Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jun 30, 2014

Check out “‘Summer with Cimorelli,’ served fresh by SUBWAY” & a fun giveaway

**CLOSED**- Winner is Kenyatta R 

I recently learned about Cimorelli, a six-sister a cappella group which performs original and top hits.

They are a YouTube sensation and I must say, those girls can sing! I watched a few of their music videos and found myself dancing in my chair. I love their cover of "Treasure" by Bruno Mars. My younger daughter walked in on me checking out some of Cimorelli's videos and she was like, "Hey, I know who they are! I saw them on a SUBWAY commercial!" And here they are in their latest SUBWAY commercial...

 
The Cimorelli sisters are signed to Universal Music’s Island label and have more than 700 million YouTube views.  “Summer with Cimorelli,” the sisters’ new AwesomenessTV web series, served fresh by SUBWAY, premiered at the beginning of June and their fans have been going crazy for it!  The six-part series takes viewers into the world of a family on the verge of musical stardom.

I was able to chat with them in a Google Hangout last week and they all remind me of my own daughters. Their mother is a music teacher and that's what started it all. They have been having a blast filming their web series and it's full of parties, singing, a monkey (yes, a MONKEY) and tons of shenanigans. No worries, there are many learning lessons along the way.

So I confess, I have watched all of the episodes they have posted and I might be just a tiny bit hooked and anticipating the next one. Here's the first episode. Don't get mad if the theme song gets stuck in your head ;)
 
You can subscribe to their official Cimorelli YouTube channel to watch their web series, Summer with Cimorelli and also check out their music videos.

For added Summer fun, one lucky Mom Files reader will win a prize pack including some Summer with Cimorelli swag and a $50 SUBWAY gift card! Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on July 11, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I received a prize pack in exchange for promoting Summer with Cimorelli, served fresh by SUBWAY. All opinions are my own as always. 
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Made in Nature Organic Dried Fruit Review & Giveaway (2 winners)

I have a confession. I'm not a fruit lover. I'm very particular when it comes to fruit texture. Oddly enough I prefer to eat fruit dried over fresh. I received some samples of Made in Nature Organic dried fruit in Bananas, Cranberries and Black Mission Figs. Made in Nature organic fruit has no added sugar, are non-GMO, nut-free and are unsulfered. I don't think you can get more natural than that! 
I tried the bananas first. They aren't the prettiest looking things, but boy do they taste amazing. I felt like I could eat them like candy. The texture was so chewy and I just loved how naturally sweet they were. The cranberries were nothing like what I am used to from the usual brand I use. Apparently I have been buying the wrong kind for years. Oh boy, the cranberries were perfectly sweet-tart and packed with flavor. I admit, I wasn't too thrilled about the figs. I went for it. You know what? They were actually very good-- surprisingly sweet with a chewy texture. I browsed the Made in Nature site and didn't realize how many recipes you can add dried fruit into.


Eating dried fruit is a very good option for me since my body is in need of the extra potassium and fiber. My husband really enjoyed snacking on all of the varieties of dried fruit with organic pecans. They keep him energized during the workday and I feel good that he's eating something really healthy, without added sugar. We look forward to trying some of the other fruit varieties, especially the apricots, apples and plums. As a matter of fact, I think the plums or apricots would be amazing in a zesty lamb or beef stew.

Giveaway: Two lucky Mom Files readers will win a gift pack including three varieties of Made in Nature Organic dried fruit in Bananas, Cranberries and Black Mission Figs. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on July 11, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. Two winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I received product samples in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own as always. 
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Coca-Cola Give a Ball Program during FIFA World Cup (ends July 13)

Unless you either don't own a television or have no Internet access, it's almost inevitable you have been hearing all the FIFA World Cup talk everywhere. Whether I have attended gatherings, shopped for groceries or waved to a neighbor, it seems everyone is really into the sport. We have caught as many matches as we have been able to and I confess, there is so much excitement involved! 
I wanted to share the latest initiative by Coca-Cola in the spirit of the FIFA World Cup.  Coke has partnered with superstar DaMarcus Beasley to promote the passion and benefits of soccer to youth. In the age of video games, smart phones and recorded shows, it is so important to get out and be active. Summertime is the perfect time for families to go outside and kick a soccer ball around. Making a competition out of it can make it even more fun while working out your entire body. I'm sure the kids won't miss the electronics at all! 

You can help bring soccer to schools across the country. Beasley and Coca-Cola are inviting fans who purchase a product to donate a soccer ball to a school of their choice. Now through July 13, 2014, you can visit www.coke.com/soccer and enter a participating Coca-Cola product code to make the donation. Participants can also enter to instantly win prizes and download “The World Is Ours,” Coca-Cola’s song for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ campaign.
I have some points in my My Coke Rewards account that I used to play the instant win game. You get up to 5 chances per day and of course, you have to be in it to win it. Check it out if you can and remember, the last day to enter points to donate a ball to your school of choice ends on July 13, 2014.

Thanks for reading and please pass on the word!

I received promotional items as a thank you for spreading the word about the Coke Give a Ball campaign. All opinions are my own. 
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Jun 29, 2014

Spoil your dog with Milo’s Kitchen® dog treats & $25 GC Giveaway

The Milo’s Kitchen® dog treats, gift cards, and information have been provided by Milo’s Kitchen®. All opinions are my own. 

Ever since we got our new family dog, life has been crazy. We are working on training Rocco and it has been a trying experience. One great way to reward him for good behavior is with a tasty treat. I have been really particular about Rocco's food and treats and make sure that they are made in the U.S.A. only. Luckily, Milo's Kitchen home-style dog treats are not only made in the U.S., they are irresistible to dogs. These treats are made of real chicken or beef as the #1 ingredient, and no artificial flavors and colors.  
Rocco LOVES Milo's Kitchen treats. He gobbles them up and begs for more. They have been a perfect addition to our training regimen. 
Each recipe is carefully prepared to bring out all the flavors your dog loves. Milo’s Kitchen makes a unique line of mouthwatering varieties for your dog including: Chicken Meatballs, Beef Sausage Slices with Rice, Steak Grillers Recipe, Chicken Grillers Recipe, Grilled Burger Bites, and Chicken Jerky Recipe.
Milo’s Kitchen® Home-style Dog Treats believes dogs deserve treats made with the same quality of ingredients and care that you want for your food. That’s why they made a treat truck just for dogs!

The treat truck will be rolling through different cities from June 27-August 24. Be sure to see if they will be stopping near your location! If you visit, be sure to use the hashtag #MKTreatTruck to include with your social media photo posts.

Giveaway: One luck Mom Files reader will win a gift pack of 3 varieties of Milo's Kitchen dog treats and a $25 Visa gift card to spoil your pup with more goodies. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on July 16, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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Jun 28, 2014

Easy Recipe-- Mini Cheesecakes

If you love cheesecake, are pressed for time or feel like you are a baking-dummy, this recipe is for you. It requires so few ingredients and bakes up in just 20 minutes. 
Ingredients:
2 8-ounce packs of cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
12 vanilla wafers
Fresh fruit or topping of your choice

To make:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 12 paper cups and place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup. Blend cream cheese with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until mixed. Add eggs, one at a time until well incorporated and then vanilla extract. Fill each cup with cheesecake mixture. Bake for 20 minutes and let sit out on a cooling rack in the muffin pan for about 20-30 minutes. Transfer pans in to refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is best.
These mini cheesecakes are delicious with fresh berries and are great for portion control. You can double the recipe for parties.  It's so easy and absolutely delicious.  I have been making them for 20 years now! It's a family favorite. Let me know if you try this recipe. Enjoy :) 
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Jun 27, 2014

Check out the Publix Meal Deal Event #platefullcoop #spon

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op
Looking for great deal on a full meal that’s quick, easy, and most importantly, gives you back time to spend with your family?

If so, Publix has a solution that will include an entrée, side item and dessert for under $13! Perfect for a busy weeknight, ease and savings doesn’t mean you have to compromise on flavor. This meal deal will feature Old El Paso Frozen entrees, make your dinner sizzle with flavors inspired by Mexico. These authentic flavors are now available at your fingertips.

 We tried out the Chicken Quesadillas. Four of them came in a box. You can easily heat up the quesadillas in the microwave. I did that and then put them in a pan to crisp up the tortillas. Seriously, they were delicious! My husband and daughters all agreed that they were restaurant quality. They run about $7.99 a box and are a great value. Imagine coming home from work and digging into your favorite Mexican dish only to find delicious ingredients you can actually see including steak, chicken and rice. Talk about convenient—it’s the savory Mexican taste you love, without the hassle and ready in minutes! With all the time saved from preparing dinner, we had more relaxation time for conversation and playing cards as a family. 
Look for these great savings on Old El Paso Frozen and other assorted Meal Deal items at Publix starting today:

Buy ONE of each participating products below:

Old El Paso Frozen Entrée
Wishbone Dressing 16oz
Fresh Express Salad Blends & Kits
Breyers Gelato Indulgences
For $12.49* total for the meal (save up to $7.00*!)
*Total savings vary by market area, savings taken at register. Offer available 6/26 – 7/2, find details in the Publix weekly ad flyer.

Digital Coupon Savings, Print-at-home coupon available at: http://everydaysaver.com/publix

Save $1 when you buy any flavor or variety of Old El Paso™ Frozen Entrees (includes frozen bagged and frozen boxed entrees)
Limited coupon quantities. Available While Supplies last.
Check out Publix.com and  also, find Publix on Facebook. 

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Jun 25, 2014

Give Back summer initiative with Macy's and Reading is Fundamental



WHAT:  Macy’s and Reading Is Fundamental invite you to spark a child’s imagination this summer.

WHEN: From June 18 through July 13, customers can give $3 at any Macy’s register in-store to help provide a book for a child in their community.      

GIVE BACK: Macy’s will donate 100 percent of every $3 to RIF, and customers will receive a coupon for $10 off an in-store purchase of $30 or more.

MORE: Since 2004, Macy's has given over 10 million books and helped to raise nearly $30 million for RIF. Learn more at macys.com/RIF

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Vinyl Wall Art Decals for Nursery - Best Choice for Your Baby’s Room

For a new couple who are well-off, it can be exciting to have a baby. The joy of expecting can be difficult to believe at first but when the realization finally dawns on the mind, there is excitement brimming in the minds of would-be parents. The entire process seems more real once you begin to plan the nursery for your bundle of joy that is soon to arrive. As a new parent, you want to make the room of your kid more special and make it look like a safe haven for your child. Vinyl wall art can make the decoration more beautiful. When you use wall decals for nursery, you can be assured that you are creating a room that can be more inviting for your baby. You can buy from wallstickersshop.co.uk if you want to decorate your children’s room.

Advantages of Using Vinyl Wall Decal for Nursery

You can get a lot of advantages out of using wall stickers for nursery.

1.    Many individuals, especially those without an artistic bent of mind, find it extremely hard to decorate nurseries properly. You can use vinyl wall art to make a perfectly themed decoration for your baby nursery walls and transform the simple room into a fantasy land for your baby. It can be really simple to use this type of instant wall decoration. You do not require any professional assistance for the placement and installation of these stickers. It is very simple to set up and can be performed by any person.

2. As your baby continues to grow up, his or her maturity and interests will obviously change. You can easily customize the walls by removing the old vinyl decals and replacing them with fresh wall decals for nursery. You wall can be a sign of the growth and maturing tastes of your child over the years as they continue to make their journey to adulthood. You can easily peel off these vinyl stickers and change them as your kid grows up. This can make an economical as well as sun decoration for your child’s room. A lot of teenagers do not like to use cartoon characters or alphabets in their rooms. You may easily remove them and stick an inspiration picture or a family photo, whichever is loved by your child.

3. Vinyl wall art can be an excellent way to add flair and color to your nursery. You may select geometric designs, characters from fairy tales or other artistic stuff to express your thoughts and your love for your baby. You can create a nursery wall where you can display the achievements of your child in vinyl lettering as he or she continues to grow up.

4. Decals are available in a variety of shapes and sizes that you can choose from for your nursery. You can create a beautiful summer garden blooming with cute animals, bright flowers and streams to make a personal and warm environment where your baby can live and grow up in. You need to select those decals that you wish to have and peel off their backside to paste them smoothly on the walls of the nursery and provide it with a fun décor.

5. You need to tamper with paints and stencil which need some amount of finesse that you will probably be lacking in. You will not have to worry about any spills or drips and find out that your nursery does not look as bright as it is supposed to be. When you use vinyl wall art, you can get the bright colors that you deserve. You may even take the stickers, which have been designed for your nursery, along with you as you shop for the perfect wall paint that can match the color of your stickers. In case you paste them in a wrong area, you can also easily peel off the backside of the stickers and move them over to the exact spot that they should rest on.

6. The majority of wall stickers for nursery and replaceable and reusable. This means you can easily peel them off and store them for use for the next generation. This can really be the best way to transform the room of an older kid back into a nursery.

Things to Remember While Going for Vinyl Wall Stickers for Nursery

When you are looking for the best wall decals for nursery of your baby, you need to keep a few things in mind.

7. You can select from thousands of designs to customize the wall of your baby nursery in the most apt manner. Wall decals can be availed in a lot of colors that you can choose from to match the paint and overall decoration of your walls. There are many vinyl wall art decoration items available, which include Vinyl Wall Word Art, Vinyl Wall Lettering and of course Vinyl Wall Stickers which are the most common. You may even opt for customization.

8. You may even use your own photos or your family photos for vinyl wall decals. If you show off an enlarged family portrait as a wall decal, it can appear as if it has been painted by a professional artist and hung on the wall as was the custom in the olden days. With wall decals in vinyl, your creative designing options are truly endless.

9. Wall quotes, flowering trees and branches, customized photos, stars, lettering and geometric shapes are some of the more famous types of vinyl wall art. You can browse the online catalogs or directly call up a qualified representative in order to have a discussion about your artistic ideas.

10. Bright shapes and colors on walls can make a warm atmosphere for newborns and also learn to recognize shapes, stars and dots from an early age. It can be a god idea to coordinate dots of varying colors and sizes on the wall that can match floor tiles, crib sheets, furniture and curtains of bright color.
With wall art decals for nursery, you can showcase your creativity and make just the type of growing environment that your kid will love growing up in. It can be fun to use wall decals and you will be surprised at the number of options that you can pick from.

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Jun 20, 2014

IHOP Summer Signature Pancakes Review

I headed over to IHOP this week to check out the Summer Signature Pancakes. I had the hardest time trying to decide which variety of pancakes I wanted. 
The choices were:
Strawberry Banana Cream Pie Pancakes: Buttermilk pancakes layered with banana cream, topped with glazed strawberries & sliced fresh bananas bring the delicious flavor of everyone’s favorite summertime pie to the breakfast table.

Raspberry Peach Pancakes: Buttermilk pancakes topped with juicy peaches & drizzled with raspberry sauce that pairs two of summer’s most popular fruit flavors.

Blueberry Cannoli Cream Pancakes: Buttermilk pancakes topped with blueberry compote & perfectly sweetened Ricotta captures the essence of this classic Italian dessert.

I finally decided on the Raspberry Peach Pancakes and made it regular combo with 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon and hash browns. I also had the option of choosing just the pancakes, which comes with 4.
I love the pancakes at IHOP even without toppings so I was so excited to try these. It was love at first bite. The raspberry sauce was perfectly sweet and tart and the peaches were crisp and delicious. These pancakes certainly tasted like summer!  I ate every last bite and almost wished I had ordered the 4 pancakes instead! Of course, the combo items were delicious and both plates were empty. Aside from how satisfied I was with the taste, this entree only cost $5.99! Of course, prices may vary by location.  Impressive for such good quality as well as quantity. I will have to take my husband to try these pancakes next week for his birthday.

If you plan to visit IHOP soon, be sure to check out the Summer pancakes. You won't be disappointed! Stay connected to IHOP on the web, Facebook and Twitter for promotions and updates.

I received a gift card from IHOP to try out the newest menu items in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own as usual. 
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Operation #PileOnTheVeggies with SUBWAY and Fandango (Giveaway)

This post is sponsored by SUBWAY, but opinions are my your own as always. 

Getting your kids to eat their veggies can be quite a challenge for many. My son loves vegetables, but usually prefers them cooked. I have to get super creative when it comes to serving them raw. SUBWAY wants us to help reach the goal with Operation #PileOnTheVeggies. Children (and parents) are encouraged to pile as many different veggies on their sub as they can for special powers like Maleficent. My little one watched a fun video starring SUBWAY Ambassador Jared Fogle. 

After viewing the video, William decided that he was up for the challenge to #PileOnTheVeggies at lunch. We headed up to SUBWAY and he kept saying he wanted salad on his sub. This child NEVER asks for salad. He enjoyed watching the sandwich makers do their magic on his sub. I have never seen him so excited or interested in veggies like lettuce, spinach or tomatoes. 
We brought our lunch from SUBWAY home to enjoy. 
William was so excited to take a big bite out of his sandwich. He pretended to be a dinosaur and very surprisingly ate almost over bite. This is big for my finicky eater! 
SUBWAY offers an easy way to #PileOnTheVeggies with the Fresh Fit menu; featuring tasty, heart-healthy choices for all ages.  Kids get a special meal of their own, complete with a Fit Mini Sub (piled high with fresh veggies such as cucumbers and spinach), apple slices, and low-fat milk. For a limited time, your child can get a Maleficent backpack with their Fresh Fit meal. Be sure to connect with SUBWAY on Twitter and like them on Facebook for product promotions and updates.

SUBWAY wants you to have a magical experience, inspired by what is sure to be one of summer’s biggest blockbusters – Disney's Maleficent. One very lucky Mom Files' reader will win a $25 SUBWAY gift card to #PileOnTheVeggies and also a $50 Fandango gift card to see Disney's Maleficent. Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway  
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on July 2, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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Jun 19, 2014

Beat the heat this Summer with Bomb Pops from Publix (Giveaway)

School's out, the temperatures have been in the 90's and the days are long... It's Summertime! One of my favorite Summer treats since childhood is the Original Bomb Pop. Do you remember them? I have memories of running after the ice cream truck every day to get my hands on one!
There is something about the flavor combination that can't be beat. Cherry, Lime and Blue Raspberry are so refreshing. I'm so amazed that they still taste the same after all these years. The thing that makes a Bomb Pop so special is the texture. It's smooth and not crunchy and icy like most frozen treats. They are so good! I was so surprised to see how many different Bomb Pop flavors are available. I saw the Hawaiian Punch, Watermelon and Original varieties in my local Publix store the other day. I want to check a couple more locations for the Banana Fudge flavor. Doesn't that sound delicious?
I have to make sure to stock up on some Bomb Pops for when the kids have friends over throughout the summer. Our whole family loves them so you can never have enough! The signature red white and blue treats make me think about celebrating the summer season. Check out these cute blueberry muffins decked out in all-American stars and stripes.
Do you want a little something to help make summer more festive? One Mom Files reader will win a Patriotic Prize Pack like this one below...
The prize pack will include:
·         2 coupons for FREE Bomb Pops
·         $25 Publix gift card
·         Patriotic Star Cupcake Combo Pack
·         Patriotic Tableware Caddy
·         Red, White & Blue Fan Decorations
·         Patriotic 3-D Star Centerpieces
·         Chevron Treat Bags

This would be perfect for your next summer cookout or celebration. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on June 30, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
The prize pack was provided to me in exchange for an honest review and hosting a giveaway. All opinions are my own as always. 
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Jun 17, 2014

Influenster #SpringVoxBox 2014

I'm so happy that I qualified to receive the Influenster Spring Vox Box for review. I don't think I have ever gotten a bad box from them. This box was pretty impressive. 
This Vox Box contained:
Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara ($5.99)-  This mascara is supposed to make your lashes look thicker, fuller with fanned out volume without clumps. I was very impressed that a low cost mascara really came through. I love the very wide applicator brush. I won't say that it is 100% clump-free, but if you apply it carefully, it will give you an almost perfect look. It comes off easily with my make-up remover wipes and leaves no residue behind. I will be purchasing this in the future.

Kiss Everlasting French Nails ($6.49)- My 17 year old daughter will be putting these to good use. I have a feeling they will be perfect for her. They have a shorter length which will give a more natural look.

Peach Pie car freshener from the movie Labor Day. It was so cute, but not really scented at all.

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance tampons ($3.99- $4.99) This is a great product. I have tried them and they do what they are supposed to do. I don't normally use scented feminine hygiene products, but these are the exception. I didn't experience any issue with it at all. Great product by Playtex.

NIVEA Skin Firming Hydrating Lotion ($2.40 for 2.5 oz/$10.99 for 13.5 oz) I love the way this lotion felt when I applied it. I just couldn't get past the very strong fragrance. It was too powdery scented and really turned me off. I wish this lotion was unscented. I would love to try that!

Overall, my favorite item is the Scandaleyes mascara. I just love how my eyelashes look and can't believe what a good value it is. I highly recommend it!

Big thanks to Influenster for another great beauty box. I look forward to receiving the next one.
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Jun 16, 2014

Tips on Integrating Cats and Dogs into the Same Home

June marks National Adopt a Cat Month, created by the American Humane Association to bring awareness to the growing cat population in shelters - approximately 3.4 million per year. Many individuals considering cat adoption may already have a dog. Regardless, before making the decision to bring a cat into your household, it is crucial that potential pet owners take a variety of factors into consideration.

To better help integrate cats into any family, Heidi Ganahl, CEO and Founder of Camp Bow Wow featuring Home Buddies, a premier in-home pet care service, has created a series of useful tips.

Tips on Integrating Cats and Dogs into the Same Home:

-Choose the Right Personality: Always consider the personalities of the animals you are bringing into the home. For example, if you have a dog who likes to chase, you will want a cat that won't be in fear.

-Separate Rooms: For the first week or so, keep the dog and cat separated. You can switch between confining one to a certain room or area for a couple of days and then switch which one is confined. This will give them each time to get to know each other's smells and become familiar with them.

-Supervise At All Times: Don't leave the animals together by themselves until everyone has settled into having new friends in the house. You want to be able to keep an eye on them, so lock them in separate areas when you are out of the house.

-Keep the Dog on a Leash: While the dog and cat are in the same room, allow the dog to see the cat moving around. Watch the dog to make sure it doesn't try to chase the cat and that it isn't too fixated on what the cat is doing. You can also feed the dog some treats when the cat is around to have them build up a positive association with the kitty.

-Practice Obedience: You can then use obedience commands to help keep your dog calm and focused when the cat is around.

-Create a Safe Zone: Make sure the cat has a place to jump up to if they need to. You always want to make sure that your kitty has a safe place to get away from the dog in case they dog does start to chase them.

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