Brain food: Recipes and Coconut Oil for Kids

Lately, coconut oil has been touted as quite the wonder food.  Though it’s been around for a long time, it’s now making the rounds as a natural beauty aid, as well as a healthier option for cooking with oils.  Beyond that, research on coconut oil has revealed that it works wonders for the brain, something that’s gotten my attention considering our ongoing trials and tribulations with pediatric epilepsy.  

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According to Food for the Brain: 

Virgin-pressed coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which convert directly into ketones. Recent evidence suggests ketones may lessen symptoms in those with Alzheimer’s, as well as children with epilepsy.

Ketones are also made directly from coconut oil (virgin-pressed is best to avoid any hydrogenated fats) which contains medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs for short. These convert directly in ketones which the body can burn for energy rather than store as fat.

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The Wall Street Journal backs the positive effects of coconut oil:  Early research on coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease shows a possible protective effect on neurons. In a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Canadian researchers found mouse brain cells treated with coconut oil were somewhat protected from the toxic effects of amyloid proteins, which build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

 

 Coconut oil and Kids

With all the good news about coconut oil, how can you introduce it into the kids’ diets and routines in such a way that works for everyone.  It’s pretty simple, actually.  The easiest way to include coconut oil is to just add a teaspoon here and there to foods that you would eat with a spoon.  I’ve been known to add coconut oil to meals and snacks such as:

oatmeal

cereal

yogurt

ice cream

 

I picked up a Costco-sized tub of Carrington Farms coconut oil and we’ve had fun experimenting with meals and other daily uses. Coincidentally, after I bought my own coconut oil, Carrington Farms contacted me to participate in their April campaign.  As such, in addition to sharing how we use coconut oil, I thought I’d share some tried and true recipes that the kids love.

 Kid-Friendly recipes

I especially love adding, or rather, substituting coconut oil in baking. Because it tolerates high temperatures, coconut oil is a great substitute for shortening, butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. Here’s a delicious waffle recipe where I’ve incorporated coconut oil instead of butter.  These waffles are so crisp and delish, I’ll never go back to the boxed versions again.

 

Whole Wheat Waffles

 Recipe source: 100 Days of Real Food

•2 large eggs

•1 ¾ cups milk 

•¼ cup melted coconut oil 

•1 tablespoon honey

•½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

•¼ teaspoon baking soda

•1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour 

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•? teaspoon salt

 

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1.Preheat waffle iron.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, honey, cinnamon and baking soda until combined.

3. Add in flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together until lumps disappear.

4.  When waffle iron is hot, put butter or spray and ladle batter onto center of iron.

5. cook until golden and crisp.  

6. Top with syrup and enjoy! 

 

And finally, here’s one more delicious recipe that includes coconut oil:

Banana Bread and Chocolate Chip Muffins

 Adapted from the banana bread recipe as seen in Feeding Your Baby Day by Day by Fiona Wilcock

Ingredients

1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

2 large bananas

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

handful of chocolate chips

 1. Prehead the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare pan; I made mini muffins

2. Mash bananas until smooth and place in mixing bowl.  Stir in oil, eggs, and vanilla.

3. Sift flours and baking powder, adding back any that stays in sifter.

4 Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and beat together until smooth.  Pour or spoon into prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

5. Cool on wire rack and enjoy

 

Other uses for coconut oil

Aside from adding to food, coconut oil is an amazing natural moisturizer.  We’ve used it for dry hands, burns, conditioner, diaper cream and one of my faves, as the oil in my DIY wipe solution.

 

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Great Spring Toys and Gear

Spring is finally in full swing.  Even though it’s still chilly, we’re resisting the cold.  It’s pretty safe to say that we officially have spring fever.

And with spring fever, there’s plenty of fun new toys and play things to get excited about this Spring.

 

With that in mind, I thought I’d round up some cool new toys and products to get you excited for spring and the prospect of the kids playing outdoors until the street lights come on.

 

 

 

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Crayola Grab & Go Games

 

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Crayola’s new Grab & Go Games is one of my favorites this seasons.  The kit includes chalk and accessories needed to play an outdoor game such as bean bag toss, foot hockey, chip shot golf and an obstacle course.  These are games we’ve been playing for years, but Crayola, as always, has the foresight to conveniently package these games for easy outdoor play. Grab & Go

Games retails for about $4.99

 

 

Tricksters Helmets

Tricksters Helmets are a line of plush helmets from the makers of Pillow Pets. TrickstersHelmets

The helmets, themselves, are the hard, protective kind that can be used for bike riding, scootering and beyond, but what makes Tricksters different is the plush exterior. 

 They can be found at www.trickstershelmets.com or at select specialty retailers.The Trickster Helmets come in five different styles: Rainbow Bear, Flower Power Cat, Lulu Leopard, Comfy Pandy and Snuggly Puppy. PTRU1 17074604enh z6

YBike GLX Pro

This 3-wheeled scooter features an adjustable handle and super-efficient foot brake.  The sleek design and compact frame set this scooter apart from other well known brands.  What I like most about this scooter is that my 2 year old can use the scooter in the handlebar’s lowest position and my oldest can glide across the street in one of the middle settings.  The YBike GLX pro is a scooter that will go and grow with the kids! A more thorough review to come!  California New Dessus copy

California Maverix

This remote controlled board takes street skating to a whole new level.  Geared to older kids and more experienced skate enthusiasts, the California model was designed to be light weight and has a variety of speed variations. Equipped with a wireless remote control the 3 positions (Beginner / Medium / Expert) and brake are all powered by a simple movement of the trigger! It has a power motor 150W and max weight 100lbs  

Brer Rabbit Golf Set

Golf Set copyBrer Rabbit Toy’s Golf Bag is a fun beginner set for wanna-be golfers.  It comes with three toy golf clubs, two tees, two holes, two numbered flags and five toy golf balls.  It’s ideal for preschoolers who are interested in putting, but not quite ready for the driving range.  It’s just hitting shelves now and retails for about $16.99 633812 toddler dome climber xalt1

Little Tikes Tunnel N Dome Climber

Little Tikes new dome-shaped climber channels play structures of yesterday.  It features various sized holes to accommodate those who need easy or challenging climbing play.  The hiding spots, too, would make for great preschool play. I love that this outdoor toy provides endless play patterns for younger kids and beyond.  The Tunnel N Dome Climber retails for $149.99 

NERF BASH BALL A4832 copyNerf N-Sports Bash Ball

Resembling a Nerf-textured O-ball, the Bash Ball has a cool hollowed Nerf foam core with grip-able holes.  The holes gives kids a better grip to pass, fling, whip or whatever!  This ball is one of our absolute favorite toys right now.  It’s been fun for both my bigger boy and my littler guy; and an absolutely ideal toy for OT and PT.  This is such a cool innovation, I’m excited to check out even more NERF N-Sports gear!   

 

NERF Rebelle Star Shot Target Set and Crossbow 

D603819650569047F564AD06CF256798The super popular Nerf Rebelle line is unveiling several more products to their lineup. The Star Shot Target Set and Crossbow is among the new products, and will help make target practice even easier with the red laser light that helps to pinpoint the target.  The Star Shot target set includes a crossbow, large size target and comes with 6 suction cup darts.NERF Rebelle Star Shot Target Set and Crossbow    P36353 0M 1

Gazillion Bubbles Typhon 2.0

When old fashioned bubbles just aren’t enough: you can create a gazillion bubbles instantly with the Gazillion Bubbles Typhoon 2.0.  There’s no  pump and or wait time, just massive amounts of bubbles with this fun contraption.. In fact, this bubble fountain blows more than 5,000 bubbles per minute. 

 

The Doozers Debuts on Hulu + Giveaway

If you’re a huge fan of furry, cute monsters like I am, then surely, you’re a fan of Fraggle Rock.  From the imagination of Jim Henson, the Fraggles was a hit show from the 80s that followed the world of their name sake.  It was a musical, muppet-centric world that made many, many children happy!

And from the Fraggles, several characters emerged as cult faves.  One of the all-time favorites were certainly the Doozers, who are all set for a modern reboot with a new preschool show on Hulu.  

Doozers Poster

If you know anything about the Doozers, they’re all about construction and doing things together with their crew. They’re doers and put ideas into motion. The Doozers focuses on four little Doozers, dubbed the Pod Squad, who are a group of best buds who play together and share a love of inventing.

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 We had a first look, and so far, we’re loving what we’re seeing.  It doesn’t appear as though there’s a curriculum, but the show is fun, fluid and engaging.  I love the vibrant colors, helpful interaction and relatable language. I can’t wait to see what sort of things Spike, Molly, Bolt, Flex, and Daisy Wheel get into on The Doozers. 

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 A few years ago when The Doozers first hit the tv radar, I reported about the news of this upcoming show.  It sounds like that show was a totally different premise, but I’m just glad The Doozers show came into fruition, and I just love that they landed over at Hulu.  I appreciate that The Doozers are a Hulu Plus exclusive; this brings a new dynamic to subscription-based viewing for families, and one that I’m thrilled to see expand.  

The Doozers is a Hulu Original produced by The Jim Henson Company and DHX Media.  The Doozers launched last week with seven episodes on Hulu Plus, followed by a cycle of three more new episodes every third Friday.  

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Giveaway

In honor of the Doozer debut, we’re giving away a 3-month subscription to Hulu.  Just comment to let me know why you’re excited about the Doozers on Hulu.  I’ll pick one winner at random at the end of the week!

 

Watch Doozers on Hulu at http://hulu.tv/i7M

 check out the trailer right here:

 

Five Things the Mets Have Taught Us

In light of the most recent cheating scandal involving a different baseball team across town, I thought I’d highlight the FIVE most important things that the Mets have taught us.

 

Sometimes, it’s not about winning, but learning to lose gracefully.

One of the first things my husband, a life-long Mets fan, ever told me when I crossed the Mets’ fan threshold: the Mets are a team who play with their hearts, but be forewarned that your heart, too, may get a little broken too.  Off the top of my head, 2001 and 2007, my heart got a little roughed up.  But on the upside, my heart as grown to see my boys now included as we make new Mets traditions and memories.  It’s true, we might now win every single game, but that’s not what baseball is to us, anyway.  You win some, you lose some, and for us, it’s important that our guys learn it from a team of class acts.

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Teamwork is for winners

One of life’s lessons is definitely that teamwork makes life a little smoother.  And so, understanding baseball and how each position supports each teammate is a great way to reinforce that teamwork is for winners.  A pitcher communicates with his catcher and the infield works with the outfield; at the end of the day, it’s how the players work together that underscore their strength.

 

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America’s pastime is also our quality family time

If there’s one thing I love about spring and summer: it’s spending time with my guys watching baseball.  The fact that we get to go to Citi Field every now and then is an absolute treat.  Every other day, though, we’re perfectly content watching baseball at home together!  

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Even a hometown guy can be Captain America

Virginia Beach, which is in Hampton Roads, is our hometown.  We grew up watching many AAA players when they’d play with the Tides.  But it’s David Wright who is one of our hometown guys with whom we have a loyal allegiance.  We’ve watched him flourish as a professional ball player in our new hometown in NY and love to cheer him on every chance we get.

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It’s all about the Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

Ok, so we all like to eat.  When we go to baseball games, we absolutely LOVE indulging in snacks, especially the typical baseball treats: peanuts and Cracker Jacks. It’s like a rite of passage eating and watching the game.  They even have a whole stretch and song devoted to it!  Lucky us, Citi Field has quite a few delicious treats and shops to choose from.

 

 

 

Moms and Families Day

Does your family love watching the Mets as much as we do?  Don’t forget about the Moms and Families Day on Sunday, April 27 at 1:10.  There’s a meet and greet with Mr. Met pre-grame, too!  The package includes a game ticket, hot dog & drink, a Mets lanyard & ticket holder and an exclusive meet-and-greet with Mr. Met!

 

 

SheBuysCars and Toyota Host Girls’ Night Out at NYIAS

Earlier this week, at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), car manufacturers unveiled a lineup of new and concept cars for the auto industry and the public to revel and revere.

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Just before the doors opened to the general public, however, together with an esteemed group of women bloggers, I was able to get a sneak peek of events.  SheBuysCars, Toyota and NYIAS, who were the organizers and sponsors of the Girls’ Night Out event, hosted a wonderful presentation and fun events for what was, perhaps, the first female-focused gathering of its kind at NYIAS.

According to an article in Forbes

Here’s what is true: Women buy just over half of all cars sold in the United States and take part in 80 percent of all family car-buying decisions. And women car buyers do more research than men, generally speaking.

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As a tech enthusiast and blogger who has been to my fair share of car and auto media events, I absolutely appreciated the girls’ night out presented by SheBuysCars.  It was a platform for the NYIAS to speak to us directly, and for us, women and members of the media, to get a firsthand look at the some of the most sleek, chic and technologically-advanced cars—even if some were just for show.  

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I loved that my friends and fashion experts, Audrey and Vera, were on hand to discuss trends in fashion.  More often than not, style and fashion trends are parallel with style aspects of new cars.  The colors, designs and how it all meshes together, makes all the style choices come full circle.

Just a few of the cars and sights I loved while taking a tour of the NYIAS showroom floor:

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The NYIAS is open until tomorrow, if interested in checking out these rides for yourself.

Welcoming Spring with Julius Jr.

The snow has finally thawed and Spring is starting—just barely—to sprout.  We’re anxiously waiting for warmer weather so we can enjoy the playground again, but until then, we’re keeping busy with crafts and games.

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For March, Saban sent us a fun outdoor-themed packaged with Julius Jr. in mind.  In order to get ready for spring, they sent us some fun activity sheets, which were created  in partnership with the Center for Childhood Creativity.  The activities highlight the CCC’s overall goal with Julius Jr.’s themes of adventure active play, imagination and imagination. Parents, caregivers and teachers can access these materials on the Center for Childhood Creativity’s website or pick them up when visiting San Francisco’s Bay Area Discovery Museum.

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Sadly, it’s either been way too cold for us to all of these activities, but we’ve tried a few when we had a reprieve in the weather.  The Nature Hunt, which is something that both the toddler and six year can participate in, is a prefect way to rediscover nature after our brutal winter.  The best part, though, is watching the toddler collect items or discover items he’s not familiar with!

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And of course, to go along with the fun activity sheets, the boys got their own tumblers to help us stay hydrated outside.  Crossing fingers for more sunshine and warmth and playground. 

Julius Jr. can be seen on Nick Jr. on weekdays at 5 and Sundays at 10am.

Full disclosure: as a Saban brand ambassador, I received products to provide content for this post.

7 Reasons That Make Disney’s Pirate Fairy Magical

By combining mystical fairies and scheming pirates, Disney has created yet another enchanting tale with their latest release, The Pirate Fairy.  The Pirate Fairy follows a beleaguered dust-keeper fairy, Zarina, whose curiosity lands her in a tough predicament.  When Zarina finds herself in trouble after disobeying rules, she flees Pixie Hollow and joins forces with the pirates of Skull Rock. 

Pirate Fairy Box Art copy

In her new domain with the pirates, Zarina becomes Captain of the ship.  Her adventure as Captain lead her back to Pixie Hollow, as she goes tete à tete with the fairies.  But when schemes go awry, pirates will be pirates, but will fairies come through in the end?

 

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Just before the Pirate Fairy’s release, together with a number of bloggers, I was invited to an intimate lunch with producer, Jenni Magee-Cook, where I learned so many fun facts about the new movie.

 

7 Reasons That Make Disney’s Pirate Fairy Magical

 

1. Pixie Dust

It’s all about the pixie dust.  Any glorious tale about fairies must include gratuitous amounts of pixie dust.  And in true Disney form, Pirate Fairy does not disappoint with plenty of pixie dust.  The Pirate Fairy follows the main character, Zarina’s, curiosity and fervor for pixie dust.  Ultimately, the dust keeps the pixies afloat—literally!

 

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2.  Pirates

Who doesn’t love a hearty band of pirates?  In Pirate Fairy, we meet a colorful cast, but it’s one pirate in particular that made us smile. 

 

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The sly cabin boy, James, caught our eye, but most importantly, he gave us a glimpse of the young Captain Hook.  It was big boss John Lasseter who influenced this latest Fairy Tale.  In a meeting as described by the producer Jenni Magee-Cook, all the creative storytellers were in a meeting discussing the latest story for Pixie Hollow, when Lasseter joined.  Minutes before having to leave for another meeting, in a quiet room, Lasseter yells  out “Pirates!!”  And from there, Pirate Fairy was born.

PF MEET JAMES

 

 

3.  Stars Aligned

Speaking of James, The Avengers’ Tom Hiddleston voiced our now-infamous cabin boy.  From Mae Whitman’s Tinker Bell to Christina Hendrick’s Zarina to Carlos Ponce’s Bonito, the voice talent was plentiful in The Pirate Fairy.  Not only were the celebs voicing the magical characters, they were also dressing them too.  

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4.  Fashion 

Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame and known for his whimsical and show-stopping designs, consulted with the filmmakers at Disneytoon Studios on Zarina’s pirate fairy costume.  It was all about those boots!  They were fierce, to say the least!  According to producer Jenni Magee-Cook, said Siriano was tapped to incorporate high fashion, rather than a regular costume.  Zarina’s eye-catching ensemble certainly shows for the Project Runway influence.

 

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5.  Crocky

Disney is so great at creating fluid storylines, and that goes for Pirate Fairy and familiar faces.  Because there are several overlapping themes and characters from Neverland, it’s no surprise we get to see a baby Tick Tock Crock, Captain Hook’s nemesis from Peter Pan and also seen in Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  In Pirate Fairy, a baby Crocky can be seen dawdling as cute baby crocs do.

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6.  Neverland

Neverland is known as a mystical place where no one ever grows up.  As the backdrop to Pixie Hollow AND Peter Pan and friends, it’s interesting to see how the landscape aids in the storyline.  Not only has Neverland captivated generations past, it continues to engage wonder with kids now in Jake’s stories, as well as Disney’s latest, The Pirate Fairy.

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7. True Friends Triumph

The storyline follows Zarina’s quest from dust keeper to pirate, and her struggle with authority.  Will Zarina’s  stubborn ways lead or astray forever? or will true friendship and forgiveness triumph.  In Disney fashion, I think you know the answer to that question.

 

Pirate Fairy group

 

 

Demo and Review: The Happy’s from Cepia

Coincidentally, Pharrell’s song, “Happy,” has created an ongoing movement, but it’s these new toys from Cepia that’s making us move!

 

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The Happy’s are an adorable line of novelty plush that are motorized, so it’s as if these pets come to life and can play with you.  By incorporating IR technology, The Happy’s can perform tricks, make crazy noises, will play with you or explore independently. If you guys watch a bunch of tv like us, you’ve likely seen their commercial already!

 

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At Toy Fair earlier this year, I had a chance to listen in on a demo from Cepia executives.  We watched the pets perform tricks, chase their balls, scoot in cars, but the best is when they explore and snuggle up to unsuspecting toes.  The dogs, which varied in colors, scooted along the hard wood floor, and chased the interactive treats and toys.  According to the makers, tricks include follow me, chase a ball, pounce, chasing tail, beg, wiggle and dance.  So, minus the batteries and neediness, it’s almost like have just the fun of a real dog!

 

My toddler and six year old had a great time chasing our puppy around the living room.  Though, I found that the pup had a much better time navigating on the hardwood floor, rather than on the area rug.  The toddler had a much harder time understanding the Happy Treat and how to play with The Happy’s, but he did love it when it chased him.  My six year old, who fits in the target demo, loved the idea of The Happy’s but, quite frankly, wanted more from him.  He would’ve liked to be able to train it or teach it some tricks.  Nevertheless, he loves the idea of getting another few of The Happy’s and the cool skateboard and car!

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The cute plush, with its interactive features make The Happy’s a fun toy for young grade schoolers.  What I really love is that its gender neutral and even encourages group play. The Happy’s, which are available now, would make a super cute alternative to candy for those Easter baskets!

 

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In addition to the original four of The Happy’s, these accessories and play sets are available now:

Chase and Play

Ride-on Accessories

Fashion Carrier and Scarf

Deluxe Bed & Blanket

 

Rockin’ Playground

Agility Training Set

 

Full disclosure:  This is a sponsored post and I did receive samples to review the product.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Hosting a #DisneySide Playdate

After such a brutal winter cooped up indoors, not only for the crazy weather, but also because of the kid’s ongoing medical issues, we were more than happy to host our friends over for a #DisneySide playdate.  

Thanks to the generous party pack provided by Disney, we were decked out with supplies to entertain and enjoy.  It doesn’t take much for me to get excited about parties, but when it involves Mickey-shaped food, I’m all in.  From Mickey chicken to Mickey-shaped fruit, we were totally in magic mode.

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Since we had an after school soiree, the boys played Disney Infinity while the girls did Disney-inspired crafts.  

Untitled Because we’re all about Frozen, we did a fun Olaf project.   After we cut up the Olaf printable, we connected him at the joints with brads and then sang all about summerrrr!

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Thanks to Hanes, we broke out the fabric markers and decorated our own t-shirts.  Everyone’s shirts were beautiful, but Jack’s Spidey-themed tee was one of the faves. Even our littlest guy designed his very own tee!

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From primary colored decor to the awesome HP photo paper to print our favorite photos, our playdate was Disney-fied through and through.  And after so many not-so-easy days this winter, a little magic is just what the doctor ordered.

 

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For more ideas on how to post your own DisneySide party, check out Spoonful.com, DisneySide and DisneySide Celebrations. Thank you to Disney and MomSelect for including us in the #DisneySide Party initiative.  Samples were provided, but all opinions on NKT are my own.

#PurpleDay is Every Day

Every day is #PurpleDay around here.  As much as I loved seeing beautiful purple blouses and cool posters all in the name of epilepsy awareness, I didn’t see too much of the awareness being backed up.  With that in mind, I spent yesterday researching and putting together some information that I felt was missing on my Newsfeed.

In true Jen fashion, I researched and created my own epilepsy awareness info graphic that highlights some stats, different kinds of seizures and most importantly, seizure first aid.

As many of you already know, my younger guy was diagnosed with epilepsy at just four months old.  Since then, epilepsy has turned our world upside down.  With much thanks to excellent resources, support and the best medical care, this isn’t anything we can’t handle.

This is the face of epilepsy.

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J has frontal lobe epilepsy that is controlled by a cocktail of anti-seizure meds.  Epilepsy is an evil, but silent condition that, for us, can be maintained with medication and frequent medical care. Like many people who have epilepsy, my guy’s seizures are kept at bay when medicine levels are managed and triggers are monitored.

Unfortunately, breakthrough seizures can happen at any time.  So, it’s my hope to share seizure first aid with any and everyone, not just for my guy, but for the kid down the street, the student in school or even the stranger on the train platform.

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My most important recommendation, should you come in contact with anyone who has a seizure:  remain calm.  I can’t stress this enough.  As terrifying as a tonic-clonic seizure may look, time is of the essence.  Make sure the person is safe, their airway is clear and bystanders are gawking from a distance.  1-3 minutes for a seizure is typical, and trust me, it feels like a lifetime.

Never ever put anything into a person’s mouth during a seizure.  Move any harmful objects, cushion their head if they’re on the ground and don’t restrain them.

I wanted to spread more awareness, so I created this. I know I can’t be with my kid 24-7, so it’s my hope that with awareness, he’d receive proper attention. With that, please share and spread this info!

P.s. not sure why #9 got cut off, but it appears just fine in the original version. Just click here.