The Party No One Wants To Plan

People rarely like to dwell on the fact that they or a loved one will die someday, even though it’s an inevitable part of life.

From a practical standpoint, we would make preparations to ensure that survivors aren’t placed in financial jeopardy, and that they know the deceased person’s final wishes.

“But the reality is that people procrastinate because the topic is too painful to think about,” says Susan Alpert, author of Later is Too Late: Hard Conversations That Can’t Wait (www.susanalpertconsulting.com).

Alpert, who lost her husband suddenly after 46 years of marriage, knows from experience about the confusion, chaos and disastrous financial consequences that occur, and she believes it’s time for people to make a change in their thinking and planning about death.

“No one wants to admit that life has an end, but picture your spouse, your children, your parents, or anyone else you hold dear,” she says. “What would their lives be like if you died and hadn’t properly prepared your estate and legal documents?”

Survivors also are often left to make decisions about funerals or memorial services while they are still grieving. Just 23 percent of people over age 50 have planned for their funeral or burial, according to the AARP. Meanwhile, funerals come with a hefty price tag that keeps rising, with the average cost in 2014 at $7,181, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

“Making arrangements for your own funeral may feel surreal,” Alpert says. “But imagine the pain others will have dealing with that if you don’t step up and do it for them – and take care of the cost now if possible.”

The good news, she says, is that despite the emotion involved, preparing for death can be handled over time and at your own pace, although it does require motivation and organization.

Among the things to consider:

  • Collect important documents and details in one place. Some of the personal information that should be gathered together would include names of your doctors, your bank accounts, Social Security information, life insurance policies, a will and anything else that’s critical to your estate. Having all the important personal information in one place makes a huge difference in reducing stress and making the process easier for the person or persons left behind.
  • Plan that funeral. It’s not a pleasant topic, but it’s natural to wonder how our lives will be honored after death. Our vision might not be the same as family members, Alpert says, so it’s important to decide how and where the final resting place will be and whether there should a funeral or a memorial service. Do you want a burial or cremation? Do you prefer an old-fashioned obituary or a simple social media announcement?
  • Hire experts. “There is a business for every need, and the arena of death is no exception,” Alpert says. Try contacting a team of professionals – attorneys, accountants, financial advisors – who can help sort through all the financial and legal details ahead of time so there are fewer challenges to face at the time of death.


“The best way to honor a loved one’s legacy is to ensure that his or her wishes are carried out after death,” Alpert says. “But that shouldn’t happen at the expense of a budget when you’re grieving and can’t make clear decisions.”


About Susan Alpert

Susan Covell Alpert, author of Later is Too Late: Hard Conversations That Can’t Wait (www.susanalpertconsulting.com), is a lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur and frequent guest on national radio and television shows. Alpert, who holds a master’s degree in psychology and education, has been the owner of several multi-million dollar companies and is experienced in negotiation, finance, international services, and business. Alpert also is author of Driving Solo: Dealing with Grief and the Business of Financial Survival.

Mom Approved: BrainSkinz

Disclaimer: I received a product to review. All opinions are my own.

I may not have used a helmet when I was a kid to ride anything but on dad's motorcycle. Things are a bit different with my own kids. Of course, helmets are a bit more accessible now than they were when I was a kid.

My childhood:

Image result for 1990s tv show riding bike

My kids are a bit different. They wear a helmet with scooters, bicycles, 4wheeler, and more. My husband and I have even threatened to make them wear one with their hoppers and the rocking horse because they go crazy.

My husband and I were on a mission to find a helmet that would grow with Tbomb instead of buying him a new one every couple of years. He grew out of his first one and we passed it along to Snapper. However, we'd rather each of them have one that can grow with them and that is fun for them to wear. Thanks to Brainskinz, we have both!




Why brainskinz™ ?


brainskinz™ are fun, changeable helmets that your kids will love to wear! brainskinz™ are colorful, playful and just plain fun. brainskinz™ can be worn pretty much any time your kids are in motion*. And, when they get tired of a design, they can simply detach the current Shell and choose another from their collection. Keeping it fresh means keeping them on their melons!

Brainskinz are highly adjustable helmets to fit kids 7 and up. They meet bicycle and skateboard testing requirements. Your helmet is outfitted with soft, satiny padding for comfort, an adjustable clasp-style chinstrap and a dial-fit that perfectly conforms to your melon. Personally, I think the helmet itself looks really cool, but kids find fun in picking their shell. The shells are easily changed. Your child can do it by themselves- win for independence. 

Green Camo

Mom Approved For Summer Fun: Watermelon Ball

Disclaimer: I was sent a sample to review. All opinions are my own.

We have so much fun playing in the pool as a family. My husband and I are always looking for new games to play with the kids as well as ways for the adults to get some exercise in during the brutal South Carolina summers. I was sent the perfect solution from PlaSmart.

The Watermelon Ball is a unique ball that allows you to play games in the water. It is naturally buoyant, and it looks, feels, and behaves like a watermelon in the water. You can dribble, kick, intercept, and pass up to 10 feet underwater. It even bounces against the pool walls.






Watermelon Ball from PlaSmart

The Watermelon Ball is recommended for ages eight and up. It is sure to be loads of family and friend fun! I cannot wait for this summer to break it out in the pool, and probably take it to the lake with us. The hotel we usually stay at in the mountains has a larger pool than ours and we love catching it empty so we can play all kinds of games, so I know this will be packed to take along! This will be sure to add to our summer family fun! 

Book Review: Farm and Construction Activity Books

Disclaimer: I received a book to review. All opinions are my own.

My kids love activity and coloring books. They get bored just coloring, so when the book has activities as well, it is a winner. We have a basket full of them, so the kids can choose what they want at the moment. They have new favorites from Quarto Knows.

Construction by Walter Foster Custom Creative Team

Construction Interactive fun with fold-out play scene, reusable stickers, and punch-out, stand-up figures!Interactive fun with fold-out play scene, reusable stickers, and punch-out, stand-up figures!

Author: Walter Foster Custom Creative Team
Illustrator: Mattia Cerato

($6.99 here)

This interactive book introduces young children to the world of the bustling construction site. Vibrantly illustrated background, stickers, and punch-outs come together to provide hours of imaginative fun. The background scene, a stand-up panorama of the construction site, is perfect for stickering as the child envisions his very own site, and then serves as the backdrop to punch-out playtime. The sturdy punch-outs are perfectly sized for little hands, and include boy and girl workers and machinery. Stickers include jackhammer, hard hats, toolboxes, and more. Altogether, it makes for interactive play and limitless fun.

On the Farm by Walter Foster Custom Creative Team

On the FarmInteractive fun with fold-out play scene, reusable stickers, and punch-out, stand-up figures!

Author: Walter Foster Custom Creative Team

Illustrator: Melisande Luthringer

($5.59 here)

This interactive book introduces young children to the world of the farm. Vibrantly illustrated background, stickers, and punch-outs come together to provide hours of imaginative fun. The background scene, a stand-up panorama of the farmyard and stable, is perfect for stickering as the child envisions his very own farm, and then serves as the backdrop to punch-out playtime. The sturdy punch-outs are perfectly sized for little hands, and include boy and girl farmers, animals, and machinery. Use stickers to keep chickens in their coop, horses grazing near the stable, or lead the cows to pasture. Altogether, Sticker, Punch-out, & Play!: On the Farm makes for interactive play and limitless fun.

My kids have had so much fun with these activity books. They have done the activities, put the stickers on the scenes, and spent hours playing with the punch-outs. In fact, they have used the scene as a base to play with their other toys on, pretty creative. Lately, they have been choosing this to go in their backpacks for appointments and it keeps them entertained while I have the other one in an appointment or therapy. That is definitely a winner with me!

Book Review: Science Books From Capstone

Disclaimer: I was sent some books to review. All opinions are my own.

We love science. I get so excited planning science lessons and look for fun things to supplement. Capstone is one of my favorite places to get fun science books to go along with our lessons. They always cover the subject in a thorough manner, that is also easy for young learners to comprehend. I keep the books with me while we are on that subject, and refer back to them often. If you haven't already, you must check out the science books offered from Capstone.

Forecasting Weather

Forecasting Weatherby Terri Sievert

($7.29 here)

Should you bring your umbrella to school today? What if there's a snowstorm? Weather forecasters gather the information that helps us stay safe, warm, and dry every day.






Healthy Habits

Healthy Habitsby Rebecca Weber

($7.29 Here)

From one morning to the next, you can have a healthy day. See how exercise, rest, and good food should be everyone's Healthy Habits.






Mad Margaret Experiments with the Scientific Method

Mad Margaret Experiments with the Scientific Methodby Eric Braun
Illustrated by Robin Boyden

($9.95 here)


I'm Mad Margaret, and I'm not really mad, I'm just crazy about science! When a friend tells me he has a sneezing problem, I help him use the scientific method to solve it. I'm no Einstein, but I can tell you all about the scientific method!







History Option: 


My Hometown

My Hometownby Russell Griesmer
Illustrated by Priscilla Wong

($15.95 here)

Every town has a story. Experience small-town life and American history with this nearly wordless picture book. A magical newspaper takes a young boy on a journey through the history of a beloved hometown, from the 1860s to present day. Striking illustrations celebrate main street Americana as the boy discovers the past and its importance.




Young Readers Review: Dalmatian in a Digger & Good Morning Superman

Disclaimer: I was sent samples to review. All opinions are my own.

I love kids' books. Seriously, I could sit and read kids books without my children. When I managed the bookstore, I would often find myself reading the new children's books as they came in. Luckily, my children indulge me and let me read to them. They get as excited about new books as I do. We were sent a couple of ARC (advanced reader's copies) from Capstone and quickly fell in love with these.

Dalmatian in a Digger

Dalmatian in a Diggerby Rebecca Elliott

($15.95 here)

Available 2/1/2017

Dugger! Dugger! Dugger! What’s that noise? Little Dalmatian is about to find out as he follows the booming noises of big construction vehicles in this energetic picture book.


The kids get so excited reading this book and love guessing what the sounds are coming from. When the book ends, the surprise really got them excited!

Good Morning, Superman!

by Michael Dahl
Illustrated by Omar Lozano

($15.95 here)

Available 3/1/2017

Good Morning, Superman!Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s the . . . SUN! When morning comes, a young boy must prepare for his day, faster than a speeding bullet. Follow along as he leaps tall buildings (jumps out of bed) in a single bound, dons his heroic uniform (his clothes), and faces his greatest weakness (Kryptonite-colored toothpaste). Then it’s up, up, and away to daycare! The perfect companion to the bestselling author Michael Dahl's BEDTIME FOR BATMAN, this official DC Comics picture book will have Superman fans young and old delighting in their morning routines. Includes a morning routine checklist.


The kids love that their morning routine is so much like this young boy's routine. What did they get with it, pretending to be superheroes in everything they do throughout the day! Pretty cool!