Whole Families Are Being Jailed. The US Government Is Behind It.

Thank you Amnesty International USA for sponsoring this post.

The current unrest in the world today is terrifying. For this reason, the day I gave birth to my son, I looked down at his perfect little teeny tiny body and into his sweet eyes and promised him I would keep him safe in this crazy world. At all costs. Forever.

With all of my heart and soul and abilities as that child’s mother, I will give him the best life I can, and do anything to keep him safe and protect him. That's what good parents do; sacrifice everything for the safety and well-being of their child. You can’t blame a parent ever for doing that. It’s inherent, almost animal instinct-ish, to protect your young. 

But what happens when p
arents are facing an impossible choice: stay and risk violence or flee to the U.S. and risk ending up behind bars with their children. Sadly, that choice was not only real but, now, the reality for at least 60 parents and kids currently detained in the US, many of them are from Central America, where Amnesty International has documented horrific violence.

FACT: There’s only one place in the U.S. that you can hold a child who’s never committed a violent action or crime for nearly 700 days and that place is Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. As many as 60 fathers, mothers, and children are currently being held in Berks. Their only so-called crime is seeking safety for their families as they flee violence or persecution. 

Whether for two weeks or two years, no family should be jailed for seeking safety. They are not criminal! These families have been forced to flee their homes because their lives are under threat and their human rights are being violated. Haven't they been through enough? 

All families should be able to live freely in a safe community and make happy memories, enjoying life's simplest things, like Hikes, bikes, sandy shores, and carousels.  I feel so blessed. Things so basic to Americans, are anything but for many of our neighbors. I can't help but feel terrible. This could be my family, especially in this crazy world. All we as parents want is to keep our kids safe. These parents aren't criminals, they are, Heros! They saved their children, they deserve to live free and make new memories to replace the horrible memories of violence. It's what I would want.

The children are learning to walk, talk and navigate the world in confinement. How horrible! It's outrageous. Children should be playing at the park, going to school, learning about life, going for stroller rides, breathing fresh air...

Again, I feel so blessed for these things that are so basic, but anything but basic to many, many families.

Amnesty International USA is fighting to ensure that people with asylum claims are given a fair hearing and humane treatment. It’s time for the U.S. government to end the cruel practice of family detention at centers like Berks, once and for all. They must immediately release detained families!

Below is a short video about Berks and what's really going on.


To learn more about Berks and what you can do to help end the innocent detention of families, please visit the Amnesty International Website.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


So Excited To Share My First Novel, The Devlyn Disguise #NaNoWriMo #Writing #Amwriting

Gardening. July 2017. Warm. Sunny. Peaceful.

Knees firmly planted in the ground, wafts of gardenia filled the air mixed with freesia and honeysuckle. I was in my happy place. A scene from a movie flashed through my mind. Except, I've never seen the movie.

For weeks, the scene nagged me. I saw things I needed to explore, understand. I sat down to write. After many hours of research, writing, and editing, that small scene turned into, The Devlyn Disguise.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to #NaNoWriMo for giving me the kick in the ass I needed to finish. I immensely enjoyed the writing process. I also realized that I might secretly be a psychopath.

On this #GivingTusday, I'm excited to share the synopsis and prologue to my first novel, THE DEVLYN DISGUISE. 


When Avery Austin's parents die in a freak accident only a few feet from where she was standing, she leaves her small Kentucky town to live in LA with her last living relative, Uncle Nick; half of the most sought-after Men's Wear design duo, S&N For Men. She's twenty-two, fresh out of college and the recipient of a coveted spot in the Young Designers Guild NYFW contest.

Broken, Avery tries to pull herself and her collection together in Uncle Nick's Beverly Hills studio. When Devlyn Beck, the son of the notorious DT Beck, pays her uncle's shop a visit, Avery falls head over heels in love with him. There's only one problem, he's the son of the notorious DT Beck, owner of the hottest hotel and casino in Las Vegas, The Fun House Brothel, Napa Valley Bed and Breakfast and rumored Boss of the largest sex and drug trafficking ring operating between Mexico, South America, and the US.

Devlyn desperately wants to be the man she deserves, but at twenty-seven, the heir to a dangerous game, and a reputation that rivals his father's, Devlyn has trouble keeping up his good guy disguise. By the time Avery realizes her knight in shining armor is a sex-trafficking murder, with a severe cocaine problem, she's in too deep. Devlyn is not letting her go.

Avery has one chance to escape with her life, and save many other lives in the process. If she fails, they will die.

To read more please visit my website, AprilMcCormick.com


5 Important Things To Consider When Buying Children's Products

Today I am partnering with Little Tikes, a trusted manufacturer of children's products for nearly fifty years, to talk about five important, dare I say, critical, things to look for when buying children’s products. All opinions are my own.

Product featured in photo: My First Seat 

With the holidays in full swing, and many of us searching for the perfect gift for our children, nieces, nephews, and best friends newborn, I thought I'd remind everyone of the five most important things to look for when purchasing chidren's products:

Country of Origin When buying a product outside of the USA, be aware that the manufacturer is most likely not held to the same standards and laws of the USA. I have three words for you: Lead Paint Poisoning. Besides, it’s always best to buy local. 

Safety Tested. Nobody likes to be the guinea pig. Dare I say this is one of the most important things to look for. Make sure whatever product you buy has been safety tested and approved for the age you are buying for. 

The brand name. While I’m all about supporting the small mom-and-pop shops, when it comes to buying a solid child's product, especially one that cost more than $40, sticking to a brand-name, even if it costs a few extra dollars, I highly recommend. Children's Product Manufacturers like Little Tikes, have been around for half a decade for a reason, their products are solid and backed up by a warranty. If for any reason the product is defective the chances of you getting a full refund from a brand-name are pretty damn good.

The product should grow with the child. 
Whether it’s, my first seat, or a flashing toy with buttons, you want to get your money's worth, and since children are ever-growing and changing, you want to make sure the product offers 'Multi-Stage Features' for continued use through multiple growth stages and milestones. Offered add-on features are great for multi-stage growth, too! 

NOTE: ALWAYS! Buy for the age range of the child. The age rating is there for a reason, because nine times out of ten, it's spot-on. 

The Danger Factor: Avoid giving any child the opportunity to gnaw away on metal, wood that can splinter, or something that will crumble underneath their destructive little fingers. Most of all, make sure the product is free of hidden sharp edges, pieces that can fall off, or can be used as a weapon in anyway shape or form. Think creatively, that's how children come up with their crazy ideas.

The product featured today is My First Seat, from, Little Tikes. To learn more about, My First Seat and where you can buy it in-store at Walmart or online at buy buy Baby, click here.


Kindergarten: Busses, Bullies, F-Bombs and Bad Girls

You all, I’m sorry it’s taking me so long to talk about kindergarten. I’m especially sorry to those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning and have children who started kindergarten, too. I’m your fearless leader... I’m the one who talks about the crazy...

 But I can't. 


Kindergarten is fu*king crazy sh!t.

There is so much to say, but it’s so hard because both Ollie and I are having such a hard time processing and adapting to this new world of public school and kindergarten, and all the insane influences that go along with it. The transition has been, well, horrible. I've wanted to yank him out of Public School and put him back at the private school he attended for Pre-school and Pre-k. He's just a night and day child between the two schools.

My perfect little child, who NEVER had an issue with pre-school or Pre-K, since Kindergarten has started:

  • Every week he has a note on his calendar about his crap behavior. His teacher sends home a calendar in his folder every night. If he's been good, he gets a little sticker. If he's been a shit, there's a note. 
  • He dropped the F-bomb on the playground with three other boys and a girl. Apparently, it was f-bomb explosion. 
  • He told the music teacher she looks like a scary witch.
  • He got bullied on the bus by a 4th-grade girl-- The told him he was stupid and everyone hated him.
  • He went from being the "By far brightest child in the class" to "Average kindergartener" according to his new teacher.

Honestly, the list goes on.

Which brings me to one of my biggest inner-mother-struggles to date, finding the balance between breaking my five-year-old child's spirit and teaching him to not be an asshole at school.

He's getting in trouble for not sitting still, laughing loud, "not listening to directions the first time"  being disruptive in line. But it’s not for horrible things, minus the F-bomb on the playground. How hard-core should I be about the punishment?  How long do I take away tech time? If the poor kid has a week-long punishment, he'd never have anything because he gets in trouble once a week. 

Then there's the part about me swearing up and down I would never be one of those mother's that thinks the teacher is too hard on my child, or question her rules and reactions. I know my child is not perfect. I know sometimes he has a hard time following directions the first time, sitting still and keeping his mouth shut. Truth be told, I'm in my thirties and still struggle with all of that!  But in no way shape or form is he a "bad kid." I don't care how many notes home he get on his calendar!

Sometimes, I let it all get to me. What I've learned so far is to count the good days against the bad days. Understand that we all have bad days, and to treat each incident separately. My son is a great kid, he's just having a horrible time settling into Kindergarten at this new school.

I'll write more, I promise. It's just shitty because all I want to write is FUCK THAT SCHOOL. FUCK KINDERGARTEN And FUCK MILITANT STYLE TEACHING!

So, until I can talk about kindergarten without shouting and dropping my own F-Bombs, it's probably best that I wait a little longer so the dust can settle.


12 Tasty Tweaks For Thanksgiving Favorites


I love love love Thanksgiving. It's one of the only, if not only, holidays that keeps the focus on family, friends, giving and thankfulness. I look forward to the glorious day every year. My family is relatively small, so we plan to spend the day together. We cook as a family, we fight as a family, we drink as a family, we play football as a family. It's absolutely brilliant. Dysfunction and all! 

In honor of celebrating my favorite meal of the entire year, I've been looking everywhere for fun twists on Thanksgiving Day Favorites. Here at 12 that might make it on my table this year! 

Rosemary Bread Cornucopia from Lilly Shop

Send those snack-y guests packing with a breadstick and bowl of Roasted Sweet Potato Soup from Simply Recipes. TIP: Prepare the night before!

I'm trying these potatoes this year. 
Leave it to me to find a way to get Goat Cheese on the table.
Lawd I love that creamy goodness!

Don't forget the Kiddie Crowd Pleaser, Carrots!  
This recipe for Honey Glazed Baby Carrots from Damn Delicious is spot on!

I make Honey Glazed Baby Carrots Every Year. Actually, multiple times a year. So easy and so good.

Fresh Healthy Green Bean Casserole from Gimme Some Oven, is definitely worth checking out.

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon 
This is my go-to recipe. LOVE IT

Two Words, 

I LOVE this idea!
You can use any stuffing recipe you want, just bake into muffin tins.
Everyone will get crispy stuffing,

Just the two of you? Try this Cranberry Hazelnut Turkey Wellington 

Of course, it can be done... Crockpot Turkey. Never had it, but Practical Stewardship says it's the way to go!

Because. Bacon.
Bacon Wrapped Turkey is easier than it looks.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe!
My Brother-in-Law made it a few years ago and I have begged for it at every holiday since.

Make Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes the day before, then douse in whip cream and serve with coffee after dinner!

I'm making these!

Are you a traditional turkey and sides kind of person, or do you like things to have a wild twist too?

For more Tasty Thanksgiving Turkeys, sides and tasty treats, check out my super stuffed Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.


These Childhood Development Facts Will Shock + Amaze

1. If babies’ bodies grew at the same rapid pace as their brains, they would weigh 170 pounds by one month of age.

2. 60% of all the energy a baby expends is concentrated in the brain. Birth-to-three is the fastest rate of brain development across the entire human lifespan.

3. The average child will grow in their baby teeth by three and lose them before turning thirteen.

Primary Teeth Development Chart
Upper TeethWhen tooth emergesWhen tooth falls out
Central incisor8 to 12 months6 to 7 years
Lateral incisor9 to 13 months7 to 8 years
Canine (cuspid)16 to 22 months10 to 12 years
First molar13 to 19 months9 to 11 years
Second molar25 to 33 months10 to 12 years
Lower Teeth  
Second molar23 to 31 months10 to 12 years
First molar14 to 18 months9 to 11 years
Canine (cuspid)17 to 23 months9 to 12 years
Lateral incisor10 to 16 months7 to 8 years
Central incisor6 to 10 months6 to 7 years

Food for thought: According to Truedent Family Dentistry, in Miami, FL, “Dental decay usually traces back to a high amounts of sugar in the diet and improper brushing habits. By teaching your child to brush regularly and limiting his intake of sugar, cavities can become a thing of the past." Your kids' health is an investment in their future. Not only that but teaching your child good health habits will save you large medical bills in the future.

4. Babies whose parents frequently talk to them know 300 more words by age 2 than babies whose parents rarely speak to them.

5. By age 1, a child typically understands about 70 words, but can only speak only a handful of them. At about 18 months, your toddler's spoken vocabulary starts to explode, adding new words at the astonishing rate of one every two waking hours.

6. When your toddler announces, "Mine!" while clinging to his truck in a playgroup, it's not so much a selfish refusal to share as it is a cognitive achievement. The declaration of "mine" is his way of saying he understands that you — and the other children — are separate from him.

7. Music boosts learning. Singing, listening to, and playing music improves spatial orientation and mathematical thinking.

8.  A baby has 300 separate bones at birth but by adulthood only 206. Why?
Because some bones, like the skull, fuse together later.

9. Until the age of six or seven months, a child can breathe and swallow at the same time. -

 75% of adults reading this will try to do it!

10. The average 4-year-old asks 437 questions a day!  (No big surprise there!)


Tips To Get Festive For The Holidays, Today!

I just can't get my head around the fact next week, the month-long Holiday adventure of December kicks off!
Wasn't it just, August?
I am so not ready!
If, like me, you are freaking out and need to get your festive-on and fast, below are a few fun ways to get festive for the holidays!

Make something sentimental that will last 
If you’re hoping to do something a little different this year – or expand your outdoor Christmas decoration box, then why not consider some festive signage? Custom metal signs made for home decor are ideal in this scenario, a large red sign that reads – Santa, We've been so good! You can choose anything you want. Unless you're my husband, then, NO! You can't write THAT on a sign! – is a cute and quirky way to bring in the festive cheer – that you can bring out year after year.

Be Unconventional
There's always the hottest Christmas trend of 2018, the pineapple Christmas tree! (I swear I'm not kidding!)

Buy out the dollar store
Go to the Dollar Tree after work. Buy a bunch of holiday decorations. Go home, put them in the middle if the floor and fire uo the leaf blower. #GoodTimes

Create something classic
Remember when we were kids and most decorations were made of foil and stretched from one end of the room to the other? Nowadays it seems to be all flashing lights and stylish, designer trees that no one is allowed to touch! Well, why not bring back a classic Christmas feel – and create some pretty homemade decorations?
A wonderful activity you can do with the kids to make it extra special, something like a simple paper chain made of brightly colored card, throw on some glitter and you’re good to go. These can go anywhere too – so if your tree is looking a little sparse or you want to decorate a doorframe or mirror, coat the house with homemade crafts!  
And as the kids get older, when the decorations appear again it’s an extra special touch for you and your family to look back on and smile.

The Christmas Table
Usually, on the big day, we can’t see the table, thanks to the mountains of food, paper hats and Christmas cracker debris scattered everywhere. But before the magical day arrives there’s nothing to stop you decorating the table and letting everyone know that Christmas is just one less sleep away. Find a tablecloth that’s festive or one with a bright color that will only come out at this time of year.
And don’t forget your placements and coasters too. Not only will they look beautiful and festive, but they’ll also protect your table from the inevitable gravy drips and wine drops!

Fairy lights
Who said that twinkly lights were only for the tree? LED lights can be purchased in various lengths and sizes of bulbs, so if you’re looking for something delicate to drape over a mirror, or attach to a garland you have on your mantlepiece, fairy lights are a really special addition to any room and give it a festive feel. You don’t even have to take them down when Christmas is over!


Do This To Make Holiday Shopping Fun Again

The only thing better than finding the perfect gift for someone is finding it on clearance. Nothing beat finding a bargain. Imagine being able to buy everyone on your list the perfect gift at a bargain price? Oh, and get some cash back in the process...

Below are 10 tips to make that possible. Seriously. It takes a little extra work up front, but in the end, you'll actually save time. Keep reading...

1. DealsNews- All day, every day, a team of deal-finding pros monitor the interwebs for the best deals. Then, post them on deals news. The website is super easy to navigate, so always check it out before buying a big-ticket item. You will save heaps. Also, if you need ideas for great gifts at a bargain price, surf around.  

2. Amazon-Wait, before you skip this thinking you already know about Amazon, there are two new things to consider. Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, the coupons and deals in the Amazon Pantry are worth checking out for holiday meals and food gifts alone. Plus, two days ago, a coupon for 20% off fresh turkeys at Whole Food. #YesPleases.  If you find a great deal or new product, check it out on Amazon for not only price but reviews, photos, and comparable items. Amazon sells everything, and everything has a review. 

3. Groupon.--I love Groupon for three reasons:
  • Local buys and gifts. I've bought a Groupon for a restaurant while sitting there eating. Such a great way to eat out during the holidays and only pay half price. 
  • Sometimes you can score a great deal on high-end items- or $10 Starbucks or Shell Gas card for $5. 
  • Great for coming up with gift ideas.  Groupon has everything.  A third of the products I didn't even know existed! I still price shop and read reviews for the products I'm thinking of buying on Amazon. The too good to be true stuff is often just that.

4. Etsy--I LOVE Etsy! Buying from Etsy makes for a  BEAUTIFUL buy. Not only can you find custom made insanely cool shit, you support small shops and individuals with your purchase. Check it out, there's something for everyone, at every price point.

5. Perpetual kid--Talk about crazy fun off the wall gifts!   This is like a jack of all things store for the entire family.  They even have a  "smelly" gifts page.  Think: Fart Spray; White Castle Candle and Jane Austen car air freshener on the SAME page. Those of you who said your husband is like FTD, go here for super fun gift ideas. You get a free finger monster with orders over $10. That just shows you how cool this site is. 

6. Gift Card Granny--NEVER pay full price for gift cards. Never. Ever. This is a totally legit website. Gift Card Granny has been featured on every news and daytime talk show. Buy card for stored you visit frequently to save a bundle on the annual family budget

7. Ebates. I am constantly telling my friends, family and this community to sign up for Ebates and download the browser app. I just got a check for $68 for shopping online over the last three months. All I did was download the browser plug-in, here. Every time I go to a website to shop, Ebates pops up telling me how much cash back I get shopping on the site and coupons available. Then, at checkouts, the plug-in automatically applies the best coupon. It's mental. DO THIS!!!  Seriously. RIGHT FRIGGIN" NOW!!!!!  It works. I'm AM NOT being paid to say this. I love Ebates on my own. 

8. Always try to price match. Big box Stores like Target, Walmart, Home Depot and many others will price match. All you have to do is pull up a lower price on a website the store matches (Usually competitors and Amazon) and the cashier will match it. I haven't paid full price for LEGO at Target in a long time!

9. Shop Local. Visit Local art fairs, markets and small shops and chances are you'll find yourself standing in a great gift gold mine! Your purchase will support the community and add a sense of pride to your gift. 

10. Screw buying stuff and pack up the family for an experience Holiday!  Why spend hundreds on shit no one needs and be house poor thanks to breaking the budget on gifts? Take your usual holiday budget and see how far and for how long it will get your family out from under the tree and living life! We only do Experience birthdays now. WAY more fun! 

If you can't follow #10, then for sure follow #1 (DealsNews) and #7 (Ebates) because the chances of you saving a bunch and getting some cash back (Real cash in your bank or PayPal!) is better than good, the chances are outstanding! 

Good luck out there. Holiday shopping can be a bitch, but, hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy shopping thanks to the deals and cashback you're going to get!

Do you have any super saver holiday tips?


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