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.

Last week I was invited to a Febreze Safety Immersion to learn more about what Procter & Gamble is doing to ensure consumers feel safe using Febreze products. I’ll admit, before going I didn’t use Febreze products as my first thought was “chemicals.” Well, I was wrong and what I learned about Febreze, both during the presentation by scientists and the cool lab tour, is that reading the label doesn’t tell the entire story.

The morning started with a presentation by one of Febreze’s principal scientists. Science has never been my thing so I was sure this would be way over my head but it wasn’t – the scientist did a great job of breaking it down and explaining how Febreze’s OdorClear technology works to neutralize odor rather than simply mask it. There’s no way I could accurately describe this to you, but the below video can and it illustrates how molecules in Febreze actually capture “bad odor” molecules to eliminate them.

The best part of the day was our tour of the lab where we did real “stink experiments” – and I do mean STINK! Who knew you could create body odor in a lab and package it, but yup – it smelled like some of the worst body odor I’ve ever smelled. It literally made my eyes water! The scientist then sprayed Febreze Fabric Refresher Free, which has no perfume in it, on one of the body odor towels and a competitive brand on the other. The “BO towel” with the competitive brand smelled like…well…floral scented body odor – it was pretty gross. The towel with the Febreze had absolutely no smell whatsoever. You can also learn about the three other types of odor cleaning technologies and how and why Febreze cleans away stink here.

So great – Febreze works, but the big question for me was whether Febreze is safe or toxic. What’s really in the product and, more importantly, what’s not? Febreze products don’t have phthalates, formaldehyde or flammable propellants. All P&G products including Febreze ingredients are listed on SmartLabel (if you don’t have this app you need it!) and by the end of 2019 P&G will share online all fragrance ingredients down to 0.01 percent for all their products, which includes more than 2000 fragranced products.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation and assumptions online about air fresheners that aren’t based on science or research. To address this, the Febreze team recently participated in the inaugural Household & Commercial Products Association Air Care Summit to share and assess the science behind air fresheners. The summit included academic and medical experts in toxicology, inhalation science, pediatrics and pulmonology medicine. The goal of the group is to help consumers make informed decisions about the Air Care products they use and provide accurate information.

I was amazed at how much I learned at this summit and have been talking Febreze OdorClear technology with my family ever since! Stay tuned as I’ll be posting some real-world experiments with Febreze of my own.

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 the parent of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) there are a lot of fears that keep you up at night.  Probably the biggest issue is what will happen to your child once you die.  Where will they live?  Who will care for them?  What sort of life will they have?

I used to feel as if I had all the time in the world before I needed to worry about these things but in the blink of an eye my son is on the brink of being an adult – and it scares the crap out of me!  For parents of neuro-typical kids the path is clear – either vocational school, college, a job or possibly enlisting in the military.  From there they usually are launched to their independent future.  This is far from the case for parents of children with Intellectual Disabilities.  Here’s the reality – our kids will never have an independent future.

As their legal guardians, we need to plan and pray.  The solutions can vary dramatically depending upon where you live, what supports you have and your child’s ability.  The good news is that our children do have more options than previous generations.  For many families a state institution used to be the only solution.  There was no thought to where the person would live, how they would spend their time or even, quite frankly, their quality of life.  Now, each person is considered as an individual and the focus is on person centered planning.  This requires a team of people who care about your child to be involved helping map out a plan for his future.  Most importantly, the child is involved in this process.

There are no easy answers however.  Money is always an issue.  Many people with IDD  can’t find jobs.  A vast majority of people with IDD can’t live on their own so a roommate situation is necessary and finding someone who’s compatible isn’t always easy.  Location is also an issue.  Most people with IDD can’t drive and need to rely on public transportation. Do you see why most of us lay awake at night?

As I said, the solution for every family is different.  I feel lucky.  My son has a strong support system, especially two sisters who understand they will be taking care of him and are happy to do so.   He is able to care for himself and will probably only need an in-home aide for a few hours every day to help him.  There are now home monitoring systems which will allow me to check in on him through video monitors, get alerts if he hasn’t come home and automatically shut down any appliance he may have left on.

I highly encourage any parent who has a child with IDD to start planning as soon as possible.  It’s never too soon.  Here are a few first steps to start planning for your child’s future living situation:

  • Get involved with ARC , the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
  • Learn more about the funding and services available in their state through DDS.
  • Talk to other families in your community who have a loved one with IDD to learn about their solutions.
  • Learn about tax savings through the ABLE Act.

What plans have you made for your child?  What resources have you tapped into?  Share your stories here.  We all need to support each other.

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.

This past week I was down in Florida at the COX Smart Home where I got to witness and play with over 50 smart devices – and I do mean SMART!  I’m old enough to remember the TV program the Jetsons and, well, it felt like this was the real-life version of the show complete with a robotic dog that made me think of Astro.

While all of the devices were incredibly cool there were some that, as a mom I absolutely fell in love with and I’m dying to own!  Some you may already know about but here’s my list for you to check out:

ORAL-B Pro 5000 ToothbrushI’m sure I’m not the only mom who has to nag her kids every day to remember to brush their teeth and then still wonder whether they actually did or not. No more! With this Bluetooth enabled tooth brush I just need to download an app and I can actually monitor my kids’ brushing habits daily, weekly and monthly.  It has setting for people with braces and will alert you if you’re brushing too hard or not hard enough.  It also “maps” your mouth and will alert you if you’ve missed spots and areas you need to focus on more.

Ecovacs WINBOT W730 – It still amazes me that I consider one of the best Christmas presents I every received from my hubby was a vacuum cleaner.  But not just any vacuum cleaner – he got me a Roomba 960.  When I saw it at the COX Smart Home I actually told people that I had named mine – Li’l Jake.  But there were even more cleaning gadgets at this house.  My jaw dropped when I saw the WINBOT window-washing robot.  It automatically determines the window’s size, maps a cleaning path, cleans the window and then returns to its starting position.  I soooo need to try this out at my house!

The Feed and Go Feeder – As moms we have a million thinks to think about – making sure the kids remember their snacks and lunches, pick up and drop offs for activities and what to make for dinner.  And for those of us who have pets we need to think about having someone come in to feed them or give them their meds if we’re out late at a Little League game or dinner.  Now, there’s a new smart feeder for your dog or cat that will automatically feed your pet!  The Feed and Go Feeder has six cup size compartments that hold wet or dry food (or even meds) that you can control from your smart phone.  You can set your Feed and Go to give you real time messages by SMS and/or Email to let you know when your pet is about to be fed, or when he has just been fed, or both! Even better, if you have more than one pet you can control unlimited Feed and Go’s from one profile.

Yunmai Premium Bluetooth Smart Scale – You might not agree with me that a “smart” bathroom scale is what every mom needs but, let’s face it, we always put our self on the bottom of the list when it comes to health management.  This scale not only lets you know your weight but the most important body composition factors including body fat, body mass index (BMI), BMR, bone mass, hydration levels, muscle mass and body age.  The Yunmai body fat analyzer measures your body from head to toe and effortlessly tracks up to 16 different people with Bluetooth wireless technology.  This is definitely something that would keep me motivated!

It’s crazy to think how our entire home can now be run by the touch of a button.  As long as we have high speed data to keep it all running there’s nothing we can’t do

Stay tuned for my review of more cool items this week!

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.

  • Scary costumes.
  • Bags of candy.
  • Halloween decorations.

The countdown to Halloween is well underway.  Here are a few considerations for your checklist before you send your little ghosts and goblins out for the evening:

How safe is the costume?  Boys love dressing up as the Grim Reaper or some ghoul.  If their costume is all black put a few pieces of light-reflective tape on the front and back.   Make the tape “cool” by designing it as a symbol or wording.  You can also purchase some glow bracelets or necklaces.  Most schools won’t allow them to bring any weapon, spear or walking stick so find out first what’s permissible.

Use make-up rather than a mask for your kids.  A mask can slip making it hard for them to see as their walking and also the rubber inside the mask can make it hard for them to breathe.

Be sure that if the costume is to the floor that’s it’s not too long and can cause them to trip.  Check for loose cords or strings around their neck that could get caught on something as they’re walking.

Are they ready to go it alone? At some point it just won’t be cool to be out trick-or-treating with mom or dad.  So how do you know if they’re ready to go out on their own?  A lot depends on where they are going.  An apartment building or housing community located on a cul-de-sac is much safer than a busy road or remote area where there’s little lighting and the homes are spread out.  Perhaps drive them to a housing complex where you wait at the end of the street while they go trick-or-treating.  Be sure you know their route, who they are going out with (always go in a group) and they have a cell phone in case of an emergency. Establish a curfew and a few times that they must check in with you.

Host a party – Rather than having them go out trick-or-treating, consider hosting a party.  You’ll know where they are, who they’re with and can control the time.

PumpkinCheck the loot – Remind kids to only eat candy that’s unopened and in its original wrapper.  Children under five years of age should not be allowed to eat hard candy, caramels, popcorn or items with nuts as these are all choking hazards.

Light it up – Make sure your home is well lit outside to prevent falls and trips.  Motion sensors such as the ones with COX Homelife will allow for lights to automatically turn on when someone enters the driveway or walkway.

Most importantly, remind your child never to get into a car with someone they don’t know.  If someone approaches them, and they feel at all uncomfortable, explain to them that they should go to the nearest lit home and ring the door.



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.

Talk about “man’s best friend!” This survey done by COX Homelife clearly shows how important our four-legged family members are to us.  Find out how COX Homelife can help pet owners keep an eye on their pets when they’re away from home.


emersonDisclaimer – 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.

Now that we’ve moved into a new house, my kids are dying to get a dog.  While I love the idea of having a pet, it’s a TON of responsibility and I’m not sure I’m up for it just yet.  And I know I’m definitely not up to housebreaking a puppy and hiding all of my shoes that would most likely become chew toys.

After having recently cared for two adorable 4 month-old pups, I realized there are almost as many safety issues to consider for them as well as human babies and they are quite similar.  Here are a few things to be mindful of if you have a puppy in the house:

Choking hazards: Make sure garbage cans are locked and behind cabinet doors to prevent your dog from getting to something that could hurt him such as bones, sharp cans or objects that present a choking hazard.  Put away all small possessions, such as remote controls, children’s toys, power cords, toothbrushes, shoes, or anything small enough to be chewed on or swallowed.

Fire hazards: Tipped over lamps can be a fire hazard since an excited dog may knock it over.  With systems like COX Homelife, you can remotely turn on and off your lights from your wireless device and double check if you accidentally left a light on.    You can also check in on your pet from wireless cameras to make sure he’s safe and not getting into trouble.

You should also never leave oil burners, scent plug-ins, or other heated scent products plugged in while not home as they can be knocked over and pose a fire hazard.  Get fire safety stickers to notify personnel that there are pets in the house in case of emergency.

Poison hazards: Keep all medications, cleaning fluids, or other hazardous substances put away.  Many people know that chocolate can be poisonous to a dog but there are a long list of other foods as well.  Block access to cabinets and drawers by either closing the doors to those rooms or securing them with child-proof latches.  Check to see if any plants you have are poisonous to animals and, if so, keep them in a blocked off room or out of reach.

Drowning: It’s estimated that thousands of family pets die in drowning accidents every year.  Even a dog who knows how to swim can panic if he falls into a pool so be sure you keep this area protected.  Dog should not be allowed around a pool without supervision.  Pool covers are NOT a form of protection. Covers can be deceptive to pets, as they look like a solid surface but can give out and lead to a tragedy.  Consider purchasing a pet alarm such as the Safety Turtle which will alert you if your dog has fallen into the pool.

Having a puppy is a big responsibility – keep them safe and happy!

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.

Two HeadlightsWhile most people may assume that teens driving in the thick of winter – when it’s dark, cold and wet – would be more dangerous than driving on sunny, warm days, it’s actually the summer months that are the most dangerous. In fact, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers as this is when they are on the road more than any other time during the year.  In 2013 alone, 371,645 people were injured and 2,927 were killed in crashes that involved a teen driver.

Teens simply haven’t had enough time behind the wheel to become proficient drivers and manage situations such as slippery roads, fog and distracted drivers who might swerve into their lane.  According to National Driver Training, statistics show that five major causes of night traffic fatalities are defective rear lights, defective headlights, fog, driver fatigue and intoxication. While it’s hard to get teens to listen to you, here are some pointers that could very well help save their life as well as their passenger or the other driver.

SLOW DOWN! – Speeding is a major contributor to fatal teen accidents. In fact speeding occurs in 33% of all fatal crashes. Teens feel they have control of the situation but underestimate how slow they’re reaction time can be if someone brakes quickly or switches lanes without warning.

Distractions come in many forms – While the most common distractions are talking on the phone or texting any activity that takes your eyes off the road for even a second could cause a crash. This includes eating, changing a radio station or turning on your GPS and checking yourself out in the mirror!  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it takes a vehicle going 55 mph approximately 265 feet to stop, and you must hit the brakes within one to 1.5 seconds of seeing an obstacle in order to avoid it. At night, every extra inch of visibility matters.

Drive alone – Distractions aren’t just objects and activities but people too. In fact having a single teen passenger in your car can double the risk of causing a car accident. Adding additional teen passengers causes the risk to escalate.  Many states have graduated licenses which prohibit the number of passengers a teen driver can have in the car and limiting night time driving.  Teen Driver Source notes that states with nighttime restrictions in place have reported up to a 60 percent reduction in crashes during the restricted hours.

newbulbsSee and be seen
– Headlights are a driver’s first line of defense for any obstacles on the road, as seeing an object sooner and more clearly allows for more reaction time and a better decision. It’s important to have headlights in proper, working order to ensure obstacles can be seen, with the best lighting available if possible. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your bulbs, it is probably time to do so.  Upgrading to better down road headlight bulbs can help add more visibility, which can equate to additional reaction time. Every foot counts and every second matters. Headlights, like SYLVANIA SilverStar® ULTRAs, provide a brighter light for more clarity which helps maximize downroad visibility. A simple upgrade can make a better driving experience. Without increasing glare or affecting other drivers on the road.

Put it in writing – Develop a contract with your teens about your expectations for when they’re behind the wheel.

Keeping our teens safe behind the wheel is one of the top concerns for parents.  Help keep them safe and arm them with proper information.  The SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting #TravelSafe campaign is working to spread the message of how important safety is during this busy travel period.



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.


Now that appears spring is finally here, I’m itching to start throwing the windows open and doing a big spring cleaning.  Along with cleaning, it’s a great time to do a bit of a home safety check-up.  Here are a few “do-it-yourself” tips for making your home safe for the entire family.

Test your home for lead poisoning – Lead poisoning affects more than 434,000 children under the age of 6, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but recent research suggests that five times that many — 10 percent of all young children — may actually be in danger.   Most people assume that lead is only in paint chips in older homes but that’s not the case.  Any windows or doors that were once painted with lead-based paint can put of dust particles every time they’re opened which can then leach on to toys, furniture and carpets.  What’s more, lead that’s on outdoor playsets and wooden furniture can also leach into the soil and be tracked in on shoes.

Falls are the leading cause of accidents in the home – This is true for toddlers, seniors and everyone else.  Make sure staircases both inside and outside are well lit.  If necessary, install motion sensor lights.  Grab bars in the tub aren’t just for the elderly.  Falls in the tub are the leading cause of injuries in the bathroom for toddlers.  Every year, children die falling out of windows.  Install stops or wedges to prevent them from being open more than 4”

Monitor your doors and windows – Toddlers, autistic children and seniors with Alzheimer’s all have the tendency to wander out of the home.  Whether it’s to alert a caretaker of a family member leaving the house or to prevent an intruder from entering, it’s critical to have sensors on all of your doors and windows which will emit a sound if they are open.

Be prepared for fire – When choosing a fire extinguisher, you must consider the room for which it may have to be used.  There is a color-coded box on each fire extinguisher identifying which classes of fire it can be used for, and the type of fire extinguishing agent it contains.  Be sure that all of your smoke detectors are connected so that if one goes off they all will.