Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Peanut allergies: some guidelines have changed

Unless you live under a parenting rock, you know that peanut allergies are quite common in today's schools. A person with peanut allergies could have a mild or dangerous severe reaction. Reactions can cause rash, gastrointestinal issues, and respiratory distress. Anaphylaxis is a sudden, life-threatening allergic reaction that has, heartbreakingly, taken the life of too many children.

peanut allergies

Did you know that recent studies show that pediatrician's may have influenced the rise in peanut allergies? When my youngest was about 9 months old, our pediatrician instructed me to give him a tiny bit of peanut butter around 11 months of age. Then again a few days later if he had no reaction. Previously, parents had been strongly warned to keep all peanut and peanut butter products far away from children until at least age three.

Working Mother magazine shared information about the new guidelines late last week:

"For most babies, you should introduce peanut-containing foods as young as four months old.
The guidelines differ based on a baby’s likelihood of developing a peanut allergy."

Read the full article (Clear Up Confusion on the Best Time to Introduce Peanuts) to understand the guidelines and how to determine your child's risk level.

 red sneakers oakley
To learn more about a tragic peanut allergy death and how you can support the family's movement, follow Red Sneakers for Oakley on Facebook. Inspired by the life of Oakley Debbs and his red sneakers, this movement wants to ensure that no other child loses their life from asthma and allergies.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Ford Explorer: long haul road test

This is my second time reviewing a Ford Explorer Platinum, thanks to the team at Ford Southeast & Performance Logistics. My family used the vehicle at no charge for 11 days. All opinions are exclusively mine (or my daughter's). 

Nine months ago, I shared my thoughts about the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum edition. Our family reviewed the vehicle during a 4 1/2 hour road trip to Charlotte, NC for a theme park and the Great Wolf Lodge. This time, we happily received a shiny new 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum for a much longer road test. Our destination? Sunny Florida for a Christmas vacation with family. 


When we chose a sunny destination this year, Christmas travel became extreme travel. We packed the trunk space full (really full) with gifts, luggage, snacks, and a cooler. We set off bright and early with sleepy children then endured holiday traffic later in the afternoon. Our travel day ended up around 10 1/2 hours from home to accommodations.

Friday, November 18, 2016

What's new on this family vehicle: 2017 Ford Explorer

The 2017 Ford Explorer is on the top of my new car wish list. I love my current SUV, but the poor thing is 11 years old and nearing 200,000 miles. It has a dent on one side (thanks to an ice storm and a mailbox) and several, um, "quirks" in its old age. I've tested a few 2016 and 2017 vehicles in the past year or two, and I am impressed by the Ford Explorer.

The 2017 Ford Explorer has industry-leading safety features like inflatable rear outboard safety belts and front passenger knee airbags. The 2017 also offers an all-new Sport Appearance Package, which features a darker grille, 20-inch wheels, and black roof racks. It's a beautiful and comfortable vehicle!



The most popular upgrade in the 2017 Ford Explorer is probably the new SYNC 3 interface, which simplifies the system for the user. SYNC 3 is the latest version of Ford’s communications and entertainment system. It performs faster and is more intuitive than prior versions. SYNC 3 also has more conversational voice recognition and a smartphone-like touchscreen.

 

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Note: Ford Southeast is providing my family with a 2017 Ford Explorer for our December holiday adventures in exchange for sharing this info and photos along the way. All opinions are 100% mine. 

 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Favorite Atlanta attractions with holiday celebrations

It's almost Thanksgiving! Which, of course, means that Christmas events and attractions are open all around the Atlanta area. Our favorite metro family attractions have special holiday lights, shows, and magical fun.

Stone Mountain Christmas




Opened this year on November 12th, Stone Mountain Christmas is back with more sparkle than ever. Over two million lights and cheerful sounds will surround you at Stone Mountain Park. New for this season: character experiences with Rudolph, Clarice, and friends at Rudolph's Merry Little Meet and Greet, the Skylights Spectacular musical walk-through, and Rudolph The Red-Nosed-Reindeer 4-D! Plus, beloved favorites the holiday train, snow angel snowfall, and holiday fireworks have returned.

Center for Puppetry Arts: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


 "Rudolph soars back into town for this faithful adaptation of the wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us." This shows sells out quickly, so do not delay. Contact the Center for Puppetry Arts to see if you can still catch this holiday classic. You will feel like you are in your childhood television!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Perfectly plan your vacation with Disney Fast Pass+! #disney #familytravel

How do you plan your Disney Parks vacation with Disney Fast Pass+? Do you get the most out of your park day by planning ahead and finding the best ways to have shorter wait times?


I am a Disney Parks planning fanatic. We visit at least one Disney park every few years, and I spend a lot of time planning, looking at ride wait times, and scheduling calendar reminders so I can get the Disney Fast Pass+ plans that we need.

(Planning ahead also means we can get the dinner reservations we want - did you know you can make Disney Parks and Disney Resorts restaurant reservations 180 days in advance? For the most popular character experiences, you need to do just that.)

Tips for making the most of your Disney vacation by scheduling Disney Fast Pass+: 

#1 - Know when you can reserve. If you are not staying at an on-property resort hotel, you can book Fast Pass+ 30 days in advance. If you are staying on property, you can book 60 days in advance plus the length of your stay. Look up the details that pertain to your own visit and mark that date on your calendar. I jump on the My Disney Experience app at the earliest moment so I have my full pick of the Disney Fast Pass+ options. This is really important if you want a Fast Pass for some of the most popular attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom or the brand new Frozen attraction at Epcot. Princess and Mickey character meet-and-greets also book up almost instantly.


#2 - Get the My Disney Experience app - and use it. This is your lifeline to planning your Disney Parks vacation. You can book restaurants, experiences, Fast Passes, and keep all reservations and info for your entire family in one place. The app is also the best way to know what ride wait times are like on the days you visit and to quickly snap up any extra Disney Fast Pass+ reservations after the initial ones are used. You can also use park maps to make sure you are not scheduling Fast Passes in a way that leaves you running cross-park several times.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta: a local gem!

The Center for Puppetry Arts provided my family with free tickets to preview the newest show, Old MacDonald's Farm, this past weekend. All opinions, as always, are 100% mine. 

 

Kermit the Frog and creator Jim Henson cut the ribbon to open the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta when I was just a few months old. What began as a collection of puppets and community involvement has grown into a fantastic museum experience and a jam-packed calendar of shows and events. 


The Worlds of Puppetry Museum offers a few hands-on experiences for the young visitors, plus a perfect mix of history and contemporary entertainment via many puppetry exhibits. I was fascinated by puppets from the 1800s. My daughter was excited to see a scene from the movie Coraline (which, by the way, we learned took 18 months to create and two years of pre-production). Our little guy was especially thrilled to see Elmo and Bert and Ernie. And of course, I have a nostalgic soft spot for the Fraggles! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why your kids should watch the 2016 Summer Olympics on TV

Have your kids been watching the trials for the 2016 Summer Olympics on TV? Our daughter has! Most of the trials are complete now. The USA Women’s Gymnastics team may be one of the most powerful ever. Coaches finalized the roster for the USA Women’s Soccer team yesterday, with seven returning athletes who took the USA to gold in 2012. Michael Phelps will once again compete in swimming events. Over 300 competitions in 28 sports will test the strength, perseverance, and talent of athletes from around the world. The opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics will take place on August 5 in Rio. Make a point for family TV time to watch several of the Olympic events.



 Why should your kids watch the 2016 Summer Olympics on TV?

World Culture – The Olympic Games bring together countries from all over the globe, and it is always interesting to see the differences each culture can bring. Children who watch Olympics coverage on TV can see how truly beautiful it is that we are all so different. They will see athletes with a multitude of skin colors, body builds, hair types. They will see those athletes compete together in one big event that celebrates them all. The opening ceremony, while probably best for kids with the ability to fast-forward (DVR it!), is a great way to observe and discuss the costumes and looks from nations around the world.

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