Healthy Living, Tips and Tricks

Be prepared for an earthquake disaster

Be prepared for an earthquake disaster

Living in the Pacific NW we are all too often reminded of the ‘Big’ earthquake we anticipate is nearing. We are on a few earthquake faults here in the state and it reminded me of some tips I learned and noted about how to be prepared for an earthquake disaster. We have been educated on the basics, but certainly learned some tips that I never would have thought of in an emergency. Here are those new preparedness tips:
  1. Look up or call your local news stations for a list of what stations are a part of your emergency bands. These stations will broadcast through special bands regardless of downed towers and water failures.
  2. Are all important documents/passports in one location to grab? I have our files in a filing cabinet & can grab them up in a hurry.
  3. Rule of thump for water is 3 gallons a day per person for 3+ days.
  4. Most deaths (over 95% from the 2011 Japan quake) occur from tsunami & fires post quake, NOT from the quake itself.
  5. Do not run to a doorway! Doing so makes you vulnerable to flying debris from two locations. You are to Stop, Cover (under table) and Hold (onto the table). If nothing around to cover under, then find sturdy wall, get low, cover head and count out loud (1 one thousand, 2 one thousand…) This does three very important things: counting reminds you to breath, it allows you to count the time of shaking and if others are around.. they hear you counting and they know to come for you stat if they don’t hear you counting anymore.

We practice the Great Shakeout in our schools and businesses every year and I highly recommend you visit the videos like the one below from The Great California Shakeout. They cover what to do in several situations. It is also important to have a family meeting!

Get informed and be prepared!

Healthy Living, Kids, Parenting, Tips and Tricks

10 Tips for Kids Staying Home Alone

10 Tips for Kids Staying Home Alone

As our boys neared about the age of 10 or so they began to hear of friends who are home alone for a bit such as from the time the bus drops them at home until parents are back from work. To a pre-teen and teen this sounds so cool. The idea of being home alone is a huge milestone and they are eager for doses of independence wherever they can get it.

As parents, so many thoughts pass through our heads when we get to that point where perhaps we can try some doses at being left home alone. What if there is an emergency? What if they forget to have their phone charged? What if strangers try to enter the home? What if they decide to turn on the stove or fall? We can drive ourselves silly with the ‘what-if’s’ and never leave them home alone. But, I think it is important to reach this milestone.

Teaching a child to be home alone can bring some valuable lessons and even if you don’t think there will ever be a need to leave your child home, I think finding ways to teach a child this independence and leaving him or her alone in spurts is more valuable than that thrill of independence for them. It can introduce talks about trust, making plans and perhaps they will have a minor panic moment that teaches them the importance of making sure that phone is available or to have to think on their feet. They may need to use these lessons elsewhere in their young lives.

We have recently begun training our youngest to be home alone. Notice I use the word TRAINING? This is because like an important job, you need training. This is an important responsibility and it requires planning and tasks to follow.

  1. First and foremost, check about your State Laws. In Wa. state we do not have a formal law about a child’s age to be left home alone but we do have an advisory of 10 years old. Our youngest just turned 10 so it is a great time to start training them after their 10th birthday. Keep in mind there may be a separate law on what age to leave a child responsible for another child if you have 2 left home alone. Know your law!
  2. As soon as you know your State’s law on children home alone, consider your child’s maturity level. We have 3 boys and they are all very different people.
  3. Put the rules on paper! Trust me, your child’s head has a big ego as they lavish in this idea of being home alone. The opposite may also be true, they may be nervous and anxious as you get to the point of actually leaving. So, rest assured that all those rules you mumbled at them did not stay in their heads very long. So have your rules written down and left out for them.
  4. Start small. We began by allowing our son to stay home alone as we took our evening walks. Eventually I may run to the grocery store 5 minutes form our house and then that graduated into longer errands. But never at night after sunset and never longer than 1-2 hours for maybe the first year or so.
  5. Check in! As much as you want to test them on their independence I always give a call within 5 minutes of leaving for 2 reasons: First is to test they have their cell with them and it’s on and working. Second, is to gage their level of nervousness. If they keep asking when you will be back or exactly where you will be, they may be showing their nerves by asking so many questions so I know to make it quick.
  6. One of my top rules are DO NOT CLOSE DORS BEHIND YOU. We have an over 3,000 square foot home. If he decides to go upstairs and close his game room door behind him he will get lost in video games and potentially not hear noises or alarms that may go off in the home. They need to keep volumes down and doors open for safety. Once I came home and he had the door shut-he did not even know I walked through the door and was home because I startled him. For 2 months the game room was off limits if we are gone. He lost the game privileges.
  7. Keep them busy! I tell my son he can watch the downstairs TV where he is in the main part of the home, play computer or video games only if he keeps game room door open at all times and if he lost game privileges I leave a list of chores he can do AND earn money form to make it motivating. If they get nervous or scared, it keeps them busy and passes the time which helps them out a bit. I also have a NO FRIENDS over rule when I am away too.
  8. The emergency plan! Like you have the babysitter list-that becomes your child’s new sheet! I have all numbers in his phone AND written down incase he has a phone issue and I have a trusted neighbor I alert when he is home alone.
  9. The doorbell! Under no circumstances should your child answer the door when home alone. If you need a neighbor to check in for you, have a secret knock code or alert your child that at a certain time neighbor will knock to check in.
  10. Check the home! Have a very curious kid? Do a double check that stoves are off (make sure your child knows cooking is off limits home alone), weapons are locked up, all windows/doors are locked as you leave, garage door is shut, etc..

These all seem pretty basic. However, a guide and a plan is great to ease their discomfort as well as your own. It is much better than roaming a grocery aisle and suddenly panicking that maybe you left the back slider wide open and they are vulnerable or you left the stove on!

Even thoughts like, “they do know silverware does not go in the microwave, right?” are scary thoughts so have rules and plan so you are covered and your child is safe.

What can make this even easier on you are two tools I use in my home! The Ring Doorbell and Security Camera and a Wi-Fi, app controlled indoor camera. I can turn off the daily schedule on our Ring and set it to motion alerts so anytime someone approaches our driveway or front door my phone chimes. I know if someone is lurking and I also can see if my son broke any “door answering or inviting friends in rules”. I also have an app for my indoor video cameras that has 2-way talk. I can see if he entered the game room and shut the door and all I do is hit the microphone label and tell him to get off or open the door! I can also have motion as he enters the kitchen and have a view of what he may be getting into. See them grab a large knife to cut or about to stick metal in the microwave I have eyes and a voice to shout out at him. Now that you are covered, let’s do this! They will learn some very valuable skills under your control.

(I left links to what I use below if that helps you get set up for the Home Alone plan)!

Gift Guides, Kids, Parenting

mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat Is Making Carpooling Easier

I have partnered with Brilliant PR for this mifold feature

mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat Is Making Carpooling Easier

mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat Is Making Carpooling Easier. How? It is very portable. It adjusts for child’s size in seconds and fits most seats and belt systems to safely hold onto your child as you drive! Let’s explore more…

Anthony is almost 10 and not in a car booster seat anymore but as you can see him holding it the size is very convenient. Despite how small it is you get an approved seat by the standards. For ages 4 and older and 40-100 pounds you can fit this booster in a bag. Just see my video below….

The long strap clips onto the should belt at your child’s shoulder height for proper restraint. It is so easy and works with your cars lap belt. It comes in many fun colors too. Now you can just unbuckle your child, fold and hand off to the grandparents or daycare for carpooling needs when in their care. Even airplane and rental car travel becomes easier. It makes our travel lives so much easier without sacrificing safety!

As your child grows you simply adjust the width. The padding is comfortable and it is just enough lift to give them that window view for their entertainment. You can find these on Amazon and at Target stores nationwide! Learn more at mifold.com Available at Target!

Blogger Resources, Gift Guides, Reviews by Anthony

Blog Conference Recap – Blogger Bash and Sweet Suite 2017

I did it! I booked a trip to NYC with Anthony and we attended Blogger Bash and Sweet Suite 2017 last week. I can tell you that by far, this is a conference worth every dime and effort. Why? It was less of a school about blogging and more about collaboration. It is one thing to collaborate with other Bloggers and there is plenty of that too but it is quite another to meet the brands and PR companies face to face.

The conference had an agenda that you could pick and choose the events right for you over 2 days. I love that it broken into 2 days. It would have been too much in one day especially being a new NYC visitor and learning transportation options. Here is a recap of the events I attended which are about all of them.

Day One

Armitron Breakfast: Turning Passion Into Adventure. This was a panel of speakers including Lyss Stern (DivaMoms), Sara Roberts (Creative Service Director at ELLE), Barbara Weichselbaum (EVP Armitron), Mary Kate McGrath (EIC PureWow), Olivia Jeanette (Style Influencer) and Rebecca Dube (Editor Today Parenting Team). It was great to hear the challenges of starting a brand and maintaining it in this ever-growing social media age while keeping true to the women, Wives, Mothers we are.

A special thank you to Armitron Watches as we went to their booth first after breakfast. It was the first booth over the 2 days my son was at and I wanted him to learn to speak well for himself and his channel. I told him to think of a question and ask-he went up, looked at the watches and asked if they make kids watches too. Not only did they explain that they do but they had one his size in a box and kindly asked if he would like to have it. What they didn’t know is that Anthony has been looking for a watch. As we have been shopping town he was wanting a watch and you should have seen the look on his face when he was handed one. This really helped motivate him and think kindly of everyone at each booth over conference, not because he got a watch but because he walked away and said, “Mom. That was too nice of them.” It was and a great start to a great day.

Babypalooza: We were able to mingle with some of the best baby and toddler brands. We also met Kandi Burress of the Real Housewives and saw her adorable line of baby and toddler products called Raising Ace. Started with her husband and inspired by raising their son, Ace she found the passion to create products that will stay with baby into the toddler years.

We met some other great brands such as Mustela, RePlay, Austlen, Baby K’Tan, Lansinoh, Today, Oilogic (I got a great oil for Anthony when he is stuffed up and suffering with his seasonal allergies), After Bite, tasted delicious Tickle Water and more. Zuliliy was there and took some fun, complimentary photos.

CE Week: I was able to leave Anthony with my Mom who cane to NYC so I can mingle with some of the best tech brands. What was great is that I got to meet some of those I have worked on campaigns with in person from Nixplay and Canary and played with some fun products you will see real soon.

Sweet Suite: This is the true night of fun and play. Over 60 brands of toys, snacks and games waiting to show us the latest and coming soon! I can’t list all of the brands but it was great to meet certain people in person like Jacqueline from YumEarth and LeapFrog representatives as I am a LeapFrog Ambassador. We have a lot of brands to thank publicly so keep an eye out as we get through these products and share our experience and give you even more information.

Day Two

Breakfast at the Toy Association: We ate some delicious food and met such a sweet staff at the Toy Association, a non-profit group with a passion for assisting in the development of play and safety. I was impressed by the standards they hold in the US and all of the hard and dedicated work the staff puts out so we can play safely. With the toys around the office and the swag they handed us it is obvious they love to play.

Stuff For Mom’s and Dad’s: On top of the Cantina Rooftop I was able to mingle some more with great brands for every household. From pets, laundry and sleep I saw some fantastic products I will be sharing about real soon.

I met some new Bloggers

How about that? Oh, the fellow Bloggers. I was jet lagged, there with Anthony and overwhelmed (in the best way possible) and it was over so soon before I really spent time mingling with everyone I wanted to. So, in support I will say that it was geat to chat with the following who also attended Blogger Bash 2017:

Neena Nandagopal of Almost Practical.com

Kendra Darr of Simply Darrling.com

Shauna Silverman of BarefootAndLovingIt.com

Jennifer Tammy of SugarSpiceAndGlitter.com

Tips for attending Blogger Bash

  • Bring A LOT of business cards. I thought I was overdoing it taking a large stack and I had 1 card left in the end. 100 cards may not be quite enough.
  • Have a pen handy. This was my first year and I realized something now that I am home and sorting through all of the cards and sheets handed out. If you take a card from a PR agency, make sure you write what table you are at with them. I had 4 cars with just PR contacts and they did not write their brand on the card so I don’t remember who they were representing. In the same if you take a press release and don’t see a card ask for one or have them write their personal contact on that release for you.
  • Plan to check a bag. Sweet Suite sends you a box by mail with a lot of product but you also get handed product as well. I had my son with me so maybe we have a tad bit more but not by much. I cam home with all of our clothes shoved into the large suitcase and the carry on on size suitcase was full to the brim of swag, cards and souvenirs.
  • Transportation: I had plans to cab it but ended up falling in love with using Uber. It is confusing finding the right corner to flag a car to. With Uber I was able to pre-schedule my ride the evening before conference and the times I ordered on the spot I waited no more than 5 minutes for a car to arrive. It shows you a map of your drivers car location as it is driving to you. This allowed me to see ahead of time which direction he is approaching from and make sure I am on the right side of the road for them. I had never used Uber before this trip and I will use them every trip I take now. I tried some other companies and they were not as interactive in the app and no prescheduling with them wither. Feel free to use my code and once you download the app and enter erins16695ue you will get your first ride free (it’s a max $15 discount for that first ride).

Tell me….

What was a memorable conference or fair you have attended in the line of work you do? I’d love to hear about it.