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October is RSV Awareness Month ~ Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention

This post was sponsored as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

October is National RSV Awareness Month

I have vivid memories of my nephew suffering from RSV over 10 years ago.  He was born over 7 weeks premature and after spending what seemed like endless weeks in the NICU, he was out of danger, or so we thought.  About six months after my best friend got to take him home, he got sick.  She noticed he was breathing fast, yet still wheezing and she couldn’t seem to break his fever.  We rushed him to the emergency room, where he was admitted and diagnosed with RSV.  I remember how scary it was seeing him so lethargic and watching him fight the breathing treatments.  It was scary and my heart broke for my friend the entire time.

What is RSV?

 

RSV is a common, highly contagious, seasonal virus that affects nearly 100% of infants by the age of two.  In many babies, RSV leads to a mild respiratory infection with symptoms similar to the common cold or flu, but in some, like in babies born prematurely it can develop into a much more serious infection.

Luckily, my nephew recovered and now you would never know all the health problems he had as an infant.  However, watching him go through it left me a nervous wreck when my own twins were born 6 weeks early.  I remember being the overprotective new mom that had reservations about others holding them, a fear I didn’t have with my oldest. 
If we were somewhere and I heard the slightest sniffle from anyone in the room, I was on a race to the car.  As time went on, I started to relax however we still avoided large crowds during the winter months and had a handwashing rule for everyone coming in contact with the twinsies.

RSV Season

National RSV Awareness Month takes place every October as a time to educate parents about RSV or respiratory syncytial virus.  RSV occurs in epidemics during “RSV season” which runs from November to March.

Symptoms of RSV

Some symptoms of RSV disease that parents should look out for include coughing or wheezing that does not stop, fast or troubled breathing, gasping for breath, a bluish color around the mouth or fingernails, unusual lethargy or tiredness, or a fever especially if it is greater than 100.4 degrees F.

Preventing RSV

There is currently no treatment option available for RSV, making learning the signs and symptoms and taking preventative measures very important. There are several things we can do as parents to protect of baby’s little lungs from severe RSV disease.  The first thing being something many new moms do, ask everyone to wash their hands after entering the house and before holding or playing with your children.  Also washing toys and surfaces frequently reduces the chance of exposure, along with keeping children away from people who may be sick and away from large crowds.

It’s also important for you to ask your child’s pediatrician if they may be at high risk for severe RSV disease.

Severe RSV disease can be scary to think about and it is terrifying to watch your baby get sick, but by raising awareness of RSV symptoms and preventative measures we are best able to keep our baby’s little lungs protected.

9 Tips for Saving Money as a Sports Mom On The Go!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell, in which I was compensated. The opinions and text are all mine.

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9 Tips for Saving Money as a Sports Mom

It’s that time of year again, back to school and back to practice! My biggest struggle with this time of year is transforming from a road tripping, laid back, adventure seeking mom, into a sports mom. It’s the time to buckle down on routines and unpack my suitcases and fill my trunk with sports equipment and bleacher chairs. However, even with traveling cut way back, everyday life still forces us to budget and find savings everywhere we can.

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With three children, I have been a soccer mom, a dance mom, an archery mom, and a baseball mom over the years. While all these roles have meant a lot of driving and time restraints, I had no idea how busy a sports mom’s life could be until this year when I became a football and cheer mom.

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I am at a practice field for hours at least four nights out of the week, and games take up most of my Saturdays, and that’s just time. Between registration, equipment, and fuel costs, these sports have also taken a huge chunk of my budget. Plus, my oldest has decided to switch to golf lessons and sign up for science club, so that is added to the schedule.

Like most sports moms, I am constantly on the go while also trying to save money.

Here are my top money saving tips for sports moms!

  1. Ask about sibling discounts. I have 2 children registered in the youth football league, even though one is in cheerleading and one is in football, I was surprised when I learned I was eligible for a discount. Remember it never hurts to ask.
  2. Sell old equipment before you buy new sports equipment. By the end of each sports season, we have a basket of out-grown shoes and cleats, pads and clothing for sports the kids have opted out of for the next season, and lots of practice items like nets and ball throwers. In-between each season, I go through our storage area and sell off the items that are no longer needed or out grown. I list them on yard sale sites, team Facebook groups, or bring them to sporting goods consignment shops.
  3. Buy used equipment or borrow it. We have already gone through a pair of cleats this season and football started only 6 weeks ago. You never know when a growth spurt is going to happen. Plus, all the pads can add up even with team coupons. Look for used sporting goods stores in your area, I have paid less than half of retail price on most of this year’s items.
  4. Make sure everything is labeled and organized. I know how easily things can get lost or mistakenly taken by another kid when a team full of tired sweaty kids are throwing their helmets, pads, and water bottles in a pile. This sometimes equals having to buy the same thing twice and basically throwing money away. Keeping everything labeled with a colorful name tag makes it easy for your child to know exactly which items are his at the end of practice.
  5. Get out your crockpot. I leave my house to pick up the kids from school and then we are in the car or on the field until the sun goes down. When we get home, the last thing I want to think about is cooking dinner, plus I am already concentrating on bed time within 30 minutes of stepping in the door. For the first week, I was taken back at how busy our schedule had become and found myself at the drive-thru constantly. This was not only expensive for a family of five, but also effecting my waist line. That’s when I started planning crockpot meals for all our practice nights. This way a warm dinner is ready for us as soon as we get home.
  6. Pack snacks and drinks. The first week of practices, I not only found myself at the drive-thru for dinner, I was also driving thru before practices for an ice coffee for myself, and even running in convenient stores for snacks and water. At the end of the week, I realized if that continued I would be shelling out more than the registration fee on waters alone. I now make sure that a soft cooler is packed with drinks for myself and snacks for the kids to have in-between practices or while they watch each other’s games.
  7. Get a large water bottle for each sports player. The kids are out in the sun for hours every afternoon and here in Florida it is still 90 degrees outside on most days. I want them to drink as much water as possible, and they get thirsty out there. Instead of packing several small water bottles, I found the big sports thermoses to be best. I fill them up at home with filtered water and ice, which saves me money, plus the water jugs stay cold all day so they aren’t asking for a cold one out of the vending machines.
  8. Pack a supply bag. Over the years, I have learned that if I don’t have it on me they will end up needing it. Thus, I have spent a lot of time and money running into pharmacies while the kids are on the field. Now, I have a tote bag that stays in the back of the car most of the time and is filled with all my essentials. I keep bug spray, sunblock, a towel, baby wipes, a single use ice pack, band aids, hair ties, small scissors, ibuprofen, and a change of clothes, in it always.
  9. Use your *Fuel Rewards® card! As sports moms, we spend a lot of time on the road. Between running from one activity to another and driving to games and competitions, we are constantly refueling. Last week was our first game, which was an hour drive away, luckily, I saved money on the fuel fill up just by using my Fuel Rewards® card.

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I joined the Fuel Rewards® program at the beginning of the summer and in past posts I have shared with you how I saved on our Orlando road trip and our beach vacation. Now that travel season has ended, I am still using the Fuel Rewards® program to save during our everyday life.

The easiest way to save right now is by taking advantage of their limited time offer: Instant Gold Status. This savings has helped me stay on budget during every fuel up. With the Instant Gold Status promotion, everyone who joins gets a 5c/gal savings (up to 20 gallons per visit) every time you fuel up at a Shell location for at least the first 6 months from signup.

Plus, there are additional ways to save on fuel with the Fuel Rewards® program. When you link your debit or credit card to your Fuel Rewards® account you can earn additional saving each time you shop or dine with participating merchants.

Do you still have a list of things to buy for back to school? Two of my favorite stores for back to school shopping are currently offering 10c/gal rewards (up to 20 gallons) for every $50 spent while shopping online through the Fuel Rewards® website. You can also earn an additional 10c/gal reward for every $50 spent by dining at participating restaurants that are listed on the Fuel Rewards® app or website.

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By stacking all these potential rewards, you can really save at the pump and keep your family going while staying on budget! Best of all it’s free to sign up!

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Make sure to head over and sign up for the Fuel Rewards® program and start saving at the pump now!

After signing up send your referral link to friends and family so they can join the Fuel Rewards program. The first time a friend uses the program by earning a reward or using their card at a participating Shell station after registering with your link, you will instantly earn 25¢/gal (up to 20 gal). There’s not limit to how much you can save!

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These are the top ways I save as a busy sports mom. What is your top money saving tip?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

*Restrictions apply. To qualify for the Gold/Silver Status offers, you must be a Fuel Rewards®member and swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station. With Gold Status, you will receive 5¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings on every fill-up. The 5¢/gal reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. If you are an existing Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status from 6/5/2017 through 12/31/17, the “Existing Member Introductory Period”. If you are a new Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status for the initial month you join through the last day of the month, 6 full calendar months later, the “New Member Introductory Period”. The last 3 months of the Existing Member Introductory Period or the New Member Introductory Period (collectively the “Introductory Period”) is the “Qualification Period”. You will retain your Gold Status during the Qualification Period, but you must make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to qualify for Gold Status for the next 3 months, the “Benefit Period”. During the Benefit Period, you must continue to make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to maintain your Gold Status for the next 3-month Benefit Period. A qualifying fuel purchase is any fuel purchase at a participating Shell station in which you swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID and fill up with at least 5-gallons of any grade of fuel. For example, if you are a new Fuel Rewards® member and register on 6/15/2017, you will receive Gold Status through the New Member Introductory Period (i.e., 12/31/2017). You will need to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the Qualification Period (i.e., 10/1/2017 and 12/31/2017) to maintain Gold Status during the Benefit Period (i.e., from 1/1/2018 to 3/31/2018). Thereafter, if you continue to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the successive 3 consecutive month Benefit Periods, you will retain your Gold Status. If you do not maintain your Gold Status, you will receive Silver Status. With Silver Status, you will receive 3¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings. The 3¢/gal reward for Silver Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. Redeem Fuel Rewards® savings with your Fuel Rewards® card or Alt ID at participating Shell stations. Fuel Rewards® savings are limited to 20 gallons of fuel per purchase, per vehicle, or fraud limits placed by Shell and/or limits placed on your financial card by your financial institution, each of which may be lower. Fuel Rewards® savings must be redeemed in a single transaction. Once you begin to dispense fuel using your Fuel Rewards® savings, you must dispense to the 20-gallon limit or you forfeit any remaining discounted gallons of fuel. For example, if you only pump fifteen (15) gallons of fuel, you would abandon the remaining five (5) gallons of discounted fuel. If you have a rewards balance greater than the current per-gallon price of fuel, the price will roll down to the maximum capability of the fuel equipment, and your remaining rewards will be saved for a future fuel purchase. Dispenser may require a price of up to 10.9¢/gal. It may not be possible to combine multiple discounts and/or rewards in a single transaction. For purchases of $75 or more, please go inside to pay. Unbranded diesel and alternative fuels may not be eligible. The Fuel Rewards® program is owned and operated by Excentus Corporation. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Not valid where prohibited by law. Please see fuelrewards.com for complete Fuel Rewards®program details and Terms and Conditions. Other restrictions may apply. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To learn more, visit fuelrewards.com/gold or call (888) 603-0473. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

The First Time My Twins Made Me Pee Myself!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of P&G . The opinions and text are all mine.

My Twins Made Me Pee Myself

The First Time My Twins Made Me Pee Myself!

I remember being pregnant with my twins and worrying about what that huge belly was going to do to my body. When I had my oldest I was younger and more active, plus there was only one baby in my belly. I was worried about my stomach muscles, my flabby skin, the veins popping out on my legs, the stretch marks and oh of course the saggy boobs. After the twins came my body slowly started to move back into place. After all, with the two babies and car seats, I was carrying at least 40 pounds around with me most days to just leave the house. I was excited, a young mom of three slowly getting her body back, or so I thought.

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I’ll never forget my mommy break. My husband took the night off work and instead of wondering aimlessly through the baby section of Walmart, I decided to stop over at best friend’s house for some wine and a night of laughs.

That was the night I had my first pee panic!

You see, me and my bestie have been friends since high school. We have kids the same age who are also friends. We literally live parallel lives so all I need to do is sit on her couch and we will either laugh or cry because we are marching through this season of life together. On this particular night, we laughed, we laughed hard while talking about who pooped during delivery (yes, we were sleep depraved mommies so this is what our conversations entailed). Then as I was in hysterics I felt something warm, Yup I peed myself! I realized what had happened and then once my bestie realized what had happened her face alone made me burst out laughing harder. Driving home that night I was curious if I had suddenly become my grandmother? How did this happen? A few weeks later I asked the doctor, who said my muscles were weak and it would probably improve in time. He assured me it was normal and in time it slowly did get better.

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However, I still have to cross my legs when I laugh too hard and on occasion I feel a warm gush come out. I guess that is the price to pay for having my precious munchkins cuddled up with me right now, and I’m OK with that.

However, that does not mean I want to walk around smelling like urine. So, I had to find a solution.

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One in three women experience incontinence for any number of reasons. Most unknowingly turn to products designed for “Aunt Flo”. These women don’t realize that they’re using the wrong product to manage their incontinence. Always Discreet is specifically designed for bladder leaks and offers the protection you need in the perfect combination of form, function and feminine design.

We all deserve the confidence to live life to the fullest, and that means feeling free to move spontaneously at every stage of life without worrying about having a Pee Panic. Always Discreet comes in a variety of products from liners, pads and underwear. Each are designed to contour to fit your body with protection you can trust and a discreet design. Like their Always Discreet Boutique Underwear that is beautifully designed and made with soft delicate fabric.

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You know what’s also a big deal? Right now, Walmart shoppers can get up to $8 off Always Discreet products! Look for the Always Discreet coupons in the 10/1 newspaper including, $2 off liners, $3 off pads and $3 off underwear – including Always Discreet Boutique – bladder leak underwear with a little ohh-la-la.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Always Discreet at Walmart. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of P&G . The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of P&G . The opinions and text are all mine.

7 Simple and Affordable Ways to Get Your Home Festive for Fall

This post is sponsored on behalf of #AtHomeStores, all opinions are 100% my own.

7 Simple and Affordable Ways to Get Your Home Festive for Fall

Top simple and affordable ways to warm up your home for Fall

Fall is my favorite season, growing up in New England I loved the cool air and the sound of fallen leaves crackling as you walk.  Now that I’m living in Florida, It takes a little extra effort to get the cozy fall feeling, but there are so many easy and affordable ways to bring the autumn magic into your home.

It was time to update some of my decorations this year, now that we are settled into our Florida apartment.  So, I of course took a ride over to At Home.  Ever since finding this store chain after moving down south, I have been hooked.  It has absolutely everything I could ever want for my home, and my husband laughs at me when I say I’m running in to get something, because I have never spent less than 4 hours strolling through my local At Home!  It’s a huge store, the prices are amazing, and during the holiday season it is even more fun.  During my shopping trip last week, I was able to get everything I needed to make my house feel warm and inviting.

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7 Budget Friendly Ways to Get Your Home Festive for Fall

  1. Your front door space is the first place your visitors see as the enter your home, its also the first thing you see when you get home. Make it a festive and inviting area easily, by adding a wreath and door matt. At Home also had tons of wooden signs and outdoor décor, so you can go as simple or as extravagant as your imagination takes you at this store.  Because we are still in transition and doing apartment living, I chose a simple sign that lays against my wall, along with some cute decorations for my table area where I drink my coffee in the morning.
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  2. Light yummy smelling candles. When I think of fall, I imagine caramel apples, pumpkin pie, and cinnamon tea. Lighting candles automatically bring a sence of warmth to your home, and At Home has some amazing fall scented candles that will leave everyone asking, “what’s baking?”
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  3. One of the easiest ways to decorate for any holiday or season is to add some decorative throw pillows to your couches and chairs. At Home has isles of throw pillows in every shape, size, and color I could possibly imagine, including fall themed ones.  I fell in love with this long Autumn Greetings pillow!
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  4. The autumn months are also when some of my favorite movies start playing on TV, like Hocus Pocus and Casper. By adding a beautiful thick throw blanket to your sitting area, it makes it feel like a welcoming area to cozy up with some cider and enjoy the evenings.
  5. The autumn months feel like the kick off to all things sweet. Once the summer months wrap up, and the nights get chilly, my sweet tooth really kicks in.  Baking is a huge hobby in my house all fall and winter, however even just placing a simple candy dish out adds some fall flair to your home.
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  6. Another really easy way to add touches of fall to your house is in the kitchen with cute dish towels, pot holders, and mugs.
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  7. Lastly, make sure you switch out your summery table centerpiece for a simple fall themed table spread. At Home has some gorgeous options for a table scape, from tall candles to blown glass pumpkins and gourds.  However, like many of you, I have a rambunctious table during day to day life, with three kids snacking, doing homework, playing games, exc.  So, I opted for a pretty burlap table runner with a couple pumpkins and mason jars.  However, the brown and turquois blown glass pumpkin is still running through my mind, so I may be making a trip back to add it to my Thanksgiving table.

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That is all, I was able to pick up about 10 items that all ranged in price from $3.99 to $24.99 and my house now feels ready for fall!

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How do you decorate for fall?

Teaching Money Management to Kids with the The Smart Debit Card For Kids!

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Greenlight, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GreenPMG  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

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As my kids have gotten older, we started giving each child an allowance to teach them the value of money.

Our system works as follows, depending on each child’s age, they gets a dollar for each year.  The twins currently get $8 a week, while Anthony gets $12 a week.  They only get paid if all their basic chores are done and their school grades are consistent.  No work, no pay!

Their basic chores include keeping their rooms clean, cleaning up their bathroom area, making sure their laundry gets to the hamper and their shoes aren’t thrown around as they walk in the door.  Basic tasks that keep the areas of the house that they regularly occupy tidy.

They also have opportunities to earn extra money by helping with bigger house projects, making honor roll at school, helping me with blog campaigns, and so on. 

Anthony is very financially savvy.  He loves to save his money, so when he asks for something I know it’s an item he has his heart set on.  However, up until recently his way of saving his allowance was to lock up all his cash in a travel trunk he keeps in his room.  This wasn’t the safest place to keep it and, I had no way of staying informed about what he was doing with it. So, we were both excited to learn about Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids!

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The Greenlight card, is a debit card system for kids that allows parents to deposit funds onto the debit card through an app that is available for both iOS and Android.  While adding fund within the app, you can control where their money is spent and how much they can spend at certain types of retailers.  All, while the kids love the independence of having their own debit card and pin number.

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The Greenlight card has been an amazing teaching opportunity for us, Anthony is learning how to manage his account, and he loves to watch the balance grow.

For me, as a busy mom, I love that I’m no longer rummaging for cash at the end of the week.  The app connects directly to my bank account so I can load whatever I want onto each card, as often as I’d like.  For the kid’s weekly allowance, the automated allowance feature is the best.  I set it and forget it!  The kids always receive their allowance on time and it’s off my to-do list.

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Anthony has been talking about getting a new limited-edition magic band at Disney World since last spring, so he took his Greenlight card for it’s first shopping trip last weekend and it was so fun watching him checkout, you could see his confidence growing. 

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Also, he could check on the app to see his balance, while he decided whether to splurge on a pixie stick.

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While he was making his purchases, I was always in the know too!  With the Greenlight card you receive an instant notification of all activity on the account.  Which is an awesome feature especially as the kids start venturing into stores alone.

Greenlight is also a lot safer than cash.  If the card is ever lost or stolen, no problem, simply turn the card off within the Greenlight App. Parents can turn a card on or off at any time instantly!

Greenlight costs just $4.99/mo per family, which includes cards for up to 5 children. It also offers zero-fee loading for parents transferring money into their Greenlight account.

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Take advantage of the special 30-day trial to see if the Greenlight Debit Card is a good fit for your family.

Sign up for Greenlight before 10/30 and they’ll deposit a $20 bonus into your account after the 30-day free trial ends.

*deposit bonus made approximately two weeks after free trial ends

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