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Families

Child Sense: Surf, sand and sun

Summer at the beach is a wonderful place to play and have fun with your children, even if it's just for one day. Make the most of your time there by thinking about and preparing around your child's dominant sense. Know what aspects they will enjoy and what parts will cause anxiety, to make sure you and your child have a wonderful experience to remember.

Living

Hot Property: Baby-bumped out of their crib?

Readying the crib is a common task for most expectant parents, but in the case of Adam Levine, he's put his up for sale. The singer-songwriter and his wife, model Behati Prinsloo, have listed their home in the Beverly Crest area for $17.5 million.

Entertainment

Books: 8 books for YouTube fans to binge on

After making names for themselves online, YouTube stars are finding a built-in audience for their books. From memoirs to novels to self-help, books by YouTubers are pretty much "must-reads" for fans - but kids eager for fresh voices may find a new favorite, too. Here's a rundown of the ones kids are begging for:

Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: 'The BFG,' dark, fantastical Dahl adaptation has big heart and big scares

Parents need to know that "The BFG" - which was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Roald Dahl's beloved fantasy book - is about a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) and Sophie, the young orphan he first snatches and later befriends. The movie has a dark tone, and tense moments of peril and danger punctuate the story from the beginning. After Sophie is kidnapped, she expects the BFG to cook her for dinner, and later she's hunted by the other giants, who love to eat children. Death is also referenced in not-so-subtle ways: Sophie bluntly states that her parents are dead, and the BFG alludes to another human child he used to be friends with who was clearly eaten by the other giants. While the scares are enough to keep the littlest audience members away (or at least with their eyes firmly covered), this tale about discovering friendship and family in the unlikeliest places also offers sweetness, humor, and heart - as well as themes of courage, empathy, and perseverance. (Oh, and some fart jokes.)

Families

Family Meals Matter: Salad days

Salad is defined as a mixture of raw or cooked food, seasoned with a dressing and often served cold. As you might guess from the definition, salads can be quite diverse and range from very light and low calorie fare to heavy and hearty depending on the ingredients. In fact, salads are one dish that can easily incorporate all five food groups.

Families

App review: Imaginations soar in open-ended virtual adventure, Toca Life: Vacation

Parents need to know that Toca Life: Vacation joins the Toca Life suite of apps that provide a platform for open-ended imaginary play as kids explore a digital dollhouse. Here, the locations are all vacation oriented: an airport/airplane, hotel, beach, and sightseeing in the town. There are no rules, no time limits, and no guidelines. Kids can record two-minute chunks of their own voice as they move things around on the screen. To do this, the app asks permission to use your device's microphone and to access the camera roll. A letter to parents explains the various aspects of the game and offers some ideas for parent-kid interaction. The developer's privacy policy details how your information is collected and shared.

Families

Game review: 'Trials of the Blood Dragon,' violent, clever motorcycle adventure parodies '80s-era action movies

Parents need to know that "Trials of the Blood Dragon" is a downloadable motorcycle action game with elements of platforming and side-scrolling combat. Players take control of a pair of young teen orphan siblings recruited into the military. They soon learn that their father, a soldier presumed dead, may still be alive and in need of rescue. The story, set in the near future, is actually a parody of 1980s-era action movies, with frequent jokes about Vietnam, communism, cartels, and Indiana Jones-style adventuring. Much of the humor is focused on violence, and the kids end up killing countless human and humanoid characters with a mix of guns and vehicles. Puffs of colorful blood often accompany enemy deaths. The dialogue has several lines in which "f--k" is bleeped out, and text on-screen frequently includes the words "s--t" and "damn." During one mission the kids are exposed to a high volume of a fictional narcotic called "turbocrank," causing them to hallucinate heavily.

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Explore historical Semiahmoo Spit

Visitors to Semiahmoo Spit in Blaine, can enjoy the beach, the history and watch the wildlife on this thin strip of land in the northwest corner of Whatcom County.
Philip A. Dwyer The Bellingham Herald
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