Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ways To Give Kids More Social Experiences

Written by a contributing writer

There are things in your child’s life that will help give them the best start to adulthood, and that’s social experiences. Being able to communicate with others is something that’s needed so much in adult life and so it’s important to give them as much of an opportunity to socialize as possible. So here are some ways to give your kids more social experiences.

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After-School Activities

One of the main social experiences that we all have from a young age is through education. We go to school with hundreds, maybe thousands of others our age and we have to learn to be respectful and kind to everyone. It’s a real test of your sociable skills and what better than to do it from a young age? After-school activities, therefore, are just another way of expanding on what’s already happening at school. Not only does it provide additional friendships with others that they may not have interacted with at school, but it’s also good for finding passions. It’s certainly worth seeing if a stem class is available at your child’s school.

These after-school activities will usually cover topics that maybe aren’t covered in as much detail during normal school times. It’s never too early to explore what you like and what could end up becoming your career as an adult.

Sports Or Dance Classes

Apart from school, it’s good to encourage interest in other classes that may be available within your local area. Sports and dance classes tend to be two things that a lot of children get involved with at an early age. And whether those dance classes cover everything from ballet to tap or just focus on one genre, it’s beneficial. The social experience that they get from working together in a soccer team to lifting each other up in a dance routine, all goes towards their social experiences.

Making Time For Family Discussion

A family unit can come in many variations nowadays, and one of the most important things in a family is to have communication. The other main area where a child learns socialization for the first time is in the family home. It’s where they learn to say their first words and to have conversations - albeit at first a load of babbling - between them and you as the parent. So it’s good to continue this building of social skills by having family discussions on a regular basis. Whether that’s a catch-up around the dinner table or it’s a debate over something you’ve all just watched on the news. It’s healthy to keep them involved and to lead and listen in conversation. The more you do this within the family home, the more confident they’ll feel when it comes to socializing in the outside world.

Offering your child the best opportunities when it comes to social experiences can help boost their confidence in themselves and to create real friendships and connections with those that they genuinely feel a pull towards. It’ll help them later in their adult life and will continue to provide them with opportunities throughout their lifetime.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Tips for Flying with Kids with Allergies and Compromised Immune Systems

Plane travel with kids is difficult enough as it is, right? You have to make sure you have snacks, entertainment, and remedies for those uh-oh situations (bathroom accidents, airsickness, ear pain). But if you have a child with nut allergies or a compromised immune system, it becomes an even bigger challenge with even more prep-work and the situations you're preparing for are much more than little uh-ohs.

As you may or may not know, my son has a compromised immune system.  And while we have been lucky that this is something he could grow out of (fingers crossed) and something that doesn't affect his daily life too drastically, it is something that makes things like air travel a little more difficult.  Because for him, catching someone's cold on a plane could turn into an ear infection within the next day or two in a place far away from his regular physicians. And that equals a lot of explaining and advocating on my part in order to make sure my son receives the correct treatment.  No one wants to deal with any of that on vacation. So, needless to say, it's just best to avoid the situation altogether.

I imagine air travel for kids with nut allergies must be incredibly stressful for their parents as well. Especially if the allergy is severe. Luckily, the tips below can also help nut allergy parents make plane rides with their little ones just a bit easier.

1. Ask to Board Early

Most airlines have "family boarding" which allows you to board with young children before other passengers.  However, if your children are a little older you often won't qualify for this boarding. I recommend getting to the gate early and asking to pre-board. Explain your situation to the employee and often they will grant you preboarding. Please be aware that typically only the child and one adult will be able to preboard this way. You will not be able to preboard your entire family. But, this will at least allow you to have time to prepare your child's seat and area on the plane without a line of people waiting behind you.

2. Use Seat Sitters

Seat Sitters seem like such a simple idea that I'm not sure why it hasn't been around longer. These approved plane seat covers are easy to slip on when boarding. They're comfortable, washable/reusable, and overall incredibly effective when it comes to keeping those germs or nut oils on the seat away from your little one. I've used both the original version and the new version. I prefer the new version since it comes with an easy to carry and store zippered pouch. The seat cover also comes with antibacterial hand wipes, crayons, an allergy sticker, a tray cover, and an allergy mask. These covers literally make my life so much easier on plane travel days.

3. Lysol or Clorox Wipes Are a Must

I use Lysol or Clorox wipes (whichever ones I can find travel size packets for at the time) to wipe down everywhere the Seat Sitter doesn't cover.  This means the arms of the chair, the tray, the wall/window by the seat, the back of the seat in front of my son's seat, and even the seatbelt. I also wipe down the area of the seat next to my child (usually my seat) and if I have time, I basically wipe down the area and seatbelts of the entire row.

4. Hand sanitizer

I know hand sanitizer has been controversial in the past...but it's a lifesaver for us. My son and I both use hand sanitizer before eating anything and after leaving the airport. Antibacterial hand wipes (like those provided in the Seat Sitters kit) are also a good option.

5. Medical Masks

Medical masks can be purchased online (I use Amazon, of course) and I definitely recommend having your child wear one from the time you enter the airport. Seat Sitters do come with an allergy mask that may be enough for those with allergies. However, when it comes to blocking germs, I prefer hospital-grade masks. If your child feels shy about wearing one, wearing one yourself could help your child feel more comfortable.  That way, they aren't the only one on the plane wearing a mask.

Hopefully these tips help other parents stressing about plane rides with their kids! These simple tips have prevented my son from catching any germs on plane rides and overall helped us to have a smoother journey while traveling.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Are Your Kids Active Enough?

Written by a contributing writer 

As a parent in the current cultural climate, you may have found yourself wondering whether your kids are active enough. Many of our little ones are engaging in more activities that don’t require too much movement. Video games, cartoons, and social media generally encourage your little ones to sit still, facing a screen for extended periods of time. This, of course, is fine every now and then. But you should be encouraging your children to engage in more high energy activities that will get their blood pumping and keep them active!

Research of youth participation has shown that both the way kids engage with exercise and the types of exercise that kids are enjoying is changing. While football and soccer still remain popular sports, they are decreasing in popularity, while more obscure activities like gymnastics, lacrosse, and track and field are on the rise.

Female participation is on the up and more kids in general are participating in organized sports. So, you don't need to worry that your kids will be disinterested in exercise. You just need to make sure you’re offering them the chance to engage in a type of exercise that they enjoy!

Hopefully, the infographic from Cisco Athletic below will give you some deeper insight into youth sports participation trends and can help to guide you on the right path to getting your kids involved! Exercise is important for all children, so do your utmost to help them reach their sixty-minutes-a-day target!

Infographic Design By Cisco Athletic

Saturday, July 13, 2019

$1, $5, and $100+ Prescription Glasses. Can You Tell the Difference? - Where to Find Affordable Prescription Glasses Online

I did a thing. I finally went to the optometrist and my suspicions were confirmed.  Years of working from home and staring at a computer screen for hours on end without looking away...has affected my vision.  Although I now wear these Blue Light Blocking Glasses while working, enough damage had already been done.  So, glasses for me it is!

Now, I did buy a pair at the optometrist's office. Luckily, my insurance covered most of the cost. But, the glasses still ended up being over $100 after insurance. The sales person also tried to sell me prescription sunglasses. And while I am a sucker for a cute pair of sunnies... I was not about to pay hundreds of dollars on a pair that day.

Luckily, my simply beautiful sister-in-law had already told me about Zenni, an online shop that sells prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses at affordable prices. So, I asked for a copy of my prescription to order some Rx sunglasses online. I mean...I NEEDED them, right? (Tip: Make sure you get your PD measurements as well if you're planning on ordering glasses online.)

After ordering from Zenni, I saw an ad for a website called Firmoo on Instagram. I did some light research and quickly realized Firmoo has a pretty good reputation. During this time, Firmoo had two specials going on.  One was a pair of glasses for $4.95.  Another was a pair for just $1. I ended up paying $20.80 in total ($4.95 frames, shipping charge, lens charge of $4.95, and lens coating charge of $4.95) with the "$4.95" deal. But with the $1 deal, I paid just $1 in total. Shipping, lens, and coating charges were included.

See if you can tell which frames were $1, $5, and over $100 from the pictures below.




And now for the answers

1. Over $100 Optometrist pair
2. $4.95 Firmoo deal
3.  $1 Firmoo deal

Ready to get take a look and see if there is anything that catches your eye?


I've only purchased sunglasses through Zenni so I can't comment on how the eyeglasses prepare. But I love the sunglasses. The pair of tortoiseshell ones do make me a little dizzy if I wear them for an extended period of time. So I tend to prefer the black pair that I own. Both are oversized.

Tip: I don't think the "try on" feature is very accurate. Instead, I relied on reviews and the photos posted by others that can be found on the product page and within the reviews. I love glasses that other people deem ridiculously huge. So if there are reviews that claim "These are just too big" or "I wish they were smaller", I know I'm headed in the right direction.


The Firmoo $1 deal sounds too good to be true. But it wasn't. I definitely recommend using this deal to try Firmoo. The glasses don't feel cheap and they don't make me dizzy at all.  The $1 deal is available to new customers here. Be sure to use promo code 1usdsa at checkout. Valid through July 31, 2019.

If you're seeing this post after July 31st, you can still get 50% off of your order. Go here and use code Candice0629970.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How To Make Your Daily Commute A Little Less Awful

Written by a contributing writer

Image via Pexels

The single biggest thing that most of us dread about our working day? The commute. Even when you're your own boss you need to travel for business. And although there are definitely unique frustrations about a commute on public transport, at least you have the option there of sticking in headphones or immersing yourself in your Kindle to make the time go by quickly. When your daily journey involves a drive, switching off is not an option. And the frustration of the pure wasted time involved in sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is enough to make you want to scream. However, there are ways that you can brighten up these bookends of your working day. It is possible to be more productive, comfortable and calm during that commuter drive, with a few essentials at your fingertips.

Grab A Cup To Go

One thing that is always guaranteed to start the morning off right and make traffic more bearable is a nice warm drink of your choice - whether it's the morning coffee you need to get your day started, a calming herbal tea or even an indulgent winter hot chocolate - invest in an insulated travel mug and you can take that beverage to go. Make sure that you purchase a quality container that is going to keep your drink hot throughout your entire trip. If you’re running late in the morning, you can even use it to hold oatmeal so you have something to eat when the traffic is stationary. Pack a drink and a cereal bar and you have breakfast ready to go at the wheel.

Keep Safe On The Roads

A safe commute is a happy one, so if you spend a lot of time in your car, then make sure that you have taken steps to keep your journey as stress-free as possible. Purchase a dashcam from a company like blackboxmycar.com so that you have video evidence if the worst should happen and a collision on the roads should occur. Make sure that you take your vehicle in regularly for servicing if you’re using it for commuting, and that the tires are kept full of air and the engine oil is topped up. During the winter months, make sure that you’re fully prepared for adverse weather conditions by investing in snow tires if you’re in a place that experiences deep snow, and stocking the boot up with bottled water, blankets, a shovel, a flashlight and a small first aid kit, as well as a back-up charger for your phone.

Calm It Down

It's easy to lose your cool in traffic, so make the journey more comfortable with a padded memory foam seat cushion and some back support if you’re sitting for long periods of time. If you struggle with stress and anxiety, a dashboard aromatherapy diffuser can do a lot to improve your mood on your journey to work. And if it's the sense of wasted time that stresses you out when your to-do list is bursting at the seams, then try finding a current affairs podcast to listen to or even a learning a language while you commute.

Monday, July 8, 2019

How To Travel With No Fear As A Business Owner

Written by Alex from The Berger Bungalow

Traveling as a business owner can be very scary. You are picking up and leaving your business in the hands of your employees, the other companies you work with, or for some small business owners, alone. Thankfully, there are many ways that you can log in and have remote access now and if you do it right, you will be able to travel with no fear as a business owner. Here are my biggest tips when it comes to doing so:

Schedule Your Trip Well In Advance

This provides your staff ample time to prepare for your absence and will give you the peace of mind needed to leave your business behind.

Preferably, scheduling your trip a year in advance will provide you and your staff time to prepare for your absence, while ensuring the business will operate smoothly. However, things happen and timing is not always ideal, but having at least a 6-month window before your travel dates will ease your fear as a business owner.

Prepare Your Employees And Customers In Advance

The key to ensuring your trip is indeed a pleasurable trip, is to prepare your employees and customers for your absence.

Train your employees on how to handle various problems and emergencies in your absence (e.g., internet connection goes out). Assign responsibilities to each employee for handling problems. In addition, be sure to write down contact information for outside resources so they can communicate those resources directly without needing the “go ahead” from you.

If you have customers you work with personally, be sure to alert them of your vacation schedule in advance and inform them you will not be able to work with them during your vacation. In some cases, it may be beneficial to tell clients you are leaving several days before you actually plan to leave in case they tend to procrastinate. That way you don’t have to worry about last minute questions or requests as you pack and prepare for your vacation.

Do Not Schedule Any Big Projects

It is important not to schedule anything to “go live” while you are away if you cannot manage it while you are gone. For example, if you have a huge presentation being sent out to your business email list, it is probably best to schedule it once you return from your trip. That way, if anything does come up, you will be able to figure out the problem at hand and fix it immediately.

Work With Great Companies

As a business owner, it can be very hard to pick up and leave everything behind, but if you work with great companies that help you run your business even when you are not there, you do not need to worry about it as much. For example, if you are an outdoor company, a sign shop, or an electrical contractor, you want Irvin Inc. to be in your corner no matter if you are in town, or away. Irvin, Inc. is the preferred supplier and one stop shop for LED lighting, solar lighting, digitals, billboard supplies, sign shop supplies, and much more. The companies that I mentioned above (outdoor companies, sign shops, electrical contractors, and other related businesses) partner with them because they trust them and know that Irvin, Inc. has already researched the manufacturers they work with. This means that when they get back in town from a trip, they do not have to do the research themselves - Irvin, Inc. has already done it for them and can lead them in the right direction when it comes to billboard supplies, signage lighting, outdoor & indoor lighting, and digital signage.

“Founded more than two decades ago, Irvin first made a name for itself servicing the largest and most respected powerhouses in outdoor advertising. Two products for billboards laid the foundation for a family-owned and operated business dedicated to one mission: offer quality solutions at fair prices, grounded in integrity and commitment.”

President and Owner, Denise Irvin Cannon has a 20-year track record in administrative management, vendor relations, product management, results-driven sales techniques, customer relations, and innovative marketing. She is the sole reason when it comes to the success of the operations side of Irvin, Inc. She says, “The people of Outdoor Advertising are the real drive behind my passion. I am continually amazed by the creativity of those that push the limitless boundaries of one of the most relevant mediums on the planet. But my heart is with Operations. I like to say we support the “non-sexy” side of the Outdoor Advertising and Sign Industries – those folks in the trenches who make good advertisements look great and challenging sign and lighting installs look easy.”

Irvin, Inc. is just one example of my point - work with companies that you trust so that when you are out of town and your customers (or employees) need help or recommendations, you have them at your fingertips.

I hope this article helped you learn how to travel with no fear as a business owner. No matter how large or small your company is, you should be able to live your life to the fullest!

*Sponsored Post

Thursday, July 4, 2019

How To Balance Being A Mom And A Teacher

Written by Alex from The Berger Bungalow

I see that there are quite a few teacher-mom followers around here, so I wanted to write a post specifically for you! Let me just start out by saying that each and every one of you are rockstars and you are doing a great job at balancing everything. Just in case you need a bit of motivation and help on how to balance your life even more, I have a few tips for you:

Make It Easy On Yourself

There is a lot of guilt that surrounds working mother, one of which is not being able to make elaborate home cooked meals 5 nights a week. After a long school day, your energy is drained and the last thing you want to do is come home and whip up a 20 ingredient Pinterest recipe. No. You need quick and easy meals that your children will eat. It is survival mode during the school year. That might mean boxed Stouffer's Mac and Cheese will become your new best friend. Or maybe you are one of those people who like to meal prep on Sundays for less stress during the week. Whatever your preference may be, I have two helpful tips that will save your sanity when it comes to food in your home. First, online grocery shopping with Walmart or Amazon Prime. This will save you multiple trips a week to the grocery store, which you really don’t have time for anyway. Second, there is nothing wrong with picking up some fast food for dinner when you have to juggle extracurricular activities during the week. Picking up a pizza after soccer practice is not a crime.

Now onto the other two struggles of being a working parent: housekeeping and laundry. Laundry piles up like it is nobody’s business. Honestly, it seems like I am never not doing laundry. Then on top of that, I have to keep the house in order. How on earth can one person manage to do all this, while working? The truth is, it is not possible. Your family is a team and therefore, when the children are old enough, each member should be given specific responsibilities.

It Is Okay To Say No

This is a hard one for me. I find my purpose in contributing and helping others. However, it is very important not to overextend yourself. In the end, you are not only hurting yourself but also those you signed up to serve. It is important to understand your limits. You need time for yourself. You need time to devote to family. And you need time to devote to work. The key is finding a schedule that provides you time for each. Do not sign yourself for every possible committee only to realize your family time has been compromised. The most important work you do takes place within your own home. That means, when you get home from work, it is ok to turn off teacher mode and turn on mom mode.

Establish Personal Boundaries

I cannot stress the importance of this one enough. It is very important, as a teacher and a mother, to establish boundaries when it comes to communication with students’ parents. You are a parent first and a teacher second, meaning you can’t be answering emails all night and setting up lengthy parent meetings after school hours. It is essential that you start off the school year at a pace you are able to keep up. Inform parents that you are also a mother and therefore, will either answer emails during school hours or within 24 hours. Ensure you start off the year by managing communication with students’ parents in a way that is healthy for you and your family.

Schedule Time For You

Oh yes! This one is key for a successful balance.

I know some of you might have laughed when you read that. How in the world are you supposed to schedule in “you time” when you have work, family, and a million other things to manage? Well let me tell you, just as simply as you schedule a doctor’s appointment, you can schedule “you time.” Write it down on your “to do” list! Make it a priority. It could be as simple as going to get a pedicure, or going to Target with some girlfriends while your husband watches the children.

In addition, “you time” includes couple time for you and your spouse. Alone time with a spouse or significant other is necessary. It must be a priority! So go ahead and schedule that on your “to-do” list alongside “you time.” Time spent alone could be as simple as sitting out on your back porch after the children are in bed or as fancy as hiring a babysitter and going out to a nice dinner.

Lesson Plans Made Easy

As a mom and a teacher, I am sure you know how little time you have leftover. How are you supposed to take out even more time in the evenings to grade papers and make lesson plans? Well, luckily, you do not necessarily have to with the help from Teaching Point. Would you like to have an expert teacher provide all of your lesson plans and prep work for you? Think about how much time that would save in the long run! According to Teaching Point, decades of research shows that a better-prepared teacher leads to improved student achievement. While this is great, it’s just hard to be really prepared when you go home to a house of kids, as well. That’s why I think Teaching Point is so beneficial! If you are a teacher, I would highly recommend talking to your school system about purchasing TEACHINGpoint for all of the teachers. It is much less costly to help better prepare a teacher than recruit more teachers, so they would save on recruitment, development and retention, graduation rates, and college and workforce readiness, as well.

“Teaching Point is impact committed, mission driven and dedicated to serving the educational community by addressing the issue of the unequal distribution of highly-qualified and highly-effective teachers – without moving them around from school to school. Teaching Point is a provider of teacher training solutions through a patented and registered program that offers 3 distinct levels of professional development support:

  • Subject-specific instructional support materials (details posted below)
  • Subject-specific mentoring teacher access
  • Subject-specific university hosted online courses to assist teachers in their efforts to be highly-effective and, where necessary, certify teachers in additional subject-areas

Teachers with new assignments have different needs. Some may be technically qualified to teach a subject, yet as they have never taught it before, will benefit from instructional support materials and/or access to a subject-specific mentor. Others new to a subject assignment (or those unavoidably assigned out-of-field) will benefit by taking the university hosted online course for continuing education credit as a practical way of working toward recertification credits (the online courses include the materials and mentoring).”

*Sponsored post