As a blogger, I get compensated for some of my posts when I discuss a product and someone purchases it. This is my job and how I get paid. I will not, however, recommend or discuss a product that I don’t feel is of benefit or value to my readers. My thoughts on these products are my own.

I LOVE aroma therapy. I have a diffuser with eucalyptus in my home office, I spray lavender before I go to bed and I use spray water infused with citrus oil in the morning to wake me up. 

For those of you who are new to essential oils, here’s what you need to know:

Essential oils, what you need to know

But I can assure you that using essential oils can relax you, energize you and focus you.  Not only that but they can be used for cleaning your home.

What I don’t love is how expensive everything can be.  Trying to DIY it usually requires buying a lot of extra stuff such as the carrier oils to use with the essential oils or a roller ball bottle or salts. 

Enter Simply Earth

I’d never heard of the company until they reached out to me asking me to try out their products. It’s a family-owned business that, like so many entrepreneurs, saw a problem and set out to solve it. 

That problem was all the chemicals that invade our home through cleaning products on a daily basis. Chemicals that end up on our clothes on the plates we eat from and the air we breathe. For those who follow my blog you know I have a son with intellectual disabilities and a husband with primary progressive MS so that impact of environmental toxins on our bodies is a big issue for me. Their mission is simple – make our homes natural at an affordable price.

On their website, their Simply Pure Promise is:

Simply Pure essential oils promise

Here’s what’s awesome about them:

They source their oils in small batches from all around the world, wherever that particular plant grows best, from ethical farms.

All of their oils go through third-party testing to make sure they’re pure and completely free of fragrances, contaminants and fillers.  And they post the GM/MC reports for every batch on the product page so we can see them.  Full transparency!

They’re super affordable!  If you have ever bought 100% pure essential oils, you know they’re pricey.  While you can buy individual products such as the essential oils (including CBD Oil!), jewelry, diffusers and other products, the best thing about Simply Earth is they offer a monthly subscription that is a fraction of the cost of purchasing these products anywhere else. 

For just $39/ month you get:

Four 15 ml bottles of essential oils which is a $100+ value compared to other big essential oil companies. You receive recipe cards for using the oils. Plus, six containers to hold your creations along with the extra items you’ll need to complete the recipes.

Plus, on your first order you’ll get a FREE Big Bonus Box with tons of stuff like carrier oils, the roller ball bottles and beeswax.  No need to go out to the store to get these extras.

My initial thought was that I’d never use up all 4 essential oils every month, but I realize you’re not supposed to – you can build up a variety of essential oils.

Here’s what makes it even better! If you use my code SAFETYMOMFREE you’ll receive a $40 gift certificate with your first subscription box and FREE Big Bonus Box to use towards your next month’s box or a future purchase.

Simply Earth Essential Oils monthly subscription box
  • The Simply Earth return policy is a full year (365 days).
  • Shipping is free for continental U.S. states on orders $29 and up.
  • And what’s really cool about this company is they donate 13% of their profits to organizations who help find, rescue, and restore victims of human trafficking.

Now on to the fun stuff – and I do mean FUN!

You get to create a variety of aroma therapy products for yourself with the recipes they have.  There are tons of recipes on their blog and you can also download The Essential Oils for Beginners Book.  But each of your monthly boxes comes with recipes such as the Anxiety Relief Inhaler, the Persevere Roll On and the Creative Zone Diffuser Blend (my personal favorite so far!)

Essential oil for beginners

Are you an aroma therapy addict like me?  I’d love you to check out Simply Earth and let me know what you think of their products. 

I’d really appreciate you also using and sharing my code SAFETYMOMFREE to get the $40 gift card with your first subscription box.

My life is divided into two parts  – before my son’s death and after. Connor was my first child and he died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at 3 months and 24 days. I barely remember the person I was. I do know that I was carefree and naive and at the same time arrogant. Arrogant to believe that unspeakable tragedy could only happen to other people. I credit Connor’s death with making me empathetic – for recognizing that everyone has a story and if we open ourselves up to people we connect through our vulnerabilities.  

The time between his birth and death is also a blur – after all it was only four short months.  I remember the normal first-time mom anxieties of worrying how to hold him to give him his first bath. But I also remember quickly falling into a wonderful routine.  His death was like a bomb exploding – it happened so quickly without any warning.  What began as a perfectly ordinary day changed in a second with the phone call from the daycare provider who uttered one of only two sentences I remember from that day; “There’s a problem with the baby. He’s not breathing.”  After that it was the chaos after the explosion and all that was left was me standing in the rubble of my life. 

As the CEO of First Candle I speak to hundreds of bereaved parents – some within days of their baby’s death and others many years later. The new ones always ask me the same question – “When do you start feeling better?” There’s never an easy answer to that. Again, it’s similar to the bomb analogy. The initial pain and trauma thankfully don’t last forever but there are times when it comes back such as seeing your friends’ babies who are the same age your child would have been. The first birthday after your child has died and the first anniversary of his death are especially painful and instantly take a parent back to that day when life changed forever.

Researchers now agree that the grief a parent experiences after the loss of a child is a type of PTSD.  I was one of the lucky ones – I had the support of my community, family, friends and co-workers.  Others aren’t as fortunate. There are parents who, after their baby has died, must deal with insensitive investigators and state workers and are forced to re-enact the time of death using a baby doll. Families who face the reality of having their living children removed from their home because they are suspected of abuse. Recovering from these experiences takes years and even decades.

For the first year after Connor’s death I wouldn’t let anyone take a picture of me.  I just couldn’t bare to see how sad, old and tired I looked.  Physical ailments are common among bereaved parents.  Grief causes our immune system to crash and induces chemical reactions in the body what can last over a long period of time.

  • Digestive problems such as loss of appetite or overeating
  • Sleepiness and sleeplessness
  • Heartache and chest pain
  • Forgetfulness and memory loss
  • Cognitive changes including general confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Emotional changes including sadness, crying, and prolonged weeping
  • Respiratory problems including shortness of breath and asthma
  • Panic attacks; i.e., sweating, rapid heartbeat, numbness, and tingling
  • Confusion with an associated feeling of loss of control or a feeling of “losing one’s mind”

I became pregnant very quickly after Connor died which was the right decision for our family, but my second son has intellectual disabilities and to this day I wonder if it’s due to the stress of grief I was experiencing. 

As a society we’re not good at dealing with grief and it can ruin relationships. The rate of divorce is high among parents who have lost a baby. Men and women often express grief in different ways and it’s difficult to understand if a spouse appears to not care or shut down. We often receive calls from men who are afraid to grieve in front of their partner because they feel they need to be “the strong one.”  Months after my son died a friend was talking about how exhausting it is to have a toddler. I felt like screaming that I wish I had the chance to be that exhausted and had difficulty getting over what I perceived as an insensitive and thoughtless comment.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. If you’ve experienced a loss, what advice would you give to a newly-bereaved family?  Share below.

This summer was the season of freedom for my 16-year-old daughter.  Remember that first summer when you had your driver’s license and some spending money in your pocket, and you could head out to the beach whenever you wanted to?  It was exhilarating.

With her freedom comes mine.  I’ve got less driving around to summer activities and sleepovers. I’m starting to feel the reigns of obligations slip off me and with that I can feel myself ready to start discovering me.  Not the person I was pre-kids – she’s long gone. This new me has a lot more wisdom and confidence.

Here are a few things the new me is excited to do:

The new me is anxious to try new things. I used to be intimidated to try a new class at the gym for fear I’d look like an idiot because I couldn’t keep up. Not anymore.  Now I bravely stand at the front of the class and laugh when I screw up but even more importantly I’m proud that I did it and congratulate myself for the moves I could do.

The new me is ready to have adventures.  I saw a show the other day about these two people touring Thailand and visiting these incredible waterfalls. When you have kids it’s darn near impossible to have trips like that. Disney is the ultimate adventure and while that was fun, I’m ready for the real world not a place that recreates adventures.

The new me is ready for the next big leap in my career.  For years now I’ve made my living blogging and doing TV segments about safety and wellness.  Don’t get me wrong – I love it and will continue to do that. The way my career started was because of the death of my first son.  It drove me to want to help save other kids’ lives. As I’ve gotten older new things drive me.  Listening to women who are scared to leave a relationship or start a new career or struggle with being a caregiver motivate me. I love speaking to these women and offering them support and guidance. I envision a world of confident and happy women and, through retreats and speaking engagements, I want to create that.

The new me is ready to have a few deep friendships.  When we’re in our 30’s and 40’s we’re building a career and/or family that consumes our time. Our friendships tend to be created around the interests of our kids. Some high school and college friendships remain but get-togethers are few and far between and finding current commonalities is tough. For years my girls have been involved in All-Star cheerleading.  For those of you not familiar with this sport, it’s year-round and requires a lot of travel.  When you’re a “cheer mom” that other moms become your friends. But one day your cheer life ends and naturally these friendships fade. But a few transcend the mutual bond of cheer (or whatever activity your child is involved with) and you connect over the big issues. Now I have time for a few friendships that are based on mutual respect, shared beliefs and willingness to talk about the real stuff.  You know the real stuff – our hopes and dreams but also the fears that keep us up at night.

The new me understands that my health is something I can’t take for granted.  When I was in my 20’s and 30’s I worked out to have a hard body and look great.  Now I work out to prevent osteoporosis and keep my heart in good shape.  I used to choose my food based solely on what tasted good.  Now I select food that tastes good and will provide me the nutrients I need to cut cholesterol and provide the right vitamins.  When the kids were younger, I would always  get them to their check-ups but mine would be missed because there wasn’t time.  Now I realize that making the time for health screenings and exercise is what will allow me to live life to the fullest.

As I’m closing in on another birthday I’m loving who I’m becoming and can’t wait for the next chapter. What’s in your next chapter?  Share below as writing it down makes it more real.

First-of-its-Kind Ornament Designed to Effectively Detect Fires Before They Spread

Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Safer Alarms™ announced the nationwide launch of the most innovative Christmas tree essential on the market: an ornament that detects potential tree fires. Unlike a basic smoke detector, the Safer Christmas Tree Alarm looks like an ornament, but is designed to detect fire risk at the source. It is compact and hides directly in the tree. Upon detection of a fire the ornament sensor instantly sends a signal to their remote alarm, placed in a safe location.  

Every year U.S. firefighters respond to roughly 200 Christmas tree fires. They are some of the deadliest in the home, resulting in one death per 32 occurrences on average, compared to one death per 143 home fires.

“There is no fire alarm system that alerts faster and detects at closer proximity, all while eliminating an increase in nuisance alarms. Simply put; faster detection is safer detection,” said Marc Toland, Safer Alarms Founder and CEO.

Toland founded Safer Alarms after three girls and their grandparents tragically died in a horrific Christmas morning fire. Toland and his family lived down the street. Toland is now on a personal crusade to raise awareness to fire safety and bring lifesaving products to market.

Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/J0GKgfCdk1U

Why It’s Better

Smoke detectors have been around for decades and are in almost every home and office, but their placement, usually in the middle of a ceiling in a hallway, makes them less than ideal.  The reality is, by the time you hear your smoke alarm go off, it may be too late to do anything about it.

How It Works

Safer Alarms transforms the fire safety industry with its temperature heat sensors, placed at the source of common fires.

Patent pending technology recognizes when temperature hits “danger zone” (150 degrees F or higher).

TheChristmas ornament transmits a wireless signal to an alarm unit and the alarm sounds instantly and continuously to alert the consumer to danger even if the ornament sensor is melted. The product is easy to assemble, no tools required.

The Safer Christmas Tree Alarm is available today on Amazon and saferalarmsinc.com with a second line of products launching soon.

About Safer Alarms

Safer Alarms is dedicated to creating products that detect fires straight from the source. Unlike typical fire alarms, Safer Alarms creates niche fire detectors that result in alerting homeowners as soon as danger arises.

Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

For anyone caring for an older relative or parent we know that everything can change in an instant.  One fall can lead to hospitalization and the very real possibility of losing the ability to live independently.  Last year my family dealt with just that issue.  My aunt, who lived downstairs from us, must have experienced a fall in the middle of the night.  When we finally discovered her the next morning thank goodness she was OK but we learned she had experienced a stroke and slid off her chair.  In a mere 24 hours we were thrown into a world of social workers, case managers and rehabilitation.  While she recovered mentally, it became obvious that she was too frail to return home.  After an extended stay in a rehab facility we needed to move her into a nursing home.

When dealing with a fall, time is critical. The longer it takes to get help, the greater likelihood of a long hospital stay and permanent damage. Unfortunately, my aunt, even at 89 years-old, is extremely proud (and a tad vain?) and despite the many times we tried to get her to wear a medical alert button she refused.  I have to admit, I get it.  There’s nothing pretty about a clunky white piece of plastic on a chain.  I’ve even tried to get my mom (who also lives with us) to wear one because even though she’s very healthy she’s tiny. 

Well, as I always say, the answer always presents itself and mine came in the form of a company called MobileHelp who reached out to me with their new product Trelawear

It was one of those “why didn’t someone think of this before” moments! Instead of some ugly piece of plastic MobileHelp now offers beautiful pieces of jewelry that are actually medical alert systems.  Trelawear is blue-tooth enabled and it comes with a mobile device and base station.  If you’re away from home you simply need to carry the small mobile device with you. 

The new Trelawear “smart” jewelry pendant comes with all of the safety features of a traditional personal emergency response system paired to a cellular base station. This high-end pendant comes in a silver or gold finish – providing customers with the freedom to remain safe and stylish – at home and on the go.

If there is a medical emergency the person simply needs to hit the button on the back of the pendant and an emergency responder will contact them to determine the issue and summon help.  The person’s exact location will be identified through GPS tracking so even if they can’t give their location they can get help.  Even better, because the technology can identify “normal” motion, if the person falls it can be detected and emergency responders will immediately be contact even if they don’t press the button.  If they are unable to speak help will be summoned immediately. 

This past week I had the opportunity to do a series of television segments with the CEO of MobileHelp Rob Flippo talking about Trelawear.  You can check out one of the segments here to learn more:

Extra $25 Off MobileHelp Solo, Duo or Classic Annual Plan with code MOBILEHELP at MobileHelp.com

Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

I’m one of the thousands of multi-generational families living together.  Having my mom live with us and witness the incredibly close relationships she has with her grandchildren has been just one of the benefits of living together.  She is literally a superwoman, helping me run the house and driving the kids to and from their activities.  Of course, there are challenges of having three generations with very different ideas and expectations under the safe roof but for us it works.

Last week, however, I realized how quickly things can change.  Our rambunctious puppy ran right into her knee and, well, off to the orthopedist we went.  My mom is the type who not only never complains but won’t admit when there’s a problem.  Several weeks ago, I was travelling and she came down with the stomach flu.  My mom is tiny – 5’2” and 100 pounds (I unfortunately don’t take after her!) When she gets a stomach bug she almost always needs to go to the ER for dehydration.  Sure enough, I woke up to a text while I was 300 miles away saying – “Called an ambulance and I’m off to the ER – feel better already.”

Yup, that’s my mom – the glass is always half-full. 

But after last week’s episode I started spiraling a bit thinking what would happen if she fell down the stairs when she was alone.  What would she do if she tripped and fell as she was walking on one of our nature paths in town? 

“What if’s” like this aren’t new to me.  My husband has Primary Progressive MS and there’s been more than one instance when he’s fallen in the bathroom and we’ve needed to called EMS to help get him up.  My son has Intellectual Disabilities and tends to wander.   Air traffic controllers have nothing on me!

Like many active seniors, there’s no way my mom would even consider one of those typical white, plastic medical alert necklaces.  And, to be honest, I don’t blame her.  It immediately labels someone “old.”

A few months ago, I ran across a company that understood this – MobileHelp.  They’ve partnered with a company TRELAWEAR to create actual pieces of jewelry that just so happen to be a medical alert device as well.  The founder of TRELAWEAR, Mara Perlmutter, was inspired to design the collection by her own mom. 

The new Trelawear “smart” jewelry pendant comes with all of the safety features of a traditional personal emergency response system paired to a cellular base station. This high-end pendant comes in a silver or gold finish – providing customers with the freedom to remain safe and stylish – at home and on the go.

The necklace comes in both silver and gold finishes and on the back is button that can be pushed in an emergency.  The signal is communicated through the MobileHelp base station or mobile device to the company’s central monitoring station for emergency dispatch to the user’s location.  If for some reason the person is unable to speak the monitoring station will immediately dispatch assistance.

Because Trelawear was inspired by a mom, MobileHelp is giving everyone a chance to share their stories about their own mom, or someone who’s like a mom, and win a free TRELAWEAR pendant as well as emergency monitoring (with service) for one year.  Just share your story and/or photo about how this person inspires you.  The contest is running from now through the end of May at which point three winners will be chosen at random.  You can submit your entries below.  This is something that so many of us need for peace of mind – good luck!

Last night I spent time researching colleges with my 16 year-old daughter.  She commented that she’s anxious to figure out which colleges she wants to apply to and get it done.  She can’t wait for college.

She’s ready to take the next step in her life.

I’m just not sure I am.

Recently, we were with some friends and I was reminiscing about something cute she had done and her comment – with the requisite eye-roll – was “Mom, I was..like.. 12!” To me it feels like yesterday.

I wish I had every minute of her life on video so I could look back. Trying to capture moments on my phone has never been my thing however.  I don’t want to put something between me and living the experience but now I think back and I’m sad because there are so many moments I can’t remember.

Probably one of the reasons for my memory lapses is the stress I was under.  When she was young I was going through some major drama –a divorce, major financial problems, my current husband was diagnosed with MS and my dad was disappearing into Alzheimers.  I had a lot on my plate and it was difficult not to simply be in survival mode.  I try to live without regrets but I wish I had been better able to put those feelings aside and focus on the good stuff.  To breathe in every scent, feel every touch, view every smile and hear every laugh.

At the same time that I’m trying to capture every moment with my older daughter, I want to also be present for my younger daughter.  It’s a tightrope walk, especially for someone who was an only child and had my parent’s sole attention.

There are so many “firsts” and “lasts” coming my way it’s sometimes overwhelming.  But I know I need to embrace them and let life play itself out.

I think back to when I moved to Los Angeles when I was 22 and wonder how my mom let me go.  I had no idea how hard that must have been.  When I asked her about it recently she simply said that she knew it was the right thing to do.

So, like her I’ll let her go when I need to and accept that it’s a new chapter in both our lives.

 

 

Disclaimer  – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

It seems as if our lives are now made up of finding even the smallest ways to save time.  From smart devices that will lock your doors and turn off lights to being able to simply push a button and having your dog food arrive at your door the next day, every second counts when you’re trying to fit all the “to-dos” into one day.  Even pre-measured items such as meal delivery kits and home cleaning items shave time off your busy schedule and ensure you’re always using the right amount of a product.

One of the items I always have automatically delivered to my house these days are liquid laundry packets.  There’s never a need to guess whether you used the right amount of detergent or if you’re close to running out – you know when you’re down to your last one or two.  While these products are convenient and effective, parents, grandparents and babysitters need to be careful when it comes to using and storing liquid laundry packets. As a blogger who focuses on family and child safety, I’ve always been vigilant on making sure that I store liquid laundry packets up and away every time, even in between loads.  This has since become habit for everyone else in my house doing laundry, too.  Whether you have toddlers or not, you certainly can have friends and relatives visiting who bring their little ones along, so making laundry safety a habit is important.

Now in its sixth year, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) created the Packets Up! campaign to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of properly using and storing liquid laundry packets out of sight and away from children.  They have worked with public safety officials and consumer groups to put in place a series of packaging and labeling measures as part of a new standard that can help reduce accidental exposure.

ACI recently conducted a national survey among 1,000 parents and caregivers to learn more about laundry routine habits. What they found is that about 15% of families with kids under the age of four allow their kids to help put liquid laundry packets into the washing machine drum and 19% store them on an open shelf.

Especially as we’re getting ready to start spring cleaning around the house, ACI is encouraging all parents and caregivers to organize their laundry rooms and make sure their liquid laundry packets are stored safely. To help, they have a Packets Up! website where you can order clings for the front of your washer and dryer (as well as those of friends and family) that remind everyone, including Grandma, babysitters and spouses, to put always keep liquid laundry packets up and out of sight from children.  Check out this video, Through Their Eyes, on the ACI site to understand how to keep toddlers safe by seeing the world from their perspective.

Most importantly, be sure everyone in the house understands these important safety messages

  • Accidents can happen in an instant, never let children handle laundry packets.

  • Children are naturally curious, and they explore the world with their mouths.

  • Proper storage and handling of liquid laundry packets is essential in preventing accidental exposures.

  • Liquid laundry packets can be harmful if swallowed or get in the eyes.

  • Keep laundry packets up and away. Always store them out of sight and reach of young children.

  • Always keep laundry packets in their original container and close the container securely after each use.

  • Call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if there is an accident.

ACI would love to have everyone share the message of why they put their #PacketsUp.  For me, we adopted a puppy three months ago.  He’s the reason why I put my #PacketsUp because he chews everything!  And while I don’t have toddlers anymore in the house, my daughters babysit all the time and need to be aware of this when they watch toddlers.  I put my #PacketsUp so my teens remember this important message when they’re babysitting.  What’s your reason?  Share your #PacketsUp story below and help spread the word!

Visit packetsup.com and follow #PacketsUp on Facebook and Twitter for more information.