We’ve all been in there – you’re on a plane and realize it’s going to be a looonnnnnggg flight because there’s a screaming kid on board.  If you’re a mom you most likely understand how hard it is and have sympathy.  Maybe.  But for those of us who have kids with special needs our child who is “acting up” might not be a toddler – he  might be a 12 year-old or even a 20 year-old.  I’ve been there to a degree.  My son is super anxious about flying and he CAN’T…SIT…STILL.  And he talks to himself – loudly.  And, by the way, he’s 6’4”.  Nope, not easy.

Recently a friend of mine whose daughter has special needs bravely ventured to Disney. All of us prayed that she’d have an enjoyable trip and were so happy when she posted how well the trip was going.

And then she flew home.

The following is her Facebook post that she gave me permission to re-print.  Please read and understand parents try their best…

I have debated whether or not to share this on fb because tbh it’s not that easy too. But after giving it much thought I figured I share so much of the good that it’s only fair to share the less than ideal moments too. I also want to share because I think/need/want people to be aware of this issue.  We have all seen viral you tube videos about it, we have seen situations like this covered in papers like the New York post, we have seen them flood our Facebook newsfeeds…yesterday you could have seen me there. You could have read about how a special needs mom and her daughter caused a raucous on flight #1494. It would have been so easy for someone to video my inability to control my daughters outbursts that went on for the duration of the flight. You easily could have read the litany of comments beneath the post how the mother did nothing to stop it. That she allowed this child to scream, cry, throw things, hit her, and demand food from the flight attendants. Most likely a specialist would chime In somewhere lecturing how parents need to be more prepared for situations like this. They need to come on board with snacks, activities, and social stories. They should prep their special needs child for airplane travel and explain to them the proper behavior for it.  I guess I feel a responsibility to explain the other side. So much of the time the special needs parents side of the story is unheard and misunderstood.

Yesterday’s plane ride was a disaster for numerous reasons but none of those reasons were due to lack of airplane prep, insufficient activities, and inadequate snack selections. Much of the failure of that plane ride had to do with issues that were simply beyond my control…X was exhausted, the flight was delayed, she was extremely anxious, she was overly excited, and she was unable to manage any of it.

If I could have I would have cancelled my flight and flown when X was in a better frame of mind but air travel is just not set up that way. What I hope/want/need people to understand is that certain aspects of special needs are unpredictable, uncontrollable, and unmanageable. What I wish people understood is that this is a very frightening thing for a caregiver and that it can render them helpless. Yesterday I simply got lucky that the flight staff was understanding and tolerant and that the passengers around me were empathetic. I did the best I could to control an uncontrollable situation and we somehow managed to survive.

While the scars from it will likely take quite sometime to heal, the memories from #Disney2018 will last a lifetime????

 

 

For those of you who don’t have a kid between 8 and 12 years old in your life you might not know who Logan Paul is or what he’s about.

Logan Paul is an internet celebrity. Understand, that doesn’t mean he has any talent per se but he is incredibly successful at getting views – which equates to money. BIG money. His estimated net worth is $15 million. In 2017 he bought a $6.5 million mansion, launched a line of clothing, entered into partnerships with brands like Disney and Pepsi and starred in a movie. His reach across his social media platforms is 48.7 million viewers made up of our kids, who are loyal and highly influenced by him. All this because he posts videos of himself in everyday situations reacting outlandishly or pulling pranks.

His fame is based on always one-upping himself – doing something a little more outrageous than in his last video. And herein lies the problem. Vloggers like Logan Paul have blurred the lines of entertainment and inappropriateness. Their antics are making them famous so who cares whether it’s degrading, tasteless or outright dangerous.

A few months ago another famous vlogger sealed his head in concrete in a microwave. This was hilarious to his audience but the kid almost died!

Last week Logan Paul and his crew were in Japan and visited Aokigahara, a forest on the slopes of Mt. Fuji also known as the “suicide forest” for its status as a site of hundreds of suicides. According to Paul he had gone to the “haunted” forest intending to spend the night as a stunt for the video. While there, he and his friends stumbled across the body of a suicide victim. Not only did he describe the body in detail he kept the cameras rolling and even zoomed in to get close-ups. While this is horrifying enough, his nonchalant attitude despite a few comments about how “suicide is not a joke, depression and mental illness are not a joke” he revels in the fact that he’s making You Tube history. He opens the video, titled all in caps “WE FOUND A DEAD BODY IN THE JAPANESE SUICIDE FOREST…” stating, “I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I’m pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever.’ He ended his intro saying: “Now with that said, buckle the f–k up because you are never going to see a video like this again.”

It seems to be lost on Paul and sadly his audience that this is a human being – someone’s son or father or brother. While the backlash against Paul has grown, when you speak with kids who saw the video their reaction is pretty blasé – no big deal that this kid and his friends just filmed a suicide victim.

Logan Paul’s You Tube channel might be shut down but there are plenty of vloggers who are lined up behind him and many of our teens would kill to be one of them. It’s hard not to be enticed by that kind of money. Sexy selfies and stupid stunts captured on video just might make any one of them the next social media celebrity. Just be as outrageous as you can and make sure your title is “click bait” because in the end it’s all about the clicks.

This post contains affiliate links to make your shopping more convenient.   If you do purchase via any of the links below, I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you.  

Now that soccer, football, cheerleading and all other manner of after school activities has begun it’s time to gear up to be the supportive side-line parent.

Regardless of where you live in the country it seems that there’s very rarely a perfect day to be a spectator for these games.  Either you’re sweltering under the sun and chasing off bees or you’re cold and damp with a light mist falling.  It’s taken me years to find the “must-have” items to make it tolerable so I thought I’d share them with any rookie parents:

Picnic Time Portable Folding ‘Sports Chair

This chair is worth every penny!  No more rummaging through the bottom of a bag to find everything I need – my keys, cell phone and sunglasses are all handy.  It also has an insulated pouch for a water bottle (or any other beverage) plus a table so I don’t have to balance everything on my lap.  It’s light weight, folds up and has a shoulder strap for easy carrying.   PURCHASE HERE!

Rio Adventure Stadium Arm Chair

Every year when I’m at a game and sitting in the bleacher and I see someone with one of these chairs I keep thinking I need to get one and then always forget.  Not this year!  Sitting on a bleacher with no back support for 2 hours is killer and if you’ve got a baby with you it’s even worse.  Not only does this chair have back support and arm rests but a cup holder and pocket for cell phone and keys!  PURCHASE HERE!

Kenley Wine Purse Tote Bag with Hidden Dispenser

This wine purse is definitely a girl’s best friend for those 2 hour games that go into overtime at the end of a long day!  It’s cute, functional and extremely practical with a flap that covers the spout and reusable pouches to hold the wine rather than lugging around a bottle.  The inside is made of neoprene to also keep your food chilled and has a small inner pocket for your keys and phone. Literally this is the only bag you need while you’re at the field.  PURCHASE ONE HERE FOR ALL YOUR GIRLFRIENDS!


Portable Fleece Outdoor Camping Picnic Blanket Throw

I love products that are multi-purpose.  There’s nothing worse than when the clouds roll in and the temperature drops when you’re only halfway through a game.  This 4 in 1 blanket can be used as a seat cushion, blanket, bag or pillow. It has cozy fleece on the inside with water resistant material on the outside that will also block the wind.  It’s light weight and comes with a sewn in handle and can be folded up and carried like a bag with an outer pocket.  PURCHASE HERE.

H&C Unisex Raincoat Packable Outdoor Waterproof Hooded Rain Jacket Poncho

This weekend was the first game for my daughter’s cheerleading squad and of course it rained.  There’s nothing more miserable in my opinion than sitting out in the rain at a game wear one of those disposable ponchos that barely covers you.  That’s why I like this raincoat from H&C.  It’s cozy, completely covers your arms and is light weight.  You can also tuck the hood away when you don’t need it.  PURCHASE HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

September is recognized as Baby Safety Month. When you have small children in your home, it’s important to be organized and keep dangerous items stored securely and locked away. Keep in mind that how you store things is equally as important as what you store.

cabinetLinen closets/medicine cabinets – Many parents don’t consider the potential hazards in their bathroom cabinets and linen closets. Hairsprays and hair gels, mouth washes, toothpaste and perfume can all be harmful if ingested. Be sure that these items are stored in a locked cabinet preferably on the top shelf. Rearrange linen closets to place safe items such as towels on the shelves that are within children’s reach. 

Armoires and cabinets – Closed cabinets are a great place to store DVD’s, CD’s and electronic equipment including TV’s. But make sure that heavy items such as stereo systems and TV’s are secured into the cabinet. Heavy duty Velcro, available at most hardware stores, is a handy way of accomplishing this. Additionally, secure the unit into the wall to prevent a tip over accident. There has been an increase in deaths due to heavy furniture and TVs toppling over onto children.

Pantries – Many potential choking hazards and poisons reside in our food pantries. Items such as nuts, hard candy and popcorn as well as spices including cayenne pepper, chili powder and other hazardous items need to be stored on the top shelves of the pantry. Keep pantry doors locked as added precaution.

Toy Chests/Linen Chests – While this is a great space to store blankets and toys, it also could be extremely hazardous. Install a slow-closing hinge so the top won’t fall on little fingers. Additionally, drill holes in the back of the chest so that in the event a child does get trapped inside they can get oxygen.

Garage and basement storage areas – Toxic chemicals such as bug repellant, lawn fertilizer and paint thinner should always be stores in their original containers so that in the event of ingestion you’re able to provide all of the information to poison control. Keep all items in a locked cabinet and place a lock on the door leading to the garage or basement as an added precaution. Don’t forget that items such as rakes, shovels, tools and lawn mowers are also dangerous for inquisitive kids! 

Laundry rooms – A laundry room is a high supervision area which means put a lock on the door to prevent a child from entering without your knowledge. Single load liquid laundry packets are a great product for saving time but need to be stored and used properly. Immediately store them in their original packaging on a high shelf, preferably in a locked cabinet.

Be sure to keep the number for the National Poison Control hotline posted somewhere prominently in your home – 1-800-222-1222

This post contains affiliate links to make your shopping more convenient.   If you do purchase via any of the links below, I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you.  

Yup, it’s that time of year again – back-to-school shopping!  I’ll admit as a working mom I couldn’t be happier to get back into a routine.  The shopping frenzy at Staples and the other school supply stores makes me crazy though so this year I’m doing as much online as I can.

One of the most important purchases is the backpack.  Last year my youngest daughter insisted on a messenger style bag.  I knew she’d end up hating it but she wore me down and sure enough within a few months she realized it was totally impractical and painful!

It’s unbelievable how much weight our kids are carrying around and I’m sure that in later years they’re going to end up with back issues.  Fortunately it seems as if my high schooler has less to carry so we can opt for a smaller backpack.

Finding a backpack that’s stylish, practical, affordable and provides the proper support isn’t easy so I’ve done the research for you.  Here are five backpacks under $50 that suit various needs.

Some kids aren’t allowed to bring backpacks with wheels to school but if they can, this is the way to go!  Getting the weight off of their backs can eliminate serious problems.  The High Sierra Freewheel Backpack is great for all kids but when using as a backpack rather than a wheely it can be heavy.  The straps will tuck in so they won’t get tied up in the wheels when rolling and the handle tucks in to a Velcro pocket.  If your kids can fit it into their locker this backpack is a great choice. $48.25

Click to see more details and purchase at Amazon

 

Under Armour is the brand of choice in my house.  My kids love anything from Under Armour and, in my opinion, the name is synonymous with high quality.  It’s waterproof, has a padded back and is slightly smaller than other backpacks which makes it easier on your child’s back.  It also has a lined laptop sleeve to hold up to a 15” laptop.  $44.99

Click to see more details and purchase at Amazon

You can’t beat this Mayzero backpack for the money.  It’s waterproof, roomy and sturdy enough to last the entire school year.  It does not have a separate pocket for a laptop so if you have an older child who takes one to school this might not be for you.  But if you have a younger child or no laptop issues this is a great value. $27

Click to see more details and purchase at Amazon

For older kids who are taking electronics to school, being able to recharge is important.  This backpack from ibagbar is water resistant and has a USB charging port.  It’s not bulky and has plenty of room for books and electronics.  It also has a anti-theft zippered compartment for school ID, money or debit cards.  $31.99

Click to see more details and purchase at Amazon

For girls who want style (while you want value) this 3-piece canvas backpack set from Camtop will keep you both happy.  The colors are coordinated and beautiful and the backpack is light weight with adjustable straps for easier carrying.  $38.99

Click to see more details and purchase at Amazon

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.

Regardless of how technically savvy you are, the chance of your computer getting corrupted by a virus at some point is pretty high.  Who hasn’t clicked on an e-mail or a website assuming it was safe only to realize too late you’ve been hacked? Watching helplessly as your computer seems to take on a life of its own has got to be one of the worst feelings in the world.

The inconvenience of being without your computer or device for a day or so is bad enough but for victims of identity theft it literally can take year to recover.  Social security numbers, credit card information, bank records and other sensitive information can mean years of legal battles with creditors and even the IRS.

Many of my friends who had Macs used to be quite smug and insist that Macs can’t get viruses but, while it’s less common than for PCs, it does indeed happen.

Even more concerning is the trend of hacking into smartphones.  It’s not just celebs who are finding their compromising photos splashed across blogs but every day people who lose sensitive data stored inside, including contacts, places visited and e-mails to hackers.  This should be especially concerning to parents as their child’s location and school information can be obtained by a hacker.

I’ve come to realize how important it is to have anti-virus protection on your computer but I never thought about my mobile device.  I was approached by the company Webroot to check out their product and that’s how I learned about this.

The greatest difference about Webroot from other anti-virus software is that it’s cloud-based and uses proprietary technology that can categorize and identify new threat within a few minutes of their introduction to the internet.

By using the cloud, Webroot can actually stop new viruses the second they’re released instead of after getting an update.

Webroot is designed to identify and eliminate all threats and malware attacks that you might face, and includes additional features specifically designed to protect your online banking credentials, identity, and personal information. The most common types of threats that Webroot will protect you from are:

» Identity Theft: Webroot secures the personal information and login credentials that you store on your computer.

» Malware: Malware is short for malicious software, or any kind of program that will attack your computer or try to steal your personal information including viruses, Trojans, ransomware, worms, and spyware, among others.

» Phishing: Phishing attacks occur when cybercriminals trick a computer user into entering their confidential information (such as account numbers, passwords, addresses, and other sensitive data) into a website that looks authentic but is actually a carefully-constructed fake.

It’s easy to install onto your computer and your phone and doesn’t take forever when it’s going through an update.  Learn more at Webroot.

 

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This post contains affiliate links to make your shopping more convenient.   If you do purchase via any of the links below, I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you.  

It’s hard to believe that kids will be heading off for college in the next few weeks, it feels like summer just started!  While my own daughter has a few years to go, many of her friends will be starting their freshman year and it got me to thinking about all of the stuff needed to outfit a college dorm.  While they might be thinking design I’m thinking safety and practicality. 

Here are a few items you might not have considered sending your son or daughter off to college with:

Tower Power Strip with USB

There are a lot of products to charge and overloading an extension cord is a serious fire hazard.  In fact, overloaded extension cords are one of the leading causes of fires in college housing.  Overloaded extension cords, power cords and outlets can overheat and when cords overheat, they can also deteriorate quickly and cause a potential shock/fire hazard.

I love this Tower Power Strip as it has 6 adapter-friendly outlets and 4 USB ports and is designed to handle larger adapters without the cords getting tangled.

The built-in Smart IC automatically detects and delivers the optimal charging current for all connected devices and charges at full speed.

Most importantly the on/off light switches with an integrated circuit breaker for overload and overcurrent protection.

First Alert Fire Extinguisher Aerosol Spray

Along with overloaded power cords, candles left burning and smoking are the other most common causes of fires in dorms.  A traditional fire extinguisher is intimidating to most people and they’re unsure who they are supposed to use it.  Fortunately, there are small, easy-to-use fire extinguisher aerosol sprays that can be kept in a dorm room.

Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Combo

If your child’s in class and a fire breaks out or there’s a CO leak the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm combo will alert her remotely.  This smart alarm — which costs less than $100 — detects problems, identifies the severity of the issue, and alerts you with a calm voice or remote alert. You can then check in on the alarm and silence it from any connected mobile device.

Tile

If you have a child who tends to be disorganized and is constantly misplacing things it’s a good idea to send her off to school with some Tiles. Tile is a tracking gadget that uses Bluetooth technology to help you keep track of everything from keys to your phone. Simply tag the items you want to track, and you’ll never frantically search for a lost item again. You can ring your missing items if they’re in a 100-foot radius or use GPS to find out where you last had the item.

Yak About It Locking Safe Trunk

Theft happens more often than colleges would like to admit.  From small items to laptops, cameras or money make sure your child has some place to lock up valuables while she’s away from her room.  The Yak About It trunk offers lots of space for a laptop, books and other larger items and small shelves for a passport, money or medication.  It’s easy to put together and doesn’t take up a lot of room but will keep everything safe.

Sending your child off to school with a few safety items might not be top on their priority list but it can certainly help give you a bit more peace-of-mind.


This post contains affiliate links to make your shopping more convenient.   If you do purchase via any of the links below, I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you.  

Until they’re ‘tweens and teens and it’s a fashion accessory, getting kids to wear sunglasses isn’t easy.  When they’re toddlers they’re flinging them off and when they’re older they’re either losing them or just flat out refusing.   And, if they do wear them, they’re usually breaking after a day or so.  Often it’s a battle that parents don’t choose to take up but the damaging effects of sun exposure to the eye are greater for kids than adults. In fact the lens of the child’s eye transmits about 70% more UV than the adult eye, putting their retina at greater risk. Also, exposure to ultraviolet rays can increase the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration later on in life.

It would seem as if simply wearing a baseball cap or other hat would be the solution but hats only protect from above, not below, where reflected UV from water, sand or concrete can do a lot of damage.

Choosing the right pair of glasses is critical. They need to block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Also, if the glasses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements or block UV absorption up to 400 nm (nanometers), you’re getting enough protection.

The key is to get your little one used to wearing sunglasses as early as possible and then making them a cool and comfortable accessory.

Here are some great sunglasses for your little ones:

Babiators Original Navigator Sunglasses

These not only will protect your little ones from UV rays but they’ll be the most stylish kids around!  What I really love about these are there rubber arms which make them soft, flexible and unbreakable! They come in sizes that will even fit a 4 month old.  Best of all they’re lost or broken within one year of purchase, Babiators will replace them FREE.  Check out all the fun colors and purchase these sweet sunglasses HERE.

They also have Babiator Polarized Glasses that cut down on glare which always bothers my daughter.

RIVBOS

Sunglasses don’t get cuter than these RIVBOS and they’re affordable!  What’s great about these is they conform to your child’s head so no worries about the fit.  And because they’re soft and comfortable they’ll keep them on.  The soft arms are once again the key, allowing them to standup to bending, tossing and even having them stepped on.

 

Julbo Looping Infant Sunglasses

Trying to find the right fit for infants that are safe is probably the trickiest of all.  The Julbo Infant glasses are great for the first 18 mos.  Most importantly they’re one piece so no hinges that could pinch or screws that could be swallowed.