow them to distract the driver

Also, Laura Bush Hager encourages us to consider checking with your district about if they use or would consider using propane-fueled buses instead of diesel. It is much cleaner, quieter and reduces children’s exposure to potentially harmful particulate matter. Learn more at betterourbuses.com

Segment 2 – Safe Tech Usage

Technology use can start as early as 6 years old. How do we keep our kids safe in an increasingly digital world?

According to LifeLock, 74% of young children have access to laptops/desktops. By the time kids hit their teens, that number goes up to 80% of kids have access to a smartphone.

If your kids are hoping for an electronic item as a holiday gift this year, you might take this time to speak to them about safe use of the internet and technology. LifeLock suggests their resource called “The Smart Talk” which, in accordance with the National PTA, is a digital tool designed to guide families through a series of questions and spark conversations. This will help your family establish or update ground rules for safe use of technology.

Post this agreement in a place the whole family can see such as the refrigerator. That helps the family remember exactly what was discussed and exactly what the limits are.

“We need to help the next generation establish safe behaviors at an earlier age and give parents a roadmap to set ground rules that strike a better, healthier balance,” said Paige Hanson, Educational Programs Senior Manager for LifeLock.

Also important are healthy online habits and protecting your family’s identity. “Always think before you post to your social networks,” said Hanson. “While posting a picture of your family seems harmless enough, you could be opening yourself to identity theft. Each photo and status update also creates your child’s first digital footprint, especially when they are too young to be online themselves.”

She says to protect birthdates, and Social Security numbers as well. To start the conversation, go to thesmarttalk.org to begin to set the rules, start best practices and protect your family while using technology and living in the world that’s always connected.

Segment 3 – 7 Reasons to Drive to Your Holiday Destination

As we go into the holiday season, people will be checking flight pricing, hotels and rentals cars as a part of their holiday travel planning. Why not consider driving, says the Car Care Council.

“With gas prices below $3 per gallon in many parts of the country, more and more travelers are realizing the economic and hassle-free benefits of driving to their holiday destination,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “A family of four can travel 1,000 miles round-trip by car for about the cost of a single airline ticket, so driving is the sensible option.”

Here are the 7 reasons why car travel is smart:

  • It gives you flexibility with your agenda – no flight schedule dictating your timeline. Leave when you want, take the route you want and stop as often as you want. No weather delays either.
  • No waiting – no long ticket lines, or security checks. No worries about finding a parking place in the airport lot either.
  • No luggage fees – take what you want, how much you want and don’t worry about jamming it into a quart-sized bag. Also helps you carry wrapped gifts you don’t have to ruin for the TSA screeners to search
  • Be comfortable – your car seat is WAY more comfortable than that airplane seat and no getting smashed against a stranger either.
  • Drive your own car – this prevents that learning curve of a rental car that can be annoying and even possibly dangerous.
  • Bring your pet – when you drive yourself, you can bring along your furry friends and that saves on boarding and keeps your pet happier too.
  • Eat what you want, when you want – bring along whatever snacks you like or stop at the local place along the way. Your choice!

Also, don’t forget to get your car in for a tune-up before you set out. For a free copy of the Car Care Council’s Car Care Guide, visit www.carcare.org for tips on maintenance, care and repair of your best way to travel – your car!

Marijo Tinlin is the host of The Family First Show and the editor of www.familyfirst.com. She is also the author of “How to Raise an American Patriot” available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their kids.

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VIDEO: 3 Fantastic, SUPER EASY DIY Holiday Gift Ideashttp://familyfirst.com/video-3-fantastic-super-easy-diy-holiday-gift-ideas.html http://familyfirst.com/video-3-fantastic-super-easy-diy-holiday-gift-ideas.html#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 03:50:29 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13717 post thumbnail

DIY Home Decor Holiday Gift Ideas It’s almost October, do YOU know what your holiday gift list looks like?

Well, if you need ideas, PS-I Made This… author and brand leader Erica Domesek has the answers in this video interview she gave to Family First’s Marijo Tinlin.

Erica shows us a sparkly coat hook, a fancy feather display and a very classy urn. She says she has “DIY in her DNA” and loves making things herself. She says she gets her supplies from True Value (www.truevalueprojects.com)

Make sure you watch the video for some amazing tips and tricks to make some fantastic expensive-looking gifts that you can say you did yourself.

Erica Domesek is a distinguished DIY design and style expert, author of PS- I Made This…I See It. I Like It. I Make It and the founder of the site P.S. – I Made This. She has appeared on many television shows including The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The Martha Stewart Show and FOX Business News. She has also been a judge for TLC’s show Craft Wars. In addition, her work has been featured in Glamour, Lucky, Self, Elle, Vogue and more.

DIY Holiday Home Decor Gift Ideas   Holiday DIY Home Decor Gift Ideas   DIY Home Decor for Holiday Gifts

Interviewer Marijo Tinlin has been the editor of Family First since 2010. She is also the author of How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their four kids.

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PODCAST 102: 7 Back to School Sleep Tips and 5 Financial Fibs We Tell Ourselveshttp://familyfirst.com/podcast-102-7-back-to-school-sleep-tips-and-5-financial-fibs-we-tell-ourselves.html http://familyfirst.com/podcast-102-7-back-to-school-sleep-tips-and-5-financial-fibs-we-tell-ourselves.html#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:54:40 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13697 post thumbnail

In this episode, we talk about tips for getting kids back on the right sleep schedule for back to school – DON’T worry if you’ve already started back. This has some good ideas about sleep schedules in general.

In the second segment, we present 5 myths we ALL tell ourselves about our finances. See below for the show notes for both and a link to the podcast.


In a recent joint press release from Sealy and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine’s Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science Program, they gave great ideas for getting kids back on the right schedule now that summer is winding down and kids are getting back on the clock for school.

Sealy commissioned a study of 1,000 parents with children between the ages of 5 and 17 to better understand sleep quality, schedules and tactics to adjust to a new daily schedule once school starts again.

They found 46% of parents say the biggest impact for their kids is how many hours they sleep while 29% say sleeping through the night makes the biggest impact on their kid’s sleep quality. The mattress matters too – 13% say that is the biggest impact for their kids and for parents of the littlest kids (5-9) 17% said that was most important.

“As summer winds down, families across the nation are looking for ways to ease their children back into their school schedule,” said Jay Spenchian, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Temper Sealy. “Through our survey findings and partnerships with UNC School of Medicine’s Sleep Science Program we know the importance of equipping families with the right tips and tools to ensure that children are rested and ready to excel in the classroom.”

In the same study, 68% of parents say that getting the kids to bed early and waking up earlier is their biggest challenge. And 22% of parents admit they feel bad making their children struggle and let them slack those last few days.

Here are the tips:

1. Bedtime Shift – starting a week or two before school (sorry if you already started) – figure out how much sleep your child needs and advance the bedtime and wake times by no more than 30 minutes each day.

2. Night Owls No More – don’t allow late bedtimes. Each age group needs different amounts of sleep. Ages 5-10 generally need about 10-11 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation, and teens (11-17) need between 8 1/2 and 9 1/2 hours each night.

3. Boycott Late-Night Electronics – at least 2-3 hours before bedtime, turn off all electronics. Anything emitting a blue light can counteract the body’s natural transition to sleep.

4. The Mattress Matters – Invest in a good mattress that supports the back and aligns the body.

5. Break Up with Snooze – Don’t allow your child to sleep in even on weekends. Keep wake times the same every day of the week, 7 days a week.

6. The Breakfast Benefit – make breakfast a priority and serve it at the same time every morning. This gives kids energy and helps them learn when they have a good nutritious breakfast.

7. Take Your Cue – External clues help us synchronize our bodies to sleep and wakefulness. Make sure your child gets good sunshine in the morning to wake up best.

For more information, please visit www.tempursealy.com.


One of the fastest ways to financial destruction is to lie to yourself about your finances. You know you’ve done it! That little voice inside your head as you stand in front of those fabulous shoes, or right before you click the “BUY” button on the computer screen.

This kind of distructive self-talk can be very damaging to you, your credit score and your future.Scott Smith, personal finance expert and president of CreditRepair.com says, “Sound and responsible financial management starts with facing the realities of our individual financial circumstances. Truthfully evaluating our income level, debt obligations, spending habits, savings habits and future financial goals will get you started on the right path to living a responsible financial life.”

Here are 7 Financial Fibs we tell ourselves provided by CreditRepair.com

1. “I don’t know what my credit score is, but that’s okay. I’ll only need it when I decide to buy my next car or finally purchase a home.” – You really need to know your credit score all the time. It’s not just for getting loans but can be used for insurance pricing, job applications and rental agreements.

2. “I’ll just take a little from my savings account, but I’ll pay it back next month.” – This is also known as “robbing Peter to pay Paul” and is a terrible idea. You must keep a savings plan going so that when life throws you a curve ball, you will have something ready to cover and get back to savings quickly.

3. “Investing is too complicated and besides, only the rich get richer.” Rich people are rich because they have financial discipline. Investing and savings is available for everyone, no matter what their financial situation is.

4. “Maybe if I turn my voicemail off the debt collectors will stop calling.” While it can be very frustrating to deal with debt collectors, consumers do have specific rights protecting them from being pestered.

5. “I deserve a break. I’ll just charge my vacation and pay it back later.” Minimize over spending unless you have an unexpected expense. If you do incur credit card debt, pay it off as soon as you possibly can. The interest charges make that spur-0f-the-moment vacation cost WAY more than the final bills you see.

Making excuses to yourself for poor financial judgement does not improve your life. Keep your eye on the ball and your future self will thank you.

For more information and more tips on managing your money, visit www.CreditRepair.com.

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Dad’s BEST Tip for Bonding With Baby According to Baby Expert Dr. Searshttp://familyfirst.com/dads-best-tip-for-bonding-with-baby-according-to-baby-expert-dr-sears.html http://familyfirst.com/dads-best-tip-for-bonding-with-baby-according-to-baby-expert-dr-sears.html#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:01:21 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13672 post thumbnail



Renowned pediatrician, author and father Dr. Williams Sears is here to talk to us about how parents can start that bond before the baby is even born and maintain that connection with their daily interactions with their baby.
With over the 40 books, 8 children and a new grandbaby, Dr. Sears is talking about bonding now as such an important part of modern parenting.
Here are his three tips for bonding with your child, some are for even before that baby is born:
• Talk to your pre-born baby while he or she is still in the womb. Your baby can hear you.
• Feel your baby – those little kicks and such
• Bond during diaper changes
Reserve novelty like special songs, facial gestures or using your fingers to walk up and down baby’s legs. The baby learns to associate fun with the diaper change and that lowers everyone’s stress levels. Also, don’t forget skin care. Dr. Sears recommends Huggies diapers and baby wipes for their gentle formulation.
Other opportunities for bonding that parents may not have heard of yet include bonding during feeding times, mutual smiling and here’s his super secret tip to make daddy into a super hero with mom:
Neck Nestle – daddy holds the baby close to his neck and speaks in his low voice something like “Go to Sleep” or singing. This lower voice is very soothing to baby because it actually makes the little one’s skull and upper body vibrate with that low tone. This soothes the child to sleep and scores points for Dad with a happy mommy!
Another tips Dr. Sears offers is infant massage, especially during what he calls “Happy Hour” or what I used to call “The Witching Hour” right around 4 or 5 pm when baby is fussiest. Using infant massage or therapeutic touches can help the baby associate this difficult time of day with something relaxing and fun instead of a tense mom or dad.

So what about siblings? Is there anything that needs to be addressed for keeping the bond with the older siblings as you have a new baby
Finally, how can older siblings get involved with baby but still feel like an important part of the family?
Dr. Sears says to make the sibling part of things like – help get the band-aid for baby or hold the diaper while I get baby undressed or hold your brother’s or sister’s hand while I give baby this new outfit. Anything to involve the older kids will help them create that bond and keep that important bond they have formed with their parents too.



To find out more about Dr. Sears, visit www.askdrsears.com and www.huggies.com



Marijo Tinlin is an author, editor, blogger and podcaster who lives in the Boulder, Colorado area with her husband and their four kids. She is the author of “How to Raise an American Patriot” an Amazon best seller.

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Back to School Health & Safety Recommendations – PODCASThttp://familyfirst.com/back-to-school-health-safety-recommendations-podcast.html http://familyfirst.com/back-to-school-health-safety-recommendations-podcast.html#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 14:00:58 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13679 post thumbnail

For the very first podcast from The Family First Show with Marijo Tinlin, we are featuring recommendations from the American College of Emergency Physicians for a Back-To-School Health Checklist as well as recommendations from The March of Dimes on the best vaccinations to make sure you get for your kids.

The check list from the ACEP includes:

  • Organize medical history records and emergency medical contact information for your kids.  Make sure this information gets to your child’s school and any day care providers.  Make sure form includes information about prescription medications, medical problems, or previous surgeries as well as emergency contacts.  Free forms can be downloaded on the EmergencyCareForYou website.  An emergency information form is also available for children with special needs.  Make sure you have completed a consent-to-treat form and that the school nurse gets a copy.  The form will allow your child’s caregivers to authorize medical treatment.
  • Speak with the school nurse and your child’s doctor to create action plans for health issues, like asthma or food allergies.  Speak to all appropriate care givers about this.
  • Get those medical and dental check-ups scheduled before school starts.  Don’t forget vision and hearing tests, since impairment can adversely affect learning.  Get a sports check-up well in advance of the season if your child will be playing in sports.
  • Do a dry run with your child of his or her route to school, and talk about the potential hazards along the way – busy streets, bushes that hide you from drivers, intersections.  If your child walks to school, make sure he or she understands potential traffic dangers.
  • If your child will be taking the bus this year, establish a safe, visible pick up/drop off spot, preferably with a group of children and in an area where they can be clearly seen by adults.  If your child drives to school, make sure he or she obeys all laws and wear seatbelts.
  • Make sure your children know how to telephone for help.  Post emergency contact numbers by every telephone in your home.  Have them practice how to call 911 or the local emergency number and give their names address and a brief description of the problem. Make sure they know your contact information and that of your spouse.
  • Develop a family emergency plan in case something happens on the way to (or from) and while at school.  Be aware of the emergency and evacuation plans for your children’s schools.
  • I added this one – don’t put your child’s first name on anything that strangers can view, like a backpack. That immediately creates familiarity with the child and your child may not realize the stranger simply read the backpack and immediate trusts that stranger. This could put your child in a very dangerous spot. You can still identify possessions with initials or a simple last name at the most.

For more information, check out the website at www.acep.org.

The second half of the show was about vaccinations. The March of Dimes put out a press release encouraging parents to make sure their children are up to date on vaccinations, especially measles, mumps and pertussis (whooping cough). Over 28,000 cases were reported last year of pertussis, a preventable disease. The most dangerous part of the vaccine debate is endangering the health of infants who have yet to get their vaccinations.

Anyone having contact with these young children as well as siblings and pregnant moms really should consider vaccinations if it is in line with your philosophy.

The March of Dimes started in 1938 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a polio survivor himself. He did not want children to suffer as he did so he pushed hard for vaccinations and then in 1955 the first polio vaccination was developed with the oral version following in 1962.

Learn more about the March of Dimes at www.marchofdimes.org and about vaccinations at www.vaccines.com.

Marijo Tinlin is an author, editor, blogger and host of The Family First Show podcast who lives in the Boulder, Colorado area with her husband and their four kids. She is the author of “How to Raise an American Patriot” an Amazon best seller.

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Tips before vaccinating your childhttp://familyfirst.com/tips-before-vaccinating-your-child.html http://familyfirst.com/tips-before-vaccinating-your-child.html#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:33:04 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13660 post thumbnail

Taking your child to have their vaccinations is probably a more stressful time for you as a parent than it is for your little one. No one likes to see their child upset, scared or in pain. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to make sure the vaccination process goes as smoothly, and painlessly, as possible…

Dealing with fear

When you take your child for their first vaccinations, it’s likely they’ll be too young to have any understanding of what is going on. But, as they get older and return for their booster shots, it’s natural they may be anxious.

But, if you stay calm yourself,your child will take their cue from your attitude. Be honest about where you are going and why. Tell them you’re going to the doctor for a vaccination to help stop them from getting poorly. Don’t lie and say it won’t hurt at all because even tiny children know a fib when they hear one.

Timing is key

If you can, try to get an appointment early in the day so your child doesn’t have long to worry about what is about to happen. But, do leave yourself plenty of time to get there. If you’re stressed about making it to your appointment, then your little one will pick up on it. Instead, arrive a few minutes early. That way, you can play with the toys at the surgery, if there are some provided. Or you can take a book with you to read together while you wait for your name to be called.

Choose the right clothing

You want to make having their jabs as quick and painless as possible for your child and what they wear can make a difference. Depending on where they are having their vaccination, usually in their thigh, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for the doctor or nurse to do their job. So, if it’s summer, you could put your little one in shorts or a skirt, while if the weather is cooler, then a pair of jogging bottoms would be a good option. You don’t want to create any extra fuss by having to take off tights or unfasten zips and buttons.

After the appointment

Give your child a nice cuddle after the shot, praise them for being brave and reassure them you’re there to look after them if they’re a little sore. Don’t dwell on it though. Move onto another activity, like a nice movie and some popcorn at home.

Do be aware though that vaccines, like all medicines, can have side effects. Most, such as redness around the vaccine area or a mild fever, aren’t serious and should disappear after a day or two. The 5-in-1 vaccine is the first in a series of jabs children will be offered. It is very safe but complications can happen so it’s important to keep a close eye on your little one in the days after the vaccination. Rare complications can include a severe allergic reaction or a seizure.

A survey carried out by the Medical Defence Unit (MDU) found that family doctors had been involved in vaccination mistakes affecting 98 children over five years, including patients being given the wrong vaccine or dose, or being vaccinated without consent. In one instance, for example, the family of a newborn baby launched a medical negligence claim after he was given an overdose of the tuberculosis vaccine.

When your child shouldn’t have vaccinations

Every parent wants to do all they can to try to ensure their child is as healthy as possible and that will usually mean taking them along for routine childhood vaccinations. But, there are reasons why some children shouldn’t be vaccinated. A child who is ill on the day he or she is due to attend their appointment will probably be asked to come back another day.

Also, if your little one has had a serious allergic reaction after getting a vaccine or to a substance in a vaccine, they shouldn’t have that vaccine again. A child shouldn’t have the 5-in-1 vaccine if they have had a brain or nervous system disease within the last week, have cried non-stop for more than three hours, have ever collapsed or had a seizure or have had a very high fever. Your little one shouldn’t have a polio vaccine if they are severely allergic to certain antibiotics and the Hepatitis B vaccine shouldn’t be offered if they are allergic to yeast.

Put it all into perspective

Just remember though, the vast majority of children sail through their vaccinations completely unscathed, with perhaps just a little soreness. All they need to come through their experience is a little cuddle from mom or dad and, maybe, a lollipop or a sticker for being brave.

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Oscar Party Made Simple and Delicious with Sissy Biggers – WIN $10,000 toohttp://familyfirst.com/oscar-party-made-simple-and-delicious-with-sissy-biggers-win-10000-too.html http://familyfirst.com/oscar-party-made-simple-and-delicious-with-sissy-biggers-win-10000-too.html#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 03:05:18 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13655 post thumbnail

The Academy Awards are coming up. What do you do to celebrate that night of glamor and awards?

If you are having friends and family in to watch together, you must get some delicious tips from Sissy Biggers, lifestyle expert who has been featured on The Today Show and The Chew.

Biggers gives us some super quick and fun ideas for “Best Starring Roll” using prepared seafood salad and King’s Hawaiian rolls and tzatiki dip in a carved-out bread bowl from King’s Hawaiian.

Full disclosure – I was provided with free samples of both the rolls and the bread from King’s Hawaiian and my family LOVED them!


For a chance to win $10,000, visit www.starringroll.com and upload your pictures from your Oscar party or by submitting your very own King’s Hawaiian recipe. The deadline for entry is February 28, 2015.

Marijo Tinlin is the editor of Family First, the author of “How to Raise an American Patriot” as well as the owner of a marketing/business consulting company called Sunrise Business Consulting.

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What’s Up with That Dog Breath?http://familyfirst.com/whats-up-with-that-dog-breath.html http://familyfirst.com/whats-up-with-that-dog-breath.html#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 21:35:35 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13650 post thumbnail

Not yours…your dog’s!

We love our pets but it’s hard to get close to them when they have bad breath and the worst part is: this could be an warning sign of poor health and potential problems.

Over 90% of dogs over the age of 3 suffer from some sort of dental disease. Do you know how to check to see if your dog or cat is healthy?

In the interview below with Family First’s Marijo Tinlin, pet health expert and doctor of veterinary medicine Andrea Sanchez gives us the 3 steps to helping keep your pets gums healthy. February is pet dental health month so it’s the perfect time to learn these great tips.

Some health issues correlated to poor oral health include kidney, liver or heart disease. You can prevent these with a 3-step process, according to Sanchez.

1. Flip – flip your pet’s lips so you can see their teeth and check for yellow or brown stains or gum redness. Try brushing their teeth regularly, if they will let you.

2. Check – get your pet’s teeth checked annually at their physical check up

3. Treat – give them a treat like a Greenies brand textured treat that has been proven to be as effective as brushing your pet’s teeth.

Dr. Sanchez is a graduate of Oregon State University and currently works at Banfield Veterinary Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. She and her husband have three cats – Daniel, Pablo and Felix.

Marijo Tinlin is the editor of Family First. She is also a published author of the book “How to Raise an American Patriot.” She lives in Colorado with her husband and their children.


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How to Make Valentine’s Day Super Special (and Easy)http://familyfirst.com/how-to-make-valentines-day-super-special-and-easy.html http://familyfirst.com/how-to-make-valentines-day-super-special-and-easy.html#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 16:04:02 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13643 post thumbnail

Laura Vitale

Hey, don’t forget Valentine’s Day is coming up this week. If you haven’t made that reservation to a fancy restaurant yet, wait! Family First with the help of YouTube sensation Laura Vitale can help.

Vitale, the host of YouTube’s “Laura in the Kitchen” and The Cooking Channel’s “Simply Laura” has some fantastic ideas for you to make Valentine’s Day, or really any date night dinner, truly special and SUPER easy.

Watch the video below for the interview she did with Family First’s Marijo Tinlin that gives you simply and easy ideas for a romantic but casual night in. Don’t worry about parking or getting a sitter – just enjoy each other at home with these great ideas (and the recipes follow the video below). For more information, visit forkful.com.

Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Serves 4

2 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
Seasoned Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
8 Skin-On Bone-In Chicken Thighs, a little less than 2lb total
2 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/4 cup of White Wine, I use Pinot Grigio
3/4 cup of Chicken Stock
1 3” Sprig of Rosemary, needles stripped from the stem and roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 of a Lemon
1/2 of a 32 oz bag of Alexia Roasted Tri-Cut Potatoes with Sea Salt
1 Tbsp of Chopped Rosemary


1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Position one oven rack in the lower third of the oven and the other in the center.
2) Season both sides of the chicken well with seasoned salt and black pepper and set aside.
3) Preheat an oven proof skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and allow it to get nice and hot, add the chicken, skin side down and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until it develops some good deep golden brown color. Discard any oil from the pan.
4) To the same skillet over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt, add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
5) Add the wine, allow it to reduce by half, this will take about 30 seconds, add the lemon juice, chicken stock and rosemary and bring mixture to a boil.
6) Add the chicken back into the sauce (skin side up) and pop it all in the oven on the middle rack. Roast for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through.
7) Scatter the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, and pop them in the oven on the lower rack. Roast alongside the chicken giving them a toss every 10 minutes to insure even cooking. Ten minutes after you put them in, sprinkle some rosemary over top (doing this at this point helps the rosemary adhere to the potatoes) and continue roasting.
8) Remove the chicken from the oven, scatter over some parsley and serve alongside the roasted potatoes.

Pasta with Pancetta and Cherry Peppers

Serves 4

12oz Penne Pasta or any pasta shape of your choice
1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
4oz of Pancetta, diced into 1/4” pieces
4 Cloves of Garlic, sliced
2 14.5oz can of Hunts Tomato Sauce
1 tsp of Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp of Italian Seasoning
1/3 cup of Pickled Cherry Peppers (about 3 peppers) seeds removed and peppers torn or chopped into bite size pieces
2 Tbsp of Freshly Chopped Parsley
1/4 cup of Freshly Grated Parmigiano to taste


1) Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
2) In a large skillet with high sides, add the olive oil and preheat it over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook until the pancetta renderers it’s fat and crisps up a bit, this will take around 5 minutes.
3) Add the garlic, saute for an additional 2 minutes or until the garlic lightly browns.
4) Add the tomato sauce, the italian seasoning and sugar, give everything a nice stir bring the mixture up to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low. Partially cover the skillet with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
5) About 10 minutes before the sauce is done cooking, the pasta water should be boiling, add the pasta, cook according to package instructions and drain well.
6) Add the cherry peppers to the sauce along with a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir in the pasta, parsley and parmigiano.
Serve right away!

Enjoy your sweetheart and enjoy the day!

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Boating Accidents (infographic)http://familyfirst.com/boating-accidents-infographic.html http://familyfirst.com/boating-accidents-infographic.html#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:38:55 +0000 http://familyfirst.com/?p=13663 It’s great fun to be on the high seas, but boating is not without its risks. The following infographic provides some details on the perils of being on the water. Ahoy!

Via: El Dabe Law Firm of Los Angeles

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