12 Tips to Help you Stay Safe this Holiday Season

During the holidays, the potential for thefts and robberies increase because more people are out and about, and they are carrying more gifts and money than during other times of the year. Here is a list of 15 things you can do to be safe throughout the holiday season:

  1. Don’t leave valuables in your car or SUV. If you must leave packages in your car, always put them in your trunk.
  2. Don’t keep cash in your wallet. Instead, keep it in an inside pocket and only carry the credit cards you’ll need.
  3. Be sure to carry a cell phone with you at all times. If someone makes you suspicious or uncomfortable, notify security or call the police.
  4. Carry your purse close to you, always with the opening facing your body.
  5. Don’t leave a purse on a counter or in a shopping cart unattended.
  6. Always park and walk in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings. Stay with the crowd — there is safety in numbers.
  7. Don’t keep your wallet, credit cards or cash in a backpack. Pickpockets can quickly and easily remove items without you even noticing.
  8. Don’t announce your new big-ticket purchases after the holidays. Break down the boxes of TVs, stereos, computers, etc. and turn them inside out before putting them in the trash.
  9. Protect your credit card numbers and other personal information. Carefully dispose of receipts that have a credit card number on them. Never provide credit card information in response to unsolicited calls or emails.
  10. If you’re traveling for the holidays, make your home look “lived in.” Have a friend or neighbor collect your mail and newspapers or have your service suspended while you are away. Use timers to turn lights off and on.
  11. Be aware of people around you when you are using the ATM. When possible, use one that is located inside a business.
  12. Be aware of people just “hanging around” anywhere — especially near pay phones, public rest rooms, building entrances and garages.

Getting Dinner on the Table with Walmart and Coca-Cola

Yesterday was truly a Monday. Chaotic, busy and a bit stressful. And, it seems my inbox decided to explode over the weekend.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t get off until later then expected. Much later.

Oh, and did I mention I forgot to take something out for dinner? Not that there was something to take out since I’ve yet to go grocery store. (Did I also mention this weekend was busy as well?)

Instead of picking up takeout, I decided to stop at the local Walmart dive it was on the way home – and since I need (more than) a few staple items.

While there, I remembered they had their whole Effortless Meals program. What’s that, you ask? It’s a “delicious, easy and affordable meal solution for busy moms everywhere – located exclusively in the Walmart Deli.” You can choose a rotisserie chicken, side and 2-liter Coke product, a 16-inch take-and-bake pizza and 2-liter Coke product, or a sub sandwich, chips and a 20-ounce Coke product.

walmart-effortless-meals

I called my guys to see which they’d prefer (the pizza, of course), made my selection and purchases, and was on my way home. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any pepperoni pizzas available, so I bought a one with just cheese, and threw a package of pepperoni in the cart.

walmart-effortless-meals-collage

Thirty minutes later, dinner was on the table. The pizza tasted much better than I expected (you never know, with take-and-bakes and frozen pizzas). And, as a bonus, I got to drink my beloved Coke (and we all know how much I love Coke).

pizza-and-coke

Since Walmart has partnered with Coke for the Effortless Meals program, if you head over to the My Coke Rewards/Effortless Meals website, you can unlock 10 bonus points when purchasing Effortless Meals. All you have to do is enter the UPC code from any participating Walmart meal deal, then enter the MCR code from your Coke product. It’s that easy!

Disclosure: Though this is a sponsored post, all my opinions are my own. Thanks to The Coca-Cola Company for providing compensation for this blog post.

Having a fun and SAFE 4th of July: #Fireworks Safety

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The 4th of July is only a couple of days away, and with it comes fireworks, BBQs, picnics, etc. While I haven’t personally used fireworks in a long time, I enjoy watching them. When I was a kid, my sister, cousins and I used to use to light sparklers. While I would be super nervous to let the kid light sparklers, it’s not because any of us got hurt doing so, when we were younger. We were always safe.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 16% of all fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs, with the majority of sparkler injuries occurring to young children.

Using sparklers on Independence Day is as traditional as going to cookouts and parades.  Normally, using sparklers are safe – you just need to use some common sense.

In an attempt to reduce the amount children receiving sparkler injuries, the National Council on Fireworks Safety offers some safety tips:

  • Children under the age of 12 should not use sparklers without very close adult supervision.
  • Always remain standing while using sparklers.

Read the rest of the tips  on the Children Hospital of Michigan blog.

 Disclaimer: I work for a hospital in the same system as Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

photo source

5 Tips for the Working Mom Looking for Work-Life Balance

It’s hard being a working mom. Millions of women, do it every day, but figuring out a way to balance work and home life, escapes most of us.

Between meeting deadlines for work, caring for their children, spouse and home – we certainly have a lot on our plates. So much so, that at times, it feels like we’re tying to keep all the plates spinning at the same time. It even seems like we’re working two, three or even four jobs at once!

Some days are better than others, when you may feel like you have everything smoothly, and other days you may feel like nothing is going right.

But with careful preparation and scheduling, working moms can make your days – and nights – run a bit more seamlessly.

Here are a few tips, to help you out:

  1. Try not to bring your work home with you. Keeping evenings and weekends somewhat “work-free,” will give you time to get those household tasks done and spend some time with your family, rather it’s watching a movie, playing a game, or going to the park or library.
  2. Prepare meals ahead of time. You can freeze them, and use them for meals during the work week.
  3. Pack lunches and lay out clothing, the night before. That will make your mornings a little more stress-free.
  4. Put essential items (car keys, purse, briefcase, book bags, etc.) in the same place, every evening. You’ll be able to locate them easier, during the morning frenzy.
  5. Be consistent with the bedtime schedule and routine. That way, your children know that it’s almost bedtime.

As working moms, we may never find the formula for a perfect work-life balance, but with a little practice and consistency, things should definitely become a little easier.

Have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments section!

Want to be more eco-friendly? The little things help!

Lately, I’ve really been interested in living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. That said, it’s my thought that, while I can’t go out and do something complicated like install solar panels on my roof, there are a bunch of very simple things I can do.

Here are a few areas, in my life, that I can easily make a difference:

  • Make-up: Sephora has some awesome organic products. My favorite brand is LAVANILA.
  • Handbags: I recently found out about a wonderful eco-friendly company called REVEAL Accessories. They have handbags, wallets and various other accessories for women and men.
  • Electronic Gadgets: Instead of throwing away your pagers, cell phones, PDAs, iPods and digital cameras, recycle them. My favorite place, to do this, is Recycling for Charities. We worked with them, at my old job, and they’re just a fantastic organization.

I hope this post introduces you to some really cool eco-friendly companies & ideas. My goal is to, while learning myself, help others become more eco-friendly, one small step at a time.

What about you? Do you have any tips/”green” companies you absolutely love?