Parenting/Life

Moms: Don’t let the time change catch you “sleeping”

Guest post by: Nancy Rothstein, MBA, The Sleep Ambassador and Sleep Expert from TONE Networks

Use these simple steps to keep yourself and the kids happy and enjoy a drama free bedtime!

 It’s that dreaded time of year again when the clocks are changing! Many a mother (and father) has posted on social media the “disaster” of the time change. Kids are tired, cranky, crying, and overly sensitive because their little “clocks” are all messed up. Meanwhile mom is tired, cranky and let’s keep it real here, probably eating chocolate and guzzling wine just to try and wait out the days until the kiddos adjust to the new time.

There has to be a better way! Dr. Christine Li, the Procrastination Coach at TONE Networks says, “The time change can be very difficult for families. I recommend parents put a reminder in their calendar two weeks before the time change so they have some space to think of and to implement slight shifts in their regular schedule.  For instance, parents may want to plan for an extra half-hour to help their children get ready for school in the morning.  Parents may also remind themselves that they and their children might feel more irritable or out-of-sorts during the time change and the few days after.  Also, I recommend that parents steer clear of packing the family schedule too tightly during the time change period.  Preparing yourself and your calendar really can help smooth the time change for families.”

Dr. Nancy Rothstein, The Sleep Ambassador and Sleep Coach at TONE Networks agrees planning is the key to managing Day Light Saving, particularly for families with kids, as they don’t have the coping skills we have as adults to manage their sleep loss. She has provided some great tips on how to beat the clock and keep your sanity. She suggest a week before Day Light Saving ends to call a quick family meeting to talk about a new sleep plan when the clock “falls” back the next Sunday night.

Here are some of Nancy’s tips for your family meeting:

  • Talk with your kids about why it’s important to keep your body on a regular sleep schedule, i.e. it helps them grow, learn, they make better food choices when they’re not tired, and they won’t be grumpy because they’re tired.
  • This is a great way to educate your kids about why DLS was actually created in order to save energy and provide more daylight to work.
  • Explain that starting Monday bedtime will be moved up 10 minutes each day so that the next week they won’t be tired or worse tired and grumpy!

If you missed pre-planning the bedtime change, don’t worry!  When the time change arrives, just be a bit flexible in the days/nights that follow, recognizing that your child’s body clock will be aligned with the pre-time change clock. Instead of putting them to down at the new bedtime, try getting them ready for bed 15 minutes to a half hour earlier for the days or week that follow until their circadian rhythm is in the swing of the new clock time. Remember, at 8 p.m. their body clock thinks it is 9 p.m.! As for the morning, they will likely have less adjustment issues because their body clock thinks it’s an hour later so they’ve had more sleep than the clock indicates.  

If your children (or you!) have a hard time getting to sleep try these tips to get “in the mood” for bedtime:

  • Remove all technology one hour before bedtime (no phone, iPad, Kindle, TV, anything that has blue light which will stimulate the brain and make sleep difficult)
  • Taking a soothing bath or shower before bed, this helps to relax the body and over time the body is trained to understand, “I’m getting ready to sleep.”
  • Read a book (not on a device, a real book!) before going to sleep.
  • Cover any light that may be in their room, like an alarm clock or phone.

If you want to learn to hear more expert advice from Dr. Christine Li or Nancy Rothstein check out TONE Networks and watch their short form videos on the importance of sleep in tweens and teens, insomnia, why lack of sleep causes weight gain, the power of planning, time management, minimalism and more.

For Kids · Parenting/Life

Hunting for gold with Treasure X

Disclosure:  Although the Treasure X item was provided to us, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

I had a look at the calendar today and couldn’t believe how close we are to Christmas again.  I guess it’s time to start thinking about my holiday shopping.  Luckily, I have already come across a great stocking stuffer idea for my son – Treasure X.

Treasure X

He always seems to be drawn to collectibles and I like things that are more than just a package that he opens and is done with it.  Treasure X is the perfect combination of both of these things.  Each contains a collectible figure that you have to assemble but it also includes a “treasure”.

Upon opening the package, you will find a treasure map, digging tool and the treasure you must dig for.  The first part of the dig, you will find all the pieces to create your figure.  Each package comes with a different character for you to assemble.  This can get a bit messy so I recommend you do this somewhere where you can easily vacuum up the powder.

After you have dug up all your character pieces, you can assemble your character and start searching for their treasure.  You will find a box that you need to remove the plastic and add some water to see it dissolve and reveal your treasure.

The treasure revealed could be an ultra rare that is dipped in real gold.  My son loves collectibles that are designated as common, rare or ultra rare and was thrilled when ours was an Ultra Rare gold dipped pocket watch.

Once all the items had been revealed it was time to assemble our character and give him his treasure.

Of course, being the collector that he is, my son has already asked for more of the Treasure X boxes, so I will be off to add a couple of these in his stocking this year.  Who knows what other treasures he might find.

Travel

Our Trip to Legoland Florida

Disclosure: Although tickets were provided to us by Legoland Florida, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

Anyone who knows my son, knows that he is completely obsessed with all things Lego.  So when we started planning our vacation this past summer, I knew that one of the places that was at the top of his list to visit would be Legoland Florida.  And for weeks leading up to our trip, my son could not stop talking about our impending arrival. I wish I could have been able to take a picture or video of his sheer delight as soon as he saw the sign as we arrived at the park.

I have to say, the best tip we got prior to going on our trip was about the ability to trade minifigures with the Model Citizens (park employees).  All Model Citizens wear badges with their names on them and have minifigures that attach to them and will trade them.  I think this was the one thing my son was most excited about and happily made his first trade with the parking lot attendant before we actually even made it through the park gates.

Legoland Florida Entrance

The park is definitely the mecca for all things Lego.  I was impressed about all the different things made out of Lego throughout the park. One of my favorites was the gorgeous waterfall area with all the animals that you might typically find there, all made out of Lego.

Lego has done an amazing job of incorporating a lot of the most popular Lego themes throughout the park and rides.  There was the Ninjago area (my son’s favorite), Duplo, Heartland, Technic, etc.

In the Technic area they have an awesome ride called the Great Lego Race that combines  Virtual Reality technology with a roller coaster.  As this is a fairly new ride to the park, there was a bit of a line up but luckily they had these great areas with Lego for the kids to keep occupied while they waited in line.

When we first went on the ride, the VR component of the ride had a technical glitch and did not work for my son.  When getting off the ride, he made a comment to one of the Model Citizens working the ride and they allowed him back to the front of the line and experience the ride with a working VR.  This was great of them to do as I would have had a very disappointed boy on my hands had he not gotten to experience the ride as it was meant to be and especially after quite a wait in line.

In the center of the park is Miniland USA.  An entire “city” made entirely out of Lego with such attractions at Kennedy Space Center (which we had visited just the day before), Dayton Speedway, the Las Vegas strip. etc.  I can’t even imagine how many bricks it took to build all of that.

Unfortunately early into the afternoon, it started raining quite heavily and the majority of the rides had to be shut down.  But that didn’t dampen our spirits.  There were quite a few things to keep us occupied and dry.  There is a 4D theatre that runs and number of movies throughout the day and there is Imagination Zone that was indoors and had a number of different building stations and activities to keep my son happy and me dry.

And of course, our trip would not have been complete without a trip to the gift shop for my son to get some souvenirs to take home.  He was definitely looking forward to that part of the day and would have taken the whole store home if he could have.

The only part of the park we didn’t get to partake in was the water park due to the weather.  It was a bit of a disappointment as it was something were were looking forward to but in the end, it just gives us a reason to come back again and maybe next time even stay a night in the Legoland Hotel on site.

If you are planning a trip to the Orlando area and have a Lego lover in your family, I would definitely be adding a trip to Legoland Florida to your trip agenda.

Travel

A Day of Exploring – Goats and Port Hope

I’ve gotten into the bad habit of spending my boy-free Sunday afternoons laying on the couch watching Netflix and doing a whole lot of nothing.  Today, I decided these Sunday afternoons were better spent going out exploring and discovering local gems before the weather gets too nasty to enjoy.  I wasn’t quite sure where I would be going but I ended up heading east to Port Hope.

Just before I left, something came up in my Instagram feed and as soon as I saw it, I knew it was exactly where I had to go.  First stop, Haute Goat Harvest Hoedown.  What is Haute Goat you ask?  It is a 200 acre farm located just outside Port Hope and is home to Nigerian Dwarf goats, alpacas, chickens and horses with a shop that sells handmade premium goat milk items.  There is cheese, Goat butter caramel corn, goat milk soaps and skin care products.

Today, was their Harvest Hoedown, to showcase all they had to offer plus some local food vendors.  It was a beautiful day for especially with all the fall colors as a background.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a crazy love for goats, so when I saw that they were having free goat shmurgles, I knew I had to go.  A shmurgle is basically giving the goats all the cuddles and snuggles you can.  They allowed groups of about 25-30 people in at a time for about 10-15 minutes to spend shmurgling.  It was amazing.  I could have spent the entire day.  They do offer events where you can get up close with all the farm animals and go behind the scenes at the farm and of course extended time getting to shmurgle the goats.  I am definitely going to bring my son back for that!

After sadly saying goodbye to the goats, I decided to head into Port Hope and see what I could see.  Many have told me about this quaint little town but I had never had the pleasure to visit it.  As soon as I drove in, I noticed it was definitely a town with some history with it’s architecture.

I decided to park by the Ganaraska River and take a walk.  All I can say is what a view!  Each fall you can see the salmon trying to get upstream to spawn but unfortunately I was too late to get a first hand view.  Next year, for sure.

After taking in the views of the river, I headed towards the beach of Lake Ontario.  It was a perfect fall day to take a walk on the beach and kept thinking to myself, how have I never been here to enjoy this before.  It will definitely be on our day trip agenda next summer.

I have always enjoyed taking my son out to local events and locations but after today, I think I am going to start using my weekends with out him to do some more exploring around the area.

Parenting/Life

Protect your family with First Alert

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by First Alert.

I swear it never fails, if my smoke alarm is going to tell me it’s battery is low, it always decides to do so at 4 o’clock in the morning.   And as much as this is a terrible annoyance, I guess it is peace of mind that the detector has been working and keeping myself and my son safe.  When these alarms go off, the temptation is often there to just take out the battery and replace it whenever you get around to it or just leaving it unplugged.  I know I’ve been there.  However, knowing that according to the Canadian National Fire Information Database, 80% of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, often due to missing alarm batteries or expire alarms.

In addition to your smoke detector, you should also have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your home as well.  Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible odorless and colorless gas that can be produced by any fuel-burning device such as a furnace, boiler, stove or car.  With the cooler weather upon us and it’s soon going to be time to switch the heat on in your home, now more than ever is it important to ensure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your home as these alarms are the only way to detect and protect your family from this poisonous gas.

With October being Fire Prevention Month, it is a good time to check your home alarms to ensure your alarms are working properly and have not expired and needing to be replaced.   If you can’t remember or don’t know how old an alarm is, it is best to replace the entire unit.  It’s suggested that you replace the batteries every six months and an easy way to remember to do this is when you turn your clocks ahead/back for Daylight Savings Time.

Recently, there has been a great advancement in alarm technology with the development of new 10-year sealed battery alarms.  With these 10-year sealed battery alarms, there is no longer a need to remember to replace the batteries for the life of the alarms.  And this also eliminates the risk of every having an alarm deactivated due to battery removal.  It is still suggested that you test your alarm every six months, but it does eliminate to unwanted 4 am wake up calls.

First Alert has both a 10-year battery Smoke Alarm but a 10-year battery Carbon Monoxide alarm available for your home.  The Smoke Alarm is a low-profile alarm that uses the most advance smoke sensor – providing the highest level of smoke detection while minimizing false alarms.  The First Alert Smoke Alarm is half the size of a standard smoke alarm, the detector has a slim, contemporary design with a low profile for easy integration into any home decor.

First Alert Fire

The First Alert 10-year battery Carbon Monoxide Alarm with digital display, uses and electrochemical carbon monoxide senor – the most accurate technology available – and emits a loud alarm is CO levels are detected at dangerous levels.  Design to sit attractively on a tabletop or dresses, this stylish alarm also displays ambient temperature while protecting from CO exposure.

First Alert CO

Every year we hear about fire related and carbon monoxide poisoning deaths each year that could have possibly been avoided if only working alarms were in place in the home.  More than 1/3 of Canadian homes doe not have a CO detector installed and 67% of Canadian report they they do not replace their alarm alarm batteries every six months.  All it takes is a few moments to check and replace batteries or replace outdated alarms to protect you and your family’s safety.

Is your home in need of a new First Alert 10-Year Battery Smoke Alarm and 10-Year Battery Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display?  Head over to my Instagram post to enter to a First Alert prize pack.

First Alert both