Thursday, January 5, 2017

Keeping Your Home Safe While You're Away

Whether you are hitting the road to grandmas house, going on a winter vacation or just getting away for the weekend, being away from home can cause a lot of stress. We relocated nearly 8 months ago to southern Ohio and in doing so, we left behind our home up north that we haven't had time to get on the market yet. Leaving it unattended has been super stressful for us so we can understand exactly why homeowners stress out when leaving home for any length of time. Ooma, a leading internet home communications hub, recently sent us a list of tips to share with our readers on how you can keep your home safe and secure so you can worry less and enjoy your time away. 




TIP #1: DON'T TURN YOUR THERMOSTAT OFF

Before leaving for an extended trip, it's important to lock in a safe temperature in your central heating system. If you live somewhere with cold winters, don't turn your thermostat off! To prevent your pipes from freezing, set the temperature lower than usual—ideally between 40 and 55 Fahrenheit. Live in a warmer climate? Leave the thermostat at about 69 Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can completely avoid worry by controlling your thermostat remotely. Ooma detects when your thermostat is on "Away" mode and will automatically forward any home calls to your mobile device.

TIP #2: SHUT OFF THE GAS AND UNPLUG ALL APPLIANCES

Always turn off gas-powered devices such as stoves, ovens, and fireplaces, and unplug all appliances. This can prevent any accidental fires and potentially hazardous carbon monoxide leaks into your home, as well as save energy. This is especially important if you have pets at home who can't defend themselves against unforeseen hazards. For an added layer of protection, be in the know—Ooma can warn you via text and direct you to call 911 when your Nest Protect smoke/carbon monoxide detector has been triggered.

TIP #3: DON'T KEEP YOUR TRAVEL A SECRET

When leaving home for several days, tell someone you trust where you'll be in case of emergency, such as a fire, burglary, or carbon monoxide leak. Friends staying in town or a thoughtful neighbor could be options. They can keep an eye out for suspicious activity and notify you of any out-of-the-ordinary occurrences. Ooma allows you to be notified immediately when 911 is dialed and you can call them or call police to investigate.

TIP #4: LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY TO MONITOR YOUR HOME

Thanks to technology, our homes are getting smarter and smarter. Did you know there are countless apps that can connect to systems in our homes—from central temperature to security systems, light bulbs to the Amazon Echo? The Ooma Telo seamlessly interacts with your favorite smart home products and services to make your home safer and more convenient than ever before. Whether it be increased levels of carbon monoxide or a home break-in, Ooma can be the first to alert you of any danger.

Learn more about Ooma's home monitoring system at http://www.ooma.com 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What's the Right Travel Bed for your Toddler?

As all parents know, a lot of our lives are placed on hold when the little ones arrive. Even the most dynamic people who used to hike, camp, climb…turn into diaper-changing machines daydreaming about travel as they go through the routine of baby stuff.
And we love it because we love them.
But once your little bundle of joy “graduates” and you can finally take it on trips with you, it’s crucial that you know the INs and OUTs of organizing a trip with a toddler. An important part of that is knowing how to choose a travel bed.

That’s what today’s guide on portable beds for kids is about – choosing right and enjoying your trips, whether it’s just sleepovers at grandma house or a camping trip. The tipswill be helpful to those looking for a good transition toddler bed from a pack ’n’ play to a regular mattress, as well.

Types of toddler beds – air mattresses and folding beds

Two main types to choose between are toddler airbeds and foldable beds (cots and foam).
The decision depends on a range of factors – from yourchild’s age, weight and height to the kind of a sleeper they are.
Let’s take our time and systematically look at the PROs and CONs of both types.

Toddler air mattresses

An inflatable bed I perhaps the most popular choice. Let us look at some of the advantages and downsides of thchoice.

Advantages:
• Convenience – it’s light and smallso it’s very convenient for travel, even if the itinerary involves air travel
• Safety – blow up bed for kids usually come with side bumpers or a whole frame around the edges to keep the tot safe. On the other hand, the materials used havea very small off-gassing footprint (the amount of chemicals they release into the air), lower than memory and gel foams or any other mattress for that matter.
Just to make sure you’re on the safe side – read the fact sheet and look for a product that lists chemical-free explicitly (it will usually say BPA and phthalates-free)
• Fun for the kids – anybody who ever had an airbedand had it inflated in front of the kids knows that, for most of them, the process itself is kind of hypnotizing. So, chances are you’re gonna have to do some inflating/deflating just for show.
• Easy to clean – this is an important one. An air mattress will be the choice if your infant still has “wet accidents”. These beds are made from PVC, which is plastic and doesn’t hold smell.
If this is your case – it’s probably better to choose a bed that’s not flocked. The flocked top does add to the comfort but it holds smell and it’s not easy to clean.
Downsides:
• Potential air leaks – even the best air mattresses are still that, an air mattress, and they can puncture if not handled correctly. If you are going camping a scenario like this can change the whole trip.
That’s why it’s important to go with a reputable brand (beds like Shrunks Tuckaire or Intex Kidz), especially because the price difference is never worth the risk.
Tip: Don’t rely on patch kits that come with the airbeds. Pick up a PVC patch kit locally, they’re usually better than that come included. 
• Crackling noises – depending on whether you or your tot are light sleepers, this can be a problem. The airbeds that are not flocked tend to make crackling noises when the child tosses and turns. So, if this combo (restless sleeper and light sleep) describes your situation, an airbed is most likely not the choice for you.
In conclusion, budget-friendly and convenient, the airbed is here to stay as a sensible choice whether you’re looking for a travel sleep solution or a transition bed.
Final tip: It’s always smart to do your own research even if the bed ticks all the fields on your list. The best way to do this is visit websites with reviews of the airbeds and use that information to choose the one that’s the best fit for you.
Moving along to the alternatives...

Folding toddler beds – cots and foam

Technically, the two types belong to what you might call a folding bed, but in fact, these are two very different products.
Toddler travel cots
The most budget-friendly of the three options, it’s also the least comfortable one. It’s basically a steel frame with padded canvas stretched on top of it.

It might be a good choice for shorter or one-off trips, but it doesn’t really compare in comfort and safety to an airbed or a foam folding bed.
Advantages:
• The most budget-friendly solution
• Packs small enough for air travel and camping
Potential issues:
• Depending on the weight of the child and the quality of the cot, the light padding of the canvas might not be enough to prevent the child feeling the rails underneath.
• Safety concerns – portable cots have no side rails. That makes them a good option only if your kid has already formed reliable sleeping habits and is not a restless sleeper.
So, if you have your eye on a cot, think about the points we made above and make sure that you choose a quality product (something like Regalo My Cot).

Folding travel bed (foam-based)

A folding foam bed is both the most comfortable and the most expensive option of the three we are looking into today.

Most of us want only the best for our kids and often make the mistake of following the price tag and making the conclusion that if it’s the most expensive it must be the best.
So, let’s take a step back and look at some of the PROs and CONs of this choice:
Advantages:
• The soft foam makes it the superior option in terms of comfort
• The fact that there are no hard parts makes it very safe
• Modern design that stands out
• No need to inflate anything, just fold and pack into the carry bag that comes with it
Potential deal-breakers:
• Expensive compared to an airbed – the good ones (such as LeachCo BumpZZZ) cost two or three times as much
• They don’t deflate and can’t be packed as small, so they are best used as house beds or for car-camping
• Not water-resistant – it’s just foam and casing so it’s very hard to clean – it’s practically impossible to get smells out once they find their way into the foam
• Not for the restless sleeper – the sides are not high and sturdy enough to keep a restless kid in
From what we’ve said, it’s fair to say that a folding foam bed is not as versatile as an inflatable bed, but if comfort is your priority and you have a serene sleeper on your hands, it’s the most luxurious option.

Let’s summarize

The smartest way to make a summary of the points we made is to make a list of a few things you need to think about before making a choice.
Let’s make it a nice round number of 5 questions:
1. What’s the plan for using the mattress – travel or home-use, every-day or occasional?
2. If you do plan to travel, do the plans include air travel?
3. Does your child still wet the bed?
4. Are they a restless sleeper (enough so not to need side-rails)?
5. What’s your budget?
The answers to these questions will provide you with a roadmap to navigate through the variety of choices and findwhat’s best for your youngster.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Stay Warm This Winter With the Honeywell HeatGenius

Winter is NOT my favorite time of year, especially because living in Ohio means it can get down below 0 during very cold spells. Our house has great geothermal heat downstairs but because the master bedroom upstairs was a new addition, it does not heat the same and tends to get on the chilly side during the winter months. My husband and I had been going back and forth with a heating solution when Honeywell offered to send us their HeatGenius Ceramic Heater and we were so excited when it arrived.



The new Honeywell HeatGenius has 6 settings so you can control the heat to your comfort. We have been pleasantly surprised with just how great this heater works. Our master bedroom is very large so we didn't expect it to heat the entire room but not only does it heat the bedroom, it heats the bathroom too! We placed the HeatGenius in the middle of the bathroom and if we leave the door open, it heats both rooms super quick. 

Features: 

6 Customized Heat Settings: Personal Heat High and Low, Room Heat High and Low, Floor Heat and Quiet Mode Heat

Heats you, your room or your floor with the touch of a button

Multiple Safety Features such as Tip Over and Overheat Protection 

Cool Touch Housing 

HeatPhase Timer, a phased 30 minute-2 hour auto-off timer that adjusts heat down a level every 30 minutes until the heater turns off 

Quiet Mode Settings: Combines gentle "white noise" with soothing warmth.  

My favorite part about this heater is that I don't have to worry about our toddler getting burned if she touches it. Our older heater was a stand up, radiator type heater that not only took forever to warm up but it also got very hot, posing a burn risk. The HeatGenius gives us the heat that we need with the peace of mind that we aren't creating a fire or burn hazard for our children. With a price tag of just $69.99, it is also perfect for just about any sized budget! If you order from the Honeywell store, you can also get free shipping! Don't sit at home and freeze this winter, hop over to the Honeywell site and stay warm! 


*Product was provided to us at no cost via the company and/or representing PR firm. All opinions belong to the owners of this site* 


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Vive Health Launches First Product Offering on Walmart.Com

Vive Health, your one-stop shop for healthcare needs, has officially launched its first product on Walmart.com! The Finger Pulse Oximeter is available on the site for $22.95 and includes FREE shipping! 

The pulse oximeter from Vive Health is lightweight, portable and measures both pulse rate and SpO2 levels.  All you have to do is place your finger inside the device and the results are displayed on the LCD screen within seconds. It also features a battery-saving automatic power off function and an irregular heartbeat alarm notification. Each unit comes with a 2 year warranty and guaranteed accurate as each unit is tested individually. 

If you are in the market for this handy monitor, be sure to visit Walmart.com! This is truly one of the best SpO2 monitors on the market. For all of your other needs, makes sure you visit www.ViveHealth.com where all products ship FREE. 


Monday, December 5, 2016

Three Things to Consider When Choosing an Area Rug

Choosing the right area rug can instantly refresh the décor of practically any room in a home. But, before choosing one, it’s a good idea think about the features of the room where it will go. If you do this, you’re likely to select a rug that you’re extremely happy with. Here are three considerations when choosing an area rug.

The Color of the Room’s Walls

Ideally, you want to choose an area rug that complements the other colors in the room. For instance, if the walls of the room are painted in pastel blue, you may want get an area rug in another shade of blue. A navy or royal blue rug would enhance the look of your walls and vice-versa. Choosing a rug in a color that complements or coordinates with the color of your room’s walls can bring visual harmony to the space.

The Room’s Furniture

When choosing an area rug, you should consider the color and pattern of the furniture in the room. For instance, if you have a sofa and chairs in a solid color, you may want to go with an area rug that features an intricate pattern. Consequently, you’ll have a rug that helps liven up the décor. To add extra style to the picture, you could choose a rug with a pattern featuring colors that echo other colors throughout the room. This careful choice will contribute to the balanced feel of the décor.

The Size of the Room

Certainly, the size of the room is an important consideration when choosing an area rug. In short, you want to select a rug that suits the dimensions of the room. Having an area rug that is too small or too big takes away from the appeal of the rest of the room’s décor. Fortunately, for those who want to buy area rugs online, there are plenty of options when it comes to size and shape. You may want to choose one in a shape that echoes a coffee table, chairs or other furnishings in the room. 

So, giving some thought to the look and feel of a room before adding a rug can help you end up with the perfect choice! An area rug may be a simple addition to a room, but it can contribute a lot of color and style to the space.

How Often Should I have Termite Inspections Performed?

Staying on top of any potential termite problems is a vital key in preventing any infestation damage later on. This is definitely a pest issue that you need to watch out for with regular inspections rather than waiting until you start to see signs of the insects or even actual damage. 

Professionals, like exterminators in Arlington Heights or elsewhere will do inspections to help keep your home safe. But while you need to be on your guard, you don't want to go overboard either. 

So the big question is how often do you need to have a termite inspection, to be on the safe side with your home. On average, the simple and rough answer is once a year. Having an annual termite inspection is the most common preventative approach. But you do need to consider a few other points. 

Regional Location 

Where in the country are you located? Some regions are far more prone to termite infestations than others, and some areas don't even have native termites to begin with.

 If you live in an area that is prone to termites, you might want to consider upping your inspection schedule to every six months. Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana and the eastern part of Texas are all areas with high termite populations. 

Just remember that these are only the high-risk areas. There are termites in every state except Alaska, which would be the only area where you can skip the inspections entirely without any worry. Northern states like Minnesota, Maine or North Dakota are also very safe with regards to termites. You might want to go with every 2 years in those areas, but you will want to consider your specific property, which we will be discussing next.

Type of Property 



This is really another way of looking at location, just more locally. Is your home in a rural or wooded area, or in a built-up urban area? Living in an inner city area that is surrounded to asphalt and concrete is going to bring your termite risks down considerably, even if you live in one of the states we mentioned earlier. 

On the other hand, a property with a lot of close trees will increase your termite risk quite a bit, no matter where your home is. Homes that are surrounded by forest would do well with a 6-month inspection schedule. You should also think about adding some bait stations to your yard to protect your home against the local termite colonies, but that's another story altogether. 

The bottom line is that an annual inspection is a good place to start, unless you fit in with the higher-risk situations or areas we have mentioned above. Then go with every 6 months. Of course, you can always discuss this with a local professional to get their opinions too. They'll know the area better and can fine-tune their advice for your home specifically. 

A professional can also give you some further information on what to do if termites are discovered, and how treatment would handle it. It's always good to know the big picture for the future.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Baby Magic Celebrating 65 Years

*This is a sponsored post, written by us on behalf of Baby Magic. All opinions belong to the owner's of this site* 



With 5 children, there have been a lot of brands in our home that I would consider "staples" and at the top of the list in our house over the past 14 years has been Baby Magic. With all 5 kids, it was our #1 brand of bath products and still remains our favorite today with Miss Addy Grace.


There is seriously nothing better than a fresh bathed baby and we are excited to help Baby Magic celebrate their 65th anniversary this year! Born in 1951, Baby Magic products are hypoallergenic, tear-free and paraben-free. Almost 65 years ago, they launched the "For Every Lady in Waiting" campaign featuring expectant mothers in designer maternity wear and today they are revisiting that campaign. View some of their recreations by visiting Dad's in the Making.




Make sure you visit the Baby Magic Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @ OriginalBabyMagic

GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader is going to win a prize package including Baby Magic products and a $25 Visa Gift Card!



*Info, products and gift cards were provided to us by the company and/or representing PR firm* 


Issues to Consider When Looking for a New Home


There is a great deal of pressure involved with finding a place to live. Hunting for a house is not something you should do without completely considering all of the various issues that will be crucial during your search. Failure to do this will most likely make your search take much longer. There is also the possibility that you will be unsuccessful in finding the specific type of home you are looking for. Here are some examples of issues that you need to keep in mind and take into consideration before you sign on the dotted line.



1. How old is the house you are looking at?

You know that older cars come with the increased risk of mechanical problems because of all the miles they have been driven. Therefore, a car that is cheap to buy might cost you a lot in repairs in the future. The same idea applies to buying a very old home. There are now many laws and building codes that dictate the materials used to build homes. These building codes did not exist many years ago. This is why old homes typically have problems that are never encountered in homes built within the past 30 years. For example, asbestos and lead paint were both commonly used in a wide variety of homes many years ago. However, it was later determined that these materials were harmful to people. You need to think twice before you buy a home that is old. The problems that will come with it might not be worth the headaches they will create.

2. Should you buy or lease your home?

Your decision to buy or lease your home will depend on where you are at in your life financially. It will also have a lot to do with your plans for the future. Obviously buying a home will require considerably more capital up front. You may not have access to this amount of money. There is also the possibility that you do not have good enough credit to be approved for a mortgage. Leasing your home is another option. A lease does not require a big financial commitment at the beginning. Also, lease agreements do not require the same credit scores that banks demand for mortgages. Leasing a home is a good idea if you will only be living in a city for a year or two because of a job. You will not need to worry about selling your home when your job is completed. Invitation Homes has leased homes to many people. Invitation also has a solid reputation for professionalism.

3. How big will the yard of your home need to be?

The size of the house itself should not be your only consideration. Do you have a dog or children who like to play outside? If this is the case, the size of the yard definitely needs to be a factor in your decision-making process. This is especially true if your children are young enough where you still need to keep an eye on them. Keeping a dog in a yard that is too small will not be good for its overall health. You also might want to invite friends to your home for parties. Having a bigger yard would make these gatherings more comfortable.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Timeless on NBC

If you could go back to any period of time, which would it be? Now you can travel back in time with the cast of the new Monday night series on NBC, Timeless. Timeless airs at 10:00p.m. EST. 



Timeless is a thrilling action-adventure series in which a criminal steals a time machine to go back and time and change America as we know it. An unexpected team of a scientist, soldier and history professor must use the machine's prototype to travel back to critical events in our history while making sure not to affect the past themselves. 

The cast of Timeless includes Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit. 

Executive Producers and writers of the show are Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan along with executive producers John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman and Director Neil Marshall. 

I had the chance to sit in on an interview with star and heroine of the show, Abigail Spencer who plays Lucy Preston. Spencer is a talented name in the business, just wrapping up the 4th and final season of Rectify. She shared with us some of her favorite parts of being on the show, including all of the awesome wardrobe changes from the different time periods in our history, her favorite being the 40's. It's always refreshing to speak to strong women who are successful in both their professional fields as well as motherhood. She talked to us about how she balances life as an actress while being able to give as much time and attention to her son as possible which is a struggle with all moms, no matter what your career. It was great getting to hear her perspectives on parenting as well as following her dreams as an actress. She also reminded us that Timeless is not only entertaining but it's educational as well. We homeschool our oldest 2 boys so we allowed them to stay up Monday night to catch the Timeless episode on Abe Lincoln and they loved it! They have already set the DVR for next Monday so we can catch the next episode. 

If you are looking for a great new series that will keep you on the edge of your seat, catch Timeless next Monday at 10pm on NBC!

*This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy's Writer's Network. All opinions belong to the owner's of this site*






Friday, October 7, 2016

Dr. Ken, Friday Nights on ABC

Fall has arrived which means so has some much anticipated Fall television shows including Season 2 of Dr. Ken! Make sure you tune in tonight at 8:30 EST! 



In the new episode which will air Friday, October 7, Jeong's real-life daughter Zooey will guest star as the window-peeping neighbor girl. This hilarious real-life comedy is the perfect ending to wind down the busy work/school week with the family. It's so difficult to find family friendly shows anymore and this is one that our entire family can sit down and enjoy together. 

I had the opportunity to be on an interview call with Ken Jeong this week and he is such an amazing, down to earth man which makes me even more excited to catch the show. It's not very often that you can find someone who is just naturally funny like he is and I was just thrilled to have the chance to talk to him. It was truly like talking to a neighbor or a friend. I was really curious as to how he went from studying medicine to becoming a crazy successful actor and I loved hearing the story about how he caught the "acting bug" while studying medicine. His parents encouraged him to follow his dreams and left his career decisions ultimately up to him and while I am certain he would have been successful no matter which path he would have taken, I am so glad he ultimately chose acting because we need more Ken Jeong's in the entertainment world! He has provided my husband and I with countless laughs on his many successful movies including the Hangover Series. Unlike the Hangover movies, however, Dr. Ken is a more real-life show that people can relate to. (And your children can watch without you having to cover their eyes or ears!) Not only is Jeong the star of the show, he is also executive producer so he has a hand in every single part of the show so you know it's going to be great! 

We have our DVR set and can't wait to catch the show tonight! 


*This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer's Network. All opinions belong to the owner's of this site* 

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, Stomp Out Bullying #WorldDayOfBullyingPrevention

Bullying is something that effects everyone. You, me, our children and our society as a whole is directly affected by bullying and how we treat each other. There are two things that I consider the most important in teaching my children how to be strong, healthy adults. One is for the to have a relationship with God and the other is to be kind to everyone they meet. 


I can still remember how much I hated school when I was a teenager. I hit puberty in middle school between my 7th and 8th grade years and I went back to school very self conscious. I was called "fat" when I really wasn't overweight at all, I just had a bigger chest that made me appear bigger than I was. Looking back now, I can still feel the hurtful words that were said to me by numerous boys. I remember starting very unhealthy eating habits where I would regularly skip meals or I would eat and then make myself throw up. I hated the girl looking back at me in the mirror and would often sit in my room and cry because I was so embarrassed about my body. I can remember the saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." That was drilled into our heads starting in elementary school, but no bigger lie has ever been told. Words do hurt. They hurt bad. They cut deep. Bruises heal and you will probably even forget how you got them but cruel words echo over and over in your mind and are rarely forgotten. Looking back today, I can still feel the pain that I felt as a young girl and it is what drives me today to make a difference. We have 5 children of our own and the biggest message that we preach in our home is to BE KIND! We volunteer for several charities and we pay it forward every chance we get but what we have taught our kids number one above all is to be kind. It's free to be kind. A smile or a kind word can make all of the difference in someone else's life and it doesn't cost a dime! 



Parents, please take a minute today and talk to your kids about bullying. Be involved in their lives and watch for signs that things might not be all that great. YOU are your child's biggest advocate. If something is happening, please don't turn a blind eye. Your kids are counting on you! I encourage you to visit the Parents Page on the Stomp Out Bullying website and see what you can do to help be a part of the solution! We can't afford to lose another child. Kind = Awesome.


This is a sponsored post written on behalf to the Role Mommy Writer's Network. All opinions belong to the owner's of this site*