Friday, October 21, 2016

Keeping Them Safe at Hallowe'en with Duracell #TrustedPower {giveaway}

Hallowe'en is just around the corner, and kids are getting all geared up for the big night. Parents too! Boo is going out as a gladiator this year, and I bought myself a bumblebee costume, because I love them so much. (It's so cute!) We're still trying to figure out our logistics for our first single parent Hallowe'en. I suggested we could put out a bowl of candy for kids to help themselves while we are out trick or treating ourselves. He suggested he go out with friends and I stay home to give out the treats. We'll see. At 10, I am not ready to let him go out without an adult, so I'll check with a couple of my locals to see if he can tag along.

Safety is always a concern on Hallowe'en. Tons of kids, hopped up on sugar and the promise of more sugar, running around in the dark. Our neighbourhood has three elementary schools, so we have huge crowds out trick or treating. Especially on the street with the incredibly elaborate haunted house. We get anywhere from 80-100 kids at our door, and we are not one of the busy streets, so you can imagine. Last year we had a huge problem with cars speeding down our street. My husband took it upon himself to stand in the road and police them. Also scary, and not something I'd recommend, but he was so angry at those drivers endangering our kids. Both drivers and pedestrians need to be aware and keep their eyes open!!

I make sure that Boo carries a flashlight with him on Hallowe'en, and we add reflective tape or bracelets to his costume to make him more visible to drivers. The flashlight allows him to see tripping hazards, and generally be safe knowing where he's going. And, to be sure his flashlight goes the distance, I power it with Duracell. I've always trusted Duracell batteries for their long-lasting power, so I know I can depend on them to help him light his way home at the end of the night.

I also trust Duracell to power my decorations. We always have Jack o'Lanterns, of course, but I long ago switched from candles to battery-operated lights. All those kids tromping up to the door, often in a big group, with flowy costumes could prove to be quite dangerous with actual flames in the mix. This year I have a couple of different LED votive options for my Jack o'Lanterns. The larger one has a colour-changing mode, which should be fun. And I've added this hanging lantern to our decor as well. It shines a skull image and plays spooky sounds. Since it will be on all evening, Duracell is on the job once again. I wouldn't want this to bum out in the middle of the festivities!

Would you like some more safety tips? The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs recommends keeping the following in mind this Halloween:
  • Dangerous D├ęcor: Jack-o-lanterns may be a time-honoured tradition, but they also represent a fire hazard. Instead of using a candle, place small flashlight or battery powered candle inside of the Jack-o-lantern. Using a long lasting battery like a Duracell Coppertop Battery will help keep them powered all night long. 
  • Don’t Blow It: When it comes to powering Halloween decorations, it’s easy to go overboard. But overloading extension cords and breakers is a fire hazard and will ruin the night. Be mindful of the decorations being used and when possible, opt for battery powered. 
  • Costume Considerations: When selecting this year’s Halloween costume, pick brightly coloured costumes that can be clearly seen by motorists. Add reflective tape to the costume to increase visibility.
  • Light the way: Make sure everyone in the Halloween trick-or-treating party has a flashlight and trust that on Halloween they will have the power to light their way home with a Duracell Coppertop Battery. This will help make kids more visible to motorists and others. When in doubt, stay in well-lit areas and only visit homes with their lights turned on.
  • Strength in Numbers: While always advised to have a parent present, at some point kids will want to trick-or-treat on their own. Give yourself peace of mind and make sure there is a party of at least three people. 
  • Know the Route: The temptation to collect as much candy as possible is understandable, but ill-advised. The safest option is to limit trick-or-treating to well-known neighbourhoods. 
  • Quality Control: Make sure kids resist the urge to sample the spoils of trick-or-treating until an adult has inspected the candy to see if it has been tampered with.

What do you think? Anything you would add to keep safety top of mind? I'd suggest opting for make-up rather than a mask, to help kids see clearly - especially for their peripheral vision when crossing the road.

A Giveaway

One lucky RMB reader will receive a Hallowe'en safety prize pack including Duracell Quantum batteries, a Coleman flashlight and wearable reflectors for maximum visibility and long-lasting power. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, Oct. 31. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec. Best of luck!!

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Duracell. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Score Big This Hockey Season with #ChurchAndDwight {giveaway}

Skates, helmets and tournaments – oh my, it must be hockey season! Between driving your hockey superstar to endless practices, organizing fundraisers and maintaining equipment, there’s no denying that being a hockey parent is a busy – and rewarding – job. The team camaraderie is infectious and seeing your little one’s determination on the ice is priceless.

Here are some ways to prepare for hockey season’s worst, to ensure it’s actually the best:

1) Develop a routine: Because the hockey season is so busy, establishing a routine is key. This includes making time for homework between school and practice, ensuring the hockey bag is packed ahead of time and coordinating carpool schedules. Pro tip: create a check-list for your child to follow so they can learn to manage their own time and ensure they’re well prepared to hit the ice.

2) Banish smelly gear: It’s always surprising how such a big smell can come from a small kid! Hockey equipment is bound to collect sweat when your kid is skating their heart out on the ice so make sure you stop odours before they start.  First, air out all equipment after each use.  Do not – I repeat, do not – leave everything in a zipped up hockey bag! Second, regularly wash items that can be machine washed. Pro tip: Use a detergent that’s up to the challenge such as OxiCleanTM HD Liquid Laundry Detergent and Arm & HammerTM Plus OxiCleanTM Cold Water Power Paks.

3) Maintain a positive attitude: The number one goal (pun intended!) for your child during hockey season should be to have fun. Whether it’s a “win” or “lose” in the end, each game teaches your child how to work as part of a team and participate in friendly competition. These important life lessons are the true prize at the end of the season!

4) Get to know your fellow hockey parents: Creating a network of other parents can add a fun social element to the experience for you. Plus, it’s a great way to stay connected and easily be able to coordinate carpools and call-in a last minute favour if you can’t make a practice.

5) Make some memories: Your before hockey advice and after hockey breakfast runs are the stuff memories are made of. Pro Tip: Create a pre- or post- hockey tradition for you and your child to share!

What are your tips for surviving the hockey season?

A Giveaway

To help ensure you’re ready, we’re giving away some great hockey season essentials for at home and on the road games. The prize pack is valued at approximately $35 and includes the following:
  • OxiCleanTM HD Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Arm & HammerTM Plus OxiCleanTM Cold Water Power Paks
  • Arm & HammerTM Baking Soda
  • Arm & HammerTM SpinbrushTM battery powered toothbrush The Ultimate Spider-Man TM
  • OrajelTM Spider-ManTM Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste
Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, November 6. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Best of luck!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Church & Dwight Ambassador Program, and as such receive special perks, products, and other compensation for my participation. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The German Girl {book review}

Nazi Germany, 1939, before the war. Hannah is an 11 year-old Jewish girl, from an upper class family, accustomed to a life of comfort, ease and respect. But everything has changed and the persecution has begun. Jews are hated, their businesses and property taken, her father dismissed from his professorship at the university. Her family decides to flee the country and start a new life in the US, by way of Cuba.

The German Girl presents the story of the real-life trials of the more than 900 Jewish refugees who fled Germany in May 1939 aboard the MS St. Louis, bound for Havana, told through the voice of a fictionalised young girl. Hannah's story is interwoven with that of another girl, her great-niece Anna, in 2014. This is a powerful tale of persecution and a family's struggle to survive, providing insight into a dark episode in our history. The St. Louis was not allowed to dock in Havana, and after being denied refuge by both the US and Canada, 900 passengers were sent back to Europe. In The German Girl, Hannah and her mother are among the very few allowed to enter Havana.

Author Armando Lucas Correa moves skillfully back and forth between past and present day. His characters are well-rounded and compelling, and I feel he did a good job of capturing the voice of a young girl. Hannah's innocence and her confusion as to why others would hate her and her family create a powerful narrative.

As the years pass in Cuba, Hannah and her mother become witness to more persecution, eerily similar to what they had experienced in Germany. The revolutionary government has set its sights on intellectuals and Jehovah's Witnesses, sending them to work camps, as the Nazis had sent the Jews. In Berlin, the Nazis took property, including the apartments owned by Hannah's family. In Havana, the Cuban government took Hannah's business. History repeats itself.

Although this is a fictionalised version of events, with fictitious families, the setting and circumstances of the story were all too real. The St. Louis really did attempt to bring over 900 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany to Cuba, and then to the US, and then Canada. The people on that ship really did experience the fear and rejection felt by Hannah and her family in the book. It's chilling to think that in 1939, Canada turned away these refugees, leaving them to the very real possibility of internment and death.

And, as The German Girl makes clear - history repeats itself. The world is currently facing another refugee crisis, this time as a result of civil war in Syria. Canada has welcomed more than 32,000 to date. When we learn from our past, we can do better in our present and future.

You can learn more about the St. Louis and her passengers at  I had no idea this event had taken place, and I thank Correa for bringing this story to the forefront in such an engaging and moving novel.

Be sure to check out the rest of this Blog Tour for additional insights into this great book and startling story.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary advanced reader copy of this book for review purposes. No financial compensation has been received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.


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