Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Survey Says! {7 Question Survey}

I have a big announcement to make in the coming weeks! It's been a long time coming and I can't wait to share.

But before I do, I'd love to hear from you! I created this super quick survey - only 7 questions. Thank you so much! 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Friday, February 14, 2014

#ValentinesDay Love Notes {in Pictures}

It's another Valentine's Day and it's a day of loved and mixed emotions. At least for me. It's a day to remember loved ones...especially the ones that are no longer with us

We don't really celebrate Valentine's - we remember our love in the day to day things. It's the little moments in our marriage that make us work. Marriage is hard and ours isn't easy. But after ten years of marriage we can still laugh... 

Now I think The Husband and I make a cute couple but Miss Piggy and Kermit? Their love is the kind of thing that movies are made of. Oh. Wait.... 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Club Penguin and Online Safety #ItStartsWithYou

Last week I was invited to the 1st ever Club Penguin Safety Summit. Club Penguin is the #1 Virtual World for Kids. Chris Heatherly, VP of Club Penguin, described the virtual world as "the largest playground for kids." With over 200 million penguins, in 90 countries and 6 languages, Club Penguin is the first "social media experience" for kids. 

Not only is Club Penguin a fun place for kids, it's dedicated to keeping them safe. Club Penguin goes through great lengths to keep the space bully free for kids. With over 200 moderators (in 4 locations and 6 languages) and specialized technology filters, Club Penguin has multiple layers of safety features.

At the Safety Summit, I learned how rude and inappropriate language is banned. And I was impressed by the complexity of the filters. For example, a player can say "I'm going to the beach" but cannot say "You're such a beach." Players can chat, however, they are unable to share personal information such as email or phone numbers. The moderators also know to look for signs of online predators within the space.     

As parents we worry about our kids. We want to keep them safe on the playground and online. In another effort to continue and promote online safety, Club Penguin has launched the "It Starts With You" campaign. 

"The question is no longer whether kids should be online, but how to prepare them for a social online world,’ said Heatherly. 'It Starts with You!' is about empowering kids and their parents with the information they need to play an active and educated role in online safety.”

The ‘It Starts with You!’ online safety campaign will include:
  • A branded campaign on Disney Channel and Disney’s online networks featuring a safety PSA starring G Hannelius from Disney Channel’s “Dog With A Blog,” the hit comedy series for kids and families.
  • An online safety resource center (http://clubpenguin.com/safety) to help kids and parents learn the latest in online safety and empower them to be good digital citizens. The resource center will offer:
    • Multilingual safety tips for kids about how to protect their information online and be respectful to others
    • Multilingual online safety information and news for parents
    • Printable activity sheets to help kids be thoughtful digital citizens
    • Online safety PSA starring G Hannelius
    • Printable safety pledge for families to take together that encourages communication about online usage and rules.
  • Within the world of Club Penguin, an in-game quiz to test players’ knowledge about online safety. Players that successfully complete the quiz will earn an exclusive virtual item for their penguin avatar. 

Today is Safer Internet Day, the purpose is to "to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world."

Raising a child with autism, bullying is a matter that concerns me. Kids with autism are easy targets and more likely to be bullied. However in recent years, bullying is not only a school yard/playground threat, "cyberbullying has become one of the most prevalent types of bullying that occurs between teens. About 80 percent of all high school students have encountered being bullied in some fashion online." 

I've written about the benefits of video games and kids with special needs. I have seen how it's helped my son. And I'm all for using technology to teach social skills. One day, my son may want to engage in social media. I want him to have the freedom to do so but I want to make sure he is safe. And it's reassuring to know that within Club Penguin, he will be.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Club Penguin Safety Summit. No monetary compensation was received, all opinions are my own.

images via Disney Interactive    

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Baked Apple Turnovers {made with Splenda} | #Moms4JNJConsumer #AD

Disclaimer: This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.


Last month I was excited to kick off 2014 with a little box of goodies from The Motherhood and information on how you can save on Johnson & Johnson Healthy Essentials. And I'm happy to say that the savings on Healthy Essentials are continuing through February. Right in time for Valentine's Day!

This year Valentine's falls on a Friday. Being special needs parents, child care is limited and date nights are rare. We don't really go crazy celebrating. But I try to do a little something to sweeten the day. 

Since we both work on Friday and I don't typically make breakfast, I thought I'd treat The Husband with a heartwarming breakfast treat to enjoy with his coffee. When I found this recipe for Baked Apple Turnovers made with Splenda, I knew it would be perfect.
Splenda is a No Calorie Sweetener and can be used almost anywhere sugar is used, including cooking and baking. It measures cup-for-cup like sugar, but contains 678 calories less than sugar on a cup-for-cup basis. One teaspoon of Splenda contains the sweetness equivalency of one teaspoon of sugar with no calories or carbohydrates. 

Now I'm not much of a baker and my cooking skills are just okay. But I found this recipe easy and quick. And I had all the ingredients in my kitchen (with the exception of the refrigerated pie crust). Since it's Valentine's, I thought it would be fun to use heart shaped cookie cutters. 

Don't they look great? I'm feeling pretty proud of myself considering this was my first time making these.  

Baked Apple Turnovers not your thing, how about  delicious Raspberry Heart Cookies (made with Splenda) that taste as good as they look? You can check out the recipe HERE.


How You Can Save

You can get significant savings by visiting the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS website in February and signing up for extra-sweet HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® coupons and offers. As you prepare for a special Valentine’s Day, these HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® products and tips can help you be healthy and happy for the ones you love.  
Get a printable coupon for $1 off any SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener product at at HealthyEssentials.com. To sweeten the savings, you could get a free 30 minute nutrition consultation with a Registered Dietitian when you buy $10 of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products between now and February 17, 2014 – up to $75 value! More details on this special offer at HealthyEssentials.com.


Disclaimer: This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

#EverythingIsAwesome about The LEGO Movie

Disclaimer: I was provided with passes to The LEGO Movie screening. All opinions are my own. 

When we first saw the preview for The LEGO Movie, The Boy said "I want to see that in the movie theater." Which was a really big deal for because we really go to the movies, and The Boy rarely expresses what he wants to see in theaters.

Going to the movies used to be a huge challenge for us. Over this last year, The Boy has gotten better and we've learned how to prepare

So The LEGO Movie. 

We are HUGE LEGO fans. And it was so cool to see our favorite Lego characters (and new ones) and scenes come to life. Fun and action packed, The LEGO Movie is a perfect family film as it appeals to kids and adults. 

What The Husband Loved: The Husband is a fan of Ray Harry Hausen and Rankin and Bass, The LEGO Movie was nostalgic of the Stop Motion features he grew up watching.

What The Boy Loved: The Boy loved all the fast-paced, action sequences. Some of the talking went over his head and he didn't get all of the humor. But he liked watching it. He did get antsy at point and I knew to take him out and walk him around. (This also caused me to miss what The Husband called "The best part of the movie…" ***spoiler alert*** it involved Lando Calrissian.

What I Loved: The LEGO Movie goes beyond being a fun film, it's a movie with a message and for me that was the real appeal. It also surprised me. There was a twist toward the end that I never saw coming which just made the movie all the more special. 

Whether you're a lover of LEGO or not, The LEGO movie will dare you to live your life more creatively.  

The LEGO Movie opens in theaters on February 7th. 

On February 15 at 10 am, there will be a Sensory Friendly Viewing of The LEGO Movie - for more details visit: www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films 

With The Boy waiting for The LEGO Movie to begin!

Disclaimer: I was provided with passes to The LEGO Movie screening. All opinions are my own.