Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

October 23, 2014

Halloween Safety Tips

As a kid, I thought of only 2 things during the last half of September and the entire month of October: costumes and candy. All of my childhood autumns were spent using all of my mind's energy focusing on Halloween. Can you blame a kid? I had the opportunity to spend the night as whoever I wanted (a witch? A cheerleader? A vampire? A scarecrow?) and I got a ton of candy.

It's, like, every kid's dream.

The last thing on my mind was safety. Like, how lame, amiright? Strangers? Whatever. Candy laced with drugs? Who cares? Getting hit by a car in the dark streets? Not even an issue. 

As an adult, I'm realizing how important it is to keep kids safe on Halloween. I have my two little ducklings that I spent my life nurturing and protecting. And I know that, like me, they only concerned about the fun aspects of Halloween. 

Leave the boring "staying safe and alive" crap to the adults.

Now that I am that adult, I wanted to share a few quick tips on sating safe on Halloween (as well as a plug for a product that will make every parent's Halloween safety dreams come true):

Know The Neighborhood

Stick to neighborhoods you know. That way, you know the people you are receiving treats from, as well as how to get around the neighborhood. If you don't know your neighbors well, make an effort to introduce yourself and get to know them a little better before the big day.

Follow Traffic Rules

It's a crazy night to drive as well as to walk on Halloween. More people than usual are straggling along the streets, and kids get so excited they forget that cars are still driving. Remind your kids to look both ways before crossing the street. If there are sidewalks available to you, use them. If there are no sidewalks, stay close to the curb and walk facing traffic to increase your visibility.

Check Your Candy

I know. It seems overly-paranoid. There was a huge scare campaign when I was growing up in the 80's about evil people harboring great hatred toward children and purposely lacing candy with harmful drugs. Did this ever actually happen? I have no idea. But I still have it in my head to check my candy before eating it. If you find any torn wrappers as you comb through your candy, toss it. As much as I appreciate the sentiment, I also throw away any homemade treats. I know these goodies are a sweet gesture, but if they come from someone we don't know (or don't know well), I'm not sure what went into them. 

(The paranoid side of me also has no idea if they are diabolic misanthropes hellbent on poisoning children. But I digress.)

Be Visible

Halloween does not begin, technically, until 6pm in our township. By October 31, that means it is DARK. And with the increased amount of people darting throughout the streets, being visible becomes of utmost importance. While drivers have a more heightened sense of awareness, we have to do our best to make our families VISIBLE. Wear reflective gear if you have it. Bring a flashlight. Or make use of the awesome products I'm about to tell you about from Night Ize.

So, I was just introduced to these amazing little lights. But I am SOLD. Nite Ize makes a variety of lighted products aimed at making your every day easier (and more visible!). The Nite Ize LED line "was created to keep you "seen & safe" in all conditions."

They are the perfect little lights to bring along on Halloween!  

The ShoeLits clip on to your shoelaces, lighting the way as you walk.

The ClipLits hang on a little carabiner clip, allowing you to clip a light anywhere: on your bag, on your keys, on your belt loop. I love the versatility of this!

There is also the SlapLit - an LED slap wrap. This band is essentially a lighted slap bracelet, which can wrap around your wrist, leg, bag - whatever!  Turn on the light, and it can either glow or flash.

As a parent, I love the idea of using these not only on halloween, but anytime we are doing activities at dusk. We are after-dinner walkers (even in cooler weather), and I'd love to increase our visibility during the evening hours.

As a runner, though, this opens up a new door of possibilities! I often steer clear of earlier morning or evening runs, due to low visibility (especially as the days are getting shorter and shorter!). Having these lights that are water-resistant, bright and versatile would be awesome! And maybe even get my butt out of bed for an early-morning run!

It's important to stay safe in the dark, but most especially on Halloween when our little ones are having fun!

What Halloween safety tips would YOU add to the list?

You can connect with Nite Ize on the web, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

October 20, 2014

Why The Teal Pumpkin Project Matters to Me (a Non-Food Allergy Mom)

There was a time, not so long ago, back in the faraway land of the late 1980's, when I was an elementary school student. I have fond memories of my childhood education: being part of the school plays, running around in gym class, learning how to multiply, checking out books from the school library, writing stories in class, and generally making friends and having a grand ol' time.

Back in the land of 1980's, we had a lot of parties at school. Halloween and Christmas rolled around, and it was a free-for-all of dressing up, sweets and alarming sugar-highs. We'd sing songs, play games, make crafts, and then be sent home for our poor parents to handle. 

I loved those parties.

As a mom in the 2010's, though, school celebrations are a bit different. For a variety of reasons, we are rethinking the way we commence with parties at school. Part of this is due to the new regulations about nutrition standards. Another is an increase in food allergies. So, schools must now be more careful about what food is given out in school.

And it's causing quite a ruckus.

I am allergic to many things, but food is not one of them. I am also fortunate that my girls do not deal with food allergies. But I am friends with many who struggle with this on a daily basis. For whom certain foods are life-threatening. 

As a parent, I can imagine this is frightening. 

So I don't understand why people are up in arms over accommodating celebrations (school and otherwise) for those living with food allergies. I've heard many comments being thrown around over a variety of forums: 

"Well, the kids with food allergies can just bring their own food to parties."

"It's just one day."

"Kids with food allergies need to learn what they cannot eat."

"Why should my kid suffer just because other kids have food allergies."


I am beside myself.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I hear the controversy over the amazing Teal Pumpkin Project from FARE.

Before we go any further, please click the link above. Read about this movement. 

Go ahead. 

I'll wait.

Isn't that such a great idea!?!? Having non-food treats available on Halloween for families managing food allergies? Homes can indicate that they have non-food treats by placing a teal pumpkin on their porch.

Amazing, right?

Then the internet goes right ahead and ruins it.

I was first alerted to the controversy by the fine folks at Scratch and Sniff. My friend Carrie of Chockababy also aptly shared her sentiments over the Teal Pumpkin Haters. I read through their well-written posts, and was appalled at the backlash that the FARE has been receiving over this movement. People are actually offended by the idea of accommodating ALL kids this Halloween. 


Because some people hate happiness.

Why am I all frustrated? I know. I'm not a mom managing food-allergies. But you know what? I believe that everyone needs to feel loved and fit in. That everyone needs to be safe. I may not have struggled with food allergies growing up, but I was socially awkward and picked on a lot. I struggled to make friends. I know what it's like to not have people to sit with at lunch or play with during recess. I know the loneliness of not having friends to hang out with or being the only person not invited to the birthday party.

It sucks being the odd man out.

Yet, with this outrage over non-food Halloween treats, for non-food options at class parties, and accommodating food allergies at the various celebrations of life, that's what we are relegating kids to. For life. Because many kids do not grow out of food allergies. It's something they'll have to manage their entire existence.

I can't imagine how complex it must be to be the parent of a kid who has food allergies. To have to think through every lunch you pack, meal you serve. Worrying if someone will bring in a peanut to the classroom. Or if there is an option at the birthday party their child is invited to. They want their kids to fit in just like everyone else. But they also want them to be safe.

Don't we all?

I want to live in a world where no one wins unless we all win. I want all kids to fit in, I want all people to feel loved. And if that means that we donate a new book to the class library for our birthday instead of bringing in 20 unhealthy, allergy-inducing cupcakes, I'm okay with that. If that means offering non-food options on Halloween or keeping a gluten-free baking mix or soynut butter on hand in my pantry for guests who visit that need these accommodations, I'm all about it.

Because it's all about the one. 

The one who can't eat the peanuts. Who can't eat the gluten. Who can't use the steps because of their wheelchair. Who doesn't want to come to school because of a bully. Who is afraid to read out loud in class because of a learning disability. Whose parents show their emotions through violence. Who struggles to make friends and fit in. 

I was one of those kids. 

Maybe you were one of those kids.

I matter.

You matter.

Every ONE matters.

So, no. Our kids won't know the sugar-laden class parties of years past. They may not be allowed to bring in cupcakes for their birthday parties. And they may just get offered glow bracelets instead of candy on Halloween.

And you know what?

They'll be okay. They'll still have amazing memories from childhood. Because my most cherished memories from school weren't the cupcakes from parties. It was the books I wrote in class in second grade that my daughters read today. It was searching for stickers on bottom of my lunch tray (because that meant we got a prize!). It was teachers reading from Shel Silverstein's book, Where the Sidewalk Ends, on rainy days when we couldn't have recess (our favorite was page 101 - "Spaghetti, Spaghetti"). It was my field trip to Dutch Wonderland.

It takes a village, friends. 

Because every last one matters.

And to the haters: I would venture a guess that if it were YOUR kid, you might be singing a different tune.  Just food for thought. (Pun intended).

October 14, 2014

GoPro Camera at Best Buy #GoProAtBestBuy

Parents are all about catching life's moments: the first smile, the first steps, the first day of school. We don't want to miss one second of these little lives we've created, yet life moves at break-neck speed. It seems one moment we're bringing them home to the hospital, and the next we are waving good-bye to them from their dorm room hall way.

Where does the time go?

I'm excited that technology now offers us a way to keep up with even life's fastest moments with the GoPro cameraGoPro’s new line of cameras allow you to beautifully and authentically capture and share the experiences that bring purpose, adventure, and joy to your life.

These video camera's can come on all of our family adventures. Imagine being able to capture the thrill of a roller coaster mid-ride or a family ski trip down the slopes. Run, hands-free, alongside your child as they learn to ride their bike, getting footage every step of the way. 

They go everywhere you want to go!

GoPro's will be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season. These camera's make amazing gifts for adventurous families or young budding videographers! Learn more about these awesome cameras. Here are some fun spec about the GoPro's available at Best Buy:

· GoPro HERO4 Black: the most advanced GoPro ever, featuring improved image quality and a 2x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates1, HERO4 Black takes award‐winning GoPro performance to a whole new level.

· GoPro HERO4 Silver: the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display. Controlling The camera, playing back footage and adjusting settings is ultra-convenient—just view, tap and swipe the screen. With 1080p60 and 720p120 video, and 12MP photos at a staggering 30 frames per second, HERO4 Silver combines powerful, pro-quality capture with the convenience of a touch display.

· GoPro HERO: Featuring high‐quality 1080p30 and 720p60 video, and 5MP photos up to 5 fps, HERO captures the same immersive footage that’s made GoPro one of the best-selling cameras in the world. 12x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates.

Learn more at or visit your local Best Buy to check out the latest cameras in person.

What moments are YOU excited to catch with the GoPro?

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

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