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.

 

 

 

 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

At what age do we stop asking ourselves this question?  It sounds as if once we hit a certain age that’s it – we’re done.

As women in the second half of life we often feel that it’s too late to shake up life. When do we begin placing restrictions and limitations on recreating ourselves?  What’s “too late” and why?

Why?  Because we’re scared!  We’re afraid to course correct or try something new.

I was talking to a friend the other day and she was worried about making a career change because, she worried, “what if I fail?” It led to a few glasses of wine and a long conversation about the giant “what if” question.

Safety = Stagnation

As a motivational speaker and blogger I frequently talk about how fear constrains us from moving forward.   People assume that staying in place, either in a dead-end job or marriage is the safe thing to do. Financially this could be the case but it’s often at the cost of your spirit.  Please understand that I’m not saying to simply quit your job or your marriage without first planning and researching.  What I am saying is don’t allow fear to keep you trapped in a situation that is slowly destroying you.

I tackle the “what if” question in my coaching practice a lot.  Unravelling the fear allows it to become manageable.  Quite simply, the answer to the “what if” question is “then what.” When you realize that there are plenty of options if the “what if” occurs, it’s easier to move forward.

There are numerous statistics on how many businesses fail in the first year.  Often, it’s because people are afraid to course correct.  They don’t see an answer to the “what if” question. Imagine the entrepreneur who was committed to only renting VCR tapes because he was fearful of changing up his business model. (Probably half the people reading this won’t even know what I’m talking about.)  Successful entrepreneurs understand that change is necessary. They get an idea in their head and they run with it.  Yes, they do their due diligence to see if it’s viable but it’s the curiosity and the desire to stretch that compels them.

Vera Wang started out as a professional skater but never make it onto the US Olympic team.  She then veered into fashion.  Marc Cuban’s first endeavor was powdered milk.  Walt Disney began as a writer for a local newspaper and was fired for not having enough imagination.

Yes, change is scary but it also is an opportunity. People often ask me how I’ve continued to re-invent my brand and personally rebuild after challenges.  They comment that they’d never be able to do it.  My reply always is “sometimes you don’t have a choice.”  Sometimes it takes tragedy to motivate you.  I started out in television production. Then my son died and my second son was diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.  That prompted me to find a way to make a difference and help save babies lives.  I found myself passionate about helping families which led me to start my blog and public speaking.

I’ve often said I’ll never retire – not because I have to work (although that’s certainly a possibility) but because I never want to stop stretching and exploring.  I want to continue to write the next chapter of my life and continue to answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

 

While for some people the holidays are the “most wonderful times of the year,” for others it takes all of their emotional strength to just get through them.

For seniors and aging relatives it can be especially difficult.  They are most likely nostalgic about years gone by and missing friends and other family members who have passed away.  It’s especially difficult if they have lost a spouse.  And for those living alone or without family close by it can be even worse.

I’ve noticed the change in my mom since my dad passed away and now that her sister is in a nursing home.  She misses past Christmas celebrations when her siblings and parents were alive and reminisces about when I was young.  It’s impossible to recreate these times and quite frankly, with spouses and extended family new traditions have formed.  While I want to help her maintain some traditions, I also want her to embrace the present moment and enjoy times with her grandkids and the rest of the family – myself included!

Here are few ways to help seniors avoid holiday blues:

Get some fresh air: Visit a Christmas Village, take a walk in the woods, go caroling.  Getting outside and soaking in some Vitamin D while also enjoying a change of scenery helps clear their mind and focus on something else.

Volunteer: Giving back and helping others is a great way to focus on larger issues.  Whether it’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, delivering food to the elderly or collecting toys for children giving back makes you feel better.

Include them in new traditions – Involve them with activities your kids are doing and incorporate in something from their holiday traditions.  Baking cookies and using a new recipe as well as one of their favorite recipes will help create new and cherished experiences.

 

Travel – My mom just left on a cruise.  She travelled by herself down to Fort Lauderdale and met my cousins on the ship.  This was waaayyy out of her comfort zone and I’m so proud of her for doing it.  Taking a Caribbean vacation in December is something that certainly was not a part of her traditions but the pictures she’s been sending have been incredible.  She’s having a blast and it’s given her a new perspective. 

The holidays come with mixed emotions and for many seniors it’s a tough time.  Helping them expand their view and gain new perspective will help tremendously.

I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Now that my daughter is driving it’s opened up an entire new area of gift options for the holidays.  To figure out what a new driver wants for Christmas I asked my daughter to compile this list.  Here are her top picks for gifts for new drivers.

Anzazo Car Essential Oil Diffuser

This essential oil diffuser is designed for cars.  It uses water-less diffusion technology to protect the electronic components of your car from water vapors. 

And you can use your favorite essential oils or pick up some here.

 

 

 

Aux Cord for iPhone

 

This cord allow you to input sound from your iPhone with a normal headphone socket. Easiest way to play music, audiobooks or podcasts in your car.

 

 

 

Roadside Assistance Car Emergency Kit

New driver or experienced driver, this is a must-have in your car. This emergency car kit will prove invaluable should you ever get stranded or if your car, SUV or truck unexpectedly breaks down in the middle of the road. Above all, it’s a matter of staying safe and always being prepared wherever you are.

 

 

 

 

Car Vacuum

This will allow your new driver to clean the interior of the car themselves saving you time and money running to the car wash.

 

 

 

 

 

Polarized Aluminum Sunglasses Vintage Sun Glasses

Inexperienced drivers will benefit from these polarized sunglasses which reduce glare reflected off of roads, bodies of water, snow, and other horizontal surfaces.

And, they are really good looking!

For the past year I’ve been infuriated by the marketing of e-cigarettes, especially Juuls to our kids.  For the life of me I can’t understand how, when this is a product containing nicotine, it can be advertised on the radio and blatantly promoted to kids.

The fact that the company states that is not their intention is completely bogus.  When you’re marketing flavors like mango and vanilla and is so inconspicuous that it can be done in the classroom don’t tell me you’re not promoting to kids.

Make no mistake, your ‘tween and teen might be telling you they don’t juul (yes it’s a verb) but the numbers don’t lie but your kids might certainly be.

E-cigarette use went up drastically in the last year. According to The 2018 Youth Tobacco Survey released by the CDC and the FDA reported that e-cigarette use among high schoolers by 78% and middle schoolers by 48%. Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, said that “flavors are a major reason they use these products in the first place.”  Over 2 million middle school, high school and college students are Juuling or vaping.

In September the FDA gave Juul and four other companies 60 days to construct plans for curtailing the “epidemic” of youth use; failure to do so, the agency said, could result in some or all flavored products being pulled from store shelves. What’s more, in October, the FDA seized more than 1,000 documents from JUUL Labs’ headquarters pertaining, in part, to the company’s sales and marketing practices.

As a result Juul Labs will halt sales of its mango, fruit, creme and cucumber flavored pods at more than 90,000 retail stores, and require additional age verification measures for online sales of the flavors, the company said. The company said it will also delete its Facebook and Instagram accounts and halt promotional posts on Twitter.

Under Juul’s plan, the sale of tobacco, mint and menthol flavored products would continue in retail stores. Juul said those products “mirror what is currently available for combustible cigarettes,” and it plans to increase a “secret shopper program” to ensure compliance with those retailers.

This plan from Juul is all “smoke and mirrors” (pun intended) as the company has also said that they would bring back the other flavors if retailers increase age-verification practices and limit product sales to prevent bulk purchases.

Seriously?! What teen-aged gas station attendant is really going to carefully verify another teens ID and turn him away?!

Teens are not recognizing the serious health dangers with Juuling because it’s so new.  The same kids who wouldn’t consider smoking a cigarette are Juuling.  There are no horrifying pictures yet of people with throat, lung and other cancers caused by Juuling.  And because it’s fruit flavored it seems to be benign.

Parents, here’s what you need to know about JUULs as per the American Academy of Pediatrics:

JUUL is highly addictive. The concentration of nicotine in JUUL is more than twice the amount found in other e-cigarettes. Nicotine is the chemical that causes addiction. These high amounts are a serious concern for youth, who are already more likely than adults to become addicted to nicotine. The chance of addiction is so high that the U.S. Surgeon General has warned that the use of nicotine by youth in any form is unsafe.

JUULing raises the risk of becoming a regular cigarette smoker. Research shows that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to begin using traditional tobacco cigarettes.

JUUL use is common in schools and college campuses. Teachers report that students are using JUULs in classrooms, hallways, and school restrooms. They also share the devices with friends. This kind of social use encourages kids who don’t smoke to try JUULing. It also lets students who are too young to buy JUUL legally, or who could not otherwise afford them, use them through classmates.

 

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.

When you’re thinking about baby proofing your home, the immediate rooms that come to mind are the kitchen and the bathroom. It can be overwhelming to think about all of the ways to babyproof a home and there’s one room that’s often overlooked – the laundry room.

I have to wonder why that is? We’ve all heard the stories of small children finding their way into the dryer or washing machine and the door locking behind them. So, it should stand to reason that the laundry room be at the top of our baby-proofing to-do list!

Always make sure that you use the automatic lock if your washer and dryer has one. If your model doesn’t have an automatic lock, you can easily install one on the outside of your machine.

In addition, proper storage and handling of liquid laundry packets is essential to prevent accidental exposure to young children. These packets contain premeasured doses of detergent to make it quick and easy to use the right amount of detergent, but they’re highly concentrated, so their proper storage is important. Fortunately, thanks to improved package design and labeling, while the use of liquid laundry packets has dramatically increased over the past three years, the rate of accidental exposure has declined.

But the numbers can be decreased even more. I’m excited to support the American Cleaning Institute’s (ACI) child-safety campaign, Packets UP! to help educate parents and caregivers. Check out the campaign website – it’s filled with videos, consumer information and activity sheets for kids that can be printed out. You can also order a cling to place on your cabinet to remind everyone in your home to store liquid laundry packets up and out of the way.

Here are some important safety tips you can implement in your home:

  • Always keep product containers securely closed before, during and after use

  • Laundry packets must be stored in their original container or pouch and kept out of sight and reach of children

  • Locking detergent packets up in a cabinet is an effective way to keep these products out of reach of young children, especially when little ones begin exploring closets and cabinets at an early age

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

For more information visit www.packetsup.com.

I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

 

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