Monday, February 23, 2009

The Challenge of teaching with my kids...

Last week I held a few private classes at my house. I don't do this all the time, but when someone calls and needs a class and certification on short notice this is usually the only way I can accomodate them. I don't charge more for short notice private classes, but I do warn them up front that I have young children and they'll be at home.

Well, after last week those will be the last in my house for a while. It was inevitable, I can't expect my now 3 1/2 year old son and 1 year old daughter to play quietly while Mommy teaches a 3 hour class. This used to work. They would play with their quieter toys (I'd hide the really noisy ones) and we once even had a group of 9 Girl Scout Leaders over for a class. But now he just has too much energy and needs more of my undivided attention, which is challenging when I'm trying to teach.

I had slowly been realizing that trying to teach a class with my own children joining in was proving to be more and more difficult. I teach Mommy & Me classes and they work great, when I'm teaching at someone else's house and I'm not watching my children and teaching at the same time. I had made a plan knowing that this would be hard for my son. He was supposed to be having some fun time with Dad doing errands. The timing was planned so my daughter would be napping for most of the class. It started out perfectly. She did wake up earlier, but was content to sit next to me and watch everyone. What made it harder was when my husband had to suddenly go back to work and dropped my son off at home. I do have to give my son credit, he really did try as best as a 3 year old could to not be too loud, but he just wanted to play with our guests.

So I will still be teaching Mommy & Me classes and offering private classes as well. But just not in my house with my kids joining in. I think as they get older I'll be able to return to the convenience of having classes here. But for now I think we'll be teaching outside of the house for a while.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Online CPR & First Aid Courses

Do you want to take a course online? It's easy, convenient to schedule, and affordable!

However there is a lot of confusion over online CPR and First Aid courses. All American Heart Association courses have a practical skills component to them. The online course alone will not lead to certification or issuance of an American Heart Association CPR or First Aid Card. This is in bold because it is important. In fact since this is confusing I'll even repeat it, the online course alone will not lead to certification or issuance of an American Heart Association CPR or First Aid Card.

Be wary of online programs that do not offer a practical skills component to the course. Think of it like getting your driver's license. If you took an online course, studied the book, passed the test and received your license, would you really know how to drive a car? The same can be applied to CPR or First Aid. If all you did was read the book and take an online exam, would you be able to successfully perform the skills?

The American Heart Association offers several courses online at However at this time the only online course I can offer and that is authorized by my AHA Training Center is the BLS for Healthcare Providers Online Course. I do offer all classroom courses for all other AHA courses. Many training centers do not use the online courses, so before taking an online course you should be sure that there is a local AHA instructor who can provide you with the practical skills component of the course. Also bear in mind that there will most likely be two course charges - one charge for the online course and another to the instructor who provides the skills session and skill test (if applicable).

For Healthcare Providers you must have a valid Healthcare Provider (or ARC Professional Rescuer) card in order to practice. Most clinical locations and licensing boards require this. Online courses with no practical skills component are not recognized in many locations. If you are thinking about taking an online course check with your employer, clinical site, or school to see if the online course meets their requirements. For more information on the BLS for Healthcare Providers Online course visit my website at

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Have you taken the Healthy Heart Check Up?

Have you taken a Healthy Heart Check Up? This Valentine's Day take a few minutes for yourself and see how healthy your Heart is and what you can do to lead a Healthy Heart lifestyle.

This checkup is part of the Go Red for Women Campaign, encouraging all of us to lead healthy and happy lives. A sobering statistic is that sudden cardiac arrest is the number 1 cause of death of women in the United States. This is a statistic we can change by just making small changes in our diets and lifestyles.

Happy Valentines Day and Happy National Heart Month!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Depending upon where you live trucks filled with Girl Scout cookies will soon be descending upon your city or town! For us Cookie Delivery Day is this Saturday, Valentines Day. I will be signing receipts for hundreds of boxes of cookies! This is a hard temptation for me, but this year I've set my schedule up so that we can deliver my daughters' cookie orders all weekend to move them out of the house as quickly as possible.

I'm doing Weight Watchers. I've done this in the past successfully, but I have been struggling with my weight since my daughter was born. With a new year I'm trying it again and looking for any support I can find. In addition to attending Weight Watchers meetings I've joined a new group 15 by June. We're a small group that has just started and we'll be providing each other support and accountability on our weight loss efforts. I'm really excited about this group!

But I'm worried about the impending arrival of the cookies! My big challenge is supporting the Girl Scouts (and my daughters!) without actually eating any cookies! I've sat down with the nutrition labels for all the cookies and most cookies are 1 to 1.5 WW points each. One type is actually 2 points per cookie. Note - this is points PER COOKIE, not per serving. You can View the cookies and their nutritional labels on my GS Council's website.

One thing I'd like to share is that most troops participate in something called Gifts of Caring. You can buy a box of cookies but the cookies are actually donated to a local organization or larger group. Here in NH we participate in 'Operation Cookie'. We take our donated cookies to the NH Air National Guard and they ship them to troops overseas.

So if you're tempted and want to help out a local troop, neighbor or relative ask if they participate in Gifts of Caring. You can support the girls without eating the cookies.

Why all new parents should take an Infant CPR course

When I was expecting my first child I remember my childbirth class instructor suggesting everyone take a CPR course. At the time I was a practicing EMT, so I was already certified and didn't think much of it. A few months later I belonged to a post partum group and someone I knew from the Fire Service came to discuss why parents should take a CPR class. Attending a CPR class is a really good idea, but how many new parents are able to fit it in with everything else that needs to be done before the baby arrives? We all know how to call 911 and in many areas the 911 dispatcher will provide EMD - Emergency Medical Dispatching. But how well would we be able to follow the dispatchers directions to provide effective CPR?

Recently a study was done in England. Volunteers from a prenatal class were provided a telephone and an infant mannequin and instructed that they had just discovered an unresponsive infant. They were told to call for help and to follow the dispatcher's instructions. Despite changes made a few years ago to make CPR easier to explain and perform, the volunteers did not perform CPR effectively. The study concluded that emergency CPR instruction over the phone needed improvement and that new parents in a real emergency would probably perform infant CPR less effectively than the study participants. (AHA Currents Winter 2008-09 citing Resuscitation, 2008; 76:63-68)

In a true emergency we panic, even professionals will panic if it is a member of their own family. A CPR class can give a new parent confidence so that if an emergency happens, and if they do panic, they will know to call 911 and that the 911 dispatcher's instructions will help them to remember what they practiced in their class.

A CPR class is a good, hands-on way to learn CPR. But for many expecting or new parents, finding the time (and possibly a sitter) to attend a class is difficult at best. One method to assist new parents is the American Heart Association's CPR Anytime program. Parents can purchase a DVD and inflatable mannequin and in 25 minutes of following the directions on the DVD they can learn the steps of infant CPR.

Many Hospitals and Fire Departments offer CPR courses. Some have instructors who will provide private courses for you. I offer private in-home courses for new parents in my home or theirs, it is a great way to learn in the comfort of your home, but also having someone there to answer questions or really critique how you are practicing the skills.

If you have any questions on Infant CPR feel free to contact me! I am the owner of Coastal CPR & First Aid. I'm a mom of 4, an American Heart Association Instructor and a part-time Emergency Dispatcher. I offer private in-home and corporate CPR and First Aid classes. You can learn more about my business on my website,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Entering the world of online networking

Okay, so I'm still pretty much a newbie when it comes to online networking. I've only been actively online for about a month. My adventure started in a local mothers group I belong to. One of the other business moms emailed several of us to join Moms United in Business. What a great resource! This lead to contributing to Pampered Pregger and Beyond. After a few months I took the big leap and joined Twitter and Twitter Moms, The Mom Entrepreneur and a few more.

It's becoming an adventure, but I do worry that I'm spending a lot more time online and less time on my family, home & business. I'm now in an evaluation phase, trying to decide if some the communities I've joined are beneficial to me or not. My goal in this adventure is to find groups that are similar to me, a mom working primarily from home trying to balance family/home/work/a life (hah!) while learning how to promote and do business well. It's become a challenge of sorts! Some sites don't have as much activity, but what is posted is beneficial, another site I've met a few women like myself, but have been getting a ton of spam comments so I have to decide if weeding through the spam is worth it. There is just not enough hours a day to be actively online in a lot of networking groups and running a home & business!

So feel free to follow me on Twitter or look for me in other online networking groups, you may just find me there.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Teaching the skills that can make a difference

Learning CPR and First Aid can make a difference in someone's life. As an American Heart Association BLS instructor I offer CPR, AED, choking and First Aid Instruction for new parents, care givers, employee safety professionals and Healthcare Providers. Some of my greatest compliments have been hearing from former students who have successfully used the skills that I have taught them. I often say that I teach the skills that everyone wants to learn but that no one wants to have to use. I hope that is the case for everyone, but knowing what to do if an emergency arises is peace of mind, even it is just knowing that you need to call 911.