Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yes, You Can by Sophie Walker, Author of Grace, Under Pressure

Disclosure: I was given a copy of the book in order to facilitate my review. I was also given permission to include an excerpt from the book to share with my readers!     My review will be posted within the week!

Yes, You Can
by Sophie Walker author of Grace, Under Pressure

To begin this article with a confession: when it comes to your child, I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Because I have written a book about my child, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, I am often asked to suggest advice to parents in similar situations. And I’m always really happy to do so because I know from experience how hard it can be to find the right kind of support.

My book started off as a blog. I was trying to wrangle a daily torrent of emotions and experiences - subdue and make sense of them - by putting them down as words on a page. I wanted to understand what was happening to my daughter and me as we emerged after years of questions and referrals and finally diagnosis, and were left alone to get on with our lives. I wanted to understand what would happen to us next. I wanted to see if what I thought was happening was really happening – the hurt and the isolation at times seemed extraordinarily unfair and disproportionate. And I wanted to understand what it was that I was supposed to be doing to improve the situation.

I was very far from being an expert on autism, much less on parenting.

So now, when I find myself being asked what guidance I can offer to other parents of children who are on the autism spectrum, or have special educational needs, or a particular disability, my first thought is: me? I don’t know anything about your child.

But you do.

You know your child better than anyone else in the world, no matter how many letters anyone else may have after their name or how many educational qualifications they may have. You know when something is off. And you know when you need to keep pushing to fix it. Don’t let other people persuade you to go away or to subside quietly. Don’t let other people tell you it’s one thing when you think it’s something else entirely.

That said, don’t reject the medical or teaching community. Many of the answers and support you need are there. Many of the people who can make things better for you and your child are there. If help is not coming quickly or easily, remember: you have the right to keep asking. This point can sometimes be a hard one to remember when others keep putting up walls.

While you’re pushing, and asking, and trying to knock down walls; while you’re traipsing from place to place to place; or while you are sitting at home with your child and wondering what is happening to you both, remember: You are not alone.

This one’s a big one, so I’m going to say it again. You are not alone. You think every other parent out there has perfect children and a worry-free existence? Pffft. Of course not. That said, what you may be worrying about at this point, if there are paediatricians and psychologists involved, goes beyond everyday concerns. But that doesn’t mean you are alone. Far from it. There is a big community out there – a whole host of people who have been through what you’ve been through or are going through it right now, right alongside you. The Internet is a wonderful first reference to find people to talk to. (Just don’t ever google your child’s symptoms or behavior before talking to a professional first.) From there you will find local support groups. Not got one? Start one. I guarantee you – grateful parents will come out of the woodwork at you. You’ll never have so much company.

However, there will most likely be times when you want everyone – including your precious child – to go away and leave you alone. This is entirely understandable. You must make sure that this happens. You are most likely the glue keeping everyone else together in the scenario that is your life at the moment. It’s important to keep yourself together in order that you can keep on keeping everyone else together.

So take some time for yourself. Don’t say you can’t. Work out ways that you can. Ask a relative to help look after your child. Ask a neighbor. Find out about respite schemes. If you work, do something productive in your lunch hour. Try to ensure that some of what you do during this time for yourself is purely physical. Raise your heartbeat, not your blood pressure. Feel the endorphins kick in and remind you that life is good, that you are strong and that you can keep going. Because you can.

And that’s the most important thing of all. You may feel that you can’t do this. You may feel that your life has turned into a tragedy, or drudgery, something exhausting and joyless. At this point, tell yourself that what you are experiencing now is a short period of unhappiness and difficulty in what will be a long and happy life. You can do this. There are lots of people who love you. There are lots of people who are rooting for you. I am rooting for you and I haven’t even met you yet.

Good luck.

# # #

Sophie Walker is the author of Grace, Under Pressure. She has been a reporter for Reuters News Agency for sixteen years and has worked as a foreign correspondent traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan with Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. She lives in London. Visit her online at or on Twitter @sophierunning.

Based on the book Grace, Under Pressure: A Girl with Asperger’s and Her Marathon Mom © 2013 by Sophie Walker. Printed with permission of New World Library

Friday, August 23, 2013

Purex Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar and Stain Remover Review and Giveaway (US only, ends 8-30-13)

Disclosure: Purex provided me with a sample of Purex Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar in exchange for a product review. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.

I forget how long that I've been using Purex Fels-Naptha Laundry Bars with our laundry, but I do know that it has been quite awhile! They are seriously multi-purpose laundry bars! I think that I had originally planned to use it in making my own laundry soap, but I never got that far!The Purex Laundry bar has been a fixture in our laundry room!  I have definitely used it on laundry stains and still do. It has worked for me on grease stains and food stains, and they came out. They pictures that I took and are on this post have to do with antiperspirant on one of Steve's work shirts. I'm planning to use it on a dried permanent marker stain one if these days to see if I can get it to come out of one of my uniform tops. I had accidentally left the cap off of the permanent marker and had put it into my pocket at work. Awhile later, I looked down to see about 3 or 4 decent sized permanent maker stain on two of the pockets! Yuck! Boy, was I upset! Baby Phat uniform tops aren't cheap, and it was a favorite of mine. By the way, it wasn't a white nurses uniform top, it was Ceil blue! I've used it Steven's ghee outfit for karate, to get dirt out and it's worked in the past!

I want to give you a bit of information: Purex Fels-Naptha is a laundry bar that works overtime to remove your toughest  stains. Whether it is dirt, grease, or ring-around-the-collar, a bar of Pure Fels-Naptha can clean up the mess. To me, it's a different way of pre-treating stains, you are getting a bit of laundry soap on the stain and rubbing it in before the piece of clothing is thrown in the wash! What you do is wet the piece of clothing or whatever has the stain on it, and you rub the stain with a wet bar of Fels-Naptha. Wait a few minutes and then put it into the washer.  America has trusted this stain-removing product for over 100 years. I will have to see what I can find out about using it in a HE front-loading washer, as grated laundry soap! I'm using a big bottle of Purex dye and scent free laundry detergent at the moment.

Fels-Naptha Removes satins their first time through the wash. It pretreats dozens of stains and is safe on colors (Steve's shirt was a sage green.). It's great for dirt, grease, and ring-around-the collar. It's easy to use and more effective than spray! I really like what it has down with stains in out household throughout the years!! I was quite pleased with the results and actually remember to get an after picture for you all to see! I think that you will like trying it, and I happen to have 3 "free coupons" for a free Purex Fels-Naptha Laundry bar to give away to my lovely readers!

Pretreating the stain before putting the shirt into the laundry!!

Showing you the shirt twice after laundry was done, and out of the dryer!

Now for the Rafflecopter giveaway... I have 3 free coupons, good for one coupon a piece to three readers! Woohoo!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ladies and Gents, don't forget to enter the 2 current giveaways!!

Hi Y'all! Don't forget about the two giveaways going on right now, the Purex Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets and the Rick Springfield DVD "An Affair of the Heart"------a DVD to watch and entertain yourself and fabric softener sheets for the dryer!!! Low entries, to go ahead and enter now!!!!
Have an awesome day!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Day of High School for Our Son, and Other Ramblings!

Whew! I never thought that I'd see the day, but Steven left for the bus a few minutes ago for his first day of high school--- 9th grade! I went to bed late for me these days last night, about midnight. This morning, he came in about 7:16 and woke me up, and said, "Mom, get up, it's 7:16!" I was so disoriented! I thought that it was the evening, and I said, "Where's your dad?" Steven said, "He's at work!"  I responded back, "what's for dinner?" He looked at me like I was crazy! Then he said something about it being the first day of school and that I needed to get up. (I could have sworn that I'd set my alarm for 7am, but I don't recall it going off!) Then I told him that he could have told me that it was morning!
 I definitely needed a cup of coffee this morning, regardless of the fact that I go back to bed later on, after lunch, since I work tonight! I posted it on Instagram for Fat Mum Slim's #fmsphotoaday photos! I've already finished my iced coffee, and needless to say, I'm still sleepy!! I think that the tiredness is from yesterday, since I got up really early on a day off to go to work for an early nurses' meeting---had to be there at 7:15am.

I don't think that I really posted much this summer about why I was home until last Thursday night from work, so here goes.... on May 21st, I had a partial diskectomy of S1. Though it was a partial, and not the whole disc, I had more pain and more grief with this particular surgery than I did with any of the other surgeries that I've had throughout the years. I ended up in the ER three nights after the surgery for intense pain in my left calf for what I thought was a blood clot, ended up being intense S1 nerve pain that had come on quick. During that ER visit, the nurse and the ER doctor looked at my back incision, and it looked like I had cellulitis around the incision. I ended up with a dose of antibiotics, IV pain med, and IV decadron (which the ER nurse IV pushed a bit fast, I was mad, because it gave me politely what I would call "crotch burn"----years ago, when I was taking a chemotherapy class we were taught to push the decadron via IV slow, so that the patient wouldn't get an uncomfortable feeling down there!). I got sent home with prescriptions for antibiotics, steroid dose pack, and Dilaudid.

Steven did my dressing changes for me to my back and I monitored the appearance of the incision with pictures from my iPhone that he'd take for me. My husband opted out of doing the dressings, except when son was at church camp and on mission week for church. The staples were removed in early June, and the dressings continued to be changed daily, if not twice a day. The top of the wound was extremely slow in healing, and I ended up seeing the surgeon every one to two weeks for an incision check. Due to the incision, I ended up on a 2nd round of antibiotics at one point, getting thrush on my tongue along with a yeast infection---not fun. I also was on the total of 3 rounds of steroids, pretty much 30 days' worth in 6 weeks, to ease the S1 nerve pain. I had an unsteady gait for awhile, with some left foot weakness , due to S1 nerve--- and tripped twice and fell once in 2 days. That's when he decided in late June to keep me out for 5 weeks, until he saw me for a follow-up appointment in Early August. I started P.T. the second week in July, and I'm still going twice a week. The top of the incision wasn't healing up in mid-July, and it was about 2 months since the surgery. He ended up debriding the small wound in the office, and by the August appointment it was closed!

Unrelated to the back, in late July, I was up around 3am one night to go to the bathroom, and as I was coming out of our water closet/shower area, the room started the spin and I saw gray, and I fell. I bruised the back of my left arm real good!  When I went to my primary care physician the following day, he had me get some labs and an EKG, and wanted me to follow up with cardiology and neurology. I saw both the following week. Bear in mind, at that point, I was still not back at work. Cardiology thought that it was from a low BP, and didn't change my BP med. My neurology appointment followed the heart doc appt. that morning, and the neurologist ended up cutting back my bp med and ordering a VNG for vertigo. The test came back with vertigo issues with the right ear.

I went back to work last Thursday night. It's a bit different being back to work, my back's hurting along with the S1 nerve by the time that I get off. Some of the pain is fibromyalgia pain, too. I did cut my hours back by one day a week, so I'm at 4 nights a week--still fulltime. There's my update!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Purex Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets (review and giveaway)

Disclosure: Purex provided me with a sample of Purex Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets in exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own!

The Lovely Purex box that my Purex Insider delivery came in! 
I love clean smelling laundry! I also love laundry that repels lint and pet hair! We don't have any pets with hair (just feathers, and they don't stick to our clothes!) The box came about the time that Steven came home from staying at his Aunt Nancy and Uncle Les' house with cats for 3 weeks. Needless to say, the boy's dirty clothes--mostly t-shirts were covered with cat hair and smelled of cats. Sorry to my cat-loving readers, but I like cats from a far, not in my home but someone else's where I can pet them and then go home!  I took one look at those shirts and there was a lot of it on the shirts. Purex liquid laundry detergent went into the washer with the clothes, and a mountain breeze scented Purex fabric softener sheet went into the dryer when the clothes needed to be dried! Purex Fabric Softener  Dryer Sheets do more than just leave your family's laundry soft and smelling fresh, they also reduce static cling and repel pet hair and repel lint. When the laundry came out of the dryer, it was soft, smelling fresh, and  the static cling was reduced-----and most of the cat hair was gone from son's clothes. The ones that it was still clinging to were put through the round again, being washed, and again dried with a mountain breeze fabric softener dryer sheet, and then the hairs were gone. YAY!!

And I wonder if you knew about the other ways that you can use those Mountain Breeze or Sweet Lavender  scented sheets? Well, you can try tucking sheets in your hampers, linen closet, drawers and even shoes to keep your entire house smelling fresh! I thought of two other uses to use them while they are still scented... place one under a seat in your car to freshen the air, and place one in a trash can in the kitchen if you don't use scented trash bags! After they're used, they make great dust wipes----I've used them for that! And for the other suggestions that I mentioned, I'm seriously thinking about trying those!!
Sorry for no pictures of throwing the sheets in with the laundry into the dryer, I keep forgetting to have my iPhone or camera with me in the laundry room lately--- plus my laundry room's in a state of repair, we had a pipe leak, and the wall near my dryer was torn up! 

I received the Mountain Breeze scented Purex Fabric Softener Sheets!!

Showing you the side of the box, I had it turned in iPhoto, but the box didn't stay rotated!
NOW for the rafflecopter giveaway!

Rick Springfield "An Affair of the Heart " Film DVD Review and Giveaway (through 8/20/13, USA only)

Disclosure: I was given information about the DVD and free product in order to facilitate a review. The opinions expressed were my own!

How many of you recall Rick Springfield? I can remember when he used to be on General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake! I also remember when "Jessie's Girl" came on the radio! I've enjoyed his music throughout the years, as I'm sure that you all have, too! The 80's heartthrob had a new rockumentary from Breaking  Glass  Video released on July 16th called "An Affair of the Heart". I was given the opportunity to review it, and I can honestly say that I really enjoyed watching it! It chronicles the relationship between Rick and seven of his biggest fans. I did not realize how much of an impact he had on the lives of his fans until I watched the DVD, and all I can say in this moment is, "WOW!".
It was really interesting to watch and to hear the stories from the seven fans that were interviewed and filmed before his concerts, on a cruise with Rick (his wife Barbara went, too), to a festival in Sweden, and if I remember correctly,  county fairs. There was a young teen that he met when he was a wee one, and the young man had an opportunity when he got older to play along on his guitar at one of Rick's concerts in his area. There were two married women who literally went to his concerts several times a year, and Rick ended up meeting the husbands at one point before a concert ( a rainy one, nonetheless!). I'm giving you my opinion now, before I give you some information a PR sheet.
I sat down and watched the entire DVD from beginning to end one afternoon, and I was honestly impressed!! He was sincere with his fans, and really had a great connection with the 7 in particular in the rockumentary!

Now for the information about this incredible DVD from the PR information... Breaking Glass Pictures and Yellow Rick Road Productions have inked a deal for the Blu-Ray (SRP $29.99) and DVD (SRP $24.99) release of the award-winning rock documentary An Affair of the Heart, named for the rick Springfield classic song, and following the singer's unique relationship with seven super fans who put their lives on hold to follow him on tour. It was released on July 16th.

The Grammy Award winner was quoted as saying, "It was a real laugh/cry kind of thing As a person, I am kind of peripheral. It is about their connection, what they view and how they interpreted who I was, and the right times that music that they liked came along to help them to get through difficult stuff." He adds, " I get the stores, I am very proud to be part of it, but it is more their power than mine."

For most fans, Rick Springfield is much more than a celebrity crush; some have overcome deep trauma by connecting with his music, for others he has served as a catalyst for life-long friendships, and without fail all have a unique bond with him.  A fascinating look at the fan s of the musical icon, An Affair of the Heart is a soulful examination of those who turned a man into a legend. If his 17 Top 40 hits, including "Jessie's Girl", or his run on "General Hospital" as Dr. Noah Drake haven't convinced you of his enduring star power, watching him rock out with Dave Grohl and the Foos with a new track in the Sound City documentary most certainly will.

Since its premiere at the Florida Film Festival, An Affair of the Heart has received praise and awards on the film festival and theatrical circuits. The Hollywood Reporter hailed the film as "a feel-good and at times laugh-out-loud documentary" and the New York Times called it"a refuge from the mundane." An Affair of the Heart's many awards include the Nashville Film Festival's Gibson Impact of Music Award and the Boston Film Festival's Best Music Award. The home video release will include over an hour of extras on the DVD, while the Blu-Ray will come complete with over two full hours of bonus content.

For more information: Breaking Glass

Breaking Glass Pictures on Facebook
Breaking Glass Pictures on Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 10, 2013

First-Ever PLAY-DOH App brings Learning and Fun Together (Review)

Disclosure: I was given the information on the app and the app download for free in order to facilitate my review of the PLAY-DOH app.  The Opinions expressed are my own!

If you've been reading my blog since the first year (2010), you will remember that I started reviewing a few childrens' apps for the iPhone and the iPad back then. I am a true kid a heart, and even at 51, I don't mind play an educational app to see what the kids can learn from in this day and age. Plus, I know that quite a few of you all out there in my reading audience are parents, grandparents, aunt or uncles, or may even have a younger sibling!  The app that I'm reviewing for you all today is from PLAY-DOH, and it called PLAY-DOH Create ABC's. It came out recently and is the first educational app for the PLAY-DOH brand. It is kicking off a series of learning apps set to release from Hasbro and PlayDate Digital. This beloved brand has been helping imaginations take shape for over 50 years, and they are excited to announce its move into the digital world to utilize the remarkable interactive capabilities of iOS devices.

Here's a link to get a better idea of how the app works, feel free to watch a quick video:
PLAY-DOH App video clip. It's a real informative clip! So... you might ask, what exactly is this PLAY-DOH Create ABC's ? It's an app which was designed with the input of preschool education expert, Dr. Michael Cohen. It truly is amazing how easily young children are able to pick up an iPad/iPhone and start navigating through it and we believe PLAY-DOH Create ABC's could be their next favorite app! (Barb's Note  here: The way that my friend Connie's youngest granddaughter Mya is,
at 3, I think that she could probably do quite well on this app!) AS they go through a series of exciting play modes, children will learn the Alphabetic Principle-- to recognize letters, write letters in proper stroke order and associate letters with sounds. The young ones will love the fun and quirky animations and parents will love that it encourages kids to use their brain and incorporate learning with play time.

If you happen to have more than one child, that's not a problem at all because each child can have their own profile to save and parents can watch each one's individual progress. There is an interesting thing about this, because there is an ability to easily share creations with family and friends using the "Send to Camera" function. This could be used towards a great gift for grandma and grandpa on they special day coming u next month on September 8th.  The PLAY-DOH Create ABC's app is available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch for $2.99.

Barbara's take on it: It has three sections: a) Write and Craft: this is where I had to follow the dots and outline the letters. You pick a letter and a color of Play-Doh, then the letter gets covers with play-doh dots and you pretty much go from dot to dot and form the letter with your finger. After you fill in the letter it gives you a word that starts with the letter, "S" sun. b)Create and Share:   The second game relies on how how many letters you filled and completed in the first exercise.  You can make a picture by choosing the scenery, and by using the shapes that you pick. If you didn't fill in all of the letters on your first play of section "a", you will be given only the letters that you traced , they will be the ones you can work with regardless of whether or not you can spell something with them. c)  Letter Matching: You get to choose the letter that you want to match with a shape. Me... well I started out at the beginning of the alphabet on this one and went from A to Z, matching the shape to the letter. I don;t remember my scores on any of them , but I do believe that I did pretty good.  For $2.99, I do believe that this app is worth it, with tracing the letters, and matching shapes with words!! I really liked it, and I believe that your children will, too!!
 With this one, above, you trace the M and then have to match it with picture on the side.
 Monkey happened to be the only thing that matched with  the letter "M" from the left side!